Friday, October 31, 2008

happy birthday, rose-y rose

today is not only the most sacred day in the celtic calendar, but also the birth day of my friend rose - hardass sagewise goddess-sister, whose copious knowledge of the Green World has given me - among so many other things - the idea for may-apple wine.

may-apple wine, as distilled by the sidhe, came to play an enormous and critical part in the first two books of my silver trilogy. to rose goes an everlasting debt of endless gratitude, because she is the one who suggested the plant in the first place, and any liberties taken with the plant and its derivatives are mine. i am quite sure rose would never conceive of using a plant for such nefarious purposes :)(if you, gentle reader, wish to know more about may-apple wine and its effects upon both humans and sidhe, please see Silver's Edge (harlequin, 2004) and Silver's Bane (harlequin, 2005).)

so happiest of happy birthdays, rose-y rose*. i wish you health and joy and happiness on this most auspicious of birth-days...thank you for sharing all that you do.

* i doubt that rose knows that i think of her as rose-y rose, as opposed to my grandmother rose, who i always thought of as thorn-y rose. it's nice to have a balance. ;)

sacred samhain

in the last few days, the weather's swung wildly between scattered snow flurries and needle rain to brutal light and blustering winds that seem to roar in all directions. i think of it as samhain weather.

the word samhain (pronounced sow-en, or sew-en, depending on who you ask) literally means "summer's end" in ancient irish. according to the celts, the year was divided into two halves - the light half, summer or "sam" and the dark half, winter - or "gam." transition times and places - where one thing turned into something else - were the most magical of times and places, and the beginning of things always happened in the dark.

tonight marks the turning of one year into the next.

the sacred days of samhain extended over a three to five day period - which is the reason why the christian church invented the feasts of all saints AND all souls, and finds a theologically appropriate reason to celebrate them at THIS time of year. (the obliteration of ancient practices by piggy-backing them onto acceptable practices is a tactic stolen from the romans, whose empire the christian church inherited upon the conversion of constantine.)

because samhain is a transition time, the Veil which separates this world from the Other thins and lifts. this means Spirits roam, Energies are loosed, and Ancestors return more readily. already i can feel them coming to call - if last night's lurid dreams were any harbinger. a thick coat of frost blankets the grass this morning, only a thin red lip of a sun shows itself at quarter past seven. the Hag's bony fingers have found their grip.

the migraines which have plagued me on and off don't bother me when i'm asleep... and perhaps, that is the message in them. they call me into Dreamtime, into the Veil, into the place where New Things are conceived and formed. those who would dismiss dreams and imagination forget that we can create nothing in the physical world until we imagine it first.

and so... this year... as the old year lies like a rotting apple, that yet contains the seeds of a new tree, i ask myself ... what would i like this coming year to look like? to what intention will i set myself? what Story would i like to tell? what Harvest would i like to reap?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

happy birthday, katie liz

my oldest daughter, katie, turns 28 today. she has a house and a job, a mortgage and a baby. she has a husband and a subaru. she pays her own bills, manages her own life. i feel a great sense of accomplishment when i think about her, because, in so many ways, my job, as far as she is concerned, is done: katie is undeniably All Grown Up.

it is no easy thing to nurture the Adult out of the Child. there is more than a little magic, and always a bit of mystery. our culture largely leaves most of us unprepared for the task of parenting - babies don't come with instruction books, but we act as if they do. and adults don't spring fully formed out of children, either, but we act as if we think that's how it works.

i look back and i don't quite understand how it happened, either. somehow, we have navigated the tricky shoals between childhood and adulthood, between mother and daughter. somehow we have crossed the great divide. somehow the little vessel i launched so many years ago is not only capable of finding her way back home, but of navigating rougher seas than i ever seen. she is her Own Person, cast in my mold, perhaps, but not of my image.

and yet, when postulating who might die first - me or my grandmother - katie looked at me in horror and said, you can't die first.

of course i could, i retorted. everyone else roey's relied on to care for her have predeceased her. i figure if the Grim Reaper isn't coming for her next, it's got to be me.

that just can't happen, said katie. after all, what, do you suppose i would do without you?

my eyes filled, my heart swelled, and even i was at a loss for words.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

just as i thought..or, on fear, part 2


Fear, in fact, has been shown to be one of the most powerful predictors of support for conservative leaders. Robb Willer, a sociologist at Cornell University, published a study in 2004 showing that each time a new terror alert was issued by the government between February 2001 and May 2004, the approval ratings for President Bush would subsequently rise by an average of 2.75 percentage points. Not only did the fear of external attacks produce increased support for the standing leadership, but the terror alerts also increased support for Bush's economic policies.

i still haven't responded to the dear lady who wants to save my soul. she left me a comment on my first FEAR blog to the effect that since she believes she is Saved, she is no longer afraid. she lives, she says, in a state of Perfect Assurance, knowing that she is already Safe.

from what, i wonder.

what this kind soul is missing is that the very word "saved" implies there is something to be saved FROM, and since i don't think there's anything to be Saved from, i don't feel any particular need to be SAVED. from anything. from anyone.

anybody who thinks we've evolved from our feudalistic past has only to look at two things - one, the way big corporations are organized and conduct themselves, and two, the fact we still have people who believe with all their hearts that Hell (brimstone and all) is a literal place - to see we haven't really come very far since the middle ages at all.

i just wonder how long its going to take before we all get sick of being told how afraid of everything - and everyone - we're all supposed to be.

a plea to parents everywhere

this probably belongs on the Cranky Crone blog. it's a thought precipitated by Another Blogger's observations on her maternal parent, and the four days i just spent in the company of mine. her parent isn't voting. mine is voting for (shudder) elmer fudd and caribou barbie.

as my mother was fiercely proclaiming that "sarah palin is everything a feminist could hope for," i looked at her and tried to control my deep feelings of nausea. (maybe i AM an Alien Child.)

mother, i said, as gently as i could under the circumstances, do you deny you have three genius children?

she stopped short and snorted. and what does THAT have to do with anything? she demanded.

all three of us are voting for obama, i replied. now if, by your own admission, the three of us are geniuses and smarter than you will ever be - i've heard you say that - and we are ALL voting with one mind, wouldn't it behoove you to bow to OUR greater insight and vote the way we would want you to? after all, you're retired. WE have the greater stake in the world now, and it is for OUR children that we must shape the course of things. your insistence on clinging to an ideology that celebrates a world that never really was is screwing things up for YOUR grandchildren. it's like the music - you don't have to like it or even listen to it, but you can't deny the world is dancing to a new beat.

my mother's response was mostly unprintable and largely incomprehensible, but at least she didn't foam at the mouth.

i, however, think that i was on to something.

and furthermore, aren't the rest of you getting sick and tired of paying for this freaking war? it really has to end. blessed be.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

...of mice and men gang aft awry

i thought about that phrase of robert burns' all morning, as a migraine plowed its way through my head. by 11 AM i realized that the dizziness i'd be feeling on and off was increasing to the point where i had to sit down and was probably the harbinger of a doozy of a headache. so i downed an imetrex, ate a banana, and headed for the couch.

fortunately, by one thirty i had recovered enough to get to my physical therapy appointment, and to take libby to get the halloween costume she'd been promised. my head is mostly better now, and i hope i feel well enough to get to the psychic circle meeting tonight - laura and the ladies are discussing mediumship.

the celtic spirituality workshop seems to be dancing on the little balls of light sparking through my head, planned out but for the handouts. meg's picking baby jake up early - that will give me time to put those together tomorrow afternoon.

why all the headaches, you may wonder, gentle reader? migraines are often the curse of the psychically sensitive. the sensitivity to vibrations of higher frequencies makes me equally sensitive to changes not only in my own internal chemistry, but in the greater atmosphere as well. my migraines began, coincidentally, just as i began to open to my intuitive abilities.

talking to dead people has its downside, too.

and furthermore, the war really has to end. blessed be.

the best laid plans

my mother left me a message last night. she wanted to know two things. one, was the house still clean, and two, had i returned the fifty-dollar outfit for baby jake that turned out to be too small?

the answer to both questions, alas, is no.

but today i've designated as a Day to Get Things Done. i have laundry and vacuuming to attend to, costumes i promised to buy, the item to return. i had wanted to treat myself to a trip to tar-zhay to check out slipcovers, but i dont think that's going to happen unless the Housekeeping Fairy decides to wave her magic wand. my sense is that she's sleeping in. (not that i blame her. the rain on the skylights is whispering a most seductive why not go back to bed? as it sluices off the glass.)

but i am determined to Get Things Done.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, October 27, 2008

happy birthday, mister brad

today is my son-in-law's birthday. born three days before katie, my oldest daughter, his wife, brad quickly became more or less a fixture in our house once they started dating in their senior year of high school. three year old libby fell in love, finding in brad something of the big brother she missed.

are you going to marry my sister, she asked brad one night when he showed up to take katie somewhere. not tonight, he answered without missing a beat.

i remember when she first mentioned him, during that very first week at her third school in as many years. it was just part of a fairly standard conversation, part of a fairly standard answer, to a question parents ask every day - how's school?

she answered with a fairly standard list, and then she paused and said: and there's this boy in math class. he sits behind me and he seems to think everything's funny.

why do you think that, i asked,

because he's always laughing, katie answered. not everything's funny.

i remember how her words stung my heart because i knew she knew that all too well.

that's no reason not to like him, i said, especially if he's cute.

i guess he's cute, said katie with a sniff, implying that the boy likely thought himself as cute as he was funny. and that was the end of it, until she brought him home to meet me, well over a year later, and i saw for myself that he was cute and he was funny, along with kind and agreeable. even then i could see how he balanced katie's intensity with something of my own son's sunny charm. i saw how he made her laugh.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

silent sunday

but for the hum of the computer, the house is silent in this sunday morning. i sit here bathed in dancing dust motes, sipping hot coffee, the puppies sprawled in sun puddles, sleeping off breakfast. Beloved has gone to brooklyn, meg and libby are sound asleep. the storm last night battered the leaves off the trees. the branches of the birches outside my window droop, looking like they're glad to be rid of the troublesome weight, and ready for a long winter's rest.

soon i'll go outside and see if there's any damage. the Hag that roared through the skies last night sounded angry enough to bring whole trees down.

i spent some time last night with my friend susan, talking about the class she's asked me to give on blogging. while i am not sure i can claim any particular understanding of the genre, i do enjoy it and have become a most enthusiastic blogger. after all, as Beloved points out, it's just about all i write any more. (that's about to change, but we needn't go into that now.)

blogging is an interesting phenomenon. i find it utterly beguiling. in the next few days i'll be thinking a lot about why.

but first i would like to ask you, gentle readers, if you don't mind... why do you blog? what satisfies you or keeps you coming back - not just to your own blog but to others? what is this thing called blogging, and why do so many of us do it?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, October 24, 2008

more free books

and there's these:

self-editing for fiction writers... renni browne and dave king
how to write science fiction... matthew costello
cosmic critiques: how and why ten sf stories work...martin greenberg and isaac asivmov
the craft of writing science fiction that sells... ben bova
the writers' digest series of basic books - plot, dialogue, theme and strategy, voice and style, and character (these are a set of five)... by various authors

stuff im giving away

here's a list of some of the books i'm giving away. most are writing books, but there's a few others sprinkled in. if anyone would like one - or two or six - drop me an email - at - for the cost of the media mail, they're yours!

the writers' desk... jill krementz
gifts with heart..mary beth sammons
the complete guide to writing fiction...barnaby conrad et al
a short guide to writing about art.... sylvan barnet
how to write sf and fantasy... orson scott card
how to write tales of horror, fantasy and sf ... ed j.n. williamson
the fiction writer's silent partner... martin roth
seductresses: women who ravished the world... betsey prioleau
lamp of the goddess: lives and teachings of a priestess... rae beth
the thinker's way: 8 steps to a richer life... john chaffee
piercing the darkness: undercover with vampires in america....katherine ramsland
on writing... stephen king

i'll post more stuff later.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

what i did today

my mostly sleepless night put a serious crimp in my plan to carry through with my mother's vigorous approach to dirt. however, i did manage to clean out my bathroom cupboard, under-sink area and the plastic shoe caddy that hangs on the back of the door. (in case anyone is wondering, i don't keep shoes in it - i keep toiletries like aspirin and bandaids and tums. this is so Beloved doesn't have to bellow for me to come and find stuff for him.)

i also straightened up my closet and my shoes, and got my bedroom completely vacuumed. it is nice to feel the house slowly coming together but i really wish i hadn't lost so much sleep.

i had an interesting experience last night as i was dressing for the Rainbow Bridge - i was joined by the strong energy of a woman who died fairly young and was an extremely stylish person - far more so than i am, apparently. she insisted i wear an outfit of her choosing - right down to earrings, perfume and lipstick. if i owned any makeup, she'd've wanted me to wear that. it was fun to see how someone else - even a dead someone else - would put my clothes together. i also kept seeing a lot of A's and E's... and lo and behold, just about everyone who attended had a first name that began with an A or an E.

i am woefully behind on catching up with blogs and emails - thank you to all the gentle readers who are writers of other blogs and who i haven't visited or returned a comment to in Quite a While. i AM thinking of you and reading your blogs - but when i've tried to write something witty or pithy or both... my mind sort of freezes up. i'm feeling better, though, since so much of the mess is getting put away or thrown away. i've been remiss at returning calls, too... i expect to catch up on those next week.

i've decided this next month to do a non-fiction version of NaNoWriMo. that's the nationwide contest where you challenge yourself to write the first draft of a novel in a month. i'm really feeling that the Angel Way book is demanding to be written, not outlined. i hope the discipline of NaNoWriMo will inspire me to get the first draft done by december. i'm thinking it would be very possible given that i don't have to do thanksgiving for a cast of thousands this year.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

thursday morning, two am

i pulled a muscle beneath my arm yesterday somehow - probably in act the slinging of the contractor bags down the attic steps. the satisfaction of a job if not perfectly done at least well-begun seems worth the discomfort, but unfortunately the pain affects the side on which i like to sleep. so here i am, nursing my muscle with st joan's wort oil, courtesy of rose, aspirin, and warm milk. and blogging, of course...the great White Board on which my furious fingers can roam-at-will.

the Queen is back in her Castle and my house is several pounds of dust and dog hair lighter and feels decidely less hovel-ish than it did before Her Majesty's arrival. it has been a long time since i spent such a length of concentrated time in my mother's company. i realized that if i am a mystery to my mother, she is equally a mystery to me. she sees me as her Alien Child - i see her as a Force of Nature, my personal incarnation of Kali-Ma. the Great Mother is alive and well in her and at her best she is as nourishing as a celtic cauldron, as flowing with milk and honey and all good things as any Promised Land. but woe betide anyone who gets in her way: she is, after all, as Beloved always puts it in tones tinged with awe, a woman who made a man give up God.

this trip, she fed me stories about my great-grandparents, disjointed bits of memories like tidbits on a tray.

she told me the reason my great-grandfather broke with his brother, leon - who was actually his half-brother - the one who changed his last name. pop was the oldest of four, my mother said. like me, i thought. uncle leon was a bootlegger and pop found out where he hid his stash on the beach. and when uncle leon went down one night to get it, pop was there waiting for him.

the conversation that followed as related by my mother seems entirely too tame to warrant the actions that ensued as a result, though when i probed her, she stuck by her version of events. considering this all happened before she was born, i can see how she would've been told a watered down version of the Real Thing, that over the years has become ingrained as gospel.

then yesterday my mother mentioned, quite in passing, a story about my aunt katherine, who, when asked about her bad memories of the depression, replied: i don't have any bad memories - we didn't suffer.

the novelist in me looked at my mother and wondered if she could miss the tenuous connection my mind automatically makes between the two.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

out of the attic

i dragged twenty five contractor bags filled to the brim out of the attic and the play room yesterday. we started in the playroom - the reclaimed garage space that was once my daughter meg's and then my son jamie's bedrooms. now it's evolving into a kind of catch-all for books and the treadmill. the futon for guests is evolving into a dog bed - buddy and sam claimed it when they were chased out of their pen by the renovations.

brace yourself, i told my mother.

this is hopeless, my mother moaned, not once but periodically.

finally, she took charge. nan, she said, in the tone i remember so clearly from my childhood, the one she uses to draw the boundaries one crosses at one's peril, JUST THROW STUFF AWAY.

then i tackled the attic.

while my mother dandled baby jake, swept the floor, vacuumed and shook her head, i filled twenty contractor bags - a whole box - of old clothes, dusty curtains, shoes and bedspreads. now they're piled outside the garage, gleaming in the gray pewter dawn, my own mini-landfill.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, October 20, 2008

mother superior

whatever else i could ever say about my mother, she IS a hard worker. between the two of us, we not only took care of baby jake, but we did 8 loads of laundry, sorted through well over a dozen boxes, cleaned out the living room closet and hauled at least four contractor bags to the garage and innumerable books to their designated places.

the mother superior has put her impramatur on the kitchen table, so for the foreseeable future, it will stay exactly where it is, because - wise man that he is - even Beloved doesn't want to cross her.

tomorrow we tackle what used to be my son's bedroom, and the attic.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

a tale of two tables

it was the best of times... it was the worst of times. the renovations are winding down...tempers are revving up. Beloved and i have reached the point where we both want things to be our snarling has settled around a kitchen table. literally.

among other things, i have brought two tables into my Beloved's life. there's a certain similarity between these two tables - both have sturdy legs, impervious tops. the first, which we eat off of every day, Beloved has coveted from the moment the nice men from jc penney carried it into my condo in farmington. it has a blue tile top and gold oak finish. i brought it with me when i moved into pond house from farmington, and Beloved has rejoiced in its presence in his life ever since. he even calls it my dowry.

the second table came from my grandmother's house at the shore. sturdy, with legs like two by fours, and a metal top strong enough to stand on, it bears, in layers like old paint, a good portion of my memories.

i learned to play pinochle at that table. my great-grandfather presided over sunday dinner predictably as the sun rose and set at that table. i learned of births and deaths and marriages at that table. at it, i ate all the favorite foods of my childhood. the touch of the slick surface, the aroma released by the old drawers conjures the ghosts of wards' cookies and clint's fried chicken chased by a cold coke in a green bottle at the back of my tongue.

in Beloved's eyes it is ugly, old and worn.

in mine, it is history given weight and substance and form.

someday, i would like to teach baby jake to play pinochle. someday, i would like to tell him of his great-great-great grandfather, who ran away from home in italy when he was only 13, and stowed away aboard a steamship bound for new york city. someday i would like him to know his roots are sturdy, and strong enough to carry him anywhere he wishes.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

pain in the neck

i was awakened at one-thirty by the light of the moon shining in my bigger window, and a literal pain in the neck. i tossed and turned about an hour, then surrendered to the sleeplessness. what else to do but get up and blog?

by lamplight, the living room walls look the color of the perfect ratio of coffee to cream in my morning mug. i take a few measurements - the whole room is so off-kilter that i see my plan needs tweaking. the general shape of my floorplan still stands, but i see that the placement of the tv and the bookcases may require some adjusting.

brad, baby jake's father, is coming tomorrow afternoon to help Beloved bring in the cupboard and the table. on tuesday, the countertops are being installed, and next week joe and mike the builder men will begin my shelves. finally... there will be Places to Put Things.

i'm amassing a huge pile of Stuff To Give Away... clothes, books, small household things. (yes, allison - i agree - freecycle is the best!) it feels good to clear things out, even as the mess and the progress of its movement appears glacial at times.

warm milk and cinnamon are making me sleepy. it's time to go back to bed.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, October 17, 2008

back to blogging

i spent the day mostly painting, and now the living room is a lovely creamy shade of cafe au lait called malton. there's a few spots that need touching up and the trim and ceiling need touching up too, but both main rooms of the house are, for the most part, painted.

i have an idea of a floorplan for the furniture, too, and tomorrow, after the touching up is done, i'll be able to start moving things into place. on sunday, my sister is coming to go through my grandmother's furniture in storage and to take the pieces she'd like. i'm hoping i can get the stuff i want moved over here by the end of the month. it'll be nice to have a piano again.

meg's much better, too... thank you to all who sent me well-wishes and remedies. i'll have to check into feverfew tea. i bet i know someone who either has such a thing, or can obtain it. :)

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

mama said there'd be days like this...

.... there'd be days like this... my mama said.

was she right.

it began ordinarily enough - puppy walks, coffee, debate reviews - when a Little Voice told me that i'd be better off doing my daily chores FIRST, rather than waiting til after four when libby would be home to pitch in.

i didn't understand it, but i've learned enough to go along with the Voices, especially when They offer helpful housekeeping advice, and so i was just finishing up the dishes when the phone rang.

it was meg, with a migraine. you have to help me with jake, mommy. my head hurts too much.

to make a long story short, by one-thirty this afternoon meg and i were on our way to the hospital. she's better now - sound asleep in her own bed while a cold front roars in, bringing with it the high winds and rising pressure that trigger my own bad headaches.

i am so glad i listened to the Voices.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, October 13, 2008

where in the world....

have i been?

i'm not sure i even know.

somewhere between last monday and this monday, i was swept up into a tide of renovations and decluttering, reorganizing, filing, painting, sanding and polishing of biblical proportions. in between all that, the world teetered on the brink of financial collapse - poor iceland - elmer came off sounding more and more senile when he wasn't sounding snarky; sarah palin got booed in philly (i knew my old stomping ground wouldn't let me down) and the phillies, goddess bless them, mixed it up with manny ramirez.

did i mention baby jake turns one year old today?

all i can tell you is that i think i now know how noah felt when he felt the ark lift.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, October 6, 2008

what i did for me today

the short answer to the question posed today by another blogger is... not much, or so at first it might seem.

today was one of my day's to take care of baby jake. the chaos of the house adds to the challenge of managing a determined cruiser and so every moment he is up must be spent actively engaged in watching him - unless i park him in the playpen. he's an agreeable baby, for the most part, and so there's actually ten or fifteen minutes scattered here and there throughout the day, where i can do things like walk the dogs, prepare lunch, or potty myself. but the only reason he's content in the playpen is the novelty of the toys within, and so i can't leave him there past the point he becomes bored.

so when i first read dina's blog, and considered her question, what did i do for my body, mind and spirit today? - i immediately thought of all the things i did for other people, besides baby jake, and by the time i got to the bottom of that list, it seemed like there was precious little left for me.

or was there, i thought. i started off the day with some reasonable attention - i had made time for my yin yoga stretches, a drops of oak* bach flower remedy, and the first part of a novena. (my italian relatives want a novena to sell the house - they get a novena.)

so this evening, at supper, under the heading of doing something for my body, i deliberately choose to make a pot of red lavendar tea over my daily dose of caffienated corn syrup, and then another of ginger peach. i missed yellow in my daily rainbow today, but at least one of the bananas i bought at the market will be perfect to eat tomorrow.

i exercised my mind by playing jeopardy - Beloved didn't even try. i nourished my soul by buying flowers for my beleaguered Beloved who has been much buffeted by the winds of the world lately and by making a remarkably simple dinner that everyone enjoyed without complaint.

now that my peach tea is finished, i think i'll run a warm salt bath and soak for a few minutes with the last of the clay mud stuff my dear friend rose makes.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

*the property of the oak flower remedy in the bach flower remedy system is to allow the naturally strong to take a break rather than struggle on without rest. it interested me that i was drawn to it this morning and then to see the topic of dina's blog.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

sleepy sunday

i woke in the dark to the sound of falling rain, a sound that augers well for naps, but not a day spent reading cards at the new hartford arts festival. by one-thirty, chilled to the bone, i packed it in. not that i like being a quitter, but as the song says, you got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.

around 230, the sun came out and libby and i took the puppies for a deliberate march up and down the drive. now Beloved is putting a new coat of paint on the new dining room and i am thinking that that nap idea i had at 6 AM still sounds pretty good.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

oh happy day

a happy day is one where nothing happens with which i can't cope and where i get things done. today is a happy day ... so far.

i spent my morning writing hours pawing and sorting through the mountain of paper and books on my writing room floor. there's a mess on my desk now, but at least it's a sorted mess and a clean mess and if i don't quite know where it's all going to go, i have high hopes that i will either find an appropriate home for it, or trash it. i spent my afternoon prepping the kitchen chairs and putting the finishing touches on my dollhouse. i haven't posted pictures in a while because the camera broke, but as soon as Beloved shows me how to work the new one, i will post the finished piece. in case anyone has forgotten, here's a picture of what the dollhouse used to look like:

in between, libby and i got quite a few kitchen cabinets cleaned and papered and either emptied or filled. it's such a joy to see there's actually room for stuff in the cabinets. i even have one i haven't designated as anything yet, because i'm waiting to see if there's something i've forgotten about.

then i told libby to take her shower and get ready and we would go do something fun. i dragged her and the puppies off for a walk. we walked along the river and even buddy was well-behaved. what makes you think this is my idea of fun, she asked several times.

how couldn't it be? i replied. we're here on this beautiful day in this beautiful place with our puppies who love us more than god. see the leaves, and the water and the sunshine? this is good for us - it's good to breathe the fresh air and stretch our legs. and look how happy the puppies are.

we could be shopping, she observed. we could be seeing the mall, the clothes, the food. the puppies would be happy - we could bring them a treat.

this is free, i pointed out.

and libby, in whom my grandmother's money-loving castaldi blood runs thick and true, shut up.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, October 3, 2008

inching in increments

my cozy little corner in my bedroom has made me very happy. i have a place to hide things like hand cream and foot cream, and a place to stack my reading material without it spilling all over the floor. i can snuggle up and read or write at the end of every day and i like that. i even have a place to stash a shawl, an accessory i find increasingly necessary as the evening air chills.

yesterday i gave some thought to organizing the kitchen. i was forced into it, actually, because Beloved is chomping at the bit to put away things in the new cabinets, a dangerous situation potentially. i could very well find him sitting on the kitchen floor at any moment, happily emptying items willy-nilly in a system of organization understood only by him.

one of the first things i did yesterday was to make labels for most of the drawers and cabinets so if he is seized by an uncontrollable urge to unpack, at least he will have some idea of where i want things put.

this morning, i plan to tackle some of the mess in my writing room, as well as continue to re-organize and clean the kitchen. libby has a doctor's appointment at one - and alas i face another argument over the HPV vaccine. it's not that i don't want her protected, its that i don't want her to be in the generation of guinea pigs. after all, can we say "DES?"

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

on fear

a post about fear from a fellow blogger and witchy-friend got me thinking, especially when i consider it's october, the month when popular culture is increasingly allowing all the things that go bump in the night out of the closet.

when you start to notice how many times we are told we should be afraid of things, it's really no wonder that most of us live our lives in a constant state of low-level fear. just a trip to the grocery store, or goddess forbid, a gas station, can stir up terrible thoughts from global warming to genetic modification. when i was married to my first husband, i lived in a constant state of fear because he could be emotionally and physically abusive.

when i left him, i promised myself i would never again live in fear, or make decisions based on fear, or allow fear of anything to rule my life. but even after i'd moved to ct, and we were divorced, he still had the power to terrify me with legal threats about custody and child support. one night, i was upset because i'd been served with yet more court papers. i remember crying and carrying on, and just being so terrified i felt as if i couldn't go on.

and then Beloved pointed out, that as bad as things MIGHT get, there were no nazis at the door. and that everything i was afraid of had not come to be, might never come to be, and i was wasting a lot of time and energy worrying about things that weren't real. i can't say his words immediately changed my outlook, but it marked a turning point for me.

and once the situation with my ex began to calm down, and i was able to apply my outlook to the broader world around me, i was astonished to realize just how much we are manipulated and controlled.... by fear.

the pitch is intensified now, it seems, over the election. time and again i hear from my dear Syster-Wymen how afraid they are ... if mccain gets elected, if the supreme court overturns roe v wade... if we go to war with iran... if if if... the litany of fear runs over and over, a moebius loop of such astonishing proportions it seems we must all be snared in its web, except, of course, for the lucky few - like the buddhist monks and nuns in their monasteries, the ones who've renounced it all.

a few weeks ago, i received a letter from a very kind-hearted and well-meaning individual - a reader of this blog, in fact - who means to save my soul by threatening me with potential hellfire and damnation if i don't bow my head to God the Judge.

this poor soul can't see how she is bound in a hell made of fear, a hell she sincerely wishes in which i should join.

i haven't answered her latest epistle yet, mostly because i haven't quite decided HOW to answer her. it isn't that i simply don't believe her kind of hell exists. it's that i can't participate in her kind of fear. and that's the attitude i'm striving to adopt - in these most tumultous of times.

so what if the worst happens? what if mccain-palin get elected? what if the financial markets collapse? what if roe vs wade gets overturned? what if we blow ourselves up, or worse, poison our world with chemicals and greed, so we all go down in a slimey green sludge?

well, maybe if roe vs wade gets overturned, we will be roused out of our complacencey and finally and forever create a law that "gives" women absolute right to decide what they do to their bodies. the fact we even NEED to articulate this "right" is - or should be - an abomination.

not long ago, i came to the conclusion that anyone who thinks the end of humanity is a bad thing isn't seeing it from the cockroach's point of view. energy is never lost and matter regenerates. a trillion years from now we may all be arguing over the viablity of belief in sentient humanity, even as we chow down on their mountains of rubbish. after all, haven't there been times you wanted an extra pair of hands?

and furthermore the war must end. blessed be.