Saturday, May 31, 2008

out like a lion

a sultry silver sky and the forecast suggest that this last day of may is going to be a doozy. severe storms are predicted - the kind with winds over 60 miles an hour and golf ball size hail. and, as the weather man cheerfully reminded us all a few days ago, storm severity does not include lightning severity... so along with hail and the wind, i can expect buddy to try and climb up onto my lap anytime i sit down.

i've already weeded as many of the gardens as my knee will allow. after i ice it a few minutes, im going out to harvest the chamomile that's ready. the scent of apples it gives off is heavenly. i hate the thought of hail crushing my poor little buds.

today will be a good day to play catch up around the house... both girls are home and bored. buddy is already pacing and whining and looking nervous... he knows a storm is coming hours before it gets here.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, May 30, 2008

pounding the pestle

there's nothing like playing with a mortar and pestle to make you feel like a witch. okay - there's nothing like playing with a mortar and pestle that makes ME feel like a witch. particularly when its smashing up eggshells to nourish my garden. my dear friends rose and ruth gave me some advice on how to deal with the ants invading my thyme garden - ruth suggested asking them to go away, and rose suggested a sugar-salt-eggshell combination to both nourish the soil AND make the suggestion more potent.

i decided to leave out the salt. sowing the ground with salt raises unhappy memories of latin class - the romans sowed the soil of carthage with salt after they destroyed everything to make sure nothing else could grow there. and without the salt, the ants don't need sugar.

so im brewing up my eggshells - libby wondered why we had breakfast for dinner every night this week - adding a bit of old dried comfrey i found at the bottom of my herb chest, as well as a bit of cinquefoil to strengthen the concoction times five. im letting it simmer and then i'll dilute by a few watering cans full of water.

then i'll add it to the thyme and the other herb beds... and very strongly ask the ants to please take their colonies Somewhere Else - like, say, anywhere on the other side of the ponds.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

on the mend

my knee, after much rest, ice, and elevation - with a lot reiki, and some salt baths thrown in - feels at least sixty percent better. it only twinges when i walk - more or less normally, and the stabbing pains shooting up and down my leg when i try to go up and down stairs are far less acute than they were.

ive already given it one ice-salt bath-reiki-ice treatment. i'm having a massage today and i must remember to tell my dear friend rose that her white-willow ginger-root tonic she made for my mother (who refused to try it) made a wonderfully soothing brew, especially with a few dried wild blueberries blended in.

and i will miss class... alas.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

nod to my knees

yesterday afternoon, while attempting to steam clean the carpet where buddy vomited last week, i felt something funny in my knee. not a good funny, but not a horrible funny either. just a twinge that made me think... oh, that's not good.

it was sore, but not so sore i didn't go to class.


my poor left knee is done in.

i've iced it twice this morning, and had a hot salt bath. while sitting in the tub, i made sure i thanked both my knees, as well as my feet, my ankles and my lower legs, for the amazing job they so effortlessly do, holding up the rest of me, while bending and flexing at will. i don't spend a lot of time thinking about my lower extremities, unless some part complains. and then, i realized, its the quickest fix possible, and on to the next adventure. but really, is that how *I* like to be treated, when i feel sick?

a big piece of the angel's way of eating messages have to do with self-love and self-acceptance, which includes accepting our own limits. and limits aren't something i accept easily - in anyone, or in any situation.

so today im taking care of my knees. i have another ice bag chilling, i have plenty of epsom salts. im putting it up, im resting it, im giving it lots of reiki. today, rather than the other way round, i am bending to the will of my knees.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

happy birthday, laura rose

shortly after i moved in with Beloved, i discovered that right around the corner from my house, the universe had most thoughtfully provided a source of inspiration, knowledge and understanding.

the name of this place was the purple rose and the person who owned it was a little woman with curly dark hair and big brown eyes, eyes that even then i noticed looked alarmingly like mine.

laura needed customers. i needed books. it was, as they say, a match made in Heaven.

looking back, over the last five years or so as our friendship has grown, i realize now that Heaven must have had a hand in it. there are people, who, when i met them for the first time, i have felt a kind of unmistakeable recognition... a resonance like a chime within my soul. oh, there you are...i hear.

my dear friend lorraine was one. Beloved was another.

and laura is a third. i think we were siblings in other lifetimes, quite possibly even twins. Prodded, nudged and nurtured as i've been along my path, laura has been beside me, every step of the way. we've been mistaken for sisters, for cousins, for lesbian lovers.

today is her birthday. it's a big one... a threshold birthday, as i think of them - one of the ones that has come to signify a transition from one stage of life into another. fortunately for laura, it's one i've already crossed, and as she said, i make approaching fifty look easy. we're going out to lunch, even though today is gray. i cant wait to hear what she thought of my angel workshop. i hope she likes her present.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, May 26, 2008

in memoriam

"in flander's fields, the poppies grow... "

i can hear my parents' voices, one overlain upon the other, reciting those lines to me and my brother. my parents - both of them - read poems to us from an anthology that included the works of poets who ranged from chaucer and shakespeare, to donne and marvel, to ae houseman, blake, yeats, poe, kipling, kilmer and hughes.

i had no idea what the poem meant of course, but we called my great grandfather "poppy" and so the word hooked in my mind. i remember my father and mother trying to explain that it wasn't rows of old men growing in those faraway fields, but flowers. i think they left out the part about the tombstones.

i figured that part out myself when i was a freshman in high school and encountered a similiar poem in the same vein. this time i was studying latin and was able to translate the final line - dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, as "it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country."

but in the poem, that line is called "the old lie."

according to my father, my irish grandmother's family, the moylans, arrived in the mid 18th century - early enough in the life of the young country to establish themselves as gentleman farmers and merchants by the time of the revolution, and i may count general stephen moylan, who endured the winter at valley forge with washington, as one of my grandfathers.

i am not yet so much a pacifist that i dont believe that there are causes worth fighting for. my uncles and great uncles - on both sides of my family - all served in world war two. but i do not believe that i disgrace their memories or their acheivements to say that i am proud that not a drop of any blood directly linked to mine has been spilled in either viet nam or this ongoing disgrace in iraq.

i bought a poppy yesterday, from a veteran - a man old enough to my great-uncle. i said thank you as i stuffed my dollar in his box. it occured to me that the poppy is the opium flower... and in the image of the red poppies, the white crosses, i saw an interesting juxtaposition of dreams and death and sleep and illusion i hadn't seen before.

i think it is a lie that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. countries are artifical things, carved up men or accident of geography, recognized only by our self-created conventions of culture and time. the struggle of an individual or a group of individuals against tyranny, on the other hand, is a struggle that transcends cultures and conventions, and carries across time.

when the individual sacrifices his life for a universal cause - something that benefits the good of all beings - his life is not given in vain. but when individuals are deluded and seduced into giving their lives for something made up only by men... like a country... a revolution is called for.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

eating... the angel way

my first workshop went well. it helped, of course, that i did it before an audience of people i generally know, love and respect.

a funny thing happened about an hour before it was time to start. i was tidying up my writing room, and wondering when the angels might be arriving.

i distinctly heard the doorbell ring. Beloved was downstairs, cleaning up the chairs. i didn't understand why he'd be ringing the doorbell, though it was certainly possible he'd locked himself out. but i distinctly remembered unlocking the door that morning...

so i went downstairs. there was no one at the back door, and Beloved was busily engaged in his cleaning.

why'd you ring the doorbell, i asked, as i tested the knob to see if it was locked. (it wasn't.)

i didn't ring the doorbell, Beloved replied.

you didn't? i asked again. you're not locked out?

of course not, he answered. the door was wide open.

it's nice to know the angels are not only punctual, but polite.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

satisfying saturday

i spent four hours in the gardens today - two hours this morning, and now two more this afternoon. the beds are mulched and weeded, the flowers potted at the back door. its still too cold to think too much about herbs, and im hoping my dear friend has some ideas as to what to do about the ants who've moved into my thyme beds. i even got the zen garden weeded, and the sweet annie bed raked out.

libby cleaned out my car (remuneration is appreciated, she reminded me. four times.) we went grocery shopping, for the angel workshop tomorrow. i found some lovely chocolate. the hand outs are complete, the notes are done. i have some tidying up to do, but otherwise, the house is clean and i just need to print the handouts.

i sent debby two chapters of rigged and i have a third nearly finished. the new book is coming along, but marsia is on hold. now, i need a nap.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be!

Friday, May 23, 2008

fabulous friday

my right hip is amazingly better. my left quadriceps is strained. i had trouble kicking last night, raising my leg above the level of my hip was hard, and got harder. when i came home, i took a salt bath and iced it the rest of the night. today i intend to rest and ice it, and i may even break down and take an ibuprofen.

i'd like to go to the krav class tomorrow.

sunday is my first eating...the angel way workshop, a sort of preview that i am offering to friends and other healers who may be interested enough to get the word out.

the new story is coming along well, though i have to resist reading too much history, too much of the "real story." there's conflicting myth and no one knows when it "really" happened. So there is no real story, i have to keep telling myself. there's only the one we make up.

and that's my "story," and i'm sticking to it. (;) rose.)

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

the risks of writing

this morning, the first blog i read happened to be from one of my aol friends (LGVernon) announcing the publication of her first novel TOMORROW. (The Wilderness Road - set in the post-Civil War West - i have to order a copy for my mother the civil war buff.)

although she's proud and happy, she's also mostly scared. that's how i felt when my first novel was published - as though i'd taken all my clothes off and was dancing naked on a billboard. i can't say that feeling has ever gone completely away. each story demands that i strip away another layer, peel off another piece, mine another vein. the process of writing has taken me deeper and further into my own unconscious than i have ever wanted to go.

it is the doorway for everything else, so the compensations are great. but it is always an act of courage for me, on some level, to write, because i never really know what demons will rise, what monsters will creep, what truth will inevitably spill its guts across the screen.

just yesterday, the first bisexual character i have ever created stepped out of the shadows and into the story. it is the first time this piece of myself stands so revealed. my bisexuality is not something i ever talk about - to anyone, anywhere. it's always there, i think, in the way my left-handness is there - but most people don't notice. or maybe it's just i don't think they do. :)

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

thorough thursday

i didn't make it to killer yoga. my hip - due to ministrations and manipulations of a chiropractor, a massage therapist, a cranial-sacral therapist and a personal trainer - actually only twinged now and again, and when libby started whining that she didn't feel like going, i decided it was a signal from the universe to Rest.

i was tired from cleaning up dog vomit. there was a spectacular thunderstorm going on, too, that felt like the first summer storm. i opted to cuddle with libby on the couch and then annoy her by calling out jeopardy answers.

this morning i have a dentist appointment (shudder), and then myriad chores to make sure my day is clear tomorrow, so laura and i can go visit her mother.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

worrisome wednesday

for the second morning in a row, i woke up to dog vomit. buddy, otherwise known as mister buddy love, all 100 loveable, luggable pounds, has been throwing up for the last twenty four hours.

im pretty sure he has to just get whatever it is out of his system - he's not lethargic, just hurt at being kept penned up. he's drinking and peeing and pooping normally. but i guess a call to the vet is in order, and maybe the hibiscus tree my sister gave me for mother's day should go live at Beloved's office.

i went to the cosi-girls' book group. it was good to see the ladies, and next month they are discussing one of my all-time favorite novels in the world - a prayer for owen meany. so i sure don't want to miss THAT.

i not only survived my first krav class, i liked it. Beloved is impressed to no end at my endurance. i mostly punch like a girl, but im getting it. as chris the krav instructor reminded me, no one's ever taught me how.

i hope Beloved follows through on his promise to get himself a punching bag like they have at the gym for father's day.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

tumultous tuesday

so i survived... not just a day that began at 430 am... but my first krav class. yeah, im sore, and yeah, i ache,.... but it's a good ache, a good sore. tomorrow i plan to stick much closer to characters are callng.

Monday, May 19, 2008

merry monday

today was busy. it started off with a two hour folding and stamping and stapling and sticking marathon with laura - we have a mailer to get out announcing my new angel workshop and support group, and her new psychic development circle. i think both of us are pretty excited about it, and what's wonderful is the way they dovetail together.

i wanted to stop at our favorite tea shop, but it was pouring rain, and so i opted to come home and nap before tackling any other projects. but i managed to get the laundry done, dinner cooked, and all the zone work finished before kickboxing... at which class i did SIXTY SIX pushups.

tomorrow i have another busy day - and possibly my first krav class... assuming i wake up tomorrow and can walk.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

sleepy sunday

i think my favorite month, if i had to pick one, would have to be may. the sun is warm, the air is - here in connecticut, at least - still crisp enough at night to make snuggling fun if not strictly necessary, the days are long and full of the kind of promise only possible in spring.

the gold light, the green wet grass, the birds all beckoned me out to the gardens where the weeds are beginning their annual riot. whatever leap i had on them, they are rapidly gaining ground. i heard them snickering at me as i trudged from garden to garden.

this may brings a second full moon in scorpio, a one-two punch of tough love incarnate that calls me out, into the gardens, to dig my hands in the soil of all that i am rooted in, to pull out the weeds and address the pests. mercury is in its home sign of gemini, encouraging open communications.

but despite all good intentions, after just an hour, the afternoon turned chilly and gray again. i saw it as a clear invitation to snuggle up on the couch, go to bed early and let the waxing moon shine through an early summer's night's dream.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

in the afterglow of forest folk

i roped meg into coming along with me to the second day of forest folk. laura and i had considered setting up a table, for which we needed accoutrements, like chairs and a table cloth. but once we arrived, laura suggested we make do with a blanket - it was much sunnier and drier today. so we did. laura read a few cards, meg read a book, i mostly talked.

i think my workshop was well-received - its one of my favorites, any way - and i heard a lot of people say they were going to laura's. i reconnected with an old friend who'd disappeared off my radar screen, my dear friend rose gifted me with a beautiful purple handmade spirit cord with a pentacle attached. i met a lovely couple from vermont, whose handmade rope sandals looked very comfy and definitely bear a second look, given the tattered state of my birkenstocks. it wasn't a long visit, but it felt very far away.

i came home to a clean house. meg and libby are off to a prime rib dinner - their reward - and i'm waiting for word of Beloved, who went off to learn to how to fend off attacks from those wielding sticks, knives and guns. a turkey breast is roasting in the oven, i have sweet potatoes and purple onions and fresh broccoli to go along with it.

as we were leaving the festival today, i asked meg what she thought of it. she paused, gave me a long look and said... well, mom, im glad you have people.

here's to my peeps. long may you frolic.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, May 16, 2008

post three-oh-one

that's the number of this post. it's ironic that today im going to give a talk on tree wisdom at the forest folk festival in oxford, ct. three and one, in combination, have always been magical numbers to me.

my birthday is the 31st, i have 3 girls and 1 boy. baby jake was born on 13th, my eldest daughter's birthday is 10-30. my father's birthday is 03-01. threes and ones appear frequently in various combinations in other places throughout my life, including the three holly trees which were planted on the day i was born.

it pains me immeasurably to think that i am the one who will sign the documents that take them out of my family forever, that may, on some level, seal their death warrants. only two of the original three are left, and that missing tree was the prettiest of them all. i will miss them greatly when they are gone.

when i was a little girl, my favorite story of all was called The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton. i can still hear my mother reciting the story to me, as we turned the pages over and over. it's a story about a little house built originally far out in the country, around which a big city grows.

the story of the little house ends happily, for the great great grandson of the man who originally built the little house comes and finds it, and moves it, far out again, into the country. there will be no such happy ending for my grandmother's house, nor, i fear, my holly trees.

the realtor called the other day - there's a couple interested who've come to see the house three times now, and the third time, they brought an architect. he has high hopes an offer will be coming soon.

my only wish is that they let my hollies live.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

blessings on a dismal day

yesterday, i woke up scared and cranky. i had a dentist appointment and dentists scare me... the way some people are scared of spiders and snakes. to make matters worse, my teeth, like the rest of me, appear to have become inordinately sensitive.

the gray weather perfectly matched my mood, as did the dog poop i had to clean up first thing - fortunately in the laundry room, this time, on the tile.

but i am happy to say, the day improved steadily from there - the dentist was a kind, gentle man who insisted i call him dave, his assistant took the time to deaden my gums with some sort of topical anesthetic. i wasn't too sore afterward, and i was able to reward myself at mickey d's.

libby had a half day, so i picked her up at school. we went shopping for birthday presents for respective friends, and i was able to further reward myself with a new vera bradley bag.

the day ended well with a brutal workout, a concert at libby's school, and a hot salt bath. today laura and i are driving down to Forest Folk Festival in oxford... to read tarot cards, give a workshop or two, and hang out with kindred spirits. if the rain holds off, that is.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

no greater love

people should actually be required to pass tests, i think, before the State or anyone else gives them a license to marry. and one of the tests should be the survival of a home renovation project. one of the reasons i married Beloved was because the summer after i moved into Pond House, we renovated the kitchen. since we were still willing to talk to each other and sleep together at the end of the four month project, i figured the relationship had legs.

now we are about to embark on another grand project, even grander, really, if one is counting square footage. we are about to enlarge our kitchen, and turn our three-season deck -which currently serves as dog pen and catch-all - into real, live, actual liveable, useable space. it will give me a kitchen more than twice the size of the one i've got now, a garden window, three times the cabinet space, and even, possibly, a room just for eating... which will enable so many more possibilities in the current living/dining room combination we have now.

that is, if Beloved and i don't kill each other first.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, May 12, 2008

this happy golden day

i had a wonderful mother's day. the sun shone, i was showered with cards, flowers, and compliments. the food was good all but for the ham, which was a tad fatty, and the chocolate cake, which came out a bit dry. i was surprised - i found the recipe in the joy of cooking which usually is quite reliable. i might've overbaked it... i was a tad distracted when i baked it. but the other cake, also from the joy, came out really well.

this is a good thing - since im bringing a smaller version of it, and a gift over to my grandmother today. i haven't been to see her in two weeks - and of course she complained to my mother that i NEVER come. (never mind she's seen more of me in the last nine months than she has in the last nine years.) but mama pele must be appeased... i think i will bring her some bananas and sprinkle a little coconut on top of her cake.

today is gray and chilly - a good day to unwind, come down and tidy up. tonight is also kickboxing. this is the first week since starting this regimen that i have time to do all three classes. may goddess have mercy on my soul.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

faster than a speeding bullet...

the table is set. the cakes (one buttermilk, one devil's food) are baked. both will be frosted with the same buttercream frosting... one will have chocolate sprinkles and one will have strawberries.) the ham is lounging in the fridge, Beloved is retrieving last minute necessaries.

the house is clean - zones one and five (thanks to libby) are cleaned for the week. the laundry's sorted and cued for tomorrow. Beloved and i made headway in the gardens. i still have weeding and mulching to do... and one last big garden to clean up... but the bulk of the gardens are on maintenance mode, at last... heavy constant maintenance mode, mind you... but maintenance mode.

the rest of the mother's day menu includes pineapple pudding, string bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, crescent rolls and baby peas. the only thing left to do is wrap the gifts, put my feet up, and enjoy the sunshine.

happy mother's day, gentle readers and fellow pixels. blessed be.

in defense of single mothers

a few years ago, in the local paper, a woman who happened to be a single mother wrote an article on mother's day in which she pretty much bemoaned her single state. the mother of one child around 8, she was upset because on mother's day, there was no one to make sure she had breakfast in bed, a special dinner, or any of the other hallmark card attributes we're all told we're supposed to expect from our children and significant others. i felt sorry for her, but i also felt she was doing single mothers a disservice by creating the illusion that all of us were mourning the loss of less than ideal relationships.

you see, at the time, i was a single mother of four. i left my abusive husband in march of 1995, moved to connecticut in 1996, and i have never looked back. and so, in the interests of single mothers everywhere, i am reposting my letter to the editor - the only letter to the editor i have ever written - and the only one i've ever had published.

Dear Ms H -

It's not often I am tempted to respond to somethingI read in the newspaper, especially when it is an opinion piece such as yours was this past mother's day. But in defense of single mothers everywhere i feel called upon to respond. not all of us woke up on mother's day to no recognition whatsoever - "no card, brunch or breakfast tray." Not all single mothers are mourning the loss of a less than ideal relationship. some of us are congratulating ourselves on having the guts to leave the jerk, and wondering why we didn't do it sooner. Some of us are patting ourselves on the back for creating lives of our own choosing, not shaped by anyone else's expectations or demands. And some of us celebrate the fact that we can raise our children the way we want to, without having to negotiate with any other adult over bedtimes, pastimes or mealtimes.

I'm the single mother of four children. I've been on my own for seven years, and i thank god everyday for the strength and courage i finally found to leave an abusive relationship that very nearly cost me a piece of my soul. Look back and mourn? No way, no how. Every day is Mother's Day for me. My children adore me - I am the rock at the center of their world. Not a day goes by one doesn't say thank you for something, albeit as small as a favorite snack or a pair of laundered jeans.

I understand your daughter is very young, and that sometimes it is difficult to be the only adult in a household. But the upside of being the only adult far outweights the negatives in my opinion - far better to be alone than to be in a relationship that drains and diminishes and provides an unhealthy role model for one's children.

And no, my kids didn't serve me breakfast in bed, and they didn't cook my dinner. But that's because one, i have a waterbed and it's tough to eat in a waterbed, and two, i get up at five am because i like the peace and quiet, and three, i don't want anyone ruining my steak. But each of them had a gift for me that showed their appreciation of all i do in ways that touched me and nourished me and made me more grateful than ever I had the sense to walk away from the unprintable excuse for a human being who was their biological father.

So please don't speak for all single mothers with such self--pity. Some of us don't feel sorry for ourselves - or our children - at all.

Sincerely.... annie kelleher

to all the single mothers, and others, ... happy mother's day. may you be blessed with everything you deserve. :)

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

too freaking wild

so me and laura went to a spoonbending workshop.... it was WAY cool!!!!! she bent her spoon on her FIRST try (show-off)... it took ME a while longer... until laura said... you do have to put some push into it... and i was like... yeah? and she was like... i did and ....

WOW... it BENT~!!!!!

then i came home and of course Beloved insisted i bend another one...

SO I DID!!!!

leaping tall buildings

- rock garden on left of drive: weeded, tilled, over a dozen new plants and bulbs planted and transplanted, fed and mulched.
- rockgardens to right of drive: weeded, raked
- pansy garden in center of hosta garden: weeded, raked
- herb gardens near party house: weeded
- chamomile bed: weeded
- zen garden: weeded (interior only, exterior will have to wait til tomorrow)
- center garden: weeded, need for mulch noted
- sage, bee balm, forget-me-nots, mother's day gifts - purchased.
- chores (meg's room, bathroom and laundry room) and shopping (for food for tomorrow) - delegated to meg
- showered, dressed and ready to go!

mother's day sneak-up

somehow, mother's day snuck up on me this year. i don't know how i missed it. in the last two weeks i've spoken to my mother at least six times and my sister twice.

Beloved is driving down to brooklyn today to see HIS mother, and mine is coming to dinner tomorrow. along with my stepfather and little brother. and my oldest daughter and my son in law. and baby jake. meg and libby will be here. my sister, her husband and two kids will be stopping in for cake and coffee after the baby shower they're all attending.

but somehow in the midst of all this it escaped me that six extra people will be showing up for dinner around five pm, and that four more will be showing up an hour later for dessert. somehow it completely escaped me that *I* am the person who will be expected to cook and provide the food for all these people - by my count, 14, including, of course, baby jake, who is the least my worries at this point.

somehow in the midst of everything, it escaped me that my mother, my grandmother, my sister and my daughter will all expect some sort of at least token recognition that they are mothers, too.

today means a few hours of scurrying and listing and planning.... but it also means me and my friend laura are going up to chicopee mass to see a guy who can bend spoons.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, May 9, 2008

fifty-five push-ups

that's how many push-ups i had to do in cardio class last night. okay, they were girl push-ups, but i am not exactly a GIRL anymore, if you catch my drift. the old gray mare had moments of feeling like she was gonna drop in her traces. but i managed to do it, and i always like having a goal.

fifty-five BOY pushups... by the end of the summer.

my body is already feeling the results of the last three weeks. along with sore and achey, i feel lighter and tighter. my muscles, on the other hand, are in what i used to call full-revolt mode - which is what i used to encounter in the years where i worked out far more assiduously than i've done recently.

in full-revolt mode, they hold on to water, fluid, or whatever it is for as long as they possibly can - so that my scale refuses to budge. it used to only last for days. now it's taken three weeks to nudge the scale down two measly pounds.

i believe my body does this as a last ditch effort to return to slothdom - if i think im not getting anything out this torment, i believe it reasons, surely i will quit and return me to the couch.

but alas... for my muscles, my sinews, my tendons and everything in between. there's more than just me driving this... there's a character involved.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

of lilacs and manure

one of the most wonderful things about my writing room is that one window overlooks the top of a lilac bush. every spring, when the lilac bursts into purple flower, my writing room is periodically infused with that most ambrosial of scents.

the lilac's blooming corresponds to the birthday of one of my old writing teachers... juilene osborne mcknight. (you can google her - she's real) so every year - since coming to live here - i think of her, round and about her birthday, and every year - since coming to live here - for perhaps two glorious weeks, i bask in the perfume of paradise. i noticed yesterday the first faint fragrance, wafting into the writing room with every passing breeze.

the other thing that happens this time of year, predictable as the rise of the pleiades, is that the farmer next door brings in dump truck loads full of manure with which to fertilize the mum fields. mum's the word, all right - talk about an SPV (silent but violent, a term my little sister taught me many years ago, usually applied to farts.)

my first clue yesterday was when i thought a dog had had an accident and went sniffing through the house for the source of the odor. that's when it hit me - figuratively, fortunately: if the lilac is just bursting into bloom... it's time for bill to bring in the shit.

i can't tell you how many times i've caught a whiff of lilac, then drawn a deeper breath and smelled not heaven, but manure. i could close the window, get an air freshner. i could smudge, burn incense, light scented candles.

but i leave the window open anyway, because that intense scent of lilac, so fleeting and so sweet, is more than worth a few lungfuls full of poop.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

fire in the head

creative chaos is what emily - the weekend's facilitator - promised, and creative chaos is what i've got. there's a fire burning in my head, an idea sparked by a simple connection i made this morning.

another character - YES! ANOTHER CHARACTER! - has shouldered her way onto center stage - a character who steps out of the pages of mythology itself. she is a character who has appeared and reappeared repeatedly throughout my novels - a character who's first incarnation was so compelling she practically became the heroine of the third book of my first trilogy.

already, my inner editor assumes the guise of a dominatrix in black leather. of couse i know that ideas are the easy part. ideas are the joyous part. tonight, as the moon slips into gemini, i will turn a deaf ear to my demon, from the place where i know that the ability to write a novel, to turn an idea into a story, is measured not in ideas, but in sentences.

i will let the character speak. i will type what she tells me. and i will let the fire burn.

new moon in taurus

the new moon in taurus brings with it a sense of patience, of respite, even; after the fire of aries and the passion of scorpio, an opportunity to turn within and embrace the reality of all who we are at the present moment, to bask, even, in a long moment of loving-kindness, in the same way the buds are bursting into the full flower of their glory.

maybe its the fact that my venus is in taurus that makes me so acutely aware of all the places i ache. luxury-loving venus enjoys pleasure, not pain, and this new moon finds my right side so sore i feel like one person in two bodies.

my left side feels pleasantly challenged. my right side - especially my right arm - feels like it spent the day hitting bricks. the last combative sport of any kind i engaged in was fencing, and no one ever expected my right arm to do much of anything but stay out of the way and balance the rest of me. there is an unpleasant twinge in my right hip, but the backs of both of my thighs remind me of how they used to feel after a good long run.

i hope baby jake is pleasant today when he arrives. my plan is to sit him outside and let him watch while i garden. there is a part of me that doesn't understand why at the age of 49, after a near-decade of indolence, i have jumped back into this kind of regimen.

but there is another part that always whispers - it was a woman - an older woman - who taught cuchulain how to be the greatest hero in all of irish myth.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, May 5, 2008

haunted happenings

among the amazing things that happened at the retreat this weekend, were some fairly interesting happenings of the paranormal kind. it began when i walked into the old sprawling farmhouse where the group was staying.

as i entered the front door, a door to my left opened and closed by itself. i noticed it, but the person in front of me didn't. i also noticed no one seemed to be in the room, and no one came in or out of the room.... that anyone seemed to see. several times throughout the initial part of the day, i glimpsed a bright white flicker out of the corner of my eye, and while i was writing on the first exercise, someone touched my shoulder. when i looked up, no one was there.

(i also startled the facilitator by inadvertently disappearing during the exercise, but that's another story.)

when i tuned into the energy of the place, i got a lot of residual energy, simply from the number of people who'd lived there, the age of the various parts of the house, and the granite under the house, which holds vibrations. but i also got one very bright, young, female kind of energy - a girl about 13- 15, with long honey-colored curls and a big white bow.

after lunch i went into the kitchen to get myself some cream for my coffee. i took a handful of creamers from the fridge and carefully shut the door - it was one of the oldfashioned kind you have to shut and it clicks. i turned around to put the cream in the coffee, realized i wanted another, and turned back to see the fridge door wide open.

before the afternoon session began, i got up the courage to mention this to one of the other ladies, and someone else blurted out... WOW - when we were doing the writing just before lunch, i could've sworn i saw a young girl walk up the front steps. but i didn't want to say anything - i was afraid you'd all think i was crazy. the lady who was staying in the front room admitted her door opened nd shut by itself several times, randomly. there seemed no connection to anyone walking in the front door, or up the steps, or past it in the hall. other ladies began to share their experiences - some had heard singing, some had heard voices, some had felt tapped or touched. some, like me, had seen things out of the corner of their eyes, or had heard people come into rooms that turned out to be empty.

throughout the retreat, batteries drained at any alarming rate, and even rechargeable batteries didn't stay charged.

but the next morning, the lady who stayed in the room with the opening and closing door said it hadnt happened once since i called attention to it.

finding the Joy

after days of dank new england spring, the sun rose today in a burst of gold over the freshly plowed chyrsanthemum fields. the lilac is close to blooming and the light illuminates the shallows of the ponds where the tiny fish and tadpoles swarm.

i am itching to be outside.

but this morning, until nine am, anyways, and while it is still chilly, i plan to give to the character who's been chewing her way through my head for the last few months.

i have a sense of something welling, something swelling, something pressing up from the deep within. it is not a sense i have allowed myself to revel in for quite a long time.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

the Wisdom of the House

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."
- T.S.Eliot

despite my trepidation, i spent the weekend with a truly lovely group of writers - women, who seemed, for the most part, to be just at the beginning of their deep descent into the fires of their creative souls. it was a uniformly good experience, for me, anyways. i felt heard, and listened to, in ways i have not sought for a very long time. i felt welcomed, and understood - even loved.

and what i discovered there was joy. that the real reason i write, the real reason i create, the real motivation that wells and springs eternal from the very depths of my soul, is joy.

and how ironic it is that the words of a poet i don't really like so perfectly expresses far better than i ever will what i discovered at Wisdom House, this weekend.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, May 2, 2008

full retreat

i survived my second kickboxing class feeling far better than i expected to because i made the mistake of telling the instructor that yoga made me more sore. but i not only survived, im less sore this morning than i expected to be, and i slept really really deeply last night - the rest of the well-worked-out.

or maybe it was my friend rose's rhubarb mead. :)

today i prepare to go on my writing retreat. it's not supposed to be a very nice weekend, so i won't have to feel guilty about missing the time in my gardens. the longer i live at pond house, the less i like to leave it. wisdom house is a pretty place - but pond house is prettier and a lot more private - AND it is set up to my own particular, persnickety tastes.

speaking of tastes - food is a huge issue for me when i go away. i generally lose my appetite immediately upon picking up a suitcase, and so consequently, i only want to go places where i really want to eat the food. my sense is that this lovely, welcoming, spiritual place serves a lot of pasta with a lot of whole grains, cheese and tomato sauce, all of which, for various reasons, twist my gut into knots. one of my planned stops today is the health food store for hemp milk and almond butter. between that and my paleomeal, and some fruit, i can make smoothies if they serve lasagna at every meal.

so why am i going at all?

in these last few years, i have made a conscious intention to deepen my writing, to make it not just a collection of syllables and sentences, but something that could make the soul of another sing, weep, laugh. my agent once said to me that i write the idea of a character, but not its heart. my journey of the last few years has been to find my way into my own heart, to reclaim all the shuttered places. and now that i feel those places are mostly healed, mostly reclaimed, i think it's time to work some more upon the craft, the technique... to marry more fully the yin and yang of what i do.

there are many many journeys on which we can only go alone. but every now and then, even the most solitary of souls needs a guidepost or two. and so i go to Wisdom House with a clear intention, a full stomach, and an open heart.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

sumer is icumen in

... loud sings the cuckoo.

or, the woodpecker drills and the wood doves coo. here in southern new england, the first day of the bright half of the year dawned as cold as a dark november morning. if i want to wash my face in the dew this may day, i'll have to wait til it melts.

it doesn't feel like summer, grumbled libby on our way up the hill. it's not the temperature, i said, it's the light. as we watched, the sun rose above the trees, stabbing through just-greening branches in long golden spears, cutting through the crisp air with all the vigor of a young man in his prime.

it sure is bright, said libby.

it sure is.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.