Tuesday, June 30, 2009

morning has broken

the sun burned through the clouds early this morning, and the air feels fresh and clean and clear. already i've spent twenty-two minutes and twenty-two seconds sorting and throwing away and fixing and filing. i feel so virtuous i might have to do something bad just to even the balance.

i got a lot done yesterday even though you wouldn't know it from the way the house looks. it's one of those projects where in order to make progress, i have to make even more of a mess. but at least i can say that the laundry isn't piled to the ceilings, the trash is all collected, and i can actually see daylight in places i haven't been able to see it before.

today i DON'T have to ferry meg and libby from baby jake's to the doctor's and back again. so far this morning, i've sorted through my altar supplies and fabrics. Beloved cooked me a wonderful breakfast of an egg and burnt homefries made with sunday's leftover baked potatoes. im going to sort through my oracle decks before i tackle my real nemisis... the paperwork.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Monday, June 29, 2009

working the plan

yesterday, while Beloved was splashing up and down the swimming lane in the community pool, i not only figured out my plan of attack, but i also kicked around some ideas for a new story that seems to have erupted, half-formed, out of my head. it's not really a new story - it's quite an old story, one i've tossed around for years and years.

this morning, as i make my way through my List (weekly cleaning in my bed and bathroom; replacing curtains and slipcovers in my writing room; taking meg to the doctors) i plan to think about my story. the hero and the heroine have already appeared... i hope they tell me their names.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

check out what karen found out...

about the rainbow we both witnessed... at Eating...the Angel Way...!

making progress

on the advice of Mother Superior (Beloved's name for my mother), i decided to tackle my writing room one area at a time. unfortunately, the room is so big and there's so much stuff in it i was able to identify nine areas, rather like a feng shui bagua chart. somewhere along the way it occured to me i could set up my writing room with attention to each feng shui area, but for right now, all im doing is cleaning and decluttering.

i started at the doorway, and worked my way past the windows, the air-conditioner and starfish lady. so far i've managed to do about forty percent of the room... all the bookcases but one are sorted and cleaned out (kim: come on down and pick out any from my giveaway pile you want!!!). the ancestor altar is clean and rearranged, my baskets and candles are sorted and stored. the summer curtains are "dryer-cleaning" as we speak.

i have a plan of attack - as my grandmother used to call it - all plotted out, right down to dinner for the next five days. there's a load of towels in the washing machine, Beloved is cooking dinner. we spent almost an hour at the pool. if the weather holds, i might even harvest some of those weeds - the wild impatiens, the mugwort, the dandelions and yarrow - that are springing up so impudently among the other flowers.

next weekend, when Beloved has three days off, we'll go to brooklyn, and i'll go with a cleaner house, a tidier garden and a far less cluttered conscience.

dodging the bullet

Beloved, after a sleepless night due to an achy back, decided not to go to brooklyn today. i can't say i'm disappointed.

my brother's coming thursday - we're meeting him, my sister, and all my nieces and nephews in old sturbridge village which is just over the massachusetts line. i've never been there (they don't let me out much) but i know my mother stopped there on her honeymoon with my stepfather. they took a driving trip through new england, and i remember as a child hearing my mother talk about much she'd like to live here. i think it's sort of funny that both her daughters seem to have roosted here.

i need today to focus and get things done. but first im going back to bed on this soft, rainy gray sunday .... and snuggle with libby.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

mulling it over

i had another relatively easy day today. my friend allison and i had lunch together at passiflora after the writers' circle, which is coming together quite nicely. new members have joined, others have reconnected. we're still forming, but the dough is coming together.

i puttered around the house a bit, shuddered in the direction of the gardens and took a nap. i should've known the Universe had Something in mind.

"will you come with me to Brooklyn," asked Beloved when he came home this afternoon. "please?"

Beloved is going to Brooklyn because his mother has reached the place my grandmother reached a few years ago - incapable of living on her own in the place she wants to live. it's a very hard place to be, and it's a very hard place for the people around you. i had my mother to support and guide me. Beloved has no one but me. Beloved doesn't ask for very much in terms of interaction with his mother - he knows she's difficult, and he doesn't impose on me. the fact he would want me to come along at all is significant.

and so, tomorrow morning, very early, i expect we'll go down to brooklyn, Beloved and i and not so much attempt to reason with his mother, as to document her dissolution.

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Friday, June 26, 2009

time for me

i took a little time for myself today... first, this morning, a visit with my friend rose, who gifted me with the most adorable little pocket goddess:

to give you some idea of how tiny she really is, here's a picture of her with my writing genie:

if you visit her blog, What Rose Made Today, you will find your way to get one of your very own! rose fed me homemade biscuits and some of the strawberries you can see on her blog - it was a most soul-satisfying lunch.

this afternoon, an astrology reading from vicki noble, the co-creator of the motherpeace tarot deck. the motherpeace deck was the first deck i was able to simply understand without benefit of reading the manual that came with the deck.

i dropped meg and libby off at the movies and treated myself to some time with Beloved. i've got sloppy joes simmering on the stove, and a burger grilling for meg. the rain continues to fall and buddy trembles at every rumble of thunder. i hear the jeopardy theme playing on tv.

all in all.. .it's been a very nice day.

and furthermore, the war will end... blessed be.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

one dead husband...FIVE other women?

not only can't i make this stuff up, i wouldn't want to.

i believe im supposed to feel sorry for the author of the book Perfection: a memoir of love and betrayal, because after her husband died, she discovered he'd been cheating on her with FIVE other women.

she says that what she learned from a brief affair of her own with someone else's husband was that "there are right things and wrong things to do and you will pay for them if you harm someone else."

i mean... seriously. that's it? that's what she learned? break your word, or be party to another's dishonorable act, against another woman and possibly her children in their most vulnerable place, and you think that's why you shouldn't do it? cause you pay for it?

obviously her husband didn't. he died peacefully of an aneurysm, leaving a legacy of merry mayhem in his wake. seems to me he got away with it all.

how ms metz could be so deluded doesn't really surprise me, and i didn't need to read any further in the new york times article this morning. the seeds of her husband's infidelities were sown like the eggs of dead cockroaches when she failed to understand the real lesson.

she was wrong to cheat with a married friend in her youth not because someone made her "pay." (though how, exactly, i wondered, did anyone really do that? i don't see how a card full of dead cockroaches, no matter how long one keeps it, could in any way be equal to the pain ms metz inflicted.)

ms metz clearly failed to understand some aspect of the lesson of her own experience, and so the Universe slammed it back at her, times five. she seems to have come through it all okay, although i'm not sure from reading the article she really gets the bigger picture.

i don't know if i want to read the book...libby will be spending a lot of time tutoring or volunteering at the library this summer so perhaps i will check it out... but i AM really glad that ms metz made her dead husband and his cheating her problem.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

progress on the pictures

this is some of what my mother's had me busy finishing:

bonnie and clyde had nothing on us:

Beloved as a baby:

me, in the hospital, two days old:

picture gallery, phase two:

keeping busy

my mother is a cleaning dynamo.

already she's swept, dusted and decluttered my living room and kitchen. today, after meg's doctor appointment, she will turn her attention to my writing room.

i'm prepared.

i think.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

we survive

meg and i survived her surgery yesterday, and libby, as of 9:45 this morning, will have survived her first half of high school.

i hope we all survive my mother's visit. in the first twenty minutes of her visit, she had me throw away at least three things that have been languishing in that limbo reserved for objects bordering the edge of their official usefulness, but not quite past the point of no return.

she promises to tackle my writing room today - the room that absorbed the stuff from my bedroom and now still holds the overflow. because im resisting the temptation to put it all back, the stuff remains piled up and quite frankly im at a loss as to what to do with it. i have no doubt that my mother will know what to do with it.

she noticed the bunch of overripe bananas, and suggested that tomorrow "we" could make banana bread. or, she suggested brightly, how about banana cream pie?

when i reminded her neither her nor i have ever made such, she just laughed.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Monday, June 22, 2009

happy thoughts appreciated!!

this morning meg is having her shoulder operated on to fix a small tear in one of her muscles. all healing thoughts, happy energy and kind wishes are MOST appreciated!

and furthermore, the war will end.... blessed be.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

a letter to my daddy

with best wishes for a happy father's day to all the great daddies out there....

Dear Daddy –

Happy Father’s Day!

It occurred to me that fifty years ago, you celebrated your first Father’s Day – all because of me.

So I thought that in recognition of such a momentous occasion as the fiftieth anniversary of your first Father’s Day – I’d put into words exactly how much you mean to me, because one of the things that has become abundantly and manifestly clear to me the older I get is how truly lucky I’ve been.

But I was more than lucky – I was blessed. I didn’t just have the kind of daddy who played and danced and sang and told me stories on rainy Saturdays… I was even luckier than that. Because what you gave me – better than memories of childhood or legacy of wealth – is the very best of myself, the part of myself that has brought me the most joy, the most personal satisfaction, the part that makes me different from everyone else I know.

If there’s any spark of creative genius in me at all, Daddy, I know it comes from you. That’s why I’m only partly joking when I say that genes like mine deserve to be replicated.

And so, whatever you feel you did or didn’t do for me, however you look back and evaluate yourself as a parent, I hope you realize first of all you were a great Daddy when I was little. Many of the best and most loving memories of my childhood are of you. Poor Ray couldn’t measure up to my idea of what men were supposed to be like. It’s funny that Don who grew up without a father handles the job far better, and his role model was Superman. You set a very high bar, Daddy.

I hope I live long enough to see my own children reach the point I know I have, and I wanted you to know I’ve reached it. I’m happy – at least with who I am. My life isn’t perfect of course, and I’d still like to see my name on the bestseller lists and I hope you stick around to see it, but even if you don’t, I know you’ll be there, because I do talk to dead people, Daddy, and they all talk back.

So for your fiftieth father’s day, Daddy, know you’ve done good. I know you’ve accomplished a lot in your life and that by anyone’s measure you are a most successful man. But for me, at least, the most important work that I will ever do is to raise my children, and you did so good you enabled me to be both father and mother to my own children and to raise them well in spite of their own father’s best efforts to the contrary.

If the sins of the fathers get passed down the generations, it’s also possible for the stuff they get right to pass down, too, and I want you to know that it has. Baby Jake already shows signs of being artistically gifted as well as athletically – his favorite two activities are painting and playing catch. I look at Baby Jake’s enormous hands and big brown eyes and I feel okay about a future with people like him in it. If there’s going to be a big job to do, he looks like he’s going to be strong enough to do it…in no small way thanks to you.

Thank you for being the best Daddy, ever. And thank you, even more than that, for being MINE.

my picture project

i've been working on my picture project for nearly two years, ever since we brought a truckload of pictures back from my grandmother's house. when we did the kitchen renovation last summer, that was a good reason to swoop up the rest of the pictures. it was time to refresh and redo but it proved itself to be an even more massive project than even i envisioned. it involved removing pictures from old or broken frames, putting them in new frames or usable frames, and it's still not finished - although what i think of as "phase one" is done:

this is phase two. i painted part of the hallway wall to create a focal point, and today Beloved has promised me to get molding. im painting the molding the same honey white as the rest of the molding in the house. it's going top and bottom on the brown part to create a framed in space. then the rest of the photographs are getting hung there. at least i hope all the rest of the photos are getting hung there... if not... im going to have to find another wall...

you know you're in new england when....

you spend the shortest night of the year shivering under the vermont country store's finest down-alternative summer-weight blanket in forest pine, listening to a monsoon-driven rain sluice off the roof, and the last time you think you remember seeing the sun was for a few fleeting moments yesterday, at high noon.

they couldn't have been that fleeting, however, because i was silly enough to hang a bedspread out to air - which is now getting a thorough soaking. oh, well, rain water is good for things, right?

it's just about five am as i type this but even the bullfrogs and the birds are subdued by the weight of the water, the chill of the air. at least the weeds don't look quite so cocky. yet.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

stuff i did today (and others)

i finally got my bedroom cleaned up to the point i can show you what i've been up to:

i call the picture above the bed "fairies dancing on the lawn at midnight." Beloved painted it and calls it something else, but i like my title better. the corner cabinet i found at the used furniture store. it fit perfectly into that corner, based on a wing and a guesstimate. i painted the picture beside the window...it's one of my Archetype paintings... the Hermit.

i'm proud to say everything in the room has been refurbished, refinished, recycled or repurposed. the chair, for example, was my desk chair originally. i painted it and recovered it with fabric from a pillow sham that happened to be a size i couldn't use!
Beloved did the painting - its me, or at least me the way i used to be and wish to be remembered ;).

the king-size quilt is one of my major scores - i got this one at tjmaxx for $67.95.. discounted from something ridiculous - over $400, i believe! i cleaned it a few years ago and put it away in the attic... getting it out again was like experiencing the thrill of the sale all over again!

tagged!... or, what's good to do on a rainy evening...

...by dina of Walking Within the Spiral. talking to her is even more fun than reading her blog!

so here's the deal....

The rules:
1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, add one more question of your own.
2. Tag eight other people.

What is your current obsession?
hm... currently...home decorating projects. i always seem to be in the process of planning, shopping, executing or cleaning up something that involves paint and large swaths of fabrics...
What is your weirdest obsession?
that's more like it...irish music, maybe? st patrick's day is the only time of year i know all the words to all the songs... and i do mean ALL the words...

What are you wearing today?
clothes, of course. fig leaves stopped being big enough a few years ago.

What’s for dinner?
tossed salad with white-zinfandel vineagarette dressing, apple-stuffed porkchops, french fries, baklava, coffee and one vodka-cranberry-lime cocktail

What would you eat for your last meal?
i find this one a tad disturbing. i don't want to know my last meal is my last meal...im going to have to replace this one...with:
Long (as in 100+) miserable life, or short (as in < 25), happy one?

What’s the last thing you bought?
green silk ribbon to go around my straw hat.

What are you listening to right now?
the yankee/marlins game, Beloved snoring and the rain falling

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
rose's.... she's having a solstice party

Which language do you want to learn?
What do you love most about where you currently live?
the loveliness of it all.
What style is your current home decorated in?
hmmm... take your pick... early-attic, shabby-chic, viable-vintage

If you were a time traveler what era would you live in?
Well, i'd live in whatever era it was that allowed me to time travel, of course, and VISIT as many as i could survive.

What is your favorite colour?
all of them.
What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
i have two shirts, one from j crew, one from abercrombie i bought before abercrombie was abercrombie. both are the kind of 100% cotton that just get softer and softer the more you wash and wear it. one's a blue and black plaid, and one's a soft blue, almost white now. i alternate between one or the other lately every few days.

What were you doing ten years ago?
i was miserably employed as a marketing communications wage-slave.

Describe your personal style?
bohemian preppy
If you had $300 now, what would you spend it on?
books and my kids...and my home decorating projects, of course!

What are you going to do after this?
find the book im currently reading (never surrender by michael dobbs) and go to bed.

What are your favourite films?
vera drake, my cousin vinny, beetlejuice, last of the mohicans, chocolat, almost anything with johnny depp
What inspires you?
what doesn't?

Your favourite books?
wuthering heights, emma, a prayer for owen meany, the double bind, churchill's hour, those who save us, to name a few...

Do you collect anything?
books, babies, bolts of fabric, projects in various stages of completion

What makes you follow a blog?
intelligence, honesty and wit. the more self-revelatory the writer, the more i am entranced.

What was the most enjoyable thing you did today?
Beloved rubbing my feet, cleaning the house with all my girls....even katie - she was mad at her hubby so she brought baby jake over and when she saw how much i had to do, she pitched in, and in true Big-Sister form, she motivated her younger sisters to help, too. no wonder i call her kate the great ;)!

ACK... i nearly forgot.. add one more question of my own:
What makes you comment on a blog?

in accordance with Rule #2, i tag:









saturday sprint

according to the weather man, i have a few precious hours of sunshine to accomplish anything of any substance outside, and this morning i think i'll work on the rocking chairs.

originially, there were six... now there's four. a lot of my memories of my childhood are twined up in these rocking chairs. i was sitting in one when i was four and my grandmother told me she wouldn't love me any more if i continued to stutter. i stopped stuttering. There. On the spot. i don't really recommend my grandmother's application of such a tough love technique on a four-year-old, but it worked.

my mother was sitting in one of them, vast with child, when she asked me out of the blue one day if i thought it looked as if things were going well her pregnancy. i remember how i looked at her startled, and afraid that i should tell her what i Knew - that my brother was going to be born with Down's Syndrome. But all she really wanted to know was if she looked fat, and so i relaxed. well, you ARE eight months pregnant, i remember i said.

my grandmother used to sit for hours and hours on the porch, in the summer, watching the world and the traffic go by. it helped that she lived on one of the busiest corners in ocean city. i think its why she liked the location - in the summer it was like living above a carnival - there was always something to see. i wonder now how content she would've been in a quieter place.

now my intention is to gather the four remaining chairs, like four old ladies, and paint them bright colors instead of the dull green my grandmother preferred. one's going to be light pink, i think, one purple, one hot pink, one a dark burgundy. it's hard for me to settle on colors when i like them all. then it occured to me i didn't have to. i think the four colors will look pretty against the blue house.

i might finish them all off with a coat of white and a crackle finish - but i'll see. i have some fabric stored in the attic - white with a pink windowpane check - that would complement all the shades i have in mind - especially if i put the white crackle coat on top. i know there's more than enough for cushions.

i need to do some cleaning and some vacuuming - the rest of the house has suffered from my painting. i'll post some photos of the bedroom in a bit - assuming Beloved will put his laundry away! the thing of it is though, that no matter how much i do, my mother will make me do it over - or she'll do it over when she gets here - and so i almost hate to put out the initial effort. but i guess i can't have her tiptoeing through dustbunnies and holding her nose, so some sort of heavy-duty housekeeping effort is required.

what's on your agenda, gentle readers?

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Friday, June 19, 2009

on the eve of the summer solstice

the word solstice comes from the latin for sun and standing still, and it is for a period of three to five days that the sun rises to its highest height, and then gradually, begins to sink to its lowest.

this has been a year of many turning points, some subtle, some not so much. it helps to know that i am not the only person experiencing these upheavals, these lessons, these challenges. it helps to know that lonely as my little boat feels in this big ocean, there's lots of us tacking to the same wind.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

listening to the rain

i had lunch today with another friend. we chatted about our daughters, our men, our writing group. i shared my woes, she shared hers. we walked around the mall together, checking out everything from hardware to bracelets. when i came out, it was still pouring.

she asked me how i interpreted the cards from my last spread. it reminded me that i felt there was still more in the cards for me.

this evening, as a purple twilight deepens, and the rain still softly falls, i drew the rest.

i interpreted the four of swords in the last spread as the point i'd reached after my confrontation last week. with the three of pentacles the Work continues, after a brief rest. The figure in the five of cups watches an otter reach for a leaping salmon, his two full cups secure, even while the other three lie drained to their dregs. the figure in the ten of wands balances his shifting load up a rocky path, but i notice he has a firm grasp on his rope, a broad back suited to the task, and sure footing. the seven of cups reminds me not to spend too much time in navel-gazing or monday-morning quarterbacking. the task, as the eight of wands reminds me, is still before me, divinely inspired as it may be. the spread ended, with the princess of pentacles, gazing in delight at her prize.

or so i thought.

draw one more, said the Voice.

for some reason, i thought of Kali and Hecate, goddesses of endings and crossroads, transformations and blood. They are not Energies i dance with readily or lightly, and i never invoke or invite Their Presences without all due respect. to unleash Kali or summon Hecate into one's life is to unleash radical change that may come in the least unexpected of places.

the first thing i learned about Them is that when They show up, i'm no longer in charge. i can resist, to a degree, but Both ultimately will have surrender, for Theirs is the Reality that will not be denied. a brush with Either, and you can never be the same. and yet, i've learned that Their lessons can be swift, and tempered with the compassion of Kwan Yin, or the mercy of Mother Mary.

the next card i drew was Death... depicted by a gray haired crone holding a skull, a sickle in her belt, a snake on her shoulder.

a burst of rain splatters through the birches. i think They've heard my prayer. blessed be.

vintage linens

last week at passiflora, at the end of my painful conversation with my former associate, i noticed a book had caught my eye. partly it was the green cover, which was almost exactly the same shade i was painting my bedroom. but partly it was the topic - recycling old clothing and other fabrics into other things, even new clothes - that intrigued me. i had no idea why, only that perhaps even as the flames of one thing were rising all around me, the idea of resurrection in any form appealed to me. so i bought it, leafed through, and noticed immediately a few projects that look fun to try.

when we removed my cedar closet last sunday, i also retrieved several boxes from our storage unit where we have what's left of my great-grandparents' furniture. (i say my great-grandparents, because even though i inherited the stuff from my grandmother, as most of my Gentle Readers know, and the stuff is THAT old.)

at any rate, the boxes yielded up christmas decorations, martini glasses, a gravy boat and a lot of vintage linen...napkins, table cloths and what my mother calls bureau scarves. a lot of the tablecloths are embroidered - my grandmother and aunts used to do a lot of needlework. so did i for that matter - my mother still displays a piece i did for my brother, and hauls out a pair of candlewicked guest towels i gave her every christmas.

no wonder i had to buy the book.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Angels in Rainbows

this morning, karen and i got together to put the finishing touches on our proposal. it's so exciting for both of us to see this come together, and its so amazing for me to see how much research karen has been able to find that support and confirm the guidelines.

and today we got another kind of confirmation...the sort only an Angel could send. karen was changing her baby, and i was standing at her front door, looking out over her quiet street and immaculate front lawn. i happened to look up, into the bright blue, cloud-feathered sky.

in the sky, almost directly overhead, was a rainbow. it stretched across the feathery white clouds, shifting color upon color. i called karen and she ran with the baby, fresh diaper barely plastered into place. for easily ten minutes, we gazed wondering, at what we saw.

you think the Angels are pleased with us? i asked karen, as we stood side by side, taking turns staring at the rainbow and cooing to her baby.

it even looks like an Angel, she marvelled.

it was high noon. the sun was overhead, the clouds were barely visible, the light a blinding intense white. a rainbow that time of day, under those conditions, is a rare sight, im certain.

so maybe it wasn't a rainbow at all...

the power of a letter

i've been in a letter-writing mood the past week or so, which can be either a very good thing or a very bad thing depending on what kind of letter i write. i don't write many letters - my emails, even to close friends, tend to be pithy to the point of terse. mostly when i write someone a letter its to tell them one of two things - how much i love them or how deeply i'm upset with them.

last week i had to write one kind of letter. today i wrote the other. for my father's fiftieth father's day, i sent him a letter to tell him what a truly great father he'd been, how lucky i am, and how blessed.

because another thing i've learned in the last few weeks is that there's a world of difference between people who've had a good daddy... and those who didn't.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

if you love something...

let it go, because nature really does abhor a vacuum.

in the last week, i've heard from more friends than i even remembered i had. people who've been sick, people who've been busy with kids and jobs and parents, people i used to know from long-ago have all come calling. consequently, when i haven't been composing the letter i left for laura outlining all that went wrong between us, i've been catching up on friends near and far in both space and time, and i have been touched and gratified - and truly blessed - by all the support and sympathy. this has easily been one of the most physically and emotionally painful periods of my life and i have been humbled by the outpouring of loving-kindness that has come from some of the most unexpected of places.

but the best surprise so far came yesterday, as i was getting ready to go buy dog food. the phone rang as i was reaching for my keys. it was someone whose voice i hadn't heard in over 15 years, someone i reconnected with via the internet and my blog in the last 18 months, someone who... on more than one level... i could've considered a sister.

judy and i met when we were both young mothers - her oldest son and katie are just 12 days apart - and i moved into the same condo complex she was moving out of. she wasn't moving far, and i was really happy about that, because judy and i hit it off from the beginning. judy was there when i started my home daycare business, judy was there to help me figure out what the alarming rash on jamie's tiny little penis was (she had two boy-babies by the time i had one). judy was there when meg was born, our support person for katie and jamie.

how did we lose touch? my ex and i moved away to another city; judy stayed put. when things went bad between mister ex and me, judy wasn't there to see how bad it really got. judy wrote me a letter - not unlike the one i wrote laura on sunday - and that was that. i had to make a new life for myself, i didn't have time to explain.

but as the years rolled on, as life softened, and i saw how friends can come and go not at will, but at the whim of time and fate, i decided to see if i could find her. and so, i did. i emailed judy on new year's 2007, i think - on the heels of the anniversary of my dear friend lorraine's death. i think i even blogged about it.

it made me really happy when judy responded almost immediately. it's made me even happier that she reads my blog, and has continued to be in touch. yesterday evening's call was like manna in the desert, or water from the rock.

if there's one thing life has taught me, it's how true this saying is - if you love something - or someone - let it go. if it - or he or she - loves you too, it will come back.

and so here i stand on the verge of the summer solstice, at the turning point of the year... welcoming one friend back into my life, while i bid another blessings on her journey.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Monday, June 15, 2009

in the interests of full disclosure

some of my Gentle Readers and followers of this blog may have noticed that all references to my former associate, Laura Rose of The Purple Rose have been removed.

i have done this because Laura Rose and i are no longer associates in any way, shape or form.

much as it has pained me, much as i have resisted seeing what's been in front of me all along, in the last few weeks, it's become manifestly clear that laura's valuation of what i brought to our association, and mine - spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and monetarily - were two very different things.

consider, if you will, as a very small and telling example of what went wrong between us, the fact i DID have changes to make on my blog, and she doesn't.

however, you know there's something wrong in a spiritually-based business when one person tells the other that "real" partners bring things like "money or property" - and forgets that there're other things - like intellectual property or creativity or insight - that even the most bottom-line-driven businesses recognize as having value.

so why am i discussing this here, in this most public of forums? shouldn't i keep my mouth shut, smile bravely, pretend that "we're just taking a little break right now?"

well, yes and no.

for one thing, we're not just taking a little break right now, and for another, i don't feel much like smiling.

its in the cards

last christmas, Beloved gave me two tarot decks. both were unexpected, both were not decks i'd pick up on my own. but both are decks i've come to enjoy, and the one deck - the DruidCraft tarot - has become one of my favorite decks to use to read for myself.

it's difficult to read for myself, i find - i know im blind to me, and sometimes i find more confusion in the cards than clarity. i find trusting in spirit to provide what i need - including answers is actually easier than trying to discern any truth i might find in the tarot.

and yet... the pictures are so pretty, the images so compelling, so... thought-provoking. and so this morning, i said, "why not?"

i drew seven cards completely at random as i shuffled,and this is the order in which they fell. i welcome any insights any Gentle Readers may wish to share, because this is what i think is only the first part of a spread i'll have to meditate on a long time:

the nine of wands
the tower
the lovers
the sun
the wheel
the six of wands
the four of swords.

the first thing i notice is how much the figure in the four of swords reminds me of myself.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

fifteen books

I'm sure I'd have a different list tomorrow, but here's today's list. What's yours? Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you.... first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

1. wuthering heights
2. gone with the wind
3. forever amber
4. a prayer for owen meany
5. the double bind
6. the heretic's daughter
7. the handmaid's tale
8. when god was a woman
9. on becoming a novelist
10. starting from scratch
11. the elements of style
12. king lear
13. twelfth night
14. our town
15. holy blood, holy grail

setting boundaries

a few days ago, i found myself in earnest conversation with someone i used to think i knew quite well, and heard this person defend her own hurtful behavior by saying "i think it's healthy to have boundaries."

well, yes, of course it's healthy to have boundaries. if you're dealing with delinquent teenage stepsons, for example, it's very healthy to have boundaries. on the other hand, when the person on the other side of the boundary tells you your boundary is hurting her, and that person happens to be a dear friend, then you have ask yourself why the boundary is there in the first place.

or, rather, the other person should start to wonder why she's sitting there, being hurt.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Friday, June 12, 2009

blogger abc's

my bloggy friend April put this on her blog and i thought it was so cute i had to copy it...

A -Age: 50
B -Bed size: King
C -Chore you hate: Folding clothes
D -Dounuts or Kolaches: Dunkin Donuts plain donut
E -Essential start your day item: sex, then coffee
F -Favorite color: all of them
G -Gold or Silver: platinum
H -Height: 5-3 1/4 - every inch counts!!!!
I -Instruments you play: piano, badly
J -Jokes or Ryhms: Jokes
K -Kids:4 bio, 2 step
L -Living arrangements: my life is arranged quite nicely
M -Movie: Last of the Mohicans
N -Nicknames: libby calls me moochie... Beloved calls me pooh...my daddy calls me princess...my sister calls me nannybelle...because my family of origin calls me (cringe) nan
O-Overnight hospital stays: never
P -Pet Peeve: mean people
Q -Quote you like: "once more, into the breach!"
R -Right or left handed: Left
S -Siblings: 2 brothers, 1 sister, one step-sister and one step-brother
T -Time you wake up: 5:00 AM
U -Underwear: sometimes
V -Vegetable you dislike: brussel sprouts
W -Ways you run late: punctuality is the courtesy of kings... i try hard not to be late
X -X-rays you've had: teeth
Y -Yummy food you make: pot roast, cookies, bread pudding, brownies
Z -Zodiac sign: aries sun, capricorn moon, scorpio rising

check out the Angels...

... on fear.

it's posted at Eating...the Angel Way...and came in response to a common theme that seems to be resonating on so many blogs i've been reading lately...as the song says... "the times, they are a'changing..."

defensive medicine

this morning, as i was perusing my email, i happened to read a question posted on an online forum from a woman who wanted to know if her doctor was jumping the gun by ordering an invasive test to "rule out cancer."

i urged her to seek a second opinion.

just this past winter, i watched several friends undergo a battery of tests to "rule out" all sorts of possible conditions - each one turned out negative. there was nothing wrong with any of my friends. the cause in each case was ultimately determined to be stress.

yes, i said to them, stress from having to endure all the tests. i wondered what their doctors would've said if any of them had had the balls to ask how necessary the tests REALLY were, or how necessary they were so the doctors could feel they'd covered their asses sufficiently.

because in my opinion, that's what we have in this country - a system we call "health care" whose practices are actually dictated by health INSURERS, and whose philosophy of "preventive medicine" seems instead to be motivated by the practice of defensive medicine. in other words, its the practice of - "let's see how many things we can possibly figure out you don't have so in the event you do develop any of them, you won't be able to come back and blame me."

and in the process, they use fear of impending terminal illness and death to scare people into undergoing what in my opinion are barrages of unnecessary tests, while the insurance companies rack up dollar after dollar.

there's something wrong with a system where we can seriously equate access to health CARE with health INSURANCE. there's something wrong with a system where doctors feel compelled to subject their clients to unnecessary test after unnecessary test to rule out possiblity after possiblity simply so they can sleep easier at night. there's something wrong with a system where the first person who greets you at the hospital door, no matter what your condition - unless of course you're comatose or dead - is a person who asks you how you intend to pay.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

wondering if i should worry...

i have a cool little blog counter-thingy that shows me where people who read my blog live and how they come to find it.

today someone from india looking for "how to write sex chat" clicked on my blog.

i wonder if they found what they came looking for... :O!

way to go, libby jo

my youngest daughter announced her intention to become a teacher about a year ago. "i think i'd be good at it, mommy," she said one afternoon when i picked her up from tutoring the little kids at the primary school. "teaching the little kids is lots of fun."

so this spring, when i saw an ad for someone looking for a high-school student to tutor their son who was going into vo-tech school in the fall, i suggested that libby call and find out about the job.

i don't know what to say, mommy, she said.

i wrote it out for her.

when the lady who placed the ad called back to speak to libby, she commented on how smooth and put-together libby sounded. we met a week or so later. by then, libby had not only won an award for having Distinguished Honors all year, she'd also won the math award. (anyone who really knows me knows what a cosmic joke on me THAT is.)

it turns out eunice (yes, there's a person named eunice) is a nice lady and her son seems like a nice kid. it's clear she's trying to do the best she can for him, and i liked her right off the bat just for that. libby and chris are going to meet at the library for four or five hours a week, and libby will make $8 an hour.

last night was their first session, just to see how they worked together. it seemed to go really well and libby came home with $12 in her pocket. "look, mommy," she said, as she peered into the envelope, "my first money as a teacher."

way to go, libby jo.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

the rain is raining all around...

... it falls lush and tropical on the ponds, washing away weeks worth of pollen and goo, running down the birch leaves in little rivulets. even the birds have taken cover. the sound is soothing, calming as a balm on the last few days.

did i mention that my children are feuding? passions have been roused, lines have been drawn, the dogs of war unleashed. as a gang of four, my children are a formidable force; when they turn upon each other, what used to sound like puppies yapping now's like the baying of the hound of the baskervilles.

i've realized its time to write a Letter to my father.

in the last few months of her life, my dear friend lorraine didn't want me to come and see her. it'll be too upsetting for both of us, she said. and so i wrote her a letter to say good-bye.

at her memorial service, both her daughter and her son-in-law expressed how much that letter had meant to her. i wish i could write like that, her son in law said to me. and i realized that telling someone you care means quite a lot - putting it into words means even more. print media may die, but writing will, in some form or fashion go on forever because the written word has so much weight.

and so while i know i'll call my daddy today - or most likely tonight - when the time change means he will be safely home - i think i'm also going to write him and tell him what a very good Daddy he is.

back from the Big Apple

i survived the show, Beloved survived the ride home (without me to navigate), meg barely survived the ride to my mother's to come and get me. i don't always like to go away but i always love to come home.

we arrived at the waldorf in plenty of time to check our bags, find an irish pub and as Beloved likes to say, "adjust our attitudes" in time to see the show.

ah, the show. here's where i show you how odd i really am. i can't say i liked the show much. don't get me wrong. it was Broadway, it was brilliant - in the most technically correct kind of brilliant. the timing - for the most part - of dancers and music and lyric and line was impeccable. the actors were all bright, polished, shiny people, with taut, toned bodies, projecting the kind of charisma only actors and politicans can.

but the story? call me jaded but i've seen this one before. singer (or group) starts out small, struggles, gets big, past comes back to haunt, or someone goes out of control, singer or group tumbles from the limelight, learns lesson, comes back bigger or fades gracefully.

the jersey accents were endearing but straight out of the sopranos, not off the backstreets... the use of dialect in anything is a bug-a-boo of mine. the music was okay if you like whining falsettos and lounge-lizards.

needless to say, Beloved loved it.

i mostly reminisced about how the last time i was in that very theatre it was with my friend lorraine. we had stopped at the same pub for lunch, and when the show was over, i remembered how we popped up out of our chairs and ran for the ladies room, lorraine yelling "save me a stall!" under cover of the applause as i sprinted on ahead. i'm pretty sure it was the last show we saw together, too.. the full monty, which is more my idea of an original show.

afterwards, we checked into our room on the 35th floor. it had a king-size bed covered in acres of down, and a mound of pillows nearly as tall as Beloved. the view was mostly grand - i dared a peek straight down and left moist palm-prints on the glass. i hate to say it, but the thought of what it would have felt like to fall from three times that height with a fire at my back shivered through me. i can't go to new york any more without remembering September 11.

the best part of the night came when we retrieved the car and zipped through manhattan to brooklyn, and the place that serves lobster tails that remind me for some inexplicable reason of the restaurants of my childhood. it's also Beloved's favorite italian place in his mother's neighborhood, and so we both got to sit and enjoy the sense of being in a familiar place.

i ate shrimp and crusty italian bread, lobster tails and broccoli rabe with such abandon Beloved stared me when i finally put down my fork. i've never seen you strip a lobster tail like that, he said.

i haven't been this hungry in quite a while, i replied.

early the next morning, we loaded up the car and, in the Boss's words, "crossed the river to the jersey side." at one point, i thought we were lost, but a quick call to my stepfather reassured me that we hadn't missed our exit.

i spent most of sunday reading tarot cards for my mother's dragon-boat team's fundraiser. i underestimated the size of the event to the degree that you might be calling hurricane katrina a bad storm. the money all went to my mother's team but i guess i racked up enough good karma that when i got a call about my father being hospitalized suddenly that morning, it was enough to do the trick.

this was a close one, said my stepsister, pam, as she filled me in on the details. fortunately, they managed to get it all under control - your dad is an amazing man.

but he can't last forever. i'm thinking it's time to book another trip.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

off to see the wizard

well, not exactly. Beloved and i are going to new york city to see a show and spend the night. my sister gave me the tickets for my 50th birthday, goddess bless her her generous heart, but the more i think about it, the more i realize that the whiney falsettos of the four seasons strike me as melodious as steel scraped across concrete.

on the other hand, a trip to manhattan is always fun with Beloved. born and raised in brooklyn, Beloved spent grad school driving a cab back and forth across the city and its environs. consequently, not only is he willing to drive in the city, he drives fearlessly, navigating the abrupt shoals and eddies of traffic with ease.

on sunday, im reading cards for some benefit of my mother's ... her dragon boat team is involved. im going to try to remember to bring my camera... the sight of me and my mother paddling a dragon boat should be one for the ages. my mother is part of a team of breast cancer survivors, who participate in dragon boat competitions up and down the east coast. they've gone as far as australia and my intrepid mother went with them.

Beloved is bringing me to my mother's house on sunday morning, and then returning home... i'll be staying overnight. meg's bringing baby jake to pick me up. i'll be back late monday afternoon, but until then i won't have internet access. i hope all my gentle readers have a happy, healthy and abundant weekend filled with sunshine and kind people!

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Friday, June 5, 2009

increasing my "authority"

It's time to repost our list.
If you want to join, follow these simple steps.

~Copy and paste this blog post into a new blog post on your site.
~Come back here and leave a comment with a full link address to direct us to your post.
~Your link will then be added to the list.

When the list ends in late June, come back and update your list with all of the members. We are atttempting to limit this list to 100 blog links.

The Contest Hub
I am Harriet
Lifes Perfect Pictures
Diana Rambles
Insanity and Bliss
Lolas Diner
Life is Sweet
Happy Healthy Families
Five Monkeys
Http://www.ilikeitfrantic.net/2009/06/technorati-list.html http://theredheadriter.blogspot.com/2009/06/technorati-list.html http://yesiknowwhatcausesthat.blogspot.com/2009/06/technorati-list.html

i have no idea if i did this right!!!

who says susan boyle lost?

i don't understand it. people who think susan boyle "lost" the other night - including poor miss boyle herself, apparently - aren't focused on what she did, undisputably and undeniably, win.

sure, she may have lost the competition, but so what? first of all, she lost to a dance troupe. that's like a losing a cooking competition to a rendition of pate d'foi gras when you're entering chocolate torte. how could a singer and a dance troupe - not even an individual dancer - possibly be judged on the same criteria for performance? it's absurd to even consider the show a "competition" if that's the case.

and who doesn't think the queen isn't going to ask miss boyle to sing for her?

because, in my opinion, susan boyle won the moment she opened her mouth that very first evening and the voice of an angel poured out of her throat. she WON the moment simon's jaw dropped and the smarmy smile got wiped off his face, when piersy started to grin and the lady judge started to cry. she WON in that moment and the fact that it was captured on camera and broadcast around the globe via internet means that that moment of unadulterated triumph of joy over judgement will live for a very long time. it will continue to evoke tears and cheers. miss boyle's name will become a synonym for the Light that shines within us all, cloaked as it may be in the most ordinary of skin.

i hope miss boyle is feeling better and i hope she is able to understand that for me, and for just about everyone i know, she didn't lose a competition - she lit up an entire world.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

my yellow beetle

driving my yellow beetle is one of the unimportant things that makes me happy, and stacie, who visited me last summer, noted in her comment she didn't see it when she was here.

it wasn't in the garage, stacie... it was on a mission.

my beetle came to me when my dear friend, lorraine, died a few years ago. her daughter made sure it came to me when lorraine passed because alison knew how much i loved to drive it whenever lorraine and i went anywhere together. i even drove it into manhattan so we could see the full monty, and liam neeson in the crucible among others.

around here its not the best car to drive in the winter - our driveway is long and uphill, the roads are narrow, winding country lanes. from november to february, i don't drive it much, but spring, summer and fall, it's such a happy color, it's hard not to be in good mood when i drive it.

late last february, i got a call from my son that his girlfriend had been in an accident. on her way to work, her little car spun out of control and crashed in a snowbank. cj was more or less okay - her little car wasn't.

i told him she could borrow the bug.

but by the time they showed up to pick it up, i knew what i wanted from her in exchange. cj is a dear sweet girl who's had some really awful cards dealt her way. she's kind and loving to my son, honed by life into a pretty little thing with a spine of steel. but she's had some tough breaks and i knew it was time to offer her a better deal. she couldn't afford a more reliable car. and one big blot on her credit score was the fact that although she'd been separated from her first mistake... i mean husband... for more than three years... she was still legally married.

"honey," i said, when they showed up, "here's what i want you to do. you can drive the bug. drive it as long as you need it. all you have to do is standard maintenance... change the oil, stuff like that. but don't worry about bringing it back. use the time and the money you'd put toward a new car right now to save up for a divorce. because until you break completely from the past, you really can't move forward."

i remember how she looked at me, still shocked from the accident. "in fact," i continued, "you can't bring it back to me until you get divorced."

on august 18, nearly six months to the day later, cj got her divorce. my little yellow bug drove her to the courthouse and back and i know lorraine was laughing in the front seat beside her, all the way.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

i've been tagged!!!

by DIVAEVA.. of DailyDoseOfDiva!

here's the rules....

List Six Unimportant Things That Make You Happy.
Mention and link to the person who tagged you.
Tag six of your favorite bloggers to play along, and comment on their blog to let them know they've been tagged.

as tags and memes go, this one is pretty simple... so after some thought... here's six unimportant things that make me happy, in no particular order...

1. the way sam and buddy greet me differently from every other member of the family.

2. the way Beloved brings me roses almost every morning from may through october.

3. the taste of my first sip of every morning's coffee

4. driving the yellow beetle that belonged to my dear friend, lorraine

5. the scent of lilacs

6. the sound of rain

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

confirmation from obama

it's not often i look for confirmation in the pages of the political press, but i have to say my heart was lightened when i happened to read this quote from obama: "part of being a good friend is being honest."

aye, there's the rub. how do you be honest and spare the other person's feelings? how do you speak your truth and allow that someone else's might remain different from yours?

yesterday i met with a dear friend and had a very hard conversation. i had to explain how my feelings were being hurt, even while i understood it was not intentional. it's hard to sit with someone you care about and tell them they are, at least in your world, messing up. it's even harder to say it in a way that they can hear it and not throw things at you, retreat into silence or launch accusations of their own.

and now comes the hard part... because i'm second-guessing myself now, wondering if i did the right thing, if i said the right thing, if i handled myself in the "right" way. i must allow my friend the courtesy of sitting in her turn with all i said. i must release all expectation of any outcome, positive or negative.

so it was very nice to turn to a random web page and see that no less a person that the president of the united states - someone i can actually respect, for a change, no less! - had had this to say in the last 24 hours: "part of being a good friend is being honest."

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Monday, June 1, 2009

things i hope

1. i hope my son gets a new job with a salary and benefits.

2. i hope sam doesn't poop on the rug tonight while i go to the grocery store - she refused to poop outside and i swear the dog has Plans.

3. i hope my research assistant's move goes smoothly - she's got two little girls and a persnickety hubby.

4. i hope today my words were true.

in the merry month of june

my middle daughter meg is going to dublin. she got herself accepted into a semester abroad program - making the dean's list all year while taking care of baby jake while his mommy and daddy work - and now she is headed back to, as Beloved likes to say, the Land of Our People.

freud once observed that the irish were the only people who couldn't be helped by psychoanalysis, and gk chesterton said they were the "men whom God made mad." they're also the men God made devastatingly handsome in a way that has nothing to do with how they look... although a lot of irishmen ARE devastatingly handsome - pierce brosnan and my daddy being two of them. but its not just how irishmen look that makes them so attractive... its how they sound.

and so we begin to make our lists and our plans, and while i know she's coming back.. i wonder for how long.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.