Saturday, February 28, 2009

another technical update

take a deep breath, rose.

the code in the purple rose blogtalkradio button inadvertently contained a typo. i have fixed the typo, and the code as posted is now correct. the button works better too. if you've attempted to post my button, please feel free to delete the old code and copy and paste the new code.

thank you to all who've posted our new button and blogged about our show and my spring giveaway!!! you've earned yourselves TONS of entries!!!!!!

march winds

march arrived a couple days early yesterday afternoon. the dogs heard it first of course, and then the trees on the other side of the pond began to dance as the wind came roaring out of the west. it's blowing now, ferocious as a freight train, even more unstoppable. sticks and leaves scatter across the frozen surfaces of the ponds.

the sun is getting stronger. a storm's predicted for tomorrow - a piddling 1-3 inches. but there's the possiblity of another on monday, and this one sounds like a real nor'easter, with 1 or 2 feet of snow attached to it.

it reminds me of the Great March Storm of 1962.*

the Great March Storm of 1962 is seared indelibly into my memory. i was not quite 3 years old, my brother just turned 1. a series of coincidences - spring high tides, the full moon, the winds - all conspired to spawn if not a perfect storm, one that was capable of swamping the entire eastern seaboard with many feet of water. in today's dollars, im sure the damage it wreaked would stand in the billions.

i remember crouching in the dining room, on the living room sofa which had inexplicably been pulled up to the big plate glass window. a hoard of adults had invaded our house, adults who spoke in lowered tones and walked in quick pattering bursts, who came and went abruptly. i remember watching the ocean swirl up the street, cover the lawn, rippling in eddies around the hedge. i remember watching night fall and the water lapping at the edge of our porch, occasionally washing foam toward our front door.

on the couch next to me, i remember a little boy nicknamed ashey. ashey was a little bit older than i was, maybe a year or so. i remember kneeling side by side, hands cupped around our faces, peering into the dark night. our house was next to my grandmother's house, a comforting bulwark that rose like a battle ship above the flooded streets.

there was a gas station on the corner diagnoally across from it.

"it's on fire," said ashey, turning to his father, his mother, "the gas station is on fire."

"it is not," i said, because i couldn't see from my angle what ashey could. and then, in the moment the words left my lips, a fountain of yellow flame exploded out of tiny window near the roof, high enough for me to see. it arced above the street, towering above the houses, a billowing blowtorch fueled by a howling march wind. the sky turned orange.

the adults leaped into action. my father grabbed me. my mother ran for my brother. an enormous truck from the civil defense arrived as if by magic, and we were swept aboard, my great-grandfather heaved in last because he'd had to be physically hauled down the steps, protesting all the way he was staying with the house.

i remember being taken to a big room with a lot of desks. i remember my mother spreading blankets on a desk.

i remember waking up in my own bed.

i ran to my mother's room to see, if by some chance, this had all been some very vivid dream. my father wasn't there. he was still working with the civil defense, she said, with the army corps of engineers. my father came home early in the mornings for many weeks after that, exhausted, wet and dirty.

outside, the flood waters had receded to less than a foot. the gas station across the street smoldered in a black heap of rubble, but my great-grandfather's house stood untouched. because it was cold, there was a coating of ice on the neighborhood roofs, enough to save them all. and because the floodwater was so high, the fire only burned down to the water line, which prevented it from reaching the underground gas tanks.

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

*The Great March Storm of 1962 did indeed go down in the record books. according to wikipedia: "It was considered by the U.S. Geological Survey to be one of the most destructive storms ever to impact the mid-Atlantic states. One of the ten worst storms in the United States in the 20th century, it lingered through five high tides over a three day period, killing 40 people, injuring over 1,000 and causing hundreds of millions in property damage in six states.

New Jersey shoreline took a beating. The high tides pulled homes off their foundations, ripped through roads and created new inlets along Long Beach Island. Portions of the Atlantic City boardwalk were shredded by the pounding surf.

Estimated damage to the state was $130 million, almost half of the total of all six states hit. A newspaper later reported on the scene in the town of Harvey Cedars, "The houses are everywhere, in no order, sometimes piled two or three together. Around them crushed and mangled cars and trucks lie half buried."

The Red Cross put the death toll for the East Coast at 40, with a quarter of those killed in New Jersey. While the storm was neither a hurricane, nor a classic nor'easter, its impact was so powerful, the U.S. Weather Bureau gave it a name – "The Great Atlantic Storm."

where i grew up, we talked about it as the Great March Storm.

Friday, February 27, 2009

conjuring johnny depp - part one

this story was first published in the may, 2005 edition of New Witch Magazine. i wrote it as a gift for my friends one christmas in lieu of a newsletter, which i found impossible to write without serious embellishment. when the embellishments got too crazy, i thought... oh, what the hell- why not send them a story? so here it is... i'll share it in parts... cause like everything else i write... it tends to be loooong.

Conjuring Johnny Depp by Annie Kelleher

“Now I hope you’re not planning anything too elaborate.” Olivia’s voice crackles and pops like cereal over her cell phone.

“What did you say?” I scream into the phone. “GianCarlo wants you to pick a date?” There’s no way I’m going to let a milestone like my best friend in all the world’s fiftieth birthday pass without some recognition. Olivia knows this and suspects I have something planned, which of course I do.

But her attention these days is easily distracted by her latest conquest, an international businessman who so far has flown her off to meet him in Bali, Monaco and Marrakech. He tends to show up unexpectedly bearing wine and exquisite gifts, settling in for days of endless and exotic sex.

There’s something shifty about him that we all sense, something that plagues Olivia herself with a vague sense of unease, which, on some level is partly why I decided on this particular present. There are lots of reasons, of course, but GianCarlo is definitely one of them.

“You know perfectly well he hasn’t asked me to pick a date. I said, I don’t want you doing anything EE-LAB-BOR-” The rest dissolves into static fuzz and I smile and put the phone down.

If she’s in traffic, which is the only place in the world Olivia ever uses her cellphone, she might babble on for minutes before she even realizes I’m not there any more. It isn’t nice of me, I know, but there’s too much to do before the coven meeting to waste a minute of it lying to the guest of honor. Besides, I know once Olivia realizes the birthday surprise I’m planning, she’ll be too speechless to object.

I hurry the dogs, Buddy Love and Duffy, out to the poop-patch and back, then shut the door firmly, murmuring the traffic spell I only use when I need life to flow especially smoothly. Consequently, I run through my list of chores with the efficiency of someone whose elementals have achieved harmonic congruence. At least those are the words Olivia uses to describe the world when things are going particularly well for her. As they appear to be now.

The word I would use to describe Olivia is glorious, I think, as I turn the corner into the parking lot of the Weirdly Ways and Curious Goods shop that Olivia’s ex condemned regularly from his pulpit. A lesser woman might have broken beneath the weight of the wave of condemnation that rolled across the congregation when the first accusations began.

Olivia’s become the woman I want to be when I grow up (assuming i ever do) because she's strong-minded and independent and passionate about everything. Including her love life, which, unfettered by bonds of matrimony, censure or community standing, she’s littered with discarded men like the bowlfuls of tissues and unpopped kernels left on a coffee table after a long night of girl-talk. On the one hand, GianCarlo seems perfect.

But on the other... It’s not for me to make the decision, of course. It’s just I think I’ve hit upon a way to help her.

conjuring johnny depp - part two

I enter the shop with my list in hand. Dark red candles, of course, like Olivia’s Scottish heroine hair, and purple, her favorite color. And black for protection and pink to help manifest a miracle in service of the highest good.

Which is what we’re going to need, I think, if this is going to work. Oh, ye of little faith, I chide myself in my mother’s voice, as I buy new smudge sticks of white sage and sweet-grass, incense in jasmine and patchouli, and essential oils in every type of rose I can find. And honeysuckle, I think, to bind the spell.

Then I remember to stop at the fabric store for a few extra rolls of red ribbon. I tuck all my purchases in the dainty willow basket and take them to the register.

“Hey there, girlfriend,” says Clarice behind the counter. Her blue eyes are huge and fringed with long dark lashes. “I thought this was a half-century celebration. This stuff looks more like a love spell. What are we doing, conjuring up some sex god to give Olivia a birthday thrill?”

“Something like that.” I smile. I don’t want to give too much away, for there’s power in secrets. If there’s power in the words that get spoken, there’s even more in the ones that don’t. The fact that it’s a paradox tells you that it’s the truth.

At least that’s what Olivia says. She’s the one who introduced me to the coven. I’d been a stumbling solitary, reading every Cunningham and Conway that appeared on a Barnes & Noble bookshelf, when I happened to meet Olivia at a psychic fair. She saw me for the poor lost lamb that I was, and taking me under her wing, taught me more about the Craft and my own spirituality than all the nuns at Mount St. Joseph Academy combined. And tonight - tonight, I’m determined to show her exactly how much she means to me.


My next stop is the grocery store, where I pick up brownie mix and butter and lots of honey and heavy cream. And every copy of every tabloid I can find with Johnny Depp’s picture plastered all over it.

Not that I, or Olivia, read this stuff, but Olivia just worships Johnny Depp. Hearing her talk about him - his new movie, his appearances on late night TV, his interviews in magazines, his talent, his looks, his charm, his range - gave me the idea one night when I happened to catch a few minutes of Don Juan de Marco in the middle of one of Olivia’s trips to Baden-Baden, Mykonos, or Mallorca.

It was the dinner scene, in the beginning, when he’s seducing the first woman, that caught my attention, so that I understood in a split second what made Olivia gush. And from that moment on, I knew exactly what she needed to do to decide whether or not to believe in what GianCarlo appeared to offer.

I pull up to my last stop and look around as I turn the ignition off. Dwyer Cemetery is set off the road. I pull out the bunch of flowers I’ve brought specifically to leave here.

thinking spring... giveaway, that is!

the air didn't claw my face for the first time in forever when i walked the puppies first thing. maybe not quite forever, but it sure has felt like it. according to one of the local weather gurus, this year has been particularly cold and icey. and windy, too... i can hear it starting up again, in fact. at least this time, it brings a kiss of spring.


which brings me to my newest superawesome giveaway and a couple additions to my blog. you might have noticed the new button in the upper left. if you pick up the button, i'll give you three entries - if you blog about the show, i'll give you five! lynette's already picked up TEN extra entries, cause she was our FIRST caller!!!!

the winner will be announced on march 20, the first day of spring. ive been contemplating what to put in it... so in the spirit of aloha friday... please share with me, gentle readers... what sort of things do YOU consider essential for spring?

thank you to everyone who's been following my short story... the end is coming... SOON!

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

conjuring johnny depp - part three

The story that appeared in the Bristol Press a few months ago made me think that such a thing as occurred to me when I saw the movie might be possible. An ancient Englishman had shown up at the Bristol Town Hall, claiming a woman who’d everyone had known as Letty Kosloski was really his sister, Elizabeth, Lady Batstow.

Apparently, the gamekeeper on their estate in pre-World War Two Britain fell for Elizabeth in a bad way, and when he’d been banished here, along with whatever else they did to gamekeepers back then who weren’t in D.H. Lawrence novels, he somehow managed bring her to America. In England, it seemed that she’d vanished into thin air.

But her youngest brother had never forgotten his oldest sister, and he’d traced her at last to our quiet corner of Connecticut. The fact that she was dead didn’t deter him; he’d come armed with an order for disinterrment. The whole town was abuzz with the story, for Letty Kosloski appeared as ordinary as an old shoe. Aaron Kosloski was Native on his mother’s side, and a shamanic practitioner, solitary as they come.

I’m here to take some dirt from Letty’s grave. Last week the Press had announced the results of the DNA testing. Letty Kosloski, whose weather-beaten face and accentless American offered no suggestion of a lineage any more storied than Olivia’s rescued mutt, was beyond all shadow of a doubt an English lady to the manor born.

I trudge up the path that winds between the graves, and it’s easy to see Letty’s. The opened grave is a dark gash against the green, and beside it, a muddy mound sags sadly into the long grass.

I peer into the empty hole. Rainwater’s pooled in the bottom, and I feel the soft edge give way beneath my shoe. I stumble back and nearly trip over Aaron’s headstone. Reading between the lines, I’m sure I discern some accusation of foulplay involving the “black” arts.

The children staunchly maintain their mother never mentioned a life in England, and in fact, never even claimed to be English. But no one really knew the Kosloskis, and there always was all that talk about Aaron and his ways. It was Aaron who first taught Olivia. She credits him for saving her soul, and if that’s true, then he just as surely has had a hand in saving mine. So he’s my spiritual grandfather, in a sense.

I pluck a bright yellow sunflower from the bunch, and place it gently in front of Aaron’s stone. “Grandfather,” I whisper. I ask for his assistance, and assure any spirits that might be listening that I intend nothing but the highest good for all concerned.

I feel a little swell rise up from the ground beneath my feet and the air surrounding me thickens almost imperceptibly. I feel a gentle stroke like a feather down the back of my neck, and the softest kiss of a breeze on my cheek. “Thank you,” I say.

I whisper a similar little prayer over the hole where Letty’s body rested. Enough of her essence has gone into the earth, after twenty years, I think, to be effective. She’d been buried in a plain pine box that had almost splintered apart when it was raised.

I gently place a trowelful in a zip-lock freezer bag. I throw the flowers into the grave, and they land at the bottom with a splash, and float for a few moments before they disappear. It pleases me to think my offering’s been accepted and as I turn to leave, I think I smell the scent of burning sweet-grass on the wet wind.

conjuring johnny depp - part four

“And I told you not to do anything elaborate,” says Olivia the minute she walks into the house, and smells the fifty-one roses in all shades from vermilion to coral to cream that are artfully arranged in the living room amidst the fifty-one white candles.

“You’re a dear, you know that?” She grabs me in a fierce hug, and for a single moment, I wonder if there’s ANY possibility she might be less than happy about what I have planned, and then I dismiss the thought.

I know how she’s been struggling. A reprise of the dinner scene from Don Juan de Marco with Olivia as his leading lady, and Johnny Depp will be free to go on his way. It doesn’t seem to be asking too much to ask an actor to act, right? And in the glimpse of him I’d had as Don Juan, he’d struck me as a reasonable sort with a fine sense of the absurd. A kindred spirit, even.

I’m sure there are a lot of actors who might be completely blown away by suddenly finding himself in the middle of a stranger’s living room. But Johnny appears to have depth. I know he can handle it, which only, in my opinion, increases our chances of success.

Then the doorbell rings and Olivia gives me a little squeeze before she gently pushes me in the direction of the door. “Are you all right?”

I feel the blood rise to my face. “Hot flashes,” I say, escaping.

The rest of the coven is right on time. They know I’ve got something special planned, and since most of them have found an excuse to either phone or stop by Clarice’s shop, all of them have heard about my purchases.

Even Leslie, a lawyer who gave up her career as a prosecutor to represent abused children, arrives on time, tearing off her threadbare power suit as she heads into the bathroom to change. She’s the only one who ALWAYS wears comfy sweats. The rest of us tend to dress according to whatever mood and weather seem to dictate, and tonight, all of us are in black, with touches of scarlet and gold, fuschia and orange, as if by prearrangement.

Marnie and her sister Karen come together; Jasmina, our wise-woman herbalist, who teaches belly-dancing at the JCC and Clarice nearly trip over each other when the porch light inexplicably bursts over Karen’s head just as she crosses the threshold. “The energy’s jumping right out the door,” says Jasmina. “What exactly do you have planned?”

“Just a little birthday present,” I say, as I retrieve a new bulb. I swirl it in salt and rub a little honeysuckle oil on it, whispering my intention that only beings of love and light should pass beneath its gleam. A sudden gust of wind sets russet leaves swirling at my ankles and the candles in the jack-o-lantern flare and spit. Jasmina’s right, I think. The energy is jumping.

Leslie comes back from the bathroom in black sweats and pale pink socks. “Are we doing gifts before or after?”

“After, right?” says Marnie. “With the cake.” I used to think that Marnie was just a control freak, and then I realized that structure gives her security and she just feels better when she knows what’s coming next.

“Well,” I hesitate. I know I have to tell them sooner or later and it seems better to explain things before we begin, rather than during. Incredulity can stop a ritual cold. “I think we better do gifts first.”

“Then I’ll be right back,” says Leslie. She dashes off into the night in her stocking feet and I know she’s probably forgotten shoes and can’t stand the thought of shoving her swollen feet into her work pumps. I remember there’re sneakers in the closet she can wear home but Marnie is demanding to know why custom should be breached, and Olivia is looking at me even more closely than before.

“Come on in, everyone.” I lead the way into the living room, where I’ve arranged lavender and pale pink satin and velvet pillows inside a carefully chalked pentacle. Between the candles and the flowers and the fire in the fireplace, the whole scene elicits oohs and aahs. “I’d just prefer to do gifts first, if you don’t mind. The ceremony itself - that’s my gift. I wrote it just for you, Olivia. So if you don’t mind, I’d like to finish with it.”

conjuring johnny depp - part five

“Why, sure,” says Karen, always the mediator between Marnie’s moods and the rest of us. She smiles deliberately at her sister and Marnie subsides. The front door slams and Leslie comes in, looking cold.

“The wind’s really picking up out there,” she says. “Feels like something big’s brewing. Kelly, how likely it is one of those trees is going to come down on a car?”

A sudden gust roars down the fireplace and the flames leap up. “It’s never happened before.” I put the chakra music on, the music that always gets us moving eventually, and begin to pour wine. Olivia settles into the place of honor and we begin to pass the presents.

Marnie brings up GianCarlo; Olivia blushes like a bride when pressed for details. But when the time comes for the ritual to start, she leans forward on her dark purple velvet pillow, and looks directly at me over the mounds of wrapping paper and piles of books and bathsalts. “Kelly, I know you’ve gone to a lot of trouble and that you have something really special planned, but I just have to tell you - I don’t think I’m ready for group sex.”

“What?” I stare. And then I remember. The last short story I wrote, the first short story I’d written in ages and ages, had been anthologized in a volume of fantasy erotica. My tale of amorous elves had been enthusiastically received by my publisher, but ever since they’d first read it, I can feel my coven sisters wondering where my own experiences ended and my imagination began.

But how many times do I have to tell them you don’t have to commit murder to know how good it might feel to kill someone? “Olivia?” I say. I can see where she may have thought something like that, because the whole atmosphere is very sensual and romantic and the silk cushions on the floor are piled around the central dish of candles suggestively. “How- how could you think that?”

She looks around and shrugs.

“Okay,” I say. “You’re right. I do have something special planned but I don’t think it involves sex. I suppose it could involve sex, but I think it’s probably unlikely that it will - not that you wouldn’t be thrilled if it did-”

Jasmina, on my left, gives my forearm a gentle nudge. “What’re you up to, Kelly?” Her soft Jamaican lilt intensifies. “You look like the goose that wants to lay the golden egg. So do it, before you burst, woman.”

“I’m going to conjure Johnny Depp.”

conjuring johnny depp - part six

>There is a split second of shocked silence, and then they all start talking at once.

“What do you mean, conjure him? Bring him here?”

“Are you kidding?”

“Are you crazy?”

“Mmm, mmm, mmm. Johnny Depp.” That’s from Leslie.

But it’s Olivia’s reaction that really stings. “Kelly, honey, you are crazy, aren’t you?”

“I’m absolutely dead serious, Olivia. And I’m surprised you, of all people, would think that such a thing’s impossible.” To her credit, she looks taken aback. “You’re an amazing woman, Olivia. You’ve come out of one of the toughest things I’ve seen anyone go through, and you’re not only not defeated, you’re positively radiant.” I feel the tears spring to my eyes, and my throat starts to swell. “I wanted to give you something really, truly special - an experience you’ll never forget -”

“She’ll never forget being charged with kidnapping if we ARE successful,” says Leslie. “Or have you forgotten that part?”

“I don’t want to kidnap him,” I reply. “I wouldn’t hold him here against his will.”

“I know Johnny Depp has a reputation for being quirky,” puts in Jasmina. “But I don’t think even the quirkiest person would appreciate being poofed out of their own life and plunked into ours without some kind of warning or consent. Do you?” She pins me with a penetrating look in her huge brown eyes that appear uncomfortably bottomless in the firelight. A chill runs up my spine.

“What even makes you can work such a thing?” asks Marnie.

“Theoretically, it’s possible,” says Clarice, before I have to answer. I bless her for all the hours she spends reading the books she sells. Most of it sticks and for a writer like me, she is an invaluable resource. “There are native traditions that say its possible to walk between the worlds, and even lead others through. But only a powerful shaman can do it.”

“Or one who’s already been lead through,” I finish. Our eyes lock and I know a moment of true deja vu. We’d had this conversation when the first articles appeared.

"No wonder you’ve been asking so many questions about Letty and Aaron,” says Olivia.

"You didn’t disagree with my theory, though, did you?” I reply. I’m not backing down. I know, somehow, that this is the right thing to do, crazy as it may seem. I never denied being crazy. Crazy people do crazy things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not the right things to do. “Let’s give it a try, okay? I’ve put an awful lot of thought and energy into this, and maybe it won’t work.” The candlelight is kind to our aging faces, the shadows gently gray in the peachy glow.

I see a subtle longing flicker across every face, a wish, a hope, a dream as fleeting as the sudden gust that roars down the chimney, as real as Don Juan de Marco and his world of words. They exchange glances, shrug, nod and smile.

Olivia looks at me and in her eyes, I see what might be wonder. “We have to be prepared it may not work.”

“But then again,” says Clarice softly, as the rest settle back. “Maybe it will.”

thankful thursday

i saw this on several other bloggers' posts - notably Grace and Juls - and so i thought i'd pause from cutting and pasting, and take a few minutes to list the things i'm feeling particularly grateful for now.

i'm grateful for Beloved, who at this very moment is tackling the monumental task of gathering together the information in order to do Our Taxes. at least i assume its monumental, because you see, Beloved handles it all to the extent that this time of year, he doesn't allow me anywhere near any piece of paper with a dollar sign on it.

i'm grateful for my friend doreen, who's going to walk me later this morning around the reservoir again. i'm grateful for my friend laura and our new blogtalk show.

i'm grateful for some peace and quiet over the next couple days.

i'm grateful for my writing friends.

i'm grateful for all of you - who come and share pieces of your hearts and lives.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

conjuring johnny depp - part seven

>Afterwards I’m sure it’s the doubt that defeats us. Olivia lingers after the others leave, Leslie in my sneakers. “You know,” she says, leaning into the glow of the new porch light, “maybe it’s just as well. What was I supposed to do with him, anyway?”

I punch her gently on the shoulder and smirk flirtatiously. “An it harm none, do as ye will. What kind of a witch are you?”

“Not a very good one, obviously,” she replies. We look at each other and I start to cry. “Oh, don't cry, honey, this is probably the cutest thing anyone’s ever tried to do for me.”

“Really?” I squeak against her damp silk shoulder.

“Really.” She pats my back and sets me upright. “That whole Don Juan de Marco idea - who wouldn’t want that for a birthday present? You should get some sleep. You were glowing like a blowtorch for quite a while in there.”

“Yeah?” Olivia sees auras. She says anyone can see them, but I don’t. “What color was mine?”

“White and gold, mostly. Pink, in the center.” She kisses my cheek and in the shadowed depths of her huge purse, her cell phone begins to blink red. That’s new, I think. She never used to carry it with her. She turns to leave, fluttering a farewell over her shoulder. “GianCarlo? Ciao, bello! Where are you? Home? My home? You’re here?” Her feet crunch through ankle deep leaves as she disappears, giggling like a schoolgirl into the darkness.

“Good night, Olivia,” I whisper. “Happy birthday.” And watching her sashay down the path, pink pashima swaying, I know no one would ever believe that a little over three years ago, her husband of twenty-seven years had been accused of molesting a series of little girls in the church where he’d been a minister. Buddy Love’s wet nose brings me back to reality. “Okay, boys,” I say. “Let’s go out.”

The magic words take them to the kitchen, but something makes Duffy’s ears prick up and he growls the moment he enters the room.

“What’s wrong, boy?” I ask. Just don’t let it be another mouse, I think, as I switch on the lights. Duffy chased the last mouse right up Marnie’s leg. I’d have to die if that happened to me. I switch the light on, but there’s nothing running in any direction and Duffy’s gaze is fixed directly on the back door.

I grab the cordless phone when Duffy’s chest goes down, his tail goes low and he growls again. The growl alerts Buddy Love. The kitchen door is locked. I tiptoe to the window and peek over the tops of the unbleached muslim curtains.

The night is still now; whatever storm blew through before the ritual is over. Beside me, Buddy Love whines and Duffy growls. “What is it, boy?” I ask. My heart pounds in my chest. There is something out there - something alien and strange - but Buddy Love is whining and scratching at the door.

I check to make sure 911 is punched into the phone, and with my finger on the CALL button, I open the kitchen door. The dogs immediately begin to howl, and I realize if I hadn’t been so cautious, I might’ve tripped over the naked man lying just outside the door.

I hush the dogs and tiptoe forward. He’s asleep, as soundly asleep as I would imagine for a human it’s possible to be, and naked as the day he was born. A shock of honey blond hair falls over his face and I push it back gently with a shaking hand, revealing dark brown roots.

He rolls over on his side, and as I stare down the entire length of his body, alabaster as marble in the yellowish light, I know that the sleeping naked man on my back porch is undeniably, indisputably, Johnny Depp.

conjuring johnny depp - part eight

>It takes me the better part of an hour to drag him into the middle of my kitchen. At first I hesitate to touch him too firmly. The last thing I want to do is wake him. Everyone will be more rational in the morning, I think, because Leslie’s warnings about kidnapping suddenly have a whole new meaning. It would probably be good to talk to Leslie before he even wakes up, and I wonder how early might be too early.

But the dead weight of a grown man is a lot for me to handle on my own and finally I have to grab him by the ankles and pull him flat on his back over the bump in the kitchen door. Sweat’s running down my sides by the time I get him as far as half way across the floor.

I catch a glimpse of myself in the stainless steel surface of the fridge. I look like a goddess of war, with my hair sticking up in all directions and my black sweater drenched and sticking to my back. I want to strip down to my bra, at least, but don’t dare, for fear he might charge me with attempted rape as well as kidnapping if he comes to and sees himself naked and me all sweaty in my underwear.

And who would ever believe my side of it? He is quite delicious. The boys retreat to their hideout under the kitchen table and at last I have him positioned as comfortably as I dare.

I grab a quilt intended for my guest room and gently tuck it over him, and put a throw pillow from my couch under his head. “Come on, boys.” I breathe a little prayer that this all be some weird hallucination brought about the combination of the candles and the incense and the phases of the moon and follow the boys up to bed.


In the night I convince myself, that Johnny, like the ghost of Jacob Marley, is most likely the result of too much poorly digested cheese. It’s not until I find him, curled up under my quilt, the dogs joyfully licking his face, still sleeping soundly as a newborn, that I remember that Scrooge was wrong about the connection between the ghost and the cheese.

As the dogs finish their business in the poop patch, I hear the front doorbell ring, and they bound barking into the house, even as I tiptoe past Johnny’s prone body.

To my amazement, it’s Leslie, sleeves already rolled up. She’s got a brown paper bag in her hand. “Here you go,” she says, and turns to leave. “I’d stay but I’m due at a depo-”

“No, Leslie.” I grab at her hand. “Wait - there's something... something wrong-”

“Wrong shoes?” she asks, instant concern creased across her forehead.

“D-do you have just a couple minutes?” I sag weakly against the door-frame. Suddenly looking at her in the cold daylight, in her dusty black suit and carefully applied makeup, makes me feel rather the way I imagine the witch from the Wizard of Oz felt when she looked up and saw the house falling on her.

“What’s wrong, honey?” She looks at me more closely. “Are you okay?”

“J-just come in a minute,” I say. The draft claws at my ankles and I can only imagine how cold the hard kitchen floor is.

conjuring johnny depp - part nine

Leslie watches me warily as I lead the way to the kitchen. “Kelly, can you please give me some idea-” She stops short as I stand aside to let her see Johnny’s sleeping body. The boys are sitting beside him, tongues hanging out, tails softly brushing across the floor. Since he’s clearly no immediate threat, they’ve decided to give him a chance.

“Leave him alone,” I hiss, as Buddy Love sniffs experimentally at Johnny’s neck, who sighs and shifts restlessly, but doesn’t wake.

Leslie grips my biceps with an iron clasp and says, “Please tell me that’s not who I think he looks like.”

There’s not much I can do but shrug helplessly.

“Sonuvamotherfuckinbitch,” she swears under her breath. “Kelly, you have to stop watching Practical Magic. Life’s not a movie. What do you think he’s going to do when he wakes up?” Again, I can only shrug, though I can feel the tears starting to well up behind my eyes. “You think he’s going to be happy about this? You think he’s going to fall in love with one of us? He’s not a character in a movie - he’s a person with a life. You can’t just - hijack - people.”

She shakes her head. “You know, I went along with it last night because - well, because I never in a million years believed you’d actually be able to physically manifest his body.” She pauses. “How can someone who would even dream of doing anything like this call herself an ethical witch?” She snaps out a cellphone, punches a single number, then stalks back down the hall, the echo of her heels hollow as death knells.

Do not ask for whom the bell tolls. My mother’s voice rises ominously out of my memory. It tolls for thee. Shut up, mother, I think, as Leslie speaks into the cellphone, “Amanda? Yeah, it’s me. Look, you’re going to have tell Rahim he’s got to cover the Henderson deposition this morning. Something’s come up. Something big. Yeah, I’m involved. Yeah, it could be bad. Yeah, I will. Thanks, you’re a peach.” She flips the phone closed. “You know, it would be bad enough if it were just some - some nobody off the streets of some podunk town east of Bumblefuck. But, oh, no, you had to go and conjure up someone who’s only known to millions of people. What do you think’s going to happen when he wakes up? You don’t think he’ll be amused, do you?” She passes me shaking her head. “We have to call Clarice. She helped you with this, didn’t she?”

“Not specifically. She just gave me some ideas. Pointed me in the right direction, so to speak.”

Leslie is standing at Johnny’s feet. He’s flat on his back now, a slight smile on his face. The merest haze of a beard is on his chin in the white wash of light, and he clutches a corner of the quilt with one hand. “How much do you want for this quilt?” she whispers.

“Wh-what?”

“The quilt. I want it.”

“Just help me get out of this and it’s yours.”

conjuring johnny depp - part ten

Our eyes lock and the bargain’s made.

“How long’s he been asleep?”

“Since I found him last night on the porch.”

“He was on the porch?”

“Literally on the doorstep. I had to drag him in here.”

“And he didn’t wake up?”

I shake my head.

“Hm. That’s odd. Is he naked under there?”

I nod. “As a jaybird.”

“No, seriously?”

“Oh, yeah. He’s naked. Look - he’s having a real nice dream.” I point, where a little pup tent is rising at the level of his groin.

Leslie covers her mouth with a little gasp. “Kelly Sabatelli, I just can’t believe you’d actually do something like this.”

“You know, I’ve been thinking,” I say defensively. “All your talk of hijacking and kidnapping - what makes you think he didn’t want to come?”

For a moment Leslie is silent. Then she motions me out of the kitchen. The boys continue their vigil. She puts an arm around my shoulders, and speaks to me in the same tone of voice used to calm frightened children and raving lunatics. “You know, Kelly, he’s not his characters.”

In the hallway, I pause and look at her, and I think how beautiful the colors are swirling in the depths of her eyes and I wonder when the last time was that anyone told her so. Don Juan de Marco was right about that, too. Every woman should be told that the colors in her eyes are beautiful. Every day. But all I say is, “Oh, no, Leslie. See, that’s where I think you’re wrong. I think on some level, he is his characters - every one of them. He has to be, in the same way I’m all mine. Come on. You know what I mean. That’s what’s disturbed you all about my nympho-manical elves story. Don’t you see?”

She shakes her head and the spell is broken. She gives me a little push. “Go call Clarice, and tell her to get her butt over here ASAP.”

“Where’re you going?” I ask.

“I’ll just keep an eye on Mr. Depp while he sleeps.”

“While he dreams,” I say with a smirk and she only answers me with a look that would freeze rain and a blush that would stop traffic.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

conjuring johnny depp - part eleven

Once word gets around that Weirdly Ways is closed due to an emergency, it doesn’t take long for the coven to gather, except for Olivia, who I have to assume, is tied up, maybe literally, with GianCarlo, possibly for days.

By two o’clock we’re sitting around Johnny, three on each side. The strong afternoon light is not at all as kind as the candlelight last night, and we look like some Stepfordized version of Macbeth’s Three Weird Sisters and their understudies. He’s still sound asleep. He snores every so often, shifts position, and even drools a couple times. The sleep is deeply unnatural, but he seems normal enough.

“He is so beautiful,” Marnie coos. Her hands flutter in her lap and I know she wants to peek under the blanket. I told her to go ahead and look, but Karen’s shock has so far kept her under control. I’m not sure she will be able to resist, however, if he starts dreaming again. “You mean you found him on your back porch and moved him in here and the boys have been noisy all day, and he hasn’t so much as stirred?”

“He’s stirred, all right,” says Leslie.

“But he doesn’t wake up,” I finish immediately, lest she whet their appetites unwittingly.

“That’s pretty strange, don’t you think?” says Marnie.

“Well, it’s obvious this isn’t a natural sleep,” says Jasmina.

“It’s an enchanted sleep,” says Marnie.

Karen comes in from the living room, where my tiny TV is tuned to CNN. “Um - there was just a report that Johnny Depp’s been reported missing on the set of his latest film. Seems he just vanished. Into thin air.” Her mouth is a thin, tense line.

“Well. I guess that answers that.” Leslie looks like she’s bitten a lemon.

“We have to get Olivia here,” says Clarice pointedly at me.

“But GianCarlo showed up last night. What if he’s taken her off to Fuji or Kilimanjaro or -”

Jasmina puts her arm around me. “We have to find her.”

“She’s the one you conjured him for,” Leslie says.

“She’s the focus of the spell,” says Clarice. “I really don’t think it can be broken without her.”

conjuring johnny depp - part twelve

What if he wakes up before we can find her?” asks Karen.

“I think we have a bigger problem if he doesn’t,” says Jasmina. She folds her arms across her chest, and looks at each of us in turn. “If he doesn’t wake up, he won’t eat. If he doesn’t eat, he’ll starve. If he continues to sleep much longer, we’re going to have to get him hooked up to some sort of IV, just to make sure he stays hydrated.”

A low muffled sound comes from underneath the quilt, and a moment later, Marnie sniffs. “Oh my God, I think he farted.”

The whole ridiculous absurdity of the entire situation collapses on top of me like a house of cards and I start to giggle softly, crumpling against Jasmina. “I feel like I’m living out that old joke about the priest who skips Mass and goes to play golf on Sunday morning, and God lets him hit eighteen holes-in-one... because who is the priest ever going to be able to tell about it?” I giggle until the tears spill down my cheeks.

“We could take pictures,” begins Marnie.

“No!” Leslie says in a whisper that’s as close to a bellow as it’s possible for a whisper to be. “No pictures.” She looks at Clarice. “So you agree with me, we need Olivia here?”

Clarice exchanges a glance with me. “She was the focus, right?”

And miserably, I can only nod.

In the ride over to Olivia’s house, since calling her is pointless, Jasmina asks me gently, “And just exactly why was it you thought conjuring Johnny Depp would be a good idea?”

“It was to help her make her up her mind about GianCarlo,” I say. The sheer awful stupidity of what I’ve done is crashing on me like a jetty’s worth of boulders and I can hardly lift my head out of the pit between my shoulder-blades. The situation can only get worse from this point, I’ve decided. “Or about anyone, for that matter.” At that they all turn and look at me, even Karen, who’s driving. “It was that scene in Don Juan de Marco that gave me the idea - well, it was the whole movie, really. Olivia’s been so tied up into knots over this GianCarlo thing from the beginning -”

“You thought an experience with Johnny Depp would help her make her up mind?” Marnie, whose vivid fits of imagination frequently exceed even mine, sounds puzzled.

“Well -” I shrug. “Isn’t that what the movie was about? Don Juan de Marco? That we can imagine our lives? Our loves? And that’s how we create the lives we want, by first imagining them?”

They're looking at me dubiously and I know they don’t understand. Even I don’t understand any more. Because what I keep struggling with, even though I know I’ve done a terrible thing, is the feeling that it’s all going to turn out okay.

conjuring johnny depp - part thirteen

Olivia comes to the door looking flushed, hair wet. She’s just gotten out of the shower, and GianCarlo has just fallen asleep. From the rings under her dark eyes, I can tell it’s been a busy nearly twenty-four hours. To her credit, she takes one look at all of us, grabs her purse and heads for the door. “The man doesn’t stop,” she says, as we bundle her into the car. “He’s come around twelve times in the last sixteen hours. I don’t know where he gets the stamina.”

“How much Viagra does that take?” asks Karen.

“He doesn’t need Viagra,” says Olivia. “He’s amazing.”

“Aren’t you sore?” asks Jasmina.

Olivia actually blushes. “A bit. He’s not at all rough, though. Just -”

“Persistent?” finishes Marnie.

Persistent, I think. I wonder if Johnny’s still asleep.

“Are you going to tell me what all this is about,” she asks abruptly.

“Remember last night?” says Leslie.

Olivia glances at me and I smile back weakly. “What about last night?”

We turn into my driveway and Karen parks the car.

“Come on in, Olivia,” I say, as I struggle out of the car. “I have a big surprise.”

conjuring johnny depp - part fourteen

Clarice, bless her heart, has the presence of mind to find a camera and so we have a wonderful shot of Olivia’s face frozen in the moment when she looks down at my kitchen floor and sees Buddy Love and Duffy guarding Johnny Depp. Leslie’s behind her, arms crossed like a storm-trooper, Marnie’s grinning like a demented elf, and I’m clearly cringing behind Jasmina.

The sex and the lack of sleep and the sight is all too much for her, and Olivia’s knees buckle. We decamp to my living room, where Clarice has tea waiting. As the early evening sun begins to slant over the couches, it’s soon apparent we’ve no idea what to do next.

“I think we have to try to wake him,” says Jasmina. “If he continues to sleep, he’ll dehydrate. We don’t want to be accused of murder on top of kidnapping, after all.”

“And if he wakes up,” says Leslie. “We have a chance of explaining Kelly’s idea to him. And maybe he is quirky enough to be reasonable about this. Though what there is to be reasonable about... I guess that’s another topic for discussion.”

Olivia hasn’t said much, and now she leans forward. “Kelly?”

“I’m sorry,” I say, the tears starting to drip down my face. “I guess it really was an awful idea - I didn’t think it through. It was just - I thought if you knew for sure that GianCarlo makes you feel the way Johnny Depp makes you feel - then you’d know. You’d be able to see past all the trips and the jewelry and the stuff - and know if he was the right one for you. You’ve been through so much - I don’t want you to waste your time or your energy on someone who isn’t going to give you everything you deserve.”

“Oh, honey,” she says. We’re all crying now, even Leslie, and Karen starts passing around the tissues.

“Hey,” Marnie says, as she blows her nose. “I have an idea. His sleeping - we all agree it’s not normal sleep, right?” As we all nod, she continues, “He’s under an enchantment - like Sleeping Beauty. That’s why he’s asleep. And in the fairy tales, when you want someone to wake up, you kiss them, right?”

conjuring johnny depp - part fifteen

“You also kiss the toad to turn him into a prince,” says Karen.

“I think Johnny’s already a prince,” says Jasmina. “What if kissing him turns him into a toad?”

“Maybe we shouldn’t do anything that might turn him into a toad,” says Leslie. “I don’t even want to think of the legal ramifications of turning a film star worth millions and millions, with obligations worth millions and millions, into a reptile.”

“An amphibian,” says Clarice. “Toads are amphibians.”

For a long strange moment, a twisted ribbon of a story unfurls in my head - Johnny Depp turns into a toad, his fans scream for my blood. Olivia herself lights the faggots at the foot of my stake. I shake my head, take a deep breath and tell myself to stop being silly.

“It’s worth a shot, though,” says Marnie. “Isn’t it?”

“Can’t you just figure out a way to reverse the spell, Kelly?” asks Karen.

“That’s going to take some time.” I shred a rose petal between my fingers. It’s deep dark red, the same color as fresh blood on the floor.

“Go kiss him,” says Leslie. “It’s worth a shot.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t,” says Karen. “Isn’t that kind of a violation?”

“I don’t think it’s really any less of a violation than bringing him here in the first place,” replies Leslie.

“Naked, even,” adds Jasmina.

“So who gets to kiss him?” Marnie looks as if she’d be glad to volunteer.

“I think it has to be Olivia,” I say. “After all, I brought him here for her.”

conjuring johnny depp - part sixteen (the end)

The light has long since faded and the kitchen is bathed in grayish gloom. The boys wag their tails listlessly when we enter. Since he’s clearly not a toy, they’ve decided he’s some sort of couch, and have snuggled up around him.

I shoo them away and we kneel in a circle, Olivia on one side of his head, and me on the other. She leans way over and gives him a chaste peck on the forehead. Nothing happens. She tries his cheek. Again, nothing.

Leslie takes a deep breath and Marnie, next to Olivia, gives her a nudge. “Oh, just go for it. Put a big wet one on that beautiful sensitive mouth.”

She looks at me. “It’s worth a try,” I say.

But she hesitates. She smoothes his hair back from his face, caresses his cheek with the back of her hand. “I can’t believe you really did this,” she says. “All for me.”

Suddenly my throat is too thick to whisper anything but, “Happy birthday.”

She smiles at me then, and I believe she understands. She leans over and gently touches his mouth with hers, and then, imperceptibly, presses harder, until at last, it’s a kiss, a real kiss, and there on my kitchen floor, my fifty-year-old friend Olivia is actually kissing Johnny Depp, and as she pulls away and begins to open her eyes, he opens his.

And vanishes.

We order out for pizza because we can’t imagine talking about what’s happened in public. The delivery man looks bewildered when Marnie grabs him in a bear hug as the announcement that Johnny Depp’s alive and well comes on the television, just as the poor guy's giving her change and positively worried when we all cheer.

Again, Olivia lingers after all the others have gone home. “All’s well that ends well,” I say as I hand her her pink pashima. “Johnny’s back on his set - our lives are back to normal - you’re going back to GianCarlo.”

But she’s quiet until she’s at the door.

“Aren’t you?” I ask. She’s been very quiet all night, I realize. And there’ve been no calls from GianCarlo.

“I’m going back to kiss GianCarlo,” she says. Johnny’s pillow is clutched to her chest, carefully wrapped. “To see if he makes me feel the way Johnny did. When I kissed him in the middle of your kitchen floor.”

the end.

wordless wednesday (well, almost)

i'm off to a visit with my chiropractor... here's a before and after photo of the renovations we did on the kitchen this summer...





and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

there's a dog in my house...

a dog other than sam or buddy, i mean. this one's invisible, but i can hear him or her clacking across the floors while the other two are curled up at my feet. i can hear her or him licking at the food bowls, lapping at the water. i can him or her padding down the upstairs hallway when the other two are downstairs with me on their leashes.

i can tell it's a playful energy, not something to be afraid of. sam and buddy are aware of it, but exhibit no signs of fear at all. but they look in the same direction i do, ears perked. they sniff and stare. it seems to know its way around the house. i believe it to be the same Presence i sensed about the house just before my friend lorraine died.

i have no idea what the Presence may portend. whatever it is, i am quite sure that over it, i have no control.

just like today. walk me anywhere, i said to my friend. she thought i was going to be late, even though i showed up precisely on time. i think we can shape time to our will more readily than most of us believe, and today was one of those days, when my physical therapy ran late.

i loved being walked. it was sheer bliss to surrender any possible expectation or even inclination, and to allow someone else to set the pace, the tone and the direction. it was as simple and sweet and nourishing as rice pudding, fattening and rich as deep-fried beignets.

it led to an interesting discussion regarding my WIP. i'd been feeling something was missing, something i wasn't quite sure of, something i couldn't quite put my finger on. was it Magic, i wondered, and yet the point of the story seemed to be to engage in the workings of a less literal Magic.

and then the lady who was walking me offered me an observation, such a simple observation really, that i had completely overlooked, a way to make the story more than "just" a romance as Beloved so dismisssingly observed. what about the child, she asked. wouldn't the heroine miss the child?

and of course she would.

im being walked again on thursday. i can't wait to see what happens next.

fat tuesday

i'm planning to follow yesterday's frenzy of domestic activity by a much more self-indulgent morning - a physical therapy session and then a walk at a reservoir. winter's clinging in the air, but the light's gold, tinged with ever-growing warmth. the sky was infused with acquamarine when i walked the puppies today.

today's the second walk in as many days. last week i heard the Angels say, quite pointedly: annie, you need to be walked...not walk, mind... but to be walked. like a puppy? i wondered. like a baby, They replied.

the implications of an Angelic Order to allow myself to be treated like a baby seem to defy my ability to wrap my mind around it all. especially on fat tuesday.

baby jake's coming this afternoon... in time to nap. i'm thinking i'll get more laundry, and zone 1 (the entry hall and laundry room) done today, and libby's insisting she needs Stuff for lunches, which means yet a third trip to the grocery store in five days. the check-out ladies and stock-boys are starting to recognize baby jake - and what seems worse, he seems to be starting to recognize THEM.

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Monday, February 23, 2009

a burst of inspiration

a fellow blogger posted today about her ginormous to-do list she is slowly working her way through. since i have my own ginormous to-do list that i would like to accomplish this spring, her persistence and tenacity inspired me to take stock of my own day... and to remember that slow and steady wins this particular kind of race:

so this is what i did today...

- 5 loads of laundry
- food shopped
- scrubbed appliances, wiped down cabinets, walls, counters, and shelves, microwave, cleaned out fridge, vacuumed and wiped up floor in kitchen and eating area (zone 2)
- tidied zones 1,3,4 & 5
- baked cookies
- scraped half the paint off the bathroom tiles
- cared for baby jake, sam and buddy
- made beef tenderloin, watercress salad, fingerling potatoes, rolls and grilled spinach for dinner, fed six (including 2 guests, 1 not expected)

and last but far from least...
- astounded rose (see comment #12 on follower update post - im still roflmao)

its the follower snatchers!!!! (updated)

come back come back...

to answer the questions of several gentle readers...apparently a glitch in the blogger system as it attempted to integrate with another system has caused some followers to be inadvertently switched to anonymous. they are still there; you just can't see them. go to dashboard, go down to blogs i follow, click on manage and check to see that all the blogs you follow are set to public, not anonymous. i checked, and all the blogs i follow are set to public, so for all the people i read regularly... you should be able to see me!

please let me know if i am not on your bloglist!

monday mayhem

today's a baby jake day, and so perforce, any work i would like to accomplish today, must be done, or at least half begun, by the time he shows up.

the bathroom countertop is finished. i have some drips to scrape away off the tile on the wall, but im pleased with the result. i'll post pictures when the room's completely done. if i have time today, i'd like to get the scraping done, but with baby jake, that's iffy.

a dear friend is coming for dinner. i have a beef tenderloin in the freezer, and watercress for salad. i've been craving things with leaves lately. perhaps baby jake and i will make a cake. today is a good day to cook - it's the day i clean the kitchen. i also have a mountain of laundry to tackle - i shudder to think of the state of the laundry room since meg left this morning.

if i get half accomplished of what i would like to get done, i'll be a very happy - not to mention probably tired - person tonight.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

granny annie's spring lamb stew

a rainy-slushy-snowy late winter day requires an especially warming dish. i came home from my writers' circle to find this waiting for me... i put it in the oven before i left.

in an ovenproof pot, preferably cast iron, heat four or five slices of bacon until the fat is rendered and the meat is crisp. remove from the pot and set aside.

chop two - three pounds of lamb into chunks. you can use any kind of lamb - i like blade chops as they are a cheaper cut of meat with lots of flavor. you can remove excess fat this way as well. brown the meat in batches in the bacon fat. when the meat is browned, scrape the bottom for all the burned bits.

to the pot, add 4 leeks, chopped into thin rings - all the white and half inch of pale green - 2 parsnips and 2 carrots, chopped. also, 2 cups of beef stock, preferably homemade but canned is okay, and 1/4 cup scotch or 3/4 cup irish stout. (granny annie doesn't recommend any other substitutions because she hasn't tried them.) season with 4 tbsp fresh chopped thyme, 2 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary and the bacon, crumbled.

cover and cook in a slow oven (250 degrees F) four hours, adding more liquid as necessary.

serve over a slice thick brown bread, although any crusty bread, will do.

tune in, turn on and give us a listen!

Discovering Nature's Spirit debuts on blogtalk radio...this evening - 6:00 PM eastern standard time (3:00 PM pacific). our call-in line is 718-664-6906.

Here's the description from our show's site:

Our show features a variety of spiritual and healing topics. We will have special guests and we also enjoy offering readings to callers! Laura Rose and Annie Kelleher are both Intuitive Mediums and ReikiMasters. As well as healers and spiritual teachers, Laura is an attorney and Annie is a published author. Laura and Annie have joined together as "sisters-in-spirit" to bring forth messages and guidance of hope, healing and empowerment in light and love. We are both available for private sessions either in person or by phone.

we look forward to chatting with you!

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

life among the addams - part three*

my Beloved is a wonderful man. he's smart and witty and charming when he wants to be, generous and endlessly patient. he's also a little bit like gomez addams. actually, he's a lot like gomez addams - remember how gomez used to read the ticker tape? he's also interested in a wide range of interests that spans the gamut from an online game called pimpwar (remember i said he was charming when he wants to be?) to mandarin chinese (he's been studying for over five years) to rock n' roll to painting to charitable endeavors to wall street. he's also extremely openminded.

one day he decided he wanted a porsche. he found one on ebay and drove it home from boston. somewhere along the way the gearshift died, and he wasn't able to put the car in park. he got that kink worked out, fortunately, and we named the car lil sparky. it felt like riding in a bucket of bolts and i refused to ride in it after just one ride around the block. lil sparky definitely had a mind of its own and when it tried to kill him a third time, i insisted he get rid of it. fortunately when i say things like that to Beloved, he pays attention. and so lil sparky went to a new home in new jersey, where i sincerely hope it harbors no memory of us or the cars we drive. my mother still lives in new jersey, and i do, on occasion, still visit. it would bother me to think that the little demon car might remember me.

this evening Beloved and i were out for dinner, and Beloved shared that he had recently sent a letter to an old friend of his who's now, for lack of more theraputic accomodations, a guest of the state.

this friend is truly a sad creature, the victim of domestic abuse, and a system that lacks any real capacity to help her. prison, alas, is the safest place for her - at least she has a roof over her head, three meals a day, and a place to sleep. it also means she can't drive around drunk and potentially kill someone who actually contributes to society. Beloved and i agree that the abuse damaged her in such a way that her ability to stop herself from drinking seems to have totally disappeared. she doesn't have an off switch.

so this lady is a sad case, and i credit Beloved greatly with being potentially the most functional friend she has.

"i wanted to send her a letter," Beloved said, "so she'd have something to read. i couldn't think of too much to say, so i sent her a copy of The Wasteland. i just sent her half of it, actually. it came to over four pages, counting all the foreign language parts."

"you sent her what?" i asked.

"the wasteland," he repeated. "by ts elliot. but just the first half. i didn't want to overwhelm her. don't you think thats great? its so dense - she has months to read it."

"she'll never understand it," i said. "do you understand it?"

"of course not," he answered. "no one really understands it. i dont even think elliot understood it - its like a list of paragraphs totally unrelated to each other - you know i once wrote a paper on the wasteland. april is the cruelest month..."

"that's going to confuse her right there," i pointed out. "it starts to get warm in april - april's not the cruelest month - february's the cruelest month - or wait, maybe november - that's one mean month, too, and you have to start revving up for holidays and the weather's getting bad -"

"are you mocking me?" he asked.

"what are you sending her next," i inquired. "ulysses? how about the meditations of marcus aurelius? the complete works of shakespere? scene by scene?"

"you're mocking me," he said.

"what's she going to say when they ask her about the foreign languages," i ask. "they're going to think the greek is arabic and she's not going to know it's greek. what if they water-board her cause they think it's code? april is the cruelest month... what if they think she's masterminding an escape in april? a riot? a prison-wide pillow fight? what are you going to say when they show up our door?"

"i'll tell them the truth - it's all greek to me," Beloved said. when i stopped laughing, he looked at me sorrowfully. "you're going to blog about this, aren't you?"

the minute i got home.

*parts one and two can be found in october 2007

superawesome saturday

i'm grateful for a healthy week. i spent a lot of time with libby who was on february break and a lot of time with meg and baby jake, who just passed the 16-month mark. i started my bathroom project, and even got Beloved to agree to change the faucet. i got through the first 14 chapters of my current WIP. it's hard to believe next week is the last week of february.

i have a birthday party to go to, a walk planned. tomorrow i meet with the wethersfield writing circle, and laura and i do our first blogtalk radio show at 6:00 PM est. the call-in number, if you would like to speak to us, or get a mini-on-air reading from BOTH of us...please call in at 718-664-6906. we'd love to hear from you!

and... i've begun to plan my SUPERAWESOME SPRING GIVEAWAY... the winner will be announced on MARCH 20...the first day of spring. you enter by leaving me comments... one entry for every comment between TODAY and march 20th. you earn extra entries by becoming a follower (1 for new followers, 2 for previous followers)... by blogging about it on your own blogs (3 entries + 1 for everyone you send here), or by picking up my button (3 entries...an email to remind me to pick up yours earns you FIVE!).

and what do you stand to win?

13 Essential Things for Spring, of course!!! at least, 13 things i consider essential. the basket will include things like stuff to keep your hands nice while digging in the dirt, stuff to help dig in the dirt, and maybe a hat to keep the sun off your neck :). of course spring is not all about digging in the dirt, so there'll be a nice assortment of things to nurture your mind, your heart and your soul. so don't forget to leave me a comment, become a follower, talk about my giveaway... and

FOLLOW WENDA!!!!

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Friday, February 20, 2009

aloha friday

im taking it easy today... can't figure out how to grab the code for the cute lil picture... but here's my question for all my gentle readers:

what're your favorite topics to blog about?

and furthermore the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

please give a listen!!!

today at three pm eastern time - noon pst - my dear sister-in-spirit laura rose will host her final solo show on voiceamerica.com's seventh wave network. click HERE for a direct link to laura's show, and call in to wish us both well on our brand new internet radio show that will debut THIS SUNDAY - FEBRUARY 22 (that's 2/22 for you angel number afficionados) at 6 PM est (3 PM pst). we hope you will join laura today at three and then come hear us together on blogtalk this coming sunday!!!

thursday thoughts

the redecorating bug is back and biting hard. my first project this spring is sprucing up the bathroom i share with Beloved. it's a tiny little closet of a room, built by the original owner of the house for the use of just one person.

it's not just the size of the room that presents a challenge - its the fact that it's tiled in black and all the fixtures could use a good replacing. but due to current economic conditions, replacing even the sink cabinet isn't in the budget. we're also planning to do a massive renovation to our end of the house once libby goes off to college and meggie moves out permanently.

one thing i really like about my decorating bug is that it doesn't consider limited dollars to mean limited resources. what i lack in one department must simply be made up in another. and so the challenge... how to spruce up my bathroom and bedroom for not much.... or as Beloved warned me yesterday in an uncharacteristically grim tone: "no frivolous expenditures, annie."

but i've been planning this since last fall when i found three curtains on clearance at target. they're floor length, white with black flowers outlined all over them, and best of all - i got the three of them for less than $35. there's enough fabric to make a new shower curtain, a new window curtain, and curtains to hide the ugly sink cabinet. yesterday i took all the measurements. today i'll set up the ironing board and iron and if im really ambitious, i'll iron the curtains and maybe even cut out their new incarnations.

the countertop around the sink is the most unsightly... so i put a coat of primer on it yesterday, and two coats of benjamin moore pearl finish white. today when libby and i go to michael's, i'll pick up a few small bottles of blue and black paint and some sponges... im going to paint the countertop in colors that match the floor. (thank you to rose with all her talk of lavenders and umbers) the floor tiles are blue and gray - one of Beloved's first projects when he moved in here 13 years ago. (he earned himself a punch on the shoulder over the change, too, from our resident ghost, but that's another story.) i'm also planning to paint the woodwork and the back of the door - somehow, it got overlooked when we changed all the doors in the house a few years ago - and it was never painted at all. (and no, the ghost wasn't upset about the doors changing - by that time i was living here and he and i had had a few Chats.)

my one big splurge i'm hoping to talk Beloved into is a frame to go around the mirror - its just one of those wall things and i think a frame would make it look so much nicer. and i'd like to change the sink faucet... maybe once Beloved sees how nice everything else looks, a new faucet won't seem so frivolous.

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

that and this

i like days where i feel like i accomplish a lot. the laundry from last week is mostly caught up, the house has had a once-over that it sorely needed from being neglected for nearly two weeks in a row. the writing room feels fresh and clean. i even started a spring-cleaning project in my bathroom.

baby jake napped for almost three hours. laura and i made plans to do a trial run-through of our radio show on friday. i have my package for mamarazzi's favorite things swap all together.

its snowing, the puppies are fed. on a whim, i pick up the tarot cards on my altar - the druid craft deck - that Beloved gave me at christmas. four cards fall - i draw a fifth: the star, the ace of pentacles, the sun, the nine of cups, the six of pentacles.

i feel a deep sense of peace and contentment right here, right now. the great spirit is all around us, to paraphrase another writer* - and all's right the world. namaste.

*god's in his heaven, all's right the world just rankles my little radical-feminist soul too much for me to quote it directly.


may all beings feel such peace, without exception.

what-to-do wednesday

last night was a late night for me. the cosi girls book group went later than anticipated, and the hostess served extremely high-test coffee that kept me electrified until nearly midnight. i realized in the middle of the night what she was doing wrong - its one tsp of coffee per cup of water, not one Tbp.

i woke up this morning with my head full of a dream about me and Beloved. we were writing a book together, called the zen of money, or the tao of money, though there was some question as to what the best title should be. it was full of charts and graphs and wavy lines and it all seemed to make a lot of sense.

i wish i could remember what it was.

to answer grace's question, in an ideal world, a writer is paid by the publisher for the privilege of publishing her words. at least, that's the way it's worked so far for me, knock wood, though with the turn of current economic events, i may be publishing my next novel on this blog.

this morning my plan is to clean my writing room in anticipation of my writing day tomorrow. baby jake is coming over around noon time. snow is predicted for tonight, but i feel a burst of spring cleaning coming on.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

to-do tuesday

yesterday was a nice balance of getting things done and lazing around. i cleaned my bathroom and bedroom, the laundry room and the entry way. i did five or six loads of laundry, and made four pot pies - one turkey, three chicken - out of all the leftover meat and broth from the soup Beloved made for me and libby while we were sick.

i worked on the new novel for a few hours, and it felt good because it'd been so long since i looked at it. im planning on emailing jenn today to ask for a status update on the manuscript on submission AND my royalty money from the spanish release of once & future love.

once & future love is a time-travel romance i wrote back in the early 90's. when i started it, i was still married to crazy-ex. unfortunately, for the hero, at any rate, i made an association between the hero and the husband and when things started to get bad for us relationship-wise, things got really bad for my poor hero health-wise. somewhere around page 100 i realized i had to break the association in my head, because otherwise, the hero was going to have to die given all the horrible things i was inflicting on him.

so i swiftly transferred the core of my hero over to my new boyfriend, who happened to be Beloved. when the book was published, and Beloved read it, he called and said, annie, i don't want to presume, but this guy sure sounds a lot like me." and so i confessed that yes, it WAS him, mostly, or at least as i imagined him. Beloved was so tickled, he made me mark a copy with all the places the hero does something particularly "him."

once & future love is probably one of my favorites of all my novels, except for the cheesey bare-chested guy on the cover. if you want to know what it looks like, you can see it on amazon... :). authors generally have no say whatsoever on the cover images of their books, and this wasn't exactly what i was envisioning. (maybe in other parts of the book, sure, but not on the cover.)

today is also a baby jake day and a book group day and this morning, libby, meg and i are taking baby jake out for breakfast.

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Monday, February 16, 2009

where to begin

the crisis is over, the storm has passed. for the second morning in a row, i woke up with a clear head and enough energy to contemplate how to shovel my way out of the mounds of debris and dust bunnies that have accummulated over the past week.

it's monday, but it feels like sunday. libby and Beloved are both home.

another blogger - im so sorry i can't remember who it was!! - asked this question on her blog - is sunday the beginning or the end of the week?

i think it's easy to see sunday as the end of the week - in my current calendar, it's the last day on the page.

and yet, i've learned that my weeks go better if i treat sunday as the first day of the week, and not the last.

sunday is not a day of rest for me, with all due respect to any gods or their followers who may be lounging around. sunday works best for me if i use it to prepare and strategize, to focus intention, to set priorities and possibilities. friday and saturday are the days i like to set aside for goofing off. unlike the biblical one day of rest, i think there ought to be at least two. couple this with a day for planning and intention, and that leaves me with only four days devoted in a week to activity - a much more balanced division of time than that currently prescribed and sanctioned by our culture.

and so, today... once i get to the end of chapter 14, at least (a mere 20 manuscript pages away)...that's where i think i will begin.

and furtheremore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

too silly not to try

YOUR REAL NAME:
annie b. kelleher

2.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME:(mother and fathers middle names)
catherine joseph

3.NASCAR NAME:(first name of your mother's dad, father's dad)
john joseph

4. STAR WARS NAME:(the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name)
kelan

5.DETECTIVE NAME:(favorite color, favorite animal)
red dog

6.SOAP OPERA NAME:(middle name, town where you were born)
benedette somers-point

7.SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd fav color, fav drink, add "THE" to the beginning)
the purple alabama-slammer

8.FLY NAME:(first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name)
aner

9.STREET NAME:(fav ice cream flavor, fav cookie)
chocolate-mint brownie

10. PORN NAME: (1st pet's name, street you grew up on)
daisy ten

11. YOUR GANGSTA NAME:(first 3 letters of last name plus izzle)
kelizzle

14.YOUR GOTH NAME:(black, and the name of one of your pets)
black buddy

15. STRIPPER NAME: (name of your fav perfume/cologne, fav candy)
shai buttermint

brains and other mysteries

i looked outside the window beside my desk today and saw a patch of green. the snow is looking thin, the red buds on the birch branches look swollen. the war in my head appears over. for now.

i say that cautiously, because the light is very bright, the air is very clear and the winds are starting to stir in the trees. it is perfectly possible that whatever mysterious thread that connects me to the cosmos will tighten and kink and knot once again. at least im familiar with this dark dance. i know my triggers and my remedies.

poor libby doesn't.

like my other daughters, like my grandmother, like my mother, poor libby seems cursed with the headache but she will.

it's funny how Spirit takes care of us. i'm the last person you'd think would know just who to call in such a case. but fortunately, my work as a medium has allowed me to connect with a woman who is a Healer in the truest, most ancient and most sacred sense of the word - a neurologist who threw on her clothes, drove to her office and examined libby on a saturday morning, to make sure she wasn't suffering from anything worse than her first full-blown migraine.

and called this sunday morning to check up on libby. for such miracles, i am forever grateful. and thank you, too, to all of you gentle readers who were so kind to leave me get well wishes. libby and i appreciate all your kind thoughts and healing energy! i have a lot of catching up to do on blogs, so please be patient - i'm reading, even if i'm not commenting!

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, February 13, 2009

migraine mayhem

the high winds and the rapid shifting in the barometric pressure is wreaking havoc with my head... and libby's. we'll be feeling better as soon as the imetrex kicks in and/or the wind stops blowing!!!

and furthermore, the war WILL end... blessed be!

loyal commentator... that's me!!

stacy, at stacy's random thoughts, was kind enough to recognize ME as a Loyal Commentator!! she had so many nice things to say about me, im still blushing.


award

... this posting was interrupted due to migraine. i'm putting it up now, just so i don't lose it... more on this award, and a few others, will follow shortly now that my head is no longer in danger of exploding all over my keyboard....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

it's official

laura and i are doing our own radio show on blogtalk radio!! sundays, at six pm est!!!! the name will be the same as her radio show on voiceamerica now, discovering nature's spirit. we'll be discussing our plans today in fact! listen, if you can, to voiceamerica.com's seventh wave network... three pm est... click here for a direct link!

happy birthday, honest abe

sometimes i wonder what people in the past would really think if you could transport them into the future, via a time machine, perhaps, that would allow them to arrive with all memories of who they are intact. i think most of us prefer to believe that if such a thing were possible, these visitors would stand around in awe at the achievements of their progeny. but i'm never so sure.

i'm pretty sure jesus would be horrified. i wonder if lincoln would be proud, or equally appalled. the union he so fiercely fought to save still stands, although we're no longer torn between lines of blue and gray. now its red and blue.

i've read in other places a lot of parallels drawn between lincoln and obama, and the one that strikes me as most important is that they both face a crisis for which the lessons of history can only partly be applied. we've reached another point where rigid adherence to any one ideology is foolish, where we must be ready, in the words of the new treasury secretary, to try anything until we find something that "works."

what "works" is a fuzzy term, of course, and i don't think we're ready yet as a culture to try the options i can imagine. they're too radical for most people, though i have decided to refuse to allow myself to remain limited by others' lack of imagination.

but someday, maybe, after we've exhausted all our other options, we will indeed create a government "of the people, for the people, by the people," that embraces the entire globe.

and the winner is...

(drum roll with fanfare, please!)...

STACY of STACY'S RANDOM THOUGHTS!!!!!! she has won the superawesome giveaway basket of 13 Essential Things for a long cold winter!!!! congrats to stacy!!! please send me your snail mail address so i can send you your basket!!!

and the runner up for having the most entries is... Lenore Webb better known as Lynette355 @ Crazed Mind!!!! she will receive a signed copy of my latest novel, silver's lure!

thank you again so much to everyone who played along!!! please don't be disappointed if you didn't win... im already planning my SECOND SUPERAWESOME GIVEAWAY - 13 Essential Things for Spring!!!! the winner of this giveaway will be chosen by random on march 21!!!

congrats to stacy and leonore!!!

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

this is it...

my six-hundredth post. i can't quite believe i've written six hundred blogs in just about two and a half years.

unlike a lot of writers, a lot of seekers, a lot of women, i've never kept a journal. i don't do Morning Pages, i don't record my endless ruminations with Spirit. most of what i think about flows in and out of my consciousness as easily as water flowing downstream. what sticks, sticks, and what doesn't, doesn't. i've never been one to navel-gaze nor to spend a lot of time worrying about things that either may never come to be or over which i have no control.

and then i opened a fortune cookie and the scrap inside said, "no one will remember you for your secret thoughts."

ripeness, as shakespeare wrote in king lear, is all.

i'd reached what felt like a pivot point in my life - i was moving my grandmother up to be closer to me for the last year of her life, my first grandchild was poised to be born. my best friend had died just a few months before, and i missed her (and still do) quite sorely. and even as my own ability to connect with the dead, to hear their voices, was developing, i was becoming acutely aware of what it was to miss someone who wasn't ever coming back, not in their familiar form, anyway.

and so, i turned to blogging. not for myself - i don't often go back to read my blogs, though i love to read my books :) - but for my children, my grandchildren, for my great-grandchildren, who might wonder someday, as i so often have, who the people really were who made me who i am. that i have made connections that span continents and oceans is a benefit i wasn't expecting, that i have "met" so many delightful kindred souls is a blessing i didn't think to receive. that i have inspired more than a few to start blogging tickles me to no end.

because blogging, as i pointed out to my brother john the other day, is about expressing. it's not necessarily creative - not as i think of it, anyway - though there are surely a lot of very creative bloggers - it's primarily expressive. it encourages people to step out of the shadows, to shine their Light in the dark void of the internet, to share, if only in a few paragraphs, the Reality at the center of their souls.

thank you to all the lovely people who've played in my superawesome giveaway by posting comments and becoming followers, adding my button or posting about the giveaway. i hope you'll keep coming back. i've loved finding your blogs and reading about your lives. i enjoy getting to know you, and learning about all the amazing people out there all over the world. you make me laugh and cry and everything in between, and mostly stand in awe of the incredible diversity of what it means to have this human experience. thank you so very much.

and now... the winner of last week's ten-things-you-like-about-you is...(drum roll, please)...MARITZIA!!!!!! please email me your snail mail address so i can send you your purple fingerless gloves!!!

i will announce the winner of the SUPERAWESOME GIVEAWAY in the next post or two - im still counting up the entries to see who had the most for the runner-up prize!

hugs and kisses to everyone who came and played... please come back and play again! and in the meantime... blog on!

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

weighing in on the octoplets

according to the maternal grandmother of the hapless octoplets who the good people of california are now supporting (along with their six siblings), the mother "doesn't know what she's doing."

i have to say i agree. the mother clearly has what my kids and i call Issues. serious ones, that deserve some sort of treatment, and i'm sure the good people of california are going to provide that, too.

on the other hand, i think that what this story really exposes is how cavalier we are about the health of the mother in question. no woman should have fourteen babies in seven years.

why didn't her health care providers counsel her that having even six babies in seven years wasn't healthy? for the mother?

i have what many consider a large family. i like babies. but i had those babies over a period of 13 years - with an average of over 3 years between each child. and why'd i do it that way?

for ME. i don't care whether kids like each other. i don't care whether siblings feel close. as the person who is ultimately responsible for the whole kit and kaboodle, what i really cared about was how *I* was going to survive. and i knew - from helping out with my two youngest siblings (after having unsuccessfully snuffed the next in line) - just how hard a baby is to care for. i knew how much patience a toddler requires. i knew how much energy all children demand. i understood that their bones were coming from my bones, their flesh was being forged out of my flesh. and my flesh and bones need ME to take care of them...cause no one else is.

this woman isn't a good mother. this woman is a selfish, thoughtless idiot (can i be much clearer) who obviously has no clue as to how to care for her children because she doesn't know how to take care of herself. she put her need to have a big family before her ability to take care of them and the people who are really at fault are the doctors who participated.

did not one of them sit her down and say, "but, honey, what about your teeth? your bones? your body?" no, obviously, they didn't. they dismissed that piece... and justified it by saying it's her choice. it should never have been her choice, because someone with more brains and more sense should've said, "no, honey, it's not good for YOU."

i feel sorry for the grandmother. i feel sorry for the kids. i feel sorry for the good people of california who are now footing - and will continue to foot - the bills. but let's not call her a mother. she's a bigger baby with more needs than her own newborns. and let's haul all the medical people who particpated in this farce onto the carpet and ask them where they got their ideas about maternal health.

out of a crackerjack box, i suspect.

under a leo moon

last night beneath a leo moon, i dreamt Beloved and i were making love. i slept soundly, but the full moon has unfettered access through two windows, and perhaps it was her fiery influence that had such an unusual affect.

or maybe it's the fact that as sick as i've been, i've simply not been interested in anything other than a pat on the back and a quick hug.

i woke up and i thought, it's nice that after 13 years, the person i dream about is the person next to me.

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Monday, February 9, 2009

but i HAVE to get better...

i'm joining my dear sister-in-spirit laura rose on her radio show this thursday at three pm est, noon pst to talk about how to Eat the Angel Way!!! please join us... or better yet, call in and ask a question!!!!

i'm sick :(

so sick all i can do is lie on my couch, drink chicken soup and press my hot pack to my sore from coughing chest. please send happy thoughts!

happy birthday, johnny joe

according to family lore, while my mother was in the hospital having my brother, my grandmother told me a story about a telephone repairman named jake. im not sure what amazing adventure the lineman could've had, but the name seared itself into my not-quite-two-year-old brain and when they brought my brother home, i suggested we call him jake.

to pacify the little demon brewing in my soul, they agreed. so jake my brother was, until my aunt katherine showed up for a visit and declared, "don't call this dear little baby jake - call him johnny joe." and johnny joe he was, until he got old enough to resist.

people who think they should have children spaced close together should think again. i remember being two. i remember the rage of sibling rivalry. i'd have killed him if i could.

a while ago, i read about a pediatrician who has a new technique for handling the toddler terribles. his approach is founded on the premise that children that age aren't civilized. you can't reason with them yet, because they have no ability to reason. the hard-wiring in the brain isn't there. i believe him. i remember being two.

my brother grew up in spite of any effort of mine to the contrary. today he is a successful man by any standard, the wonderful father of two adorable and adored girls. he lives safely on the other side of the country.

i like to think he's a better man because of me.

so happy birthday, johnny joe.... from the sister who let you live.

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

eating the angel way - part nine

why do i always crave what's bad for me? for most people, this is the place where it all falls apart. if only we could crave salad, we think, as we head for the chips, the dip or the skittles.

according to the Angels, you can begin to understand why you crave what you crave by listing all the foods on an "i know this is bad for me but i have to eat it any way" list. mine includes things like salt-and-pepper potato chips, pretzel rods, cream in my coffee, coffee, chocolate and rice pudding. i also like mickey d's burgers and fries, kfc, and coke. once i had my list, i realized my cravings fell into three main categories - salt, sweets and fat.

then i realized that it isn't the salt, the sweets or the fats that are "bad" for me. salt and fat are necessary nutrients, and we are born with a taste for sweet. breast milk itself is sweet. its not the salt, the fat or the sweets that are bad for us - it's the form in which we choose to ingest them that matters.

for example, brains require salt. i realized that i most likely crave salty food at two times generally - right before my period, and when im writing. writing creatively requires an enormous expenditure of energy from an organ that already demands around a third of all available resources normally. at that point i realized that my craving for salt when i wrote wasn't a function of my weak will power, it was a function of my own body telling me what i needed.

once i realized there was a connection between what my body was telling me to eat and what i actually needed, i realized that potato chips and pretzel rods, eaten in moderation, may not be so bad for me AND might even have a healthy purpose. now, when i write, and i get an urge for some chips, i give myself a reasonable size bowl and let myself snack away. what i've found is that by "indulging" in a "bad" food like potato chips when my body tells me it's appropriate, i don't feel deprived any more, i don't feel i can't eat my chips and i don't feel bad about me or any perceived lack of will power.

one of the reasons we don't "crave" salad is that we generally don't forbid ourselves salad. why would you crave something you know you can eat as much of it as you wanted at any time? the control of cravings for most people begins with two things - realize what it is you're really craving, and release whatever it is from it's "forbidden" or "special" status.

similiarly, we all need sweetness in our lives. to listen to the ads on tv or in magazines, you would think sugar is public enemy number one. and yet, sugar, or glucose, is the only form of energy your body can metabolize. in order to access any of the energy in your food, your body first turns into sugar. yes, sugar. so to tell yourself you have to limit the amount of sweet food or sugar you eat, is to tell your body that the very fuel it runs on is bad for it. your mind is telling you one thing, and your body is insisting on another. is it any wonder we don't know what we need to eat?

again, it's not sugar or sweetness that's "bad" - it's the form you find it. of course you should enjoy sweet foods... just avoid the highly processed (high fructose corn syrup for example) or the artifical kind. your body knows what's real food and what isn't, even if you don't. this is why low-fat foods aren't as satisfying and artificial sweetners are too sweet. you can try all you want to fool your body - but your body has its own wisdom. it knows what it wants and needs and it will spur you on to eat until it receives what it needs - no matter how much artifical and processed food you feed it.

if you crave soda, for example, drink it. but drink the real thing - don't have the diet version. if you want chocolate, eat it - but don't eat the cheap, highly processed junk with the high fructose corn syrup. buy yourself - not anyone else necessarily - the highest quality organic chocolate with the highest amount of cocoa possible and indulge. what people generally find, once you get past the "i can really eat this and not have to feel bad about it" stage, is that you don't really need to eat a whole bag of chips to feel satisfied. you don't really need the whole chocolate bar.

if you allow yourself to eat only "real" food, you will begin to retrain your palate. and once that happens, you won't be able to stomach anything made with artifical or highly processed ingredients in anything other than very small doses. this is another reason the Angels recommend you begin slowly. the process of retraining your palate, of listening to your body, and of understanding why you crave what you crave when you crave it, can take a while.

and in the meantime, if you have a craving and you really want something, do what the Angels say to do... just say yes.

lying low

since wednesday, i've been fighting a bug, courtesy of that - in rose's words - sweet little petri dish we call baby jake. it's not a very big bug, or a very nasty bug, but it's an insidious bug. it's one of those bugs that lets you think you're perfectly fine until you get up off the couch to do something Useful.

consequently, i don't feel i've accomplished much of anything at all this week - at least not compared to what i wanted to get done. but then, i have to ask myself, when do i ever?

there are times of year when i have no problem being sick and giving into a good wallow wrapped in quilts. right after the holidays, for example, or after any extraordinary run of accomplishment - like finishing a novel, or mucking out the attic.

but this weekend, temperatures are predicted to rise into the forties, a veritable heat wave for a new england february. the light is getting stronger, the sun rises before seven, and sets after five. ten full hours of daylight, and i can feel the spring beginning to stir deep in my bones.

the tarot card i drew today was the Queen of Pentacles - the queen of hearth and home. today, i think, will be a good day to focus some of this restlessness into planning for the weeks ahead.

and furthermore, the war WILL end. blessed be.

Friday, February 6, 2009

eating the angel way - part eight

today is GO RED day - a day designated by the american heart association to bring attention to the fact that heart disease affects millions of women. heart disease in women can manifest differently from the way it does in men, and so it is particularly important that women are not just aware of the symptoms, but also of their own bodies.

shortly after i began Listening to the Angels, i asked Them why it was that recommendations, diets, food plans, etc, all seemed to work slightly differently in everyone i knew. some found success on weight watchers, some followed the zone diet, others seemed to experience only limited success no matter what they tried. so what's up, i asked the Angels. why do things that work for me - like eating a lot of yogurt - not work for others?

because, They explained gently, men are like raindrops, while women are like snowflakes. what the Angels meant was that men vary across a much narrower spectrum of what's "normal." that's why it's easier to ascertain the amount of nutrients men need, and one reason why most research is - or was - routinely done on men. this is one reason why heart disease in women needs more attention. women are different and not just from men.

women are different from each other, too, rather in the way snowflakes vary. this is why what satisfies me and fulfills my nutritionl requirements is not exactly the same as any other woman i know - even my dear sister-in-spirit, laura, and we're remarkably alike in build and size and body shape. this is why some women have success on various commercial plans - and some don't. women vary across a much broader range of what is normal than men.

what happens for many women, however, is that when a one-size-fits-all plan doesn't work for us, or not as well as for someone else we know, we tend to blame ourselves. we tend to assume there's something wrong with US, or that we just aren't doing whatever it is we're supposed to be doing well enough. so we berate ourselves, beat ourselves up, resolve to Do Better Tomorrow.

but what if the prescribed diet plan is antithetical to YOUR own body chemistry?

it's not a question of fault, say the Angels - it's a question of figuring out what nourishes you, what satisfies and delights you and what feeds, not only your physical body, but your soul as well.

this is why you need to create your own personal lists of white (or complete protein foods) and rainbow colored foods - the ones you absolutely love and crave and/or are willing and can afford to eat. no one else can tell you exactly what it is your body needs. no one knows but YOU. the Angel Way of eating is really as much about learning how to listen to yourself, as it is about listening to the Angels.

the Angels encourage all of us to embrace our idiocyncrasies, to celebrate our differences, not condemn them. these are not flaws - they are evidence - down to a cellular level - of the uniqueness of the Divine Manifestation that we truly are.

and furthermore, the war must end.