Please click on Uncle Sam!!


March 28, 2002

I thought I'd share with you some of the things we used for our Spring Equinox ritual this year.  I hope you enjoy it:

[As an aside, Early Spring is the time of The Maiden, which is why She is mentioned here]

The Maiden now walks in beauty
And seduction upon the Land, as do we. 
Our light touches and ignites all we see
When our ancestors created they Gods and Goddesses,
They looked unto themselves for the images
They would bestow upon the new Deities
For even as God created Man in His own Image, Man create the Gods and Goddesses in the images of the faces around them.
Whether Deity originated from Within or Without is a mystery
We will not know for certain in this life
But it is irrelevant now
Because regardless, the Gods and Goddesses walk with us now
Whether it came from our need for them
As protection and to bestow reverence upon and to explain the phenomena that humans experience
Or if it came from the need of Deity
To find expression in Human Existence by showing their faces and their miracles to humankind,
Over the millions of years
The Power of Faith and Belief
Has made Them real
And now They have our faces.
So as we walk this Earth, we do so as the true Earthly Embodiment of Goddess
Our emotions reflect the aspects of Goddess and are to be honored, not feared, not reviled.
The cycles of our life are to be honored and welcomed, not feared and met with disdain.
Our very lives are reflective of the passage of the year, from moon to moon and sun to sun.
We are Goddess. 
We are Goddess because humanity made us Goddess and made Goddess Us.
How often are we truly aware of this fact?
How often do we view ourselves as Goddesses?
Or stand up for ourselves to be treated as an ambassador of the Goddess
And not a doormat or grist for someone’s mill,
Or a punching bag, physically or emotionally?
How often do we allow others to treat us in a way that we would never dream of treating them?
How often to we accept behaviors from other that show no respect for us and for our needs?
How often do we cower from hostility or cringe from disrespect shown to us?
How often to we ourselves say that we are unworthy?
How often do we speak of ourselves not with the reverence with which we would speak of the Goddess, but with the derision that we would address an enemy, of one worthy of hatred and scorn?
We look upon our bodies, the sacred vessel of life, as objects of our disgust…too fat, too sick, too saggy, too old, unworthy of love and respect and pleasure. 
We humble our souls to believe that we are less than what we are, that we are trash, that we are here for the benefit of others, to serve their needs only, at the expense of our own.
We deny or postpone our own joys, our own rewards, to embrace and provide and celebrate the joy and rewards of others.
When we do well, we seldom praise ourselves.  We say, “Oh, it was nothing” or “I couldn’t have done it without you!” or we squirm when others give us compliments; tell us how beautiful and capable we are.  We diminish their praise until it is no longer an expression of admiration, but is instead a reflection of their own mistake of judging us worthy of praise.
Without praise, we crave it even more and thirst for it, only to reduce it yet again in our own humility. 
Without praise, we feel unworthy and it feeds our shadow selves, our insecurities, our fears, our darkest image of ourselves, and that becomes the reality that we carry with us instead of the true Goddess self that we are.
The self that is assured and safe and filled with reverence even as we are revered.
We become the self that insists on dying to save yet another drowning man. 
We are the givers of life, we are the nurturers, we are the healers, we are the embodiment of all that is beautiful and bright and sacred in this world.
The Goddess has expression in this life only through us and when we shame ourselves, we shame Her.
When we accept less than the best, we give her less than our best.
When we allow ourselves to be diminished to feed the ego of someone else, we show our daughters that this is how a woman should be treated and how Goddesses are treated.
When we allow ourselves to be pushed aside, our voices shushed, and our faces shunned, we further the ongoing movement to silence the Goddess and hide her face from the light.
When we treat ourselves with scorn and speak negatively to and about ourselves, we defame The Goddess and revile her name.
Let us welcome the empowerment of the Goddess into our lives to touch every aspect of our lives. 
Let us embody the Goddess in our walk, in our words, in our manner, in our behavior.
On this, the time of Spring when the crisp breeze brings warmth to our lands, let the Goddess warm our hearts and mold for us an image of ourselves that is worthy, that admirable, that is honorable and that will accept no less than those response from the people around us and especially from ourselves.
Let us insult and diminish the Goddess no more.
We walk as maidens during this time, young, fresh, filled with beauty and seduction and new power and promise of a lifetime of wonderful miracles made manifest.  As it is burgeoning within the maiden, causing her to glow with health and beauty, so does it bloom within us.

Phenomenal Woman
By: Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me


March 26, 2002

Just in case you ever wondered if there really is a God, here are two of them for you:

georgebrad.jpg (92635 bytes)
click me



March 24, 2002


Sidney Poitier is 73-yers-old and is still ultra fine.

sidney.jpg (30350 bytes)     sidney2.jpg (23242 bytes)
Click 'em

That is all.


March 20, 2002

Wow!  People really do read this stuff! 

I was definitely surprised by the number of letters I got addressing the dream I had.  I want to hasten to say that I was definitely not setting up that dream to be any indication of truths in the world or a sacred, spiritual path or anything.  I’m not even saying that *I* believe what was said.  I was merely sharing a really intense, weird dream.  

Many people have written “debunking” the dream by saying that Dr Phil obviously has money and other people that I hold in esteem and who “get it” have money.  Again, I’m not saying that they don’t and I’m not saying that what a dead bartender told me in a dream should be written on the Gates of Delphi or anything.  It was just an interesting dream.  Eric is STILL working to find ways to unseat the theory, no matter how many times I tell him, “Honey, it was just a dream.” 

What is interesting is that the extreme reaction to it has definitely started me thinking on a few issues and I think that is largely what dreams are meant to do, although I do believe that some dreams are working on mental issues that are so obscure that for all intents and purposes, they are just your head running little movies to keep you entertained.  One of my strong points in counseling others has always been dream interpretation and I’ll be the first to say that in my opinion, trying to decode the meaning in many  of our dreams is an effort in futility.  Our subconscious is the only one that really has the decoder ring and a lot of the time, it’s not talkin’.  I still don’t understand why Bobby Sherman became irresistible to me as a little pre-teen after having a kissy dream about him when he had previously been considered fairly dismissible.  

So thinking about the dream started me thinking about the extreme reactions to the dream and how protective and defensive we all are about our dreams and ambitions.  It also worries me that so many of us, myself included, base their definition of success or happiness on something that is set to happen in the future (or not).  I can’t tell you how many times I have thought, “I would be so happy if…” and fill in the blank with some future goal like “I have enough money to meet my needs,” “I lose 80 pounds,” “I can find a good partner,” “I can get a better job,” “I can get a better house,” “My book will sell,” “I win the lottery…”  It’s so often that success and happiness is pending some outcome in the future and God help us if it’s pending ALL of those things.  

I thought about how startling and unsettling and scary and dismal it is to even consider that the things we want might, for whatever reason, within or without, be denied to us.  If I never get my book fit for publication or I never win the lottery or I always, always have to struggle to have enough money to even meet basic needs or I never lose the 80 pounds and live my life out over 200 pounds or if I have to move into an even lesser house or I lose the job that I hated in the first place and have no job, what will happen?  Will I see myself as successful without those things?  Can I be happy, not occasionally having a burst of happy, but have a joyful life filled with happiness if those goals are never met?  

This is a really, really scary thought. 

I love my husband very, very dearly and he is truly one of the coolest people I’ve ever met.  If I were to sit him down with divine knowledge and tell him, “Eric, your life is always going to be a struggle.  You will never, ever have enough money to meet your needs.  You will never be rich.  You will never move beyond living payday to payday and payday loan to payday loan.  You will still be working to make ends meet when you are 80” he would die.  He would rebel, he would fight, he would scream and he would die rather than live that life.  He is one of the most spiritual people I’ve ever met, but taking away that dream of living in creature comfort would kill him.  Until he has provided for his family in such a way that he can retire before 40 and live in wealth, he will never feel that he is successful.  Until he has bested smoking, he will never feel successful.  Until he has made lightning bolts shoot out of his fingertips and flown around the golden domes of the yogis, he will never feel successful.  His heart will forever yearn for what he has not yet done.  It’s not just that he’ll want to do it and feel disappointed when he doesn’t, it’s that he will not feel as though he is successful until he has reached that goal. 

What would it be like if ________ (insert the name of your favorite saint, ascended master, angel, God or Goddess figure or revered spiritual icon here) sat you down, face to face and said, “_______,” (insert your name here) “This [sweeping hand indicates your present life and all it contains at this moment] is all there is and will ever be for you.  You are at the pinnacle of your success.  This is as good as it ever gets.”  And what if They meant it?  

I know I’m a very fortunate person, despite our ongoing financial troubles.  I have great internet friends.  I have a wonderful spiritual group of Hut Sisters that get together with me a minimum of every two weeks to dance under the moon and laugh and work magick (as a by the way moment, when magick is associated with the affiliation of nature and manipulation of energy for manifestation rather than stage illusion, it’s spelled with the ‘k’)and dress funky and raise (big) energy and explore the world of Nature’s Mysteries. I have a fabulously handsome, smart, funny, exciting husband who adores me.  I have had six of the most incredible, fascinating people in the world spring forth from my body and love me enormously.  I have met totally interesting people and had really cool experiences that I would not trade for a world of riches.  I have slinky, flowing, comfy clothes that I love to wear.  I have a wonderful pig collection!  I get to stay at home with my really cool little kids and live their lives with them and have a husband that supports that (on many levels).  I have an MP3 collection that is totally without rival, for godsake!  I’m not saying I don’t want to have ambition and goals, but what my dream has taught me is that I can’t continue to postpone a life of joy and satisfaction until I obtain x, y and z.  I want it now.   My dream showed me that it has to come from within me and I have to stop wanting and wanting and wanting and wanting all of these things.  I have to want what I have to have what I want.  I have to find the beauty and value in the things I have and the things I am right now and have that be my focus.  The rest will just have to take care of itself.  

I am a Virgo and we must plan and we must have lists and we must have predictability and we must know what our life will be tomorrow and next week and next month and five years from now or we are uneasy and antsy and, well, scared.  If nothing else, the past few years have tried to show me, over and over that I just can’t have that.  At least, right now I can’t have that.  But really, can we ever have that?  If a day works out as we planned, isn’t that more of an oddity than something coming along to jack it up in some way?   How unreasonable is it for us to believe that we have a real plan?  

My dad was a good example to fit in here.  My dad was an interesting man, as is evidenced by his behavior described in the post below.  That post below describes something that happened in the mid-sixties.  By the time he died, over twenty years later, he was a very different man.  The kindest thing the minister could say when he was saying my father's eulogy was "Guy was an intense man."  Dad was an auto paint and body man in the 60s and 70s and refused to wear a mask when he painted because he was horribly claustrophobic.  The lead based paints, over years, made him crazier than a shithouse rat.  There are plenty of stories I could tell about that, left best to another time.  He died when he was 51 when his heart exploded in his chest as the final fatty deposits blocked off the last exit for blood from his heart.  He’d had chest pains, was admitted to the hospital and was set of a heart cath in two days.  By all accounts of the nurses present, he sat up in bed, said “My chest hurts” and fell back, dead before he hit the pillow.  My cousin, Billy, who was an intern or a paramedic or nurse or something (can you tell I’m close with my extended family?) was doing compressions on him, appropriately, but only served, they found with the autopsy, to force the blood out into his thoracic cavity faster.  

The last time I talked to my father, he called to tell me that the extension on his unemployment claim had run out and he was not going to have the means to take care of my mom and brothers.  I’d been away from home for about 8 years at this point, I guess and happened to be late for a Gyn appointment I'd waited 3 months to get.  I couldn't talk to him right then and never imagined it would be the last time I'd hear his voice.  "I'm sorry it's bad, Dad.  I've got to get going.  I love you."  He was devastated and had been looking for a job for months.  He had stopped working with cars right around when I left home when my uncle got him a job working with the coal company as a night watchman, making double the pay he had been making in the body shop.  When the coal company went on strike, Dad was laid off and after being out of the automotive business for so long, he couldn’t get work there any more.  He did under-the-table mechanic and body work for people in the neighborhood, but nothing steady.  My mother received his final unemployment check the day he was buried.  Even as nutty as he was for the last several years before he died, I truly believe my father dying of a literally broken heart was a perfect metaphor for where he was in his life.  He was a 51-year-old man with no job and no hope for the future and he just couldn’t live with it any more.  He could not accept the possibility of “Guy Chapman, this might be all there is.”  He was weary and he was beaten down and he was finished.  He died without a will, without life insurance, without savings and without a plan. 

I think about Dad and I think about all of the creative masters, like Poe and Mozart and other greats, who died in poverty, destitute and frightened and bereft, some of whom would never, ever see their success and believed that they were dying into oblivion, their names never to be heard on anyone’s lips again.  They had no feeling of success or accomplishment in their moment of death, not knowing that school children would study them and others in their field would revere them for hundreds of years after their death.  

In closing, as with the previous post, I’m not even sure where this was going or if it had a direction at all.  I do think that I want to be way, way more involved in living in and savoring every moment, right now, rather than investing my energy and happiness on things to happen in the future.  I want to be here, now, in this moment, making a series of positive impressions in my mind that I can peruse at the time of my death, whenever it occurs, and feel that I have done well rather than regretting the things I never got to accomplish.  I want to take more chances, be more daring, demand more of my self in each moment and let those successes add up to whatever they become rather than place a destination in the future and worry about how to get there.  Maybe if I work to put positive energy into each and every moment, it won’t matter if I ever debunk Joe-the-Dead-Bartender’s theory of riches and spirit not being happy cohabiters.  Maybe it won’t matter if I prove out that low-carb is the way to go or that I’m a great writer because this book or that book was deemed acceptable by some biased suit (get it?  Suit?  Bias?) at a publishing company.  

OK.  That’s it.  That’s the plan for now, for this moment.  OK, here’s another moment and that’s still the plan.  Wait.  Another moment…still the plan.  I think I’m well into 5-6 (I lost count) moments where that is still my plan.  I think I’ll just let go and see where it goes from there.  


March 19, 2002

I think I’m having some kind of bizarre power surge or something.  Maybe it’s an actual menopausal break down.  Regardless, I need to be in the Hut at the Corner of the Village, wearing something diaphanous and fire scrying instead of trying to take care of little ones who are doing their best to be good.   

All day long, I’ve been getting these really strong memories in my head and weird thought associations.  Since there’s no one to talk to who is over four, I’m going to just spill them all out here and you guys can read them or skim them or pass over, whatever you like.  At least they’ll be out there and not clogging up my brain any more. 

First, my netfriend, Connie, mentioned an interest in the funeral business and I’ve had so many thoughts of death lately, not my own or anyone close to be, but of past deaths and people who are in my life and now are not and physical death and nonphysical deaths and such. 

Connie got me to thinking about the two morticians I have known in my life (Jeez, how many people know even one mortician??).  The first one I knew was a guy named Bill Bendele.  He was a really big guy who was a good guy overall.  I lost track of him when I left Victorville, CA, as well as his ex-wife, Beverly, who was a good friend.  The last I heard, Bill had married a woman named Mary Kay that he originally left Beverly for (big fat demerits in my book – can’t abide a cheater) and Beverly was marrying a guy she’d dated for a while.  I ran into her at a store called “Michaels” (arts and crafts) and we were only able to speak briefly.  I was pregnant with Delena at the time, so that was about 10 years ago.  Another friend told me she heard Beverly had died a couple of years ago (more death), so I’m hoping that rumors of her death are greatly exaggerated.  Anyway, the story I wanted to tell is that I was getting read for Paul’s Airman’s Leadership School graduation and wanted to look really nice since we NEVER went out anywhere requiring formal dress.  Ever.  Beverly told me (they were still married then) that Bill, as a mortician, did GREAT make-up and I couldn’t afford a make-over, so I asked him to do my face for the graduation.  He agreed and came over.  We put together what make up I had and what make up Bev had and Bill went to work on me.  I was about 130 pounds of muscle back then from running 3 miles a day, 5 on weekends, before Paul went to work every morning.  I hated every step I ran, but I did it anyway.  One day I got a tear in my running shorts, chafed my thigh badly and never really ran regularly again.  Anyway, Bill was doing my makeup and was getting all flustered.  I asked him what was wrong and he told me he couldn’t “work vertical” and so I laid down on my coffee table on my back and he did my make up beautifully in a matter of minutes.  I love that moment in my life.  My favorite memory of Beverly is when I had her rent the movie “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.  She called me up bawling, “Friends shouldn’t let friends watch that movie alone!!”  We then both hurried out and bought the soundtrack to listen to for the next several years.   

The next mortician I knew was named Robert and was such a sweetheart.   Robert was a wonderful gay goth guy that I adored.  He graduated high school and his family moved to Pasadena, Texas.  He went through mortician’s school (whatever that is called) and loved it.  He desperately wanted to open a Pagan mortuary, but Pasadena, Texas wasn’t ready for the idea and he couldn’t get a bank loan, but wasn’t comfortable working in the Christian dominated funeral biz, so last I heard, he was delivering pizzas.  My most interesting memory of Robert is when I called him up to chat one day and kept hearing “ka-ching, ka-ching” in the background and asked him what he was doing and he said he was stapling his feet together with a staple gun.  He had issues, but I adored Robert. 

Don’t read this next part if you don’t have knowledge of the music of Kenny Rogers.  I was just playing my massive MP3 collection of Kenny’s music and I had a few questions and observations. 

Lucille:  I don’t think she had four hungry children and I don’t think that loser big guy had a stalk of corn, much less a crop in the field.  I think he was probably some asshole that took her for granted and berated her and treated her like shit, so she walked out on him, said screw it, went to a bar to feel alive again and found Kenny and started chatting him up.  I think Big Mountain Man wanted to derail any chance of Kenny being able to get it up with his “woman,” (since he was too much of a coward – as are most bullies – to engage in actual hand-to-hand combat) and so he said what he did, knowing probably that Kenny was just a decent, horny guy, and went home and had a case of Henry’s and laughed his ass off.  Meanwhile, Lucille didn’t get any from Kenny and goes to a hotel and cries for a few days. 

Coward of the County:  I can’t help but think of my ex, The Goat’s, interpretation when Kenny says, “They took turns at Becky and there were three of them.”  Paul’s was, “…and there were forty-seven of them.”  Forty-seven seemed to be some arbitrary number that he chose, but it was his story and he stuck to it.  He also rewrote the Linda Ronstadt song, “Love is a Rose, But You’d Better Not Pick It” to replace ‘rose’ with ‘nose.’  Back to Kenny.  If Tommy was 10-years-old when his father gave him the “walk away from trouble when you can” speech, why didn’t Kenny modify that slightly, since he was the one who raised Tommy, so that Tommy wasn’t such a wuss?  Surely, he could gently tell him that one still has to take care of oneself, even if one had a violent dad with a deathbed full of regret, especially if the whole town is calling you “Yellow.”  Sheesh…have a heart, Kenny. 

She Believe in Me:  Put down the guitar and go love your woman, you selfish son-of-a-bitch. 

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) – “I tripped on a cloud and fell twelve miles high” is probably one of the coolest lines every written in a song and The Big Lebowski” is probably one of the coolest movies of our time.  “But I’m The Dude, Maaan.”  God, I love Jeff Bridges.  I think Starman is when I really got a raging hormonal thing for him.   

Rueben James:  Man, they really done Rueben wrong.  That brings me to racism. 

I recently had a conversation with a friend who wondered what growing up in Kentucky had done to provide any basis for racism.  I was raised in rural Kentucky, not Appalachia, but very definitely country, in the 60’s and I came into teen years in the early 70’s.  I’m very sensitive to the issues of stereotyping of “hicks” now.  I never was before, but right now, at this point in my life, it really bothers me.  I keyed in on it hard the other day when Eric mentioned that Louisville had an airport called an “international airport.”  He, the New England boy, kind of sneered and said, “Why would Kentucky need an ‘international’ airport?”  I was deeply offended and asked him what the hell THAT was about.  He started backtracking fast and said that he was simply questioning why airports without nonstop international flights would be called international airports, since they are truly domestic airports that require flying to another stateside airport to get to someplace international.  He knew and I knew he was covering and covering fast (a fine job, I might add).  I pointed out that technically, Canada and Mexico were international and went on a rant about how sick I was of people presuming that people in Kentucky have sex with their relatives and don’t have shoes and are illiterate and don’t have phones and such.  I lived with the scorn of The Goat’s family forever for being “country.”  They continually repeated the last word of every sentence I said, dragging out the word in an affected accent to mimic me until I finally worked very hard and lost the accent.  I now only have it if I’m really angry or I’ve just talked to my mother.  I just got tired of the rest of the country equating my southern accent to stupidity.  Kentucky is the leading producer of quality baseball bats, a forerunning producer of tobacco and other crops and houses the top breeders of thoroughbred horses.  Yet we are considered behind the times and backward compared to such thriving, high industry states as Delaware and Wyoming and Rhode Island.  (Not to slam those states…they were picked randomly as states that are NOT given the association with stupidity, “hicks” and fornicating with relatives).  I can’t tell you how many times the fact that I married young or now having 6 children has been attributed, usually with a knowing look, to being from Kentucky.  

I was definitely raised in the country, just like many people in many other states were raised in rural areas in the 60’s before everything turned to concrete.  I honestly, truly, did not know about racism until I left Kentucky.  I’m sure it was there, but it wasn’t in my world.  We were white (and still are) and there were, I presume by circumstance, no nonwhites in our community.  My father worked in Owensboro, which was 20 minutes north of us, and many of his friends were black.  I never particularly thought about there being no people of color in our town until probably this past year or so.   

My first introduction to multiculturism was in the third grade when our aspiring young teacher, Martha Curtis, started us on watching Senor Someone (can’t remember his name, but he had a burro named Pedro) on PBS who taught grade school Spanish.  We all felt tres’ cosmopolitan, but I’m sure it was hilarious to hear 20 or so little kids with strong Kentucky accents sounding out words in Spanish (OK, I’ll give you that, it was probably pretty funny). 

When I was in the 5th grade, two extraordinary things happened in our school, just a few months apart.  One was that we got Lauro P. Quizon, Jr, “JoJo” to our school. JoJo was Filipino and we were mesmerized by him.  We wanted to touch his caramel skin, feel his silky hair and hear ALL about his country because JoJo had actually COME from the Philippines.  We all, including our teacher, under the impression that he spoke Spanish, but I know now that he most likely spoke Tagalog and only had the faintest idea what we were saying when she confidently whipped out our third grade Spanish on him, hence, the puzzled looks.  We thought JoJo was fab and until we started middle school in another town, we all clamored to be his buddy. 

The second incredible thing that happened is that we got Elizabeth Lane, who was a force of nature.  Liz was a light-skinned black girl with the most beautiful freckles I’ve ever seen.  She had a stammer that I found utterly endearing and a mind as quicksilver as mercury.  She could think of more fun things to do in an hour than other people could in a year.  I remember that she was also the biggest sugar junkie I’ve ever met.  I’ve never known a person who loved candy as much as she did and lord, did we bring it to her because we loved Liz. 

When we moved on to Middle School (Ohio County Middle School right between Hartford and Beaver Dam, Ky), there were many black people and it stopped being something novel for us.  I don’t remember a single instance of one race being treated differently from another.  We were all just kids and had kid issues as usual, but I don’t recall any instances of race related trouble.  Mind you, the black kids who went to that school and on to Ohio County High School might have a totally different set of memories, involving things I didn’t experience.   

Wait.  I just remembered something interesting (at least to me).  When I was very, very small, maybe 4-5-years-old (it had to be before I was 6, because that’s when we moved to the community I was just talking about) and we lived in a nearby town called Utica. I remember living in two different houses there in a span of about 3 years, but they were only about a quarter mile apart, so it was still the same community.  We weren’t very close to town and our roads were dirt roads, gravel if we were in a higher rent area (we weren’t).  

I have very few memories of this time and, in fact, very few memories of my life before age 15 or so.  One of the ones that just flew in was of a man named “Polk” who lived near us in Utica.  My mom and dad called him, “Mr Polk.”  Mr Polk was a neighborhood handy man and he did probably all of the house repairs and extra garden work and building and such in the area.  Mr Polk walked everywhere he went, absolutely everywhere.  Every day, we’d see him walking the dirt road, making several trips some days.  He had a dog, an old redboned hound named Spider that walked with him some times.  I remember that whenever he would walk by when my parents were in the yard, he’d stop and talk to them.  My mom would give him a glass of something to drink, iced tea, lemonade or a coke.  Dad would shake his hand and the beginning of their conversation went the same way every time.  Dad:  “Howdy Doo, Mr Polk,”  Mr Polk:  “Mr Chapman, just call me Nigger Polk.  Eva body else do.”  Dad:  “I think I like calling you Mr Polk just fine.”  Then they’d sit and drink whatever Mom brought out (there was never, ever alcohol in our home) and talk about the weather or who Mr Polk was working for or other gossip in the town.  He’d stay for a short time or a long while, depending on how much work he had to do.  Sometimes, I’d walk down as far as the turn in the road with Mr Polk, about a half mile or so.  You could still see our house and mom would stand at the mailbox and watch until I came running back.  Mr Polk always called me “Little Missy.”  I was a pretty sharp kid and knew about first names and last names and since Mr Polk always identified himself to my parents as “Nigger Polk,” I thought it was his first name.  It was the only place where I’d ever heard the word.  We did not watch the news in my house, so I had no knowledge of Dr King or the civil rights movements or separate drinking fountains.  It was never in my world.  One time, when I was walking with him to the corner, I asked Mr Polk if “Nigger” was his name and he said, “Little Missy, it might as well be, so I just took it on.”  I now know that based on his answer, he most likely lived in a totally different Kentucky than did I.  

One day, I decided to go exploring, looking for Mr Polk.  Fortunately, I found him a couple of miles down the road, working at Mr Coke’s General Store. I knew my mom and I had seen him a few times when we’d gone in there and I walked toward it, knowing I might see him along the way.  Being 4-5, I didn’t bother to alert mom to the plan I had of going to find Mr Polk, so she was pretty frantic when he came walking up with me, still wearing the apron from Mr Coke’s store, saying, “Missus Chapman, yo’ Li’l Missy done runned away from home to find ol’ Nigger Polk and say howdy to him.”  I was still working on the 2 penny dumdum sucker that he’d given me before we left the store and thought I’d done a fine thing in finding Mr Polk to talk to since I’d been bored playing in the front yard.  Mom adjusting my thinking on that with an ass-warming once we got inside and Mr Polk was back on his way to the store. 

Mr Polk’s funeral was not only the first funeral I ever attended, but was also the first time I’d seen everyone in our town in one place and no room to even stand in our church.  I remember being sad that my mom wouldn’t let me go up and see him in his casket with everyone else.  I’m not sure why.  I imagine, knowing my mom, she figured it would upset me.  I really missed him.  We moved not long after that. 

I had a really, really weird dream the other morning.  Dylan always wakes up hungry around 4-5am.  I don’t *have* to be up until 6:30, so I usually get up and get him a peanut butter sandwich and cup of milk and go back to bed since he’s very trustworthy watching TV on his own in his room.  I went back to sleep on this morning and had one of those dreams of really freaky clarity.   

I was walking into a pub that I used to frequent when we lived in England called “The Limeburners.”  It was maybe a quarter mile’s stumbling distance from our house and was where I played on a dart league.  Anyway, in the dream, I walked into the pub and although in my conscious memory, the pub is a vague fuzz, in the dream, the details were crystal clear.  I remembered the 7 barstools at the bar, the fruit machine (slot machine) to the left of the bar, the arrangement of the glasses behind the dark wood bar, the mirror directly behind where Joe, the landlord (not called bartenders there since the owner of the pub lives in an apartment over the pub or adjacent to the pub), the little plastic Baby Cham (pronounced sham) deer who stood by the stack of never used Champaign glasses, the three tables in front of the bar where the old men sat to drink Guinness Stout from pewter steins and played…what was it?  Cribbage!!  I saw the second room of the pub where the dart games were played, close tables half with chairs and half with booths, with the two rooms separated by a jukebox and an interesting wood…banister? from floor to vaulted ceiling.   

In my dream, the bar was empty when I entered except for Joe (who died in the late 80’s), who was wiping the bar down.  “Yankee,” he called as I came in, which is always what he called me.  “How long has it been?  Sixteen?  Seventeen years?”   

I did some quick math in my head in the dream (something I don’t think I’ve done before) and said, “Yep, Joe, almost seventeen years.”   

“You still with that red-haired bloke who drank Fosters?” 

(smiling) “No, I’m with a dark-headed bloke who drinks Guinness.” 

(laughing) “Finally got a real man, eh?” 

(wry smile) “In more ways that one.” 

“So how are those boys of yours?  Must be grown by now.” 

“Yep.  Big boys.  But I’ve got three more little ones, a daughter and two sons.” 

“Three more?  Think of that.  You are blessed, Luv.” 

“I am indeed, Joe.  I actually came in for fish and chips.  I’ve really been craving them.”  (True in real life – I had fish and chips in Canada at London Fish and Chips and again at Salty’s in December 2000 and I’ve been dying for some every since). 

(smiling)  “Now you know we don’t serve fish and chips here.”  (I remembered it as he said it) 

“How about some of Julie’s (his daughter) roasted potatoes and a Bacardi and lemonade?”  (Lemonade in England isn’t like here, it’s 7-up with a heavier lemon flavor and when mixed with Bacardi rum, it makes a wonderfully brisk, refreshing, inebriating drink)  

“Got some out of the oven right now.”  He leaves and returns with a plate of them and I start to eat.  Mmmmmm. 

“So how are things for you, Yankee?”   

“Things are good, Joe…really good.” 

“That’s good.”  Pause  pause  pause.  “So how’s the money?” 

“I can pay for the potatoes, if that’s what you’re wondering.” 

(laughs)  “The potatoes are on the house.  You pay for the Bacardi and lemonade.  I’m talking about money in general.” 

(Stop eating.  Think.)  “The money’s bad, Joe.  Really bad.  I’m a stay at home mom and my job skills have been buried for four years.  My husband is a very highly trained telecom tech and the death of the dot com companies and all those accounts being written off in bankruptcy have thrown the telecom companies like AT&T and MCI Worldcom into extreme distress.  In a career where he should, by rights, be picking and choosing his jobs, he’s scrounging like mad to try and stay employed.  He’s laid off every few months without notice and as soon as we get caught up, a layoff castrates us again.  It seems like we can never, ever get ahead, can never, ever relax from the money worries, no matter what.  It’s been that way my whole life, Joe.  It’s like I carry around this cloud of poverty with me where ever I go.” 

[As you read what is to come, please bear in mind that Joe was a leathery man of undeterminable age, who looked like a goofy British guy and the last person to wax in any way esoteric] 

“Let me ask you something…do you know anyone who is wealthy.” 

“Hmmm.  Sure do.  My in-laws have money.  Worked very hard for it and are now well off.” 

“Do they have soul?” 


“You heard me.  Do they have souls?  Spirits?” 

“Well, of course they do.  They’re really good people.  They have souls.” 

“That’s not what I mean,” he says gently and slowly, waiting for me to let it sink in.  “Do they ‘get it.’  Are they in our world in the same way that you are in our world?  Is their spirit as open and ready for magick as yours is?  Do they believe in miracles or do they believe that anything you get, you must sacrifice and sweat and bleed to get?  Do they know that there are worlds and realms other than these?  Do that ‘get it?’” 

(thinking).  “No.  They don’t get it.  They don’t get what you and I do.”  (odd thing to say because I had never thought of Joe in a magickal light). 

“Do you know why?” 

(feeling small, scared and intimidated by what I am about to hear)  “No.” 

“Because having a soul, having a spirit, “getting it,” cost money.” 

“Then I’m assed out, because I’ve got no money.” 

“That’s not what I mean.  Before you come into this world, if you are going to ‘get it’ while in this world and truly live in the spirit and in touch with your soul, it costs you your money.  Why do you think there is ongoing reference to ‘selling your soul’ or whenever someone makes a ‘deal with the devil’ it involves ‘selling’ their soul?  It just doesn’t work.  You can’t have both.  The Bible is so frequently mistranslated as to saying, ‘The love of money is the root of all evil.’  The truth is that MONEY is the root of all evil and brings out the worst in people.  It takes away their time with their families.  It delineates friends.  It turns the focus from the spirit to what do you or don’t possess, how you can get more of it and who is going to take it from you.  The two, money and spirit, cannot exist side-by-side.” 

“Why?  Why not?  It doesn’t make sense!” 

“Like everything else in nature…balance.  You simply cannot have everything at once or you are out of balance, which means you are then out of sync with nature.  The basic laws of existentialism state that you cannot have everything at once.  You cannot even have everything sequentially, one right after another.  Every choice is bittersweet, including those made before birth.  When you choose one thing, you unchoose another.  If you have chocolate ice cream, you don’t have vanilla ice cream.  If you have both vanilla and chocolate, you don’t have butter pecan.  You simply cannot have it all.  Ever wonder why there are so very, very few people who are really beautiful and really kind and really smart?  It’s vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan, trying to be together.  It doesn’t work.  No one can eat all of the flavors of ice cream that exist and not become ill.  Even the most beautiful bird in the world, the peacock, cannot sing.  It can only squawk.  You have a beautiful family, the love of a lifetime, a wonderful spiritual connection and so many other blessings.  Don’t worry about whether or not you can sing.  The greatest spiritual masters of human existence lived simple lives, devoid of material gain.  Do you really deserve so much better than what they had?  You already have more than they had:  the love of a devoted partner and beautiful children.”   

Then the dream ended.  I shared it with Eric later that day and he spent the rest of the day working to debunk it.  “If riches are to be denied to me and balance is the issue, then poverty should be denied to me as well!”  and “Paramahansa Yogananda’s family had money out the butt and he is one of the foremost recognized spiritual leaders of our century!” 

“Eric, YOUR family has money.   What a person’s family has doesn’t mean anything.”  I had a hard time getting him to understand the difference between sharing a dream with him and invoking a new world order and paradigm of belief.  ;) 

Wow.  Ten pages written over five hours.  Guess I should go thank the boys for being such good babies while mommy purged her head and stilled the demons.  Thanks for listening if you’re still with me.


March 14, 2002

Supposedly from an actual newspaper contest where entrants ages 
4 to 15 were asked to imitate "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey."

I believe you should live each day as if it is your last, which is why I don't have any clean laundry because, come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of their life? -- Age 15

Give me the strength to change the things I can, the grace to accept the things I cannot, and a great big bag of money. -- Age 13

Democracy is a beautiful thing, except for that part about letting just any old yokel vote. -- Age 10

For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then the astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock. That's what happens to cheese when you leave it out. -- Age 6

Think of the biggest number you can. Now add five. Then, imagine if you had that many Twinkies.  Wow, that's five more than the biggest number you could come up with! -- Age 6

As you make your way through this hectic world of ours, set aside a few minutes each day.  At the end of the year, you'll have a couple of days saved up. -- Age 7

Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher. That is, I used to, until she got an unlisted number. -- Age 15

It would be terrible if the Red Cross Bloodmobile got into an accident. No, wait. That would be good because if anyone needed it, the blood would be right there. -- Age 5

If we could just get everyone to close their eyes and visualize world peace for an hour, imagine how serene and quiet it would be until the looting started. -- Age 15

* * *

March 12, 2002

I do want all of you to know that I write columns to you in my head all day long and continually see things that I want to share.  I need to start keeping a notebook with me.  Here are some of the times that I thought of you: 

On Sundays, Eric and I used to take the little kids out to brunch at a local buffet.  My kids are typically very well behaved when eating in public and it’s invariably a very pleasant time.  The restaurant where we go has a tiny arcade of 2-3 big video games, so we sit close and that lets Dylan and Delena burn off 20 minutes or so while Eric and I sit and talk.  The food is good.  The company is great and it’s something we all enjoy very much. 

When I started dieting again a couple of weeks ago, we decided to try something different because I was in the middle of some strong cravings and didn’t really want to be around that much temptation.  We went to a place a dear friend just happened to mention called, “Wild Things.”  There used to be a wonderful place called “Discovery Zone” that was an indoor playground of tubes and ball pits and overpriced pizza and moon walks and bouncy slides and all kinds of fabulous stuff.  Unfortunately, Discovery Zone went bankrupt (surprising since they charged a lot to get in) and Chuck E. Cheese bought out the chain.   Some of the Discovery Zones turned into Chuck E. Cheeses, but the rest, and ours, are standing empty and neglected (WHAT a crime!).  Wild Things is a geared down version of Discovery Zone and we had been looking for something similar since DZ closed a year or so ago.  Overall, Wild Things did not disappoint.  The biggest let down was that the parents can’t go into the ball pits and slides and such, which was encouraged at DZ.  It’s still safe, but Eric and I wanted to play in the ball pit.  There is an area for smaller children, so Nathan plays there and the other two go to the big kids area and have fun.  It’s nice to relax, talk and watch them have a wonderful time.  I was amazed at how independent and social they are for kids who haven’t been out of the house much.  

After we went two weeks ago, Dylan was counting the “darks” until we could go again.  We went Sunday and Eric and I let the kids go and employed our people watching (and critiquing) skills.  We have refined this to the point that we barely have to speak any more.  We were sitting next to the Yuppie Icons of the World.  These were two families (one little boy each, named “Bryce” and “Preston”) who had obviously not known one another before and like kindred souls in a foreign land had found one another.  There was a lot of dick waving and one-up-man-ship going on, comparing their homes (one of them had a place that was a steal at $400,000, but they were looking for something bigger), their cars, their kids’ schools, their “clubs.”  Eric and I silently promised one another we’d never be like that.  I think since I’ve made it to 40 and not gotten terribly pretentious, I’m a shoe in on this one.  A great big guy in a dirty T-shirt that said, “Aladdin Bail Bonds” on the front (those are the folks I told you about who have the stereotype commercials with the white-trash blonde and the Hispanic woman) and “Because Jail Sucks” on the back brought his little boy over to play in the same area where we were and I thought we were going to have to perform CPR on the moms.  There was a giant clown there, a big woman from Louisiana or some other bayou area judging from her accent who did face painting and made balloon animals.  Pretty soon, I saw the Jail Sucks guy walking around with a big yellow phallus and scrotum tucked under his arm.  I nudged Eric and he said it was a balloon sword.  I couldn’t NOT see phallus and scrotum after that…the upward arch of the balloon shaft and the twisted loops of balloon below were just too close for me.  Every way he held the thing was cracking me up.   

Dylan, as usual, was devastated when we had to leave.  He’s counting darks again. 

At the thrift shop, for 47 cents minus 25% from my ever-present coupon, I bought a really cool little book.  It has a hand tooled spine that stretches out onto the covers a bit and there are about 200 blank, hand sewn pages in it.  It’s small, about 4” across by 6” tall.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to use it for, but it has become my Miracle and Prayer Book.  Every night, I list all of the miracles of the day, big and small.  My kids are always on there because they are forever a miracle.  It can be something like getting an extension on a payment due, finding $20, having a good BM, whatever.  If it’s good, it’s a miracle.  Then on the back of the page, I write a list of my current prayers and take a few minutes to put some energy toward them.  It has definitely helped my focus on the good in my life to intensify and bring greater hope and faith for the good things to come.  On Sunday, I started to write that I was glad I was not a pretentious, competitive Yuppie and, conversely, I was glad I was not in an Aladdin Bail Bonds shirt with a big, yellow dick under my arm, but decided instead to consider it a miracle that I wasn’t that trite (but you should see the related prayer entry). 

It appears that my Glory, Glory Hallelujah speech has convinced Eric not to go into the California Highway Patrol.  He had seriously considered it and if it was really his heart’s desire, I wouldn’t stand in his way, that’s for sure, but we got into a treacherous conversation about why I had a right to give input to what his career would be and it activated some button that required I get on the soap box and go into the work it would take to put him back together after he deals with traffic accidents where kids the age of his own were killed, the fear of wondering if today would be the day he’d go up to give a ticket on a simple traffic stop and meet the business end of a gun from someone who really didn’t want to bother with a ticket (we’re in California, remember) and listening to him bitch about every night not being a high speed chase.  The steady paycheck and benefits would be enticing.  He is back to work for a month only and we desperately need the perfect job to come up for him during that time, but I was not at all comfortable with this choice for him and for us.  Lord, though, something has to give soon!  We have refused to let this latest layoff get the best of us and are determined to take one day at a time, pay one bill at a time and trudge through it.  He is such a tremendously credentialed telecom engineer and at any other time, he’d have to fight off jobs, but with the death of so many .com companies, telecom is faltering like mad.  Everyone had expected the market to be back on track again long ago, but it’s still unstable.  Look for MCI Worldcom to go bankrupt at any second.  

In other news, my son, David has picked up a GREAT job in customer service with Wells Fargo making about double what he was making at Radioshack, so we’re all cheering for him. 

For those who don’t know, my son, Joe, who lives in Victoria, Canada (he’s 24) is a wonderful writer.  He is also an incredible artist. 

Here are a couple of his pictures.  Click on the one on the left for Jim Morrison and the one on the right for a woman from Penthouse:

Jim Morrison     Woman From Penthouse

Excuse the crappy digital camera.  It was free from Earthlink, so I don't complain.

Anyway, Joe’s preferred outlet for his talent is screenplay writing and he has just completed his 4th, but has never found the right venue to have them made into films.  Out of the blue, a Victoria TV station sponsored a contest to find screenplays written by unknowns to be made into a movie.  They are giving special consideration to Canadians from Victoria (Joe has dual citizenship via his wife) and he is absolutely going to win this and have his movie made.  He took an idea he’s been batting around for a couple of years and has written a dynamite screenplay.  I read it and couldn’t STOP reading it until the end.  It’s incredible and we’re all praying he wins this.  He turns it in this week and waits.   We all wait. 

I was watching PBS during their marathon last week and happened upon a lecture by Dr Wayne Dyer (“Real Magic” and “You’ll See It When You Believe It” are my faves by him) called “A Spiritual Answer for Every Problem.”  I stumbled over a couple of his concepts, but felt it was more of an issue of not having enough of an explanation of all he was thinking in regard to his ideas, so I’d like to read the book.  A couple of things stood out to me in particular. 

SILENCE.  He spoke at length on the importance of silence (something I, personally, have never experienced, being a mom).  I know that he is referring to the inner silence that comes with meditation and not an actual absence of sound in one’s environment.  I have been a long time meditator and have enjoyed and benefited from it immensely.  Eric has taken it to a new level with his exploration of Eastern Religion.  He’s one of the sit-in-the-lotus-position-and-meditate-for-three-hours people.  I am one of those get-very-comfy-go-to-delta-stage-and-watch-the-show people.  In the Bible, we are told, “In the silence, you will know me.”  Dyer says that silence is the closest contact with have with God because silence is the only “thing” on earth that, like God, is indivisible.  Divide silence and you still have silence.  Likewise, no matter how much people may try to humanize or label or lay claim to or define or divide God, they still get God, the same energy, regardless of the path they take to get to God.  So in the silence, you are experience the closest avenue to God’s voice.  Without distraction, you can hear your soul speak to you. 

LIKEWISE, he pointed out that whatever you call the energy or the force that is GOD is irrelevant.  It is a about a state of mind and a state of being that puts you in a God place and allows you to hear the words and feel the feeling.  It doesn’t matter whether you get that in a church pew or a grassy field dancing around a Maypole or in the bathtub with candles around you.  It doesn’t matter if you’re kneeling or washing dishes or cuddling a baby or cleaning stables.  What matters is your connection to that God place.  What Dyer said in particular is that (and he was quoting someone…Emerson perhaps?) the word “water” does not get us wet.  We don’t have to name water to get wet by it. 

ENERGY INVESTMENT.  He gave an interesting analogy in reference to partner relationships.   He was talking about how, in relationships, especially over time, we tend to focus on the negative factors until that is all we see.  We stop seeing the things that caused us to fall in love with the person and instead, spend our time focusing on the cap off the toothpaste and the socks on the floor and 1000 other things at the expense of the wonderful things.  The illustration was to see energy as money and to imagine that someone gives us a million dollars to spend and we go out to spend it on home furnishings.  (I had no trouble imagining spending $1million)  He said you go to the first store and see a carpet you absolutely hate and buy it.  Then you see a pair of lamps you hate and buy them.  You see a living room set you hate and buy it.  It’s all delivered and you go home and wonder why you can’t stand your house.  When we invest our energy (money) into the things we don’t like and don’t want (through bitching and worrying and obsessing on the negatives and fears about what *might* happen), we aren’t going to be living in a very positive, happy place.  We will hate where we are and what we have surrounded ourselves with to the point that we can’t stand our own life.  When we invest in friends and behaviors and qualities and even thoughts that we enjoy and put our energies there, focusing on the positive and letting the negative take care of itself, we live in a much happier place.  This is no easy task for a nitpicky Virgo like myself, but if I can do it, anyone can do it.  It definitely works and that is where my little miracle book comes into play.  It really helps me have a better day the following day if I take a few minutes to invest attention and energy into the wonderful things that have happened and to look forward to the miracles that are to come.   

So there’s a bit of rambling for you.  I hope everyone is doing well and life is good for you.  If it’s not, try listing some of the things that are and giving them all the attention you can.  Figure out how much of the stuff you’re worrying about you can actually change and if you can’t, just fuck it.  The worry and fretting isn’t going to help anyway, so just scratch it off your list.  Pare that sucker down all you can and make room for the good stuff.  You’ll be surprised at the change in mindset it brings.  When the bad stuff starts to come in, use the word I readily adopted from Sage, “Pfft”  and add to it another of my favorites, “Whatever.”  From now on, if it’s outside my realm of influence, it’s getting the “Pfft, whatever!” treatment…unless I’m tempted to wear a “Jail Sucks” shirt, then I’m going to freakin go nuclear.


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