Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010

I'm going to celebrate with family and friends at my brother's annual NYE party.

I'll have a lot more to say tomorrow.

Until then, have a safe and healthy New Years.

Peace, Salaam, Shalom

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Meet Chester

I took a video to show a friend of mine what my dog acts like in the snow.

Of course, he acts like this all the time. But I thought I'd share anyways.

Chester takes all the credit for being cute. I take all responsibility for crappy cinematography.

Friday, December 25, 2009

201

I just passed my 200th post and didn't even realize it......so much for marking the occasion!

It's the evening of December 25th, and I am sitting in my parents' kitchen - what used to be a tiny divided space is now one huge kitchen/dining area, and I love it. We celebrated here last night with the whole family and it didn't feel crowded, for the first time in a long time. I've just come in from a walk through my hometown with the dog - it's a warm and windy night, and the rain has finally stopped. It was lovely.

This is me right now, courtesy of the webcam:




Christmas is a holiday that I still celebrate with the family, even though my heart is pagan, and Yule is the day that I mark as spiritually significant. There was a lot of food this year, as usual - more food than even our large family could possible eat. My brother was here from Boston, my 98 year old grandmother came for the evening from the nursing home...I arrived on Christmas Eve, went home that night, and came back this afternoon for turkey dinner. I'm staying tonight - Emily is tucked into bed with her cousin, after a long day of playing, reading, and sitting in the hot tub.

I received a few gifts this year that I love:




and this from my daughter


which I love, love, love!! She was almost as excited as I was...and couldn't wait for me to open it so she could watch it with me. Amy, Amy,Amy!

But the best gift of all was discovered by accident, a few minutes ago in my parents CD collection.

I guess I'm a typical mother. I'm proud of what both of my daughters have accomplished. A few years ago, when Megan was 12, she was invited to participate in a project with her school choir and a local church...and the result was a CD.

I used to cry when she performed as a child. At Kiwanis, during church solos, sometimes even when she sang with her children's choir. I have several CD's from her years as a chorister, and while I treasure them all, I loved her little moment in the spotlight.....until the CD went missing about a year ago. I think that she probably took it out of the CD cupboard and forgot to replace it, but I remember looking for it last Christmas, and being quite upset when it could not be found. I wanted Emily to hear her big sister singing.

Lo and behold, I found a copy of the CD tucked away at my mom and dad's. I uploaded it with a still image so that you could hear the music that still has the power to make me cry, even though her voice has matured, even though there were, and will be other moments for her to shine.



 I plan to end my day sitting in my parents' sunroom, in the dark, watching the shadows and listening to the wind sigh through the balsam firs in the back yard. 

Blessings to all on this magical night of peace.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

reflections

It's the shortest day of the year. And the longest night.

Many pagans celebrate the return of the sun at Winter Solstice. I take a slightly different view. Yes, the days are getting longer, but it really won't be noticeable until Imbolc, February 2nd. It's called mid-winter in the old carols for a reason...

It hasn't been very many generations since our ancestors lived off the land. Two, for me. And for them, winter brought cold weather and long nights of darkness, lit only by candlelight, or the dim, dying hearthfire. It sometimes brought hunger, even starvation. The return of the sun was a reminder that spring would come again, that one day soon they would plant, and forage, and bring in a bountiful harvest to feed themselves and the animals they cared for. Winter nights, cold and long. Winter days spend preparing for spring, spinning, sewing, weaving, knitting. Mending harness. Repairing things that had been broken. There were trips outside - to the barn, to hunt or forage, to the neighbours or a nearby town, if no storms were expected. But the journeys were few and far between.

I am writing, of course, of experiences limited to the northern hemisphere, in places where it snows. Sometimes a lot.

So really, when I think about it, all the hustle and bustle that surrounds Christmas, and the Yule season goes against what I`m naturally inclined to do. I want to stay at home, cook good meals, spend time with my kids. I want to write...I always want to write, but words pull themselves out of me at this time of year like no other. It could be the solitude. It could be the comfort of the darkness. I want to share my time with the people in my life that I love, in a quiet nurturing way. I want to curl up under warm blankets and sleep the winter away. I want good books, good coffee, and a good long sit in the darkness of my living room as the lights of my Yule tree cast coloured shadows on the ground.

What I don`t want is to be in WalMart, or any other retail establishment. I don`t want to be at noisy, loud parties. I don`t want to be pushed along the grocery aisle by impatient people who need to get the next thing done. And so often, at this time of year, I find myself doing exactly what I don`t want to do. Case in point: tomorrow night, you will probably find me at the closest mall, getting all those last last minute things done. Hating every minute I have to spend in the noise, the crowds, with the piped in jolly carols, with the guy in the red suit with the artificial beard. My time there will be short, indeed.

And then I will go home again. I`ll open my book and lose myself in someone else`s words. I`ll open my journal and write a few of my own - more than a few, if I get the chance. I`ll reluctantly hop on the cross trainer because I should. I`ll make wishes and dream dreams. So many of the things I dreamed about in the last year or so have come true - I have so much abundance that I revel in it...abundance that takes care of my physical and emotional needs. A good job. Good food in the fridge and on the table. Family all around me. Friends who understand me, who care about me, who are good at making me laugh. People I love. I have a home of my own and the independence I`ve denied myself all of my adult life.

I wish to be present, to be aware, to take these moments and live them fully, because they are blessed and bountiful. I want to share my abundance with other people - and don`t get me wrong, it`s not about money. I have enough of that - not too much, but enough. But in gratitude for what I have, I want to give something back to the earth, and to the wonderful beings who inhabit Her.

I wish to be comfortable with myself, and my body. I am, I am, but not enough.

I wish to share this wonderful life of mine with someone else.

I wish  to spend more time with my kids.

I wish for peace.

I wish for the creative side of my being to flow freely, to be inspired and active all year long.

I wish for better health for myself, and good health for the people I love.

I wish for love and joy for all of you this time of year, no matter how you spend your holidays.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

between here and there

It just popped into my head. The title, I mean. I've been in transition for so long that sometimes I forget that there's a destination I'm trying to reach.

I'm feeling much better this week. I'm not completely over whatever I had, but at least my head has stopped pounding.  But it sucks that it,s Yule and I can't sing. My throat and lungs are conspiring to make me miserable.

I miss singing in a choir. I miss singing - I don't do as much of it as I should.

And while it's nice to have  all the autonomy one could wish for, some days living alone feels a bit isolating. And then some days, the solitude feels really good. Especially now, that winter has come to my part of the world. I take long walks down snow-covered streets with the dog. I curl up with a blanket and a good book. I write and write in my paper journal. Wishing, dreaming, hoping, but still unable to really define what it is I want. Some days I just want to leave and never come back. Some days I want everything to stay the same forever. Some days I want to disappear into the wind and be the snowflakes that rest softly on the solid earth.

I'm really lonely, and I'm trying to tell myself that this is a good thing, that it's where I'm supposed to be, that it will all work out in the end. The good part about being lonely at this time of year is that it's winter. Winter cold turns me inward, causes me to reflect and write, and long for things I can't explain. So I sit, and write, and wait, and work, and play with my kids, take the girls out for breakfast. And I know it will pass. I hope it will pass.

But what if it doesn't? What if the phone never rings again? What if the only meaningful conversations I ever have are between myself and my computer screen, or my notebook. I exaggerate a bit here - my friends, as I have said before, are awesome. The live in other cities. Weather and the busyness of this time of year keeps me from seeing them as often as I would like. But I also have this need for something more...more intense, more powerful than what I've experienced up to this point. It's big and undefinable. I think that if I could define it, I actually might find it.

It's funny to be in this kind of space jut before Christmas. Good thing I'm a Pagan - I've let go of a lot of the commercial, romantic stuff associated with Christmas, which allows me to focus on the change of the seasons, the inward turning, and the coming of light after a long night of darkness. I still celebrate with my family - but for me, the meaning comes in the dark of night, by the light of a single candle.

Stillness.  Peace. Love. Hope. These are my prayers for myself, and for the world.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

ugh!

I'm sick.

Are you surprised? I work with kids. Dozens of small people every day. It was bound to happen.

I'm going to bed now. That is all.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

about a girl




20 years ago today I held you in my arms for the first time.


I loved watching you grow.

You enjoy life to the fullest...


You can be silly










and serious.
You grew up surrounded by family who loved you.




You are talented - even when you were in Grade three, you knew how to command the stage.
There were a few trying years -when you began to learn about yourself, and figure things out. I really didn't like your hair when it was black ...I guess I can tell you that now.





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Your sister has been one of the biggest joys of your life, and in return you are a gift to her. This has been a challenging year for you in a lot of ways -  it's not easy for an active person to suddenly become dependent on others for everything. But the accident helped you grow as a person, it gave you a sense of the importance of living fully. You are moving forward with a clear direction and defined goals.

Happy 20th birthday Megan.

(I'm the mother of a 20 year old. Really? Am I that old? Help!)




Wednesday, November 25, 2009

for Jude

In my heart, in my thoughts...sending healing energy across the continent...this is for you




Fuck you, cancer!

Monday, November 16, 2009

the matriarchy

She's always been a tiny woman. At 98, she seems even tinier, with her shoulders hunched, and her hands idle in her lap.

Those hands raised eight children, and shepherded seven of them across the Atlantic Ocean when the youngest was a baby and the oldest was eight years old. They milked cows and helped with the haying. Those hands could sew the straightest, most beautiful seams - wedding dresses, prom dresses, alterations for customers, dolls with embroidered faces.

She doesn't forget much. She is as aware as a person with dementia can be - sometimes she forgets names or faces, and she's a great one for making things up. In her reality, there is a polluted underwater river, full of chemicals from my sister-in-law's hair salon, running under the house. Well, go big or go home....but for 98, her powers of recall are still amazing, even when interspersed with the fantastic.

She raised her head and looked at me with her bright blue eyes. We were having tea in a nearby restaurant, having momentarily escaped the nursing home. I had already been thoroughly chastised for having been away for so long...but she wasn't finished.

"I am afraid to ask you this..." she says, but do you still have a husband?"

No, I tell her. But I'm okay.

She shakes her head. "Well, people have to do what's best for them I suppose."

I turned my head and muttered to my mother "It's a good thing she doesn't know the whole story." My grandmother is quite deaf...

"Oh, she knows," my mother said.

My eyes widen. "Really?"

My grandmother had been out visiting one of the aunts - and managed, in spite of her apparent deafness, to overhear a conversation that centered around my facebook status on National Coming Out Day. There were a lot of family members in the house at the time, all talking about me. I love being the center of attention, really I do, but I love it better when people talk to me instead of talking about me.

"Well," Oma says "Everyone has something. It's not what I would like, but people have to live their lives and be happy."

First of all - this is the first time that my mother has mentioned anything about my coming out - ever! And we were in public! And she wasn't even in a hurry to change the subject....

Second of all - if I'm out to my 98 year old grandmother, I really am out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Let Yourself In

I don't know what it is about this November. Something's gone awry.

So many of us are going through tremendous changes, reliving old hurts, working our way through pain.

Last Wednesday, my friend Chris came to visit. She arrived on a Wednesday when I thought she was coming on Thursday(my mistake of course. I have zero organizational skills), which meant that I had nothing ready for her visit, but she was gracious, and wonderful. We talked and sang the evening away with a bottle of red wine. So much has happened for both of us in the year since we've seen each other - we've both struggledn, and both had moments of wonder and joy. She played me a song from her new CD that has resonated with me ever since. I can't get it out of my head. I play it constantly, because it speaks so directly to what's happening for me, right now.

It's a beautiful song, and I am privledged to know her.

So for all of you - Amy, Ames, Rocket, Lilli, Windy, Margo, Aneke, Ang...there are more, I'm sure, who are feeling the coolness of November and the sadness rush through your minds, this song is for you. I created a slide show with it that depicts some of the pivotal, beautiful moments in my summer - a summer that was both painful and joyful. They will stay with me always.



The chorus:

Let yourself in and welcome all your ghosts
Sit them down, pour a round
Offer up a toast
You were meant to live this life
The way that's best for you
And all the promise stored inside
Still waiting there for you

You can learn more about Chris's music here. If you like it, buy her CD and support this amazing independent musician.

Thanks so much for all you've brought me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Destra Dog

Shane has a heart of gold.

And her beloved Destra needs help.

Click here. And please help, if you can.

Thanks, everyone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

it's a lethal mix

Anemia and depression.

They suck. Both of them. I feel like I can't fight either one of them effectively.

They are related, of course. When you can't get enough oxygen into your body, and you're trying to work and keep up with a six-year old, something's gotta give. It's like this thick fog that separates me from the rest of the world.

I think I've been mildly depressed for a long time. Maybe years. Things improved when I started the coming out process, but they've taken a big downward tumble since the end of summer. I don't know why. I've had moments when I've felt positive, euphoric, blessed, loved....and then there are weeks like this one...

-I've become so disconnected that I'm having trouble functioning at work. It's hard for me to play and relax, which is what I should be doing. I have a very understanding supervisor.....so I will make it through, but work is the last place where things like this show up for me.

-I feel isolated. I know that at this point I'm likely giving off "stay away" vibes right, left and center because I'm experiencing a lot of social anxiety. I don't want to blog. I haven't written anything in weeks. I should be writing, I need to write, but I don't want to read what will show up on the page.

-I have a lot of difficulty asking for help at the best of times. I try to be strong and I end up miserable because I just can't reach out. I figure people are tired of hearing it....depression has a way of making you think in circles that never end, and I can't find my way out of the negativity.

- I can't date. I can't be in a relationship with myself, let alone anyone else. I can't talk to people. I have a hard time opening up to my best friends. A physical anything? Take my clothes off? Are you freaking kidding me??I don't know what made me think that I was ready, but I am sooo not...

of course I'm not. But I'm lonely. Oh, the paradox.

I'm terrified. I'm a mess.


This really sucks. I hope it doesn't last much longer. I'm usually good at pulling myself out of the abyss, but this has already gone on way too long.

I still have readings that I promised for people. I will do them, but I'm going to have to wait until I've regained some sense of...something.

ETA - I'm throwing this in...because I love her, and because this song means so much to me. It made my cry when I first heard her play it, and it makes me cry now, because it reflects everything that's going on for me. There's nowhere to go but up!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

for Lilli

I did your reading last night in my hotel room in Niagara Falls.

No, I am not that boring. Emily was with me. She needed to sleep and I wasn't ready. Megan was...out. Doing things that 20 year olds do in cities with bars and casinos.

Lilli, I drew four cards for your reading.

You know how scary it is now to think that I might get something wrong - be so far off that people will think I'm a fraud? Pressure....

Anyways,

4 of Pentacles

Those who have felt a financial pinch at one time or another can strongly empathize with the figure on this card (if I was not so lazy I would find and post images, but if you're curious, you can do a Google Image search. my deck is called the Mystic Dreamer tarot, but it's based on the Waite deck). Money has slipped through your fingers - for some reason it wasn't used wisely. Perhaps it was taken. However it happened, what remains is precious - held tightly and treasured. For some people, this can turn into miserliness, but I think that you are careful rather than tight-fisted. This is a natural response sometimes. When you've been hungry, or you've faced eviction, it is hard to let go and trust that the Universe will take care of you. But it will. Abundance comes in many forms - think of how you are surrounded by love and laughter. Your needs are being met, and they will continue to be met. Money is not what is holding you back. Visualize it - see yourself in abundance, and know that you are worthy. Allow yourself the freedom to choose what path you most desire. Doing what you love will bring both freedom and sustenance.

6 of Wands

I drew this card for Amy's reading, but there is a slight twist to my interpretation...

There's no reason to fear success. For some reason I'm getting this internal struggle, as if you are your own worst enemy. You've been out there on the battlefield, you've grown weary. You are headed home, and all along, your battle has been with your own inner sense of self. You are worthy. You can and will do this. It's time to release those fears and claim the success that's waiting for you. Something you may want to consider: what do you get out of holding yourself back? Perhaps you're validating all the negative thought patterns that have been with you for years, the ones that others created, that you still unconsciously believe. "See?" you tell yourself, "I knew I couldn't do it. I was right."

Let go of all that, and see how quickly things turn around for you.

(at this point, I'm wishing that I could follow my own advice....)

Page of Cups

She doesn't call a lot of attention to herself. She is a quiet part of the landscape, and that shy, soft demeanor is what is so compelling - her spirituality shines through, almost like a glow on her skin. She has a connection, a oneness with all living things, human and otherwise. She reveres them as holy, and in their turn, they revere her. She is grounded, firmly rooted in time, and very present in her own life. At the same time, water is her element. She is near it, in it, surrounded by waves that murmur on shore as often as she can be. She's offering you something. If you accept what she offers, there will be some kind of movement, or change. It will be gradual, natural and positive, like the movement of waves against the shoreline where the earth is eroded little by little, creating a new landscape.

XXI - The World

I love ending readings with this card.

The world is a living, breathing entity, and you are a part of it. Like any living thing, the world experiences a range of emotions, actions, physical disasters and transformations, changes, and blessings. We look for world peace and harmony. We seek the connectedness of all living things. We wish abundance for all, and some day the world will become all that we dream.

You are the world, at its fullest energy, its most beautiful state. You're moving into a very creative, productive and fulfilling time of your life. What you seek, whether it be in relationships, in your work, or with your family - you will find it. Dream big! It's time to dance! (save one for me, too!)

warning: self-absorption and a bit of whining ahead....

Forewarned is forearmed. You can skip this one if you'd like.

The good news is that I have a tutoring client coming in a few minutes so my whine time is limited. I wish it was wine time, not whine time, but that's not possible.....

Most days I can make it through. And more than that, I can get to the end gracefully, sometimes joyfully, and always with gratitude for the abundance that I have in my life as it stands right now. But I'm tired today...and maybe that little piece of snowflake obsidian sitting on my altar is doing its job and bringing things to the surface. Things I'd rather not deal with. Stuff I thought was gone, drifting back into my brain. Maybe I'm just having one of those days, and tomorrow will be better. I hope so.

I feel stuck. Completely stuck and I can't seem to move myself out of this...place. There's usually a trigger - today's trigger was the AGM at my co-op.

I used to live in a co-op in my hometown. Maybe the fact that I knew most of the people in those meetings, and had known them for years before I moved in made it easier. I participated. I asked and answered questions. But ever since Michfest, going into public spaces alone - places like meeting rooms and concert halls - has become more and more difficult. I should be okay at a co-op meeting - I live there. I see most of those people every day. But as I sat, and listened to financial statements and committee reports, I began to feel completely disconnected...of the people sitting in the room, I'm on a first-name basis with maybe four or five of them. None of them know, really, a whole lot about me.

I spoke to no one. I showed up as required by my membership, and left. 

It shouldn't matter. Maybe it doesn't. But there's another in the list of places where I am not fully comfortable.

I used to have a lot of social anxieties when I was younger. I worked really hard to overcome them. I'm proud of how far I've come - no longer do I stutter when I talk to strangers on the phone. I can walk up to a counter in a store and ask for something without suffering agonies of embarrassment. But there's a part of me that's never really at ease outside of my own house, except in very specific circumstances. Those of you who are reading, and who know me IRL can attest to that. On the page, I am completely different. It's me, uncensored. I am as open as I can be, as long as you're not standing in front of me.

That's why doing readings via blogger or email works better for me than anything else. Because the person I'm reading for isn't physically here, I am free to open up and sense whatever energy is around the cards I pull. I write my responses. Writing fills this deep need for me - I need words on the page, and I need them all the time. Writing helps me to open up in other situations. Writing pulls out the best of me.

I stopped writing two months ago. Except for here. And one song. Things are starting to pile up again.

I was getting better. I was taking risks, I was starting to feel a lot more comfortable in groups - well, certain groups. And then I went to Michfest. Something happened there - I can't explain it even to myself, because there was really no specific event that pushed me backwards. But I came home feeling like I was in high school all over again. I was completely out of my element. I feel like I've failed in what I set out to do...my reasons for going were first of all, for the music. That was amazing. And secondly, to make the real-life connections that I lack.

Fail. And I feel like a failure.

There's not one significant connection.  A pile of facebook friends. I comment on their statuses once in a while. Or vice versa. I don't quite know what I was expecting...I'd heard so much about feeling completely safe in Michigan, and about how easy it was to meet people...but I experienced something different.

It was lonely. And frightening. And I'm sitting here blaming myself for not trying harder, for never really being able to get past whatever it is that's holding me back. And in this moment (thank goodness such moments grow ever-more fleeting for me) I feel like there's nothing to move forward to. Maybe...just maybe...this is it.

My sister once called me "socially dependent" - as in, on her. It hurt a lot. I sometimes feel like I'm being tolerated by people,rather than accepted. My family doesn't quite know what to do with me anymore.  I'm on the fringes of everything and in the middle of nothing.(with the exception of one important group - my coven...).

You know already that I'm my own worst enemy.

Today is not a good day to be trying to create interesting profiles for internet dating sites. I can't think of a single interesting thing to say. It's not that I don't think I have things to offer, it's just that words, for once, are failing me. I can sell other people. I can concentrate my energies and focus on the cards that might bring some enlightenment for someone else. But I cannot sell myself. Everything I write seems to contain a subliminal "go away" message.

And do not...do not get me started on the whole picture thing. There is no good picture of me. It doesn't exist.

Or maybe there really aren't any single lesbians in K-W. It is possible.

Yeah, I know there's a social group - I have one or two readers that used to live around here who have sent me the info...but since Fest, there's no freaking way that I am going to walk alone  into an even where there are a group of people, who are all strangers to me, who very likely all know each other...and feel anything but completely uncomfortable.

On a more positive note...okay, there aren't any. I did another reading last night and will post it when I am in a better frame of mind. A walk, a hot shower and a self-indulgent cry will do me a world of good.

PS - an hour later...I am really really tired. I went to Niagara Falls with the girls and came home to an empty house. That might have something to do with my current state of mind. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

for propane amy

(for those of you still waiting - I'm going to try and get everyone's readings done thins weekend. I'm going away - but I'll take my tarot cards and netbook. Emily goes to sleep early, and what else is a single mom going to do in a Niagara Falls hotel room? If I wasn't taking the kids, well, y'all would have to wait longer....)

Amy, this reading blew me away. I start off most readings with three cards, but if something confuses me, or if it's not clear, I'll draw one or more clarifying cards. So when I did your reading, I ended up with six, in the following order:

6 of Wands
The Hermit
Justice
9 of Wands
10 of Wands
9 of Pentacles

When the same suit shows up in a reading like that...you have to pay attention. Wands are aligned with the direction South, and the element of Fire. The season is summer. Sexuality, passion, inspiration, optimism, energy, movement, creativity, travel and inner journeys are all associated with wands. Cups are aligned with emotion, so cups are more about relationships. Wands, to me, come up when you are figuring out who you are, and you are deciding and defining what's important in your life. What, or who are you passionate about? What inspires you? Read a little bit about the goddess Brighid - she is the goddess of the forge, of creativity, healing and music. Fire by nature is transformative. Fire causes great destruction, but it is a powerful agent of change.

The number 9, which appears twice in your reading, signifies the end of one cycle and the beginning of something new. There is a lot of change taking place right now - some of it will not be easy, but you also have a 6 in your reading - 6 is generally a card of success and harmony, which may come after some hard work.

Sooooo....

6 of Wands

The dark knight rides home after battle. She carries the wreath of victory, but her head is bowed, her posture weary. Behind her are fog-shrouded hills. Before her lay golden, fruitful fields. She has achieved success, but there has been a cost...the struggle is behind her, but she's still haunted by the memories of the battlefield. This is preventing her from truly savouring her victory.

IX The Hermit
(Major arcana cards are usually indicators of larger, overarching themes that are coming into plat at this point in your life. These are struggles you have grappled with, lessons that your soul needs/needed to learn in order to move forward, indicators of major events or significant changes that are taking place....)

The Hermit is a mysitc, a seer, a seeker. He carries a lantern to light his way, and a staff to help him over the rougher places on the path. But although in this part of his journey he walks alone, he is not lonely. His life is full - filled with thoughts, plans, theories. he takes time to contemplate and meditate. Everyone needs solitude of this nature at some point in their lives - you long for a relationship, or companionship, and you will receive what you desire when the time is right. But at the moment, you're being called to walk a solitary path. You have a lot of thinking to do, which takes time and space. Your gain from this temporary isolation is movement forward in your development and on your soul path. You will reach a place of enlightenment. You will know.

XI  Justice

When I think about this card, in relation to the Hermit, and in relation to what I sense from you, I think about the flow of time and tide. Time heals. The force of water can effect great changes in a short period of time. Justice has already been served, but I sense that you, or someone connected to you is still punishing themselves for something - a mistake made, or perhaps a promise broken. Take the lesson you've learned and run with it. Absolve yourself. And realize that you've been your own worst enemy. There's no need to keep yourself under lock and key anymore - you've served your time, the natural progression of your life has moved you forward. Now you are free.

(I wrote this yesterday, and today in the car, I listened to a song that says it all - my friend Chris MacLean wrote it, and it's on her new CD...if I remember, I'll try to post the lyrics tomorrow, but the title of the song is "Let Yourself In." It's all about learning to free yourself of guilt, and learning to live with love and forgiveness. I'd post it now, but the lyrics are in the car....)

9 of Wands

Nine as a number signifies the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Life is filled with such beginnings and endings.

you've reached a decision, a point of no return, but you hesitate at the gate. Your way is still forward, but you've taken some time to think. The next steps will be difficult, and enormous, and they will take enormous reserves of strength. Don't kid yourself - it will be hard. It really is necessary to "take a moment" right now. But the next step? It's the beginning of something new, and wonderful. When you finally move forward, you won't look back.

10 of Wands

I relate wands with passion p sometimes they can represent sexual passion, and sometimes they can also be about work, or your life's calling. There's a lot of struggle going on here, an almost overwhelming burden you're carrying. You've almost made it home, but the load is so....heavy. You feel like you can't take another step. But, like a marathon runner on his last dash, there is strength inside you that you don't even know you have, which will carry you over the finish line. Rest if you need to. Don't allow yourself to become obsessed, especially with the small details. They will sort themselves out. Know that you will summon the strength to carry the load.

9 of Pentacles

pentacles are associated with north, earth, and winter

Here you stand,surrounded by beauty. The world literally rests at your feet. The earth is a bountiful place. Nine again - endings and beginnings. This card refers to your material possession, your values, your home, your roots and your branches. This card points to a fruitful result. Hard work planting, tilling and weeding...but you love putting your hands in the dirt, and the paradise you're cultivating is so very beautiful. The harvest is even better than you hoped for! But, be sure to leave an offering, some thanks, a token to give back to the earth because she has been very generous. You are indeed blessed with bounty. The key is understanding the nature of true abundance, and knowing where to find it.

Hope you can find some relevance in what I've written!

(wow...is that the time??? No wonder I'm so tired.....)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

for kimber p

Don't ask me why - but I drew four cards for this reading. I just felt like I needed to...

3 of Cups

You have an incredibly strong connection to two different women in your life. You have reason to celebrate with them. They both enrich your life in very different ways, and they complement, rather than compete with one another. From your relationships, you will gain a lot of emotional fulfillment - hope, celebration, love. All three of you are connected in some way. I think I drew this card as an affirmation for you - your choice to support/nurture/love these women in whatever form the relationships take - romantic, friendship, whatever you choose, is the right one for you.

5 of Wands

I think this foreshadows some kind of loss. (I pulled it for another reading, but I'm getting a slightly different sense here). This may come in the form of a relationship breakdown - not sure if it's temporary or permanent, but there's some sadness here. And regret on both sides. In order to heal from this, and perhaps restore the relationship, both of you need to focus on the positive aspects. What is good? What is joyful? Yes, there will be some pain, but as I said earlier, nothing is ever wasted. There are lessons to be learned in all situations. And it's possible to restore or renew things, because there is lots of goodness and a lot of positives for both of you. You can also choose to turn away, but doing so might diminish your experience of that person.

Knight of Wands

This indicates some kind of male energy. A passionate person - there's a strong inner fire. And there's a sense of being firmly rooted in the present, of being profoundly grateful for what life has brought them so far. This is important. Sometimes we're so busy thinking about the next thing, planning for better tomorrows, that we fail to appreciate and enjoy the present. Plan for tomorrow from a place of gratitude, because there are a lot of blessings in your life right now, even if they are hard to find.

Card XI  Justice

I get the sense that there's a struggle going on. At first I wasn't sure if it was external or external, but as I meditated a bit, I started leaning towards external...The Justice card in this reading gives me te sense that the outcome of a situation you're facing will be balanced and fair. No great victory here, but a resetting of the scales. Justice is not always overt, it's not always contained in court documents or concessions. It can come in the form of the Threefold Law. So what may appear as a defeat - and it may seem as though someone "got away with' something - may actually be that person's downfall in the long run. Their actions will come back to haunt them. Always, there is rebalancing going on, within and without. What you've put out into the Universe, you'll be given back, times three. Positive, or negative. the Threefold Law.

Stay centered, stay balanced, stay calm. You know what's right. Act with integrity in all things. In the end, justice will prevail, although the final verdict might not be imminent.

Hope this is helpful!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

readings

First off...Kimber, I haven't finished yours yet. I'll try to do it tonight and post it tomorrow.

Remember, these are for entertainment purposes only!! :)

If  I'm right, I'll take all the credit. if I'm wrong, see the above clause..

(I don't read from a book...I go by my impressions and instinct, except in a few rare cases when I'm really stuck...and then I check a resource. Only if I have to.)

Earth Muffin:

Knight of Swords

This card represents someone with male energy. I don't make any assumptions about gender, so the person it refers to could be male, or a female with strong male energy.(but I'll call him 'he')..He relies on his intellect and verbal skills - perhaps at work and also during times of conflict. He'll take on any challenge, even when he's not sure where he's going, which sometimes leads to disaster.

Your relationship with this person has the potential to be difficult - at the moment you are in a place of safety, but he wields a sword, and sometimes he uses it. So you keep him in the open, where you can see him.

The nice thing is that this person usually has good intentions. He's not malicious, just a bit impetuous.

..if this person has not entered your life yet, he will, and I sense this may be work-related.

 7 of Pentacles

You've been working hard at something - working and working, and it seems to amount to nothing. It's like a garden that you've watered and cared for, and watched over very carefully. But you know how it is...a watched pot never boils. Even though it appears that your hard work will never pay off, don't give up. Your fears are really groundless. Some seeds take longer to germinate than others.

Some things flashed into my brain while I was looking at this card...don't forget to give back..to the earth, or as in the threefold law. Whatever you do will return to you. All the earth will benefit from your efforts. Also - jars? Does that make any sense? And something about a letter of intent...

4 of Cups

You've been staring at the same old cups for too long. Things seem a bit dreary and dull - could there be some mild depression going on with you, or someone in your life? There are possibilities and opportunities that are not being considered. They are within your reach, but you are quite absorbed with what's in front of you (which may not be all that pleasant) so you are at risk of missing an opportunity. Cups represent emotion, so think in terms of relationships and personal fulfillment. You need to take a risk here, and out of that risk, from that opportunity you haven't yet found, or that you're ignoring because it is too scary to contemplate, you will reap a lot of benefits. Think your decisions through very carefully, and consider any and all possibilities, even the ones that seem a bit "out there."

Making Space

King of Pentacles...male energy again, of someone in your life or coming into your life. He's a bit earthy, possibly in the sense that he's good with money, or is attached to things of material value. It's kind of difficult to penetrate this person's exterior, and see what's beneath the very attractive outer package. It seems as though his attachment to the material may have left him a bit bereft in other ways...perhaps he lacks empathy, or he needs to develop more compassion. You've worked really hard at making something work - that's the sense I get. But you need to make sure that your effort is worth the pay off.

One thing that he needs to learn, is that abundance is more than money in the bank, or a fancy car in the driveway. True abundance can't be measured by modern standards. When you have family, health,love, and you're able to give and receive freely, true abundance is at hand.

The Emperor

oooh...a major arcana card.

The Emperor can refer to a system - like a large workplace or political system. Think of something where there are traditionally males in dominant roles. Or your father. Or the Catholic Church. Or the White House. You could be moving up within that system, if you work there. It's an uphill battle to get anywhere, sometimes. Even when you are in a position of authority, there is a hierarchy to think about, and gnash your teeth at...the Emperor as a person could be someone who has trouble showing their feelings, and may be hiding a strong attachment to you. If you're interested, be persistent, because this card represents someone who may be intellectual, but has a hidden passionate side.

( I had to rely on the book more for the above card than any other...)

5 of Cups

There's been a loss. The end or breakdown of a relationship, someone that you're trying to move away from, and you're feeling a profound sense of grief, which sometimes overshadows everything that you've gained. Remember, though, that nothing is ever really lost. It's time for you to turn attention away from the negative outcome, and focus on what you've retained or gained from the experience. Even if the liquid in the cups have been spilled, it hasn't been wasted. The liquid inside can nourish the soil, and returns itself back into the earth. There is a cycle of renewal and healing in all things. Hope remains, there are cups that are still full. Don't be afraid of spilling them, or losing their precious content. Drink deeply from them, savour the joy they bring you. It may not be the outcome that you once envisioned for yourself, but you will ultimately gain, and receive tremendous fulfillment (of the emotional, relationship kind) with the liquid that remains.

It's all very sexual or romantic, it seems. Does that make sense?



Okay - Eileen Pennington

(and you're really the only person that I don't have some kind of off-blog relationship with. I've never seen your picture, so I'm flying totally blind here. Let's see how accurate I am...)

5 of Wands reversed

I get a workplace here. It seems to be a present situation, ongoing. What's blocked you from moving forward are petty jealousies and gossip. Everyone is competing against one another, trying to look good for "the boss" by making other people look bad. Are there squabbles over something like tips? A hair salon? Wherever you are, people are being incredibly catty, and it seems inevitable that you've been caught up in some of these games. If this is a current situation, be very cautious. You need to take an objective look at a situation and make careful, well-considered decisions. Someone, possibly more than one person, is trying to deceive you in order to move up in the pecking order.

All that being said, do you really want to work there? Which leads to the next card

Ace of Wands

You're about to receive a blessing. Wands are about passion, and you're going to be given a chance to follow your passions. Perhaps this will come in the form of a new relationship, but I'm getting the sense that you feel passionate about something - that you do some kind of creative work that's very satisfying, that's rooted in your soul. There's an opportunity there...

Think about the goddess Brighid, all red-headed and fiery, goddess of the forge, of music, and creativity. All of those things are soul nourishing...and yeah, I know that soul work doesn't put food on the table, but as I said, you have this opportunity coming your way, which will benefit and affect your entire life. When the gift or blessing appears, be prepared to take advantage of it, or you could lose it forever.

The Empress

See, good things are coming. I see this card as associated with both work-related fulfillment and a change in relationship. Don't let the pregnancy images scare you - the Empress is all about bringing things to fruition. You are about to move from one life stage to the next - just as the Empress is transitioning from Maiden to Mother...something you're doing will bear fruit and you'll be birthing something - a project, an idea...and I get a strong sense that there is a positive change coming on the relationship front.

That's all for now, folks. Hope that at least some of it makes sense.

I've deleted my old blog...

Arial Ray is no more. I've imported all my old posts into this blog. This was done for technical reasons....I have no idea if all the people who follow my blog will get notification of all the new posts, but rest assured, I did not write 91 posts in 24 hours.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

so....

Given my previous post regarding Samhain and divination, how would you interpret the following story symbolically?

I went to my ritual last night, and one of the many blessings I received came in the form of a piece of polished snowflake obsidian. The priestess of the ritual (we take turns) had provided small drawstring pouches for our stones.

When I got home, I realized that I had (quite accidentally, of course) taken home someone else's wedding rings. They were in the pouch alongside the piece of obsidian that I had chosen.

It reminds me of the fortune-telling games, where rings and keys and things like that are put inside cakes.

Any ideas?

PS...for those waiting for their readings...they'll be up after midnight or early tomorrow morning.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

and now for something completely different!

I need to banish the gloominess of my last post.

It's like riding a bicycle, no? But even if it's not, I will get there!

Anyhow, I was going to call this post "For entertainment purposes only...."

Next Saturday we celebrate Samhain (sahwenn), the pagan New Year. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about that:

Samhain (pronounced /ˈsɑːwɪn/, /ˈsaʊ.ɪn/, or /ˈsaʊn/ in English;[1] from Irish samhain [ˈsˠaunʲ], cf. Scottish Gaelic samhainn [ˈsavɯɲ], Old Irish samain [ˈsaṽɨnʲ] "summer's end", from sam "summer" and fuin "end") is a festival held at the end of the harvest season in Gaelic and Brythonic cultures. Principally a harvest festival, it also has aspects of a festival of the dead. It had its roots in ancient Celtic polytheism, and continued to be celebrated through medieval times, and is seen as contributing to the modern celebration of Halloween. Many scholars believe that it was the beginning of the Celtic year.[2][3][4]
The term "Samhain" derives from the name of a month in the ancient Celtic calendar, in particular the first three nights of this month, with the festival marking the end of the summer season and the end of the harvest. Samhain was also called the Féile Moingfhinne ie "Festival of Mongfind". According to Cormac's Glossary, Mongfind (mod.Irish spelling Mongfhionn) was a goddess the pagan Irish worshipped on Samhain. The Gaelic festival became associated with the Catholic All Souls' Day, and appears to have influenced the secular customs now connected with Halloween. Samhain is also the name of a modern festival in various currents of Neopaganism that are based on, or inspired by, Gaelic traditions.[3][4][5]

Wikipedia can give you a lot more info about Samhain...

Samhain, as the new year, is the time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. For that reason, it's easier to communicate with those who have passed...see, all those ghosts at Halloween are rooted in Pagan tradition! Some people leave offerings for the dead. Most years my coven will center a ritual around honoring people who have passed from this world, as well as people born this year.  We bring photos, if we can. We light candles. We speak their names.

I have so many people to honor, to call into my circle this year...more than any other year. Some of them are people I haven't even met, but who have touched my life deeply in their passing.

The pagan New Year is also an excellent time for divination. The veil is thin, and it's possible, at this time of year, to get a clearer glimpse of what may come over the next 12 months. Three years ago, I was scrying, and saw a fetus in my water bowl (scrying is done with a dark bowl or a silvered mirror by candlelight or moonlight). And I thought to myself "that's silly! I'm not getting pregnant!" And now, here I am, reborn!

So, here's my thought. I work with tarot, and I am just beginning to develop my skills. If you want me to do a three card reading for you (past, present, future/body, mind,soul/beginning, middle, end), you can leave me a comment...or email me.

You can comment anonymously if you wish.

You can ask a specific question. Or not. It's interesting to see what comes up when I don't know who someone is, and they don't have a specific question. You could be thinking "wow! She's the next Sylvia Browne (without the killer fingernails)...or you could be shaking your head at me, and wondering why I ever thought I could read tarot.

All in fun, right? And good practice for me. If you do respond, let me know if I should post your reading as a comment, or in a separate blog post. I can also email you, if you want to be private..or anonymous and private.

One good thing: at least no one will ask for their money back!  :) 

fear

Sometimes it can hit you from unexpected corners, and force you to either surrender or fight back.

I don't know the first thing about dating. I know that stuff like dating crossed gender lines, but I never really did...

I have a terrible time being open.

Argh. Where did my happy place go?

(temporary glitch - she'll be back in an hour or two...I just have to convince myself that there's really nothing to worry about. And that lesbians really live in this city. Single ones. Over the age of 35. )

Friday, October 23, 2009

the week in brief

  • My week ended better than it started. I had an issue with a parent at work, who decided to yell at me while there were kids in the room. I was not impressed. And then I started to second-guess myself, and my career choice, and just about everything else...you know how it goes. But my supervisor rocks! She got to the heart of the problem, and while it's not solved, at least I know that she's in my corner, and that she supports the work I do. The problem will take care of itself next week when the parent removes her child from the program...not the best way to solve things, but in this case, it's the only way.
  • It's raining and windy, and the leaves are swirling around the sidewalks, getting wet and yellow and red before they rest on the ground. I love it - I feel a sense of...longing...and I'm filled with the joy of just being at this time of year. If the rain slows down I'll be out walking in a few minutes.
  • The house sale closes on Monday, which will start a new chapter in my adventure. Financial independence, if not actual financial security. I can't wait to make my own decisions about my money and my life. It hasn't been onerous at all, but the financial intertwining keeps me tied to my ex in ways that are no longer necessary. Time to move forward.
  • A co-worker is selling me her elliptical trainer for $80.00. That solves a huge problem...because in winter I can't walk fast enough to keep my fitness level where I want it. I asked and I received.
  • So, where's the girlfriend/romantic interest I keep asking for? I really mean it this time.
  • Emily is cute and I love her, but I wish she'd stop sticking her feet underneath me when she crawls in bed with me during the night. It wakes me up. Her toes clearly need warmth.
  • Send good thoughts out to those who have lost loved ones in the past year. Samhain is next week, the pagan new year, and the time when we celebrate passages into and out of the physical world. It's also the time of year when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, so I've been working a lot with tarot and my pendulum this week.
  • My oldest daughter has gone back to school! I'm so happy. She never finished high school, so she's upgrading and getting ready for college.
  • Where has the time gone? Summer flew by, autumn's here...and snow is just around the corner. I may complain about the cold, but I really love snow. What I really love is snuggling under the blankets while the wind blows and the snow hits the window...in my imagination, there is always someone snuggling with me. In my reality, it's usually my daughter. I wonder if that will change anytime soon.
  • Nothing to report on the dating front. Money is required for online personals and that's a decision I can't make until next Tuesday. But I feel like it's all in place now - the house sale feels like the last piece of a complicated puzzle.
  • I had such an amazing response from my coming out post, both here and on my Facebook page. Thank you! 
  • Tomorrow is a cleaning day, during which I resolve to actually clean.
  • I'm also tutoring.
  • I think that I'm too easily distracted.
  • Have a great weekend!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

just because I can't stop reading it....

 (sigh...)

Whatever happens with us, your body
will haunt mine - tender, delicate
your lovemaking, like the half-curled frond
of the fiddlehead fern in forests
just washed by the sun. Your traveled, generous thighs
between which my whole face has come and come--
the innocence and wisdom of the place my tongue has found there-
the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth --
your touch on me, firm, protective, searching
me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers
reaching where I have been waiting years for you
in my rose-wet cave --whatever happens, this is.

Adreinne Rich

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Coming Out....a love story

I've done it. I've fallen in love.

The woman I love is a little bit quirky. She's always been beautiful but only just figured it out. She is a little shy, and has trouble taking risks (although, if you were to read her Facebook status this morning, you wouldn't know it). She's a writer, a poet and a closet songwriter. See, even though she's decided to come out as a lesbian, there are still a few things in the closet - at least while she works on her stage fright.

I've fallen in love with myself, for the very first time. And you know that thrill you get when you meet someone special. Those are the thrills I experience every waking moment. I want to share my life with someone else... now it's more than a daydream, and I no longer hopelessly worry about being alone for the rest of my life. Because I don't think I will be...and if I can cultivate this deep self-love as carefully as I raise my children, care for my pets and tend my garden, I know I will never be alone.

Loving myself has given me courage. The courage to share who I am with everyone in my life.

I am a lesbian.  Any questions?

Some people have that sense of knowing, all their lives. I didn't. I had mostly confusion. Some of this was from missing a few key socialization skills which I didn't really develop until adulthood - that's a story in itself. Some of it was based in Catholic guilt - thinking about women sexually was just plain wrong and when I had those thoughts, I just ignored them.

Did I have those thoughts? Yes. I was a summer camp counselor in high school and I developed my first crush on another counselor, a few years older than me, a beautiful long-haired butch with amazing eyes. We became best friends, even though she lived in Toronto and I lived in small-town Ontario. I spent most of my money that year on train tickets, and we would travel back and forth about once a month. And like most first loves, it came to a spectacular and devastating end about a year later, without me once being able to tell her that I cared about her, because it just wasn't okay.

My second crush was on a beautiful singer who lived in London. My third, my fourth and so on....and all the while I was dating, or not dating, or having various disasters with men. Because that's what I was supposed to do - I was supposed to like guys, and if I didn't really like sex...well...maybe I just didn't like it.

But I wanted babies. So I had them. the first, as a twenty-four year old single mother, because my ex couldn't take responsibility for himself, let alone a small child.

And I had a spectacularly horrible, brief marriage. I don't even want to talk about it because it was a huge mistake from start to finish.

And then I met my ex - we were together for ten years. We were happy, after a fashion. I cared about him. I was safe, I didn't have to think, and after four years we had a child together. I stopped doing the things I loved to do - didn't listen to music at all, stopped writing, didn't look for social connections outside of the relationship - which was sad because I didn't really like his friends any more than he liked mine.

After my youngest was born, my limited sex drive just went somewhere else. I couldn't care less. It was something I did to please my partner, and it never felt right. In discussions with him after the fact, we realized that it should have been our first clue. ( and I'll mention here that I am very lucky - we're still good friends. In fact he cooked me a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada).

Becoming a witch was one catalyst. It exposed me to a lot of new people and ideas. I met queer women, straight women, poly women and men who helped me change the way I looked at life. I had more crushes. I ignored them - well, no I didn't. But 300 pounds is a successful barrier between yourself and the woman you're crushing on, if you want it to be. I secretly started to acknowledge that I might be bisexual, in a relationship with a man, and since I was with a man, I would never have to tell anyone.

I had weight loss surgery. I spent eight months sleeping in a recliner because of my back problems. Presumably. I like to think that my body was smarter than I was, and the back issue was my way of staying out of our bed, a bed that didn't work for me anymore. It was hard, unbending and I had to share it with someone for whom I felt no physical attraction, even though I cared about him.

And I started to dream again. Dreams about being with women, sharing telepathic secrets with them. And one day a friend of mine - a lesbian - kissed me in my dreams and said "You're really one of us. It's time to acknowledge who you are." I woke from this dream trembling and afraid, and full of incredible desire. Holy shit - I had never felt that way before.

I came out on my blog first, to my ex second. My older daughter. My younger. My sister. And then my friends. And then my parents. It's been a year, and you might be reading this while in shock, not knowing until now that I am a lesbian.

But I am. And proud of it. And loving myself for finally having the courage to live my life openly.

I decided a while ago that there would be no big family meeting. No fanfare, no fireworks. It is who I am, and while it is something to celebrate, and not something to hide from, I see it as...a step in my personal evolution. If you ask, I'll tell you. There are no barriers, except the ones that other people create, and really, that's their problem.

But attack me, and you'll see a different side of me. In any conversation where human rights and bigotry are being demonstrated, I will not be silent. Silence is a thing of my past, when I didn't know myself, I didn't love myself, and I didn't have the courage to speak.

I'm a whole new me. And I love me.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two Years Later...

In June of 2007, I met a woman who changed my life.

This is not a coming out story. I'm saving that one for October 11th. This is a story about my lifelong struggle with weight. Chubby kid, chubby young adult, and severely obese after I turned 35. This is not a story about failure, or lack of willpower, or laziness.

Lazy people don't get college diplomas while raising strong-willed toddlers on their own. Lazy people don't work full time. Lazy people don't go back to university at the age of 35 to get a degree because they never had the chance when they were younger.

So many equate weight with laziness, failure, lack. And for many it's metabolism, genetics, and emotional dependence. People that are more than 100 pounds overweight have a lot of difficulty losing the weight, for a number of reasons. Metabolism works against them. Excercise is sweaty and uncomfortable, and you can't do enough to make a difference. Some people are able to overcome the odds and lose the weight through diet and exercise alone.


This is what I looked like when I was 40.


I am not one of those people. Diets didn't work, even if I adhered to them faithfully. Going to the gym turned me into a sweaty, breathless mess after 10 minutes. I felt horrible about myself, and I was slowly losing control of my health...by June of 2007 it was just a few little warning signs. Slightly elevated cholesterol. High blood pressure. Knees that ached when I climbed the stairs...depression and unhappiness.
Every year I go to witch camp, and in 2007, I roomed with a wonderful woman. Actually, I've been cabin mates with her ever since. She was very open about the surgery she had, and how it changed her life.

I was skeptical. Was I going to be able to eat normal foods again? Would I regain the weight? Wasn't it dangerous? Didn't it cost a lot of money?

The answers: Yes, there are things you might not be able to tolerate after the surgery, but everyone is different. And there are things that I am supposed to stay away from....although I am not altogether faithful in that regard. Severely limited alcohol intake (supposed to be none, but sometimes I have one, and one only). No advil, tylenol or ASA. Multivitamins for life. While some people regain some weight, the procedure I had was designed to keep the weight off, as long as I maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. No, it wasn't dangerous, in so far as any surgery is a risk. And my Ontario health insurance covered the cost.

I made the decision, and not a moment too soon. I needed to get my doctor on board, and I needed proof, for OHIP, that delaying treatment would cost me my life, or permanent tissue damage. Easy, right? After all, I have a family history of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. But my numbers were too low - borderline, and so she sent me for x-rays of my knees and hips.

When I was thirteen I did a handstand and ended up with a bone chip in my right knee, which at 42 was still there and causing enough problems that I was approved surgery. See, things do happen for a reason! I applied in late June, and found out in the second week of August that the cost of the procedure would be covered. I scheduled my surgery in Michigan for late September (only three doctors performed the surgery in the US at that point, and none in Canada - and in Ontario there is a minimum five-year wait to have any kind of weight loss surgery outside of the lap band)...

And then my back started to hurt. My doctor suspected a herniated disc. I worked in an ESL preschool at the time, and we always had the month of August off. I returned to work for one day at the end of August, but I was in such incredible pain that I had to take sick leave until after the surgery. It was the worst pain of my life, and it was with me constantly from August until October, when I left for Vegas.

Yes, Vegas. The doctor who was to perform my surgery in Michigan decided not to continue with the surgeries, so I flew to Vegas with the whole family for my surgery. My ex, my then 4 year old, my 18 year old and her boyfriend.

The plane trip was excruciating. I couldn't take any pain meds for two weeks prior to surgery. But I made it, and had my surgery two days after I arrived in Las Vegas.


                                                      This was taken on surgery day.

I really didn't like Vegas. But I can't say enough about the CLOS clinc, Dr Rutledge and his staff. They were all amazing and very supportive. I went into surgery fully informed about my decision, the possible side effects and complications, and I fully expected to lose a little weight the first week...mostly water. The surgery was laproscopic, and I was in hospital for 24 hours, but I was required to stay in Las Vegas for a week following the procedure. The kids had fun. I was in pain - not from the surgery, but because of my stupid back. So I didn't do much.

The first two weeks, I ate crackers, watermelon, yogurt, V-8, and chicken broth. Before I left Vegas I'd lost ten pounds.

The third and forth week I could eat soft foods. Tuna, cottage cheese, cream cheese on my crackers, more broth and V-8 (I was supposed to drink Gatorade but I hate the stuff). Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, applesauce.

After week 4, I could start to reintroduce regular foods into my diet. But there are things I couldn't eat, and will never eat in large quantities again. Pasta, pizza, any kind of breaded chicken, things made with white flour are not a part of my diet. I can eat about two tablespoons of rice. I can eat a slice of whole wheat bread. I can't tolerate much meat, or anything that's excessively dry. I eat about half the food that I used to. Or less. I'm never hungry. And I feel full - I have to stop eating now - before the surgery, I was never full.

Here's a photo chronology:



                                    Christmas 2007. Two and a half months. 30 pounds lost.



June 2008. 95 pounds lost.



                                                    Christmas 2008. 110 pounds lost.


October 4, 2009. 130 pounds lost.

I feel completely different than I did two years ago. I walk, exercise and work with weights, and I love it. My chronic pain is gone. I've gone from a size 26-26 to a size 12-13. And I look good - I didn't do it to look better, but it's a nice side effect :)

The not-so-nice side effect that I've developed is iron-deficiency anemia. Those of you who have been following for a while know that I was diagnosed last March and needed a blood tranfusion. I've kept it under better control since, but until I get my periods under control, it will always be an issue... I'm working on that.

It's not a choice everyone would or should make. But it took weight loss, the increase in confidence and a need to confront the reasons why I was eating in the first place to get me where I am today. Out, confident, proud, happy, active.

Thank you Wilma.

Thank you Dr. Rutledge.

You both saved my life. Literally.

For more info about the type of surgery I had, go here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

life

is just really good right now. And the things I want are on their way to me already. I can feel it!

I was going to write more, but I have to go to bed now. I just wanted to post about my absolute joy, to make up for all the posts I wrote when I was despondent.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

time to get my feet wet

Yesterday I had a really late breakfast and a very long talk with a good friend of mine. She's the kind of friend that kicks my ass when it needs kicking. She asks the tough questions and demands answers...and if we get sidetracked she asks the question again. Everyone needs a person like that in their life, especially when that person is beautiful, witty, and makes kick-ass coffee. And, always has a supply of good chocolate on hand for good measure.

It's been a year since my ex and I split up. A year of growing, moving, opening up to myself and the world around me. It's been fantastic and painful. And I've come a very long way...some of you have been with me since the beginning, and some of you are amazing friends that I have met in the last six months....but somewhere along the way, I've left something out...forgotten it, ignored it, tried really hard to pretend it doesn't exist. I'm good at that - avoiding things that might be painful. I've taken a few risks in the last year, but it's not enough.

It's one thing to come out into the sunlight and declare myself a lesbian. I can blog, post things on facebook, join fantastic and supportive groups- all of which have been invaluable in my quest for selfhood.

It's another thing to date. Really go out with a real woman.

"I'm not ready!!!" my ego screams at me...."Just give me a few more months, or even a year to get used to things...."

I can make every excuse in the book. But really, I'm terrified. And it's not about being a lesbian and not really being sure about what to do, and it's not worry about being open. It's always been this way. I choose the safe route. When I dated men (and I didn't date many, so I have limited experience to draw from here), I waited for them to make the first move. Because I didn't want to take the risk of getting hurt.

It's a whole new world. I'm a whole new person.

So when my friend asks me (because she knows a thing or two about people I've been attracted to, may still be attracted to, and goodness knows I have no place to hide anymore) why I don't tell those people that I find them attractive, I've stopped making the same old excuses. Generally, I would say "I can't do that," which we all know is a lousy excuse. A cop-out. It's what scared people say... and I worry:

-that my inexperience will show
-that I somehow won't measure up
-that the surgery-created loose skin will be a turnoff
-that I might make another crucial life mistake

Whatever. I'm very good at excuses.

And then when another friend e-mails me and tells me that this or that person on my Facebook is hot, and have I ever thought about dating them (presuming they are single and somewhat local) I respond politely and never give it another thought...and if I think about it, I think about all the reasons why I can't.

You get the picture, right?

So I can't sit back anymore and wait for the world to show up at my doorstep. It ain't gonna happen.There are no lesbians beating down my door, except for my friends who are demanding to know when I'm going to get over myself and just get out there.

I have to start somewhere...and the only place I can think of at the moment is the Internet. I've made these half-assed attempts to post profiles and such - I call them half-assed because they are really just apologetic little meanderings that send the following roundabout message "I'm supposed to be dating now, and I really don't want to do this, so here's my pathetic attempt to find someone and won't you please just tell me how wonderful I am so that I don't have to do anything?"

I am a kick-ass writer. I should be able to post an intriguing profile...but for those of you who are reading, and have tried the glorious internet, I have a few questions. Just a few, I promise.

Which sites would you recommend, and why? And which would you avoid? I'm clueless here.

What kind of things draw you to someone's profile? What turns you off?

And if you were me, would you admit to your inexperience up front, or would you wait until you've established some kind of contact with someone? I'm torn - I don't want to lie, but I don't want to scare anyone away.

Help!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

finding my balance

We call it Mabon. I follow the cycle of the seasons, and in my spiritual practice I honor the changes that are taking place as the season turns. Where we live, it's harvest time, just before our Thanksgiving (second Monday in October) and the season is changing, from summer to autumn. This year the changes seem more subtle, because our summer weather wasn't very hot, but still, at night the air is cooler. The leaves are changing colour and starting to fall. I'm feasting - on corn, zucchini, tomatoes, early macs, pears, melon...so many fresh and tasty foods are out there right now, especially where I live.

From Wikipedia:

The holiday of Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed (in Neo-Druidic traditions), is a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and God during the winter months. The name Mabon was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology.[14] In the northern hemisphere this equinox occurs anywhere from September 21 to 24. In the southern hemisphere, the autumn equinox occurs anywhere from March 19 to 22. Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas/Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain.

Persephone begins her descent to the underworld, and Demeter mourns for her lost daughter. Day is in equal balance with night - and in this season, we search for the balance that is missing from our lives. It's part of the process, the cycle that brings us from season to season. Winter, the dark time, is time to reflect and plan for the coming year, Spring is for sowing seeds, summer is for growth, heat, energy...and autumn is for harvest, and for giving thanks. And we begin the cycle anew by sending out tiny little tendrils of intentions, hopes for the next season of growth.

We met last night, and we ritualled together, as we do for all Sabbats. And during that ritual, we were called upon to do three things to prepare for out own descent into the darkness that precedes Winter Solstice, Yule....we named our blessings, our harvest for the year. We purged ourselves of what we no longer needed. And we asked for the things we needed in order to continue our work.

It was a very emotional time for me.

I focus on the negative so often, especially in this space. Sometimes I need to vent, and look - here's a blank page for me to vent with. Sometimes I just need to know that other people have felt what I am feeling - and I know that a few of you, reading these words are with me. You are where I am. You've been where I've been, and can relate to my experiences. So I bring everything here, vent, and carry on with my "one wild and precious life."

But when I think back on the past year - wow! So much has happened, so much has changed...and in almost every single instance, I was better off for the experience. I have so much to be thankful for...and I don't say thank you often enough.

So, here is my list of gratitude, for the Universe, the Goddess and all the blessings she holds:

  • First, my family. I have two beautiful daughters who bring me so much joy - and a fair share of angst as well, but that's parenthood. But beyond my girls, I have my parents, a sister, three brothers, their spouses and kids, aunts, uncles, cousins, a grandmother still living and sometimes terribly confused at 98, but today she recognized me. And while I sometimes feel that my changes have caused some distance between us, there are days (like today) when I start to think that it's mostly in my head. (There is a story behind this, but I have to post it separately). I love them, I love them all (but I would like to take my uncle who thinks that not liking gays is not the same as homophobia and give him a good swift kick - really, because arguing didn't seem to work)...and I am so grateful to have them in my life.
  • And my friends. Friends from high school that I've come out to that have suported and encouraged me (thanks S). Friends who give me support and love always, who let me cry when I need to and make me roll on the floor with laughter, but who kick my ass when it really needs kicking(you know who you all are). Friends that I see once or twice a year, friends I see almost every week, and friends that I've never met. You've enriched my life in countless ways.
  • The house I live in, my neighbourhood with its tall trees, the co-op, the community garden, the creek that flows beside my front door.
  • My job. Work that I still look forward to every day, in spite of seventeen years of chasing kids around.
  • The talent that I've been blessed with. I may not be writing much right now, but I can write, and do it well, and I'll be back at it eventually.
  • 130 pounds lost and a body that can move, walk, run, breathe, and live. A body that I like, that looks good. I can buy clothes now! And sometimes I look amazing.
  • 44 years young and not a grey hair on my head.
  • Being Canadian rocks. I love this country.
  • Food. Fresh fruit and vegetables, things that I cook (and I am a good cook), diet coke, Tim Hortons coffee, pistachios, water, blessed clean water.
  • Abundance all around me - I may not have a lot of money, but I have good food, shelter and every material thing I need, except a treadmill, and I know that I'll find one I can afford. The goddess has been so generous to me - and I intend to share that abundance in every way I can.
  • Cats, dogs, birds that sing outside my window in the morning, ducks, geese that fly overhead in formation, spiders, snakes, just about every living critter I can think of except mosquitoes and fruit flies.
  • Being aware of who I am, being a lesbian and learning to accept, love and thrive in my new life. Coming to that awareness was a difficult process, and I still struggle, but my struggle is not really about learning to live as a lesbian. It's about the same thing I've struggled with all along - being open, being fearless and learning to love from the inside out. Out.
  • Women. How I love them.
  • Writers, books, words, poems, blogs, facebook updates, all the ways of communicating that involve some form of text. Except text messaging because I don't do that.
  • Music - and all those incredible singer/songwriters who can capture moments and emotions, and store them into small bits of joy and beauty. I couldn't live without music, and I am so grateful for my own singing voice. My talent doesn't bring me to the stage, but how I love to sing!
  • Beauty. Georgian Bay and the Niagara Escarpment, places that make my heart sing and my words flow. This beautiful, precious planet we live on.
  • For all of you who drop by and read my words, whether you comment, or silently take it in, thank you!
  • My Refocksa family. Once we were strangers, can you believe it? Thank you for your comments, your encouragement, for allowing me into your hearts and lives.
I'm sure I can think of more, but I've hit the major highlights anyways.

I purged - or tried to. I keep trying to get rid of the same bad habits, the same patterns that haunt me, that hold me back - but I am so stubborn, and I could not let go. So I hereby banish the fear - and it's all really fear, when I think about it. Fear that keeps me closed to new relationships, fear that prevents me from taking risks, fear that holds me down when I really want to fly.

And I welcome in the things that will open me up, help me to risk it all for the sake of living fully, without fear and mindful of every moment and blessing my life will bring - courage, creativity and love.

I am so blessed. It's time to live my gratitude.