Now, where did I leave that?

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Fond Farewell

Two years ago I started this blog. There were lots of reasons, one of them being a gentle way to dip my toe back into the creative waters, ease my way into writing again. While it may have accomplished that to some degree, it also became a fall back. When I would try to prod myself into committing any of my thousand thoughts onto paper, I'd simply point out I was writing...the blog. 
But as time passes, it's feeling far too much like an exercise in vanity and self-indulgence. Although I'm profoundly grateful to those who have taken the time to read, comment on and follow my blog, and each of you is a blessing, I really feel like I'm only writing for myself and a handul of people. In blogger world, having only 26 followers after two years, most following out of a sense of reciprocity rather than enjoyment and seldom commenting or interacting, seems to indicate a definite lack on my part. Whether it's lack of focus, lack of anything relevant to say, lack of skill, or all of the above or something else, the words in each blog entry echo in the silence, and that echo is telling me to redirect my writing to something more focused and substantive. I can't use a lonely little blog to fulfill the imperative to write anymore.

And all who have shared this time and space with me, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I've enjoyed this, and you.

Blessed Be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It's been a peaceful day, starting with coffee and reading Mists of Avalon for at least the 4th time, to a nap on the couch with Lola (who has probably never napped with a person before), as evening fell. Gravy, two kinds of cranberry sauce, and roasted vegetables are cooked and in the fridge, leaving just chicken, stuffing, and cinnamon apples (for dessert) to be made tomorrow. Linda and I will sleep as long as Lola and Yeti allow tomorrow, then breakfast on strong hot coffee and bacon sandwiches (the sandwiches are a holdover from an odd Thanksgiving morning trek the fathers and uncles took us kids on..a hike in the woods followed by bacon sandwiches cooked on a campfire. Perhaps getting the kids out from underfoot was their 1960s contribution to the festivities? Anyway, the scent of bacon is an inextricable part of Thanksgiving to me). It'll be a quiet, gentle day with movies and maybe Scrabble, a walk with the dogs and a snuggle with Elf. That's alot to be thankful for!
Wishing you all peace and deliciousness with those you love.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Living to Tell the Tale

The presentation is done; before 5 pm I was back in my office, relieved, critiquing. The local paper had their reporter at the meeting (usual process, I'm told), and a quick read this morning reveals he got the important points. And I survived--without resorting to Rice Krispie Treats! Thanks to Wild Magnolia and Akasa, bloggers-in-arms who lent me support and words of wisdom!
And I've woken to a frosty pink dawn. I've got Yeti and Lola asking for their walk, I need to work until noon, and then five days are all mine!

Monday, November 21, 2011


To some this may sound like such a little thing, although others will understand. Early this evening I have to give a presentation to the president and board of trustees. It's a little presentation, 3-6 minutes (depending on how fast my nerves drag me to the finish line...six minutes would be me doing it perfectly). On the one hand, since this has been hanging over my head for over a year (date kept getting changed), I'll be so glad just to get it over with. On the other...I am terrified of speaking to groups. My face turns BEET red, my voice shakes, I critique myself the whole time, my throat gets dry, and I speak too quickly. This isn't exactly a presentation on brain surgery; it's basic, just meant to update them on changes we've made, good things we're doing, but every cell in my body is vibrating with dread.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Recently a magazine I read posed the question "What would you tell your 16 year old self if you could go back and talk to her/him?" I've thought about this alot and here it is:
"Psst...hey you, with a cup of coffee in your hand as you edit your article for the latest of the high school newspaper and try to delay going home as long as you can--listen to me; this is important! First, it's a cliche, but this too shall pass. One day you're going to be able to forgive your mother, and you're going to miss her. Alot. Second, what seems so urgently intense now isn't going to matter. SAT scores, whether that new guy likes you, who is dating whom, just isn't going to matter; you'll be lucky if you even remember all the names!  Third, and most important of all: if you want something badly enough, if it's what you dream of doing and being, don't let anyone or anything get in the way. The path you follow may change, you may have to bushwhack a little, get your hands and knees bloody, climb mountains and cross deserts, but if you can be tough enough, you can carry that backpack full of dreams exactly where you want to be."
Alas, no one told me these things, and it's taken me another 35 years to figure all that out. I wish I'd known then what I know now.

How about you? What would YOU tell your 16 year old self ?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Living In the Moment

Animals teach us to live in the moment, something I'm not always good at. But Lola, here in front of the pellet stove, is demonstrating the technique:

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Quick Wish

To you and yours for a blessed Samhain and grace-filled new year!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bean Thinking...

Several years ago, a dear friend gave me a set of bean runes she'd made. For months now I've kept them on my altar, and a few times a week will close my eyes, reach in to stir their cool smoothness, and pull one or three for inspiration, direction, guidance. Yes, guidance from a bean...why not? I figure She can speak to us in countless ways if we listen, and a bean's as good a form of communication as any other! Sometimes the beans are quite direct;other times they may as well be buried in topsoil for all the clarity offered. Of late, 'Water' keeps popping up. Not sure what that message is, and Goddess knows we've seen plenty of water this year.
Anyway, am percolating a piece of writing that's been growing little rootlets in me for a good few months. Much of it has been written in my's always the pen to paper part (and I usually mean that literally, preferring longhand to the computer as a starting point) that stops me cold, that chilly breath of fear running down my spine and paralyzing me, shutting off all communication between brain and fingers lest every word I write not be the gold standard of writing. But a deadline is rapidly approaching, so I gathered notebook and pen from the altar, and reached into the rune bowl looking for a little inspiration, directional guidance, a delaying tactic...and this is the trio I pulled:

There's the water again, but the rest seems pretty clear. See? Wisdom from a bean!

PS...if anyone has thoughts about the water bean perpetually floating to the top, please feel free to share!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sheer Perfection

Perfection: the state of being perfect (utterly without defect, flawless....or to be more mundane, accurate); exemplification of supreme excellence. Perfection is on my mind as I'm in the final days of a week off from work, for alot of reasons. For example, I'm taking a class, just a computer applications class on Office 2010. I work with this stuff all the time, but we're learning all kinds of nifty things. Four weeks ago I maybe could have used a Word table, but it would have taken me hours and caused alot of stress. Last week I whipped one out in 10 minutes. Just had my first test of the semester and got 96 out of 100. I'm pleased, but a niggling little voice says "If you'd tried just a little harder, you could have had 100".
And I've been dabbling--learning--to make felt. What magic--you start with puffs of roving

and a few thousand pokes with a needle later, you have a pumpkin!
Or you start with the aforementioned clouds of wool, add water, soap and some serious elbow grease and voila--a vase! How cool is that? I'm proud of my pumpkin, and yet..I see every flaw. Never mind that Mama Nature herself adds a few flaws to the real deal, MY pumpkin should have been perfect. While I'm pleased with my vase, and even the most kind instructor praised some of my techniques and the strength of the felt I made, I see the uneven edges, the imperfect body.
Heading into this much-needed and long-awaited week off, I had alot of plans for the perfect vacation. They didn't include being sick one day, having our sunset sloop sail cancelled, time racing by, or uncomfortably warm weather that set the bees in a frenzy, making any outside time really unpleasant. I'm mentally working on an article/essay, and haven't put a word on paper becauseI'm afraid to start. What if my writing isn't perfect? Of course, that last question has hamstrung me for 30 years. Permanent Perfection Paralysis...I wonder if there's an actual psychological diagnosis for that?
I grew up having the requirement for perfection beaten into me--literally.  An 'A' wasn't good enough; why wasn't it 'A+'? I was a good kid who didn't dare get into trouble, but I was portrayed as a rebellious, bad teenager, and punished accordingly (and beyond). I was expected not only to strive for perfection, but to attain it, and missing the mark meant I was worthless and unlovable, and according to my mother, I missed the mark more than I hit the bullseye. My story isn't unique. We all have our perfection demons, some mouse-size, some gargantuan. But the fear of not measuring up to those demons is looming large these days as I explore new skills: daring to call myself a 'fiber artist' (NOVICE fiber artist!); learning new computer applications and being graded on that learning; facing that I gained back almost all the weight I'd lost a year ago, and need to lose it again--and alot more; daring to put pen to paper again.  Perfection as supreme excellence works for me when we're talking about other things--yep, this vacation time has had imperfect moments, but I've spent time with Linda, the dogs and Elf; I've learned some felting, knit, read, relaxed. Today I get to have lunch with a friend I haven't seen in probably a year and a half and truly miss, and tomorrow Linda and I are spending the day at the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival. Supreme excellence indeed!
But can I embrace that old catechism adage, with a name change, 'Goddess only makes perfection, and She made me'? Can I see perfection in the act of doing rather than the end result? Does supreme excellence apply even in stumbling and falling, if one gets back up? How do you define perfection--friend or foe? Let's give this a try together...let's revise perfection's definition to include overcoming the fear of failure-or of mediocrity-and make it a little less noun and a little more verb. Is that possible? How are you going to do that today, tomorrow, this week? 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Acts of Faith

When I was ten years old, my mother decided to convert to Catholicism, and I was apparently of an age where I too had to go through indoctrination classes to get up to speed.  When all was said and done, one of the prayers I was expected to know and recite was the Act of Faith. Throughout my remaining 5 1/2 years as a practicing--and devout--Catholic, that prayer was a cornerstone for me. It summed up what I believed, what the church said my faith was all about.  Faith and Catholicism in a nutshell.
Fast forward many years...sometimes I balk at the word 'faith' in a spiritual connotation.  I don't rely on faith to light my spiritual path.  I 'know' there's a Divine Energy in everyone's life.  The face, the name, our awareness of 'It', all change color, shape and texture the way a kaleidoscope's innards change, and while 'It' is a 'She' to me, that doesn't make someone else's experience less valid.  When I say a prayer, when I talk to Her, it's not an act of faith, which implies a certain leap, a risk, the possibility there's no net. For me, it's as real as the keyboard I'm typing on. I 'know' there's a net.
But this morning, driving to work on a fog-shrouded bridge, the phrase act of faith wouldn't leave my mind. There I was on a metal structure, unable to see the water beneath, sky above, or either shore.  All things were shades of gray, and I was trusting I'd emerge onto a road, see trees and fields, encounter the same familiar scenery I've passed a few thousand times before.  And it made me ponder other acts of faith great and small: whispering "I love you" for the first--or thousandth--time; having children; saying "I'm sorry"; holding our mother's hand; adopting a shelter animal; planting a pumpkin seed; buying pants without trying them on; getting out of bed; making a friend; forgiving; telling a secret; making love; helping a stranger; putting away the snowblower for the season; flying a kite....
Life is an act of faith; will you tell me some of YOUR acts of faith?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Calendars and Reality

Here's the thing...once upon a time there were no calendars, and no scientists to tell us when the exact moment of Fall would breathe its first and last breath. There probably wasn't even a word for it.  Just a moment when everyone stopped hunting and gathering and clubbing each other and being chased by saber-toothed tigers to stand still, sniff the air and realize something was changing.  Today is like that. 

Yep, Fall is officially still a week away, but the calendar is a lie...or, to be kinder, a guideline.  Look at that that not an October blue?  The light has a golden, crystalline quality to it.  Wild turkeys, squirrels, mice and chipmunks rush about in greater numbers than just two weeks ago, and the deer are raiding the pear tree and grazing openly at dawn and twilight. 

Whether it's the concord grapes, the already abundant apples and newly appearing winter squashes, or the need to light a fire or snuggle more deeply under the extra blanket, denial won't change that Fall is here.  Oh, we'll get warm again, may even have to run the air conditioner off and on these next few weeks.  Tomatoes and green beans may share space with those grapes, and the October blue will disappear in humid haze for awhile.  But reality has spoken.  Use that calendar to record soccer practice and vet appointments, birthdays and anniversaries, but use your five senses to know the season.  Listen to the dry leaves whispering and shushing; admire the blaze of crimson poison ivy (from afar); savor the tart sweetness of the season's fruits--a true metaphor for the giddy sadness that so often accompanies Fall; breathe in the scent of woodsmoke from the first fires and the spices of hot soups and applesauce; feel the crunch of leaves and silken softeness of milkweed on its farewell journey.  You know it's Fall, deep in your soul...for some of us, it's a gift; for others, well...take heart; the Wheel keeps turning and Summer will be back...I promise.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Party's Over, Folks!

It's happened.  Each year there is that moment when Summer looks around with bleary eyes and says, "That's it for me; it's been a great party, but I need to go home and get some sleep." It isn't that Fall is here, it's a fading of leaves, weeds gone to seed, a slant and color to the light that shows the smudged mascara, tangled hair and wrinkled clothes of a party girl who has had too much. But this year it seems too soon.  Did Hurricane Irene (which was a tropical storm when it reached us) kick Summer in the arse even while wreaking such havoc and destruction just a few miles from us? Certainly Irene tore even green leaves from the trees, leaving them far too underdressed for this time of year. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Fall, and have little fondness for Summer.  But this year the energy feels's not time yet.  Mama Nature has aged; she's creaky, and wrinkled, too tired to get up and face another day.  Perhaps she's feeling guilty about the hundreds of homes she destroyed, the lives taken by that cataclysmic tempest in a teapot of mountain villages.

Or hey, maybe it's just that too much rain and wind has simply left the trees stressed.  Maybe the little gray cloud that's been haunting me of late is oozing into how I interpret the energy of this seasonal cusp.  It just seems as though the clock is racing, calendar pages keep flipping, apples are in season before the tomatoes ever reached their prime, and we're all in a race whose finish line seems obscure, here one moment, miles away the next.... 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Joy In the Morning

The only way to start the day....


Early morning Lola...she needs a sip of my coffee!

If flowers were smiles...

Plan for the rest of the day?  Making corn and tomato salad, pesto, tomato-basil-mozzarella salad!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

That Old College Try

Well, after a long talk with Linda, I've agreed to keep the chickens at least through Fall.  She has a plan that, if we're able to implement it, will make Winter care much easier, and provide electricity to power lights to increase the chances of Winter eggs.  Whether we can see that project through remains to be seen, but at least getting through Fall lets me feel like I gave it a legitimate try!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chickening Out?

I'm trying to decide if wild enthusiasm followed by deep regrets is my modus operandi, or if I'm just not realistic enough. Do I allow myself to slowly tiptoe into that bracingly cold ocean, acclimatizing myself ever so gradually, or do I wade in quickly, ignoring the cold, sure I'll warm up....and then have a cold, hard smack of reality when that first wave hits?  I think it's somewhere in-between.  I want to go into that ocean, want to ride the waves, let the water take over.  I check the temperature, read the tide tables, then decide that regardless of all that, it's gonna be great and stride right in.  Sometimes it's everything I could wish, being carried to the shore as much by exhilaration as by the water, and sometimes I wind up wave-battered, squished into the sand like a used cigarette butt, dragging myself to the surface and up onto the shore, landing bedraggled and sad on my towel. Until the next time, anyway.

No, I'm not planning a beach vacation (although having taunted myself with the above, am now wishing Linda and I could steal away to some New England beach).  It's the chickens.  Yep, some 9 months after deciding we had to have chickens, 3 months of hard work and too much money, and 7 weeks of being a chicken owner, I'm having serious doubts.  Oh, I researched, read books, joined a 500+ member regional chicken listserv, subscribed to Backyard Poultry and Mother Earth News.  I picked the brains of our chicken-owning neighbors (who laughed at the books, the listserv and my obsessiveness).  I felt ready to enter the world of chickens.

Here's what I didn't know: first, chickens poop, all the time, everywhere; they're really pretty gross about it and don't care where they do it. It's their second favorite pastime after eating (okay, that made me laugh), and right above digging up hostas. People say chickens are smart.  Nope, don't think so.  Stubborn doesn't equal smart.  Chickens do exactly what they want to do.  We may call them 'domestic fowl', but they're worse than cats when it comes to going wherever and doing whatever the spirit moves them to do. Chickens get worms, and I don't mean the early-bird kind.  Even if their coop is kept very clean, and they're given premium food, and ample--and then some--free ranging freedom, they get worms.  If one is a certain type of person, all that equals frustration and stress.  When I first told one friend about the chickens, she said "you do like to complicate your life, don't you?" which kind of surprised me.  No way! I like life simple. I don't think I complicate it, and yet....I consistently take things on, envisioning that fabulous outcome, whether it's something I'm doing for myself or other people, and find myself with regrets.

It seems that at 50, one should stop trying things on and maybe focus on some real commitments, be it to learning to spin, raising chickens, learning to parasail or getting a graduate degree.  Pick something, give it your all...make it work (thanks, Tim Gunn).  Linda says you should never stop trying things on, figuring out what works and what doesn't, what you like and what you love and what makes you miserable (I'm paraphrasing). 

So I'm trying to decide if poultry farming was a huge mistake.  I have this homesteading-wool spinning-picking dinner from the garden-preserving food-chicken raising-and then writing about all of it-Earth mother image of myself. That image doesn't allow room for being prissy about cleaning chicken poop, or figuring out how the heck we're gonna get water and food up to them in the winter, or the stress that comes from constant worrying about these funny little beings that now depend on me for pretty much everything. 

I abandoned something else this year that I really thought I wanted to do, only to discover it no longer gave me any joy.  And maybe that's my answer...although the chickens have amusing moments, and tasty eggs, I'm not feeling the joy.  It feels like one more thing complicating a life I've been working hard to de-stress. Is it quitting to keep seeking out what may bring more joy and discarding what doesn't, the way a chicken tosses the kale out of the bowl to get to the cantaloupe guts at the bottom?  Is there any chance that feasting on the sweetness is wiser than choking down the bitter when there's choice to be had? And if so, does that make me a wisewomon, rather than a quitter? 

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Friday, June 24, 2011

Log Jam

It's been quite a week!  The chickens have come home to roost, and unlike my creativity, are already bearing fruit, er...eggs!  We started with the seven rescue hens who moved Monday night from the generous foster home provided by our neighbors into the coop that has consumed our lives since late March. Tuesday evening, Linda purchased two more hens, at least 3 weeks older than the seven, and we suspect one of those two is responsible for the TWO medium eggs we've gathered this week.  They'll be Sunday's breakfast.  These hens weren't free range, or raised organically until now, so we know we're not talking primo eggs, but it's a start.  I've posted more pictures here.  Unfortunately, I'm not feeling nearly so productive. 
Yesterday I got confirmation that an "essay" I wrote is going to be published.  I've been published in this magazine before, but probably not for at least 9 years.  It's exciting and I was profoundly honored to have the editor tell me how my piece affected her; it was high praise, and such validation for my lofty literary goals.  A dear faraway friend congratulated me, read the proofed piece, and offered her assessment that I "practice what I preach."  I should be brimming with excitement, motivation, determination.  Words should be flowing from me like water tumbles down Kaaterskill Falls.  Instead, every word it's taken me HOURS to write today has been dragged kicking and screaming through a crevice in the logjam blocking mind and soul.  The words and thoughts and feelings are 'there'; I can feel them jammed up, can feel my self bulging and swelling from their weighty pressure as they yearn to pour out.  But....nothing.  It's 2:00 on a Friday afternoon, the marvelous gift of a Friday off already more vanished than not, with virtually nothing to show for itself. 
Ah...except laundry.  Laundry has become my saving grace, the thing that seems my only measure of has a beginning, middle, end.  I start with piles sorted in whatever way the mood strikes, and feel the deep satisfaction as each pile vanishes from the kitchen floor, rematerializing clean, soft and neatly hung, or folded and nestled, still warm from the dryer, into the cradle of a purple laundry basket. I seem able to control this small chore, able to see it through to completion, while words and thoughts never make it out of the rinse cycle.  How is it possible that faced with a writer's small success and validation, I'm even less able to loosen that logjam?  And appallingly, painfully mixing metaphors as well?!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Moving Forward

Do you ever feel like a derailed train?  Not just a train with one wheel dangling off its steel cradle, but one that has skidded right off the tracks into a quagmire of gooey, sticky, soul-sucking mud?  That's me...the little engine that couldn't (or wouldn't).  Take today for instance: in an effort to reclaim my far-too-long self-silenced writer, I promised myself that I would dedicate each Friday morning through the Summer (my workplace is closed Fridays from today through early August) to a "writing retreat", three hours dedicated to writing, be it poetry, writing exercises, giving shape to the novel begging to be written, or the blogs...anything short of grocery lists.  No internet, no calls, no distractions, no chores...just me, pen and paper (literally or figuratively). So how did that go?  It became a hair less than two hours, which I interrupted with research about and cooking of marrow bones for the dogs, and sending emails to Linda about that. 
And it's been a year this month since I declared that I would lose 75 lbs.  My progress?  At first, I was the soul of commitment!  Lost 38 lbs.  Then I gained 10 back, and sitting in the freezer for the first time in 374 days is Ben and Jerry's Karamel Sutra. 
My seedlings have dried up; the only things to have made it into the garden thus far are some beans, beets and basil. And I'm not even going to talk about my grand plan for getting way ahead on tasks at work, only to be doing a little bit of scrambling after all.
Do you see what I mean?  What does all this say about me?  Pop astrologers (versus the real deal) say Geminis are flighty; am I the embodiment of that?  Am I hopelessly lazy?  Is it self-sabotage, and if so, why?  Fear of success and the further expectations that success would birth?  What I do know is that every wheel that sinks deeper into the muck leads to some pretty intense self-judgment and depression, kind of a "what's the point?" mindset.  I have plenty of inspiration all around me.  Kim's blog is a testament to keeping at it, and not letting a slip become a downhill plunge from whence there's no return.  Time spent with Cait reminds me of how profoundly important it is to celebrate and honor the creative spirit.  Dawn's blog inevitably reawakens the desire to weave my life into a tapestry of sacred creativity.  With so much inspiration, and the non-judgmental support of a loving partner, all that's lacking is my own determination to to power up the engine and get back on track. 
So today I've lit my Brighid flame, not for my flamekeeping vigil, but to invoke the creative spark, to coax that flame into a roaring Fire of Goddess-directed passion and drive.  I'll rev myself up out of the mud, recommit to writing, weight-loss (which is all about having the health for the rest of it!), and the goal of living a more local, sustainable Earth-centered life.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nifty 50

Took an early morning walk with Lola (she's a BIG dog in a medium package; walking Lola and Yeti separately is far easier than trying to make it a threesome).  All the cliches come to mind after the endless rain--lush, Emerald Isle green. Near one house there were waist-high ostrich ferns.  The air was fresh and damp, the perfect olfactory backdrop for sweet and spicy floral scents to linger and tease.  Most of the flowers are still shy and subtle--fading lilacs, lavender and white  Dame's Rocket, pink tulips, honeysuckle in pale yellows, white and dusty pink.  But one garden made me laugh with the sheer audacity of its offerings....some poppy-like flowers, already past their prime (perhaps just worse for wear from all the rain) in brazen orange.  Alarm orange.  Carmen Miranda orange.  They had a flounce to them, flirty if wrinkled prom dresses the morning after the evening's festivities.  It was a lovely walk, and a sense-stirring start to the day.  Next time I'll bring the camera, I promise.
Ever since Monday's personal milestone of--gasp!--turning 50, I've been pondering and poking at what to call this phase of my life.  As a Goddess-loving pagan, three archetypes are ever-present in my consciousness--Maiden, Mother, Crone, of course.  For years now, I've wondered where I fall in this triptych.  The Maiden ship long since sailed.  My kids are grown and on their own; while the Mother doesn't require literal embodiment, and what with the menagerie and gardens, and creative juices flowing, one could make a Mother argument, but it doesn't feel that way anymore.  However, I'm not at Cronehood yet.  Don't know why, since I know plenty of womyn who celebrated Cronings at this age, but nope.
There's alot of work being done around a fourth archetype for exactly this stage in life, betwixt and between, not quite this, not ready for that.  Much of the popular work calls it the 'Queen'. That terminology, 'Queen', 'sovereignty', 'making a royal sceptor' and so forth makes my skin crawl with the dress-up pretension of it.  As one friend put it, makes you think of platform shoes and rhinestones.  Okay, my head hadn't gone there, but it either makes me see dusty, ineffectual, figurehead royalty or men in wigs and evening gowns.  Either way, no thanks.  DEFINITELY not there! 
But the concept of the fourth archetype, one that embraces the creativity and births still happening,  journeys still to be taken, wisdom--limited though it may be--born of age and experience, the strong sense of self, personal empowerment, the standing straight and tall in one's truth....this time of life--Autumn, the waning gibbous moon--perhaps does deserve its own representation, its own honoring.  But what do we call it??? Shaman--because its so clearly and distinctly a place between accepted worlds? Maybe, but that's not quite it. Priestess?  Sometimes perhaps, but each archetype can have its own priestesses. Magician or Empress as aforementioned friend suggested?  The former is too rabbit and white-tipped-wand evoking for me, and Empress, while carrying more oomph than Queen, is far too regal for the likes of this flip-flop wearing non-monarch.  Wisewomon?  I can maybe get behind that one, on a good day, anyway; the rest of the time, not so much; that word carries alot of pressure and expectation.  Certainly, we could forego the label and just 'be', but what do you call it?  Some of this, not quite that; a foot here, another there; burnished by the sea of time but no pushover victim of the waves; miles to go before you sleep? Do you feel a need for a fourth archetype?  Who, what and why?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Rumor has it that the Rapture is nearly upon us, that on Saturday those meeting some nebulous criteria shall be snatched up in 'the twinkling of an eye' and vanish, reappearing in the Celestial plane (aka Heaven).  Does this happen a la 'Beam me up, Scotty'?, or is it more 'now you see me, now you don't'?  Regardless, I suspect I'm going to be among those left behind to deal with earthquakes, dead bodies, Glenn Beck, Arnold Schwarzenegger and more rain.  I can't help but wonder, arrogantly, what happens on Sunday morning when you wake up and are still here, when you've spent years believing this is the big one, this is when the Ultimate Reward for holy living pays off, and you....wake up on Sunday morning being nuzzled by the dog, needing to pee and looking for coffee.  Are you angry, hurt, confused, figuring someone messed up  the dates?  Do you wonder if you didn't measure up?  Do you figure you still have another shot at it, what with the alleged end-of-the-world scheduled in December of 2012?
And for that matter, what if you wake up Sunday morning and discover the notable absence of some folks, abandoned cars,some locusts, and people wandering down the road, shaking their heads and saying, "Damn....guess I SHOULD have gone to church"?  Will I feel abashed, lonely, a tad less smug in my interpretation of things spiritual?
Well, I figure I'll just be very careful driving on Saturday, and take comfort in knowing that either way, I'll be in good company!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Catching Up

It's been a full, busy time. A previous post mentioned the adage about 'going home again'; what I've discovered is that while sometimes you CAN, it doesn't mean you SHOULD. Sometimes you discover it just isn't home anymore. Some belated self-awareness later, the door is closed gently but firmly behind me.  My spiritual path has taken me out of the festival world.  Forever? I don't know, but for now I'm wallowing in the life we have and are creating, which is pretty time-consuming!
The chicken coop is moving along.  Who would have thought an 8' x 6' one-room structure could take so long? And we've put cart before the horse, or rather, chickens before the coop.  We're the proud semi-owners of seven rescue chickens (well, about two months old); our kind and generous neighbors are providing foster care and housing for them until the coop is ready for habitation.  After hours of research into what breeds I wanted, we've ended up with mystery chickens; we think they're Golden Comets and white Leghorns.  I would have chosen the former, but not the latter. But still, I can't help but long for that August Sunday when we eat our first eggs for breakfast.
Seeds, seeds and more seeds, grape vines, strawberry plants, all await our tender ministrations; there's never enough time!  And we'd rather hang out on the porch bathing in the scent of lilacs and watching hummingbirds, bluebirds and...the orioles!  Yep, Linda had to move from Baltimore to the foothills of the Catskills to see these vivid birds up close and personal.
Linda's anxiously awaiting her bees--5 hives' worth.  They were originally supposed to be picked up this weekend, but weather conditions in the South have caused a steady stream of delays; as of this afternoon, it looks like June 11th before the bees take up residence as neighbors to the chickens.

And Lola!  Lola is a boxer-bulldog-shepherd mix we adopted from the shelter two weeks ago.  She couldn't be sweeter or more loving, which helps make up for the absolute lack of boundaries and rather bratty behavior.  She and Yeti currently occupy a detente frame of mind; we're hoping for playful companionship and friendship eventually.
Several knitting projects are occupying my needles, but I've been lagging.  Some felting ideas are occupying this brain that is itching to get into that medium, but thus far they're real only in my head.  The spinning wheel is languishing, still virginally shiny and untouched, with naught but heated, longing glances passing between us.  I walk by and stroke her silken spokes and whisper "soon, soon". 
My 50th birthday is peeking around the wish?  That the world would stand still for a few weeks and let us catch up with ourselves!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spinning a Tale

Once upon a time, two womyn visited  the NY Sheep and Wool Festival on a whim, and one of them fell head-over-heels in love with all things woolly. A year after that festival, having taken a class, read books and rented one from Country Wool in Hudson, she bought a spinning wheel of her very own--an Ashford Traveler, to be exact.  It arrived in a box. A big box.  It arrived at the same time as house guests and the impending holiday season and, well....never came out of the box until February.
As daunting as this was, it almost went back in the box!  But wool's siren call drowned out the fears, and some "antique red" water-based stain and several coats of acrylic later,
it was time to help her get her act together.  Thankfully Linda likes assembling things AND is very patient and good at it.  In the end, the assembly took maybe two hours.  Claudia from Country Wool was kind enough to make an adjustment or two (it may be a double-drive wheel, but that doesn't mean both drives should be engaged simultaneously!), and at last, she's finished!

She's a thing of beauty, although neither photo captures her lush, deep rosewood coloring.  She's 'functional art', and I can't wait to finally pick up spinning again!  There's all sorts of alpaca and Romney roving here just waiting to be practiced with, not to mention the Lincoln fleece from Cricket and Leicester fleece from Ozzie, obtained last Fall in anticipation of this time.  I keep reminding myself it's an art that will take lots of practice and time, like all great love affairs.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Split Personality

Time has been a tad stretched of late, and a bout of tendonitis kept me away from the computer.  I'm working on getting a few photos together to show off the stunning spinning wheel.  And I'm a wee bit tied up doing some work that I thought I'd left behind several years ago, work I once loved and felt called to, then felt I had no choice but to leave.  I was pretty sure I'd moved on, but now I'm learning that maybe you 'can go home again'.  We'll see...
But ANYWAY, I haven't been twiddling my thumbs (tendonitis saw to that)....I'll post for real here again very soon, but in the meantime...Happy Spring!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Microfiction Monday # 72

Peony sighed. I’ve longed for a real piggy bank, but all I get is this ugly shoe. It isn’t even Jimmy Choo, and not worth saving pennies in!

Another Microfiction Monday, courtesy of Stony River.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm Ready Now

Awoke to 3" of snow this morning--a gift of a day that I didn't know was a holiday from work until last Thursday.  Although there's a cozy crockpot of "Dal Soup" (from a Weight Watchers cookbook) simmering away, a fire is dancing in the pellet stove, and I have Linda's socks and a newly started blanket for Patrick ( Christmas' gift) on knitting needles, I've realized this morning that I'm ready....ready for hands that aren't always freezing, for bright colors, farm market treasures, the scent of lilacs, green grass, lazy Sunday morning breakfasts on the back porch, the adventure in locavorism we're short, I'm ready for Spring.  It may be several calendar weeks away, and several weeks beyond that in corporeal realities, but I'm ready, aren't you?
And speaking of Weight Watchers recipes, after some serious backsliding when they changed the WW plan and I hit my halfway point, am renewing my intent and determination to lose the remaining weight before Summer is in full force.  I need to be in prime shape for all that planting and chicken-chasing!

Microfiction Monday #71

Light echoed through Let’s Make a Deal empty doorways. 
Souls flowed towards heaven’s radiant doors with
one united prayer-- “please open”.

Stony River: A Writing Life hosts Microfiction Monday, wherein one writes a piece of fiction of 140 characters or less, inspired by her picture of the week.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ode to An Apple

Please pop on over to read this post on Hudson Valley Roots...

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's All In the Planning

Hudson Valley Roots latest post

Microfiction Monday--Courtesy of Stony River

She had promised to come right back, but that was hours ago.  How embarrassing to be abandoned in the colorless Valley of Insipid Romantics.

Stony River: A Writing Life hosts Microfiction Monday, wherein one writes a piece of fiction of 140 characters or less, inspired by her picture of the week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Norwegian Cast-On

Yep...feeling a bit of swagger at my mastery of the Norwegian Cast-On, learned last night while Linda was off at her Beekeeper's meeting.  Months ago bought a book on knitting socks, determined to give it a try.  This in and of itself was remarkable bravery, given that using TWO needles keeps me challenged; 4 needles?!  Each with TWO points?! Gasp! Thank Goddess for those little gnome caps that keep hard-won stitches safely where they belong. Anyway, although I'm happily working on Linda's crocheted throw, I've been longing to knit, and Linda would like a pair of handknit socks, so last night I pulled out that book (and Kids Knitting, which has been a lifesaver for this confidence-and-skill challenged beginning knitter), and began.  It took three hours to learn the intricate dance that is the Norwegian cast-on, juggle all those needles, and knit 3, purl 1 the first three rows of cuff ribbing...but I actually enjoyed every minute!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday, Friday, Sis Boom Bah!

Perhaps when one has had TWO snow days in one work week, ecstatic joy over the weekend arriving is over the top, but I don't care.  Two whole days at home--yay!  My plans? Continuing to work on Linda's crocheted throw, doing some knitting...ya know what?  I MISS knitting!  Crocheting is different, and since it's a basic pattern, pretty easy...but I miss the click of the needles, the way knitting's rhythm soothes me.  So I need to have a knitting project going.  And there are a whole lot of balls in assorted colors that would love to be felted. The spinning wheel, in her state of disarray and disassembly, has co-opted the whole kitchen table in a quiet, genteel, richly stained way.  The path to her wholeness lies through a can of that's my top priority.
And there are couch snuggles with Yeti, playtime (and sneezy, itchy snuggles) with Elfkin.  The former is ready for the snow to be gone (poor thing--there are two more snow 'events' forecasted, one tomorrow and one mid-week). Miss Elf has made herself very much at home.  She's only confined to the office at night now, or when no one is home.  When we're home she has the run (so to speak) of the downstairs, and has claimed a toasty corner of the livingroom rug near the pellet stove as her own.  We're amazed to see her managing better with practice; the hardwood floors are challenging but when she gets up a head of steam she can make it all the way through the kitchen without flopping over.  A heavier food bowl has cut way back on the spilled kibble, and for a cat who uses her litter box laying down, she keeps herself very clean.  One reads and hears that cats with CH (cerebellar hypoplasia) are very sweet-natured, and it seems to be very true.  She's a loving, affectionate little sweetie who comes to greet me every morning and when I come home. She wants to be carried around in the morning while coffee is poured and sits on my lap as I read the morning news and emails online.  She naps in my arms many evenings, waking drowsily to watch us or bat at a feather toy before dozing again. She's a playful little girl who never met a ball she didn't like.  She met one of the other girls--Dottie--unexpectedly, and it went reasonably well.  Yeti is so careful around Elf, if a tad jealous; we make sure Yeti gets extra love and affection!
And of course...a few precious hours with my beloved during the weekend is icing on the cake.  Hope your weekend is just as delightful.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


And thus is born a new blog...Hudson Valley Roots.  It's not meant to replace this blog.  It's a subject that--literally and figuratively--has its own roots that need room to spread.  It needs space of its own to grow and bear fruit.  So please visit it often, comment and share liberally.  One can't formally 'follow' it yet...I'm researching that, but you can still bookmark it and pass the site address on to others. As the seasons progress, so will the content.  See you there!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

It's the first day of February, Imbolc, the day before Groundhog Day. The back porch has a foot of unmelted snow, the top few inches of which have fallen since 3:00 am.  Dire forecasts tell us that a larger storm is hurtling towards us; before all is said and done, we may see another foot piled on top.  Poor Yeti has forgotten what it's like not to be knee-deep in snow, and the older tribe of cats--Dottie, Mots & Susie--haven't set foot outside in weeks.
Today is a snow day from work, and it looks like tomorrow will be as well.  The pellet stove is toasting the livingroom; the oven is baking a snow day casserole; Linda is mere feet away, busy with work and sundry projects; Elf is dozing in her cube while Yeti wanders between warm fire and less warm but more occupied office.  The newly refilled bird feeders are hosting two pairs of cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, assorted woodpeckers, juncos, titmice, doves, nuthatches and a wayward starling. A beeswax votive is flickering on the altar in honor of Brighid, whose feast began at sundown last night. And I am faced with an embarrassment of riches, too many choices of how to spend this gift of a day. I can wallow in the book I'm engrossed in--Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver& family, which I discovered when researching for the new blog launching shortly (Hudson Valley Roots); I usually fall asleep when trying to read in bed, so the chance to taste and linger over the words while fully awake is a luxury.  There are clouds of wool and yarn whispering for me to come play with them...Linda's old-fashioned crocheted throw needs to be completed; jingle bell balls want to be felted; the book on knitting socks is luring me, promising to be gentle for my first time; the spinning wheel, whose pieces were so exquisitely stained by Linda, now needs to be lacquered so it can be assembled and put to work.  And there's the new blog, which is taking shape in my head but only slowly being birthed in cyber-reality. As Linda says...decisions, decisions....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Soul Food

Snow days are good for the soul; sometimes they're the nourishment most needed.  I may often wish for one, but I prayed hard for yesterday's, and no sweeter words were ever spoken than those that let me know my respite was really happening.  It was a mid-week break much needed after working from home much of last weekend, and putting in 11-hour days Monday and Tuesday.  Another one of those is menacing me today...and tomorrow won't be a picnic.  There's a three-day break before the next two weeks of high stress, pressure, 14 hour days, noise and endless demands, but maybe you can see why yesterday was a gift-wrapped present. I used it wisely...we lingered in bed with coffee, watching the snow fall and perusing seed catalogs--dreaming, not planning (that happens later in the Winter); pondered privets and lusted after lilies as we ate the last of our local farm eggs by the fire.  I began my first crochet project in decades (not sure I ever finished one back when I tried to crochet a bond between my mother and me)--a striped throw for Linda in heathered brown,  rust and cranberry.  And I made my favorite Weight-Watchers-be-damned snow day version of decadently delicious comfort food:

Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

1 16 oz box elbow macaroni (don't cook!)
1 64 oz bottle tomato juice
~12 oz sharp-sharper-sharpest cheddar cheese, grated (or cut into very small cubes if you're feeling unmotivated)

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a large casserole or glass baking dish w/ non-stick spray.  Combine uncooked elbows, cheese, and about 48 oz of the juice, stir gently to evenly distribute.  Cover the dish with foil. To save potential mess, place on a baking sheet to catch spills, bake for 45 minutes. 
Remove pan, stir, test doneness of macaroni.  If not cooked to your liking, add a dribble of tomato juice, return to oven without foil for 10 minute increments until macaroni is cooked through but not mushy.  To reheat leftovers, add a small amount of remaining tomato juice and microwave.

It may not be everyone's cup of tea, and they'd banish me from Top Chef, but I can't imagine a true snow day without it.  Worried about the caloric guilt?  If you save it for snow days, relax! You'll burn off some of those calories shoveling snow!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Past, Present and Future in Photos

The spinning wheel's story has begun...

It's been snowing here; at this writing another 6+ is forecasted tonight!

Our tiny little Elfkin decided Yeti's bed was far better suited for Herself...

 As a result, poor Yeti has been reduced to rather meager circumstances.

 Christmas gift scarves for older son, sister and daughter-in-law, respectively.
All three were done in a farrow rib stitch using Cascade Chunky Baby Alpaca Paints. 
I loved working on them, and that green--called Forest--is gorgeous!

To be continued.....