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Friday, February 20, 2015

The NEW Long Winter

Let me explain the title of today's blog.
I spent 15 years on a dairy farm in Maine. To say that there were many cold days on the farm would be a major understatement. There were many cold days that translated into frozen pipes that broke and needed repairing and there was also the neighbor's airstrip that was lined up so that when the north wind blew down that runway, it ended up pushing the smoke back down the chimney in our primarily heated-by-wood house. To say that life on the farm was insane and that it was very much the stuff of fiction would be absolutely true. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes just dealing with everyday crises makes one not look at the big picture. The big crazy, totally insane picture.
This Winter has been a little bit like that. If my kindle hadn't been stolen the beginning of December, I'd be reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter off of it. This is something that I would  read nearly every year at the farm, very much a tradition, reading it to the kids, to remind us that other people had it worse once. I've since continued that tradition by myself all these years, just to remember. The winters that I lived in the midwest, I finally understood the scene where the children are leaving the schoolhouse and trying to find their way home in a blizzard. The only thing that saves them from wandering out to their deaths on the prairie was that someone serendipitously opened a door in town and the light shown out from it, guiding them in the right direction. I remember taking Mags out to pee in Berne, hanging onto the porch railings so I wouldn't get lost in the yard. The across the street neighbor opened their front door, and I suddenly understood that scene as never before.. Wandering around in the snow in the midwest isn't really all that bright an idea, even in town. I was glad I'd hung on to the porch and kept Mags leashed. Too much flat land there for snow to blow across, and swallow one forever.
I think, of necessity, I have evolved. and finally found the adult version of The Long Winter, in Bill Roorbach's  The Remedy for Love.
Please don't misunderstand me- this is not for kids and isn't written in Little House on the Prairie style. The language is comfortably adult and real for this person who speaks sailor fluently, and though it might seem like a strange situation, maybe too fictional for some, to me it rang as true and as pure as the driven snow.
Shit happens in the winters up here.
It's billed as a romantic thriller Don't let that fool you. True Lies this ain't. 
It is as thrilling as romance gets, however, with a constantly intense interchange between the hero and heroine of the story, both abandoned by love, and trying to stay alive during the "Storm of the Century". This is about as up close and personal between two lonely people as it gets.
Adding to the thrill of this book for me was attempting to piece together who the characters might have been in real life as inspiration, having spent 18+ years off and on in the area from whence Mr Roorbach writes. Which small town lawyer was his inspiration? Who was the tow truck driver?- that sort of thing, and knowing the check out line at Hannaford personally made it very easy to imagine this piece of fiction as very real.
Thoreau has a role in this romance  Just as I wished that I had read The Maine Woods before I was lying in bed in my newly rented cabin in 1974 being eaten alive by midges and no see'ums and black flies- he did write about them!- his bit about Love is words to pay attention to also. Learning that Thoreau was not particularly successful in that part of his life is something of a comfort to me, that feeling  of "loser" branded on the forehead, something shared with a great literary figure.
How the hell is this going to end? took over about 2/3 of the way through, an interesting mix of really enjoying what was going on, but not comprehending where it could possibly go.This might be where I should confess that obtaining a copy of the book was the perfect excuse to just say F)(K IT to a whole day and stay in bed under the electric blanket to read it. A mental health day, if you will, after what has truly been the longest winter of my entire life. 

I was not dissatisfied. 
A very good read, so much better than my review. Pick up a copy before it snows again.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Getting a Handle On It

Rome wasn't built in a day.....
Tobin's Goodwill $2.00 find marked half off to $1.00 for the mail- no excuse to lose it now, with an impossible-to-not-notice container hung right by the door.....

                               Tea-Rex, guarding both herbal and caffeinated Green Gold.
So many touch ups and pieces of finishing to do! Marie Kondo is right about touching every object in THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP. Having a personal relationship with one's stuff  isn't possible until one knows what is actually there. Amusing and freeing and majorly WTF!-ing! to empty drawers and handle each and every piece.
A long ways to go yet, but a good start towards having a more intentional life . And yes! I DO see where the touch ups are needed!

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Second Day

There's no use crying over spilt.....paint! Except when it spills on a brand new pair of Christmas boots. My daughter, the doctor, was visiting for a few days, and strangely enough, she has a painting addiction as big as my crochet addiction, so she came armed with paints and brushes and shelving to heartily begin a much needed kitchen redo here in Phippsburg. The primary color being cobalt blue, we found ourselves in Home Depot on New Year's Day looking for accent paint. There's nothing quite like the sound of a newly filled paint can going BLOOP! on the floor. We were surrounded almost immediately by Home Depot fencing, which I didn't get pictures of since I began to laugh so hard that finding the ladies room was immediately necessary. Tobin's boots were saved, I didn't pee my pants, and we managed to get the shelving, etc we needed.
There's still quite a ways to go, but cobalt and orange is such an energy rush! Will take more photos as things progress, but now, with nearly everyone gone, the house quiet,so- it's naptime!

Mika has only ONE blue ear- so far!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Past, Present, Future- Today's Reading

Sometimes, it seems necessary to get a point of view from something other than my own brain. My Coica Proxie read tea leaves; I occasionally throw tarot cards. There is admittedly no talent on my part in doing so, as the website I found online under Tarot Card Meanings did the work.

1st card- the past

The Fool

The Fool
Without the notion of Zero, our system of mathematics becomes meaningless. Similarly, the Fool is an essential part of the Tarot because he is the spark that sets everything else into motion, the divine breath that gives life and inspires the first step towards fulfillment and completion. Though the first step down a long path may often seem small in comparison to the journey, that first step is vital because without it there would be no journey at all! The Fool is the cause behind all effects, the power behind all manifestations and the seeds of the end sown in every beginning.
The Fool is unmoulded potential, pure and innocent, neither positive nor negative yet containing the possibility of both. He is the unconditioned soul about to come into manifestation for the first time to start learning the lessons of the world. Though everyone calls him a Fool, he does not pay them any attention, and he simply goes on his way. Certainly what they say can be justified, since his ignorance of the world can lead him to do things that more experienced people would never imagine. But in these things he can find knowledge and enlightenment. He does not care what others think or say about him, because he knows that what he is doing is right for him.
His approach to life is a strange, unconventional one, because he does what is comfortable to him. This is a viewpoint not often supported in our modern world, in which "do as I say" is the commandment most followed. To those who have lived their life under this philosophy, the approach of the Fool may be extravagant, shocking, even frightening. But this approach is all that the Fool knows, and because the only approval he requires is his own, he will continue to live this way, despite what all others think of him. He has total faith in himself. Perhaps he is not such a fool after all.
The Fool does not hide himself from the light, because he is the light - the wonderful light that shines out of every child before they see the world and are forced to build so many walls and barriers to protect themselves. The innocence of a child, sadly, is something rarely found outside of children, even though a lot of people could use it these days. With this innocence comes perfect trust, fearlessness in others, and total self-reliance. It allows you to see the world with new eyes and learn new things every day of your life. Think of how much better the world would be if everybody acted this way! It's a shame that only children, and the Fool, see this light.
The Fool almost always stands for new beginnings, new experiences and new choices; the first steps along a new path and the first words written onto a blank page. Like the Aces of the Minor Arcana, such beginnings are like the Fool himself - neither positive nor negative, but with the potential to turn into either, depending on the choices you make and the path you follow. But this must not be your concern, because when a journey begins no one can know (or should know) what will happen on the way to the destination. Never let another person control your life. Live in the present and trust in your own abilities - this is the way of the Fool.
Such journeys always imply a degree of risk, and hence the Fool is pictured walking toward the edge of a high cliff. With any new experience there is always the risk of failure and the certainty of change; it is the degree of change, and how that change will appear, that are undeterminable. But the Fool has no qualms about taking chances, so why should you? It is through the first steps that we learn how to walk, and it is through changes that we learn how to live our lives in harmony and peace. So jump head first into the abyss of the unknown, and know that even if you eventually fall to the ground, for a while you will soar.

This page was made by James Rioux (The Black Shadow),
Copyright 2000 James Rioux

Second Card-The Present

Two of Cups

Two of CupsBy its image, the Two of Cups almost always suggests a relationship between two people. Indeed, this is the primary meaning of the card and the one that appears most often in readings. But the love described by this card is not always love for another person. Before we can truly love another we must learn to love ourselves, to love and accept all of the different (and often conflicting) facets of the gemstone that makes up our personality. Like the Temperance card, this is a card of harmonious union, not just of two people, but of two parts of the same person.
That said, it remains obvious that a lot of the time the Two of Cups speaks of external relationships. This is often seen as the card of the soulmate, that person with whom we share a special connection and whom we can love unconditionally. The synergy of a person with his or her soulmate is like the meeting of two stars which, though bright when separate, shine even more brightly when together. From a distance they may even appear to be a single entitiy. Such harmonious combinations, whether they are between two people, groups or ideas, are a staple of the Two of Cups.
It must be said, however, that this card does have its drawbacks. The energy of the Two of Cups is slightly more diluted than the Lovers card, and not simply because of the Major/Minor Arcana power drop. Whereas the Lovers is the reunion of two complete beings, the Two of Cups is a more immature union that, stable as it may seem, does have the potential to fall apart. This is an ideal union, but as you know, there are few ideal cases in our real world! It is ambiguous whether the relationship shown by the Two of Cups can stand the test of time. Only the two people involved can decide that.
One factor in deciding the stability of a relationship is the stability of the people involved. As mentioned earlier, a high self-love will lead to a greater and more comprehensive love of others. So when this card does not appear to signal a relationship, see it as a sign that you have some work to do within yourself. If you can see the light within yourself then you cannot help showing it to others. By releasing doubt and uncertainty we become able to love others without hesitation and without regret. When you stop telling yourself what you could be, you can start enjoying what you already are. And you can let others enjoy that too.

This page was made by James Rioux (The Black Shadow),
Copyright 2000 James Rioux.

Third Card- The Future

Ace of Wands

Ace of WandsThe Ace of Wands is the initial burst of creativity and outpouring of energy that energizes a project and inspires people to greatness. This is the spark that starts the fire, and though it cannot tell us whether the fire will burn brightly or fizzle out, its power remains. The symbology of the castle and the river on the Rider-Waite variants tells you that the Ace of Wands is like a torch that can guide you to success. However, you must be willing to carry the torch with you as you travel along that winding stream to happiness. The Ace cannot tell you where to go, but it can light your way so you can make the correct choices yourself.
The Ace of Wands is a good card to see when you are considering a new project that requires speed and boldness. Its appearance is a sign that now is the time to act to achieve the success you desire. You have the skill to start an adventure, and the potential to see it through to its conclusion, whatever that may be. In addition to adventures in the material world, the Ace of Wands can also refer to the start of a pregnancy or the birth of a child. Since the birth of children is the ultimate demonstration of creative power, it makes sense that this event is ruled by the Wands suit.
Wands are also the suit of health and vitality, and the Ace of Wands often brings with it a wave of fresh power and initiative. Old illnesses can just fall away under the light of this card, and the boost of power you get from that should be used immediately. If there is something you have been wanting to do, but were afraid, now is the time to feel the fear and do it anyway. You'll find it much easier to complete the things that you have to do and get to try some of the things you've been wanting to do. Enjoy every iota of the Ace of Wands' energy.
The one drawback to the Ace of Wands is that its force is very unpredictable, and it cannot really be controlled. Like the Fire element it rules, the Ace can sometimes be used to help us, but at other times it rages out of control. And this energy cannot be invoked magically; either you have it or you don't. But those who do have it live life like no other, because they have enough confidence and fiery energy to see them through any battle. Whenever the Ace of Wands appears for you, seize the opportunity and use its energy to your highest benefit. You can achieve whatever your Will desires.

This page was made by James Rioux (The Black Shadow),
Copyright 2000 James Rioux

I'm honestly not sure if  I am more of a skeptic than a believer, but it's Christmas, here anyway (my son's friend in the Ukraine celebrates on January 7) and something besides WORK seems appropriate, for a few minutes at least.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Perfect llustration

for a poem that is lost.
I looked through all the files,
but it was too long ago,
even the printed page is hidden in the mess of today.
The key words were heron's nest and deer blood
and something about how the stream turned and was different from what was on the map now.

It's that time of year,
the herons are gone again, and there probably is,
once again,
some confused deer wandering through the woods,
not knowing what hit her.
But no matter, the picture is still nice, and though I regret those forgotten words,
Life, like any stream,
keeps moving,
giving me the opportunity
to create
(after all, words are a dime a dozen!)
a new one.

-mm 12/23/2014
Don Patty photo

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Love Henry Shaw

As previously disclosed, my kindle is gone. stolen. robbed. So, reading at night has me going back to .....dare I say it?.....BOOKS!
          Disobedience, by Jane Hamilton, has as its hero, a teenager by the name of Henry Shaw, who in the course of being his family's "computer expert",  finds, and becomes obsessed by, evidence of an affair his mother is having. Instead of the daily paper, Henry logs into his mother's account to read of the progress of her affair, and the gyrations he goes through emotionally are the stuff that the very best novels are made of. It's been several years since I read it the first time; this second reading reminds me just how much I love words, and the way they can describe a multitude of emotions. In spite of being in acute distress, Henry makes me laugh over and over again, making me love his character, trying so earnestly to navigate the choppy waters of Love, both his own and his mother's,  and observing his family's strengths and weaknesses as only a most perceptive, but confused teenager can do.
       A very good antidote to holiday/family stress!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


On December 8, my house was broken into and robbed
What was taken, in the 3 hours we were gone, was small, carryable stuff.
Both cameras, one with a case and batteries and charger,
my kindle, with all it's box and paperwork, the Toshiba laptop
My  freshwater pearl earrings and necklace. All of my jewelry was strewn on my dresser, but these were the only pieces missing. These were special, bought in Berne when I first started working there, a YOU'RE-AN-EDITOR-NOW gift to myself.
A drawerful of movies, a few small things my son had just purchased, still  in the shopping bags on his bureau, a silver teapot, two stashes of loose change, and....bleep! bleep! bleep! $500 in cash set aside in my kindle case after the last CGOA, a small attempt to keep myself emotionally out of The Abyss, that awful place that comes to visit old, single women with MS occasionally. You know, " well it's not that bad, there's still that money left in the kindle case....." They left me the case, but took the cash. and the kindle.
I've made copies of receipts, talked to the sheriff both on the day it happened and another two today, watching as they took photos of the crime scene, made lists and scanned them all, and now I must wait for the police report to begin the insurance process.
Am I feeling just a wee bit vulnerable and sorry for myself ? Oh yeah! Alternating with a red hot rage that is seriously beyond BAH! HUMBUG!