Thursday, July 29, 2004

Blue moon

Soooo, using the Portrait Illustration Maker and an idea from Not Martha,  I created groovy drink 'tags' for my whole full moon circle.  It's a blue moon on Saturday, and while it doesn't really hold any significance magically, I can't wait to see these women!  We haven't been together since the start of June. We didnt have enough glasses last time, and we kept confusing them.  To remedy that, we now have individual ornaments for our glasses.  Mine is the pic you see here on my blog, but I made them for all the women in circle.  (even the one now in France and the other in Italy.) Nothing like crafts (and wine) to take you away from life with a 3 year old. 


My kid loves bugs.  She has several bug-catchers, little containers to magnify her finds, and bug 'houses' to keep them in.  We've raised two caterpillars this summer, and most recently she has liked to pose with her bugs.  Note the small bug in the front, which we called 'watermelon bug', and the BIG bug (with fake eyes).

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

  Celebrity Death Bets.  Will the smack kill Courtney...or will she be trampled at the welfare office?  Place your bet.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Found Photos

I swiped this from Chapel is very intriguing / disturbing / fancinating. 

Techno kid

At one point during the 3 hour drive to Cape Cod, I could glance into the back seat to see the 3.5 year old watching DVDs on a portable player while talking to grandma on my cell phone with her Leap Pad (a sort of lap-top for little kids) on her lap.  I'm both disgusted and amused with the scene. Lily quotes from the weekend: while sobbing in the backseat of the car:  But mommy, when I blink I miss some of the movie!   while jumping on the couch:  Hey mommy, when you die and come back and you're a little kid again, you just gotta try this! Two family parties with lots of cousins, sugar, and less sleep than normal have left Lily a bit frazzled.  Chilly weather; but a nice weekend away. 

Friday, July 23, 2004

The Grim Adventure of Gardening (with kids and pets)

In March, we planted sunflower seeds.  We nurtured, watched them grow, and put the plants in the ground in May.  Now that they are blooming, one remains.  There is a predator in the backyard.

It's the 23rd!

Ugh....with all the 23 synchs happening this week, don't know if I should embrace this day or hide under the covers.  I never have been able to decide if it is my lucky number or my nightmare number.  This weekend I will come up with a list of connections to my life.  Of course, with my limited math abilities, I'll see only the obvious.   To think there is a whole group of people out there pondering 23.... The birthday was lovely, and it was nice to go out.  Most of my friends are kidless, and their lifestyles permit different hours than mine with a 3 I'll pay for it today.  We met at 10pm, had a martini, and went out to hear some live music.   The two birthday girls are in the center of the photo.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Happy Birthday to me!

Sun sign:  Leo Moon:  Cancer Rising:  Sagittarius According to my chart, this makes me a very chatty, loyal, emotional leader focused on interpersonal relationships.   (That does sum me up well) No big plans for the day.  Taking Lily for a playdate to the spray park, then dinner with the little family, and out for a drink with my friend Kate tonight.  It's her birthday, too! 

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

3.2 Year Life Cycle Matrix

This is an interesting read.  I've always been confronted with the number '23' in my life.  It's rarely been pleasant....several deaths and other traumatic events have occured on the 23rd. I try not to be superstitious about it.  I honestly thought it had something to do with me personally until I chatted with a mathematician one day who explained to me that there is some mathematical basis for my observations.  He also told me that any combination of 2 and 3 creates these sort of glitches in the universe that allow for chaos.  In looking at the matrix on this site, I eyeballed the life cycle and some of the major events in my life.  Sure enough, they do line up. 
Off to the beach again this weekend.  John's company owns a condo in Onset (just at the start of Cape Cod).  It's completely furnished, and just a one block walk to a beautiful little beach. Lily had a blast at the beach last weekend....catching crabs, snails, and even digging up a clam.  John brought home steamers for dinner, and Lil even tried one.  Ewwww.... I can't get used to the smell.   Little ocean critters are a new experience for this WI girl.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

A magical (true) story

Last summer my friend India came for dinner.  It was the 4th of July, and we sat on the deck watching my husband build a playhouse for my daughter.  India wore a blue sundress.  She almost always wore black or dark colors, so I was surprised to see how beautiful she looked in this color.  She often wore necklaces, so I suggested that she should have a blue necklace because the color showed off her eyes so well.   India went off to Spain with her sons for a couple of weeks, and my daughter Lily and I shopped for the perfect necklace.  We found a big chunk of lapis lazuli wrapped in silver.  Somehow, we kept forgetting to give it to India.  India was the kind of friend who could drop by unannounced at anytime and simply jump into whatever was happening in our family.  And she did so often.  But all summer we did not remember to give her the lapis.   In November, she babysat for Miss Lily one evening so that we could attend a surprise 40th birthday party.  Lily remembered excitedly that we had a gift for India.  We were all in my bedroom, and India and Lily sat on the Victorian couch.  She loved the pendant, and reached for her necklace to attach it.  She said, "oh, I seem to have lost the chain I had on."  I had an extra silver chain, so I gave it to her.  The blue color made her eyes dance.   We went off to the party, and Lily and India stayed home.  They had a full moon ritual on our deck....made special by the lunar eclipse that occurred that night.  I still have the water they blessed under the moon that night.  We were home by 11:00pm, and India went off to a party.   The next day she drove her oldest son Nick to the New Haven train station so he could return to Fordham University after a weekend visit.  As she was returning to Hartford, she drove onto the median and struck a tree.  Her neck was broken, and she died shortly after being flown to Hartford Hospital.  She was wearing the necklace.   I don't know why, but the necklace became a huge focus for me.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Several things were missing from the accident scene that I thought should be there:  the necklace, her cell phone, and her tarot cards.  Yes, the scene was hectic and violent...any of those things could be easily lost.  But I was so hung up on the necklace.   Somehow we all survived the following week of gatherings, services, grieving, and confusion.  I held up quite well.  I almost felt like a hostess at her wake...I know so many people from different parts of her life.  I actually enjoyed connecting with everyone in spite of the fact that my best friend lay in a coffin at the front of the room.   I saw the accident report, no mention of the missing items.  I couldn't let it go.  I decided to cast a spell and call out to the universe to help me locate the necklace.  Really, I didn't need to have it so much as I wanted to be sure that someone was taking care of it.  (I practice magic, and often did so with India.  I've been pagan since the age of 16. )  Now, I've been casting spells and moving energy for 20 years....I do have a feel for it. It isn't often that I call out for something so personal and specific.  In my grief, I wasn't very careful with my words.  I called out 'to find India's lost necklace'.   On Christmas day, we cancelled plans to attend a party and stayed home.  It was a balmy 50 degrees, so we played in the backyard.  Lily made mud sculptures on the side of her playhouse while we finally got around to putting the deck wicker away.  As we move the table, something shiny caught my eye.  It was a necklace!  Not the one we gave to India, but the one she had mentioned loosing earlier.  What a gift!  The clasp was broken, and it must have fallen out of her clothes while she and Lily were doing the full moon ritual on the deck.   Here is the necklace. I don't buy into 'everything happens for a reason'.  But maybe we humans can find reason in most things that happen?     

Friday, July 16, 2004

Lookit what I just found!

Cleaning out my desk (used to belong to my dad), and I found an envelope stuffed into a 'secret drawer'. It had stickers in it from when I was a kid!   10 of them!  Yippee! Wacky Packages put out parodies of popular products from the 1960s-90s. Mine are likely from the 70's, when I was wearing gauchos and panchos. And my hair in two long braids looped up resembling a floppy-eared rabbit. ( Just like Laura Ingalls)

Thursday, July 15, 2004

DEP Emergency

My husband builds stuff. Usually large structures like bridges and rollercoasters. He supervised the build of a couple of coasters, including the Superman coaster at Six Flags. One of the jobs he is managing now is on a dam at the resouvoir in Lennox, MA. Yesterday, he got a call reporting that this rock truck had overturned into the water. Yes, the diesel-fueled, 10-ton vehicle was in the drinking water. John calls the MA Dept of Evironmental Protection's EMERGENCY SPILL LINE. He waited on hold for 10 minutes! "Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line." When he finally got through to a human, the call was cut off before he had a chance to give his contact information. Soooo, he had to call back and wait on hold again. "Your call is very important to us...." Yes, quite an efficient operation they have going there. No one was hurt, the spill turned out to be easy to clean up. But if it had managed to seep into the town's water supply, I wonder how effective the DEP would be in addressing it? A very tired husband arrived home at 10:00pm, only to leave again at 3:30am to be sure the clean-up was going smoothly. (We live in Central CT, and he works all over MA. Lots of driving)

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

PC time

Yes, yes....I know 'PC' means one of several things to the average American: politically correct or personal computer. In my family, PC refers to Pediatric Cardiologist. We're coming up on our visit the first week of August, and I can feel the anxiety starting to build. The last visit, things were fine, unchanged. Good news. I still get so nervous during my daughter's echocardiograms that I often have to leave the room and let my husband (who has a calm presence) sit with her. I can feel my anxiety spiraling and affecting everyone in the room....especially Lily. Echocardiograms are the scariest test for me. It was during an echo done on me at 7 days postpartum when I first learned of my heart disease and grim prognosis. The resident and student were discussing the echo as I was 'sleeping' under the influence of morphine. (which, by the way, is a nice drug. I understand why people become hooked.) It was during an echo 2.5 months later on my baby that I learned that she needed immediate open heart surgery and had a complex series of heart defects. This was one of the worst days of my life. She had her surgery, did great, and is closely monitored for her other heart issues. We are so lucky. We never loose site of that. At some point she will need another surgery, but we wait until her heart function is poor enough. So.....I dread the upcoming echo for fear of the scary news it may bring. I don't want to complain about the medical issues my family faces, as I feel we have a unique perspective and probably enjoy day-to-day existence a bit more than our neighbors. We don't find spending time with our daughter a chore, and each day when I wake up with her I am consciously aware and grateful that we get to hang out together. She is a treasure. Her square on the CHD Quilt project was just completed. It is on the same quilt with my sister's square. She has a congenital heart defect called Tetrology of Fallot, and has had 4 surgeries to correct it. I've been surrounded with the heart issues all of my life....finally I'm seeing the big picture and becoming an advocate/activist.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

New Socks

I just got my order in the mail from Sock Dreams. It's a most fun early birthday present for me....and John sure liked looking at the site, too. The ever-mischievous new additon got hold of my favorite sock and brought it out to her stomping ground: the backyard. Other items I've discovered out there this week include: Lily's favorite stuffed animal, Unicorn, a nail file, a squeeze bottle of stain remover, and the kitchen sponge. Hace un calor fatal hoy. Too hot for socks....but I sure want to wear those new over-the-knee stripes. I think I may have to order another pair in different color to wear this I don't like things to match much.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The Apple

The enchanting Elizabeth (Lily) started 'camp' this week. The programs runs for 2.5 hours each morning this week at the town farm. She did great the first day, and the second day saying goodbye was a bit more difficult. She was OK once she learned that they were going to have a turtle race. We are enrolled for several more one week programs this summer in preparation for preschool which starts in September. In order to understand my emotional rollercoaster you need to read about our brief preschool experience last year: Lily was 2.5 years old, and I found a preschool with a 2.5 hour program 2 days a week. Well, she wasn't ready (and neither was I). We struggled for 3 weeks, trying to have her stay for 1/2 hour at a time while she cried and yawned continuously. Since then I've realized that she yawns when she is very stressed. I sat in my car and tried to read, but usually cried. One day she stayed for 2 hours without tears. I came to pick her up and stood outside with all the other parents. The kids filed out between the head teacher and her assistant. Each kid was given an apple ornament (it was "A" day) as a reminder of what they learned that day. When Lilster came out with her backpack on and carrying her lunchbox, she was so excited to see me that she ran right past the teacher giving apples. She squealed and told me how she was brave and didn't cry. I was so proud I was teary-eyed. I suggested that she go and ask the teacher for her apple ornament. That head teacher dangled it up just over my kid's head, then closed it up in her fist saying "Lily's going to have to work harder to get her apple". WTF???? First of all, she's 2.5 years old, and she just spent her first non-traumatic day of preschool away from me. Secondly, she was singled out and not given a reward. She was the only kid. And it was done in front of all the other kids and parents. I was speechless. And, as you can imagine, it is tough to render me speechless. Without a word I left. I was furious by the time I left the parking lot. The more I thought about it, the more angry I got. At first I couldn't decipher whether I was defensive because the cutie is my kid or if that head teacher's style was really not going to agree with my parenting style. But I am a teacher as well, and once I mulled it over for a long time I was good and pissed. John wanted to "go to the school and give that teacher some fucking applesauce!" To top it off, Lily had started to wake at 5am asking whether or not she had to go to school. I stewed about this for several days before I called the head teacher and told her I was pulling Lily out. She didn't say much, but a few days later and envelope arrived from the teacher with a note about how much I owed apple ornament. What could she be thinking? I didn't expend anymore energy trying to figure out this woman. So, I tentatively plan for preschool this fall.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Still trying to be cheerful about a L-O-N-G day. We went to Block Island to visit J.'s ex-stepmother on her yacht. We left at 7:30 am, and got home at 8pm. We spent 2 hours on her boat, the remainder of time traveling by car or ferry or taxi. In the pouring rain. The things I don't enjoy about 'the islands' (Block, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket) include the fact that there are way too many monogrammed accessories on way too many white people. I didn't hear another language all day long. (I adore listening to language I don't understand....and guessing what country people are from. Most of the Spanish accents I can distinguish. Mostly I like the ones where I can't comprehend the words and I listen to intonation and rhythm.) We did get to visit with J.'s family a bit, and Lily had a fabulous time on the ferry. I'm happy to be home and dry with family and pets. Catching up on the blogs. I AM addicted.

Sunday, July 04, 2004


Had a few moments alone this afternoon to work on the yard and herb garden. I'm not thrilled with how the herbs are doing this year....but I am keeping a journal of what is working and not so that next year things will improve. The most controversial herb I have is comfrey, but I'm thinking of removing it because the puppy keeps chewing on it. My favorite herb is the nasturium, especially after a rainfall. I just found out that it is my Grandmother's favorite plant, too. The flowers are beautiful in a salad; yellow, orange and red. A wren family lives in the garden as well. The babies left the nest on Summer Solstice, the same as last year. I wonder if it is the same family that has returned? It is a busy spot for a nest, right at the bottom of the stairs from the deck and my daughter and I are constantly playing in the garden. I have plans to make holiday gifts with dried herbs again. Last year I make smudge sticks with sage, dream pillows with lavendar, and comfrey oil (knitbone) for healing. We made stepping stones this week for the garden to help Lily figure out where she can stand. I will mark out the directions. Someday I'd like to learn about what plants correspond with the directions and elements. Now I'm learning about medicinal and cosmetic uses. In August I'm attending a day-long workshop with Susun Weed. She is an intense woman, self-educated and very opinionated. I'm looking forward to meeting her as I've been reading her columns in several publications for years.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Gaiagal: why that title?

I've tried several times to write an entry about my friend India. I struggle with the words. India was an amazing woman. I learned so much from her. In the 15 years we were friends, we had many adventures: She officiated the ceremony of my first marriage, and was the maid of honor and photographer in my second wedding. She guided me to become a high priestess and public leader in the Goddess and political communities in Connecticut. I watched her raise her two boys, Nick and Joe, alone. We had a community access television program called The Witches' Book. We recorded music, made (awful) music videos, and appeared together on several TV and radio shows. I listened to her many woes about finding a man who would fit into her life, and she helped me through a tough seperation and was the first to learn of my love for John. (even before John!) She was always interested as we talked, and when I lived in Boston for several years, our phone conversations were never shorter than 3 hours. She had a dynamic way of storytelling and I feel like I know all of the people in her life through her words. We discussed sychronicity at length. She did her last full moon ritual on my deck with my daughter. It was Lily's first. The Connecticut Law Tribune ran a full-page article on her after her death. The title sums her up well: A Life Lived to the Fullest, A Spirit Unmatched Here are other links related to her: Her lastest artistic endeavor: Jezebel Her work as a Witch in the prisons Witchvox Article after her death Hartford Advocate Publisher's Note In many way I feel like she is as much a part of my life as she ever was. After her services, I was in the car with my husband crying. I said to him that I just wanted some sign that things were OK with her. Anything. Just then, a car drove past us with the license plate 'GAIA'. Ahhh, the Earth Goddess. I got my sign, and went off to the reception with a lighter heart. The reception was at Artspace in Hartford, and featured a sampling of her photography over the years, including series called Initiation and her photos of musicians. When we arrived, Amy approached me and gave me a little vial of India's personal blend of perfume oils, which Amy makes. Scent carries such memories. I asked her if it had a name, and she said "India named it. It's called Gaia." That is just the sort of synchronicity that India and I would have been completely amused with.


J. had the big procedure yesterday. Vasectomy. It's final...we officially are not able to have any more kidlets. We have known this since I was diagnosed with a heart disease related to pregnancy just after the birth of our daughter, that another pregnancy would likely mean my death. I asked my doc for a tubal ligation, but she didn't want to do elective surgery on me. So I tried another doc. Same answer. So...the topic of birth control has been an issue for 3.5 years now. I guess we were sorta hoping that some research would surface saying that it may be safe for me to attempt another pregnancy. So my sweet husband is spending this holiday weekend with swollen parts in an effort to spare my life. (how dramatic!) But I am 36 this month, and combined with my heart condition, along with the fact that our daughter has a serious heart defect = no more kids. So it is a relief, but a bit final. Of course everyone we know is trying to get pregnant or having kids. And many people ask me if we'll have more, to which I give them a brief description of the last few years. Serves them right for being so personal. ;) In checking out the web for info on the procedure, we came across this site. Not for the squeamish, but an entertaining pictoral of a regular guy and every stage of his vasectomy.

Friday, July 02, 2004

The new addition

Willow is quite possibly the cutest dog on the planet. Don't let that sweet expression fool you....the spikes around her neck suit her well. Today I found a Barbie in the back yard (minus one hand), one red slip-on, and the hand towel from the bathroom. Those things along with the ridiculous amount of dog toys I've purchased. She came to live with us on 4-04-04. She was brought in to the hospital by The Puppy Center (a local pet store) to be put down because of kennel cough. A tech there saved her, and spent the next 4 months nursing her day and night. It was a rollercoaster, but now she's doing OK. The chronic cough is caused by permanent lung damage. She was spayed last week and did great through surgery. She fits in with our family well. She is my first dog. I've had the same 4 cats for 13 years, and never understood 'dog people'. I am her chosen human, and what a feeling that is! I still adore my cats, of course. But this dog really is like a kid. She is a great size and temperment for my daughter, and they are becoming fast friends. I know her so well, I can read her expressions. I'm in love. But when does this chewing phase end??

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Heart girls

The President and founder of WomenHeart, Nancy Loving, suggested that I may need an agent soon (in jest). I attended a Science and Leadership Symposium offered by WomenHeart and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota last October, and then the Advocacy Institute offered in DC in March. Rhoda Baer photographed me and Lily for WomenHeart's new ad campaign which will run in print and billboards. The shot is of me with my arms around Lily's waist, and her shirt is open showing her scar from open-heart surgery. I was torn about using her in public awareness ads, she of course can't voice an opinion about it. It's an intense photo. Last week Nancy gave my number to Dateline, and I also did an hour-long phone interview for a PBS documentary on women and heart disease. They may feature my story to be run in February 2005. Oh, and WomenHeart has agreed to pay for a table for me at the CT Women's Expo in September. I'm thrilled to be involved in so many high-profile events to raise awareness for women and children with heart disease. Interesting that I had to almost die and have a kid with a defective heart before I became a sought-after celebrity.

Mona, Mona, Magpie....

I have a 13 year old Himalyan cat. She is one of the greatest loves of my life. A friend is a vet tech, and I've acquired all of my misfit pets from her. Each was abandoned or brought into her clinic to be "put down": Wednesday: black cat without eyes Coletrane: 26-pound black cat found in a garbage bag in a college campus parking lot Rowan: tiger kitty who passed in January from an awful tumor in her mouth and jaw Mona: Himaylan cat, 5 pounds, and now in severe kidney failure. Also has permanent head-tilt from inner ear disturbance. We give her sub-cu fluids daily Willow: Cocker spaniel / King Charles spaniel mix, 8 months old, with permanent lung damage. A constant cough....but manages to do all the obnoxious puppy things she should be doing. Well, I'm sensing that Miss Mona is slipping away. Even with the special diet and daily fluids, I don't see the spark in her eyes anymore. I've dreaded this, I can't imagine life without her. And now that Lily understands death to some degree, her pain will be hard to comfort. We've had a rough dearest friend of 16 years passed in November, and then our beloved Rowan in December. Wish I could protect my kid from the cycle of life a bit longer, and have more quality time with Mona. Here are a few names we call Mona: Monkey ('Mona' is Spanish for monkey, if I could get 'Hello' to work, I could post her photo) Mona Macaroni Mona-licious Mona-muffin Mona-riffic Mona, Mona, Magpie