Monday, November 26, 2012

Please understand

I don't DISlike her. It's just that I don't LIKE her. I don't trust her. I don't feel a chemical bond with her. I will sit on the sideline. I will willingly cuddle and watch, but NOT participate with her. I am happy that you enjoy her and I will watch. But, then, I will come home with you. OK? Tuesday, I may only cuddle and watch. I'm not sure if I want to participate. OK? Is it  OK? I love you and want you to be happy. I really can't bend and give and slide and not be true to me. OK?  Please say it is OK?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Act of Rebellion?

I was three weeks shy of my 18th birthday when I gave up my virginity. I didn't lose it, mind; I know exactly where it went. For whatever reason, I had decided to give it up sometime before the date when it would have been, arbitrarily, legal to do so.

Unbeknownst to my designated "recipient", the process was all carefully orchestrated.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim and I had been dating for about a year. He was much older than I, around 22 to my 16, and glamorous because of it. He was a reporter for our local morning newspaper; back in the day, most metropolitan areas of any size had both a morning and an evening newspaper. We attended concerts and other events when he was "comped" the tickets. We also went to clubs to dance and hear live music. Despite my age, we were never bounced out and I was exposed to a lot of very good jazz and blues.

Our physical relationship was limited to kissing and touching because he was extremely sensitive to my age and extremely reluctant to go to jail. I know he also dated other, older, women and I dated classmates; but we spent a good deal of time together and grew close as friends.

When the time came, I knew that I did not want to find out what sex was all about from someone who knew as little as (or less than!) I did; it had to be someone who was experienced and who would and could take the time to help me learn more about my own body. Jim, I decided, would be perfect for this: he was experienced, he knew me, we liked each other, he was gentle, he cared about me.

During my freshman year at college, the Guarnieri Quartet was in residence and gave occasional concerts as well as teaching and leading seminars for the advanced music students. I invited Jim to  to attend the concert and to see my school. We arranged for him to stay at the motel next to campus. After a nice dinner, we listened to wonderful music for a couple of hours; then I suggested a night-cap at his motel room. Jim was a little surprised by this, but definitely game! Conveniently, there was a liquor store just down the road from the motel and we bought a bottle of his favorite, bourbon, to take with us.

Here is where we fade to black for a while ... the exact details are for his memory and mine. I did tell him that I had signed out of the dorm for the night so that curfew (we had that too, back in the day) wouldn't be an issue. Suffice it to say, the experience was lovely, sweet, wonderful and memorable. My "first time" involved waking up in the arms of my lover rather than fumbling for zippers in the back seat of a car.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Two years later ...

Burning Man 2012 is over and I have been indulging in other people's photos and memories that I can find out on the InterWebs. I missed 2011 as well, but today I was cleaning up and found  my journal from 2010. I hadn't been able to transcribe it before now; each time I tried to, my mind sort of side-slipped away from it. Today it all held together and as I typed it up, I relived a wonderful week, a wonder full experience. The following is dedicated to my fellow citizens of Black Rock City, and to the amazing man who introduced me to so many faces of the desert.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
August 30 -- On the road at 9 am, met Jim and Marina at Los Gatos Lodge and were really on the road at 9:30. Lunch was at “Al the Wop’s” in Locke: grease burger and Stinky Fries. We taught Marina to eat peanut butter on her burger. Yum!

Jennifer at the Flyer’s gas stop around exit 121, route 80 – no Adam’s apple, name tag said Jennifer, no bra, arm’s like Michaels: “You headed out to the desert?”, “Yep.”, “Stop in on your way back. Have a safe trip.”

We arrived at Boomtown around 4:30; Jim and Marina camped in the campground; Michael and I had a hotel room instead of setting up the pop-up. We had a short nap; then, refreshed, wine and jazz at a bar in the casino. I played $1 in the poker machine at the bar, won $3.50, then lost it all. We had dinner in Denny’s, back to the bar for more jazz and Jameson’s. Bed, Then up by 7:30 to fill water cans, breakfast at Denny’s with Jim and Marina, then on the road again by 9 am.

Arrived at the playa at 2 pm. Camp all set up 4 pm, and then nap until 6 pm. Dinner was sausages, potatoes, and chili. Michael and I went out on the playa after dinner. Found a fire sculpture – an organ played with a keyboard that shot fire out of the pipes instead of sound – orgasm!!!

Wednesday – We got up around 8, had coffee, egg and muffin. Back to bed at 9 until 11:30 or so. Then had brunch that Jim cooked: potatoes, tomatoes, artichoke hearts all fried up with salsa on top. We walked down to pick up more ice. Then Michael, Jim and I went to a lecture on the desert geology and how the playa came about. Bicycling back for Center Camp after that we picked up Pee Funnels for all four of us. Another nap until 3 or so. I was very hot and kind of stupid in a heat stress sort of way. All four of us walked over to the Safer Sex Camp for a 2 hour discussion of non-monogamy. The tent was way over-packed and hot and the lecturer was soft spoken and sort of obvious. Maybe I would have learned something had I stayed all the way to 6 pm, but I don’t think so and left after about 20 minutes. I’ll have to wait now and see what Michael, Jim and Marina have to say about it. Now back at our noisy camp and the techno music guys are again up on their second story platform and gracing us with their shit. Going to try to read a novel and stay out of the sun – maybe people watch a bit.

Igor and Marguerite came by and later horrible Judy and dumb Bob stayed a while. We gave out more glow sticks. Later Michael and I walked out to the Temple. People had said one’s first sight should be at night and it WAS VERY POWERFUL. Maybe later I can describe the feeling. Now … just powerful!

Thursday – up at about 8, refreshed. Great sleep last night! Because the techno jerks went to bed earlier? Because of walk out to Temple? Because of knowing I had a pee funnel for the night?

We all four set out to see “the lady” on bikes but Michael got a flat tire almost out to the Man. We (he and I) walked back to fix it and will head out again soon. Marina had brought back wooden hearts to write on and I put mine and my wedding ring out at the Temple.
 In Loving Memory of a Failed Marriage, 1976-2006
I forgive you for breaking my heart
I forgive you for stealing my innocence
I forgive you for wasting my time.
Cathartic tears, sobs and now an incredible feeling of lightness. I tried to think about him; can’t even write the nickname! And my mind just slips away from it. Wonderful!

The Tuna Guys arrived at last and we gorged on sashimi and grilled salmon. The Google Earth satellite photo was at 11:41 am. We went out on the Big Ka-Tuna and staged a fishing trip with a fishing boat and crew on the playa. We hope the satellite caught the lovely visual with our Tuna, a sunfish art car and a minnow bicycle caught in the net.

Friday morning -- Marina is talking about staying one more day to see the Man burn but Michael and I both still plan to leave Saturday morning. Michael and I took a 1 hour morning bike ride on D road to Center Camp and then on A out to the edge of the City and the Esplanade back home. My right hand was practically numb … even with gloves.
Meatloaf sandwiches. Many tries to go buy ice but each time the line was way too long. We did fill out our census forms and drop them off.

The wind changed around to the south with LOTS of dust dancers. I’m glad we went to the playa this morning because it is, while not quite a white-out, very dusty. Hair done up in a do rag and the cool bandanas on us both. Due to the dust, we have to button up the trailer so too hot to sleep. Both of us are totally enervated from the heat – hottest day yet. Jim is making more sashimi at the Tuna Camp kitchen and brought me a piece. But I have not enough ambition to go over for more – maybe 50 feet away. The breeze helps but carries dust too. Michael had wi-fi for about 30 seconds earlier and got email from Kate, but not able to send. I can’t connect at all. It will be interesting to hear the “dings” on the way home as we come into wi-fi or 3GS range.

Meanwhile, the art car parade continues. A jellyfish, a horseshoe crab, just now a double-decker something with a sail.
Once more we gave out glow sticks – hard work for one person to catch all the dark people. Michael dove in and helped. Marina is very grumpy – Jim probably did something, but no one is talking. She took off for the playa. We went to bed.

Saturday morning, Michael got up to go pee and there was a young woman asleep on our porch. At 8 when we got up again, she was gone. Very windy in the night. Shook the trailer for a while and blew in a ton of dust.
Big breakfast at Tuna Camp. We partook in between packing up. On the road home by 11:30, “off playa” by 12:30. Definitely white out conditions until we got to the highway. I think we did the right think not staying longer. Very hot already and very windy.

A long drive home – 9 hours. Really should break the trip home as well but Michael was concerned about Kate having to deal with Brooke alone all week. I wonder how Brooke’s presence is going to change my life. Already Kate is telling Michael not to walk around the house nude because “Brooke can’t handle it.” Going to be interesting.
Glad to be home with DC today.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Quilt Making

Musings while hand sewing the binding on Michael's Manly Nap Quilt ...

All of the steps in making a quilt are pleasing and satisfying in their own way; even the tedious parts.

Choosing a pattern, choosing colors, picking out the fabrics, all the creative steps that go into making the perfect quilt for a particular person or event get my head involved.

Cutting, piecing, stitching, running my favorite power tool, quilting by machine or by hand, these are parts that get my hands involved.

But the final step of binding -- the binding style I always use is to machine stitch one edge (front or back as dictated by the rest of the quilt) and then blind hem stitch the other edge by hand -- is my favorite part. All the rest of the quilt has come together as it should be -- not necessarily as *planned*, just as it was meant to be, you understand, eh? This step simply cannot be hurried, cannot be rushed through, even when the baby shower or graduation or birthday is hours away. Note: that's the main reason I have learned to never promise a quilt for a specific time :-)

The slow, steady, even stitching gives me time to think, to reflect: on the process, on the learning opportunities (not mistakes, learning opportunities!), on the person who will soon receive the quilt. This is the time to reflect, think, dream, pray, wish; the time for my heart to add its part to the whole.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Saga of Mary Magellena

[Magellan, in its corporate wisdom, will not supply updated maps for the GPS model I own.]

The BEST way to get from Route 4 to the Brannan Island KOA is to turn right at the light on Route 12 and take a right on Jackson Slough Road, then turn left on Brannan Island Road. It is NOT, repeat NOT, advisable to turn right off Route 4 onto Brannan Island Road directly, despite GPS instructions to do so! Even the USPS agrees.

As the road got more and more narrow and twisty along the top of the levee, I didn't really start to get uneasy until the sign that said One Lane Road Ahead. The road we were on was about 6 inches wider than the RV on each side but still qualified as a Two Lane Road (I guess) because there was a yellow stripe down the middle. Just as I was trying to find a wider spot in the road to turn around, we spotted a US Mail truck headed our way along the levee. The driver drove his truck down along the side of the slope -- really! -- to pass but I flagged him down. "Is there really a KOA up ahead somewhere?" I asked. "Yes ma'am, about 3 more miles. But ... no one ... ever  ... takes ... THIS road ..."

I was in dire need of a drink by the time we arrived and set up camp.

Coming home, after delivering daughter and grandsons to son-in-law at the Berkeley Marina, it should be a straight shot home, no? No. GPS routed me onto a (very scenic) frontage road along the bay for a while before allowing me back onto I-580. And, the maps are old; they date from BEFORE the I-980 cut! GPS tried to take me onto Routes 13 and 24 to get to I-880. Sigh.

This GPS, my dear Mary Magellena, is going to have to find a new home with a younger family member; preferably one with a greater desire, tolerance, and appreciation for adventure.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rowan is traveling

Rowan and her Prince are traveling this week in the Pumpkin-Turned-Motorhome called Moon Dance. If you want to follow that journey, go to mytripjournal.com/rnmflagstaff

See y'all back here in a while.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Times They Are A-changing

The following is a letter I wrote on ‎Sunday, ‎February ‎11, ‎2007 to a close (dear)  but (geographically) distant friend. It reflects where I (and my head) were THEN; it does NOT reflect now.
~~~~~~~
Exactly one year ago next Saturday, my best friend and soul mate of 30 years told me, over a McDonald's’ lunch, that he didn’t want to be married any more. He assured me there was no other woman, just that he was depressed and tired and unhappy and wanted out.

He had rented an apartment near work; no I could not have the address; I could call his cell phone or use email or forward mail to a PO Box. He had contacted a divorce lawyer and made arrangements with our accountant. He handed me a sheet of paper outlining a marital settlement agreement. This all happened 6 days after our 22nd wedding anniversary and he had spent several months on the planning of it as well as the timing.

I cried for a week. Then I got angry. Then I hired a PI who confirmed that he was indeed living with a woman who had been working for him for the last five years: a woman who had house and dog sat for me, who had had dinner in my home many times, who had smiled and treated me like a friend. It was a case of her having bigger boobs, bigger hair, smaller brain and flatter abs, as well as her being 15 years younger.

I was shattered. I am slowly putting the pieces of me back together. It is taking some time and effort. The new “me” is a lot stronger and self-sufficient, but also much less open and trusting than the old one. I am not sure the new me is as loveable and fluffy as the old one, but I like me better now.

As I recall, I used to enjoy the company of men. And I hope to again someday. I’m taking baby steps in that regard – lots of friends, a few good friends, no friends with benefits, yet. And then, someday, I may try actual dating.

How I want to be seen is competent, capable, strong, brave, loving, passionate, caring.

How I will not be seen is afraid, submissive, and timid. 
~~~~~~~ 

Actually, the times they have a-changed :-)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Inventory / Reflection

Children -- three: healthy, happy, successful.
Grandchildren -- four: healthy, happy, active, smart.
Loves -- one primary: healthy, happy, handsome, attentive, loving, careful;
a few secondary: nearby and far away, able, willing, loving.
Friends -- several: beautiful, caring, loyal.

~~~~

Additionally
Cat -- one: healthy, happy, active, attentive.
House -- one and one third: comfortable, well located, solid and sheltering.
RV -- one: slightly dented, decent mileage, still fun.
Car -- one: low miles, dirty (but I could fix that), fun to rive.

~~~~~

Body -- one: gently used, strong, clean, healthy.
Mind -- one: active, agile, inquisitive.
Spirit -- one: happy, content but not complacent.

~~~~

Bottom line -- life is good.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Connections

Tonight I had my annual "date" with my (13 years) younger brother.

My (6 years) younger sister was there too, this time, for the first time.

Just two rounds but a ton of stories ... Remember when you ... When she ... When he ... When I ...when we ...

I remember now why I love them so much; how we are so connected.

I'll keep coming back here, no matter what, just for this connection.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Odyssey

Online check in the day before yielded an upgrade to First Class. Which yielded a large comfy seat, orange juice, tomato juice, cheese omelet, hash browns, fresh fruit, bagel with cream cheese ... Nice. Travel through ORD was another story.


The gate attendant got busy helping a woman who meant to go to Rochester NY but who had a ticket to Rochester MN. All of a sudden, "We have 4 minutes to load. Forget the seating zones everybody. Let's roll!"


Captain's announcement, thunder storms to the east, rerouting delays, we will be moving again momentarily. Some movement forward. Stop. We will be moving again momentarily. More wait, inch ahead, wait, we will be departing momentarily. "Momentarily? I don't think that word means what you think it means."


Finally, announcement, "Ladies and gentlemen, due to the Passenger Bill of Rights, we wil now return to the gate because waiting to be first in line will take us past the time we can keep you between boarding and take off."


Luck was with us though. That particular plane was needed in Syracuse next morning. So, top off the fuel tanks, load the cattle ... sheep ... passengers and queue up again.


Momentarily ... number 30 in line ... momentarily ... number 20 in line ... momentarily ... Whoosh! Our little plane suddenly was directed to cut ahead to first place -- they were about to trip over the Passenger Bill of Rights deadline again! And I am sure the FA had already notified the cockpit of potential mutiny.


Flight 4332, due @ SYR 6:55 pm -- landed 11:55 pm

~~~~~~~~~~~

Breakfast, see above.
Lunch, soggy croissant with tuna salad and diet Coke.
Dinner, Bloody Mary,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

An Open Letter to my New Big Brother

This is an apology for teasing you yesterday about your "sleeping late" habit.

It is not pleasant to wake up in an empty house that used to be full. And your house became empty suddenly and through no fault of your own, which can make it even harder. At least there were enough good things about the "emptying" of my house that they balanced the echoes.

"...I used to be half the whole of you and me
Now I'm the limit of half a man ..."  Chris Smither, Slow Surprise

The things I did to make it better for me may not really practical for you, but I like your idea of "going on the road". I hope you do it more.

[BTW, Mom always liked me best ;-) ]


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Heros and friends

Almost every night during the five years before the end, I would have difficulty falling asleep.

Either there was physical abuse or, more often, psychological abuse and until I knew he was asleep, I was afraid to close my eyes or let down my guard. Because he could turn on me again. And want rough sex or want to berate me or want to catalog my failings as a wife as a mother as a woman as a person. But not as a person, because he didn't see me as a separate person. I was wife, mother, housekeeper, cook, cleaner, punching bag, stepping stool for his fragile, and often fractured, ego.

Each night, I would cower on the far side of the bed, waiting for his breathing to slow and grow steady, then the snore, then the apnic breathing that let me know he was asleep and I was safe for now. And maybe he would die in his sleep and I would be safe forever.

Each night, as I lay there waiting, I would rub my head, run fingers through my hair, and whisper to myself, "Its OK baby, everything is OK baby, go to sleep now, you are safe with me." My White Knight, my Hero, would hold me in his arms and whisper, in a deep low voice, "Its OK baby, everything is OK baby, go to sleep now, you are safe with me."

The bad times are over. I am strong and whole and secure now. I am separate from that life and safe in this one. And my Hero sleeps next to me, rubbing my head, running his fingers through my hair, until I fall asleep. "Its OK baby, everything is OK baby, go to sleep now, you are safe with me."

I Love You. My Hero. My Friend.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Aha! moment

Not ashamed.
Not judgment.
Not "him".

It is the fact that we have a pre-existing relationship that is fueling my hesitation!

Now, to find a way to combine the intimacy with the pre-existing condition :-)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

another question for me to think about

Why am I so reluctant to "party" with, or even around, her?

We are friends. Adults. Both physically and socially active. We both like to "party. We genuinely like each other.

We have seen each other naked.


When she is not there,
     I feel very uninhibited ... now anyway, even if not at the start. I do not think about or analyze my actions and reactions; I go with the flow; I join in with anyone I feel inclined to join in with.

When she is there, even in the next room, outside, out of sight,
     I temper my actions and reactions; I consider more carefully what I do and who I do it with; what I say and who I say it to. Its as if I am outside of myself, looking at myself with her eyes.

I wonder if maybe ...

... perhaps ...

... could it be ...

... is it possible that ... I am ashamed of what I do there?


Or do I feel that she might be judging me? And I do want her good opinion of me.

Or is it maybe because of "he who connects us"? Is it maybe because of that connection?

Definitely something for me to think about.




Monday, April 16, 2012

Poets

Pondering on my previous pondering.

Physical stuff is somewhat easy to talk about. We have lots of words for the physical, most nouns are devoted to things we can see, touch, taste, hear, smell; things we know exist because we can sense them. If we have a common language and common vocabulary, we can pretty much understand what the other means by "tree", "heart" (the physical organ), "brain".

Thoughts, ideas, mental stuff -- that is much harder. We need more words and more back and forth and more discussion to come to some less than perfect understanding. As well as the common language and common vocabulary, we also need common cultural references. With some negotiation, we can (sometimes / usually / often) come to understand what the other means by "heart" (the center of personality? or the center of emotion? or the basis of sympathy?) or "mind" (consciousness? intellect? totality of mental processes?)

I despair of fully describing for you, or fully understanding your descriptions of, the spiritual or emotional. Even with common language and vocabulary and cultural references, I find it difficult to convey or understand "love", "passion". For that I need to borrow a poet's words.

Passion is feeling in motion
Compassion is standing still
...
Hearing is letting it happen
But to listen's a work of will

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, how to talk about the spark, the connection, that transforms a moment of physical interaction into a moment of intimacy?

I know what I mean by that "connection". I think.

I don't know how to explain it to you or if I fully grasp what you mean by it.

It would be so much easier if we had been designed a bit better -- with an actual spark arcing  between lovers hearts or fingertips. But only when there was a Real Connection of course. Wouldn't want sparks flying all helter skelter around the room indiscriminately, would we?


Friday, April 13, 2012

Pondering

"Were you and J Lovers?"

Good question. For me, there are three parts to "Lovers" -- physical, mental and emotional/spiritual.

Physical.
Sex. Capital S.
What constitutes Sex though? For me, some genitals must be involved. The hottest, deepest, wettest, most passionate kiss is just a kiss. Or maybe a K*I*S*S, but still not Sex. It is "only" mouth to mouth; no genitalia. I will stretch this definition though to include secondary sex characteristics because mouth-to-breast/nipples is definitely Sex in my book. And mouth-to-genitals counts as Sex just as much as hands-to- or genitals-to-.

But how much Sex does it take to be Lovers? 
Once is a one night stand, right? What about once before one person deploys for three years to some foreign war but the other two components (below) persist for the three years -- are they Lovers for three years?

Once, without the other two components is not enough; with both though, I think it would suffice. 'Twould be wicked frustrating, but would suffice. Several times, without the other two components? That is called a Fuck Buddy.

But Sex alone is not enough to constitute "being Lovers".

Mental
Don't know about you all, but my brain is definitely an erogenous zone. "Seduce my mind and you can have my body ..."  "All I need now is intellectual intercourse..."  I believe that Lovers must have some sort of meeting of the minds, be on the same wavelength, have some common cultural references. You need something to talk about while you are mustering up reserves for the next roll in the hay, eh? But even that isn't quite enough. Maybe enough for Friends With Benefits, but not for Lovers.

Emotional/Spiritual

"... find my soul and I'm yours forever."  "... a soul to dig the hole much deeper." You make my heart sing. The thrill I get every time I hear your voice. Knowing we share hopes and dreams and wishes as well as wants and desires. It is harder to pin down, but the emotional/spiritual part is to me the deal breaker. It must be there or we are only FWBs or FBs or something else, but not Lovers.

Answer -- J and I are Friends With Benefits. Further answer -- D and I were Fuck Buddies, M1 and I were Lovers.

"What I wouldn't give to find a soul mate, someone else to catch this drift ..."
M2 and I are Soul Mates, and that is another story altogether.
 
*****
aside: If you can have Oral Sex with yourself, please send me the name of your yoga instructor. Please?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Insecurity, envy, jealousy and low self-esteem

Wow.
Where do I start?
She has accused me of --
  • uncertainty
  • insecurity
  • envy
  • jealousy
  • low self-esteem
 Yes, I (we) do have a certain amount of uncertainty -- not about our relationship together, but rather about our relationship with them. That is the main reason we broke off the relationship with them. We were uncertain as to their
    • motives
    • interests
    • priorities
    • lives
    • schedules
I do not have any insecurity about your love or my place in your heart, your life. You have no insecurity about my love or your place in my heart, my life.

I do envy -- her travel, her collection of wonderful art, her sureness that she is always right. But I have traveled (Russia, Austria, England, Australia, Guatemala) and plan to travel more. In my travels I have collected, not wonderful art but wonderful experiences; I have meet wonderful people; I have wonderful memories. I am not sure that I am always right; but I am sure that I always try to do the right thing. There really is nothing there to envy.

I did feel jealousy -- for the time you spent with her that could have been (better?) spent with me. It is hard to spend a night together and then rush through a cursory breakfast because you are going to have frittata (among other things) with her. But when you are with C. or V. or B. or M. or A. or any of a number of others, I know you are happy and enjoying them and yourself; I do not feel jealousy.

My therapist and I agree that my self-esteem is not low. I have a good sense of my abilities and capabilities. My self-esteem is, however, fragile.  That is why I need a little bolstering every once in a while -- a reminder of my abilities and capabilities and place in your heart and your life.

Every experience is a learning experience. This one has been AFGE -- another fucking growth experience.
 I've learned a lot.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What do rabbits have to do with eggs and what do both have to do with Easter?


Way back in neolithic times, imagine seeing a "rock" start to wobble and crack and a feathered creature come out of it. Miracle, right? Yep, totally.

Even after observing eggs coming out of Mama Birds, and after discovering that newly emerged eggs were mostly liquid inside and tasted good, there was still a bit of mystical, magical, miracle about them. Eggs came to be symbols of rebirth, of new birth, and were taken up as symbols of the Spring Equinox and Spring Festivals.

Fertility rituals were performed around the time of spring planting to ensure a good crop, and during the spring mating season of prey animals for the same reason. Rabbits, even then, were notable for their fecundity and they also became symbols of the season.

Along came the Christians, trying hard to gain a foothold with the common people, the country people, the "pagans". "Our religion is just like yours. See how we use the same symbols?" The problem with borrowing someone's symbols without also borrowing their underlying religious significance is that mix-ups can occur. And so we have the Easter Bunny hopping around and bringing eggs to good children.

Don't get me started on Christmas or Halloween!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Making and Breaking

Some things I make are more easily un-made, or broken, than others. I think it may be a question of how much pre-planning goes into the thing.

Quilts, I plan and draft and redraft and fiddle and rearrange, long before I even touch [or buy!] a piece of fabric. My quilts are rarely broken once made. Even then, they are often only rearranged and reassembled, not re-purposed.

Pottery, I am still so new to the process that often it is difficult to achieve fully how I want the finished pot to look. My hands don't yet have the skill to produce what my mind has conceived. Sometimes my pots are broken, inadvertently or on purpose, at any stage. Broken unfired pots are crushed to become reclaimed clay and get to start over; broken bisque fired pots facilitate drainage in my flower pots; broken glazed pots become mosaic tiles for stepping stones.

Friendships, relationships, are not objects; not so easily made, but sometimes too easily broken. How much planning and preparation goes into making a friendship? Words, written and spoken, can help; but thinking and reflecting and planning are usually not part of the process. We jump into friendships, relationships, and think, "I've been making friends since kindergarten. This is easy." It is so easy to make, so hard to maintain, so easily broken.

Where do the broken friendships, relationships go?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Four years ...

Four years behind us;
Forty years ahead of us.
(But who's counting, eh?)

Happy anniversary to my Love, my Partner, my Soul Mate.

You make my heart sing, you make my spirit soar, you make my soul happy.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tell me; Don't tell me

Tell me what I need to hear.
Don't tell me what you think
I want to hear.

Tell me what I want to hear.
Don't tell me what you think
I need to hear.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Decompression

Decompression
Compression
Depression
Expression

This time was not as difficult as the return from Black Rock City; but some of the same mechanisms work to make it happen.

Friends, food, hot water, cool wine:
  • Dinner with Kate and meeting her new friend; 
  • basmati rice under *anything* but especially the chicken and cranberry sauce; 
  • hot tub shared four ways last night and two ways this morning;
  • 'nuff said?
Some of my best thinking and creativity happen between the white lines, particularly on I-5 through the Central Valley, particularly on the return trip.

I have a "maybe" solution to the couch pillow problem at the Palm Springs house; ideas for some other sewing projects; plans to slab-build a set of coffee mugs for the desert house; and that was only this trip. Who could forget the board game we invented, a sort of spin-the-bottle meets strip poker meets Truth or Dare? And the metamorphosis of Silicon Valley Computer Support Services into S.V. Couples Sexual Services?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day Last

Thoughts and observations on my way back to the default world--

It really is the Very Best Way Ever to wake up.

I get teary-eyed every time we start to drive away from the desert because it *could* be the last time.

The sky along I-5 today looks like an aquatint or a watercolor wash painting.

The older semi rig drivers are the best to draft behind because they know how to keep a constant speed for miles and miles and miles.

The Pleasant Land of Counterpane (go look it up) lies on the west side of I-5 between Lost Hils and Avenal. Really. After you look it up, drive there and see :-)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quote of the day

"I was so royally fucked that now I am wearing a tiara!" Stolen, blatantly, from MTW

On the Fifth Day we rested

Formula for a lovely day --

Start by sleeping in, past 8AM if you can manage that, until 8:45 is even better. Then, when you DO wake up, let it be by the sweetest, hottest, most loving manner you and your partner can dream up. [I'll leave the exact details to you ;-) ]

Stretch, shower, and enjoy a leisurely breakfast: fried eggs and Canadian bacon on English Muffins. Don't spare the Cajun Sunshine hot sauce either.

Make only one trip to the hardware store for the parts to fix the gate; instead of the usual three trips. Clean, vacuum, straighten, rearrange the RV. Finish those chores at exactly the same time and celebrate with fish 'n' chips lunch at Fishermans Market Grill (http://www.fishermans.com/palmsprings.php). Be sure to get an outside table and people watch while gorging on perfectly fried cod and chips with malt vinegar.

Home after lunch, one (me) weed side yard and pick up detritus from backyard and the other (he) vacuum through the house. Yawn. Both go take a nap

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 4.5

Driving back from Phoenix got a little bit dicey the closer we got to Quartzsite. The wind kicked up and gusted enough so Michael could no longer draft the semis. By the time I took the wheel in Quartzsite, it was "blowing like snot" -- I think that is a Canadian idiom -- and the sideways barn door we call an RV was rather hard to keep between the white lines. I white-knuckled it for an hour, then Michael took over just before the gusts doubled and the rain began.

Snug, warm and dry in our nest in Windy Cove (that really is the name of this canyon!), we are sipping a lovely Malbec and listening to rain drip off the eaves. Soon the pulled pork will be hot and ready to pile on tortillas.

Let tomorrow take care of itself.

Day Four

Wonderful lecture today on Chaco Canyon and on Southwestern Indian Jewelry, past and present. It was especially interesting to see how young, modern artists interpret the traditional motifs. The best talk was RV Boot Camp though. We came away with a lot of very practical tips.

But now we are headed West again, toward home-in-the-desert.


To be continued ...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day Three, part deux

The bad news: Martina McBride's sound system wasn't up to the venue.

The good news: we are spending some quality time together, in Moon Dance, with a glass (or three) of wine and Chris Smither on the box.

"Passion is feeling in motion, Compassion is standing still. This isn't just a vocation. Hearing is letting it happen, but to listen's a work of will. Beware of cheap imitations."

"I'm not a passenger; I am the ride."

Day Three

Today started with a lecture about Navaho and Hopi art and culture and continued through one about switching over to LED lighting (I plan to, gradually). Next we stood for nearly two hours waiting for Michael's name to be drawn for one of several fabulous prizes. No such luck. We do have our names in for several minor drawings, like the one for a solar powered lantern, and other camping esoterica.

Now we are about to leave for tonight's show -- Martina McBride. [Mark, if you are reading this, eat your heart out :-) ]

The best part? A week camping with my soul mate, lover and best friend. Can't beat that, no way!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day Two of the Road Trip

Of the 3.5 hour drive to Phoenix, Michael drove the first 2.5 hours and the last 1.0 hour; I drove the middle 1.5 hour stretch. A pattern emerges, eh? Thanks to the lovely C. R. England trucks he drafted though, we actually averaged over 10.5 mpg!

Disappointing wild flower show for most of the way. After seeing an amazing poppy covered hillside at the north end of the Grapevine on Thursday, I had hoped for a better display. There were Arizona Lupine, numerous Brittle Bush and lovely red firecrackers on the tops of ocotillo; palo verdes were busting out and there was a good roadside display of Mallow.

This rally is HUGE. There are 65 seater trams (10 or more) circulating constantly to bring people from the camping areas to the rally venue. We arrived too late today for "How to camp for free at vineyards and farms" but did get to hear a lecture on Zuni jewelry. The entertainment tonight was Bill Cosby who had us both, and everyone else, in tears from laughing so much.

Our campsite is adequate, no neighbors on the "front" side at all, electric hook-up but not water. Our fresh water tank, filled in San Jose, will suffice.

Good night :-)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Road to Phoenix

Despite an unauspicious start -- removing the tyvek cover in freezing rain (Los Gatos has its own micro-climate. Who knew?) and finding that the driver side wiper wouldn't wipe -- things did get better. Chris, my favorite (OK, only) RV mechanic found the loose bolt, tightened it, and the wiper now wipes again!

First leg of the trip was the 6.5 hour drive to Palm Springs. I drove the first 1.5 hours, Michael drove the next 2.5 hours; we switched again at lunch and I drove the next 1.5 hours. Michael drove the final 2.5 hours. Yes, do the math :-)

Moon Dance has now been checked out, propane on, auxiliary battery on, drains and toilet flushed and primed, refrigerator starting to cool down.

Early dinner at JJ's -- Mexican restaurant run by a man from El Salvador and his Guatemalan wife who does all the cooking -- our favorite place to eat in Palm Springs. Then early to bed, I think. We have another 3 hours to drive tomorrow to get to the rally. Any bets how long the drive will really take? There's a seminar at 1 PM I really want to attend ...

stay tuned ...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

exercises, part deux

I had a nice talk with my wonderful therapist today. Her advice? Keep exercising the muscle and it gets stronger. The ideal place to be on the spectrum between Numb Nuts and total abnegation is "healthy narcissism" and that's where I should be.

Along with validation from my soul mate, I need to practice self-validation; learn and practice self-soothing; practice self-reliance.

What is the worst that can happen if I state my need for something to be? How will I deal with that worst thing? Once I have that down, just keep practicing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Exercises


Goddess Silver, Goddess Bright, please take this wish from me tonight. Full to Dark, and ‘round again, please grant this wish for me ere then: Please help me to become, to be and to remain strong and independent. As I will it, so mote it be.
Four times a week, I go to the gym for cardio exercises; twice a week for strength training. With the help of my trainer and encouragement from my soul mate, I have gained strength, agility, flexibility and feel younger than my years by far. I can keep up on a moderately challenging hike or bike ride. My body feels healthy and happy and just fine, thank you very much.

Nearly every day, I do a challenging crossword puzzle. At the moment I have eight simultaneous online Scrabble games in progress with my sister, brother-in-law, daughter and two grandsons. I can sometimes even beat the kids; and my sister only beats me by double my score instead of triple as she did once. My mind feels healthy and happy and just fine, thank you very much.

Once a week, I take a pottery class from a Master Teacher. Daily I design and execute quilts and pots, most of them pleasing to my eye, some even pleasing to the eyes of others. Sunrises, sunsets, bird-song, wind, sky, water and earth are part of my life every day. My soul feels health and happy and just fine, thank you very much.

But the spirit? Not so much. A while back, I was traded in for a newer model: not necessarily more fit, more mentally agile, but definitely a new, bright, shiny thing. I was blindsided, bereft, devastated. My ego, my self esteem are still vulnerable, weak and frighteningly fragile.  How does one exercise ego? How does one build up muscles in self esteem? How can feeling of self worth be made strong, agile, and flexible? Where does one go to find a coach or trainer for these?

Those last four are not rhetorical questions. I really need to know. Can anyone out there give me some tips? pointers? help?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Young Love


I fell in love with words in elementary school, First Grade to be exact. Back in the day, when I started school, the kindergarten curriculum consisted of learning to tie one's shoes and share one's toys, to not eat library paste or run with scissors, and to color inside the lines. We did become familiar with letters but not really in conjunction with words.

In First Grade we learned that letters all have their own sounds; except for the greedy ones that have two and shy little C who has none of her own and just borrows from her two friend S and K. But I digress.

I had a large vocabulary of spoken words already, due to all the teachers and librarians in my family. My habit was always to read ahead of the teacher. In our Spelling text book, the directions said that after each test we were to write all missed words in our naughty book. Teacher got to that part and I learned the rule that turned naughty book into notebook. 

By Seventh grade I had been exposed to poetry and learned that words could sing, even without music ... they could make their own music.

In high school I grew to love the primitive beginnings of words -- Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote, The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote ….. Wherefore art thou Romeo …  a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. 

Always though, I tried to learn the meanings of words and especially dear to me are the ones with many, sometimes unrelated, meanings.

For example, “Mark” means
  • ·         A curse: the mark of Cain
  • ·         A unit of currency in Germany, Poland, Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Estonia.
  • ·         A name [and the name of a person who is extremely dear to me.]
  • ·         A customer that spends a lot of money trying to win a game. [This term was coined because carnies would alert each other to the big spender by marking him some way (usually by patting them on the shoulder with powdered chalk in hand).]
  • ·         A term for the border territories of a country.
  • ·         A clean catch from a kick by another player that results in a free kick in Rugby.
  • ·         A spot or stain.
  • ·         A dupe or  a victim selected for a theft or a swindle
  • ·         A symbol signifying the maker of original art.
  • ·         A student’s grade on a particular piece of work.
  • ·         A badge
  • ·         A visible impression
  • ·         An influence
So many different meanings for such a little word, eh?