Now, where did I leave that?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Over 50

  And I don't mean speed limit. Today (at 11:20 am) I become officially 'over 50'. Not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, thanks to genetics, few people think I'm close to 50, let alone seeing it in my rearview mirror, but I definitely feel like I've earned those years and the few white strands in my hair (a friend once described white hairs as being earned in all those sleepless nights in the moonlight as we worried about our children). I glance out the window at the lush green morning while writing this & see our neighbor striding up her steep driveway with the morning paper; I'm always amazed because she's got to be in her late 50s and has more energy than Linda & me combined! 
   In these economic times, I know the reality is that many people will work 'till they drop, so it's not like 'over 50' necessarily hints of retirement in the foreseeable future anymore, especially since I've not worked anywhere that has allowed me a retirement plan. Physically, I'm no different than I was last night (except Lola let us sleep in until 7:30 this morning so I'm less tired!). Healthy diet--which I've been doing pretty well on--and exercise--ummm, not so much--are the keys to feeling stronger & more energetic as my neighbor proves, so not feeling fabulous has no excuse I can lay on a number. I'm no wiser than last night, still not willing to even consider that 'Crone' concept (and I've already expressed my disdain for the so-called  'Queen' archetype).
  So what does 'over 50' mean? It means I'm reminded to appreciate each day, savor the sweetness and not fight all the bitterness. It means I've lived long enough to know when to say "this too shall pass". It means I have no excuse for not giving thanks every single day for the blessings I've been granted (like the rain-jewelled, peony-perfumed morning outside the window and breakfast with my beloved). I read about Charlotte Rogan who is several years older than I am, celebrating the publication of her critically acclaimed debut novel, and Tamae Watanabe, the oldest womon to summit Everest. Both remind me in neon lights that it's not 'too late' to follow dreams and passions. It pleases me that my Flamekeeping shift is falling on my birthday, so tonight's flame for Brigid will burn in gratitude and renewal, with a dash of determination to make a little more of the times ahead.

  And it means that I've earned ice cream with a single candle to blow out tonight! My  wish is.....

Thursday, May 17, 2012


They're 5 1/2 weeks now. They've started eating wet food (no more bottles and burping), using a litter pan, and gleefully romping in a 4' x 4' pen. They're beyond cute; it should be illegal to be this adorable! The trio is (from left to right) TC, Marbles & WC. Bear is climbing up, and Stripe is out of the picture, probably trying to get Linda to pick him up. The photo is a tad blurry because they're in perpetual motion. Law of physics: a kitten in motion will likely stay in motion; a kitten at rest is just warming up!

May Morning

  Some mornings are so glory-ous, so exquisitely perfect, you wish you could capture and save them for those other, more mundane days. Today the air is so crystal clean, sharp and streak-free it would shatter if you dropped it. The yard is as deeply green as photos I've seen of Ireland, and the raised beds are shimmering with the leftover rain drops cradled on the kale and mesclun leaves.
  A cool, wakening wind has ushered in this glory, and there are clawmarks in the ground from me being dragged to my car to go to work, when all I wanted was to have another cup of coffee out on the porch, letting caffeine and fresh air blow away headache and cobwebs!
  I want to say thank you to Linda for the tiny sprig of lilac she picked off a bush last night when I was enraptured by the scent; it's still stuck in the air vent in the car and still smells of sweet, lazy Spring Sundays. And a thank you to the little gray car with the jaunty sprig of Dame's Rocket tied to your antennae. I followed you across the bridge smiling the whole way at your purple whimsy.
  The memory of last night's movie date is still fresh in my mind, and if you never see another film but this one, I can't recommend The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel strongly enough. It was visually stunning, touching, serious, funny all at once, with brilliant acting and wonderful storytelling. I so enjoyed leaving work a few minutes early and stealing away with Linda for a weeknight date of dinner (well, wolfed-down pizza) and such a movie. How decadent to do that on a Wednesday night!
  So, foggy brain, headache and heartfelt yearning to be out in it aside, it's a morning to be savored, and I hope yours is too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Alternate Lives

  As happens far more than one might wish, today I'm reminded of the job--no, profession--I 'should' have had, that work I once upon a time truly believed I would be doing. Oh, I dabbled here & there with wanting to be a vet, or a marine biologist, but what my heart and mind truly longed for was words. I wanted to be an English professor (and best-selling novelist on the side, of course). When my oh-so-naive friends and I dreamt of the future, when we sat on our high school's leafy, shaded patio that overlooked the Hudson, we imagined life in the far distant lands of 30. Those plans and dreams were uttered with certainty and a tinge of holy reverence (as dreams should be expressed). I visioned myself spending my days in the hallowed halls of academia, awakening the sleeping passion for Shakespeare and Whitman I believed latent in most young people, and my evenings and weekends writing away in "a dilapidated beach house done in shades of gray", unencumbered by marriage but certainly not alone and celibate. Having spent my entire childhood learning what a parent shouldn't be, I was adament that I would be a lousy mother, so would spare myself and any children the pain and fear I'd known, remaining childless., 2 now-adult children I love beyond measure, an ex-husband and 33 years later, I'm not a professor of anything. I barely write, eternally paralyzed by assorted fears that frame any words I commit to paper (yes, other than blogging, when I do beat down fear & write, it's pen making love to paper, not fingers tapping keys). I have a job that certainly sounds good; I'm grateful for it in this economy, and am smart enough to know in many ways I'm lucky to have it, even if it couldn't be a much worse fit for me in its reality. I don't live anywhere near the ocean, and while our house perpetually needs this or that attended to, it's not dilapidated, and I'd have hated a place that was. I suspect what I envisioned then would be called 'shabby chic' today, or perhaps rustic....

  Each morning I drive to my 'job' (not my profession), crossing the river with the Catskill mountains in my rearview mirror. Each evening I return, greeted by those mountains and their many moods, to our cozy little house and the womon who is my heart, my home. When it's warm, we sit out on the porch for dinner, watching the hummingbirds, marveling at the green abundance of our gardens. We fend off Yeti & Lola (but I sneak food to Ms. Mots when Linda pretends not to see) until we're done, then share morsels with them, and Susie and Dottie. When the hummingbirds retreat and bats start their Cirque du Soleil performance overhead, we meander inside to our livingroom with the red wall to talk, watch TV while I knit or spin....the latter two interrupted when Elf decides it's time to be in my lap and adored. It's for sure not the life I imagination was never that rich, my dreams not mature enough to know such sweetness existed.

  What about you? What plans did you make way back then? Are you at peace with the life that really happened while you were lost in dreams and plans?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Moment of Serenity...

Linda gave me this dwarf laceleaf Japanese Maple for my birthday back in 2008. She's beautiful and resilient, even though we've been terrible caretakers. We've never been able to find the 'right' place for her, and so she's languished in a white pot, unappreciated, undealt with. Last week, inspiration struck, and suddenly I knew that she should move to the front of the house, a regal center of attention in the midst of hostas and ferns. We found a gorgeous red pot, and settled her in, just to see. She's stunning there, more so as the hostas and ferns take off. We'll be transplanting her directly into the red pot, but already she's stunning, seen and appreciated every day when we leave and come home.


Look....most of the time I don't stress about my age, even though in two weeks I'll be officially "over 50". However--my regular radio station just changed its name from 'classics' to 'oldies'. Cool beans--I love the 50s & 60s music that constitutes 'oldies'. So imagine my surprise--and disgust--driving to work this morning to the strains of Dancing Queen. I beg your pardon? Songs that were on the radio when I was in high school are now not 'classics' (we won't even discuss Abba and Hall & Oates being referred to as 'classics'); they're OLDIES?? I strenuously object. I'm not an oldie. The music that ruled the airways when I wandered the marbled halls of Mount Saint Mary High School (aka Mount Saint Mary's Academy) is not 'old'. It should maybe be bludgeoned into silence, but certainly not labeled 'oldies'.

And as long as I'm on a rant...Pres. Obama--your wishy-washy, politically expedient, waffled 'support' of same sex marriage doesn't exactly warm my heart. I know this seems like such a small issue in the face of a devastated economy, health care reform, and the ever-present spector of terrorism, but it isn't small. It's about the basic human rights of a significant chunk of the citizens of this country. When states are permitted to amend their constitutions to include blatant discrimination, we should all be scared. Today it's same sex marriage; tomorrow it'll be smoking, and the day after that, drinking soda. A week later, it'll be religious choice. You're 'disappointed' in North Carolina? You can be opposed to same sex marriage and yet be disgusted by North Carolina. Once upon a time you could have been lynched for even suggesting you could one day be president; how can you not be vociferous in your determination to abolish discrimination? I'm grateful you've ended wars we shouldn't have been in and are bringing soldiers home. I applaud health care reform. But you have also disappointed me; you shine a little less brightly for me today.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Blessed Beltaine!

Wishing all who celebrate today a most blessed Beltaine. Interestingly, there's a blogger I follow who says that according to 'archeoastronomy' Beltaine isn't until May 4th. Not at all familiar with that calendar, but am intrigued. I believe Samhain falls differently as well on that calendar.

I think one of my greatest sources of self-induced frustration is that I've gotten far too lazy about celebrating the points on the Wheel. There was a time I wouldn't have worked today; I'd have spent it in day-long ritual and celebration. When did the rest of my life overwhelm my spiritual practice, and why is it seemingly impossible to reclaim my spiritual life? Back in 2006, the Goddess & I had a real falling out. I felt she'd called me to a specific path and I'd served with joy and passion, turned pretty ugly. Service became abuse, trust was shattered; I felt hurt and betrayed by the Goddess who'd led me there, and when I walked away from that path, I turned my back on Her, too.

Fast forward, and we've reconciled. There's a purpose for all things, even if we don't always discover it. One day She pointed out that I was the one who left; She had never turned Her back on me. We're on speaking terms again, and I truly believe She led me to the woolly life that has been salvation and balm to my soul (even if I'm not very good at it). I remember to give thanks pretty frequently, often falling asleep in the midst of a gratitude litany, but I let the Wheel turn and turn without more than a nod to the holy days. Oddly enough, Beltaine was my favorite day of the year when I was as young as 9 or 10...before anyone ever whispered the word 'goddess' to me, and it's so often been a day of revelling in joy and beauty. But last night and this morning it's just a murmuring in the background. How do I get it back? How do I again mark my year by the glorious spokes of the Wheel? How do I lose the faltering self-consciousness that hangs over my sad ritual attempts these days?

On an absolutely unrelated (except in my head) note: today workshop registration opens for the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival in October! I've just registered for "Nuno Felted Scarf with Swarovski Crystal Embellishment". I haven't done nuno felting yet, and while I don't necessarily see Swarovski crystals in my future, I do want to explore the use of beads in felting. I'm also sorely tempted to do the all day class in Natural Dyeing, but not committing just yet. The workshops are so well done, and the festival's organization is smooth and welcoming. If you're interested, check out the 2012 schedule!

Wishing you all the joy and beauty of creation and promise today...