Saturday, June 28, 2008

setting the intention

ive been giving a fair amount of thought to intentions, lately. intentions are powerful things - properly focused, they are prayer with punch. a prayer, as far as i can tell, is something you ask for, then allow for the will of the divine to work. an intention adds an element, at least for me, of MY will into the mix. it represents a conscious joining of my Self with the Divine Flow.

not just thy will, but mine, as well, be done, so to speak.

and so, as i've been clearing and decluttering and simplifying (three big garbage bags filled today, in fact) i've been giving thought to my intention, to what sort of home i wish to create, to the idea of our home as an entity of its own, to what sorts of energies i wish to call to me, and what kinds i wish to release.

i've been trying to think of six adjectives i'd like my home to evoke. so far, i've come up with warm, welcoming and comforting. Beloved has suggested eclectic, colorful and spiritually-awakening. i like the last, but find eclectic and colorful too verging on chaos for me.

so what about you, gentle reader? what six adjectives would you use to express your home's chi - for lack of a better phrase - and would you care to share?

going for the gold

my brother john arrives this evening with his two little girls in tow. they're staying with us until tuesday and then going off on a round-robin tour of the east coast that extends from ocean city to boston. my mother, stepfather and other brother are coming tomorrow for jamie's graduation party. im planning on sending my brother to pry my grandmother out of her bed.

i doubt that my sister sheila will join us, however, because she has sold her house in boston, and now she and her husband have to find another place - within six weeks - for themselves, their two very small children, and their au pair to live. as i remember, they got themselves into this fix the last time they sold a house and ended up buying one that was eerily reminiscent, to me, anyways, of the house we grew up in after we moved out of ocean city.

sheila is much younger than john and i. when she was little, she had a bed with drawers under it. one of the favorite things john and i used to threaten to do to her was to ask her, whenever she misbehaved for us, "do you wanna wake up in a drawer?" i know we were never serious, but i guess because she was little, she thought we were. she still talks about it.

this past year, at the ripe old age of 37, sheila took up ice-skating. this is significant because we were never a sports-minded family - team spirit, playing well with others and joie de vivre weren't things much mentioned when i was growing up. no one ever suggested i should join a team of anything after my ill-fated experiences in girl scouts when i was nine, and my brother's days in little league ended early. sheila had asthma, as well, growing up, and my brother david's needs simply didn't allow my mother much time to encourage any after-school activities.

last night, my sister won a gold medal in a skating competition. not only is this the first gold medal that she's won, and the first skating competition that she's ever entered - it's her first competition EVER.

there'll be no putting her back in that drawer now, im afraid.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, June 27, 2008

twelve years ago tomorrow

... i woke up for the last time in a house i shared with my ex, showered for the last time in the one tiny bathroom, and drove off to a new life in connecticut with not much more than my clothes, my books, and my three girls.

i remember that when i turned the engine on after filling up the car, the tail end of thunder road was playing on the radio. "it's a town full of losers and i'm pulling out of here to win," sang the boss.

you got that right, i thought.

this morning i woke up in a rosy dawn to a world all emerald and gold, punctuated by the woodpecker's drill, the bullfrog's drone and the chipmunk's cheep. the air was thick with mist, the long grass wet with dew. the puppies rolled at my feet before breakfast, Beloved rolled over and loved me before i rolled out of bed.

this morning i read in an email from my lawyer in bethlehm that in court yesterday (mister ex hasn't paid his child support) my ex - the possessor of three degrees, including a jd - is no longer employed as a purchasing agent for a cement company - which is what he was doing as recently as march.

he's now working at the crayon factory, putting boxes of crayons together.

oh, how the mighty have fallen.

i remember how he used to talk about his father who died at 55 a broken man, largely, ray said, because he lost his job as a skilled tradesman and ended up as a janitor. now it seems his son is headed in the same direction.

the email also explained that ray plans to file a new motion to reduce the amount of the support he owes each month, based on mental illness and disability.

if there's one thing i know as surely as i know the sun is setting in the west tonight is that ray is mentally ill. if he sees it too, finally, perhaps there's hope for healing after all. i don't know if the law allows a parent to escape completely from the obligation of support, but i will not stand in the way if the court, in its blind rendering of justice, decides to reduce it.

because there is a part of me that's sad. there is a part of me that even now, after years of legal and mental and financial harrassment and abuse, weeps for the wreck that is ray. i escaped because it was either leave or die, but, oh, how hard i tried to love him better. i didn't understand at the time that the only kind of love that can fix what's wrong with ray is self-love.

but there is a part of me that stands dazzled and not more than a little vindicated by the Justice that has condemmed this man of such ability and education to stand all day in a factory putting rainbows into boxes.

because, after all, that is what he tried to do to me.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

apologies forthcoming

.... by xujun eberlein (livingston press, june, 2008) is a collection of short stories about life in china both immediately before and after the cultural revolution. ms eberlein, who emigrated to the united states from china in 1988, and now holds a phd from MIT, tells these stories from her unique - at least to most westerners - perspective as someone who not only witnessed, but grew up, during that tumultous time period.

my interest in all things chinese was initially sparked by Beloved, who has been studying mandarin for the last four or five years. i tried it and it made my brain swell at a time when my brain was already under assault writing the silver trilogy. it is becoming increasingly clear to all, i hope, that china has emerged as an important player on the global stage, and it seems to me that anything that can be done to facilitate understanding between our two very different cultures should be encouraged.

and so, i highly recommend this book. ms eberlein is a gifted storyteller, with a unique viewpoint, not to mention an impressive command of the english language. her characters are drawn with great tenderness and sensitivity, as they struggle to create lives and loves and relationships against the enormous backdrop of the cultural revolution. i found the stories addictive... it was hard to stop at just one.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

decorating and other dilemmas

i love to play with paint and fabric. putting up curtains, tearing them down and making new ones is one of my favorite ways to freshen up a room. i like paint, too. i'm not a very good painter - i dont have much of an eye for detail - but splashing around in bright colors always makes me feel good. my ex used to say i painted like i was drunk. but im such a happy drunk, i used to answer.

i wish i had that feeling now. this renovation is bigger, even, than the kitchen - if such a thing is possible - because it affects more rooms. and each of the rooms has different choices. it isn't a question of JUST choosing walls and floors and window treatments. it's cabinets and window placements. it's electrical outlets and overhead lights. it's furniture arranging and refinishing.

it's an off-center fireplace, a ceiling fan, a picture window and a set of couches Beloved is wedded to with a passion almost great as the one with which he is wedded to me. it's my grandmother's piano and my mother's Singer in its mahogany cabinet, with the little leather topped stool i used to use for tea parties.

every time i start to think about it all, my head starts to ache and my brain starts to swell in the way it did when i was writing the silver books. and on top of this, im having a party for 20 people on sunday, my brother is coming on saturday from california with my neices, allie and zoe, and i have no idea when the construction might begin in earnest, although the mess continues to mount.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

feeling the burn

i got home from kickboxing cardio class about half an hour ago. Beloved has gone to dip in the town pool, i preferred to shower and ice my muscles over pot roast.

i remain puzzled by my body's apparent inability to drop weight according to the scale, although it's clear to me that my clothes are fitting more loosely, and my muscles are becoming more defined.

i must assume that the older i get, the more room i will require.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, June 23, 2008

decadently delicious

the first official day of summer vacation begins with a downpour so heavy the world wavers behind a sluice of silver water. buddy curls at my feet, terrified of thunder; sam, who has claimed the larger of the two dog beds i brought home the other week, has tucked herself comfortably in a corner.

libby went to katie's house with meg to play with baby jake last night, and so Beloved and i went out to dinner. i remember i felt, as we left the house, an amazing sense of freedom. children dispersed, dogs attended to, grandmother visited, parents spoken to... i could pick up my bag and walk out the door, free as a kid on the first day of vacation. we lingered over dinner - lingered for us, anyway, and got home later than usual...(nearly 8 o'clock! practically pumpkin-time in our universe!)

and we slept late, too, lulled by the chill in the dawn air, the sound of the torrential rain.

it was a most deliciously decadent beginning to this most decadently delicious of seasons.

it isn't very often that i have felt that way in the last twenty-some years or so. it was a glimpse of a future that still seems so far-off - a glimpse of days and evenings free to wander wherever i would.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, June 20, 2008

fifty years ago, tomorrow

my mother and father were married in the church two blocks from the ocean, where i would be baptized, communed and confirmed, the foundations of which my great-grandfather had literally poured. it was the same church where my mother would meet my stepfather, some six or seven years later.

but on that first glorious day of summer in 1958, all looks rosy and well in the photographs. my mother is an appropriately blushing bride, my father a handsome and charming groom. they look happy and proud and only a tad terrified, as if they were just beginning to realize that perhaps they'd bitten off a bite of something that they weren't quite prepared to chew.

which as it happened, they weren't.

but in the meantime, they pledged and they kissed, they danced and they waved, and they went off to bermuda and consummated their vows in a room overlooking a pink-sand beach. thus, i was conceived of not one virgin, but two*, on an island in the middle of the atlantic ocean, on the shortest night of the year.**

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

* i confirmed this fact with my father, who when i mentioned it, chuckled in the way he does when i show him i know something he doesn't expect me to know, and said, "You're right."

** this is confirmed by my mother's original due date. i was ten days late, and thus, my original due date was march 21, exactly nine months to the day they were married.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

last day of school

the last day of school is wet and green, and nearly chilly as september. libby faces two exams - i have a mounting mess. i suspect that all the rain we've had int he last week is the reason that we haven't seen joe the builder back. the holes that will house the supporting columns that he dug and poured in the steaming heat have yet to dry, since they promptly filled in with water.

i asked Beloved if maybe he thought we should cover them, and he replied that surely, if covers were needed, covers would've been supplied. joe knows what he's doing, said Beloved, soothingly. for which i have no reply, of course, because, after all, i have to trust that joe DOES know what he's doing.

yesterday, somewhat frustrated by the scale's refusal to do anything other than bounce between 145 and 150, i decided there were other ways to lose weight. i weeded through my cupboards and found at least 30 lbs of clothing i never wear and have no intention, if im honest, of ever wearing again. i felt so good about it, and it was such a sleepy day, i got hardly anything else done.

i DID read a book called "No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club!" about a lady turning 60. it was an interesting enough story - especially given that i am turning fifty next year - but in so many places i saw how i would've done the very opposite of what the character thought or did. and since the character was a first person narrator, it was sort of annoying. i found myself in more than one place thinking: " 'I' would do no such thing!" but then, of course, that's not the first time i've thought that :).

the sun appears to have decided to shine after all. this morning my task is to harness the energy of the waning moon - especially as it passes into hard-working capricorn - and address more of the mess with something other than good intentions.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

this just in

Researchers led by Esther Lopez-Garcia of Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain followed 84,214 U.S. women from 1980 to 2004 and 41,736 U.S. men from 1986 to 2004.

They found that regular coffee drinking -- up to six cups a day -- was not associated with increased deaths among the study's middle-aged participants. In fact, the coffee drinkers, particularly the women, experienced a small decline in death rates from heart disease.

The study found no association between coffee consumption and cancer deaths.

"Our study indicates that coffee consumption does not have a detrimental effect," Lopez-Garcia, whose research appears in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, said in a telephone interview. "It seems like long-term coffee consumption may have some beneficial effects."

vindication comes from strange places, at odd times, and generally when you least expect it.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

super tuesday

a sore shoulder and a twinge in my elbow this morning was enough, in the interests of discretion, to keep me out of class. i was disappointed because the rest of me woke up feeling as if my muscles are somehow binding themselves more closely to my bones.

i did manage to get all sweaty on the treadmill, and then i spent twenty minutes doing the sort of kicking drills the instructors have us do... the kind where you do five crunches, run a few yards, kick the bag, and run back and do crunches. i worked up quite a reasonably satisfying sweat.

i re-read enough of a prayer for owen meany that i can have an intelligent conversation with the cosi-girls book group tonight about it. the cake, the same sour-milk sponge everyone enjoyed so much last month, is baked and frosted with almond buttercream.

i need to put together dinner, and spend some time packing up more of the deck. i have a reading this afternoon, and then - because i will be half way to her place, anyway, a visit to my grandmother. in lieu of glazed doughnuts, i bring bananas and sour-milk cake.

Granny Annie's Sour-milk Sponge Cake - adapted from The Joy of Cooking, page 939

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour any size pan you please.

Cream together 12 Tbs softened butter (1 1/2 sticks), 3 eggs, 1 1/3 cups sugar, and 1 tsp of vanilla. you don't actually have to add vanilla. you can leave out vanilla, or substitute something else, like rum, or almond extract or espresso. you might even be completely bold and add something like lavendar or minced rosemary. blend in 2 and 1/3 cups cake flour. (yes, it's worth it to use cake flour. you can use self-rising cake flour, but i don't recommend it. you can also substitute as much as 1/2 cup of cocoa powder for 1/2 cup of the flour of you want to make a chcolate cake.) if you are not using self rising cake flour, add 1 1/2 tsps of baking poweder and 1/2 tsp of baking soda. alternate the flour with 1 cup of milk into which you have added 1 Tbs of white vinegar - not cider vinegar. when smooth, pour into pan or pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25 - 35 minutes later, depending on the size of your pan and your oven.

Butter cream frosting:

Cream together 2 sticks softened butter, 1 box confectioner's sugar, dash cream to taste. this time i added almond extract and sprinkled slivered almonds on top.

these recipes lend themselves to endless variation. be free!

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, June 16, 2008

a blog about libby

what are you doing, mommy, asked libby, this morning when she appeared in the doorway of my writing room, looking especially waiflike in the wet gray light.

today is a big day in libby-land... the last review day before exams. libby is convinced she could fail, though it boggles my mind that anyone so disciplined, so thorough and so detail-oriented - not to mention an A student - could possibly worry about failing.

im thinking about my blog, i replied, and trying to decide what to write about. shall i write about you?

oh yes, she answered. then she bent over and farted. you don't have to write about that, she giggled. we'll just keep that between us... and the dogs.


and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

memories of daddy

many years ago, in one of the darkest hours of my life, i was asked to complete a questionaire for a counseling center. i had gone there to seek help, because the weight of an abusive ex intent on unleashing the full fury of the american legal system,and the needs of my four children seemed more than i could bear.

the questionaire consisted of the beginning fragments of sentences, which i then had to complete. the one i remember began: "my father...." i wrote "loves me" with no hesitation.

the counselor was very kind, very helpful. i remember at some point she said to me, "you're going to be okay, you know."

and i looked at her and said, how can you know that? i dont feel that way at all.

and she pointed to that sentence. "my father loves me you wrote." and she smiled. "not one person in a hundred comes in here and finishes that sentence that way. you have something that not many do, something that supports you, not only around you, but within you. we just have to help you know that for yourself."

i call it one of my bedrock moments, a moment when i connect to one of the deepest underpinnings of my soul. the great gift that my father gave me had nothing to do with money or things or education. it came in the long dark nights when he, natural nightowl, was assigned the task of comforting the screaming, fussy, ever-so-sensitive baby that was me. it came in the hours he spent digging sand pits so big my brother and i could build sand castles in them, in the afternoons spent spinning the stories he made up, in the saturday morning pancakes topped with sugar and butter, never syrup. it came in the games he played with us, in the blocks he built, in the messes he helped us make. it comes in the delight with which he talks to me, in the way, he - still - calls me princess.

i doubt my father even now realizes that as he walked me through the long dark nights of my infancy, he was sowing the seeds of the strength that would carry me through the long dark nights of my soul.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

messages from angels

from the messages:

"The teachings of the Angels first and foremost concern the need to approach our food and our eating and our bodies with appreciation for how uniquely individual we truly are. What works for me I would be very surprised if it worked exactly the same way for you. This information is primarily intended to help you get into touch with your own unique body/mind structure/energy-vibrational pattern, and to help you figure out how to nourish it in the most easily assimiliated, holistically healthy way, for you.

There is more information available now than ever before, and while this is unquestionably in many respects a wonderful thing, because it signals an expansion of the human consciousness, it also can be a very confusing thing for the individual who is seeking to understand the workings of his or her own body.

You are a unique individual. Your body functions in a way that is wholly unique to you. Much of the information disseminated is not necessarily bad information - it simply may not apply to you. Men, for example, have totally different nutritional needs from women. Many women fit their food intake around the needs of their partners and their children. Consequently, they are eating out of sync with their own needs, in what may be only a very slightly skewed way, and yet, if this continues over time, the skewed feeling adds up into disequilibrium.

This is why it is important to be in touch with your own bodies. You can only make sense of the information you are flooded with on a daily basis if you know what feels right and good and true to you."

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, June 13, 2008

ides of june

not only is it friday the 13th, an auspicious day on any witch's calendar, but it's also the ides of june. i know this because long ago, when i was 13, i memorized a handy little bit of doggerel i found in a gothic romance novel by victoria holt. it goes:

march, july, october, may
the ides fall on the fifteenth day;
the nones, the seventh; all other months besides
have two days less for nones and ides.

the ides of the month - which signified nothing more portentous to the romans than a way to manage time - as far as i can tell, got a bad rap when julius caesar had the misfortune to get assassinated on the ides of march. the moon is nearly full. and experience has shown me it is better never to be complacent when such potent eneriges blend.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

mama said there'd be days like this

... and she was right.

it started off well enough. there was plenty of coffee, more than enough cream. libby wasn't late for the bus, the dogs didn't do anything unexpected in the night. in fact, the day was going along swimmingly until buddy decided to barge through the back door and run off into the woods, tail wagging in the dog equivalent of "free at last, free at last, thank dog almighty, im free at last."

Beloved helped look for him of course, but it was nearly thirty minutes later before buddy returned, giving new meaning to the expression "hang-dog"... long enough to make getting to morning krav class impossible, or doing much of anything else until he was washed and de-stinked.

by the time i finished with buddy i was as wet and smelly as if i'd gone to class.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

ten days to go

i looked at the calendar this morning and realized there's only another ten days til my Eating... the Angel Way workshop.

here is a portion from one of the messages:

the Angels love our bodies as much as they love any other part of us. where we see division, they see seamless expression and manifestation. where we see imperfection, they see marvelous creation. while we tend to focus on what we perceive to be flaws, angels are as dazzled by the grace and strength and miracle of our physical bodies as we are by the Angels. for all that they are, a body is what they lack. they are saddened when we criticise ourselves or punish ourselves or in any way try to manipulate our bodies with anything but love.

i suspect that these messages are not unique to me. i believe the information actually comes to many many people - if not everyone - but most of us either aren't listening, don't know how to listen, or, which is even more insidious - don't know how to trust the information they do receive.

for those who can't join me in Simsbury on June 21, i will be posting portions of the messages here. for those readers who are moms or stepmoms, i invite you to join - a sort of myspace for mothers. i have an online group that i have been running since the spring, when i was first directed to share the information. all of the information that i have so far received is posted there, as well as the interactions of the group's participants. one woman is so thrilled she's coming on the 21st all the way from upstate New York to share her experiences.

the Angels really don't care how the messages are spread- what they care about is that they are.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

how hot is hot?

i guess i didn't realize just how out of touch and out of step i am. i don't talk much about my sex life, and consequently, i guess i don't pay attention when others talk about theirs.

but an article in the new york times today about two couples who decided to have sex every day - one for a year, and one for 101 days, though how they arrived at THAT figure i couldnt quite understand - certainly got my attention. it seems that these two couples have written books about their experiences. the underlying assumption of the article, as well as the books, apparently, seems to be that no one in a long term relationship has that much sex.

Beloved and i have sex every day. we have neither bets, nor gifts, nor obligation over our heads. we just like sex. and we like each other. a lot. we've been together nearly 13 years. i guess that qualifies as long term.

so, please, tell me... are we REALLY all that different?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

in for a penny

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "no win, no how":

Either you are an incredibly self-centered individual lacking all compassion for others or you are just totally ignorant of the disease process of dementia.Do you,and your fanclub,realize that you "can't get through" to a person suffering from this brain condition? Do you have a clue,or even care,that she is afraid,betrayed by her mind? Do you blame her for her anger? You sound so trite and cold,and you use her very real suffering for your own glorification,taking a private tragedy and asking the public at large to judge you the longsuffering heroine and your grandmother the ungrateful object of all of your devotion.You can't even allow her the dignity to not hold her up for display,like some blogger's sideshow.I,too,practice the craft and let me tell you,sister,you couldn't pay me to take the karmic debt you're gonna pay for this.

imagine my surprise when i found this waiting for me after a fairly pleasant afternoon's visit with my grandmother.

i doubt Anonymous thought i'd publish the comment... i doubt Anonymous thought i'd make it the subject of an entire blog. but i don't mind negative feedback - in fact, i rather welcome it. i think it's the celt in me that likes a good brawl, or maybe it's all that bad "karma" im racking up.

and so, dear Anonymous, since you so graciously took the time to offer your opinion of me, let me respond openly to you... i don't step away from negativity - rather, i embrace it.

first of all, no one has diagnosed my grandmother with dementia. the episodes of dementia that she has exhibited at all seem to be linked to urinary tract infections. it is absolutely possible to "get through" to my grandmother because she is quite cognizant of her behavior. and her behavior is not unfamiliar to me. she's been behaving this way for the last seventy years - according to my mother, who is now 73. so unless you want to assume my grandmother's been demented her entire life... no, Anonymous, considering i've known her for nearly fifty years, and you haven't - i think i can safely call her mean without incurring the wrath of Karma.

and there, "sister", we come to the second part of my response. you must have a kindergarten understanding of what karma is and how it works if you think that my sad little rantings on this silly little blog amount to a speck of flyshit on a camel's ass in terms of karma. there's nothing wrong with the expression of human emotion. this little piece of the web is mine and i get to say anything i want any way i want. if you don't like what you read for some reason, don't come back. but don't think that you are going to cow me into silence for speaking out about a very subtle kind of abuse that infests MANY mother-daughter dyads in MANY MANY families. i was never one to suffer in silence, either. i learned the hard way what THAT gets you.

you see, grasshopper, in terms of karma - it's what we DO that counts. it is in ACTION that karma is invoked,earned, expiated and expunged. words are clumsy things - the invention of the left brain to capture the unspeakable that the right brain knows. if you don't want to read my complaints about my slog up the hill with my particular albatross, as i said, please... don't come back. but i'm entitled to my complaints. if you think they're cold and trite, i think you're rash, shallow and judgemental. i don't know what kind of "craft" you think you practice, but it clearly isn't anything close to the one i do.

because what i see you are, more clearly than anything else, is a coward. only a coward leaves an obnoxious judgemental comment like that behind the veil of anonymity. speak your truth all you want, but claim it as YOUR truth. otherwise, don't bother to say it at all. because that's how abuse gets spread from generation to generation. it hides in the shadows and it wears different names, and any time you call it for what it really is... it pokes back and makes it YOUR fault.

so feel free to say, think, or judge what you want, Anonymous, but at least be witch enough to own it.

cosi girls, a deux, adieu.

the cosi girls are at it again.

for those of you, gentle readers, who don't know the story, a few months ago i was kicked out of my coffee group for daring to suggest to the leader - let's call her Silly-Lilly - that we should refrain from sending each other political-type emails. she didn't like what i said to her, so she kicked me out. if you want to read the gory details, please check out my blog titled HOW I GOT KICKED OUT OF MY COFFEE GROUP - published on march 15 of this year.

a few of the other ladies objected to this high-handed treatment, but one of the women - lets call her (H)AG - really took issue with my blog, and because i won't rescind it, decided that "ethically" she can't have anything to do with me.

(H)AG's even quit the cosi girls book club because the book club ladies all decided they wanted me to stay in the book club, which is a spin off of the original coffee group. (are you confused yet? i am.)

(H)AG was really mad after the last book club meeting in may, when i showed up and somehow managed, according to her at least, to make myself the center of attention. she glared at me the whole time i was recounting my invisibility story. of course i was the center of attention, you silly tw-t, i wanted to tell her. that's what a good StoryTeller does.

however, (H)AG was so traumatized by my horrible, despicable blog - published on march 15 - that she was compelled to start her own spin-off group, a so-called support group for those select few of the cosi girls who met her muster.

unfortunately, when she proceeded to use said support group as a forum in which to roast ME (yes, me... innocent, sweet, ME) one of my more ardent supporters stepped forward to counter her claims of my evilness. Silly-Lilly quit the support group - in Silly-Lilly's world, it's her way or the high way... she even has a daughter she has not spoken to in EIGHT years because the poor kid did something to piss off the Queen Mother. (now i ask you... is this the sort of therapist you'd want to go to? maybe i should track the daughter down and offer to adopt her.)

in any event, the girls let (H)AG rant at the first meeting, but when she ranted again at the second meeting and decided to quit, they decided to let her go. until she changed her mind and wanted back in. (are you still reading?)

the long and short of it is that the original cosi-girls coffee group was dissolved by Royal Decree of Queen Silly-Lilly (all are invited to reapply.) the support group has collapsed under the weight of the acrimony of the (H)AG - she's still ranting about my blog - the one published on MARCH 15.

i didn't know i had that much power, let alone that many readers.

but the cosi-girls book club meets next month, and they're discussing one of my all time favorite books... a prayer for owen meany. and you can bet i'll be there.

and furthermore the war must end. blessed be.

hazy, hot and humid

seven am and the world is already sweltering. i could've walked the puppies naked this morning. the light is steaming through the trees, the pines hang heavy, pearled with dew and pollen. rivulets of that pollen, thick as chalk dust, streak the surface of the driveway. it poured last night, but did nothing to relieve the heat.

my grandmother woke us with a phone call at 4 AM, and then another at 445. she seemed particularly hostile and crazed yesterday, to the extent i spoke to the nurse about it. her mind is clearly going. the tumor is unquestionably affecting her ability to relate to the world around her...where once she had the ability to relate to other people if she wanted to, now she has lost the choice. her entire existence spins around herself...her mindset, i am convinced is much like that of baby jake.

and oh, she is angry... angry at the world spinning out of her control, angry at the people and the places and the systems that betrayed her. she expresses her frustration with big eyes and gritted teeth and sentences that make no sense. take me back to the flower store, she pleaded. i have a room on the second floor.

no, you don't, roey, i said as patiently as i could. when she started threatening to call the police and her lawyer, i said i'd had enough and got up to leave. that's when she changed her tune and begged me to stay.

this afternoon, after Beloved and i go to home depot and pick out the rest of the kitchen... pick out some new hardware and a new dishwasher, as well as a couple air conditioners... including one for my writing room... i will go back to see my grandmoher and deliver, as gently and kindly as i can, a small dose of reality.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


a date like that comes along once in a century. there are other consecutive dates, of course - every year up to 14 has one. the last will be 12-13-14. what does it mean? well, nothing, of course, unless you WANT it to mean something, like my cousin mike, whose son is getting married today.

today we swelter in the first real heat of summer. the air conditioners are going in - i've already done as much in the gardens today as my continuing to improve knee and the heat will permit. i plan to visit my grandmother and take meg and libby out to lunch.

the remodeling project is staring in me in the face and it's a little scary, considering i also have a graduation/21st birthday party to plan. jamie has graduated from uconn, meg is turning 21 in july. the fact that my brother is visiting at the end of june suggests the perfect opportunity to celebrate both. so there's guest lists to plan, menus to think about, deorations and accutrements to consider.

on top of that my angel workshop is just two weeks away.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, June 6, 2008

do you know what day it is?

from a cartoon seen on another blog:

... i don't either, but enjoy it anyway!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

no win, no how

my grandmother is the master of the no-win situation. unfortunately, what she has not learned in her long life is that in a no-win situation, no one wins, including the person who sets the situation up.

on tuesday, feeling guilty that i had not been to see my grandmother for any number of reasons none of which mean anything at all to her, i promised to bring her a hamburger for lunch on wednesday. she told me she was "dying" for a hamburger. i had an appointment with my chiropractor and high hopes she might be able to do something about my knee. her office is half way to my grandmother's. i had to eat lunch anyway.

while enjoying the ministrations of the massage therapist, i racked my brain trying to figure out where i was going to find my grandmother a hamburger at 11 am. all options seemed to include driving the other direction - and the knees's made driving even more painful than $4.35 gas. finally, i settled on what seemed to be the only solution - the mcdonald's at bishop's corner in west hartford.

for those of you who don't know this part of the world, bishop's corner is the ubiqitous name the natives use for the intersection of route 44 and main street. created as a mecca for shoppers, it is better described as a maelstrom of suburban hell. but i have good reflexes - and for my grandmother's sake i was willing to go toe to toe with all the suburban assault vehicles driven by all the soccer moms in west hartford. besides, i left the chiropractor's with my knee feeling pretty good. just don't do the stuff that makes it hurt, she said as i left. like drive, i thought, as i slid behind the wheel.

with hamburgers in hand, however, i arrived at my grandmother's to find her sitting in the lobby, fast asleep. we went upstairs, she seemed pleased to see me. then she started. her stomach hurt, she was cold, her shoes hurt. she couldn't sit in the kitchen chair, it was too hard. she couldn't sit in her big red chair, it was too soft. she hadn't slept, she's tired of being all alone, she wants to go home. (she has no idea how fervently nor with how many that feeling is shared.) her stomach hurts.

needless to say, she can't eat her hamburger. she has to go lie down. she wants to go home to ocean city where at least people come to see her. what people, i asked? she didn't answer, probably because she couldn't remember anyone still alive. so she started about her stomach again.

the nurse said it's all the food you've been bringing in, she said. oh, i replied, you mean all the food you've asked me to bring in? i got up, gave her a kiss, threw the hamburger away, and told her i hoped she felt better soon. then i left, wondering why on earth i had gone to trouble she neither cared about nor seemed to appreciate.

when the phone rang later yesterday afternoon, i was tempted not to answer. it's not that i was feeling especially psychic - the miracle of caller id told me it was my grandmother. BE THE BETTER PERSON, i heard my mother say.

im very sorry, my grandmother said when i picked up the phone. i want you to come back.

i can't come back, i said, as gently as possible. the doctor said i shouldn't do things that hurt my knee, and driving is one of them. and it's late now, libby will be home from school and i have stuff to do around the house.

well how about tomorrow, she said.

im not going anywhere tomorrow either, i said. i have to rest my knee. i'll try to come on friday, but i really have to see how it feels.

i could feel her sigh as she hung up the phone. maybe it isn't ever too late to learn.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

blame it on buddy

by six oclock yesterday evening, it was painfully apparent that buddy's attempt to run down a bunny while leashed the evening before has caused me to reinjure my knee. i have one of those funny bodies that seems to wait a good day or so before reacting to injury or strain. even my muscles ache more the second day after strenous exertion than they do the first.

and so i retreated once more to comfrey compresses, salt baths, ice packs, and aspirin. tomorrow i see my chiropractor - who worked such magic on my hip. perhaps there's something she can do about my knee. in anticipation that she can't, i plan to spend the day - after a visit to my grandmother - either on the couch or in the tub.

to make matters worse, this morning, i tripped over a bone. make that plan a promise.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, June 2, 2008

comforting comfrey

one of the nicest things about knowing healing-witchy type women is that they can be counted on to leap into action at the first peep for help. not only that, but some of them make housecalls.

yesterday, my dear friend rose was kind enough to swing by the house with a packet of green wonders. the little brown bag included st joan's wort oil (you may know it better by its more common name - st john's wort) - good for rubbing on bruises and sore joints, face cream - more heavenly than i can tell you - it makes the commercial stuff smell like poison after a while, and a few surprises, not the least of which were a couple packets of seeds, an energy spray and some comfrey leaves, all moist and fresh and prickly and green.

so last night, in my epsom salt bath, i rubbed the area around my knee with oil, smooshed up some comfrey, rubbed that in too, and covered it with a wet comfrey leaf and a washcloth. the little pricklies didn't bother my skin between the oil and the heat, and the wetness. then i iced it, then i applied the warm comfrey compress and oil, then i iced it.

i repeated the same routine this morning. i'm ready for my knee to get better. i hope it will be soon, too.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

in like a lamb

for the first morning in forever, i was able to walk the puppies wearing only a t-shirt, shorts, and sandals. the air was still heavy with last night's rain, mist drifted off the mum fields. the bullfrogs croaked and the woodpeckers drilled a counterpoint to the raucous chorus of crows and catbirds, and not a ripple of gooseflesh stippled my skin.

by six oclock, as i write this, the sky is already blue. against a backdrop of bright spring green, the flowers preen every shade of purple and pink and yellow and red and blue. the crabapple on the other side of the driveway is blooming.

it's sunday, and even the puppies are snoring again. i took my coffee on the deck and listened to the water bubble over the fall, watched the spears of sunlight stream through pine-branches like black lace. no window at chartres or notre dame or anywhere else, for that matter, ever glowed with more exquisite grace.

in this little piece of paradise, it could be hard to imagine that there are places where the world seems not so sweet. but i remember too many mornings when i was not so grateful to be alive.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.