Sunday, October 31, 2004

There was no 'bigger hips' option. Make your own doll here. Found at the ever entertaining Chapel Perilous.

Six years later

John. He rocks my world. Has more integrity than any person I know. And my stomach still gets flippy when I see his truck pull in the driveway each day. We were married on All Hallow's Eve, 1998 at Old Sturbridge Village. OSV is a living-history type museum set in the early 1800's. The Village doesn't allow lights to be set up for photos (or even electric lights) at the Center Meeting House where the ceremony took place, so the place was beautifully lit outside by moonlight and laterns on the paths, and inside by candlelight. There was a brillant gibbous moon, and both Saturn and Jupiter were visible. I wore a vintage 1940's gown, and my mom walked me down the ailse. Although it looked normal to most who attended, the ceremony was not ordinary. We were married by a witch, and the wedding party included several pagans and a gay couple. We chose an African tradition of jumping a broom to enter into our new domestic life. We had seats of honor for family who had died. The ceremony took 20 minutes, and then a horse-drawn bus brought the guests down the road to the Village tavern for dinner. There were 6 giant fireplaces and many pumpkins. The food served was period-style, and everyone tells me it was delicious. (never managed to eat that night....and didn't even SEE the cake!) We both enjoyed the evening tremendously, and believe that it was the most magical event either of us has attended. ~Blessed Samhain to all~

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Off to a party, dressed as a gypsy/bellydancer. I carve this pattern almost every year. This year, to make my unicorn-obsessed daughter happy, I also made this one.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Almost here

Samhain is just 2 days away! Did I mention that it is my favorite holiday, and my wedding anniversary, and Lily's due date? I did? There I go again. Many profound events in my life have happened on or within a few weeks of Samhain. Highlights:
  • marriage to John
  • second trimester miscarriage
  • birth of my daughter
  • my near-death experience and heart disease diagnosis
  • my grim prognosis of 5 years or less without a heart transplant
  • car accident on my front lawn, India and I were first on the scene, and tended to driver who landed on the lawn after being thrown through the windshield. The ambulance took 15 minutes to arrive. Car unrecognizable. He had hit a tree. Don't know if he survived.
  • India's death, also a car accident involving a tree, almost exactly one year after above described accident

Well, in reading this it seems as if I sound have some fear of this time of year. I don't, each experience has been life-changing. The only major event that doesn't fall in the time period is Lily's heart disease diagnosis and open heart surgery. For me, this time of year is literally closer to the other side. Somehow, instead of being fearful, I find it oddly comforting. A connection to the Earth's cycle, and the bigger picture. Whatever you want to call it. Mind you, this calm perspective comes one full year after the last major event. I don't necessarily keep it during traumatic times.

We are celebrating our anniversary this year by going to Old Sturbridge Village where we were married. Then, out for some trick-or-treating with our little unicorn.

To read more about Samhain, and Issac Bonewit's take on the origin of Halloween, click here.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


Interesting tidbits: The ongoing story of abduction in CA. Perhaps it is the start of a gnom-adic Jihad? Fabulous recipes for tapas. (Spanish required) Great Halloween inspiration at not martha. Halloween crafts (better get movin') I can't believe the Jello Biafra / Propoganda album cover purse is already SOLD. notwithoutmyhandbag We celebrate Day of the Dead at my house. I also collect Mexican folk art. Lookit the fab-u-lous necklace Mark and Dave gave me. I can always count on interesting gifts from them, especially for our Halloween anniversary. back to raking and jumping in leaves...

Monday, October 25, 2004

L I (V) E G I R L S

Need to be lied to about Iraq?
Long for someone to speak to you in a fake Texan accent?
Flag-waving, Bible-thumping babes are waiting for you to help them spread freedom...

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Jello update

Lil's birthday is 11/3, but she chose the theme for her 4th b-day party, so we had the party a bit early. I took Reverend John's jello advice, and the kids were thrilled with the results. (gummy spiders) Miss Lily was pleased with her cake, too. Now before you make too much fun of me, consider the requirements for this cake: gluten-free, unicorn theme. Not an easy order. There was a pinata, bean-bag toss, and pin the horn on the unicorn. Oh, and 6 squealing kids in costumes. Fun! Lily surprised me by being quite gracious when she opened a Snow White doll. She simply said 'thank you', and set it aside. People dolls terrify her! We only play with stuffed animals, those are her babies. She said today that we could give it away. The thing she liked best was an enclycopedia of dinosaurs. 250 pages of color drawings...good stuff. Before she even opened her eyes this morning she said, "mommy, did you know that some longnecks walked on only two legs?" She's the best.

India sightings

We are approaching the one year anniversary of India' s passing. Strange how the chill in the air and the smell of wet leaves on the ground can bring me back to last year. And the fact that she keeps appearing in public places! I often sense her nearby, but this week we're actually seeing her face. I attended a fundraising event this week for The Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame. The theme was 'celebrating women and the political spirit'. Several hundred people were there, including many politicians and a celebrity or two. Each table had a centerpiece - a white mum plant, with several card holders stuck among the flowers. One indicated the table number (of course mine was 23), and a card recognizing the accomplishments of Ella Grasso, the first woman state governor, one card celebrating the current female state governor, Jodi Rell, and another remembering our friend India! Donna called this morning to tell me of her encounter with India last night. She went to hear a blues band play, and to her surprise, a mutual friend was in the band. We hadn't seen him in many years, had a brief reconnection at the services for India, and haven't heard from him again. He is a musician, artist, film-maker. Over the years, he has made music videos and done short films that involved India. Well, in preparation for playing this blues shows, he had made a montage of images to play on a giant screen behind the musicians. Donna was quite surprised to see India, dressed in black, back in the days of long black hair, dancing on stage between clips of other random black and white images. I recently came across a photo from that time frame: us sitting in a coffin couch at a gothic art opening. Both of these appearances are typical India style. In multiple along side prominent politicians, and stealing the show, dancing onstage in a bar. Things haven't changed that much.

Friday, October 22, 2004

But he's an INDOOR cat!

This is Coletrane. 25 pounds. He doesn't eat that much, really. He is comtemplating the comfrey for a mid-morning snack. I cannot convince Coletrane that he is, in fact, an indoor kitty. All of his 13 years spent inside. Why now does he want to roam the yard and chew the remnants of my herbs? Maybe it's the whole black cat / Halloween thing. Coming soon: pictures of the OTHER black cat in her costume.

Two Hearts are Better Than One

STANFORD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 21, 2004--Camila Gonzalez now has two hearts beating separate rhythms inside her tiny chest. At 22 months of age, she became the youngest child in the United States to receive a donor's heart while also retaining her original one. Bruce Reitz, MD, professor and chair of cardiothoracic surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine, connected a second heart to Camila's on Sept. 16 at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. The procedure - called a heterotopic or "piggyback" heart transplant - was first developed in England 30 years ago to address a specific kind of heart problem. But Camila is the first child to undergo such a procedure in California and only the ninth child to receive a second heart in the United States. In adults the procedure is rare as well. Out of the 1,200 adult heart transplants performed at Stanford Hospital, only one other involved the piggyback procedure. Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Is the US ready to pig out?

Yes, it's true. In Peru they eat guniea pigs. About 65 million each year. Having several Peruvian friends, I know this to be true. Some households keep the animals in cages right in the kitchen until they are ready to be prepared. To read more about the possibility of the country exporting this food, click here.
I've never tried guinea pig. I enjoy eating the local fare while traveling. I've tried lots of interesting foods, but the one that made me most uncomfortable was percebes in Spain. They are a very expensive type of barnacle considered a delicacy in Spain. I shudder just thinking about them now. They resemble some part of an elephant....maybe toes? Have you tried any unusual foods?

Two down, one to go

While Lily was getting her flu shot, I asked the nurse for any suggestions for getting John one. She gave him one. :)

Flu shots again

I secured a shot for Lily, we are going this morning. Shots are not a pleasant experience for an almost 4 year old, so I'm going to wait and explain where we are going once she's already in the car. Hopefully that will keep the trauma to a minimum. I still cry when the cutie gets shots. I wonder sometimes how I survived her open heart surgery. Still searching for John. Been turned down at all the clinics offered so far. The State is saying that more vaccine is coming into CT at the end of this week.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

House makeover with heart

On Sunday evening, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will be taking on the home of a family with a child who had a heart transplant. I plan on watching, hopefully it will raise some awareness for congenital heart defects. I don't know what defect this little girl had, but I'm willing to bet it was HLHS. (the same defect that Chasmyn's son Quinn had) My daughter has a couple, my sister has one (actually a common combo of 4 defects) and has had 4 open heart surgeries. And my husband has had 2 kidney transplants. I was being evaluated for a heart transplant exactly 4 years ago. As you may have guessed, I'll be tuning in. With a big box of tissues.
Meet the Grinnans:

Hannah Grinnan was just 11 days old when she underwent organ transplant surgery. After months of touch-and-go circumstances, Hannah was finally released from the hospital and the Grinnans returned home. Shortly thereafter, Hannah began to reject her heart. The only way to save her was to be near a facility that could handle her emergency conditions. Loma Linda University Medical Center had the best heart center for children, so the family made the difficult decision to move to Redlands, California. At the time, their other children — Mary, 22, Bill Jr., 20, Catie, 17, Gabe, 11, Sara, eight, and seven-year-old Clare — had to take on adult responsibilities and care for each other while their parents held vigil in the hospital. No one complained though, since their unselfish help meant having one more day with Hannah. .

Chicken neck or penis?

A elderly Romanian man mistook his penis for a chicken's neck, cut it off and his dog rushed up and ate it, the state Rompres news agency said Monday. Read about it here. via

Friday, October 15, 2004

Something new

I did something tonight that I've never done before: make jello. Practicing for the right consistency to do this. It's disgusting.

On the verge of panic

The Connecticut State Department of Health put a 'freeze' on all flu vaccine until they can figure out a way to distribute them appropriately. I called last week and made an appointment for myself and John, and called the pediatrician to set one aside for Lily. When we showed up for the appointment, the nurse explained the situation to me. And then decided she needed to comment. "You really need to step aside and let some of the elderly folks and people who really need it have it first." You've heard that expression that the most dangerous animal is a mother? I don't really understand my extreme reaction, but I was ready to crawl through that little reception window and smack her in the head. Instead, my husband stepped up next to me holding my daughter, and I said (in a much louder tone than the situation called for): "my husband has had 2 kidney transplants and is immunosupressed, I have a cardiomyopathy, and my daughter has congenital heart disease and has had open-heart surgery." She shuffled papers on her desk and said that we would qualify. It took quite awhile for my blood pressure to return to normal. And today I'm on the phone trying to track down shots for us. I thought that Boston would give them to us, as we are all treated there for our major illnesses, but they don't have any either. So please cross your fingers for us to find some vaccine...especially John. If he were to get the flu, he could easily loose his one semi-functioning kidney, or worse. Back to my phone calls.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Must. have. this. bag.
Is there a more appropriate bag for a national spokeswoman for WomenHeart? At fashion compassion

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

S.C. to Review Law Protecting Inmates' Religious Freedom

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to consider the constitutionality of a federal law that requires state prisons to accommodate inmate religions, from Christianity to Satanism. Here in CT, India was the first pagan allowed into the women's prisons as clergy. Her title was 'Wiccan', although she worked more as pagan in general. She also volunteered teaching yoga once a week to the women prisoners, and was active on several committees within the system trying to improve nutrition at the jail. Local article on India in the prisons here. AP article on Supreme Court review here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

What a life....

So this is my job? Hanging out with a fun kid on a beautiful fall day in Connecticut. I'm a happy woman. We spent some time at a petting farm today, and played with 3-week old piglets. Unbearably cute. We tromped through a pumpkin patch and helped load pumpkins onto a wagon while all around us the leaves are changing and falling. This is a view of Talcott Mountain looking north, and another looking south. We live on the eastern face of the mountain. The tower in the background is an interesting museum, it used to be a home. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy this season?

Random Halloween list

  • Looking forward to making these for Lily's Halloween birthday party.
  • Is this snack too disgusting for the adults at the party? via ljcfyi: the cutest site ever
  • I could never eat this .
  • She's asked for a Unicorn cake and a Strawberry Shortcake pinata. Too many themes.
  • Lily's due date was Halloween. Labor started that day, she was born Nov. 3rd.
  • Somehow our Halloween wedding anniversary gets second place on that day.
  • Need to put some thought into celebrating it this year!
  • Must find ghosts for dancing ghost ring in front yard.
  • Found some fabulous pumpkin ideas at Extreme Pumpkins

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Cause for concern?

When we visited King Richard's Faire, my kid liked the guys dressed as gargoyles. Really liked them. Last weekend, we went to the CT Ren Faire. (doesn't compare to KRF, but fun nonetheless) Lily attached herself to another dark creature: Blight. She again amazed a crowd of onlookers as she followed him around chatting. Their parting conversation: Blight: "Thank you, Unicorn, for bringing me luck. Would you like some worms?" Unicorn: "No thank you, Blight. I enjoyed chatting with you. Bye! Have a good day."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Down with 21st century philistinism

Frank Furedi explains why his latest book calls for a new Culture War. by Brendan O'Neill 'Dumbing down' is often seen as being about the rise of reality TV and other dumb culture. In fact, says Frank Furedi, the problem is much bigger than Big Brother. via The Witches' Voice

Monday, October 04, 2004

Scambaiting: Shiver Metimbers

Ever get one of those letters from Nigeria? You know, asking for funds for a hospice/orphanage/hospital/church/whatever you may be interested in based on what the scammer found online about you? Well, if you have enough time on your hands and want to mess with these people, try scambaiting.
I attended an art opening this weekend, and ended up chatting with a man who has a software development company. I mentioned blogging, and the fun circle of blogs I frequent, and how I enjoy the the humor particularly among a specific group of brainy guys. So, out of the 200 or so people there, I find myself laughing with just one of those guys. He told me about his one-time internet hobby: baiting those Nigerian scammers. It involves communicating with a would-be scammer, feigning interest, and then asking for ridiculous photos to prove that they are serious. I found the letter trail for Church of the Holy Cow entertaining, but there are lots more. And to add to the fun, the guy who set up goes by Shiver Metimbers.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Heart defects news

An interesting article published in May: Using a multiple-gene analysis technique, German researchers have gained new insights into specific genetic alterations that lead to congenital heart defects, according to a report in today's rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The technique, called microarray analysis, allowed investigators to identify specific patterns of gene expression in the entire human genome associated with common types of congenital heart defects. They sought to demonstrate the feasibility of using gene array analysis to study congenital heart defects. But their findings could represent an early step toward developing effective strategies to improve the quality of life in children and adults with heart defects. Read the article here.

It's official!

Friday was John's last day at his job, and tomorrow is our first day officially self-employed. Yikes! He has a couple of months of work lined up already, it seems as if it will be fairly easy to find work. The calls are coming in.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Just 30 days....

The next few weeks hold many special events: Halloween, our anniversary, Lil's birthday, fall foliage, and pumpkin picking. And sweater weather. Hooray!