October 13, 2003

Isn't she lovely?  This print, called "Angel Unaware" hangs in my living room.  It's one of the very few classy things I ever bought for myself.  I got it from a Home Interiors party.  I went as a favor to my neighbor to give her warm bodies to count for points.  This was in, what, something like 1982 or so.  I didn't expect anything to move me since I don't really go for the froo froo stuff and the catalogue had been nearly all froo froo.  I watched with basic disinterest while people cooed and cawed over every sconce and circumstance the woman unveiled, using a flourish previously reserved only for divine second comings and from the dead raisings.  Then she whipped this print out in a beautiful burgundy frame and nice mat and I knew I had to have it.  I wrote a check on the spot, eating far into the grocery money (it was $32, a ridiculous amount to spend on something so frivolous).   I knew Paul was going to kill me for it (this was long before I was a Diva... I was more of a cringing puppy then), but I didn't care.  I'd have my picture.  Actually, he was quite pleased with it, which surprised me greatly.  That was the biggest problem with my relationship with Paul.  We were constantly either over or underestimating one another and I don't think there was ever a time that we really saw one another, even to this day.  This time, it worked in my favor and I still have this beautiful picture.  Mine does not twinkle.  ;)

Saturday night was our annual graveyard crawl where we go visit the dead and find purpose in our own lives and such.  We've done this for five years now and this was the first time we re-visited one from before.  There are still plenty of new ones to check out, but for whatever reason, we were drawn back to this one.  Last year was such an incredible experience and we knew in advance it would be a hard act to top.  Click on that last sentence to read about it.  It was a definite Moment with a capital M. 

This year the event was very quiet.  The graveyard itself is very isolated, but ironically, is in the middle of a business park that was built around it.  It's abandoned and quite dilapidated.  I managed to find a listing of the people who are buried there, printed them out and divided them into plots.  I rolled the papers into little scrolls and everyone drew a plot to visit.  Each person did 2-3 plots, just reading the stones, thinking of their lives and communing. 

I was visiting with an older couple, he was from Norway and she was from Denmark, and while they were chatting away in my head, my mind drifted and I found myself looking toward the cement foundation of one of the larger plots with overturned monuments and weeds growing up through the cracks.  I remembered that the last time we'd been here in 1999 (when there was ironically a new grave when no one had been buried there previously since the early 70's).  Joe had been with us before moving to Canada and he and a girl named Vida had gone over to that area to smoke.  While I sat on the little brick wall (about 6" tall, so my knees were around my ears, a position I seldom assume unless there's a money making opportunity involved), I was stricken with a huge wave of missing him.  He's such an incredible person, so creative and fun and smart and we're so often on the same wave length that we can talk endlessly.  He's going to be visiting in less than two weeks and I'm very eager for that, but in that moment, I missed him so much it hurt.  I closed my eyes and told Goddess how very much I missed him and it sparked on how lonely I've been lately.

I opened my eyes and let my head drop and right between my two feet was a Djarum clove cigarette, which is the brand that Joe (my son, 25) smoked back then.  (Believe me, I'm furious that ANY of my children smoke after all my preaching and bitching, much less TWO of them - >:< )  It was unsmoked, perfect and broken in half.  I felt a tear slip out and bent over and picked up the pieces.  I grabbed the lighter I'd used to light the candles for circle and I lit the business end of the cigarette and let the clove smoke was over me.  The scent reminded me so much of Joe.  I walked around with it a bit, burning the clove cigarette like a stick of incense.  I put it out after a bit, because I wanted to keep it as a treasure.  There were no other ones around.  I looked. 

I spent time at a couple of other plots, but I didn't really get much.  One was pissed that their son Lawrence had planted them in this cemetery rather than in a plot at their church cemetery.  Lawrence was there too and he was arguing that he'd bought this nice family plot where they could all be together and that none of the sisters and brothers had wanted to be buried in the church cemetery and yadda yadda yadda.  Another plot I tapped into started yelling "WHERE'S FRANK??" at me.  I didn't have a clue who Frank was, much less where he'd gotten himself off to, so I Ieft them alone pretty quickly.  There was another one where I couldn't get anything except long dead people who just didn't, well, have any life in them.  I collected a couple of nice rocks and got a bit frustrated carrying all of the papers (with the plot names on them) and the cigarette pieces and the rocks and absently wished I had pockets, then I glanced down and saw a perfect little lunch sized brown bag, as new as if it had just slipped out of its package.  I said thanks and shoved in the stuff. 

Afterwards, at dusk, we all gathered under the branches of a giant old tree whose branches almost touched the ground around us in about a 20 foot circle and shared the stories we'd gotten.  Other people got some really cool stuff, but my experience was rather benign.  After we talked about our experiences, we shared a few spooky stories, which moved me to rekindle the spooky story section that we offer every year.  It was fun to revamp it and go back through those stories again.  I know there are a couple of others rattling around in my head that I have to get written down if I get the chance.

I had another interesting experience over the weekend to which thusfar, only one person has given an appropriate response.   There is a gentleman down the road named Arnie who is 72.  I've known Arnie for a year now and met him when I would walk past his house while taking the kids to and from school.  He and Nathan hit it off and so a lot of days, we'd stop and talk with Arnie for a while.  His is "the squirrel house" because he has a huge squirrel feeder and a few families of squirrels that live in his numerous trees.  He's very politically active and is a major person in the democratic party in this area.  I knew he was a Buddhist who attended the Unitarian Church here in town.  So we'd had some good conversations and knew a good bit about one another.  I live on a corner and Arnie came down to hang a yard sale sign on Friday for his sale on Saturday.  I had just gone outside (in my housecoat) because Nathan (ye gods!) heard a fire truck and went flying out the door to see it.  We watched the truck go by and then talked to Arnie a bit. 

He mentioned going to Pagan Pride Day, which is always great people watching.  Out of this, we learned that we have a wonderful mutual friend, which is always nice to know.  Out of that, he asked about a group she works with and I mentioned to him that they remind me of The Merry Pranksters (Ken Kesey - One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest author,  Electric Koolaid Acid Test subject matter).  His eyes lit up and he said, "I was on the bus!!"  HE was a Merry Prankster!!  HE has pictures!!!  As it turned out, he graduated from Harvard and went to Haight-Ashbury and ran the free clinic there!  He knows EVERYBODY who was in that scene.  *sigh*  I told Joe and he wanted to know if Arnie knew Hunter S. Thompson (he did).  I told Eric and he was more shocked that Arnie knew our friend, Beverly.  I told the people in our group and they blinked at me.  I called Karen and she hooped and jumped around on the couch like a sane person should at hearing such things.  That's why I love her.

Eric STILL is out of work and of course, any funds I managed to preserve with a lockdown on money as soon as I found out he was laid off are now dwindling to gone.  I was really hoping that his business would have taken off by now or that he would have been called back to his old job.  I'm trying to avoid the negative "well, here we go again!" attitude.  It's tough and I'm trying to view this through the filter of the harvest and to believe that this is ultimately for the greatest good.  The faith and grace are starting to feel as shy as the money and I'm trying to keep all three above the deficit mark.  It feels like I'm fighting a losing battle on all fronts. 

So many things are happening right now to challenge my security on a whole lot of different fronts.  It's hard not to feel like this guy, the seven of wands.  Sticks are coming at me on all sides and all I have is one little stick of my own to fight off all these other ones that just keep coming and coming.  Since they have their work divided and I'm having to fight them all alone, my arms and my will are both getting pretty tired.  I also feel like I'm him in that I'm defending this tiny little mound of sanity that I have left while everyone else is going pokety poke.

I can NOT believe I just watched my blind, 17-year-old, bitchy, whiney dog just pop her bony little legs apart and take a firehose piss right on the carpet of my office.  I mean, she pees in here all the time because I have to keep her sequestered in my office (she gets lost in the house and runs into walls and pees everywhere if she's not), but I always figured it was because no one was there to goose her out into the garage when she whimpered.  But Nooooo.  She just doesn't much give a shit where her piss lands.  I can assure you she also does not give a piss where her shit lands.  poke poke poke

Gotta get some entertainment flowing here or Katrina's gonna crack.  I need... inspiration and liberation and regeneration and a stiff libation and some pink carnations and a celebration and above all, a good vacation.