Tuesday, September 29, 2009

thus spake granny annie

browsing the internet, i found a link to a site called "motivation for moms." it's one of those sites that offers daily tips and quips for busy mothers. today's was, and i kid you not: show your kids how much you appreciate them. do something nice for them... take them out for a little treat.

no wonder so many young mothers are bewildered, not to mention exhausted.

the first priority in my house is making sure my children appreciate ME. after all, when the item at the top of the list of "things i do for love of you" reads GAVE YOU LIFE, i think the balance for who is supposed to appreciate whom is squarely on my side of the playing field. most women i know are lousy at taking care of themselves and even lousier at expecting their kids to help them take care of anything, let alone mommy. from the blogs i read, it's pretty clear to me that the idea of telling a kid - leave mommy alone, or help mommy do this or im taking away your tv for the week - hasn't ever occured to them. i've spent nearly a hundred years collectively mothering, and one of the reasons i've been so good at it is because i have taught my children that i have needs too. that's when i show them i appreciate them -not for simply showing up in my life - when they are cooperative, kind and show that they're aware the world does not revolve around them.

so do i disagree in practice for showing my kids i "appreciate" them? no, of course not. my children are products of their age and socioeconomic status, and that means they get given lots. but the standards i hold them to are high, and the expectations i place upon them in terms of time and energy contributed to the collective family coffers is considerable. there's a quid pro quo involved that includes my needs. the degree to which im willing to show them appreciation is on some level the degree to which they've shown me they appreciate me by being cooperative, kind and generally agreeable.

would i be taking my kids out for a treat today? sure, after the chores and homework are done, and mommy's had her nap.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

painting roey's cupboard

this piece stood in the original kitchen in my grandmother's house. i say original because at some point before i was born, they added a second kitchen, on the same floor, but farther away from the living area of the house. my great-grandmother, my grandmother said, couldn't stand the smell of food. for as long as i could remember it, it was white, with silver knobs. it was one of the pieces i insisted we include in our kitchen - it may not be elegant, but it's incredibly useful.

here it is, all scraped and sanded and primed:

with its new color on:

the finishing touch:

check it out...

Eating... the Angel Way for a yummy root-veggie roast that nourishes the root, sacral and solar plexus chakras...

and Meg In Ireland ... for the continuing adventures of irish moo...

sunday morning silence

i woke up to the sound of falling rain. Beloved has yet another trip to make to the Land of His People (aka brooklyn) so im all alone in this sweetest of silences. i've been alternating playing the piano, dancing to irish music, checking my email, meditating, and stenciling my great-grandmother's cupboard. i like the plain silver knobs i found at the hardware store, and the vine stencil has come out just as i hoped. im taking a break now, to let the vine dry, before i finish up with a few flowers and maybe a berry or two.

i have a lot of packing up to do for the rest of the day... meg's bathroom, meg's bedroom, the exercise room all have shelves of books and other items that need to be packed in boxes before much else can be done. we're hoping to order the stuff this week... so major progress will begin soon. im even thinking of asking my mother and stepfather if they'd like to come and help me spend a few days painting. (maybe it could worth another broadway show.)

i have quite a few pieces of furniture to refinish or paint - libby's new desk, meg's new desk, meg's bookcases, libby's bookcase, libby's wall shelf, meg's dresser and blanket chest and wall shelves, AND the bookcase im moving into the exercise room - not to mention a couple of bookcases i plan to move into my writing room as a quick aside.

in terms of writing - do you do that any more, Beloved wondered the other day - my character interviews are proceeding apace. im really quite amazed at what the first one told me. im tempted to go tearing into the story, but im so intrigued by what happened this first time, im more tempted to interview the others. i can feel them lining up, just beyond the Veil. maybe i'll share some of them here.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

where i've been and what i've been up to...

i didn't realize nearly a week had gone by without a blog post until a friend asked me when i thought i might write again. i miss your blog, she said and until she said it, i hadn't noticed it'd been a while since i'd written.

in the meantime, i've gotten a lot done.

my grandmother's old kitchen cupboard has been scraped, sanded, primed and painted and ive got the stencil patterns all picked out. ive decided much as i like the cute cream-colored knobs we put on last year, i need simple silver pulls for the new look. so it's off to ace hardware this morning - im hoping the pulls i want are so simple even the local place has them. i'll post before and after photos when im finished.

i've also been sorting through the last of the boxes from my grandmother's house. i have to admit i teared up as i opened them - for some reason they all contained the simplest and homiest of her possessions: the things i remember using all the time, things familiar by touch, by smell. a few things broke in the shipping, a few things i'll offer to the kids. a few i'll give away. a few i'll keep for me... like the knives that always stayed sharp, despite the corrosive ocean air.

i asked my grandmother once how - or where - she sharpened them. i don't sharpen them, she answered, looking slightly shocked, as if i'd inquired into some intimate personal habit. then how do they stay so sharp, i pressed. i don't know, she replied, with the faraway look she wore when she didn't want to tell me the truth. they just do.

i wonder if they'll stay sharp for me.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Friday, September 18, 2009

new moon

im sitting here feeling satisfied with my tummy full of hot milk and cinnamon. i'd like to write more, but i keep stopping, to sip my milk, to listen to the peepers and the bullfrogs, to feel the cool breeze tickle my neck through the lace curtains.

the puppies are tucked away, even Beloved has gone to bed. i have a busy weekend planned, whatever i end up doing.

it's been a nicely balanced week. i accomplished just about everything on my to-do list, made some progress on fulfulling my Wish List, and gave some deep and serious consideration to what my next Writing Project will be. i saw six clients, helped out with baby jake. i attempted to broker at least a state of detente between my mother and my sister, who are about to launch a full scale Cold War.

im going to go to bed now, and ask for a Dream. it's a good night to lie in bed and Listen.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

getting here from there

a bloggy friend of mine posed this question: what would you tell yourself 20 years ago? her answer was so poignantly, beautifully, brutally honest, she inspires me to do the same:

dear annie -

it's 1989 and this is the year you move to bethlehem, pennsylvania, following your husband like the dutiful wife you're trying so damn hard to be. he's going to manage to fuck this job up, as well as the one he gets afterwards, but don't worry, honey... sooner or later you're gonna wake up.

don't fight so hard when he wants to bring home the internet, okay? that's your ticket out - that, and the story that's going to come to you in oh... i don't know...six months or so after you move. you're going to feel the first inkling when you drive past that house right around the corner from the one you're going to live in. you're going to KNOW that something bad happened there, and when you find out the place really is called "the house of horrors", a strange little chill is going to go down your back. this hasn't been the first time you've "known" things, and it's not going to be the last, either.

so don't be so afraid. i know you're young and you've got 3 little kids - haha, there's a 4th coming - and you don't seem to be very good at anything terribly useful. you should've paid closer attention to how angry Jerkimo Jones got when you scored nearly twice what he did in the LSAT. but don't waste any time beating yourself up when you do figure out you should've paid closer attention, okay? just cut your losses, and move on.

and don't waste too much time bemoaning the fact you didn't go to law school. most people who you will meet who are lawyers are miserable. law school does something to people, something mean and nasty and not nice. you're not going to need that. life's going to beat you up plenty, but you're going to come out of it just fine. more than fine, really. that which doesn't kill you is going to temper you into something finer and stronger than steel... something more like mithril.

so when the valley of the shadow starts closing in, and you have to walk through places so dark and scary it seems it might be easier just to give up, hang in there. because i'm here - twenty years later - waiting for you, and the view from here is grand.

how to live with a ghost - from Sited & Blogged

Question: I think I have a ghost. Am I crazy, and what should I do about it?

Answer: No, you're not crazy. Lots of places, not necessarily old houses, hold energy from the past. There are many reasons why this can happen, and it doesn't necessarily mean you've got an evil entity lurking in your attic. The first thing to consider of course, is what kind of activity you're experiencing. Take some time to keep at least a mental list of what happens, when it happens, and who's around when it does.

Call in a plumber, check batteries, even things like train or subway schedules if you live near one. Ask other family members to be aware. If does happen that you find there're things happening that can't be explained by rational explanation, don't panic. Consider if any of your own family members or loved ones have passed. Investigate the history of the property, if possible.

Consider as well the geography of the place. Here in New England, for example, there's a lot of granite in the soil, close to the ground, and, in our cemeteries, slabs of it. Granite is especially good at holding energy vibrations, so not only are there a lot of houses in New England full of history, but a lot of those houses are sitting on top of foundations or on ground full of what amounts to energetic sponges.

I've lived with a ghost for the last eleven years, and it's perfectly possible to come to an understanding with residents who refuse to leave. (there could be many reasons - including the nature of the haunting itself - why you may need to learn to either accept the haunting or move out.) Most intelligent hauntings - ie, ghosts who can be interacted with - can be reasoned with, in my experience. On the other hand, if you are truly frightened, don't hesitate to call in practitioners who understand how to work with negative energies. One of the worst things to do in the case of a truly malevolent haunting - rare as they may be - is to deny what's happening.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

near nirvana

i love fabrics. from the time i was a child, large swaths of material - aka my mother's curtains and drapes - fascinated me to no end. i loved the swish, the gathers, the quiet gleam of the rough silks or the gossamer sheers, and the heavy crush of wool crepe.

i also love color. asked to choose my favorite, i inevitably say "all of them." not love every color? which one could we do without? i have shades and tints and tones of color i prefer - but i like them all just fine.

couple these together with an indulgent husband who shares an enthusiasm for color and a comfortable home, and we veer quite regularly into an ongoing reality decorating show. at times i think my life could best be described as trading spaces: the sit com.

so with meg tucked away in ireland, i see this as my chance to get into her room and do some serious Redecorating. i had her pick out a comforter she liked to give me some idea of a color scheme. today, my friend and i drove out to a place where we found decorator fabrics for $1.99 a yard...(affordable fabrics in rocky hill ct) i bought at least several hundred dollars worth of fabric of meggie's room for 37.99!!! 18 YARDS!!! 60" wide!!!!)

for the curious, i bought enough to create a valance over her bed and window... curtains for her bed and window... and even possibly a bed skirt to go around the bottom. at marshall's, i found square european style pillows in just the perfect color scheme, as well as a comforter set i think she's going to love. but i know she reads this blog - so other than to say i also have the paint and even some new furniture picked out... she's just going to have to wait and see :).

ask annie wednesday

over at Sited & Blogged, i'm answering a reader's question about what to do if you find yourself living in a haunted house!

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

tuesday's child

today was one of those satisfying days when everything seems to go right with the world. Beloved brewed my favorite flavor, there was just enough puppy food for breakfast. Libby and I did a Good Deed on the way to school.

i got all the housework done that i'd planned to do - even the mountain of laundry that has somehow managed to accumulate is on it's way to diminishing. i spent nearly two hours outside, visiting the weeds. it's pointless to call them weeds - i might as well just acknowledge they're the neighbors and, just like in a neighborhood, recognize they're not going away, no matter how intrusive. so i can't say i weeded, i can only say i encouraged certain plants not to encroach on certain others.

i came in with a wonderful harvest of mugwort, chamomile, motherwort, betony, queen's anne lace, burdock, marsh mallow, plaintain, and wild impatiens. most of them i'll use for teas and infusions. the plaintain and the wild impatiens i'll grind up for my grandson's skin, as well as for my itchy-eyelid remedy. some i'll use to stuff in dream pillows, others i'll burn. some i'll simply leave as offerings at the several crossroads places on our property.

i also did the fourth reiki treatment and reading that i did this week - since saturday, at any rate. i have another reiki session tomorrow with one of the neurologist's patients and a reading for a friend on thursday. libby and i had our third vegetarian supper this week - tonight i made a pasta primavera (no cheese, of course) with lots of wonderful green things like sweet basil and spinach and tiny baby peas in chopped tomatos, garlic, onion and oregano.

tomorrow i'm going on a field trip for some retail therapy with a friend, and then i'm picking up baby jake for some snuggling. i might be missing him as much as i miss my irish moo.

and furthermore, the War will end. blessed be.

Monday, September 14, 2009

echoes from the alley

a few months ago, i expressed to my mother my puzzlement that in the annals of ocean city history, my great-grandfather's name is conspicuously absent. his name certainly isn't absent from ocean city - even today, you can walk down almost any of the main streets and find his name (JOHN CASTALDI & CO) engraved on the sidewalks. so does the fountain in front of city hall - indeed, the very foundations of city hall, as well as the catholic churches - all three of them - the rectories and the convents all bear his name, resting on the concrete and pilings he and his men placed, as do countless houses and jetties up and down our small stretch of coast.

oh, said my mother with a sniff and shrug, there's a strong anti-italian bias in ocean city. always has been, always will be, probably.

and suddenly, so many pieces - tiny pieces - fell into place, small instances where i suddenly felt somehow less - in some mysterious, inexplicable way - by the citizens of what is supposedly my hometown.

we lived on one side of ninth street, said my mother, and the black people lived on the other. and somehow i knew without her telling me that west avenue, running perpendicular to the numbered streets, the street where my great-grandfather's house continues to perch, is another kind of dividing line - between those who get mentioned in the histories of ocean city, and those who get left out.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

silly sunday

it's been a while since i did anything fun with my oldest daughter. so this afternoon, after i cleaned my bedroom and my bathroom and changed my sheets:

we went on a bit of a shopping spree, and even i came home with...

new make-up!!! (it's been quite a while!):

a sweater and a couple of tops to mix n' match:

and some pretty fall flowers:

and here's my desk... spotless as it ever gets:

frances the talking mule

among the many black-and-white world war two movies i remember watching with my father when i was a little girl were a couple i dimly remember as featuring a talking mule named francis. i don't remember much about the mule's adventures, but i do remember being captivated by the mule's name... francis, like my mother's.

when i mentioned this to my mother - upon her return from the beauty parlor - i remember being very taken aback when she bellowed: I AM NOT A MULE - and my name is FRANCES with an E!!

yesterday i learned from my sister - my phi beta kappa sister - that our mother went to washinington, to protest obama's health care policy.

two things leaped to mind: one of jesus's last sentences on the cross, and a vision of Frances the Talking Mule.

there are two kinds of people who oppose the idea of health care for everyone, ive decided: the angry and the scared. my mother isn't angry (unless of course she thinks you're somehow implying she's a mule)... my mother's scared. what saddens and ashames and appalls ME is how my mother doesn't understand that she's become a mule in the worst sense of the word - no matter how we spell her name. she IS a talking mule - a talking mule for a party and a set of convictions hijacked by the worst kind of racists, power-brokers and fear-mongerers the world may ever have seen.

and the trouble is, my mother doesn't know it. unlike francis the talking mule, my mother has no clue. she doesn't seem to realize that what she believes has been twisted and altered into a monstrous weapon of greed and deceit. these are not republicans in the tradition of lincoln, or conservatives in the manner of edmund burke. these are tyrants, masquerading as sheep. they have put on christian garb, they cloak themselves in the pages of the gospels, they mouth words jesus would never have said on his longest day, and they've scared a lot of people.

and they've turned my mother into Frances the Talking Mule.

to paraphrase jesus - whose work my mother most sincerely tries to do - i'm trying to forgive her... because i know she really doesn't know what she's doing.

and furthermore, the War will end. blessed be.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

pain in my foot or, treating morton's neuroma, pt 2

as Gentle Readers may remember, i was diagnosed with morton's neuroma in both feet about six or seven weeks ago. the doctor who made the diagnosis offered me two solutions - gel pads and a cortisone shot in my foot. i took the gel pads and said no thanks to the steroid in my feet. the cortisone was only going to mask the pain - it wasn't going to address the issues at the root of it.

at the time i limped out of his office, i would say the pain in my left foot was at a 2, the pain in my right foot, a 7. according to what i read, this was a common condition that i was simply going to have to live with.

since morton's neuroma is essentially a nerve problem and nerves transmit energy, i decided the most effective course of action was likely to be any system of healing that works directly with energy. thus, i scheduled an acccupuncture appointment for the following day. i also do not believe that pain is something to be masked. i believe pain is a messenger and i believe the way to address the pain is not to deny it - but to confront it, without judgement and without fear.

i remembered how, from my natural childbirth classes, we were taught to understand that the strenous exercise of labor can be interpreted as pain - or accepted as evidence of the Great Work every mother's body does at birth. we were taught to understand we could either tense and fight the Work, thus causing even more pain, or we could relax and appreciate and allow the Work to happen. (i still howled like a banshee.)

at least i had a framework within which to see this pain as something more than just an enormous inconvience. so i took a lot of time and sat with the pain in my foot. i visualized what it felt like - alternatively a hot poker, a splintered wooden stake, an iron nail. i visualized what in my life could be causing such pain in the ball of my foot. what was holding me back? pinning me down? nailing me to a cross?

the more i meditated, the more i embraced the message of the pain, the more i was able to understand that the pain in my foot was as much about the accumulation of emotional and spiritual and mental pain, as anything physical. i continued to treat with accupuncture. i began to do a series of small stretches with my toes. my chiropractor adjusted my feet. i added 400 mg of turmeric to my diet on the advice of my chiropractor and several herbalist friends who know me well. (check with your health professional before you ingest anything, Gentle Reader) i had a deep tissue massage and i gave myself copious amounts of reiki.

at some point in my healing, i realized i was objectifying my foot. i realized i do this with all my body parts i dont like or when they are in pain. "me" somehow becomes separate from "my neck" or "my foot." in my meditation, i deliberately turned my attention to healing this breach. it was after i came to this realization that i began to feel long-term relief.

im happy to report that the pain in both feet have diminished to the point where not only can i get out of bed without wincing, most of the time i don't even remember my feet used to hurt so bad. i'm looking forward to getting my orthotics and walking shoes - this experience has certainly taught me to appreciate walking in a whole new way. i know that there are other lessons as well, that will continue to make themselves understood as i am ready to receive them.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Friday, September 11, 2009

the rain is raining all around

many years ago now, by anyone's reckoning, i moved to a small city in pennsylvania that prided itself on two things as far as i could tell - its moravian heritage and its annual musikfest. the moravian heritage i found as entertaining as any other kind of history, musikfest got old fast. im from a small town by the jersey shore, after all, and im bred to despise shoobies* of any kind.

so when busloads of them starting treking through my backyard, armed with sunglasses, lanyards and water bottles, tying up my parking spaces, elevating the already frenetic tempo of my life into a veritable tarantella, i could see it wasn't something i was going to be able to embrace long-term. the first year, i enjoyed musikfest, the second year, i tolerated it. the third year, i'd had enough.

the fourth year, i announced - in may - it was going to rain on musikfest.

natives and fans laughed at me. oh, it NEVER rains on musikfest, they assured me. we've NEVER had more than a day or two AT MOST of REALLY bad weather. you'll see. it NEVER rains on musikfest.

we'll see, i muttered, mostly to myself.

it started raining a few days before the festival and continued, through seven of the nine days. (the other two the sun shone watery and faint-hearted through thick layers of lowering gray-white clouds.) and when i say it rained, it didn't just drizzle or shower. it RAINED, with a deliberation that verged on biblical.

i said it was going to rain on musikfest, i remarked with grim satisfaction to a friend as we watched the soggy 'festers slogging sodden through the torrent from the shelter of my front porch.

there're small african nations that would pay you large sums for this kind of ability, she observed.

maybe i've missed my calling. ;)

*shoobies, sometimes shortened to shoob, are tourists. traditionally, day-trippers to the south jersey beaches brought their lunches in shoeboxes... hence the term "shoobie."

september's blue skies

it wasn't raining when i walked the puppies, but the sky was low and thick, and i heard the low-flying plane before i saw it. it zoomed over head, graceful and proud, banking into its descent, and as i watched it dip and turn, i remembered what day it is.

what i remember about that day was how absolutely beautiful it was. the skies were a clear and cloudless crystalline, the air balmy with summer sun. before i moved to connecticut, Beloved extolled the virtues of connecticut's skies. you've never seen such blue, he enthused, and no, i never will again. i remember thinking it was too nice to be inside as i drove to work that morning. i wonder how many people had that very same thought.

and then it changed, not in an instant, but in a series of events, a chain of phone calls and conversations that began just before nine o'clock... five minutes of nine, as i remember, because 8:55 is the time i was born... in the evening, thank goddess.

first came Beloved's. his voice had just a hint of excitement. did you hear about the plane, annie? he asked. he was on his way to work.

ive been here since seven, i answered. i was busy. i had deadlines, projects, stuff to do. i didn't care about planes, unless i had to be on one.

a plane flew into a building in new york, he said. im not sure what kind it is, i think its one of those little planes.

some idiot flying where he shouldn't, i said, and we hung up because the next call was from my daughter, at uconn, my oldest. in a voice i hadn't heard since she was very small, she said: mommy, i just watched a plane fly into a building. a big plane. into a big building.

she had seen the first footage of the second hit.

from there the word had begun to spread, across the cubicles, out of the offices. we gathered in the cafeteria around the big television set and watched what couldn't have happened happening before our eyes.

at ten thirty came the order to go home. i remember how when we left the building, i looked up, into those clear blue skies and wondered how it was they'd turned that subtle shade of gray.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

never fear, martha dear

when i said i succumbed yesterday, i meant to another facebook quiz - not the mediocre book on which it's based. im not saying im not a fan of mediocre fiction - after all, i've written a lot of it myself, and continue to do so - but the Twilight phenomena has mostly left me cold. when libby read me the first book -it was the only way i'd consent to try to get through the whole thing - i couldn't stand bella. i liked her so much less in the second book i had to make libby stop reading it.

the trouble with bella is that she whines. incessantly, but mostly, as far as i can tell, because edward refuses to make her a vampire.

not that i blamed her.

OF COURSE she wants to be a vampire. who wouldn't want to a vampire in this story, after all... they're all gorgeous and rich and they live forever. oh, yeah, sure there's that silly part about losing a soul - but if you can be rich and beautiful and young forever, why does it matter? the vampires in these books don't suffer from lack of anything as far as i could tell.

consequently, when that idiot edward kept telling bella he wouldn't make her a vampire, i wanted to hit him. i didn't find the vampires in twilight attractive OR credible. i found them insufferable in a way that made me want to go for THEIR throats. (sure, doctor cullen's a vampire who can be around blood - oceans of it, for hours on end - not only without going berserk but also performing brilliant medical feats that make everyone around him love him even more. that makes tons of sense when we're also being told how difficult it is for vampires to be around humans even when they aren't gushing fountains of blood.)

of course, what's really going on is that the author is a mormon, and the book reflects her patriarchal world view where Wise Men know better than Silly Girls what's best for them. that my daughters and my sister (my phi beta kappa sister!)are so enthralled boggles my mind and makes me wonder if maybe i really did wind up with the wrong kids in the wrong family.

so no, it doesn't really make me want to swoon, martha dear. it makes me want to puke.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


according to some, 999 is a number of angelic vibration, a number signifying completion, endings, and the final turning of the old into the new. fittingly, i spent today mucking my way through the mounds of books and papers and magazines that have accumulated over the last month. i sorted, put stuff away, paid some bills and wrote some checks. im going to make a few people very happy in the next few days.

the paper piles weren't anywhere near as bad as i was afraid they would be - certainly no where near as bad as they looked. i even managed to get nearly a third of the house vacuumed. it feels good to get rid of old stuff. tomorrow i'll finish the vacuuming and the mopping and the dusting - with all the surfaces clean, it won't take me long.

i've scheduled four reiki sessions over the next five days. i sent dear patient ruth a blurb for the writing workshop im putting together for the homeschoolers. i even managed to catch up on some correspondence to friends. tonight - if any Gentle Readers are in the neighborhood - im speaking at the Little Public Library in columbia, ct.

i've succumbed

I'm a Bella! I found out through TwilightersAnonymous.com. Which Twilight Female Are You? Take the quiz and find out!
Take the Quiz and Share Your Results!

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

too-short tuesday

i knew when i said yes to a friend in need i'd be blowing tuesday to shreds, but it wasn't a total washout - i got baby jake's carseat over to his daycare, grocery-shopped with libby, and managed to create a credible veggie dinner: green and yellow squash, peas, green beans, corn, carrots, pine nuts, pearl barley and quinoa pasta all blended together with a touch of olive oil, roasted garlic and herbs from the garden.

im pleased to no end with the progress i've made with my feet. between the accupuncture, the reiki, the tumeric, the pedicures, the yoga, and the toe dividers - my feet are actually no sorer than they ever were, despite a busy weekend driving and walking in manhattan. from a 7 on a pain scale...my pain has diminished in both feet to .5. i've decided to order a pair of customised orthotics... i like to walk too much not to be able to do so in comfort without risk of further injury, and im going to order a pair of walking shoes to fit the orthotics.

tomorrow evening im speaking at the public library in columbia, ct as part of the Connecticut Authors' Trail. im thinking of taking a page out of meg's irish professors' methods, and winging it.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Monday, September 7, 2009

the need is growing...

become a certified, licensed Pagan Pet Protector today!

i've been thinking about this a lot. apparently a group of atheists have gotten together and are now offering to rescue the pets of christians who intend on being Raptured during the rapidly-approaching End of Days.

the reason it got me thinking was that if i were really intent on simply poofing out to the next dimensional plane of being - which i sort of am, anyways, cause i know im going to die - i'd prefer to know my beloved animals were being cared for, not by the people sitting on the fence in the coming conflagration, but by people on the presumably winning side. after all, no one says the Anti-Christ intends to treat his minions badly.

i know lots of pagans who love animals AND who aren't afraid to declare themselves pentacle-packing members of the Other Side. so, in the spirit of the rampant capitalism we're supposed to buy into, im thinking of launching a competitor for the atheists: PAGAN pet protectors, who, for a nominal fee, promise to rescue any christian pet should the Rapture occur in the next ... oh... some reasonable span of years. maybe we'll open with a special deal good through 12/22/12, and a renewable fee every year or so. i wouldn't want to be accused of bilking the gullible, after all...my goal, like the insurance companies, is to provide peace of mind.

i figure for an even more nominal fee - maybe five bucks - i will certify and license Pagan Pet Protectors as not only animal lovers BUT proud pagans. no loosie-goosie agnostics or atheists for us... only REAL pagans need apply. i don't personally know any christians who are counting on being Raptured either (or maybe they just don't admit such in my presence) but i'm told the Bible Belt is riddled with them.

im sensing Franchise.

and furthermore, the war will end.

baby jake makes a cake

this is baby jake. he's nearly two years old:

one day we needed cake.

we stirred all kinds of stuff together.

like eggs and sugar and flour:

we stirred and stirred and stirred some more.

oh, yeah, we did good.

hey, where'd the rest go?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

a tale of two mamas

it's been a nice weekend so far. yesterday, we arrived at the restaurant in time to eat an enormous italian lunch served family style. we gorged ourselves on stuffed artichokes and mushrooms, salad, veal marsala, chicken parmigiana, and chilean sea bass. we all passed on dessert except Beloved, who had a birthday tartufo, accompanied by a rousing chorus of happy birthday. (one of the nice things about being sung to in new york restaurants is that so many of the waitstaff generally have trained voices.)

then it was off to Hair, where the only disappointment was the cranky old lady at the end of the row who wouldn't let us out to dance onstage at the end of the show. as i said to Beloved, who offered to take libby to see it... next time we'll know to get aisle seats. we also talked about getting tickets for hamlet - jude law's in the title role - billy elliot, and the new addams family musical coming out next year. (i bet i know what im getting for my birthday :).)

this morning, we got up early and ate at one of the little breakfast places that abound in new york. next stop was brooklyn and don's mom's apartment, where we picked up few things she needed, stopped to buy her a ham sandwich - you know you're dealing with a rebel when a resident of a sepphardic nursing home wants you to bring her a ham sandwich.

we got home around four to a clean house and folded laundry. then it was off to the grocery store for Beloved who had to retrieve many dozens of rolls, a crate of bananas and a variety of other assorted items for the soup kitchen picnic tomorrow.

at the end of meg's first week away, libby seems to be enjoying Only Child Status, and meg seems to be enjoying her adventures in dublin. if you haven't yet, go check out her latest blog HERE.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

happy birthday, my Beloved

fourteen years ago this month, i was in the middle of the worst place of my life.

the marriage i'd endured for nearly 14 years had disintegrated into an abyss of hearings and petitions and baseless accusations aimed at punishing me for having the temerity to file for divorce. one of my ex's favorites: i was having lesbian affairs with my writer friends. (he couldn't accuse me of heterosexual affairs, because none of them were men.) if there was a light at the end of the tunnel, i sure couldn't see it. i was holding on to my children, my house and my sanity with the slenderest of threads.

every morning, after the kids left for school, before the daily nightmare began, i'd sign online and chat with four other women from all over the country. it was a relaxing way to begin my day, until one day in the summer, i noticed a male intruder screen-named PARKPLACE more and more in our midst. men were not high on my list of favorite things that summer. i didn't appreciate the way he changed the dynamic of the chatroom. i ignored him, as best i could, but he didn't like being ignored.

until one day, late august or early september, two of the women independently of each other said the same thing: you should talk to PARK.

why should i talk to PARK? i asked, completely taken aback. in the chatroom, he was obnoxious and rude and vulgar. when i wasn't ignoring him, i wasn't liking him.

you sound just like him, they both said.

my fingers dropped, my chin hit the desk. both times.

BUT IM NICE!!! i protested when i could... to both of them.

never let it be said i won't try anything - once. the next time i saw PARK i sent him an instant message. i don't remember the exact day, but i do remember i figured out that behind the churlish persona, he was nice too. (i sort of understood that - after all, my alter ego had spent years romping free as an 8 foot warrior-lizard named Kaa in a game of Dungeons & Dragons.)

he was also bruised from a very similar sort of relationship. as shakespeare observed, ripeness is all.

i like to think that we've helped each other heal.

so happy birthday, my Beloved. thank you for turning out to be the Light at the end of that tunnel.

Friday, September 4, 2009

feeling good friday

the checks are written, the last debts are paid. no one has been forgotten, no one has been left out. the sins of the fathers and the mothers have all been erased - or at least ameliorated - to the best of my ability with the scrawl of a ballpoint pen.

today, i really am free, at last.

i know a lot of people who have allowed family legacies to divide them. i know a lot of people who won't speak to one sibling or another because of hurt feelings over money and possessions. on some level my grandmother raised me to continue her war.

but i didn't. i never quite understood her malice toward my mother until recently, but i never bought into it because what my grandmother never understood about me was that i love my mother.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

bubble, bubble

today was so busy i last sat down to blog at 630 am this morning, got up to pour another cup of coffee and never sat back down - well, not long enough to blog. it seemed there was enough on my plate today without ruminating about it.

i went for an accupuncture treatment and had a foot scan that showed i need orthotics. i wasn't really surprised, i had suspected as much, but it was rather dizzying to see the damage in glaring red and yellow. then it was off to sit with baby jake, who didn't look at all sick to me but gave me such a big smile and a hug that i instantly forgave him for getting sick - im not sure i'll forgive him so readily if he gets ME sick, but he really is so damn cute at this point... tomorrow i will hunt down the camera and post some photographs.

he started to scream the minute he saw the driveway of the parking lot of his pediatrician's building (oh yeah, said katie, he's been doing that for months now.) the doctor and her assistant were lovely people who confirmed what i suspected - he was a little boy with a cold that he was just going to have to get over. on the way home, he fell asleep, tired out from a day of not napping and screaming his head off for an hour. hopefully, the chicken soup i left bubbling on the stove will help.

tonight i went to my pagan study group. i think that's what we're calling it. we could be calling it something else and i just wasn't paying attention. we talked about the experiences that have shaped our beliefs, and the beliefs we now hold that shape our experiences. as usual, we laughed a lot.

in between, i came home to one of the sweetest gifts i think Beloved has ever given me. outside, in two large pots, adorned with two big red bows, waiting for me, were two holly trees - a boy and a girl. i was so focused on getting inside i walked right past them. there's a note, said Beloved, looking ever so hurt. inside it said:
HERE ARE TWO HOLLIES ... FOR OUR HOME. i was in such a rush, i don't think i said more than, "wow... thanks."

he's snoring on the couch now. but the yankees are winning, and i'll make it up to him later.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

report from the home front

will you miss baby jake, my mother enquired the other day, when i told her that i'd taken him to see his new school on friday afternoon.

im going to have him when he's sick, i said.

oh, my mother said. there was a long pause and then we practically said together:

"i/you're going to see an awful lot of him."

we both laughed. that was then.

this morning katie called and asked if i could help out tomorrow afternoon by sitting with him while he naps and then taking him to the doctor.

it sure didn't take long.

in other news, i continue to take advantage of as much peace and quiet as i can muster, especially considering that we're going away for much of the weekend... to new york on saturday to have lunch and see a show with my mother and stepfather and brother for their birthdays (saturday is Beloved's birthday, so the only birthday we won't be celebrating is mine, but that's okay - they all came to my party ;).) monday we're helping to prep the Labor Day picnic at one of the Hartford soup kitchens and then going to a party at a friend's. it will give Beloved a chance to see one of his very closest friends he hasn't seen in a while.

i also managed to slog through more of the laundry and the dust bunnies today, but i also made time for lunch with a friend and a couple short walks with the puppies. tomorrow, before i watch baby jake, i have another accupuncture appointment, and between that the reiki i can give myself, the relief i've felt is just amazing.

it's also an Ask Annie Wednesday over at Sited & Blogged... someone asked what tarot cards are.. and how they "work"....it was a big question, but i did my best :).

my baby has a blog!

meggie set up her own blog to chronicle the ups and downs of a semester abroad in dublin: Meg in Ireland. go check it out and tell her mommy sent you!!! (on second thought... don't tell her that.)

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

sweet september

i woke up giddy as a school-boy on the last day of school. even better... it was the first day of school and i didn't have to go! i was so giddy it took me a while to figure out what to do. here's what i did today:

1. cleaned my bathroom
2. changed my sheets
3. started catching up with email and phone calls
4. spent an hour undoing damage to a friend my former associate caused
5. washed, dried and folded three loads of laundry
6. began to sort through junk in junk room so it can be turned into an exercise room instead
7. harvested herbs: mugwort, yarrow, betony, motherwort, sweet annie, lavender, and white sage
8. brewed myself a cup of red raspberry leaf tea from leaves picked fresh from the raspberry bushes (tried to pick raspberries but the birds got there first.)
9. meditated
10. played the piano and sang
11. found a yummy-looking potato and onion fritta to have for supper tonight... im thinking of adding some spinach.
12. am eagerly looking forward to seeing girl-friends tonight
13. gave myself a pedicure
14. followed the Angel Guidelines religiously (heehee - pardon the pun)

so, Gentle Reader... what about you?

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.