Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Susan Powter is a Lesbian ...

... and I'm just so thrilled about it! She's got a lover that is a commedienne and looks ironically like Rosie O'Donnell (in a strange way ... maybe it's just the vibe). Anyhow, I've always had my eye on Susan. Glad to see she's found her inner Goddess and chooses to express it with personal love, too. She looks absolutely radiant!

Read a wonderful article about Susan here on Hufpo written by my favorite writer, Jane Devin. Jane always nails it down succinctly.

You rock, Jane ... you absolutely rock!


D~

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Still Hanging in There ...

I was snooping around my brother Donald's flickr site and filched this picture of my grandmother, Thelma (he and I aren't on speaking terms right now). He took it right after Christmas, I think. I can't believe she's still hanging in there after everything she's been through. At first when we spoke on Christmas, she was disoriented, but gradually she snapped out of it. Then, she told me she was visited by my aunt, my mother, and my brother over the Christmas holiday. She said she was sad because she can't do anything any longer. Still trying to take care of everyone after all these years in a convalescence home ...

She's so cute ... and I miss her so much!

Thelma Close Up

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in San Francisco


The funny thing about Christmas in San Francisco is that it’s very low key. You go to the East Coast and all the mainstream radio stations are playing hard core Christmas carols, everybody’s got decorations in their yard, and attending church (Catholic church, specifically) is first on the list of things to do. That’s not to say that San Franciscans don’t decorate, although there really isn’t much room. Many homes in the burbs are decorated. There’s an entire section in South San Francisco off of Chestnut Street that runs a fabulous (somewhat unspoken) competition each year. People pull up in tour buses to see it. You can tell which homes are own by a Filipino family, in fact, by the really cool lights they have in their windows, the ones that clearly aren’t UL Listed. The way the lights vibrate in and out is awesome. But in the city itself, the Christmas decorating is done in the interior in office buildings and stores, and of course inside the world of its children. The adult San Franciscans are busy being diverse, which means hanging baby Jesus on the tree is a no no (at least in the office), and the most intense celebrating is done within the sanctity and safety of family. We spend a lot of time being nondenominational in this city. When Christmas rolls around, San Franciscans, typically bustling and working and running around intently, are anxious to get home to the hearth, and for many of them that means traveling to wherever they came from.
Daizy
San Francisco is more about Halloween, really … and the drag queens for whom most every day is a day to dress up. Sometimes I wish I were a drag queen, because then I’d have an excuse to wear false eye lashes every day like Miss Connie did. It’s funny what things from childhood leave the biggest impressions on us, isn’t it?

Christmas is approaching fast … just two days away, and my mind has cashed out completely. Last week, the push at work was intense. Deadlines, deliverables, and two big holiday events in the office left me completely pooped and reflecting on my health, happiness and the lessons I’ve learned over the last years. I’ve got plenty to do and absolutely to desire to do it. Nobody’s paying attention, anyway. People are in the office working, but you can see the glazed look in their eyes. Visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. Even the administrative assistants who say they are catching up are catching much needed and well-deserved down time instead. What they’re doing now makes my days as an executive assistant look like a cake walk.

How do I feel?

I hesitate to use the word melancholy because I don’t admit to those kinds of feelings readily, but okay … I’m a little melancholy. We had such big plans in Connecticut around the togetherness of family and friends, and having those plans go up in smoke with immense finality was difficult. The grieving goes on, and I feel it the most this time of year.

I miss my grandmother, too, even if she is losing her marbles.

You can’t spend too much time pondering broken relationships when you’ve got a hyper eleven year old bouncing around, however. Powered on a cocktail of hormones and sugar (which, by the way, is present is practically everything we eat), and navigating a world that moves at the speed of light, our daughter is so busy agonizing over what’s in the packages under the tree (Santa is long since gone here), that she can barely contain herself. Everything is a debate, easily escalated into an argument, if we’re not careful. Our headstrong Aries daughter is a two parented project whose main ingredients include restraint and reason, applied with firm consistency and lots of hugs. She’s got a thing for reading in bed until the wee hours, no matter how lousy she feels the next morning. She takes pride in tearing through the books she reads at night and then asking me to fetch her another one from the bookshelf. She came into the office with me yesterday, and it was wonderful having her to myself. She kept so close to my personal space that I was either bumping her in the chest with my elbow (“Nana, that hurt!”) or stepping on her feet (“Ow! Why’d you do that for?”), both of which were immediately followed by hugs all around … reassurance and love in the face of accelerated growth in a lighting fast world. After tomorrow, we’re all home until January 5 of the New Year, for which Leslie is eternally grateful. Single parenting, even for just a day, can suck at times.
Mommacita
This year we will resurrect a long-standing Faber tradition and enjoy our Christmas dinner at The Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. It’s opulent and expensive, but I don’t care. We get all dressed up, enjoy the 150 foot tree in the main dining room, live music, and graze contentedly from a buffet that makes my knees weak. We will enjoy this dinner and spit in the face of an uncertain economic forecast for 2009. Like terrorism, fear will only give them a win. Fuck that. I work happily and my family and I enjoy our prosperity. Fresh shrimp all around on Christmas Day. I hope they have crab legs, too.
Lunch Break on Market Street
After that, it's back on the old diet. I've had to give up carbs completely to keep from blowing up like a blimp. Someone told me that all there is no such thing as whole grains or wheat any longer because the grains we eat off the shelves is re-engineered to make bigger crops. These hybrid grains are non-digestible to the human animal, which explains why our native American Indians have become obese alchoholics and why America is getting fatter by the minute. Sugars are everywhere. Now, I’m reading a booked called “The Zone” and am working on getting into it. I mean, just about everything accept meat is a carb, including vegetables, so it’s about cutting out the bad carbs, which is basically all the tastiest parts of our diet, and applying simple science to what we eat.

Food is a drug.

This is something I can understand.

It feels good getting these things off my chest …

Have a great holiday, ok?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Our Christmas Newsletter

Um, yeah ... I write a Christmas newsletter. I know it's tacky and all that, but I can't help it. I always want to brag about my family's accomplishments come this time of year, and as I get older I find fewer reasons to avoid doing it. So here is our 2008 newsletter entitled ...

The Faber Girls 2007 & 8: Getting Ready to Jump

Hello all …

It is with joy in our hearts that we write to you from our favorite place in the world … The San Francisco Bay Area. We had to move 3,000 miles across the United States (again) to come to that realization, but we did, and with a lot of hard work, a little bit of luck, and Leslie’s good real estate karma, we sold our home in Connecticut in a bad market and high tailed it back! We may be dense, but we are determined … and so we arrived here happy and in good health. In fact, the last time we wrote a Christmas letter like this was in 2006, when, after moving to one of the teeniest states in the country, we were still high on our adventure and looking forward to what we hoped would be a holiday full of family & friend reunions. It wasn’t meant to be, and so we spent most of 2008 getting ready to jump and all of 2007 deciding we wanted to.

It wasn’t all a drag, however. Elizabeth thrived at the private school she went to. Hamden Hall was academically enriching, and she found her most bosom friend there. She and Margaret will be friends forever, we are sure. If we could’ve snuck Margaret away with us, perhaps hidden in a suitcase, to avoid missing her, we certainly would have. But then her mother would miss her terribly herself. She and Elizabeth talk on the phone almost every day, and see one another regularly on her laptop’s videocam. Isn’t that something?

Liz & Margie

We picked up another dog there, as well. Daizy Mae is a boston terror, er … I mean, terrier, who is firmly attached to her “brudder from anudder mudder”, Jack Boy. Always at the ready, she is diligent about watching our surroundings, and is very urgently protective of Leslie, who both dogs have decided is boss. Daizy is the family sheriff.

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One of the best things about being in CT was watching Leslie in action. Not only did mowing that god forsaken lawn get her in good physical shape, but she applied her talent as an informal interior designer to get the house we bought in shape for resale. And I’m telling you, she did it all. She replaced the garage doors, put in a new front door, and a new sliding door to the three season room. She put new flooring in the lower level, retiled the foyer, blacktopped the driveway, and painted everything in sight. She installed all new window coverings, and a black railing along the front porch. She installed a beautiful light/fan in the three season room, and had insulation pumped into the attic. Home Depot knew her by name. Before we knew it, we ready to sell. It was a beautiful place when we left it!

I could tell you countless stories about that process, the sale. Let’s see … one Saturday, Leslie was out tooling about when she realized she had 15 minutes to visit an open house just around the corner from us. Doing her homework by reviewing the market, she found the agent we’d eventually sign with.

Momma & Lisabis October 2008

Two days before the open house, Jack Boy, our Golden Retriever, swallowed a small stuffed dinosaur which got stuck between his stomach and intestines. As we were working on the house, he was throwing up absolutely everywhere. I don’t mean little doggie barph either; I mean unbelievable projectile vomiting that destroyed two carpets, a beautiful king size bedspread, and whatever else was in its path at the absolute worst possible time. It cost us upwards of $2,500 to get him fixed after that fiasco. How about the agent lady who represented the buyer? She was nothing less than a psycho who made a stressful situation even worse, if it was possible. I’ve written numerous blogs on that topic alone. Our agent, Stacy, was terrific, however, keeping an even keel through our neurosis (which can easily achieve stratospheric levels at times like that). She didn’t lose it until it looked like the other agent might have blown our deal completely … argh! What an ordeal!

Puppy Love


The house was sold to a man who bought for his daughter, who was ironically a lesbian. She and her girlfriend were moving from Florida, and I’m convinced it was Leslie’s conversation with the father that really clinched the deal. She made sure he understood the neighborhood was a good and safe one. After stormy seas, our sale closed, and a day later we were off to the West Coast on another Faber adventure.

So … In late June of this year, we landed in South San Francisco not knowing when our things would arrive. The economy adversely affected even trucking, and so our belongings took much longer than expected. Ironically, however, our van arrived in no time whatsoever (the last time we moved it was weeks in the waiting). We spent the time looking for a place to live, which Leslie nailed down in no less than four days. We spent the rest of our transition in a Marriot Residence Inn enjoying a quasi-vacation. In short, we gave up about 3,000 square feet in Connecticut to live in a box, and once again we are spending most of our time in a 15x15 foot livingroom with two rowdy dogs who begin their raucous happy dance immediately when everyone arrives at home. It’s a small two bedroom, in a nice section of Belmont, and has a lovely deck in the back,and an entire posse of hummingbirds living in the unruly foliage that is our backyard. The rest of our things are in storage until we decide the housing market here is soft enough to invest again.

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Elizabeth is attending Taylor Middle School with all her friends from Green Hills. She’s also met new friends and recently spent a week away from home attending outdoor education, which was a memorable event. A social butterfly, she has nailed down the social adeptly … but, of course, without ever forgetting Margaret. Leslie and I are often amazed at how she is capable of navigating her complex social scene which snakes through middle school and reaches across the country.

I have a wonderful job as a location manager working for a highly competitive consulting firm in the San Francisco Financial District. It is hard to put into words how good it feels to be back in the city, not to mention back in the saddle. I am surprised regularly at how much I learned at PwC, however (19 years of corporate boot camp indeed); and can testify that PBMS taught me things I needed to know (not to mention the wonderful people I worked with there). I took almost a year off when we were on the East Coast, and it convinced me I’d rather be working. Truly. As much as I needed the rest, I’m not the stay at home type.

Last but not least … our old van, Vera, who Leslie adored, was finally put out to pasture to make way for a new Chrysler Town & Country van that has swivel back seats and a table in the middle. Leslie named her Sexy Sadie. She and Sadie are getting to know one another.

The three of us are anxious to re-experience our favorite Bay Area holiday tradition and enjoy Christmas dinner at the Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. We look forward to many prosperous holidays going forward and wish all you the very same!

With Love,
The Fabers
December 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

From Our Workshop: INARI'S BEADS

By Elizabeth Faber
Age 11, 6th Grade

"Inari's Beads" Cover
Inari gazed at the sky and kicked the smooth, brown dirt beneath her sandals. She raised her arms and pretended to fly around like a super hero.

She jumped into the air, but then plopped down with a thud. She sighed deeply and put her chin in her hands. Inari began to do what she always does – daydream.

She thought about mythical beasts, princes and princesses, like in the stories. “I could be a hero,” she pondered, “… but how?” “Inari!” her mother called, “Dinner!”

While munching on her sweet potatoes, she told her mother about what she had been thinking about. “Mother,” she said, “I was thinking when I was outside. Well …do you believe in magic?”

But her mother scowled and shouted, “Inari! I have told you many times! Stop all this talk about nonsense and magic! I’ve had enough!" “You may be excused,” her father mumbled through his newspaper.

Inari took her dish into the kitchen, and then stomped outside. “AAAAAAAHHH!” She screamed in frustration once she got out. But, what’s this? Instead of her beautiful plains, before her was a gynormous, gold forest! “Fall? In Summer?” she thought.

Now, Inari was confused.

Inari stared at the golden trees. Before she knew it, she was walking into the dark mysterious forest. “Ugh!” she whispered to herself. “Stupid adventurous nature!”

She turned around to go home, but her red hair was tangled in a branch. As she worked on untangling her thick hair, she spotted a light. She started to walk towards it, and her hair came easily untangled. How strange.

Inari kept on walking, and when she came to the source of the light, she saw that there were no more trees. Instead they were replaced by an amazingly bright light and piles of golden leaves, hundreds of piles, in fact.

But she saw something else in the middle of the field. Is it a bead? Inari fought her way through the leaves and took a closer look. It wasn’t just one bead, it was a beaded necklace.

She picked up the necklace and brushed off the leaves. The necklace was beautifully designed with baby blue beads all around it. Each bead had either a tiny “I”, “H”, or “K” on it, written in beautiful calligraphy.

In the middle were three flame shaped pendants. One was white, but had a tiny area on the top that was light red. The second was a brown-orange color with some white on the bottom. The last was a dark blue that got lighter as the color neared the top.

Inari ran over to her neighbor, and also best friend, Taylor’s house. “Taylor, look! Look at what I found. It’s so pretty!” She shouted, as she put the necklace on. After gawking about the amazing details, they both went in search for more.

By the time Inari and Taylor got back to Inari’s house, Taylor was longing for an even better necklace. She was a complainer and always had to be better than Inari. Inari didn’t mind, though. She thought it was healthy to have a little competition in her life on the farm.

Anyway, when they arrived back at Inari’s house, for some reason the trees had disappeared. “Wha? How?” they exclaimed. Suddenly, Inari yelled, “It’s been abducted by aliens!” Taylor screamed, “AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” and sprinted home. Inari giggled. In the end, she gave up on it and went to bed.

When Inari when woke up and looked on her side table, the beads were gone! She grunted and looked on the floor, but they weren’t there either. Inari yawned. She thought she just wasn’t completely awake yet and went to wash her face.

As she walked back into her room, ready to look for the beads, she screamed! Right in the middle of her carpet was a huge fox-like animal that had at least nine big, fluffy tails! Inari was speechless, but apparently the big red and white fox wasn’t.

“I am Honoo Kitsune, and I desperately need your help.”

“You … your mouth … talking.” Inari stammered.

“I know, I’m talking, but my mouth isn’t moving. It’s called telepathy.” Inari made a sort of Uh-ing noise. Disregarding her stumbling, Honoo explained further. “I am not from your universe. My brother, sister and I are from a place where creatures like us are common. The beads are a portal. When someone finds them, they activate it, and we come here. The activator was you, so you already did that deed for us. Unfortunately, we were split up in the process. I need you to find my brother and sister for me. Will you help?”

Inari always wanted to be a hero, and now was her chance. She accepted. “Very good,” Honoo said with relief. “Now, I only know where my brother might be, but when you find him, he will have more information about our sister. Here is what I know. He will be in some place dark … and probably chaotic. Oh, and please find both before sundown. If you don’t, they will be stuck in a vortex between universes.” Inari’s jaw was almost to the floor. “It’s a family thing,” Honoo added. “Now please hurry!”

Inari nodded and ran out of the house. “Dark and chaotic … hm,” she thought. Suddenly, she got an idea! She rain behind the house. The chicken coop! It had no windows, so it was pretty dark, and it had a bunch of chickens in it, so it had to be a chaotic place! Inari opened the door and walked in. All the chickens were huddled in a corner shivering with fear. Inari looked around, but nothing was to be seen. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a dark figure jumped at her! Mysteriously, the figure went through her, and she fainted.

“Ungh,” Inari said, as she sat up, “what happened?” “I almost took your soul,” a deep voice answered. Inari turned around quickly, and standing there was a big blue fox that looked like a shadow. It was many different shades of blue and had small wings, and a long, skinny tail. “Honoo’s brother!” Inari shouted. “Ah,” the creature said, “you are the activator. I am Kuro Kitsune, but I cannot tell you any more, as you are just a stupid human who wandered into a mysterious forest. Now, take me to my sister!” Inari turned to the door led Kuro to his sister. “What’s his problem?” she thought. When she got to Honoo, Kuro sat beside her. “Where is Itsu?” she asked her brother. Kuro glared at Inari and whispered something in his sister’s ear.

Honoo sighed and said, “Ugh … Kuro, why do you have to be like this?” “Just say it,” Kuro grumbled back.

“He says that Itsu, our little sister, will probably be somewhere peaceful and quiet.” Kuro nudged Honoor. “Oh my gosh! Fine! He also says that he still doesn’t trust you.” Kuro smiled, and Honoo rolled her eyes. But this didn’t bother Inari.

Inari ran out of her house and looked around. “Hm. Some place peaceful and quiet …” she thought. “Yes! I got it!” She said to herself, and ran over to the side of the house and into the horse’s barn. Inari always went there when she needed peace and quiet. She went in and looked at the horses. They looked as calm as always. Inari looked in every stall, but didn’t see anything.

By the time she got to the last stall, she had lost almost all hope. She flung her head over the edge and looked in. She gasped as she saw the small fox-like creature sleeping on a pile of hay. “Itsu?” she whispered. The adorable, white creature had a tiny bit of red on the tip of its poofy tail. She looked up at Inari with big, impossibly cute eyes.

Inari carefully picked up Itsu and left the barn. She looked upa t the sky, and it was almost sundown! She had to hurry! Inari sprinted back to her room. As she was running, she went past Taylor, who looked interested, and to distract her friend, she shouted, “Puppy!”

Inari let Itsu down, and Itsu walked over to her brother and sister. “It hope she wasn’t any trouble,” Hanoo said. “Itsu is just a baby. She can’t talk yet.”

“Oh, it was fine,” Inari replied.

Kuro sniffed Itsu and said, “I guess you’re alright, human. You took good care of my little sister.” He smiled. “Oh, we never got your name,” Honoo said.

Inari smiled.

“I’m Inari. Inari McCoy.”

“You can visit us any time you want,” Honoo said happily. “We will be at the snowy mountain west of here.” Inari nodded and waved goodbye as the three fox-like siblings walked outside. She followed them and watched them go. Then, as she looked around, she saw the old beads lying on the floor. She smiled and put them around her neck.

She, Inari McCoy, was a true hero.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Our Resilience Tree: More Leaves

Like the national debt, the leaves on our resilience tree grow and grow and grow and grow ...

Resilience Tree


... and the red broom is at the ready.

D~

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Post-Halloween


It’s raining today … I mean, really raining for the first time since we moved here in July. It’s kind of nice, too. Everything smells fresh, and the birds were raucous this morning. It gave me a reason to hunker down, get some rest, and even take a nap. Elizabeth has been heavy into her computer, we watched the “Sex in the City” movie (really a two and a half hour episode), and now “Lawrence Welk” is on television. Real cozy, family type stuff and I really needed it.

What a week … on Thursday, I pulled off a wildly successful Halloween event at work. It’s a trade off for what we can’t do on Christmas because we’re so busy honoring religious tolerance. I coordinated a week’s worth of decorating competitions, departments competing against one another with elaborate scary scenes, followed by a gathering and awards, with an office full of trick-or-treating for our children, and tables of children’s crafts projects. We had helium balloons everywhere, so when people arrived at the party, they would know they were some place special. Elizabeth came with one of her girlfriends, too and got more candy there than she did at home on Halloween night. The committee and I decorated everything in sight, casting aside professionalism in favor of fun and merriment. I’m talking about seriously cheesy decorations and tackiness around every corner! I worked for a week on my VooDoo Queen costume, too, determined as I was to dress for success. I hit the nail on the head. I had so much fun.

Ducks

I find it slightly amazing to have a creative outlet like this in the office. People keep asking me if I’m ready to quit because they think its so much work, when the truth is, I’ve hit my stride, and feel at home there. I got personal satisfaction out of helping everyone come together as a team, in the spirit of competition, and then coaxing them into fully participating and having a splendid time of it. It was terrific. It’s been such a serious and uncertain year, everyone needed a dose of silly.

It was satisfying and exhausting.

I approached Friday, Halloween, and a short day in the office, already tired, but there was cleaning up to do. In the elevator, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, and discovered folks from the party committee arrived early and had everything in order! All I had to do was euthanize a bunch of tired balloons and take down the decorations in my work station. It was all I could do not to throw myself at Mary’s feet in thanks. I ended up giving them a bottle of red wine to take home.

The Tunnel of Terror

Speaking of home … there it was another story. The neighborhood barricaded the street for a block party, so of course, we had decorating to do outside. We got the obligatory inflatable skeleton head and all the trimmings, which the little kids couldn’t resist and parents stopped by for photo opportunities. Mother Nature was apprehensive and threw sprinkling rain on us now and again, but for the most part, She kept the worst at bay until today.

I have to admit, it all felt a little strange. Elizabeth went door to door on the block for a little while, but her bag was already full of candy from the office. She was in full costume, an undead convict, and had more fun giving candy to the itty bitties … let’s see, we had witches and skeletons. There was Minnie Mouse and Buzz Lightyear, too. They were adorable, but it was too dark to take decent movies, and so you’ll have to take my word for it.

I’m not sure what Leslie and I expected, but it wasn’t this. Maybe it was the block party people (we stayed at the house), drinking their margaritas and lighting fire crackers down the street, or the young, yuppy parents lit up like Christmas by the time they got to our house. Leslie definitely disliked them, and I found myself tolerating them. I’m unsure if it was the horrible Halloween experiences we had in Connecticut compared to the warm and cozy Halloweens we had on Sunnyside Drive in South City. Maybe we just expect too much, in general. That’s entirely possible.

From this, Leslie has determined that we don’t belong in the peninsula, but rather should be closer to the city, where there is even more diversity (and less tipsy yuppies). I have to agree. It’s very nice here, and I love the birds. Yet the house is very small (besides, we’re only renting it), and we’re living on an anthill. Like I said, we expect so much.

At the end of the night, as the rain got a bit heavier, we left a cauldron of candies outside the door under the easement, and settled into the fresh crab Leslie picked up at Whole Foods. They were fresh and scrumptious and topped a long, busy week off deliciously. Before sleep, I went outside and brought in the decorations I didn’t want ruined by the rain … my ravens, brooms and our mummy … you know, the important stuff.

I’ve spent the day reflecting on all this, the mixed feelings, and ultimately feeling very thankful for the good fortune we have in general. So, with this, I cast all the Halloween spooks back to the land of the dead and with them all the expectations. Next, when they come back, I’ll have more candy.

Maybe I’ll save all this left over for then.

I’ve got to do something with it, don’t you think?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Witch Tribute #3: Three is a Magic Number


If you believe everything that Sesame Street taught you, and for the most part I do, you’ll believe that three is a magic number. You’ll believe that the Crocodile King really did need a worthy son, the lady bugs all attended that picnic, and Gracie Slick really did sing a very clever song about numbers. She did, really. Like me, from the time of early childhood, you’ll know that three heads are better than one. Larry, Moe and Curly proved it. You may even know that two’s company and three’s a crowd. John Ritter proved that before his untimely demise. Most of all, three is a magic number to me personally. It’s the number of people in my family … 1, 2, 3. It’s also the magic number that brings us to our next tribute witches.

Witches and other magical women have appeared in threes since the beginning of time. Well, at least since the beginning of half way decent literature, making their first and precedent setting appearance in Shakespeare’s play “MacBeth”. As the official Three Witches or Weird Sisters, these supernatural women were drawn from mythology and legend, and represented rebellion and treason in the worst sense (as Wiki states it). We’re not talking about the Three Graces here, goddesses of charm, beauty and creativity. Or even the very lovely Maiden, Mother, Crone virtues in Wicca. Indeed, these are your more malignant types, representing deceit, betrayal and murder, all nefarious values upon which countless pieces of art and sculpture have been rendered throughout history.

The magic number three doesn’t lose its poignancy moving into modern media. It very simply transmogrifies into something more understandable, something that requires a lesser attention span. There are three sisters, all witches, in the series “Charmed”, which by the way, is set in San Francisco, the city I most adore. There were three vixens in the movie, “The Craft” before the fourth showed up and they all got greedy.

Three.

This leads me directly to my favorite witchy threesome, and the witches to which I give tribute in this installment … The Sanderson Sisters in Disney’s movie, “Hocus Pocus”.

Believe it or not, it was just on television yesterday.

These three sisters are my favorite for various reasons, not the least of which include Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy.


“The movie opens in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts where three witch sisters — Winifred, Sarah, and Mary Sanderson — transformed a boy, Thackery Binx, into an immortal black cat as punishment for trying to prevent them from absorbing the life force of his younger sister, Emily. He fails to rescue her and instead is cursed to spend eternity as a black cat. The witches are tried and executed by the locals. However, thanks to a curse created by Winifred's magic spell-book, they vow to return when a virgin lights the Black Flame candle on a Halloween night when the moon is full (wiki).”


Winifred is play by Midler. She is the loud mouth, red-headed, buck-tooth sister, who is the most powerful magically, and the brightest lit of the three dim bulbs. Demonstrating where the lines between real life and television can often blur, it is no strange coincidence that Midler has since become a headliner in the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, and holds her crowd in a hypnotic trance, just like she did in the movie. Her sister, Sarah, is played by none other than Sarah Jessica Park, aka Carrie Bradshaw, who reigned supreme in another fabled city known as New York, this time ruling with a a laptop, and an array of unusually hypnotic outfits. The last sister, the chubby one who was most prone to various canine tendencies, and rode on an airborne vacuum cleaner, was played by Kathy Najimy. Najimy also moonlighted as a plus size nun in Whoopie’s movie, “Sister Act”. Since then, she has lost considerable weight, shrinking & growing, shrinking & growing, thus demonstrating her powers of transmogrification. All three Sanderson sisters are undeniably stupid, so much so that they couldn’t outwit the three children who released them from 300 years of hell and then tried to send them back.


So, without further ado, I give you The Sanderson Sisters …


Winged Sisters


Since we arrived in The Bay Area in July of 2008, the spiritual front has been a quiet one. There was a small vacation type period, followed up quickly by a settling in period, that was followed even faster by a “getting down to business period” wherein I started the new job and got into a new routine. But after the huge spiritual push, lots of faith and self-discipline that launched us from Connecticut, it seemed to have done its work and so slipped into a temporary dormancy, insofar as spiritual influences are able, that is. I am satisfied with this spiritual quiet knowing that Ammachi will be in the Bay Area in late November, and I’ll be to see Her for the first time in almost three years. Knowing I am just a train ride away from Mother’s Kitchen is one of the best parts of being here. After all this life activity, I could use the boost, although I wonder what spiritual blockage will be forcibly moved by Ammachi’s intense spiritual energy and what it will feel like.

As they are always in my life and whether or not there is spiritual quietude, animal signposts are present to light the way, illuminating certain consistencies or patterns and reminding me that She is there guiding my hand. I’ve written at length about it here. Most recently, Grandmother Spider has been my guide, but since arriving here in California, it’s been all about birds.

I saw a Great Blue Heron from the back of the hotel when we first got here. A familiar and personally significant creature, this was my comforting confirmation that I’d arrived where I was supposed to be in my personal journey. Immediately thereafter, there were hummingbirds, lots of them, all over our backyard, forcing a change in my perception. Just last weekend, I was outside with our Golden Retriever, Jack, when one of these gossamer creatures hung suspended just one foot from my face as if asking me, “Do you get it now?”

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In MEDICINE CARDS: THE DISCOVERY OF POWER THROUGH THE WAYS OF ANIMALS, Jamie Sams and David Carson say that, for many people, the hummingbird is the creature that opens the heart. When we assume hummingbird consciousness, our life becomes a wonderland of sensuous delights. We live for beauty, delighting in flowers, aromas, fine mist, and delicate tastes. When it becomes our totem, the hummingbird teaches us to laugh and enjoy the creation, to appreciate the magic of being alive, and the truth of beauty. Hummingbirds awaken us to the beauty of the present moment. As they dance the four quarters of embodied existence, they bring us medicine to solve the riddle of duality. They also awaken us to the medicinal properties of plants … Hummingbirds teach us fierce independence. They teach us to fight in a way where no one really gets hurt. They teach us simple courage. Andrews says the twittering, vibrating sounds of the hummingbirds bring us an internal massage that restores health and balance (All Excerpts from a work in progress by Larry Gates -- Copyright 1998).”

This weekend, just Saturday, in fact, I ran headlong into a Red Tailed Hawk at the mall of all places. We were parking the van, when from the corner of my eye I noticed one of these enormous birds in front of another car just across the way. It stood on the ground, so I thought perhaps it was sick, and went directly there to see what was happening. I was drawn to it like a magnet. This was no sick bird, nor was it a juvenile. It was a full grown hawk, healthy and vigorous, and it seemed completely unintimidated by my daughter and I. It jumped from the ground and perched on a railing no less than 10 feet away from me. It turned its head this way and that, getting a close look at us, as we did it. Then, still watching us, and unbothered by the small crowd that was gathering, it jumped into the branches above, where it could keep a watchful eye on everything, and where we could still see it. After five minutes of quiet meditation and absolute fascination, we left it and returned to Leslie, who watched from the van. Finally, undeniably rapt herself, she approached it, as well.
“In representation to humanity, the hawk is called messenger, protector and visionary. Keen vision is one of its greatest gifts. Hawks see things others miss. The hawk comes to you indicating that you are now awakening to your soul purpose, your reason for being here. It can teach you how to fly high while keeping yourself connected to the ground. As you rise to a higher level, your psychic energies are awakening and the hawk can help you to keep those senses in balance. Its message for you is to be open to hope and new ideas, to extend the vision of your life. The Hawk is an animal of flight. It soars through the air looking down, and sees everything. It has a larger perspective of what is going on down below. With its keen eyesight, it looks down as it soars through the air looking for its prey. It can see the smallest of creatures below. The Hawk is known as a messenger, similar to the planet Mercury, for the hawk soars close to the Grandfather Sun, as does the planet. When you listen to the power of the Grandfather Sun or Wise Spirit that lives within, you are protected from all types of harm. The Hawk teaches you to be observant and take a close look at your surroundings. It soars with the power to overcome difficult situations. It soars in circles over the life of the earth, asking you to circle over your life and view it from a higher perspective. The Hawk has a distinct cry, one that most people are aware of. Its cry signifies awareness. If you hear the cry of the hawk, use your intuitive ability to discern the message and seek the truth. If a hawk has soared into your life, you require a higher perspective. You need to see the details of what is going on and look at the bigger picture. Take a look at your situation from above (excerpted from www.divinesparks.blogspot.com).”

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In tandem, these beautiful winged creatures, the Hummingbird and Red Tail Hawk, both indigenous to California, and both indicative of air or thought, bear similar messages in different packages. They remind me to keep my eyes open and to use discernment at all times. They remind me to lower the defenses I had erected while in Connecticut, and open my heart once again, free of the burdens of the past and holding a candle lit for the promise of the future. This is a keen reminder at this time in our economic and sociological history, when so much is changing and uncertainty is prevalent; all catalysts for spiritual transformation on our planet.

Thank you, my winged sisters.
Thank you.


End Note: I take no credit for the photographs, some of which have notes on them. Otherwise, I found them on the web.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

FROM OUR WORKSHOP: Anime by Liz

Our daughter, Liz, is heavy into anime or Japanese cartoons, these days. She's also nurturing a love of Japanese culture and Tokyo. I'd like to share her two most recent artistic efforts, which she created to be avatars on Gaia.com, her latest cyber-passion.

Elizabeth's Heart Avatar


Liz Avatar

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Witch Tribute #2: If You Want A Job Done Right, Do It Yourself


There is something inherently pathetic about a witch who won’t do her own dirty work. If you’re going to embrace the devil in your psyche, like those bitches on The O Channel’s television show “Snapped” (which we always seem to end up watching on Saturday mornings), the least you can do is wield the poison apple yourself. This is the lesson learned by the Evil Queen in Disney’s “Snow White”, who is our second tribute witch during this Fall Holiday Season.

One may argue that The Evil Queen, also known as Queen Grimhilde, is not a witch, but a royal matriarch, and therefore is disqualified from this tribute series. I would disagree with that. Any woman who is narcissistic enough to get hung up on her beauty, for example, or riches, or power, and then kill someone to protect it, should be elevated to witch status … um, evil witch status, that is. After all, every woman is a witch, and every witch is wise, right? Walt Disney certainly understood this. Glinda from “TheWizard of Oz”, for example, was incurably annoying, but she was, most certainly, what we might consider a good witch. It is interesting to note that Queen Grimhilde, voiced by Lucille La Verne, was also Disney’s first “serious” villain in a full length feature, and has yet to be surpassed for excellence in sheer malignancy.

Let’s acknowledge the presence of OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder, in most all of these evil women, as well. Cruella had to have a Dalmatian puppy coat. Trying to realize that desire in a number of nefarious ways finally did her in. The evil queen, Narcissa (what a name!) in Disney’s “Enchanted” had a thing for her stepson. I’d rather not analyze that too closely, thank you, because he was a completely self-centered dolt whose teeth were way too big for his face. Yet, despite calling on her powers as a shape shifter and turning into a dragon just like Malificent (from “Sleeping Beauty”), who by all counts was an evil feary and not really a witch, she managed to be outdone by Love’s First Kiss, which is about as pathetic as it gets … truly.

Disney’s Evil Queen is a regal bitch who probably started out as a scullery maid. She happened to be graced with good looks. Perhaps she got lucky enough to find the King alone in his office when, after a difficult day on the stock market, he needed a good blow job. She was happy to oblige, after which one might speculate it was her good looks that found him enamored of her, so much that he had his first wife tossed unceremoniously from a parapet. The king neglected to reveal that he had a daughter by his first wife, who was also lovely, although very young. She, of course, was quickly banished to the Kingdom’s projects, where she shacked up with seven little people, because, after all, there can be only one good looking bitch in the castle. Descendants of the Roloffs, these little people took advantage of Snow White for house cleaning services and singing with woodland creatures, when they weren’t in the diamond mines slaving for the precious gems upon which the Kingdom’s failing economy was based. Before too long, the Kingdom would be forced to purchase those precious gems from other countries such as Far, Far Away, and the seven little homeys would have no choice but to work at Kingdom-Mart, where they would be fired if they were caught whistling on the job. In fact, it was this crash in the market that drove the King to his own death shortly after being married.

Grimhilde & Her Mirror

What made Grimhilde, now the reigning matriarch in the kingdom, so darn special was that she could read crystal balls. Some women are just born gifted, I guess. Soon, scrying became her chosen tool of divination, and she used it to find and promptly dispose of other young, lovely and nubile ladies in the realm. Nobody knows why she ended up with that annoying Magic Mirror, but it was he who couldn’t keep his big trap shut when the banished princess got old enough to be competition. Maybe one of the little people, thrust into a personal alcoholic hell after losing his job, couldn’t keep HIS big trap shut in the local pub. After all, he couldn’t get any insurance at Kingdom-Mart and so his addiction was never treated.

Bring Her Heart to Me

Anyhow, The Evil Queen sent some fucktard Huntsman to kill the princess, and demanded her heart be returned in a pretty little box. I just love little boxes. She threatened the Huntsman with death if he failed. Naturally, he did, and if that wasn’t enough, he tried to deceive her, as well, because he needed his job desperately. Jesus, you just can’t find good help these days. The Evil Queen, an alchemist at heart, descended into her dungeon laboratory, where she drank polyjuice to look like the old woman who worked in the Castle’s laundry.

The rest is history.

The fact that the Evil Queen sacrificed the very thing she coveted to get what she wanted is what perplexes me the most. It is, however, a testament to the severity of her OCD, which is undoubtedly what she would blame the entire mess on if she were arrested for premeditated murder and put on trial. She wasn’t, of course. People in true power, no matter what time in history, can get away with raping the country they live in, and having others killed for the sake of convenience. This, after all, is fact and can be seen time and time again by watching cable television and YouTube.

The moral of this story, if there is such a thing, is two-fold. First, let’s acknowledge that the Kingdom did not have a decent plastic surgeon. If it did, the Evil Queen would never have bothered with the Magic Mirror and the whole crises could’ve been averted. Second, is the age old axiom, if you want a job done well, you have to do it yourself.

Pretty box or no, if Grimhilde wanted Snow White killed, she should’ve put aside her class bigotry and racism and ventured into the projects to do it herself to begin with.

Let’s take a look at The Evil Queen in action …

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Witch Tribute #1: Oh What A World, What A World!

As if the debate wasn't scary enough, my strangerfriend, Dan-the-man, at The Stank Nasty, is posting a plethura of scary movie clips. He's got them all including the freakiest, most disturbing, trailer from "The Exorcist" I've ever seen. I imagine he is gearing up for some disgusting cinematic crescendo toward Halloween. Well, I think this is a wonderful idea. And because today I seem incapable of having an original thought of my own, I will follow suit.

You can add copy cat to your list of explicatives.

Instead of ticking off the clock before Halloween with scary movies, I will do it with ... witches. Big ones, small ones, fat ones, and tall ones. I've been called one, felt like one, and look like one frequently. I've cast spells like one, had 'em bounce back like one, and felt regrets like one ... even if it's only regret for having my hair messed up by the open window in the van. At work there are times when I must act like one, at home I get chewed out for being one, and my friends all wonder if I used to be one. I have at least one nemesis out there who maintains the belief that I truly am a witch, and gives me credit for a wide array of unfortunate events in her life, as if I had some insidious form of black magic at my disposal, and was bored enough to direct it at her.

Oh please.

I firmly believe that deep down, every woman is a witch, and every witch is wise. I've done a number of artistic pieces reflecting that belief. Here is one of my favorites. The original is a pen and ink piece, 16x24, done with dots, in 1999 ... the "Green Witch" (as its titled) holds her pentegram inlaid with the imagery from the tarot; the sword, the staff, the heart, and the flame, which is eternal. This work is inspired by a book on Faerie Magick.

Green Witch

So, with that, I'll begin the Sapphokinesis Halloween Countown with one of my all time favorite witches, The Wicked Witch of the West. At first, she seems a one dimensional, monochromatic parody of evil, perpetually doomed to play second fiddle to the effervescent Glinda, who will forever reign as a gay icon. I mean, you can't walk down the Castro in San Francisco without seeing Glinda's condescending smile beaming down at you from a greeting card. Then, the author Gregory McGuire helped us get to know The Witch in his book, "Wicked". Once that became a broadway musical, The Witch got a name, Elphaba, and a personal mythos, and shortly thereafter she became an icon herself.

She was a modern woman, this witch, who was unable to recover from a broken heart. When she got hung up on the wrong thing, she simply couldn't swing back.

And what was it she got hung up on? Booze, drugs or sex? No.

It was shoes.

A pair of ruby slippers.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Resilience Tree

Resilience Tree

This little tree, currently in our dining room, has suffered through four moves across country. The first was in 1987, then 1989, and again in 2006 and 2008. Each time we prepared to leave, it's branches were bent, pushed in a box that is lined with a black hefty bag, and it is deprived of light and fresh air for almost two weeks. More than once its path took it through hot summer weather in an eighteen wheeler whose contents grew hot enough to melt the rubbermaid tubs I packed things in. As we unpacked, it emerged tired and weak, almost dead, and each time we feared it wouldn't come back. It always did.

This time we feared the worst. It was bone dry, not a green thing alive on its withered branches. We left it on the back deck for almost a month. Suddenly, just a week ago, tiny shoots appeared almost magically. As if from a life line somewhere deep within it, its new growth is more beautiful than before.

This small tree is a a symbolism of resilience in our family and the 23 year relationship Leslie and I share.

The brooms? Oh, I use them all the time. The one on the left is my commuter broom. I use it to go to work. The one on the right, the fancy one, is our weekend broom, and we use it only for family outings.

A girls' got to get around, doesn't she?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thoughts


I've been writing about myself and my spiritual experiences, one in the same, for a little over a year. The ebb and flow of my creativity is its own creature. When the urge is there, it tugs at my consciousness until I satiate it. When writing about myself, the ebb and flow goes hand in hand with understanding. Certain periods are as clear as a crystal spring, and so flow evenly and effortlessly from mind to hand to pen. Other periods are as tangled and knotted yarn, and so I must pick and pick and pick at the knots until the strength of their confusion gives way.


I've not written a thing on my spiritual past since last May. Granted, my family and I were busy relocating, but I've had considerable untangling to do, as well. This move was the detangler I needed. The urge to return to When Isis Rises tugs steadily at my consciousness, each time a bit louder, a bit more insistent, like a child.


Before too long, I will have to indulge myself.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hey Jane, it's WTF Friday!


Jane Devin has a cool, recurring article called "What The Fuck Friday". Her narratives are typically very clever and rendered in a number of creative ways, the artistic approach of which is rivaled only by the comments left by her loyal following. Inspired by Jane, I offer up my own personal What the Fuck Friday, aka personal rant, echoe-ing a comment I left for Jane and offered up only this once.


All of a sudden the media and our government have discovered the link between the housing market (in the crapper) and the banking institutions (falling like dominoes). We’ve careened right over “recession” and taken our place at “the worse financial crises since the Great Depression”. The train is heading toward that cliff, and we’ve got the Goddess and her happy little natural disasters pushing the caboose, as well. We all know that New Orleans is still a mess … well, it is where the po’folk are. And what about Cincinnati? It’s not been the same since the floods in May and June. Houston? Still no commerce there, for the most part, although there are trucks all over trying to get the power back on for a million some odd people. How come the media isn’t saying much about that? No, we’re too interested in watching SNL spoof Sarah What’sername on YouTube. I watched our esteemed President on the news this morning try to instill the American public with confidence. Why? To assure us everything was okay, shove more poo-poo down our throats? No … the train is already running on the destruction of our country as we know it. Nothing he says is going to stop that. In fact, I’m convinced he aims to squeeze everything he can out of us before he takes his place in the history books. This morning he was trying to convince those of us who haven’t sold our house, pulled our savings, or sold our stock NOT to jump like fucking lemmings! He did everything but BEG us not to withdraw our 401K’s, which is probably the only thing, at this juncture, keeping “it” strung together.

That's not all.

Lunch Time

My biggest WTF of the week is PMS. Yes, I said PMS. Fuck the country, it’s all about me. I started the week in an utter fog, barely articulate and not really able to organize my thoughts, never mind my desk. I mean, I just couldn’t get my head around it. Then, on Wednesday, at about 3pm, I got a splitting headache, the damn burst, the fog cleared, and I organized my desk in under 20 minutes.

On Bart

What the fuck?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hard Wired


Some of us are fortunate enough to be born to parents whose single greatest wish is to love and cherish us. They are the lucky ones, I think, although many times they are the clueless ones, as well, having absolutely no awareness of their blessings, buffered as they are by their own ignorance. Staggering about in a bubble of moronic superiority, these people are often oblivious to the troubles suffered by those around them. Others of us are born to parents who reluctantly fulfill what they view as a grudging obligation to parenthood. They put forth as little effort as possible, as little love as possible, and do so in as half-assed a manner as they can get away with. I was raised (sort of) by reluctant parents, which I’ve written about at length, and their legacy to me was an irrational fear of being abandoned.

There are still others of us, a large, even staggering majority, who are born into fear. This may be an existence where monsters are not only real but highly manifest in the behavior seen in our parents who, themselves irreparably damaged, hand down a legacy of terror, wrapped like a gift in ignorance, rage or sadism, as though it were a precious family heirloom. Of course, horror can be an outside element, too, like genocide, ethnic cleansing, war, famine, starvation and the like. I’ll stick to what I know in this narrative, which is your basic, suburban, family style dysfunction.

I like to think my daughter is one of the fortunate children, born into a loving family, although I also believe it is my responsibility to raise her with an awareness of the world at large. Unless we expose our children to the world’s difficulties in an appropriate manner, in a way they can assimilate and understand, they may grow to be terribly unprepared for the cesspool we live in and then perpetuate an entirely new kind of ignorance. For example, computers, the World Wide Web, chat rooms, and instant messaging are facets of our world, and while they have become an integral part of school and college, they are best used in moderation by growing children. Over use or use in desperation or abject loneliness can lead to misguided interaction, and then an introduction to on-line predators, of which there are many. As if there aren’t enough perverts in real life, now we have to worry about these sick-o’s predating our children in cyberspace, too.

You don’t have to serve in Bagdad to know there are many landmines on the American landscape.

For those of us born into a world of fear, passed down either helplessly or in ignorance, mayhap even deliberately by our parents, our perception is forever clouded by that toxic environment. When perpetually present at the earliest and most impressionable stages of development, I believe fear and its subsequent responses are burned into the hard wiring of our most impressionable childhood brains.

The question is: Can that hardwiring be deprogrammed?

I can’t help but be amazed at how well adjusted my daughter is in her relationships. I have to attribute the majority of this well adjusted upbringing to Leslie, however, who was self-aware as a little girl, and is equally as aware as an adult. I, on the other hand, had to grow and evolve to achieve the same personal realization. Elizabeth, or Liz, as she is referred to by her friends, knows what she does and doesn’t want in a friend, and she is very clear on her feelings when she is “dissed”. Yes, she actually uses that word. Elizabeth and Margaret are still best friends for life, for example, but they parted ways with Lindsay, the third in their trio, a while before school ended and before we left the State of Connecticut. In fact, at one point, Margaret’s mother, who plays tennis once in a while with Lindsay’s Mom, asked if the girls, the three of them, could get together for one last play date before we left. Elizabeth was adamant that she didn’t want to be mean, but she and Lindsay were no longer friends, and she did not want to have a play date. When the trouble with Lindsay started, she approached the problem analytically (which is her nature, an Aries/Virgo through and through), and because she isn’t an emotional beggar like I was, desperate for attention from parents, friends, or anyone really, she saw the truth of it and accepted what was happening. She did not view the failed friendship as a reflection of her self-worth. Nor did she hang on to the friend until the relationship soured and became destructive. I was impressed by her confidence and her certainty. Leslie and I discussed the issues that came up, because Margaret’s mom had mentioned it. I was eager to stand behind Elizabeth’s decision, which was justified and made in good conscience; but it was she, however, who understood and maintained her position despite the adults around her having differing opinions.


wicked01



I remember having a bosom friend when I was six years old. Her name was Jennifer, and she was an angelic blonde. I loved her madly and intensely, as only a six year old can, and her family lived across the alley behind our house on Hawley Avenue. Her mother had flaming red hair and a pottery studio in a building behind the house. It was a magical place full of clay, sculpture and fire kilns. Leslie would say it was very seventies. The summer before second grade, a time when each kid year seems like ten years and summers go on forever and ever, they moved away. I was sad. I remember standing at the back window watching them pull away, perhaps with my own theme song music playing a sad requiem in my brain. It felt like my heart was breaking. Circumstances, however, hadn’t turned me yet into an emotional beggar, although they were steadily chipping away.

The friendships I had when I was a teenager were made of the usual stuff; things in common, like dancing school, fantasy, and a love of comic books and drawing. These relationships were woven together by the depth of my need and a desperate fear of abandonment, issues I know my daughter will never be burdened with. I was by no means a quiet little wall flower. I was a strange teenager, a drama queen, who was obsessed with children’s theater. As much as I loved my girlfriends, a eclectic group of confused and weird high school students, I desperately needed them, along with their approval and attention. You see, by this time at about 15 or 16, I had become an emotional beggar, molded as such by the emotional unavailability of my parents, and their repeated disappearances.

But what if, instead of abandonment, which began in my life at 4 years old, the issues my parents brought to the table were more mental illness or violence. What if, instead of leaving me, my mother kept me up all night, night after night, screaming about monsters she saw under the bed waiting for her? What if, instead of judging me and standing behind a shield of cult worship, my father had sexually abused me again and again? What if I grew up convinced on a most cellular level that bad things not only do happen to good people, but they can be more or less depended upon?


ElphabaGlindaDefyGravity


What if that deep fear response had been hard wired into my brain before I had any choice in the matter?

Is it possible to deprogram ourselves? If we know we are missing a critical part of the ability to overcome obstacles in our adulthood, things that hamper our ability to engage in the pursuit of happiness, must we accept this as the limit of our potential? Must we remain content to wallow in an understanding of misery while holding our long standing fear responses close as comfort, as we curse the power of positive thinking?

I believe there is healing in the world. It is available to everyone, but we must want it badly enough to override our fear responses in order to pursue it. And then we must stick with it long enough to allow it to work its magic.

They say that the Goddess helps those who help themselves, and this I know from experience to be true.

My question is: Will you take the leap of faith that gets you there?

End Note: All photos in this posting are from the Broadway Musical, "Wicked". All rights are reserved by the photographers, certainly not by me.




Monday, September 8, 2008

I Love Your Blog


I’m screwing around on the net tonight. No work to do and we ate out, so there is time to spare (for once). I dropped by A. Venifica’s site Symbolic Meanings and was once again inspired. She’s done it to me before. In fact, there were a few months recently past when she wasn’t posting much, and, even though my life was crazy and busy, I truly missed her work. A. Venifica has launched her participation in what she calls the “I Love Your Blog” campaign, wherein bloggers set forth seven or so of their favorite blogs with comments and/or commentary. I’d like to weigh in on that.

So, here they are … my five favorite blogs for those of you who are interested.

Jane Devin’s There’s Always More to the Story … Jane is a widely read, and extremely talented author who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. She’s definitely my absolutely favorite blogger. I’ve been following Jane’s work for some time now, panting for her first novel, and I always look forward to what she has to say. She’s courageously tackled topics like child abuse and rape, at times speaking from experience on some of the most awkward and uncomfortable current events. But mostly … well, I really like Jane. She’s tough, sensitive, vulnerable, wounded, and adorable and has been touched atop the head by the Goddess with a true gift. Jane can make you feeeeel through her writing. You can’t help but get caught up in that narrative. I bet she gets hundreds of hits every day and has a loyal following that leave at least 30 comments on each of her postings. She’s one of those gals who simply must write, and in doing so touch our hearts.

Oh … one last thing … I discovered one of my new favorite words on Jane’s site; the word “fucktard”. For this, I am forever grateful!

Sue’s Coming Out 101 … If you know me, you know that I am not a political person, and that I generally disdain labels. I am in a long term relationship with a woman (my Leslie), but the only time I identify as a lesbian, per se, is when I’m with other lesbians. At work, I’m a manager and a leader. At home, I’m a mother, a family member, a donut maker, a lover, a best friend, and a life partner. When with my grandmother, I was always a granddaughter first (and Leslie was a second cousin – ha!). It may not be a popular opinion, particularly in San Francisco, but I am first and foremost me and only me. Sue seems to get it. Coming Out 101 celebrates a person’s right to choose how they want to be addressed in the privacy of their lives. She acknowledges that while our sexuality may not be a choice we made, for better or for worse given our personal circumstances, coming out certainly is. Sue is articulate, makes good points, rarely letting headlines get by without voicing her opinion, and can really let fly with some fabulous web magic! Sue rocks!

Liara’s Dream Builders… A. Venficia listed this as one of her favorites, and I have to echo that vote. In fact, it was she who indirectly turned me on to Liara’s fabulous work. Dream Builders is an Australian site written by a learned woman who is an expert at dream interpretation. I’m confident Liara is expert at many things and probably has a hundred degrees, but more significant to me, Liara is a student of the positive. Encouraging us to take a look at how we participate in the tapestry of our lives, she asks us to identify how we may be contributing to our sadness or happiness, and then challenges us to seek a greater destiny. I discovered a while back that the Goddess helps those who help themselves. I can’t speak to the greater evil that lurks in this day and age, the strange but frighteningly familiar streak of independent evilness that touches us from time to time; however, I can say that getting our heads out of our ass will most definitely improve the quality of lives overall. Liara never lets us forget this, and while I am sure Jane would hate Liara’s work (am I right?), I for one think it’s awesome.

Symbolic Meanings by A. Venifica … I wish I knew what A. Venifica’s real name is. There is a picture of her on one of her sites, and she’s got the kind of looks that surpass space and time. If she were alive in ancient Roman days, I would think she’d look exactly the same. She is a translator by trade, and admittedly seeks to understand the hidden and esoteric meanings in our mundane lives. So much so that she’s dedicated more than one entire website to the topic. A. Venifica will answer specific questions from readers, set forth elaborate dream interpretations, or spend one post pondering the esoteric meaning of the number 7, for example. Her writing style is succinct and unflinchingly respectful of the opinion of others, as well, which I appreciate personally. She also has a sense of community and encourages us to participate in Synchroblogs (I had a ball with that!) and this most recent “I Love Your Blog” campaign.

Last, but certainly not least …

Dan’s The Stank Nasty … this is my dirty little secret! I ran into Dan in Roseanne Barr’s website and forum, and while that is most assuredly an eclectic group of fans, queers, spiritualists, mountain people, and wierdos, Dan just sort of jumped out at me. He is what I would lovingly refer to as an irreverent queen. Prone to using naughty words to describe his infatuation with all things edible, all things retro, and all things screwy, Dan’s typical blogs range from boring, to amusing, to downright hysterical. The thing with Dan is just when you think he’s thrown as many lost or archived 1980’s music videos as he possibly could, when you’ve seen more Prince than you ever (or never) wanted to in your lifetime, he writes something so perfectly succinct, so perfectly observant, and so courageous that it gives you pause. Take for instance his post Obamary Clintrack, written last January. Dan the Man, midst all the retro poo-poo, knows how to call it when he sees it, and for this I will always check back to his happy little corner of the web to see what he’s pulling out of his derriere.


So that's that ... my participation in the "I Love Your Blog" campaign. You can take it or leave it. If you like it, that's wonderful, and I'm so glad you stopped by. If you don't like it, you can shove it. This is my blog and nobody's dragging your sorry ass here.


Take care, everyone!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

3 a.m.


It’s three in the morning here at the Marriott Residence Inn. My daughter and our dogs are curled up on the pull out bed like a small pack of beasts, perfectly comfortable with one another, and perfectly sleeping. Daizy is snoring like a chain saw. The temperature at our house rose above one hundred degrees this past week, all week, so the girls and I left for cooler temperatures just 30 minutes up the line closer to the San Francisco, where the Bay insulates the land from the worst of the sun’s punishment.

Apollo is punishing everyone these days with great fervor.

I can’t sleep. I was doing alright at first but a tickle in Leslie’s throat kept her up for a time. Now, hours after I went to bed, I’m up wide eyed on the computer with joints that are aching and the urge to write in my head.

Some times it’s better just to go with it.

I have nothing clever to say, really. Perhaps rather oblique observations about people on the BART train. Fodder for another post maybe, but not tonight.


Daly City Train Approaching ...


As it was bound to happen, my captivating and enjoyable job is taking up so much space in my brain, that I find myself with little time or energy to write clever narratives. In Connecticut, the job I had there, which I could’ve easily done in two and a half days and still been successful, lent itself very nicely to part time blogging. This one is much more demanding.

Maybe it’s just that I’m more content and so have less to work out in writing, less to bitch and moan about.

I’m going to give this more thought.

But first … back to sleep.

I hope.

Sleeping Beauty 2007

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ocean Beach, San Francisco

Last night, we had dinner at Louis', a historic diner just up the hill from the Cliff House at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. From there, you can see the Sutro Bath ruins.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Human Nature



(spoken:)
Express yourself, dont repress yourself (repeat 4 times)

Chorus:

And Im not sorry [Im not sorry]
Its human nature [its human nature]
And Im not sorry [Im not sorry]
Im not your bitch dont hang your shit on me [its human nature]

You wouldnt let me say the words I longed to say
You didnt want to see life through my eyes
[express yourself, dont repress yourself]
You tried to shove me back inside your narrow room
And silence me with bitterness and lies
[express yourself, dont repress yourself]

Did I say something wrong?
Oops, I didnt know I couldnt talk about sex
[i musta been crazy]
Did I stay too long?
Oops, I didnt know I couldnt speak my mind
[what was I thinking]

(chorus)

You punished me for telling you my fantasies
Im breakin all the rules I didnt make
[express yourself, dont repress yourself]
You took my words and made a trap for silly fools
You held me down and tried to make me break
[express yourself, dont repress yourself]

Bridge:

Did I say something true?
Oops, I didnt know I couldnt talk about sex
[i musta been crazy]
Did I have a point of view?
Oops, I didnt know I couldnt talk about you
[what was I thinking]

(chorus)

Express yourself, dont repress yourself (repeat twice)
Express yourself, dont repress yourself (repeat twice)

(bridge)
(chorus)

(chorus, with the following spoken substitutions)
[Im not apologizing]
[would it sound better if I were a man? ]
[youre the one with the problem]
[why dont you just deal with it]

(chorus, with the following spoken substitutions)
[would you like me better if I was? ]
[we all feel the same way]
[i have no regrets]
[just look in the mirror]

(chorus, with the following spoken substitutions)
[i dont have to justify anything]
[Im just like you]
[why should I be? ]
[deal with it]

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Belladonna Women

A must read by Jane Devin right here.

2444290862_6224f255cd_o
Picture by unknown artist ... but very lovely.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Walk


I walk.

I just finished walking up and down the hill that is our lovely street when I felt the writer’s block I thought was a preoccupation with the new job sort of ‘pop’. Maybe it was the iPod’s background music grinding out the overture to “Gypsy” that did it for me. Or perhaps that new song “Mercy” by what’s her name, Duffy? It’s so sexy! I just love it. Regardless, I haven’t had much desire to write over the last three weeks and while much of it was because I was exhausted, a portion of it was due to a lack of interest. I wanted to be in the moment, not observing it, blah blah blah. Given enough reign, the rational mind can conjure any number of excuses. I might say it was my muse, come back from her lakeside revelry, who brought me out of my introspective stagnation. She always gets me fired up no matter what part of the country I’m in. It may simply be that I find myself with an audience again, as previously estranged family members and acquaintances troll about my websites, succumbing to their own perverse curiosity. These are people who profess to disdain me and my family, and yet can’t stay away.

That’s alright.

I understand the need and do not begrudge them their voyeurism. After all, what is a blog for if nothing more than to satisfy a need to be noticed?

And so it is mutually satisfying.

Do not mistake this as a desire to make nice. I am pointing out the obvious insofar as you, too, are guilty of this simple pleasure. To chastise me for it now is to throw stones at yourself.

Elizabeth had her very first day of middle school today, and I’m exceedingly relieved to report it went well. Of course, Margaret was on the phone first thing this morning, and she was the first person Liz called when she got in the van. Despite reuniting with students and friends she left two years ago, I think Margaret’s absence was what kept the experience from being a complete success. Time spent apart over the summer hasn’t dimmed the light on their most bosom friendship. Have you seen “Anne of Green Gables” on public television? Let it tell the story of their enduring commitment to friendship, no matter what their age, which by the way is only eleven years.

The job is a blast. It’s what I trained for during my nineteen years at professional services boot camp. I’m challenged, enjoying myself, and making more than decent money. I’m over the initial adjustment, which was supremely but not surprisingly exhausting, and happy for the routine it affords me personally. I tried the stay at home thing, and found that after the cards, and sculpture, the stories and the blogs, I lacked motivation. I’m up early, in full face and hair by 7:00 a.m. and on a train bound for the city by 7:15. I still walk down Market Street with my eyes on the sky and the astounding line of high rises within it. The life and breath of this city is a palpable thing.

I am motivated once again.

You may recall, dear readers, that I committed to a personal revolution a la’ Jane Devin here. Meditation, exercise, only good foods … that was my mantra, felt strongly and with conviction after a visit to Amma in New York filled my self-discipline tanks to the brim. You may have also heard the resounding KABOOM! that was my ample derriere falling right off that wagon as our cross country move and related insanity tossed me limbs akimbo from my self-righteous pedestal. I’m gradually climbing back on the wagon, with Leslie giving me a solid push from the rear. She is a different person, having re-established the tie with the land that she so desperately needs to be happy. It was, after all, her drive and determination that got us here; that and a hefty load of good fortune and timing.

Well, I got home today, completely forgetting Leslie’s exercise plan, and took off all my work clothes. You see, I was supposed to be walking up and down our hill in the beautiful new tennis shoes she got for me mail order because I can’t stand trying shoes on in the stores. Once I was undressed, I didn’t want to do it. But Leslie, my prime motivator, started growling, and, showing an amazing aptitude for good sense, I changed my mind and got down to it.

And so I walk.

I walk and think of friends who once meant everything, no matter what the circumstances. I think of my muse, who took a leap off rational thought, and then decided it was I who pushed her. I think of my brothers, who are endlessly curious.
I think of the past, and ponder what I left behind … the baggage, the bondage, the bitchery.

I walk.
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