Rain, memories, and dreams

It’s been a tough winter.  Storm after icy storm has kept everyone at home, off balance, and getting cranky.  Or maybe I should just speak for myself.

Also, the illnesses.  My household has been sick most of January and into February.  Lots and lots of coughing.

My eternal resolution “This will be the year I lose the weight!!!!!” is once again stalled.  I try, instead, to embrace being fat…then get very annoyed at the tightness of my clothing and the discomfort of my body.  I hope that in my next life I get to be someone who is of average weight who can maintain that average weight easily.  I know cries of ‘not fair!!’ are meaningless, but honestly – I don’t overeat.  I’m moderately active.  I eat healthy food, very rarely junk.  And I have had problems with excess adipose tissue essentially my entire life to date.  And I imagine I’ll face that challenge even if I live to be 105.

The political zeitgeist is depressing me.  I like my job, and I really like my co-workers and supervisors – but I am dreaming more and more of being able to retire, and what I might do when I am able to do so.  Right now, buying a small RV and touring all the national parks of the U.S. and Canada sounds good.  But I also am weighing moving to the Olympic peninsula, and moving to Panama.

Last night, I dreamed wistful, strange dreams about past lovers, past friends, past communities.  Those things are gone now, gone in the river of time….and currently, nothing replaces them.  And I’m not certain what will.

This is a morose kind of post, I know.  And compared to others, I have few problems.  I have kind, loving people living with me, who’ve got my back, and I’ve got theirs.  I have a good job with decent pay, health insurance, transportation of all kinds, a good dog, an entertaining cat, and pretty good health.  I live in a solid old house in a beautiful area of the country.  My neighbors are courteous and decent people, even if my dreams of living in a close knit neighborhood have not and will not come to fruition here.  I’m smart, not yet old, and with a little luck, will be able to retire and play a bit before I exit….I just need to figure out what I want to do.  And how to fund it.



So, a lot of times, adulting gets a bad rap.  Cute pics of collapsed kittens on Facebook, with captions like “Too tired to adult” and “Adulting is hard”

Well, adulting IS hard.  After those halcyon years of somebody else going to work, paying the bills, picking up after the dog, and (if you were lucky) somebody else providing Maslow’s foundation for you, you get to adult.  For decades.  And the only end in sight for it is – well – the end.

Pretty dreary, right?  Mais non!  (that’s French for ‘I’m going to write more about this’).
Compared to being, essentially, minor chattel until at least the age of 18, the cards are all yours when you’ve graduated to adulting.  Like, ALL yours.  Sure, it can be burdensome sometimes (usually, for me, that moment comes like clockwork when the bill for our excellent but stupid-expensive municipal water comes).  But the water bill isn’t due to come until January sometime, so I thought I’d share a bit of the fun stuff about adulting as it occurs to me on this Christmas Eve morning, when I’ve had about 4 hours of sleep, 2/3’s of a pot of coffee, and a box (yes, an entire box) of mac and cheese for breakfast.

Ok, let’s start with the mac n cheese.  To be followed in no particular order by things as they occur to me.  Bear in mind, this is from the perspective of a middle-aged, child-free, homeowning, job-going, more-or-less-discreet-iconoclast who has the tremendous good fortune to live in the weird-capitol of the United States.  (Yes, that city in Texas said it first…but we’ve claimed it as our own, and rightfully so).  Your mileage may vary, based on your location and driving conditions.

  1.  If you want a box of mac n cheese for breakfast, by god, you can have one.  I did.  With lots of salt and pepper and cayenne.  OK, it was gluten-free.  And organic.  But hey – mac and cheese!  For breakfast!  (p.s. I just ate one of those gold foil Rocher things, too.  Still breakfast.  Ha.)
  2. You want to spend your entire paycheck on graham crackers or lottery tickets or blue suede shoes, you can.  I don’t recommend it, but hey – it’s your money.  You worked for it, it’s yours.
  3. You get to decide how to run your life – exercise, diet, social activities, hobbies, religion, what you read, when you read it, TV or not, pets or not…basically a world of possibilities…or not.  The ‘not’ part is important.
  4. You can vote and drink and have sexual relationships and sign contracts and apply for a passport and drive.  The perks of adulting are nothing to sneeze at, folks.
  5. Your personal style and hygiene are under your own control.  Yeah, it kinda sucks to pay for your own health insurance.  But – you get to decide.  Don’t want vaccinations?  Don’t get them!  Or say yes to some, and no to others – point being, that instead basically being hauled like property and having medical things done to you, you get to decide.  How awesome is that?  Pretty damned awesome, in my book.
  6. Freedom.  To leave a job, relationship, town, or even the country.  OK, I realize that it might not be financially possible or socially desirable to just pick up and leave – But. You. Can.
  7. You get to curate your own life.  You get to play with the world.  Decide you’re tired of an identity/life choice/decorating style/image/whatever?  Change it.  Try on something else.  Change your name, your gender, your job, your language, your belief system, your politics!  I won’t judge – I do it all the time.

I could go on and on.  But I’m sure you’ve caught my drift.

Besides, I am going to stop writing and start drinking hot jasmine tea out of an exquisite little pre-WWII japanese bowl.  It’s actually some kind of little soup bowl, I think….and why am I drinking green jasmine tea out of a soup bowl at 7am on a Saturday Christmas Eve morning after eating mac n cheese and froofy chocolates for breakfast?

That’s right, pal……I’m ADULTING.  😀


Requiem for a poet

What if there is no secret chord
No baffled king, no lyre, no Lord
And I do care for music but
It’s hard for me to hear the melodies
Through the bedlam and cacophony
Of a hundred battling cults and klaxons

What is this marble arch
And why is my flag on it
Drooping like a wilted flower
Over that sacred document to which
So many have sung and chanted and saged and bowed
Their praise, devotion, and admiring halleluias
What is it that you saw coming
I think I know, I think I see it

Oh Leonard I don’t blame you for leaving
The cracks are fracturing multiplying dividing
More rapidly than the outraged and overwrought can name them
But Leonard…they’re letting in darkness, not light
How could  you stay when the terrible forces would implode your heart
In an poet’s gasping struggle to paint the darkness with words
so we could know it for what it is

I don’t know if I can dance to the end of love
Can’t run with a lawless crowd and I
Can’t offer anything but contempt to the high-placed Pharisees
But I can do my best to hear the secret chord
To scale the marble arch in defense of the sacred page
And to pour light…and light…and more light through the soul-rending cracks until
There truly is nothing left but a perfect offering…song…and halleluias.

– Kingfisher Dec 23, 2016

The wee hours

Well, once again, I awoke after about four hours (maybe) of sleep.  I tried valiantly to get back to sleep…I did make the mistake of checking the time – 12:40a.m.  I really did work on it – I even did the ‘okay I’m not going to sleep so instead I’ll get into a restorative yoga position and do yoga nidra.”

Nope.  So, with a bit of an exasperated sigh, I finally got up about 2:20.  Yes….ante meridian.  Thing of it is, I’m not rested, it’s not like my body magically has decided that it only needs 4 hours of sleep.  I’m still tired.  And I really couldn’t tell you why I woke up.  Not particularly in pain….feel okay….didn’t have leg cramps or nightmares or even busy brain.  There are no city noises, the house is quiet.  The wind isn’t even blowing.

Eh, whatever.  Here I am.  The cat came up the stairs when I went to the kitchen to turn on the coffee.  He chirruped softly and sleepily, more curious than anything else, I think.  He sat and stared at the breakfast I offered, then dutifully ate it.  I do believe he’s gone back downstairs, probably to climb back into bed with Charm.

I also let the dog out of her crate.  She is well and truly a velcro dog, and even though she gave me a look like ‘you…alpha…are out of your mind….’  she came out of the crate.  She went out back, she did her business as dutifully as the cat ate his middle-of-the-night kibble.  Now she is flat on the carpet at my feet, breathing deeply, and sinking back into blessed dog sleep.

Let’s see….what to write about…

Things on my mind, in no particular order:

Odd sense of detachment from the political storm
Watering trees
December training in Sacramento
Getting a shower and when I can do it without waking the other humans
Why I torture myself looking at houses I can’t buy yet in a place I’ve never been to
Smudging a vagrant out of the house, and when to do it
Why I hold on to cross stitch projects that I never finish and have no use for even if I do finish them
How to become a sunday school teacher and a hospice midwife…without incurring debt…and without having to profess religion
How to navigate a possible job offer, and/or to negotiate
Christmas logistics
When to start working on the next (and hopefully final for awhile!) construction project
Connecting beyond the blue screen
Why people are so stupid in the States about dogs in public places
What to send to the Leather Archives, and when to send it
Medicinal herbs..what to grow, how to grow it, and what to do with it


Ah, my friend in BC is awake as well.  And I just saw the IM light of a friend in the Bay Area come on.  Why are we awake??

So, I cancelled my gym membership at work again.  I wasn’t going, for various reasons, and plus, with picking up my own medical/dental/vision in January, I’m going to be out about $250 a month.  Ouch.  The gym membership is only about $25 a month, but I’m going to have to do some budget monitoring and money flow work for awhile to see how things turn out with this new chunk disappearing every month, so ‘extras’ need to be trimmed for awhile.  I’ve discovered that I’m quite competent at grooming the dog myself, so I won’t need to spend money there.  It was convenient taking her to the dog wash, rather than trying to do it in the sink or tub, but it’s not totally necessary.  Fortunately, she’s not a very stinky dog.  Once every 2-3 months is probably fine, especially when I can keep her out of daycare.  When the package I bought runs out, I’m going to look at different options for daycare, rather than the facility I’m taking her to.  I don’t think she enjoys it that much (although surely it’s better than the crate!), and I’m wondering if a small daycare in someone’s home might work better.  I have one scoped out.  But I’ve still got quite a few days left in the package I bought, and since I’m using up leave this month and next month, I won’t need to put her in daycare for awhile.  Plenty of time to look at options.

I’m having an odd and interesting sense of detachment to the horror that is the political climate in the States right now.  After the crushing disappointment of Sanders stepping aside, and the revulsion I felt throughout the rest of the campaign season, and the disgust and alarm of the oncoming transition….I don’t know….maybe I am experiencing reaction exhaustion.  But I don’t really think so.  It’s more like…..it’s hard to describe.  I’m going to try.

Imagine an experienced veteran, well-equipped, with a leadership, medical, and recovery mission objective.  You’re on the ground in the middle of a disintegrating situation.  You know it has to play itself out, and you need to wait patiently, steadfastly, and provide assistance whenever possible, while still walking through the chaos towards the light.

…….that’s not a great description.  I’m going to let that one rest for awhile.  But I’m feeling it.  It’s an odd place to be.  Like pulling forward those many lives as soldier and priest…rolling in the current calling to be a healer…and distilling it into a calm that feels almost like a bubble.  I really don’t know what to make of it.  It’s a place of action, but it’s not like the action of get-in-there-and-do-battle.

*mildly baffled amusement*…..ok, yeah, I can work with this.  Just give me a good medic kit, a raven feather, a xylophone, and….opportunities that I can see in time to recognize before they swirl past in the river.

Maybe I should look at the paper.  Yes, it was there, at 2:30 in the morning, when I looked out.  Honestly, I think the Oregonian prints the ‘morning paper’ before suppertime the day before, waits until most of us go to bed, then the delivery folks race around shortly after midnight (technically ‘morning’, right?), toss the papers on the lawns, then they go home and go to bed too.

Anyway….today’s headlines….a polar bear died at the zoo, people aren’t buying some mini-condos, something about the Blazers (basketball, maybe?) and something about Trump. Meh.

I think I’ll read it anyway.  I was going to write more, but am just not feeling it.

Another new day and another new year

I woke up this morning of my birthday, and counted myself fortunate.

I woke up in a clean, soft, comfortable bed in my clean(ish), safe house

The furnace is running, and I’m fairly secure in knowing that I’ll be able to pay the bill for it

Hot water came out of the tap for me to wash my face with a clean white cloth while good quality coffee brewed in the pot in the kitchen

As I type this, two people sleep in their safe warm beds under my roof both of whom are kind, intelligent, gentle people who love me and whom I love

The cat greeted me asking for his (expensive, prescription) breakfast

This year, this birthday morning, I let my wonderful, perfect dog out of her crate, and kissed her sweet face

I smudged myself with a brand new white sage smudge stick

Aches and pains and my chronic battle with extra adipose tissue aside,  I am healthy and strong

Last night I went to the grocery store and essentially bought exactly what I wanted for dinner – it wasn’t extravagant, but it was fresh and wholesome (and delicious)

I ate dinner with a couple of glasses of a wine that I thought would go well (and it did)

Not too long ago, there was a pretty good sale if you bought 12 bottles of wine – so I did

I sat this morning, as I do every work morning, putting on ‘my face’ – under my natural light “happy lamp”, using good quality no animal testing cosmetics, organic jojoba oil, and rose water from the ayurvedic clinic in a trendy neighborhood by the river

Today I’m going to a stable job that I like, with people who are kind to me

A work friend is taking me out to lunch for my birthday

My family is taking me out to dinner (unless I decide I want to eat at home)

I have annual leave, sick leave, health insurance

I have reliable, abundant private transportation, and I live in a city with excellent public transportation should I need it

This morning (as on some other mornings) I didn’t care for the look of the first outfit I put on…so I chose from the assortment of fresh, clean clothing in my closet until I was satisfied

I’ll eat eggs from a friend’s backyard chickens for breakfast, with some uncured bacon and organic fruit

This morning, my mother will receive flowers for my birthday – because she’s still with us, and because I want to – ordered from four States away with my excellent credit

In my hair, I wear a jeweled pin which I bought for myself for my birthday…because I saw it and wanted it as my gift to myself

I am not wealthy, but am steadily working on being able to retire with options

And I have options.  I have a passport, I have some education, I am facile with languages, I am not afraid of new places and new cultures

In addition to my loving family of choice, I have a few good friends whom I believe would help me if I called for help

Although the political and economic climate is dire and frightening, I am fairly safe,  and reasonably secure if I am careful about when to keep my mouth shut and when to open it

The visions I am developing for my future are within my grasp – not guaranteed, but I stand a good chance of achieving them once I zero in on a set of targets

On the dawn of my 56th year, looking backwards, within and without, and forwards, I consider myself to be blessed and very, very fortunate.  My life is not a rose garden, but I have been blessed with good health, love, support, education, good nutrition, medical care, dental care, and opportunities.

I am grateful for my parents who did the best they could with what they knew, for my family of choice who are my cherished companions in life, for the fur people who have joined my path, for friends and friends yet to come.

As I weigh options and develop vision for the next phase of life, I send thanks out to the Universe for the gifts I have been given, and express my appreciation for the right here right now extravagance and abundance of my life.  As I move fully into my cronehood and take one more step towards the approaching horizon, it is becoming clearer to me that, as is appropriate, the focus of the coming years will be spirit and healing.  I’ve carried these gifts with me, partially unwrapping and peeking at them, taking them out and trying them…then folding the wrapping back over them and putting them back in my bag.  The time to take these gifts out and use them as the life tools they are meant to be is rapidly approaching.  In fact, it may already be here.  I’ve moved them to the top of the bag….and am actively looking for the doors to appear as I walk.  I have every confidence that they will appear, and I am equally confident that I will have the wisdom to choose wisely.  Not every offer and door that opens is a door to walk through – discernment is a distillation of experience, a rare and ethereal spirit.  One sip at a crossroads will help illuminate the path and the choice, if one remembers to pause and open the flask.

Happy birthday, me…and happy birthday, world.  Every day that we open our eyes is a Birth Day.




Not so brave new/old world

The last week has been difficult.  A week ago today, I retrieved the paper from the dark, rainy pre-dawn front walk, carried it into the house, and laughed in bitter amusement to see the front page – black bordered, orange-colored President elect, with a single word – TRUMP below his photo.  I really don’t know why I reacted that way, but I did.

I teleworked that day, so was pretty much in my little work bubble in my little house behind my chain link fence.  But I have heard from others that their offices, classes, buses, and shops were subdued and oddly flat.  Then the demonstrations started in my city, turning into  rioting.  Increased reports of hate speech and hate actions and hate graffiti started almost immediately post-election.  Canada’s ‘how to emigrate to Canada’ server crashed election night from too many people trying to access information.

I looked months ago, hopeful immigrants…Canada has very strict immigration standards, which most of us (including me) cannot meet.  Personally, I am too old, and I don’t have any of the special skill sets that they might be looking for.  I’m also too young to retire, am certainly not independently wealthy, my immediate family and a lot of my resources are tied up here in the States, at least for awhile.  If I were completely free to go (retired, mobile, good income stream) would I leave?  I might.  But I was considering that, anyway….retiring in the States is very expensive.

And…..I cannot abandon the innocent to the bullies.  Those who are already bullies by nature and inclination have seized the  fringe of this political climate, and are going to run with it.  Those who are weak and might be bullies by association will tag along….a blank check to feel powerful and important – something would-be bullies cannot resist.

The only way to stop bullies is to absolutely refuse to back down, whether they be bullies on the playgrounds, or in the highest offices in the land.  I am also familiar with history and social psychology – and I know that one of the easiest ways to mobilize and use a weakened, poorly educated, malnourished group of people is to focus their frustration and rage on the “Other”.  There are lots of “Others” to be caught in the crosshairs of our frustrated nation.

A friend whom I respect very much wrote a powerful blog piece about growing up as a young Jewish girl in rural America, and some of her thoughts around that, and the current political climate.  She spoke powerfully of how she could ‘pass’….as long as she didn’t say anything about her heritage (I am paraphrasing).  How just walking down the street, she probably wouldn’t be a target (except, of course, she is a woman).

I have thought a lot about these things for years, and I thought I’d maybe talk a little bit about it today.

Imagine you have volunteered for a college experiment.  You are seated in a large room in a comfortable chair at a table.  You have been given no instructions.  I come in, dressed in my usual work garb,  greet you pleasantly, offer you a glass of water from a side table, and tell you that ‘an intern’ will be in shortly to give you instructions. Then I leave, closing the door behind me.

A few moments later, ‘the intern’ comes in. He gives you your instructions.  They are to take the piece of paper and the pen, and to write a couple of paragraphs (a short story, if you will) about the woman who came in a few moments earlier.

Here are some qualities you would probably describe, based on my appearance, mannerisms, and the setting.  I base these assumptions on years of personal observation of what people assume about me.

White, Christian, mother/grandmother, married, conservative, and heterosexual. English is my first language, and might be my only language.  Because I left the instructing to the ‘intern’, I’m probably the researcher, or maybe a professor.  But I’m fat and greying…so maybe I’m just an associate, or maybe the lab manager.

Not a single one of those assumptions is true.(Well, except the fat and greying part!)  But here’s the thing – I can PASS.  Almost anywhere, so long as I keep my mouth shut and do not speak the truth of me.

I’m not entirely white, I’m not Christian.  I have no children or grandchildren.  Not only am I not married, I have two domestic partners, and am a member of a subculture.  I’m as queer as a 3 dollar bill, but that can also be problematic, because some queer people make assumptions about how I must be as a queer person.  My politics are resoundingly progressive.  English is not my first language, nor is it my only language.  And I’m not a college professor….my job is thoroughly pink collar (although, yes, I was raised upper middle class, and my speech patterns reflect that).

So.  In today’s political climate, what do I do with all that?  What do I do with it all, climate or no climate?  I know from experience that I’m generally accepted and liked in general society – until I let on that I’m “other”….whatever that “other” might be.  The most frequent ‘other’ is when I’m chatting along in ‘get to know you’ mode,and the inevitable comes up  – either ‘do you have any kids?’ or ‘so, what do you do for a living’.  With the children one, there is usually an audible disconnect – it’s like all of a sudden, there is nothing let to talk about, I may as well be from Mars.  With the work question, it’s usually a dismissal when I say that I’m an administrative assistant  – instant devaluation.  And I am extremely cautious about where, when, and with whom I share any of the alternative culture information.  I generally don’t, although I am selectively open with being Native American, that’s kind of fun, especially since people are always so surprised.

So here I sit.  Easy for me to hide -unless I tell someone any of these things, they’ll never know.  Not so easy for those who have visible differences, like a much darker skin tone, or religious/cultural clothing.

Since I have to stay here and swim in this morass that we’ve gotten ourselves into, how can I work my camoflage to my advantage? Well, I’m entering the stage of life when a woman essentially becomes invisible, that can be helpful.  I’ve railed against it in the past, but it’s not going to change and is only going to be more pronounced, so why not figure out how to use it to an advantage?  Nobody pays much attention to an old lady, so as long as I don’t become decrepit enough to attract the really low life predators, I can pretty much go where I want.  People also aren’t usually surprised when old ladies say challenging things (although they don’t always pay attention), so I can probably challenge crap as I feel I’m able, so long as I’m careful.

Another advantage is that people who presume that I am just ‘one of them’ have a pattern of speaking openly around and in front of me.  It puts me in a great position to either challenge it openly, gather the information for use later, or warn potential targets.  Additionally, I’ve found that speaking up against bullies and not-okay-isms can be powerful coming from someone who is either not of the bullied group, or not perceived to be a member of the bullied group.  In other words, sometimes the bullies pay more attention to someone ‘like them’ saying “Hey! That’s not okay! Leave her/him/them alone!” than to the target saying “Hey!  Leave me/us alone!”

So…..maybe I’m a silver lining person, but I’ve got to find a way to be…well, if not okay with the current shit storm, at least in some way at peace with it and myself enough to be functional and effective.  I’m wearing the controversial safety pin, and will continue to find ways to reach out to those who might be afraid.  I’m afraid, too, but I’m not going to abandon something as amazing and beautiful as the American Dream to the uglies.  And I”m not going to abandon the innocent to the thugs.  Even if Canada were banging on the door, yelling my name, I think I might have to stay and work to turn this great ship back towards the light.  At least for awhile.



Thinning Veil

It was supposed to be a little bit sunny today, and maybe it will be….but right now, the heavy sky is looming low and grey over the city, and although there is no rain, a chill breeze is shifting the remaining leaves on the trees like a contemplative predator.

There are a couple of ‘outside’ things on my list, which I am resistant to doing.  The remaining bulbs must be put in the front flower beds, and my patient dog really does deserve a walk.

But, as the DoubleClicks sing in ‘Cats and Netflix’:

“tis the season now of grey and brown/ of giving up and sitting down
and layering and wooly socks
I’m celebrating solitude and eating soup instead of food
and never walking more than seven blocks”

It really is the perfect Portland Oregon autumn anthem.  Check it out if you haven’t heard it.  I’m actually thinking of buying it and putting it as a ring tone on my phone.  Not that anyone ever calls me.  I guess I could put it as a text alert.

A spattering of rain just hit the dining room window.  That pretty much lets me off the hook for planting the bulbs – must plant them soon, really – but the dog deserves a walk.

With Charm having broken her arm, our carefully choreographed morning routine (she waits in the car while I run the dog around the block in the dark before we go to work at gawd-awful-o’dark-thirty) has been a little broken.  OK, a lot broken.  I’ve been commuting solo, and having to walk from the parking garage, and and and.  Plus, it’s been raining…and blowing…and I know that’s no excuse for penning a living creature up in the house and never letting her out to do more than pee in the pouring rain but Charm has been home and teleworking all day every day and that’s a good excuse right?

I’m not even convincing myself, here, so it wouldn’t surprise me if I haven’t convinced you.  In my defense, when I have taken her out for walks recently (which has been a couple of times, I swear!) they have been good, long, luscious walks with lots of different streets and smells and whatnot.

So, what else.

After an odd spell of exhaustion and emotional malaise which lasted most of October, I’m coming out on the other side of it, a bit mystified with its appearance, but not so mystified as really needing to go get therapized or something.  Not that therapy isn’t good – it’s really good.  Mostly what I’ve done is sit and stare at stuff, try (and kind of fail) to not spend money, eat things that are bad for me, or drink to excess (ok, I haven’t been drinking to excess).  Oh, also, I express my concerns, exhaustion, and weird emotions to Charm and Drummer, seeking explanations outside of myself.

Let’s see….what on earth could it be? How about the presidential election?  The Standing Rock protest?  Seasonal Affective Disorder?  Finite resources, and the constant push-me-pull-you of how to balance finances and energy and now/future?

I feel like I’m standing in a multi-dimensional doorway, with hallways stretching in all directions.  So many options, and so many of them negate the option of other options. Which is kind of hard on this Scorpio Sun/Libra Moon manifestor person.   And the hell of it is, I’ve been on approach to this junction, and standing in this doorway, for awhile now.  And I’m also finding that what I thought was the Big Life Thing (rip up roots!  Move to a completely unknown place!) is indeed a Big Life Thing….but it’s not the ‘3rd movie wrap up  in a trilogy’ thing.  Looks like there’s another movie coming.  I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that this life seems to be a mini-series, rather than a trilogy.  And it doesn’t surprise me, really…

One of the things I have noticed as I move more confidently into my cronehood is that I am doing more and more judicious curating of my time and energy.  I am checking things out as they present themselves and catch my eye, and as my carefully metered energy allows.

I think I’ll talk about this for a bit.

I’ve spent a lot of time (a LOT OF TIME) in my adult life trying to join stuff and belong.  Churches, clubs, movements, cultures, activities, coffee klatches, neighborhood associations…..you name it.  Sometimes I’ve managed to belong….often (so often) I am pleasantly received, but can never….quite….fit..in.

This reality of my current life has been painful for me.  As a human, it is natural to want to belong.  We are social primates, and the desire to ‘belong’ is hardwired into our DNA.  Yes, we can survive alone….but we will not thrive.

I definitely have that desire.  But the things that seem so easy for others (you know…the ones who, 2 weeks after starting a new job, are going to lunch with groups of work friends and standing in the hallways chatting)…that hasn’t come so easy for me.

Anyway….recently, I have noticed that I am curating my time more and more.  I have given lots of thought and introspection as to what is absolutely necessary – home, health, security, transportation, and family – and those things are fairly stable for me right now.  I have a finite amount of time and energy left to invest…and I am carefully and slowly exploring how to invest that.  Clearly, for me, the remaining necessities are self-development, and community/friends.  So, I’m responding, carefully, to opportunities for those things which cross the river in front of me. I meet people for coffee….I went to a local shamanic lodge…I’m going to check out a few palatable churches…I’m signed up for a couple of meet ups.

I’m also a lot more willing to walk away from things that don’t seem nourishing or responsive.  I’ve had more than a lifetime’s supply of people who are just amazingly lovey-dovey-so-glad-to-see you…but who don’t ever have the time to engage in actual friendship. Same with the ones who are plenty available…for me to meet with them and provide free therapy for an hour or so.  Nope.  Done with that. And the joy of it is that I no longer feel so strong a need to be externally validated that I put up with it!  I just walk away.  Keep ya as friends on Facebook?  Sure.  But I’m not investing any emotional energy – you’re just electrons that sometimes ‘like’ my posts.  Doesn’t mean you’re not a lovely person – chances are you’re delightful.  But not available, and I’m too old to chase people, and I have other things to do anyway.

Then there is another genre….the things/situations/options that I have to weigh carefully each time on the ‘What’s in it for me?’ scale. It’s taken me a loooooong time to become comfortable with that scale.   It sounds callous.  But it’s not.  It’s realistic.  For those of us who are healers and empaths and HSPs and especially for those of us who have been taught that putting others’ needs before our own is the right thing to do…well, using the WIIFM scale can feel very cold.  But in this early autumn of my life, I have found this tool to be not only useful….but essential.  I can no longer afford to squander my energy.  I have finally learned to fine tune my filter, and choose only that which will nourish and sustain me in fair exchange for me lending my love and energy to it.  Be that people, activities, causes, groups, or even ideas.

It’s been a hard lesson to learn.  I’ve flunked the quizzes, tests, and yes – the whole damned class – more times than I care to let on.  But I’m a stubborn student in more ways than one, and I have become a somewhat discerning buyer of the plethora of what this world has to offer.  I have a lot to offer, myself….and I refuse to chase the wind.  What is meant to be in my life will appear…and I will be present to taste and consider…and pick it up and carry it with me if it’s the right thing to do.

And so…the veil.  I went to a gathering yesterday (and I was embarrassingly late….to my credit, it really was billed as something a little different than what it actually was).  It was an interesting presentation by a spiritual group.  I don’t think it is entirely to my taste (and also far too spendy to really get heavily involved with), but one of the most interesting things that happened was some unseen spirit/being/critter jiggling my elbow persistently while I sat and listened to the second half of the presentation.  I mean, this critter was _persistent_.  I would move my arm…shift position….rub my elbow a bit….then a few moments later….*jiggle jiggle*    Of course, this was in the middle of the day, in a bright room, with about 12 other people…and some spirit is jiggling my elbow to get my attention.  Or maybe it was just playing with me.  I don’t know.  But it was funny!  I just wanted to say out loud “ok! ok! you have my attention!  What do you want??”…..but I think, given the setting, it would have been completely misconstrued, and I would have come across as a bit of a nut, which would have most likely embarrassed the friend who had invited me there.  But it was a fun story to share with the family over dinner.

One of things I noticed upon moving to the PNW is that my psychic net seemed to power down for quite awhile.  One of my first understandings of this was that it took awhile to recalibrate my sensors to compensate for the heavily saturated biomass here.   That made a lot of sense, especially as things  s…..l….o…w…l…y started coming back online.  But I have also noticed a markedly lower level of activity.  I know the stuff is out there….so what’s the deal?  My recent realization is that the human energy fields are just too dense here. The city is packed full of people, and even sitting on the porch during quiet times in the neighborhood..I can feel the people.  People in houses.  People in cars.  People stacked 10 floors high in buildings.  I have realized that I have pulled my sensory array in on a semi-permanent basis, habitually now, so as not to have it overwhelmed and potentially damaged.

I like Portland – a lot.  I thought it was going to be the place where I put down permanent roots. I have a good job, a nice house that I really like (and that I’ve invested a huge amount of resources in), my family, my dog, the cat…a few friendships that I am carefully nurturing…but I think the next phase (the 4th Phoenix) will be in a different place.   I need a very small city…or a medium-sized town.  Someplace where the energy isn’t so chaotic and crazed, and the noise – all kinds of noise – isn’t so dense and overwhelming.  Right now, that is looking like the Olympic peninsula.  Not anytime soon….I have much life to live here (God willing!) and a lot to explore.  My heart is open to the kaleidoscope of things manifesting.  I have the ability to extend and withdraw my psychic array, and it will be interesting to learn how to use it in this environment, now that I understand what is happening.  There is a smorgasbord of people, activities, causes, opportunities, and exploration here.  There are gems, jewels, and magic devices all freaking over the place here.  I understand that now.  I can curate that now.

And once the veil falls off….it’s very difficult to put it back on and peer through it, as through a glass dimly.

And why would I want to, anyway?

Turn, turn, turn..part II

There is a definite chill in the air this morning.  My eyes flew open a little after 4am – my internal body clock takes no account of weekends or holidays.

Last night’s fire in the fire pit was good.  We spoke of fruits gathered, I spoke of the Green Corn festival, we burned mesquite and papers from the box which has been living on the edge of the patio…old letters, cards, papers, souvenirs.  This was the dog’s first fire with us….she refused to curl up in the bed I brought out for her, no matter how many spots I moved it to.  She preferred, instead, to curl up under my chair, behind my chair, on either side of my chair, or, as the fire died down, right up against my ankle.

They say that we humans carry in our DNA the memories and experiences of our ancestors….I believe that is probably true for dogs as well.  The three humans sat around the flaming logs, tossing random things into the fire, poking at it with sticks, alternately talking and falling silent.  The dog took this all in stride, showing no fear of the fire, but rather a calm and healthy respect for it.  Her whole attitude was “….okay….human fire sit thing.  I know my place in this.”  I know little of her early history, but I suspect it didn’t involve much camping, firepitting, or throwing things into flames.  Her deep dog DNA simply gave her the information of her role… and she listened and obeyed with the single clear mindfulness of the canine species.

We humans could, can, and should learn a lot from these companions who have walked side by side with us from the shadows of the ancient past.

The rains of the past few days seem to have subsided, and today promises some sun, and a mild and steady warmth.  I have no regrets to leave behind the excessive heat of high summer.  I recognize its place in the grand wheel of things….but it does not appeal to me.  I hide from it, close up my house, seek artificially chilled places, grumble at the Sun.   I still love the Sun….but welcome the gentler mellowing of late summer into autumn.  In this season, I can relish and welcome the warmth of the light….while appreciating the cooler air, and the gathering chill of the evenings.

I was going to write more…..a laundry list of today, a discussion of Leather, more meditations on fruit and harvests and diets and health and relationships. I was going to speak the frustration of a middle-aged middle-tech wanna-write woman who can’t seem to figure out how to create separate sections on this page for different types of topics.  And yes….I looked it up in Help….it wasn’t helpful.  “read the directions” doesn’t always work if you’re trying to read directions about how to understand directions in a language you don’t really speak.  But I’m nothing if not stubborn, I’m smart, and I’m fairly good at languages.  I’m also not too bad at asking for help, once I can pinpoint who has the knowledge I need.

So far, most of my immediate knowledge sources have said….”Wordpress…..?….hm.   Dunno…”

Not helpful.  Will cast my net wider. 🙂

And it’s not an emergency.  Right now, I have yams in the oven…a dog at my feet…green chile tucked into the freezer…and a shower staged for the taking (as soon as the dishwasher cuts off.  I don’t want to compete for hot water, I know I’ll lose).



Turn turn turn

Quiet Sunday morning, blessedly cool.  I can feel the season turning.  I’m good with it….I love the deep warm of early autumn/late summer, with its cool nights.  Sleep deepens…thoughts turn to the woolies, sweaters, and boots in the storage boxes at the top of the closet.  Not…quite….time…..don’t jump the gun on the season.

Today will be all those errands and tasks I just didn’t do yesterday.  Yesterday, I made muffins and stared at the computer all day.  It left me in not a very good frame of mind….J tried to talk to me about it, and I didn’t know what to say, but have been ruminating on it.

Sitting all by myself doing computer things for hours on end is super duper not good for me.  It makes me feel depressed, aimless, empty, and vaguely irritable.  I get myself into a thinking rut about how I want to do things – but it costs money.  I want to go up to Calgary and visit a friend and see Banff, ride the train down to the Bay Area, go hiking in the high mountains, load up a travel van and go stand with the Standing Rock Sioux.  But then the arguments come back, in order – I’m supposed to be saving money for (yet another) major construction project on the house, I can’t be spending it on travel to another country.  So, okay, I take the train down to the Bay Area.  Then what?  I know people there, but they’re mostly ex’es and their new partners (or ex-toxic enough that I probably should just steer clear).  Hiking in the high mountains….with whom?  I don’t feel quite safe enough as a tubby, middle-aged, single woman with a sheltie to go heading off by myself into the wilderness.  And even if I did have the time, money, and travel van to go stand with the Sioux…would I even be welcome?  I am well aware of the attitude towards the Cherokee in NDN country.  Basically, we’re viewed as sold-out, completely assimilated, white wannabees. I’ve spent a lifetime already, defending my choices of identity, and being rejected by various groups based on whatever clashing label I bring into their values setting.  I’m tired of editing…..I would love to be able to bring my entire self to all settings. I sent money to the Sioux….right now, it’s the best I can do.  I believe in the stand they are taking.  I consider myself a part of Turtle Island.  But I also know that my external appearance would brand me as outsider.

And don’t even get me started on the romantic interests.  Teasing….just beyond my reach unless I go way beyond my comfort zone, spend a lot of money traveling, and then risk rejection anyway.

Oh, and the eternal, damnable weight struggle?  I don’t want to talk about it.  I know what I need to do.  I set the best of plans and intentions….do well for a little bit….then fall down again.

Activities and friends….I really don’t know what to say about that…..

Agh.  So, you see?  It’s like my psychic feelers reach outwards, tentatively…and then withdraw, either from being actually stomped…or in anticipation of being stomped.  Or I stomp them myself.

So, sweetpea….what are you gonna do about it?  Bitching and moaning isn’t really going to help.  Well, it might help a bit, in that it lets off a bit of steam.  But what you really need are some plans and some action items and steps – even baby steps.


I’m buying very conservatively.  I’m hunting for coupons and good deals.  Continuing a minimalist approach.  I picked up an application for a part time job.   I’m cutting down on travel expenses, curtailing travel.  Have two angles for a possible upgrade in position at my work, and am actively applying for other possibilities (locally) within my employer network.


I’ve earmarked a Women’s Safety course (free from the city!) and will apply as soon as registration opens
Looking into concealed carry and best options
Got the dog but she’s a bit of a chicken (lol)
Eyes open for meet up groups to hike
Have a potential hiking buddy who is compatible, maybe we can expand our range?


Continue attending various meet ups
Nurture the little seedling starts of friendships already present
Am casting the net wide – doing the “follow your interests, and meet people that way” – pity they all cost money!  Meet ups are often just a cover for people to run their businesses
I think one of the biggest challenges is that people in my demographic are, for the most part, very settled.  They have their friends and (often) their families, and while they are ‘friendly’…they don’t want or need any more friends, or are too busy to develop new friendships.  So maybe just going out into the world and doing whatever I find interesting truly is the way to go…and maybe actual friendships will develop..and maybe they won’t.  I need to find a way to be okay with that, and thrive.


Have established contact with the local chapter, and – surprise! – I think there is even a queer person already there and established!  Not sure on that, but maybe.  Not that it really matters, but if somebody is already there and doing okay, maybe I will too.  So I’ll probably go to the meetings a couple of times, see if there is something there for me.  Honest to God, the Tsalagi are the whitest NDNs on earth….and when I went to the annual meeting a few weeks ago, it was like sitting in a room with 200 people who look just like my uncles, aunts, and cousins. And sound like like them, too.

Also continue to work with the idea that my identity is my identity….and no one else gets to define that for me.  If they don’t like it, or are critical, or don’t welcome me based on whatever aspect of me they don’t like or agree with – well, I can always walk away….WITH my identity.  Although it’s lovely to be externally validated (it really is lovely…) it is not necessary.


Bah.  I probably should just walk away from that idea, too.  It’s a gawdawful amount of ridiculous work.  And the barriers! ohmigod.  Too old, too fat, too grey, too femme, too vanilla, too queer….oh! and there’s the spectrum factor.  I tend to be attracted to folks on the masculine end of the spectrum.  That includes cis-gendered males, FtMs, and old school butch women.  But each group tends to be wigged out by the possibility of me being attracted to the others!  And everybody is so damned skittish – including me.  It’s exhausting.  I really am ready to just say ‘fuck it’ and get on with my life.  They say that romance happens when you give up on it – kind of like getting naturally pregnant as soon as you give up on that. Not that I would know anything about that, everytime I’ve been in a pregnancy-possible relationship, I’ve been vigilant!! but I’ve heard plenty of anecdotal evidence.  So, maybe the romance thing should be like the friendship thing…just go out into the world and be who I am and do what I want.  Maybe romance will happen….maybe it won’t.  And I think I need to be okay with that, and get on down the road.

OK, what am I missing – oh yeah.  The weight thing.

I do try to walk as much as I can make myself do it
I rejoined the gym and am attending classes when I can make myself do it (I sense a theme, here…)
I need to do another Whole30, and STAY AWAY from grains and dairy all the time
Less alcohol.  I do love my wine….but I don’t sleep as well when I’ve had a couple of drinks, it is empty calories, and I make poor food choices (pizza! pasta! desserts!!!)

I am also stepping out and working on embracing some body image stuff – I’m going to go to a naturist family resort for the very first time next month – just for a day, but still!
Work on my wardrobe – buy clothes that I like which fit and flatter me
Get rid of stuff in my closet that doesn’t fit (that’s, like, 80% of my wardrobe…)
Continue to get body work (acupuncture, massage, floats)
Continue yoga, walking, body sculpt
Good self talk, good grooming
Resist coloring my hair

OK…..J is up.  I should get myself together and maybe get a shower.  Check the front yard.  Go grocery shopping.  Late this afternoon, I’m going to go over to the park and hang out for a couple of hours….have texted a couple of people (including J and E) to see if they’d like to stop by and visit and hang out.  I’ll take the card table, some comfy chairs, and some board games.  J is coming for sure….and of course I’ll take the dog. 🙂   If local folks who see this want to come by and enjoy the late summer warmth, IM me on FB, I’ll give you info.


Sleepless in Seatt – no, not quite. Portland.

After a lovely evening of baguettes, adult beverages, and chatting,  the crew of RainHaven hit the collective sack around 9pm.  (well, Eve opted out of the baguettes, bevs, and chatting. And not sure when she went to bed.  But whatever.)

Anyway…..so I was snoozing along, happily asleep, with the AC and the fan on full blast.  I tend to tank up on water before I go to bed, ergo….yeah.  About 1am, my bladder dutifully wakes me up.  OK.  This is routine.  I toddle to the bathroom…..go back to my room, get a big drink of water (yeah, I know..) and snuggle under the covers.

…….and. I’m. awake.


So I lay there for a few moments, hoping I’ll doze off.  No dice.  OK….next trick.  Look at the phone, maybe Facebook, maybe email, maybe play a bit of Mah Jong (I really really need to load a new game..).

Huh.  I have a voicemail.

Look at the call log.  It’s….my aunt?  At…..9:30pm last night??


My aunt is on an Alaskan cruise with my mother, one of my uncles, and another aunt.  They’re all in their 80s.

I’d better listen to that voicemail.  So I did.  It was my aunt, saying my mother needed to talk to me, and to please call.

OK……clearly, no one is dead or dying…I’m not going to call at 1:30am.  I’ll need to wait until….oh….8:30 or so Pacific time.   No need to…

Yeah….no need to stay awake.

So I tried to go back to sleep.  I drank water.  I snuggled.  I tried meditating.  I threw off the covers so I would get cold, and snuggling back into them would feel nest-y and sleep inducing. Nope.  Ok…..turn on the bed warmer so maybe the heat coming from below would relax my muscles into tricking my brain to fall back asleep (instead of endless and pointless speculation on way my mother needs to talk to me the day before they get off the boat).  Nope.  Alright….get the phone back out, and play MahJong until I get so bored I fall asleep.  Nope.  To add insult to injury, my tummy started growling.  Seriously, stomach – you want food at 2am?? “Yep. And I’m not going to let you sleep.  Feed me, Seymour.”

Fine. @#$%^! fine.  I got up.

Started the coffee, put in my contacts, fed the cat (seriously, cat? you want food at 2am?  “Yep.  Feed me, Seymour.”  OK, fine.

Opened all the windows, started the fans.  Went outside for the paper.

Yes, the paper had already come.  You know that image you have from, like, Leave It to Beaver?  Some freckle-faced kid (a boy, of course) on his little bicycle with the saddle bags, riding the residential streets in the early morning (ACTUAL morning, with sunlight and whatnot)?  He rides along, tossing the papers neatly onto walkways and driveways, perhaps cheerily greeting old Mr. Jones as he comes out in his bathrobe and slippers to get the paper?

Well, I don’t know if it works that way anywhere anymore (maybe in the flyover States?), but I think the paper here is probably delivered by somebody in an old station wagon (maybe an old Subaru…) sometime around 1am.  Maybe it’s a guy working swing shift at a Plaid Pantry (that’s a local convenience store, for the non-PNW’ers).  He gets off work at midnight, high tails it over to the Oregonian, snags his delivery bundles, and gets them delivered just as quick as he can, because the sooner he gets that done, the sooner he can get to bed, which means he can get the maximum amount of sleep before he has to get up at 6:30 to get showered, dressed, and get to his breakfast kitchen shift at Shari’s (that’s kind of a local Denny’s, for the non-PNW’ers).

Anyway.  That’s what I imagine.  I’ve never actually laid eyes on the regular paper deliverer.  When I’ve had occasion to call for a missed delivery, I’ve had a couple of guys come to the door  mid-morning to deliver the missing newspaper.  They are invariably haggard, rumpled, and pretty darned grouchy.  So maybe that’s them – held over from the night, tagged to deliver missing newspapers, and devoid of that precious few hours of sleep.

I feel ya, delivery guy.

Fortunately, my sleepless in Seatt – no, in Portland – night once again falls on a telework day.  Not sure what to make of that, but for what it’s worth, I’m fairly certain I’d have gone back to sleep after micturation (do I get a quarter for that word?) had I not seen the voicemail from my aunt.

After my initial assessment that, no, my mother had not expired on the cruise, well, then the tapes started running and the speculation began.

My guess is that they don’t want to stay here again (too small? too alternative? Am I too fat?  Too opinionated?  Are they freaked out?  Do they just not like us? ), and are making my mom take the fall.  Maybe they want to get a hotel “so they can each have their own room”.  Or maybe they want to drive a different way from Seattle (“because your uncle wants to see something in Idaho”).   Could be anything, really…but the only reason I can think of that my mother would need to talk to me *before* the boat docks tomorrow (Saturday), instead of just waiting until either they arrive Saturday here, or are at least on land in Seattle, is that they’ve had some change of plans, and my mother needs to tell me.

Being not at all secure in my ‘relationship’ with my bio family, that raises all kinds of tapes in my head, and I’m working on being okay with that.  Let the tapes run, although they’re not particularly useful.  Try to hear what is said when I do call back.

Fortunately, it’s not the end of the world if they don’t stay here.  It’s going to be over 100F today and probably tomorrow, and basically, our survival plan is to seal up the house and hunker down.  If they don’t come, we don’t have to relinquish the main floor bedrooms and don’t have to play shufflebed downstairs in the basement. Also, we don’t have to change all the sheets twice and do extra laundry.  I really didn’t know what I was going to offer to them to do in the dark, sealed up house.  It’s going to be far too hot to go anywhere.  My brightest idea was to offer naps, and a cold chicken dinner sometime after the worst of the heat dies down.

Anyway, I won’t know until I phone.  Who knows, maybe they want to split ways, and I need to come up to Seattle to get somebody. *shrug*

Well, it’s now 3:30 am, and my first alarm is due to go off in half an hour.  I don’t have to be ‘at work’ (which consists of getting dressed, putting my phone on the kitchen table, firing up my work laptop, and logging on) until 6am.  What to do until then?  I suppose I could lay back down and try to doze, but the house is completely open, so I don’t really want to do that. I do need to get the dog up soon, to keep her on schedule.  Plus, she’ll wake up soon and figure out that I’m not in the bedroom.  Velcro Dog will not like that, not one little bit.

I do have an appointment for a herding instinct trial for her in September – that should be interesting!  My guess is she’ll hide behind me, but you never know.  Of course, my thought is ‘what do I do if she absolutely LOVES it and is a natural?’ I have no sheep (and no prospects of getting any), and that herding stuff costs $30 for half an hour. :-/   I guess I’ll play that as it comes, as well.

Thinking about picking up a second job to plump up some accounts – specifically, my travel fund.  I’m thinking about curtailing travel expenses for awhile, and saving up money to buy a small RV.  I think that would be more cost effective for most of the kind of travel I’m interested in (National Parks, BC, Calgary, State Parks, etc).  Hotels are ridiculously expensive, restaurant food is unpredictable and expensive, and hotel beds freak me out.  A small RV could be just the ticket.  I’m starting to do the research…..going to be a couple of years before I can swing the finances.

Well, I guess I’ll post this….get the dog up…and read this little newpaper that someone….somehow….delivered when the nightowls were just turning out their bedside lamps for the night.