Monday, October 31, 2011

Mom Would Be 85 Today

In this picture she's 21. She was a bridesmaid many times, a bride once. I played in the dresses and hats - mint chiffon, peach taffeta, blue moire silk like a summer sky - the hats stiff net and ribbons. I wish I had played with Mom more, that her life had been more playful. She wanted to live to 100. She lived to 71. I'm sending birthday gift energies. No need for candles, or a pretty scarf, another rose bush, or a happy find I'm excited to give because I know she'll love the gift and the story about finding it. About how I went back to the place she had admired that item, and bought it to surprise her; just as she'd done for me often. No meeting for dinner somewhere with her witch hat on, no mistaking where she and Dad were waiting for us. She's playful and peaceful now, and I feel her love. Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rhytisma Affects Maples This Year

This maple is typical color intensity here in southwest Oakland County. The brilliant yellows, oranges and reds are dimmed this year by Rhytisma, a genus of fungi called tar spot because that's just what it looks like. It affects silver, sugar, red and Norway maples and box elder. The fungus doesn't damage the tree's overall health, but it's nasty looking and it's everywhere. I noticed the spots early in the year, and thought it was just immature maples that were impacted, but big trees have it, too. Leaves not raked up will overwinter the fungus to appear next year as well. The sidewalks are strewn with green maple leaves covered in big black spots. Hopefully, these will be raked and destroyed. If your maple is ailing with the fungus, get the leaves away from the trees as soon as they drop.

Women and Water, New Mythologies from Old

Women and water are inseparable, just as women and Mother Earth are one. I've been struggling to merge my bookmarks, to find the experience in this realm that deserves my brilliant passion above all others (thank you, Rob Brezsny, and Pronoia.) This year I pared some tabbed finds. I eliminated two folders named Shopping and Jewelry. Last year I tried unsuccessfully to stuff the jewelry folder into the shopping folder leaving a trail of stuff I neither need nor want. Today it's all gone. My google profile is shortened, and sweetened. It will be revised again as blogger profiles are going away and some gobbledygoogled google + facebook knockoff is coming online. The stuff I'm looking up on the internet can be bookmarked into multiple folders. Michigan issues are World issues are Women issues are Water issues are Ecology and Economy issues. Even bookmarks are becoming One. I said out loud at lunch this week "water is a women's issue." Water and women are one. Water myths leave out women, but that women are left out is ancient. I'm putting her back in. Unktehi is a water creature. Mishibizhiw is a water panther who may have been a true creature back in the day, and lives in Anishinaabe, Potawatomi and Ojibwe Great Lakes oral history and pictographs. Glacial phenomena may be part of the oral tradition. Jökulhlaups may have been viewed as gigantic water serpents, in Iceland, the Missouri River geology, or anywhere else gargantuan water and glacial upheavals were witnessed. Walk in Lake Huron or Lake Michigan or Lake Superior sand, waved by the water and imagine an enormous serpent causing the ripples. It is Great Lakes women who must cause the ripples that will protect our fresh water habitat; that will allow us to still walk in and see the ripples in the water. I pictographically give us wings to speed our way.

Monday, October 24, 2011

In the Realm of Meant To Be

I hunted for a cabochon. I have hunted late nights for years, not knowing why I sought one. My internet bookmarks are loaded with saved search results, although there is always something else to take my meager funds. I dream. I search. I wait. And one night there is the cabochon. Like all serious searches, the vision arrived when I was seeking something else. The dream is a lampwork raku flower in the colors of the great waters of earth. Five petals like the five Great Lakes that surround my home. The artist is Deborah Lambson (etsy shop kenzee), a glass artist in Tel Aviv, Israel, near the waters of the Mediterranean. As I wait for the glass art to arrive, I collect what I'll use to make the ring. I ask Dad if what I have in mind will work. And then I numb my fingers in artistic creative bliss. Dremeling, polishing, fitting. And when these creations come together I have a ring of power. A warrior woman ring. To it will gather the meant to be realm of the rest of my life. This is art: experience, seeking, work, creation. Art is personal. When art and personal combine it is sublime.

More or Less: The Luxury of Enough

While our global leaders figure out how to make all those swell twisty charts in the news go away, we rely on our news sources to make sense of what is essentially senseless. Jared Bernstein argues that the nifty chart in the Sunday NYT isn't quite accurate because it is not gross debt that's the issue, but debt that's held by the public. Who is the public? You and me. EU meets on Wednesday. They were supposed to meet on Sunday, but nobody could agree on who gets to stuff the debt down their throats, so it's back to trying to make Italy do it. Or Germany. Or us. High school home economics teaches what you owe cannot exceed what you bring in. The world has been ignoring that simple accounting rule for decades. We always want more. Shareholders want more profit, so the marketeers shove more consumables at us. And we consume. But we still want more. Upgrade your phone, cable, wardrobe, car with a free trial offer. Buying an ecofriendly tshirt is not responsible consumerism; self-abnegation is. Government and corporations aren't people, despite what the coneheads on the U.S. Supreme Court may believe. Governments and corporations have been free trial offering us into this precarious global economy. But we are the global market; we live in the global marketplace. Unscramble those twisty charts in the newspapers and on the internet, and it comes down to us. We drank the MORE cocktails, as my father says. On the rocks.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Wheel of the Year

Turning through the end of the year. We pass from Libra to Scorpio, still in the time of Creator-Ethical Visionary, as we approach Samhain, All Hallow's Eve and the Hunter's Moon. This week the sacred plant is sage. Orange and black candles will be lit, good sleep wished for the goddess, as the god of winter wakes to watch over us for the yule season and the beginning of the new year. First frost will set the seeds in the ground, ready for rebirth in the spring.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

South Lyon Herald Council Picks

South Lyon Herald has endorsed incumbent Erin Kopkowski, Bev Dixson and Joseph Ryzyi for City Council, all eager and good candidates. There are two seats to be filled with first time council-persons, and four candidates for office. The Herald endorsed a young person and one older-than-young person which means the paper endorsed the only new young person, and chose one of the three older candidates, who met the editorial criteria, and "fill a role left vacant since the death of Councilman Dick Selden." There are a lot of retirees in South Lyon, who have different concerns than other constituents. This is the intriguing sentence for me: not one of the candidates for office mentioned anything about the different concerns of their age group. Not one. I read the candidate profiles from last week's paper again. Three are not young. Richards has been attending city council meetings for 3 years, and his concerns seem the same as the rest. Do older people view the business of their hometown differently? Not according to the profiles. Are people elected to represent their particular age group? Or do those who stand for office want the best possible hometown for all residents? My primary issue with improving South Lyon is traffic patterns. Public safety. We all need to be able to cross the street without injury, whether we're 85 or 4 years old. This is the issue I will continue to work to fix. We need a slower speed limit on Pontiac Trail and at least two traffic-stopping crosswalks in this town. We do not need our people knocked down by folks driving too fast through town on their way to somewhere else. You have choices, and your reasons for voting for your choices are the right choices. Please get to the voting booth on Tuesday, November 8 and make your choices for the city that is your hometown, no matter what age you are.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Brodmann's area 10

We don't know everything about how the human brain thinks. We know its shape and cellular composition (cytoarchitectonics), and some of its malfunctions when it goes haywire, but not much else. Sticking electrodes in living beings can tell us what fires up while we're interacting with various stimuli, but like the universe there's a big percentage of magical goings-on that we cannot see, record or reproduce. Now is a great time for science and magic. Dark energy and dark matter make up the bulk of the universe. And what our brains are up to is within the mystery. Humans have a realm in the prefrontal cortex of our brain named Brodmann's area 10. The boundaries are not defined: BA10 is a cloud on the back porch of the frontal cortex. BA10 is oversized in humans, compared to other sapient beings. It is involved in strategic executive decision-making. The most interesting piece is that it may be making decisions without the rest of our brains being aware. So, here is a big evolutionary step in the last 50,000 years, about which we know bupkes. Experimentation can reveal that we know what we're going to do before we know it, but how is a blank. How do we know what we know? Isn't it fascinating to be sapient right now?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Under New Management

I'm not ready to write about all the amazing experiences happening in Michigan these days. For the present, friend Susan called today to share that she is still feeling wonderful after the retreat this weekend, and she summed up the world of resonance. Under New Management. We are in accord. This drawn image is a representation of All Mother. She is mother of... all. Her symbol appears on Saami drums, and is burned on a medallion on my walking stick. Something - maybe everything - has shifted. Our awareness of expanding consciousness is increasing rapidly. We sense energies vibrating, leaping, glowing while we observe with our inner eye and essential self. The veil between is fading. Between what? Everything. Within and without. Dimensions, living beings, spirit, everything. We hear that a kindred planet has been seen orbiting twin stars and we say, of course. We watch as a praying mantis tries to speak to us, and we listen. We read of an archeological find in Rome: a woman chief, and we say, naturally. We watch while major media wonders how people can protest and not make demands, and we understand how. We meet our spirit guides and we believe we intuited them there all along. This is an exciting time to be alive, a beautiful time to be an elder, and awestruck space to share with others. Under New Management. Thank you, Susan, for sharing.

Black Hat Tea

Nancy hosted our writers' group for a Black Hat Tea at her house in Holly, Michigan yesterday. She has a gorgeous home, and she has dozens of Halloween decorations. Everywhere we looked was another magical treasure to admire. The copper bird cage hanging next to her sink had two top-hatted crows carrying trick or treat bags. The kitchen stove towel read "Eat, Drink & Be Scary." The witch on the powder room sink read "The hat is just to keep the halo straight." Teddy bears in costumes. Beautiful pointy hats, purple and black spiders, a proper witch's cauldron, a spider web tablecloth and runner to complement flickering candles on the mantel, and a black feather wreath above. Nancy served Leelanau "Witches' Brew" wine, with "Don't Drink & Fly" cocktail napkins. Carrots were served in a black dish. A jalapeno sauce dripped green and gooey (and delicious) on a serving plate. The wine corks were witch legs upside down, and one of the serving dishes as well. Beautiful blown glass pumpkins decorated the serving buffet. We each got our own stocking/shoe to fill with goodies, like a broom that reads "Black Hat Society." The windows were open, and the wind swirling the leaves crisply about was delightful background music. We had a wonderful time, laughing and sharing stories; good friends playing happily. I don't yet have permission to post all the beautiful women with their beautiful hats, but when I do, I'll feel back in better company.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On the Origin of Tepees

Reading On the Origin of Tepees by Jonnie Hughes. The subtitle is the evolution of ideas (and ourselves). Hughes and his brother Ads are driving a Chrysler westward across America to find how Ideas evolve. The title is homage (and messing about with) Darwin's On the Origin of Species. So, here's Darwin mulling over and over the Idea of survival of the fittest. Hughes decides that the whole thing isn't so much Darwin had a great Idea, but a great Idea had Darwin. This is the nature of genius. But like cowboy hat design, barn roofs, tepee construction (3- or 4-pole?), most Idea[s] have tiny evolution steps and can be traced with careful study to a collaboration of ideas. It took hundreds of years to invent the wheel, design change by design change. And here we are in the 21st century, with human evolution tracing back billions of years to a one-celled something that started collaborating with other one-celled somethings to become a superorganism, made up of somethings we can't see but who make it possible for us to hang around shopping for groceries and reading books. On page 193, the footnote reads "That's why our chests never cease to rise; we are looked into an oxygen service agreement signed over a billion years ago between our ancestors and a class of wacky prokaryotes with an unequaled talent for getting hold of the energy in food." Life with a capital L goes on. We are an eukaryote. We are host to many organisms, working out of awareness, swapping stuff for other stuff so we can go on living. I think where we will travel in the rest of this book is into our next evolutionary phase. Noosphere territory. Maybe humans are transportation for Ideas. Can hardly wait to find out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weekend at Emrich Retreat Center

We shared a glorious Michigan autumn weekend at Emrich Retreat Center. 24 women - practitioners, healers, extraordinary humans carried the energy of awakening and awareness into the woods, grounds and around the bonfire. We shared the facilities with a group of breast cancer survivors in another building, whose dancing affirming healing laughter floated high in the catalpa trees and pines. I walked to the car in the fading light to check messages after dinner. As I listened to my friend sharing her experience with a transformation card she wanted me to hear, I raised my head, smiling and opened my eyes. There on a catalpa was a beautiful woman with long hair in the tree trunk. Home on Sunday, I told Dad about the weekend, and he remembered going to Emrich Retreat Center on a couples retreat with St. Gabriel's in the 70s. Yesterday we drove through the beautiful countryside back to Emrich, and talked with Lance Spencer, caretaker with his wife, Shari, for the Retreat Center. I told him I wanted a better picture of the tree. He said "isn't it spooky?" He thought it looked skeletal. I thought it looked divine. The tree is special whatever image comes to mind, and I love that people see the world in multiple ways. The center is open through the winter (Ayres and Winters buildings only) and I can envision a retreat with snowshoes, cross country skis and a more challenging commune with Mother Nature in her icy garb. Gratitude and hugs to Patricia Fero for bringing us together for her sister Nenie Beanie's birthday bash; Lance and Shari for their excellent care, Bev Fish for the sumptuous food, Leah Lambaria, Mara Evans, Andrea Evans, Deb Austin, Paula and Bev for great presentations, E. M. Spairow for the scrumptious cake; and the beautiful enlightened community of Michigan women who shared experiences, heart, and spirit; and created goosebumps and glowing memories.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dollhouse Pumpkin Carving

Miniature Pumpkin Carving

I finished building my dollhouse in 1994, but have added items to it each year since then. The date on this newspaper under the pumpkin is 2001. I hollowed the pumpkin and reamed the eye hole with a drill. The pumpkin innards are thread mixed with sesame seeds. The dollhouse was my project to keep me sane during a divorce. I was divorced in 1994, and the house was ready in 1994. I wanted so to move in to it! It's not a traditional dollhouse. The decor is reproductions of furniture in my life, and items I would love to have but could not afford. There is a grand piano in the living room that my sister Carol saved from a display at her store. And my dream copper leather couch is next to the beautiful fireplace. The Black Mariah stove in the kitchen is a mini version of my great-grandmother Mariah's wood burner. The copper teakettle is the same as the one in our cabin on Drummond Island, handmade by a Finnish coppersmith. My grandmother's coffee grinder handle actually turns, and the drawer beneath has coffee grounds in it. The rug is hand woven by Ruth Wales, a Drummond fabric artist. I made the towels, hand painted the dishes, and every tile on the bathroom floor. The paintings on the walls are miniaturized framed reproductions of my paintings. I made the computer in my office from a bead box, and carved the keyboard from toothpicks! There is my old trackball mouse, with a coiled wire connected. The computer actually plugs into the wall. The landscape is all handmade, including the rosebush in front called Fair Bianca, after my beloved niece and a Jackson-Perkins rose that was in my backyard. The fish table is not 1:12 scale, but I had to have it! Pisces people are like that; when we dive in to what we love, we're long distance swimmers. Yes, we are.

Halloween Dollhouse

Halloween is the second most decorated holiday in America. I put out my favorite witchy tealight holder, my Halloween tree, both small enough to fit on the desk. And I add some seasonal features to my dollhouse. This picture is the front lawn.

Jane's Rose

This rose is from my sister Jane's garden. It was a tight little bud, and now it is a magnificent bloom, old world fragrant and majestic. The petals will soon tremble to the desktop. Now is when it is the most beautiful and precious. The rose is as lovely as Jane. I love both.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why I'm a Candidate for South Lyon City Council

Because I love South Lyon. The eternal quest for women to change what they love notwithstanding. I want South Lyon to be the best small town it can possibly be. I asked Dad this morning why they retired here in 1992. He said because they needed inexpensive housing in a small town, he knew my cousin George lived here, and he liked what he saw. It was more rural then, but it is still a short drive to recreation areas, picture-postcard country. I love it because I walk to everywhere I need to do business. My dentist is in South Lyon. Eye doctor. Grocery store. Movie theater. Coffee shop. Hairdresser. I can ride my bike to the library. But why should voters consider any of that? I'm also tediously research-oriented and can dig into a project with absolute steadiness. I read the entire 2011-2012 city budget. There are line items that, baring legal requirements to do these things, perhaps can be cost saved. I want our citizens to be safe. Seniors and youngsters. There is no difference between these age groups in my mind, in terms of city services and function. We all need to be safe crossing the street. We all need recreation, good food and cool stuff to do. I volunteer a lot; but where and what I volunteer for is far away. I need to contribute to the community at home, in my hometown.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Katydid and Northern Red-bellied Snake

Life is getting ready for winter in Michigan on this gorgeous autumn day. Woolly bears are scooting their midsections down the road apiece. I watched a katydid, walking on the bike path among the yellow, red, orange and brown leaves, stop for a minute to sort out what was tree and what was tarmac. The crimson poplar leaves look like kisses on the sidewalk. A little snake that I thought was a stick moved just as I was about to squish it. Got my cellphone out to take a picture and got close in. The snake stiffened its coils and raised its head, rolled up its top lip and showed me the inside of its black mouth. Freaked me out enough to not get the picture. Confirmed it was a Northern Red-bellied Snake because a man wrote about the same behavior. It escaped into the grass, safe from walkers and bikers. An enormous hawk soared overhead, head up to the blue sky, not hunting, just soaring. This is a day for soaring in Michigan.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Romans abandoning Briton, colonial imperialism kicked out of India and Africa, young people quietly demonstrating in the South in the 60s, this year in the Middle East, and now New York: the minute law enforcement starts messing with protesters is the same minute the protests get bigger, brighter, more powerful and eventually, successful. Demonstrators know this. Guess law enforcement does not. The Wall Street protests are not nearly the gargantuan and holy offloading of repressive and nasty regimes as the other crises were; or is it? Wall Street came so damn close to taking the world economy down, and the shakiness is not over. Wall Street speculators and minions have pranced away completely unhindered to continue at will the practices that may yet demolish global world financial markets. When does the noosphere become saturated? What is happening in our country is the same thing that happens in our family. When we let bygones be bygones, when we shut up rather than speak our truth, when we forgive without forgetting, when we take no turn that will upturn the status quo; we allow the hurts, the dismantling of dignity and community to stop us from growing and healing. We need to call out the perpetrators, to name the criminals involved and either put those in the court system, or redeem them in the public square. We cannot shovel the damage done under the Brooklyn Bridge. It is our obligation as free citizens, as patriots, as human beings.