Sunday, November 30, 2008

in the interests of posterity

because i like to keep a record, and because a gentle reader asked, here's what constituted "real" thanksgiving this year...

turkey with cornbread stuffing and pan gravy
mashed potatoes
cranberry relish (homemade)
cranberry sauce (courtesy of ocean spray)
baked butternut squash in maple syrup and butter
peas in butter sauce (courtesy of the jolly green giant)
string bean casserole
crescent rolls

strawberry cheesecake with graham cracker crust
apple pie
pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust

today, i cook

the turkey, all fifteen pounds of him, is stuffed to the gills with cornbread, bacon, onions, celery, nuts and cranberries, the pumpkin cheesecake with the gingersnap crust is chilling. the apple pie gleams on the counter, the cranberries simmer in their brown-sugar/maple syrup sauce.

Beloved is off to buy last-minute ingredients. the first sleety snow of the season is falling and trying to stick. the snow surprised me, but only briefly - after all, i've been smelling it for days.

meg and libby are still asleep, the puppies are snoozing cuddled up together on the couch. i have a bit more tidying up to do before i make one errand run for the day. i have to yield the kitchen for a few hours while Beloved cooks. there's a short list of chores, too, for the girls.... i wouldn't want them to feel left out!

and then, we gather at four - all our kids, plus baby jake and assorted significant others, for what my children tell me is "real" thanksgiving.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

black friday

don't get me wrong. i like to shop. i don't shop often any more, but when i do, i like to have a clear idea in mind of what i want, and then i like to find it, quickly, efficiently and at the best possible price. a great shopper, in my opinion, isn't one who scores bargains while the world is watching... the great shopper, like the great hunter, bags the prize, stealthy and alone.

the news that a walmart worker was trampled to death by a crowd on long island doesn't really surprise me. im only surprised it hasn't happened sooner, and, between the advertising and the desperation, it didn't happen in more places.

what's wrong with us?

even libby made noises about going to target at four am. what's wrong with you? i asked her. there's good bargains, she declared. there's nothing there worth losing sleep over, i replied. a few more years and i won't be able to prevent her from going if she has her mind made up.

it simply boggles my mind that some of us take pride in getting out of bed before even a rooster crows on the day after a major holiday - a holiday that requires the ingestion by most of us of a sleep-inducing food - to go buy a THING? what THING is worth more than precious hours spent asleep? what's wrong with us that we want to brag about how cheap we got a gadget that will break or wear out or get lost or tossed aside before another year passes?

it's sad and it's sickening, and i hope the poor man's death will encourage all of us to examine why we buy what we buy and why we think we need what we think we do. consumerism begins at the top of the food chain. the stampede at walmart is just trickle-down economics at its most crude.

it seems like half the ads on television or in magazines this year are either about indigestion and sleeplessness, and the other half about how to spend money. is it any wonder we need the former, when we buy into the latter?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, November 28, 2008

a few of my favorite things...

with a twist.

a few days ago, a cute blog topic caught my eye - a list of ten favorite things all starting with the same random letter, which in her case happened to be R. i asked lynette for a letter of my own.. and she sent me J.

a J - i pondered. what on earth did i like that begins with J? it's taken me a few days to come up with this list...:

1. Jumping in puddles. i like to jump in puddles because now that i am grownup, no one tells me i can't. it also means i am most likely wearing my red boots:

which are, quite possibly, one of my most favorite things in the world.

2, 3 & 4. my son Jamie and my brother John. they are cute and smart and sweet. helpful, too. what more would anyone want in a man? then of course, there's my grandson, Baby Jake. he's cute and smart and sweet, too, and maybe not so much helpful yet as agreeable. again, an excellent quality in a man.

5. jabberwocky, by lewis carroll... that's the one that starts... twas brillig and the slimy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe. all mimsy were the borogoves and the mome wraths outgrabe. i love quoting it. lines of it spring unbidden in my head at moments both opportune and otherwise. no wonder my kids think im crazy.

6. the jacobites... thats the stuarts and bonnie prince charlie, boggy moors, lost causes and mournful scottish laments. i love all that stuff.

7. james - as in King James and his version of the Bible. i love the sonorous, soulful phrases.. come to think of it, i like to quote it, too. and jezebel, job and jesus are three of my favorite characters in it.

8. johnny-jump-ups and jonquils... i love these wild pansies...with their bright little faces and exuberant greens, and their tendency to spring up in expected places, they speak to me of hope. and jonquils - though i prefer to call them daffodils - always bloom around my birthday.

9. the joker as played by heath ledger in his tour de force performance. not only was this a heartbreakingly human portrayal of a heretofore cartoon character, ledger's joker had a lot to say about the role we allot chaos in our culture.

10. the novels of jane austen. she had an accurate eye, a piercing pen. i wish she'd left us more.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

what a difference ...

... a year makes.

this time last year, i was finishing up a meal i'd cooked for twenty-two people. the feast was merely a punctuation point to a dizzying fall that included katie's shower for sixty in september and the birth of baby jake in october. and let's not forget, of course, moving my grandmother up here the previous august, out of the house she'd lived in nearly all 95 years of her life.

we were five generations at my table last year. i'm glad i wallowed in the thanksgivingness of it all. i'm glad i made four kinds of dessert, four different veggies. i'm glad i made extra crescent rolls. i'm glad i rushed and chopped and carried and shopped.

because i don't feel the need to do it now.

my mother and brother and stepfather have gone to vienna - yes, the vienna of freud and the waltz. my sister is hosting one of her multi-cultural thanksgivings in boston (representatives of five different nations are breaking bread together at sheila's house as i type this.) my brother and his family and my stepsister in california are with my daddy and stepmom. my stepchildren are either working or home with their mother. my grandmother has gone to heaven, of course, and my children have dispersed themselves to each other's houses and foreign turkeys and funny-tasting sides.

Beloved went to the soup kitchen this morning, and helped cooked dinner for over 100 people this year. so far this thanksgiving, i've taken a thirty-minute walk with the puppies and had three naps. the weather has changed from bright sun to a sullen twilight. it's only me and Beloved for dinner, and the cold air smells like snow. i defrosted some chicken breasts - organic ones, no less. there's bread from brooklyn, a pumpkin pie i made yesterday, and rose's rhubarb-cranberry mead. it is a very different sort of dinner from last year, and yet for which i feel as deeply grateful.

may whatever sort of thanksgiving you have, Gentle Reader, make you feel similarly blessed.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

my recipe got picked!!!

my rosemary butter cookies got chosen to be featured over at EAT YOUR VEGGIES - a really fun blog i discovered courtesy of the SITS-tahood. if you haven't wandered over there yet, Gentle Reader, i encourage you to check it out.

it's been a while since i posted any photos... mostly because the old camera broke, and it not only took a while to figure out to work the new one, but also how to upload pictures to the puter. i'm not only technically challenged, i don't do well reading directions and so i tend to fumble around a lot until something clicks. i'm happy to say that it finally did and so, in the spirit of cooking and recipes and cookies and such, here's some before and after photos of the renovations we just finished:

here's what it looked like before june 30 of this year...

and this is what it looks like now, almost five months later:

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

things i am grateful for

the air was warm and soft as april, the rain was steady as june's, but the sky was infused with january's pearly blue when i walked the puppies. i breathed the moist wet air, crunched the pine needles beneath my shoes. it's not the temperature that tells you where you are in the year. it's the light.

we are deep in the dark of it. even january sees the light growing stronger, the days minutely lengthening. november is the slow grim slide into the black, the time of reckoning and shedding. the pilgrims didn't invent the idea of thanks for a bountiful harvest.

and so here, on the eve of one of the quietest thanksgivings i'm preparing to spend in recent memory, in no particular order, is a list of some of the things i am most grateful for this year.

1. for my health. a lot of it has nothing to do with me or the way i treat my body. i got lucky and won some really good genes.

2. for my Beloved. that we met online in a chat room that doesn't exist any more, even in cyberspace still makes us giggle. that we married each other on a golden morning on a hawaiian beach still makes us laugh out loud. that our Souls seemed to recognize each other still takes my breath away.

3. for my kids. they know why.

4. for my friends. i hope they know why, too.

5. that those of us who Think banded together and for one brief shining moment, beat back the Darkness and let the Light shine through. if obama lives up to half that promise, better days are ahead.

6. for my grandmother's death. a long life lived well is a blessing, a long life lived miserably is a curse. you gave me the good fight, roey. now we can both rest in peace.

7. for the Earth, and those who love and care for Her.

8. for my puppies. if only all puppies everywhere could be so loved.

9. for the Silence, the peace and the dark sweetness of the cold i can feel closing in. i'm looking forward to spending thanksgiving mostly in my jammies! :)

so what about you, Gentle Reader? what are you most grateful for? in no particular order, of course :).

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, November 24, 2008

...and what i did with it

i got a lot done. i finished - hooray me!!! - painting the walls in the hallway - so now the only thing left are some minor touchups on the woodwork i can do the weekend after thanksgiving. i can't believe that except for the touchups, and the curtains, the renovations are DONE. complete. finished. it will be so wonderful when i can turn my head and see just the beautiful kitchen without the pile of paint cans in front of it! but considering how awful the place looked just a month ago... i've come a long way :)!

i dusted and vacuumed zone 5 - for those Gentle Readers who are not aware of Flylady's wonderful System i suggest you clink on the link and check her out - her genius for organization coupled with her humor and gentle good will have helped me tremendously manage the chaos-monster who lurks deep within my soul.

i walked, first thirty minutes by myself - and then another bit with the puppies until sam refused to go any further. the skies are cloudy now and it almost looks like snow. i entered my rosemary butter cookie recipe in a contest online run by another Blogger and in case she doesn't choose it... here it is in case any gentle readers are interested. it's not only amazingly easy, it's also flexible - i made a gluten-free (although not egg or dairy free) version for my dear friend laura yesterday that were actually so good Beloved couldn't stop eating them!

granny annie's rosemary butter cookies

1/2 cup of unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour (cake flour works best; sift regular flour)
2 Tbs chopped fresh or dried rosemary (lavender flowers also work well)
4 Tbs milk

beat butter and sugar at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy. gradually add flour and salt, at low speed until blended. stir in rosemary, blend in milk.

Mold dough into log and chill for at least 30 min, or up to 24 hours. when ready to bake, wlice into rounds or roll to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. bake at 325 degrees for 16-18 minutes.

For a gluten free version, substitute gluten-free flour for the regular flour, and substitute two eggs for the milk. other yummy versions i have tried include substituting brown sugar or regular sugar for the powdered sugar, and flavoring with almonds, cinnamon or ginger, and adding mini dark chocolate chips!

unexpected morning

i totally forgot that my middle daughter doesn't have class this week, and so baby jake did not arrive on my doorstep on the dot of 8 AM. i realized this last night when meg kissed me goodbye and said she'd be here with him around one. around one, i wondered, and then i remembered. vacation. thanksgiving. no class.

and so this morning i did some blissful things, just for me. i fell sound asleep after Beloved and i went back to bed, and slept for another WHOLE hour!!! i woke up with the sun shining directly on my third eye.

Beloved is gone now, the puppies are napping. the house and these hours are blissfully mine. the danger now is not to spend them wondering how i should fill them.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

simple ironies

i watched a show about polygamy last night. it was about a fundamentalist branch of the mormon church that practices a bizarre and antediluvian rite called "plural marriage." they are alive and practicing and abusing women and children even as i write this - a patriarchial monster that dare not say its name but apparently feels safe enough to exist in the wilds of places like arizona and texas (two states that went for john mccain, as i recall.) even the so-called "real" mormons disavow them, or so the real mormons say.

but does anyone else find it interesting that so many of the real mormons spent so much time and money fighting gay marriage in california, while a renegade sect of their own kind flourishes? silence, after all, implies consent. to simply turn their backs and simply ignore these disgusting throwbacks all the while concentrating on spending huge sums of money to deny stable couples the right to marry under the laws of a State, not a Church... does anyone else find this particularly revolting?

didn't jesus say something about them without sin being the ones allowed to throw stones? or am i missing something?

people like warren jeffs and his cronies shouldn't be allowed to exist in america, let alone walk around freely. and yet the Big White Men (who call themselves prophets, no less - jesus said something about False Prophets, too, as i recall) in salt lake city are more worried about gay sex than the abuse of women and children by other White Men who purport to spout their own creed.

it's disgusting and despicable is what it is. i bet if they took half the money they collected to fight proposition 8 in california, and applied it to fighting jeffs and his benighted followers (aren't their souls worth saving, brothers?) they could wipe out the practice of polygamy once and for all. it may take a while and it may ultimatly cost more money, but wouldn't their own people be better served?

the mormons built a church around the corner from my house. the wild celt in me is waiting for some of their nice young men to come knock on my door. just waiting.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

in the company of my kind

i spent the morning at the first meeting of the fledgling Farmington Writers' Circle. in the ironic way of it, no one to whom i initially sent a notice to showed up. but the people who did show up - one nice man and two nice women - were all interesting people with stories to tell, all passionate about things like words and stories and people.

a gathering of writers can be either an intense pain, or a real pleasure, and i have to say this morning, i was pleasantly surprised at how well the four of us meshed. as people of a certain age, we all had stories to share, experiences to relate, questions to ask. we were witty and clever and generous in allowing each other to share and to shine.

are we different, asked my friend susan, she of the thousand-and-one questions and millions of stories to tell. and the answer, if not apparent then, is an unequivocal yes, susan, we are. we ARE different, those of us who choose to spend time watching, listening and wrestling with the voices in our head and in our world; we who carve up our lives and those of everyone we meet into words. we ARE, and it is comforting to know that we are not alone.

it's been a while since i have actively sought out the company of kindred spirits. too many times and too many places i've been burned by people who seemed to expect something from me i had no idea how to give. but there was a time when all my friends were writers.

we made another two meeting dates, set up a schedule, and gave ourselves a writing exercise to share with the group in january.

then we all had coffee afterwards. from somewhere deep inside my soul, i feel the whispers start to stir.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, November 21, 2008

dear whoever comes to read this...

one of the blogs i follow - dina's Walking Within the Spiral - posted a real cool link to a really fun blogsite called The Secret Is In the Sauce or SITS for short. the point of today's linking is to share an open letter. (i didn't initially understand that when i first linked, but then sometimes i don't always understand directions the first time - or the fourteenth time - i read them.)

then i read a few of the blogs (and left comments) and realized i was out of step with everyone else (not surprising) and so, after some thought, i decided i'd better write an Open Letter, too.

then it occured to me i wasn't sure who to write it to. other blogs i'd read had addressed everyone from the Army, clothes designers, God, and personal trainers. and then it occured to me to write it to You, you Gentle Readers, who show up on my reader site counter with sometimes unbelievable frequency.

i have no idea who you are - in billings or miami or vienna, london or adelaide or shanghai - but whoever you are, i appreciate your presence, i appreciate your attention, however brief it may be. it's kind of all of you to grant me so much as a nanosecond of your time, and even if you don't leave a comment or in any way identify yourself, i know you're out there.

and it comforts me, touches me, fills me with hope that in this Brave New World of cyber-communications, we may all reach a new and better way to understand each other and ourselves and to more firmly weave the Web that binds us all.

and furthermore, i most sincerely wish that all wars some day end. blessed be.

a different kind of day

today i woke up to a kidless house. libby left with meg last night, to see a midnight showing of twilight the movie, leaving Beloved and me alone with the puppies. not much is different this morning - certainly there've been other kidless mornings over the long course of my career as chief-mommy-in-charge.

what is different is my acute awareness that this is the direction my life is headed. at this point, i've been a mother longer than i was not a mother, and my collective years spent mothering now number 87. what will i do and who will i be when i no longer need to draw on this prodigious experience on a daily - even hourly - basis?

it boggles my mind so much that most times when i start to think of it, i can feel myself veer off course, dismissing it as a kind of unreality. and yet, i know a lot of people before whose houses the school bus doesn't stop.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

taming a terrible toddler, or more from granny annie

a few weeks ago, my daughter katie and i were discussing the increasing emergence of the Real Person inside baby jake. he looks at me differently, mom, she said. it's like there's a person in there, isn't it, i replied. yeah, she said. and he definitely has ideas of his own.

i remember i said once to my kids' own pediatrician of my daughter, meg, when she was about the same age as baby jake, she seems to be developing a mind of her own. you weren't surprised, were you? returned doctor carey, a wise children's doctor in the vein of norman rockwell.

and well, yeah, i was. meg was in many ways the most easily understood and malleable of my children - at least for me - because she was the one i felt immediately to be most like me. we were of such like minds that it was almost too easy to anticipate her needs, her wants, her wishes, and so, with meg, not only did i feel bound at the hip (or the boob), but mind-melded, too.

alas, even meg eventually disobeyed. the fact that she was my third child prevented me from taking it personally, and by that time, i had grown somewhat adept, or maybe it was only numb, at dealing with terrible toddlers.

and so, in the interests of posterity - and since a Gentle Reader asked - here's what raising four children taught me about how to manage toddlers.

i remember the first time katie, my oldest, looked back at me with what was only defiance in her eyes, and i recognized myself, at 13. (since i was only 20 when katie was born, it was easy for me to remember how i felt at 13.) i better get a handle on this now, i thought, because whoever that is looking back at me is coming back at 13.. bigger.

i won't bore you with the ruminations and realizations that led me to understand that my goal as a parent was to put myself out of a job, and that my "job" was the creation of a mostly-functional adult, one capable of meeting responsibilities, creating a family and experiencing pleasure in life. and since this was what my child wanted as well, i assumed, we were on the same page. so the ability to sleep through the night, for example, without waking mommy at an ungodly hour without a bad dream or being sick as an excuse, became the mastery of a lifeskill, not a battle of wills.

thus it became possible to frame the behavior i wanted into something the child instinctively wanted as well. this is not to say we didn't have occasional tantrums or tears or that sometimes a toddler's NOW superceded her or his ability to imagine THEN. but even the most rambunctious and willful of my children - my son, in case you're wondering, to whom i attribute nearly all of my white hair - intuitively understood an appeal from one Adult to Another.

in the case of a child who wanted to wake up earlier than i did, which was all my children, i would acknowledge that if she or he awoke at an ungodly hour, that could well be something beyond the child's conscious control. and so, i wouldn't try to control that aspect of the issue. what i would control is what that child could or could not do upon awakening, and particularly, i would begin by explaining my own need to sleep. "when you are a big girl," i would begin, "you will need to sleep straight through the night for (insert number of hours i need)- just like mommy. therefore, it's really important you allow mommy to get her rest, because a tired mommy is no fun. i understand you just wake up. therefore, since mommy needs her sleep and you need to wake up, let's figure out how you can wake up and take care of yourself like a big girl without needing to disturb mommy."

by three, my kids were all capable of getting up, amusing themselves and feeding themselves a simple snack (like dry cheerios) for at least an hour before i woke up. jamie - my son - was capable at five of pouring milk and thus fixing a simple breakfast for his younger sister, so on the weekends, i could sleep in even later.

the approach that i needed to put myself out of a job gave me an anchor or a framework within which to function or to fall back on, so to speak, while i watched many other parents flail around me. high school was and is the most interesting by far - i can't quite believe that the kids who did the ballsy - pardon the pun - striptease at the farmington pep rally face any kind of censure. so far, this approach seems to have worked reasonably well. at 28 and 23, my two oldest are indeed people who shoulder their responsibilities, seem capable of creating functional relationships, and take pleasure - generally - in life, and aside from the normal angst associated with growing up... the others are well on their way.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

granny annie's pot roast

for meg... because she asked.

in a dutch oven, preferably cast iron, heat 2-3 tbs olive oil. when the oil is fragrant, brown the meat on all sides until a dark crust forms. season with basil, oregano, garlic, paprika, or any other combination of herbs and seasonings that suits your fancy. the key to a good roast is to completely brown the meat to the point where there's a nice crust. when the meat is seared on al sides, add the seasonings and enough water to cover half the roast. add carrots, onions, and celery... at least. heat oven to 275 degrees. cover roast with lid and cook 7-8 hours. three hours from the time you finish, stir the vegetables and add 4-5 potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters. add more water if necessary, as well. the roast is done when the meat starts to fall apart.

day is done

...gone the sun,
from the hills,
from the plain,
all is well,
time to rest,
god is nigh...

i sit down to blog this evening as the thin dusk thickens outside my window. a red line gleams through the bare branches of the black trees and in the time it takes me to type this sentence, snuffs out.

i've gotten a lot done so far this week - scheduled appointments, had a hair cut, took care of baby jake, cooked and cleaned and put the first coat of paint on the hallway. among other things, i made time for soul collage work, for taking measurements for the new kitchen curtains, and attended book group last night. the laundry's caught up, there's fresh flowers in the vases.

i checked the dow - more red...even Beloved's looking more world-weary these days. i think i'll bake a chocolate cake tonight, and maybe some pear tea bread. times like these call for some serious nesting, i think.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

crossing rubicons

as every mother knows, there are stages and phases not only in the life of a child, but also in your relationship with that child, and in that child's relationship with you. some of these phases and stages are greeted with public acclaim and often universal acknowledgement - the first tooth, the first day of school, graduation. these are the ones we talk about and the ones for which there are greeting cards.

and then there are those turning points unnoticed or unacknowledged, turning points too finely calibrated to measure in simple words. i suspect that these are the most profound.

today my mother and i were talking about christmas presents. what would you like for christmas, she asked, and even i could hardly believe the words i heard coming out of my mouth.

you don't have to get me much this year, i said.

i wasn't going to get you much, my mother replied. i was going to give you money.

give it to the kids, i said.

what? she said. two hundred miles away i heard her jaw drop to the floor.

i don't really need anything, i said. you can give the money to the kids... they need it more than i do.

you really don't want anything?

a tree ornament, i said. a book, maybe, you know i like to read. a sweater if you're going to make it.

oh no, i wouldn't make it, my mother answered, it having escaped her notice that the only child she's never made a sweater for is the one who wears them all the time.

then just get me something small, i said, and spend whatever you would on me on the kids.

wow, said my mother.

wow, i said to myself.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, November 17, 2008

thought for today

The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark.
The small truth has words that are clear; the great truth has great silence.

- Tagore,
from Stray Birds,CLXXVI

Sunday, November 16, 2008

soul-full sunday

it's finally occured to me that for me, sunday isn't so much a day to rest as a day to plan... to dream... to think. you're not talking today, are you, observed Beloved, after the third or fourth time i'd simply gazed at him in response to a question. it wasn't that i didn't intend to answer, it was simply that what he was asking about and what i was thinking about were so far apart in mental space i had to wait for the little squirrels to make the proper connections.

it's ten am and so far today, i've re-arranged my dollhouse, cut out pictures for my soul collage project and put up a pot roast for supper tonight. the girls are sleeping, the morning feels ripe. there's lists to be made, materials to be gathered, items to put into place.

the moon is losing light... i can feel the slow determined slide into the Dark Place where dreams grow and turn real. what do i want my week to look like, i wonder. what are my goals, my dreams, my wishes, my wants and my needs? and where do they fit with those of Everyone Else? what must i do, and how will i serve?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

serendipitous saturday

i tend to rely too much on email. the Writer in me embraced email long ago, as a preferred and pithy form of communication that not only happens freely and instanteously, but is created on the keyboard. i LOVE seeing little letters spool into words onto a blank screen. then i tap another key and POOF! email delivered.

it's all wonderful until i can't get on the internet. i tend to forget easily how dependent i've become, until the internet goes down, as it did early this morning, and has been doing for the last couple days. in one way it was a good thing, because i got a lot of stuff done i wouldn't have otherwise. in another way it was a totally bad thing, because it left entirely to Fate that my friend allison and i would actually meet, in the shoe department at nordstrom's.

thus, it was that unencumbered by such things reasonable people would consider a necessity, like cellphone numbers, the girls and i set off on our grand adventure. and we DID meet allison in the shoes - despite a few minor mishaps like going the wrong direction on 84. "i kept hearing a little voice that told me 'you'll meet annie in the shoe department'", said allison.

and her little Voice, just like my little Voice, turned out to be right. ;)

and so i spent a dizzying afternoon at west farms mall, sniffing perfume samples, dipping my nose in the lipstick, rediscovering my love of j. jill sweaters - next time i'm very very good i think i know how i will reward myself - and getting to know allison better.

all in all, a most satisfyingly serendiptious saturday.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, November 14, 2008

and now, on to other things

i have to say as a matter of principle i really am appalled at california, florida and all those other states that banned gay marriage. what were they thinking, and most of all - what is WRONG with california?

have they been replaced by pod people? absorbed by the borg? since when is it the american way to take away a right?

at least i can breathe a sigh of relief that i live in an enlightened state.

the four-one-one

it turns out mister ick got me confused with another person whom he presumably met a writers' conference six months ago. so while he apologized for sending me that "inappropriate" (his word) email, i'm not sure he understands that that email should never have been sent to anyone. ever. at all.

which led me - partly thanks to all you gentle readers who weighed in here - to realize that i need to honor this intensely real feeling and acknowledge that i don't want this person in the new writing circle. first impressions do matter.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

quandry and update on ick

okay, gentle readers... what would YOU do? the guy who sent me the icky email has apologized for it. he also wants in to the new writers' circle that's just getting started. he wants me to call him about it - the writers' circle, not the icky email.

apology aside, i still feel slimed, and my instincts are screaming no no a thousand times no. am i over-reacting? so, gentle readers, i need your help. pray tell, what would YOU do?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


every once in a while the flotsam and jetsam in the Great Universal Sea heaves and swirls, and when the waters recede, you look down and see a turd or two floating at your feet. at least that's the way i feel... after the events of the last nearly 24 hours.

it began when i myself started to feel as if i were fighting a cold. no fun psychic circle for me last night, i decided... it's one thing to take one's mind off a migraine, but quite another to share cold germs. so i stayed home, and was thus around to witness one of libby's rare complete meltdowns caused by her heavy sinus cold and an assignment she just couldn't seem to do. she calmed down a little bit after i explained to her about brain fog, and how, when we are sick, we're not just not at 100% physical capability - it affects how we think, too. i told her she had two choices - to stay home and do the assignment when she was feeling better tomorrow, or do the best she could tonight and give herself a break. sometimes, libby, i said, even the best of us hand in C work.

it alarmed me how hard she is capable of being on herself.

the next thing that happened was the call about my friend's loss. i know how awful i felt in the days after lorraine died. i remember how empty the world seemed the first morning after her death. how can the sun still come up, i remember thinking. i realized back then that it helps and it doesn't to feel the presences of spirits on the other side. on the one hand, it calms, i think, the horrible anxiety some people feel. on the other, it doesn't in any way negate the loss or the grief.

but it was the third thing this morning that left me feeling absolutely slimed. i found this in my email, entitled "our troubles with our significant others." i print it here, in its entirety. my purpose is not to embarrass the person whose name is on the letter, but to give him an opportunity to either step forward and apologize, or to perhaps claim that his identity has been stolen by an internet hoaxter of questionable taste, therefore allowing him to set the record straight:

Hello Annie,

Alas, you probably won't remember the good looking older fellow who sat at the same table with you when you were a guest at CAPA author's meeting a couple of months ago, but I certainly remember you. I also remember you and Karen telling me about your special problems with your men, and I was very tempted to tell you about my own desperation of another sort.

Since then, I've become more and more convinced that we can be of service to each other and I would very much like to meet you for lunch or dinner at your convenience to tell you what I have in mind.

If you are up for a little exploratory pow-wow, I would dearly like to hear from you.

With best regards,

Howard Layton (Author of 'Love and Sand')

this person is quite real, apparently - i googled him. so what's the dealio, howie? did you forget your meds? get kidnapped by aliens? had your identity stolen?

cause, trust me, even if you just confused me with someone else... this is a slimey thing to do. no woman worth the carbon atoms in her body will respond to this approach favorably...or, at least, she shouldn't.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

good night, sweet prince

a dear friend of mine lost her husband today. a mutual friend of ours just called and gave me the news. i didn't know the man well but he made my friend mostly happy, except of course when he, like all husbands, sometimes made her crazy.

i looked at Beloved with renewed appreciation and burst into tears. i think i might just want to look at you awhile, i said. i'm so glad you're here.

i'm so glad i'm here, too, replied Beloved as he let me sob against his chest.

first star on the right, and straight on til morning, michael cheryl's-beloved, and may choirs of angels sing thee to a most well-deserved rest. you will be sorely missed.

a day spent mostly dusting

the dust from the construction clings to every nook and cranny, and seems to have settled in cracks in the ceiling. the more of it i wipe off, the more of it there seems to be.

it feels so good to clean the house, to sweep and wipe and sort. im still pondering... what i want my year to look like. i think i know one answer at least... clean. :)

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, November 10, 2008

the haunting of molly whats-her-name

yesterday was one of those golden autumn days when for a few deceptive hours, the sun shines bright as may. the light moved like liquid through the nearly ordered rooms, waking rainbows of color - indigo and ruby, emerald and azure - from all the glass now displayed. the newly-potted plants preened and stretched, the floors grew warm.

yesterday was one of those sweetly satisfying days in which productivity is balanced by rest and reward, when time in service to others is perfectly aligned with time spent in service to self. it felt good to get things done. it felt good to do nothing.

one part of the nothing was going along with libby to see some kid in a movie about a girl whose soul is sold to the devil at birth. why, exactly, her parents did this is murky, and why, exactly, her mother and other parents so afflicted believe that to kill the child before their 18th birthday nullifies the contract, so to speak, is left completely unclear.

like all fantasy, the movie works on a mythic level - if you substitute personal names for archetypes like Child and Parent and Devil and Angel, you get some interesting juxtapositions of theme. when i tried to point this out to meg and libby they shushed me and told me i think too much, and maybe i do but it's interesting. it seemed to me that the real message of the movie was that rich people are evil and spiritual people are crazy (and suggests its better to be rich than crazy.) i don't recommend anyone actually see this movie unless you happen to be writing a paper about Feminine Images of Good and Evil in Popular Film or something like that. but it gave the little squirrels in my head something to chew on during the drive home.

today's a baby jake day - a day i expect to be short on productivity and long on cuddles.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

wow i think i figured it out!

speaking of playing house :)!

the nursery...

the living room...

the bathroom....

the master bedroom....

the kitchen...

goals for today

i'm happy to say that the kitchen is finally done. Beloved hung the last hook this morning, and finished the backsplash last night. i have a few things left to do - the basket i found here at pond house, now hanging over my grandmother's table and Beloved's grandmother's bowls, is a bit too high, and i have some boxes of my "good" china i'd like to bring down from the attic and start to use. it's been six years since i packed the stuff away. now at least, i have an accessible place to put it.

i hung the pictures and finished the plants. now my only chore for the day is to take some stuff up and bring some stuff down from the attic, and to finish painting the hallway.

i remembered in the course of the last couple weeks as it's all been coming together that when i was little, my favorite game was playing house. i didn't like board games, had no time for soldiers or trucks or anything at all my brother wanted to do. i played house with barbies and doll furniture and built myself a series of dollhouses over the course of the years. there was nothing i'd rather do then - except perhaps read - and there's not much i'd rather do now.

i know it isn't popular to admit you like housework, and i can't say i always LIKE to vaccum and dust and scrub, but i really do like the results. there's something zen about scrubbing, something cleansing in the act of wiping and washing and sweeping. i like to have places for everything and for things to be, if not in their places, at least not far from home.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

reading day

laura and i did three readings together today. one of the ladies we read for seemed quite taken aback at the idea of the two of us reading together, but it is a skill we developed some years ago, as we were opening to our individual gifts. this ability is called co-linking and it is a particularly powerful and affirming experience for both of us, i think it's safe for me to say.

when we hear ourselves describing the same thing, but in different words, or even saying the same thing at the exact same time, we not only feel intensely validated, but i believe the person we are reading for finds the information more accurate as well.

the information, as laura describes it, comes in waves, like the ocean, in bursts of energy/light/sound that resonate then recede. if the client declines to own it, the energy eventually fades away. the spirit needs an anchor in the physical world and if it doesn't find one, it goes.

sometimes the people we read for are reluctant to open up - i think they're expecting a ghost whisperer experience where the laura and i "see" the energy in the same way we see each other. just a few days ago, laura and i were invited to speak at passiflora in january. our topic will be what to expect from a psychic reading.

i'm thinking we could probably write a pretty cool article about that, too.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, November 7, 2008

what's impressed me the most...

...about president-elect obama is that he showed up to work on his first day CARRYING HIS OWN BRIEFCASE. and the briefcase bulged, stuffed to the brim with books and papers. wow, i thought, a president who shows up looking like he's ready to WORK.

what a concept.

pictures and plants and paint, oh my!

i have to hang the pictures, repot the plants, and finish painting the hallway and the trim.

then i have to decide how to paint the table and the cupboard, but that's a project for another week. i also have to choose some curtains... the eating area looks so... spare. it's nice though, in a spartan kind of way i don't normally associate with food.

i have to buy some picture hooks before i can hang the curtains and i have to gather some rocks before i can repot the plants. so it's off to various tasks today ... and i'm up to 7500 words in my nanowrimo book :).

how bout you?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

im gonna be a Guest...

... on my friend Laura's INTERNET RADIO SHOW!!!!!!


Join Laura Rose on the radio at, 7th wave network,
every Thur. from 3:00-4:00 p.m EST (12-1 p.m. PST.) Her show is called "Discovering Nature's Spirit". Listen or call in to enjoy a loving & empowering discussion on many spiritual and healing topics. Click on the link and go to Seventh Wave Network.

tomorrow i am laura's Special Guest and we will be talking about mediums in community, or why two channels are better than one :). give us a listen or better yet... call in and say hi! :)))

morning in america

it really does feel like a new day.

those who know me have probably heard me say that pope john-paul (the one who protected pedophiles) made me ashamed to have been raised a catholic, and that w has been making me ashamed to be an american and thank goddess im a woman. (then caribou barbie came along but that's a whole nother story... maybe she'll go back to alaska and fall out of her helicopter shooting at wolves.)

i still feel the same way about the pope.

but i watched the crowds last night cheering for obama, faces of all shades and shapes. i watched the tide of blue creep across the country, i heard the pundits call the race. i saw obama take the stage, i watched old campaigners and children of all sizes weep. i watched the world react.

for the first time in a long time, i felt proud to be an american again.

and furthermore, the war, President-elect Obama, must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

mine eyes have seen the glory...

... of the earliest results.

i believe, i believe, i believe.

a question for my readers who blog

in between the election and the renovations, i've been thinking about the class on blogging im expected to give on thursday evening. (i also have a radio show to do that afternoon - it never rains, but it pours.)

i've been thinking about blogging, about why i blog, about why others blog. but besides the question why blog at all, i wondered what makes people start in the first place.

i started blogging over a year ago, just around the time we moved my grandmother out of her house at the jersey shore where she had lived for nearly 100 years, and up here to connecticut. on the one hand, i know the blog serves as an outlet, a cathartic release, a blend of public rant and private whine. if no will remember me for my secret thoughts, what better place to make them public?

but sometimes it feels like more than that.

so what about you, gentle readers-who-also-blog? what got you started?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

what made you start?

Monday, November 3, 2008

thoughts on election eve

i don't think it's any accident that we will elect our next president essentially during samhain. i don't think it's any accident senator obama's grandmother chose to cross before the election. season of the hag, season of transcendence and transformation, of rebirth, and the seeds of new life... the stars themselves line up for change. the old mindsets must pass away, because the world is turning into another sort of place, kicking and screaming, perhaps, but a world where community and cooperation will be valued over competition and greed.

i hope in this election those of us with the ability to peer fearlessly into the darkest night and see dawn's first glimmer will trump those who can only gaze fruitlessly into the past. i hope those of us who have Faith will prove that there are more of us than there are of those who only have fear.

i hope that as wednesday dawns - my grammy's birthday, in fact (and guy fawkes day, too, that rollicking old anarchist who tried to blow up Parliament) - it really WILL be, as in the words of ronald reagan, Morning in america.

so im not going to say go out and vote tomorrow. im going to tell you to go out and vote for obama. if you plan on voting for mccain, do yourself the favor, save the strain on your heart and stay home in your rocking chair.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

home stretch

Beloved taped the shelves yesterday, and today, as soon as i finish typing this blog entry, i'm going to put a coat of primer on them. a coat, or maybe two, of paint, and then the shelves will be finished. Beloved is even making tiling noises about finishing the backsplash, but if he can't get to it before next weekend, i won't be heartbroken. everything comes in its time.

i wrote nearly 3000 words yesterday - 1800 in the morning, and then another 1000 before bed. it felt good to find myself lost in the rhythm of writing again - i love the feeling of looking up and seeing that an hour has gone by without my notice. in a way, this is a different kind of writing - but in a way, it isn't. it's still words, it's still a story.

that the story is my story and that i am the main character feels a bit strange, but that part is the shortest section of the book. one of my pet peeves about self-help books of any variety are the ones which purport to offer the reader some life-changing strategy, and instead, turn out to be thinly-veiled autobiographies, long on the excrutiating details of the author's life, and short on the strategy for change.

i think before i prime those shelves i'll see what else might come.

in the words of shakespeare's henry, once more, dear friends, into the breach.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

for sake of auld lang syne

i dreamt about my grandmother last night. she showed up at the halloween "evening with the Other Side" laura and i went to, facilitated by our friend jess steinman. she said... thank you. in my dream, she seemed pleased i'd taken the kitchen cupboard. it's important you take all these things, nanny dear, she said. but what she wanted to give me weren't things, exactly... they were piles and piles of paper, old yellowing sheaves covered in slanted writing. i think they were stories.

something about this year feels different.

yesterday, the renovations were finished. joe and mike drove away, four months to the day they first arrived. yesterday, i cleaned my writing room as if in preparation for the most honored guests. the space feels fresher, lighter, spare and clean as the freshly bare branches of the birches outside my window.

today i begin NaNoWriMo. to others on the journey, i say, strength to your sword arms, sisters ;).

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.