Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Defender: Baby Sister of the Heart

I really hate it when I find someone important doesn't appear in my cast of characters. I could defend myself and say my baby-sister-of-the-heart just hadn't been outrageous enough to mention yet, and I only list someone when I talk about them. Certainly that doesn't mean I always talk good about folks, either.

But instead, I'm going to apologize, publicly, abjectly, and then tell the whole world about a really extraordinary woman whose been a part of my life about ten years or so.

Defender, so named for her fiery spirit that will take on any injustice with passion, has survived phenomenal odds to become a fantastic mother of three. She's about to marry (again, but that's a long story) the love of her life. Indeed, she's even asked my partner Cameron to officiate. I've watched her grow from a scrappy teen to a powerful woman who works hard, attends school, cares for her family, and still manages to be there for an entire group of survivors.

Defender, you are one of my heroes. Love you!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cat Lady, Servant of the Lady Bastet

Cameron told me I should have added that title to previous post....I should have listened. Indeed, Cameron has been telling me for weeks what dervishes the cats have become. Don't think I've ever had 6 kittens, approximately 6 months old, in the house at the same time. The house ain't safe. Literally. I really should have listened to Cameron.

Cameron's house sitting for a friend, so I woke alone this morning. Mercy, I miss that wonderful transgender human being. But I digress.

We've both been sick lately, and in a mad dash for the bathroom, I set the laptop aside with the cover up. Bad mistake. I'm not sure which cat jumped on the keyboard, began the music, panicked and unsheathed a claw to get away, but the result was spectacular.

To add insult to injury, a little later I rounded the kitchen corner as the toaster hit the ground. There stood Dante, attempting to look very innocent.

Our cats:

Dickens (Charles Dickens)
Tannis (god)
Legba (god)
Lucy (red headed mother of 5 kittens by Firedancer)
Xian (god)
Bear (Bear Burgman)
Wee Bit whose tale is named Be-Wit
Marmalade (mother of Hermione by Firedancer)
Pippin (Lord of the Rings)
Browning (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, he's the only survivor of 3)
Starshine (Favorite literary cat hero)

The kittens:
Hermione (5 months)

The rest, age 6 months:
Dante (poet)
Rossetti (Christina Rssetti, poet)
Mya (Mya Angelou, poet)
Amergan (celtic god)
Audre (Audre Lord, poet)

That's some serious energy...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

World Between Worlds

I'm reading an amazing series, as I mentioned in an early entry, by Sterling. Reading of a world where the gods walk our lands, having cast out electronics and, consequently, many weapons, has brought me closer to my own pagan self. Grad school and working these last five years has made it difficult to circle, and we aren't part of a regular group. We have our own grove identity, occasionally cast circle for ourselves and a few friends, and have had a student or two, but it hasn't yet been time to walk that path further. Put that on the back burner.

When I began this blog, it was with the thought to provide a stable wiccan presence in the online community. Too much drama on the e-list I was on has led to long term silence from me. Most of my entries these days are actually terribly mundane...and the silence between entries has lengthened over the last year or two.

Knowing myself, reconnecting with my spirituality requires me to write. Anything. Because in time it always leads me back to the center, the heart of who and what I am. Lady Grace Dreamweaver, Priestess and Daughter of the Gods. That is my mantra, my every day prayer, my call for centering, and my honoring of my place in the universe. Put that on the back burner.

Today has been very mundane. I moved back into my office to face the plastered sheet rock which isn't drying well, due to the recent SC rain. I have a cold. It's one of those that you aren't really connected to the world, and if you can keep enough Robitussin in the system, you just kinda drift. Thoughts are tangential and elusive.

And Cameron is house sitting for the next few days. And my phone battery won't charge and the new phone won't be in until tomorrow. So I have few interruptions, although Cameron will stop by after class to make sure I'm okay (he's way more worried about this cold than I am, as I'm really too sick to care, and not sick enough to do anything about it but take Robitussin).  Today I rescheduled all but a few clients so they would have less risk of infection and the boss let me leave at the close of dosing hours, two hours early.

Now lets take all these thoughts and stir the pot...

Being sick, and numb, can lead to some very metaphysical musings. I read the book, and I think of my own calling, and the balance which we've been struggling to maintain. And suddenly, just for a moment, there's the space here where the gods walk the world, where I know what I know, and in the midst of broken toys and a damaged house and 14 year old cars, I know. I am the daughter of the gods. I am a child of this universe. And I can call the blessings of the universe to me and accept them with gratitude and open arms and open hands. And I can share them with others, in therapy, on a blog, by walking this earth myself. Thou art god/dess...

Sometimes we just need potato soup made from scratch, homemade wheat bread, and a cold. Glad I did the cooking yesterday.

Blessed be.

Lady Grace Dreamweaver, servant of the goddesses Inanna and Kali

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Further Along the Office Adventure

Today there are zippers at the end of the hall on both sides of the payment window. The payment clerk is taking payments at the opposite end of the hall, near the only entrances to the clinic, at the dosing area. So how is it that zipper and darkened area with no overhead lights invites people to open the zipper in an attempt to go pay for their dose? Addictive behavior at its finest. I finally put up the signs no one else had.

Since the construction crew has taken over my office for a few days, I am borrowing the nurse's office in her abscence. It's a rather cold, sterile room overloaded with filing cabinets and the door doesn't open all the way. It doesn't have an office chair, so I've had to resort to one from the conference room. Not to good on the back and knees, but getting mine to this part of the building would be difficult, at best.The good news is that the computer is five years newer than mine and doesn't crash when I open the internet! And the overhead light works! LOL Although I wasn't quite expecting the constant interuptions by staff who come in to use the sink or the scales: )

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stilts and Zippers

Yes, that's a man on stilts, mudding the wall. He'll do the same to paint it. My job is never dull...

If my boss will commit to it, this may become my new office.

And this is the zipper just outside my door while they work...Someone just poked his head through and said I have to get out of my office...shesh...

Pumpkin Pie and Driving

I was dreaming at 3:30 this morning when the alarm went off. Usually I'm half awake when it goes off, and I get out of bed quickly. This morning I was caught in that dream state, tangled between the here and there. I was dreaming I was watching a middle aged couple and their son, like the perspective of the intrusive television eye, and she was kissing the neck of her partner. They had recently fallen in love, and were quite taken with each other. The teen in the room was rather appalled that grey headed people still had sensual, sexual energy. He was objecting to shows of affection when the alarm rudely intruded.

I've been read the Change series by S M Stirling. If you haven't read it, do so. It challenges my perceptions of the world in wild and uncomfortable ways. Yesterday I read a very pagan account of ritual, of the horned god channeled through the hero. I went to bed thinking of the turn of the wheel, the coming of fall, the shift in the world and the smell of the wind. I've also been thinking of my own shifting sexuality/sensuality. Being the partner of a transgendered person, being in recovery from rather serious PTSD, being a grad student and now graduate of a marriage and family program, has challenged in these ways and more.

I've missed my own sexuality as it took the back seat to study, exhaustion, working full time, attending school full time, and an overburdened caseload. I've worked hard to heal from mental/physical/sexual abuse. I disavowed my sexuality, reshaped it, and struggled to take it back. My identity as heterosexual woman transformed to identifying as lesbian. Then it transformed again, as my partner identified as transgendered. Funny, my spell check doesn't even recognize the word "transgendred" and yet it defines so much of who I am.

I digress. So what does that have to do with pumpkin pie and driving? 4:30 in the morning I drove to work, still in a world not quite made of this one. It's 60 something degrees and humid as I drive, window partly down and heat on my toes. I scanned the roadside for deer, but didn't see any this morning. I thought of the dream, of the book, and of my lover who is suffering a sinus thing that has left her coughing and exhausted. I wonder at the pronoun I just used, because while I use the feminine pronoun, I don't think of Cameron as female very often. But I don't think of her as totally male, either. Wish we had a transgendered pronoun. One that leaves space for becoming.

But I digress. As I grabbed my prepared breakfast and lunch from the frig (I have two days a week I eat all three meals away from home, returning only to sleep), I saw the pumpkin pie. On a whim, I cut a piece. The in-laws sent it home with Cameron last week and we forgot it. I've never been a big fan of pumpkin, and especially not pumpkin pie. But I associate it with fall, with harvest, with the Horned God of sacrifice and bounty. I tried to eat it mindfully, as I drove, tasting the pumpkin, the nutmeg, the cinnamon. It was surprisingly good. Perhaps my taste buds have grown and changed again, accepting tastes as pleasant that I used to simply tolerate. Perhaps my taste buds have become another symptom of the transformation of middle  age, the moments before I become a crone, as I wait post-menopausal and changed at the gate of cronehood.

Something was different about my drive to work, and this quiet moment at work when no clients have yet tapped at the door. Something shifted in my metaphysical awareness. I usually mourn the loss of summer, of heat, of green. This year I find myself grudgingly embracing the fall, the cooler weather, the taste of pumpkin and the ambivalent love of things male. I stand here at this moment of becoming, recognizing that another transformation has presented itself, and wondering at the journey that's about to begin. Wonder where this one will go.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Morning

And back at work. Spent the first ten minutes this morning wiping down my desk from the wall board dust. Looks like I'll be doing the same for a few more days this week. Next is taping, patching, then wet sanding. Eventually they'll even paint. By then I'll be looking forward to my new office, immediately on the opposite side of this wall!

Check out the guy on stilts working just outside my office. It's not every day you see a guy on stilts in your office door.

I worked Saturday morning, and even though it is only a few hours, we all seem to agree that the lack of a psychological break makes us feel as though we didn't have a weekend. I'm definitely feeling it this morning.

I've started a new blog, which at the moment is entirely private. In time, I'll probably link it up. I keep recipes on my computer that I gather from cookbooks and all over the web.  I finally decided it might be wise to put them on a blog, which will offer an excellent index when tagged correctly.  But I also have worries of copyright issues, so I'll need to go back and make sure each credits its source. I also think it will be cool to take pictures as I try recipes, and my changes in ingredients, etc.

Each morning as I leave for work, I drive by the lake and pause in front of an empty lot so I can see the water. Each morning I say my prayer of requests and thanksgiving. This morning was no different than any other. The cloud cover masked the moon and darkened the water. Nevertheless, there was an indescribable moment of presence, a feel of the shift in the season, a movement and change. As I drove to work, I scanned the usual areas for deer. At 4:30 in the morning, I often see several groupings. I only saw one this morning. An older doe actually crossed the road in front of me. I've driven that road for eight years, and it was the first time one of them crossed in front of me. Usually they remain well off to the side.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lovely Sunday Morning

I imagine this as the first true cool, crisp fall Sunday morning that has occurred this year. I'm imagining because the waterbed is warm, my toes are warm, I'm blogging, researching mushrooms and recipes from the comfort of bed. I had to interrupt myself just for this quick post. There's a Sunday fall clarity to the light; the wheel has clearly shifted. We'll be setting our clocks back soon, as it was still mostly dark at seven this morning. I've already had my first diet Coke and two slices of homemade banana bread. My lover snores lightly at my right elbow, and Lotus, our aging grand dame Orange Cat, purrs over my shoulder. She purrs as loudly as any three of my other furbabies put together.

My familiar, Dickens, dozes at my elbow between the jostling of the computer and recipe book. I'm inspecting James Vilas' Crazy for Casseroles: 275 All-American Hot Dish Classics. Makes me terribly aware of our limited budget, and my limited exposure to the world. Hence my research of mushrooms. I just learned that those funny mushrooms, revealed in the kicked up leaves of autumn strolls of southern Indiana are morels mushrooms. We used to slice them thin and fry them in butter.

I'm dreaming today. I'm moving all my recipes to a blog so I can search/track them. So far I'm keeping them private because virtually every one is copied from somewhere. I'm not a foodie cook, yet, but I want to be. I dream of what I want my life to be five years from now, when my lover and I can see the Sandy River from our bed, as we wake on cool, crisp fall mornings. I found a marvelous blog post of the Portland Farmer Market. I want to shop regularly there. Lady, hear my prayer, as I manifest our future.

Had to work yesterday morning. For three years I've not answered the phones because the inbound line didn't ring my disk. They fixed it. Grrr...I'm amused by the way I've trained myself out of hearing phones. I answered a few times, but I really don't listen for them anymore. But I digress.

Cameron will wake soon...She's (well, my transgender partner, he) has promised me bacon and eggs. If I linger long enough, I'll have breakfast in bed. Think I'll ask for a cup of hot chocolate...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Grump -- Office

Yes, that's plywood over the window
over my desk.
 It used to be the office to have. The smallness, 4 x 10 feet, was overcome by the watching the sunrise through the east facing window. Then the owner decided construction is in order. I've now survived the removal of the brick from the opposite side of the wall, the addition of the roof to extend another 12 feet (why is he only adding 12 feet when the original plans called for 36?? We'll just have to do all of this again!). Hammering, sawing, electrical, studs added, roofing's been a noise filled nightmare from seven in the morning until we leave at a little after 12. Usually by ten I'm so numb from noise I can no longer function. I rarely have headaches but I am now getting them daily.

When I stand up, the chair
hits the wall. 
Yesterday I booted my computer and the power circuit to my office and the conference room went out.  The electrician forgot to tape a screw and it shorted. It was three hours before I had lights and a computer to use.

With the closure of the window, my office is very dark. One of my lamps had to be moved yesterday to the conference room as our intakes were sitting in the dark. I do have an overhead light, but can't use it. It's flickered since I got the office and when I asked for a repair, I was told the part would cost $50. The owner's response? "Give her another lamp." The jerk who opened up the fixture didn't bother to put it back together (took two years to get him to look). So, to add insult to injury, I not only have exposed plywood I also have dangling wires in my office. The walls are bare and my stuff has been carried to my trunk because the construction work warned they will hang sheet rock over the next few days. The process is messy and I was advised to move breakables. Can we say my office it depressing?

I'm a substance abuse counselor. My clients have to shout to be heard at times. I'll be really glad when the construction ends. To be honest, I had hoped and prayed I'd be able to resign before the process began, because I knew it would be a nightmare. Unfortunately, the gods seem to think I need to be here a little longer. Apparently the gods are easily amused.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Of Children and Grandchildren

I have two sons in their mid twenties. Talking about my sons is such a mixed blessing. Things got really tangled in my younger years, and I made a lot of really bad choices when it came to my sons and partners. I shaped many years and most life decisions around sons I didn't raise more than part-time. Talking of the boys is bittersweet, breaths filled with regret and joy. The pain hasn't eased over the years. And now there's the absence of grandchildren added to the burden.

911 was yesterday. Every year this time I remember the last year I lived with my children. The dot coms had crashed and I was unemployed. That summer my eldest son moved back to Ar with his dad. I thought things were fine when I put him on the plane, but it was three years before he spoke to me again. My son enrolled for his senior year, 911 came, and he enlisted instead of going to college.

I didn't see my eldest son again after he flew to Ar until he got married. His drill sergeant, his soon-to-be wife, his mother-in-law, hounded him into calling. We had a seven day notice for a 16 hour cross country trip. We made it. We weren't allowed to sit on his side of the church, nor was I acknowledged as his mother. His step mother's name was on school records, military records, etc. She lit the unity candle with the bride's mother while I watched.

I finally held my granddaughter when she was 6 weeks old. The Marine was headed to Iraq and we spent two days in a hotel nearby so we could visit. (Of course, lesbians cannot stay in his home.) As we getting ready to leave, I held Beauty and couldn't stop the tears. I knew I'd never hold her again. I knew it.

The Marine didn't open mail from his wife while he was in Iraq, let alone from me. When he got home, he didn't want to see me. In fact, I didn't see him or the grandchildren again until my youngest son's wedding. I've never held my grandson. My granddaughter didn't know who I was.

I've written this and deleted it several times. The starkness of the story, the omitted details, the care I take when making something so painful so public strikes me as I reread. So many times I've wished I could spend an afternoon talking with my sons about those years, but neither is inclined to do so.

I'm at that stage in my life where I'm surrounded by people my age talking about grandchildren. Such a bittersweet topic. Some days I dodge the conversation. Other days I acknowledge I have grandchildren and then change the topic. I think the hardest part can be the inept way people don't hear the truth of the story. My eldest son doesn't speak to me. I don't see my grandchildren. They don't know who I am.

Instead of "that sucks" I get "blood is thicker than water" and other platitudes. And platitudes aren't true. I was adopted by my step-father and that is my daddy. My sperm doner was given several chances, and demonstrated how toxic he is. I know all about cutoffs, because I've cut him off completely. As my son has cut me off. No, I don't think I'm toxic. But my son does. I don't fit his conservative view of the world. I make things very messy and he doesn't want anything to do with it.

On the upside, not that I'm much in a mood for the upside in the midst of these darker emotions, The Enlightened One, my younger son, did see to it that Cameron and I were included in the wedding, that we had honored spaces in their lives, and we were acknowledged. I have no doubt that when the grandchildren come from him and his wife, they will know who we are.

I haven't spent a holiday or birthday with either of my sons since 2001. Indeed, I've only seen either of them a few times. Their rituals and routines are not with me, which I grieve. Nevertheless, I am headed to Ar to see my parents the first week of October and I will be staying at my youngest's son's home. Cameron is staying home to care for animals and attend class.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Poised for Change

I sat in my front yard for a while this afternoon and watched the sunlight reflected on the lake. Brilliant flashes and sparkles of light danced on water and wind. A moment in time, remembered in a blog, my mind's eye, and then gone.

I turned 48 last week. While where was no existential crisis, I did reflect that I've reached yet another birthday without having yet attained many of my life goals. I still work on my licensure requirements, planning to finish December 2012. I'm still living on trailer subfloors and dreaming of home improvements. My partner and I continue to work our ways toward her transition when Cameron will be the name everyone knows her/him as. I continue to wait for the day when I tell Scrooge goodbye.

When I was in my late 30s, He Who Shall Be Nameless, did a numerology reading for me. It might be the only thing about me that he ever got really right. He told me that my 40s would be a time of incredible growth and change. He also told me that my 50s wouldn't bring about so much growth, but would bring my dreams and financial security. Bring it on! I'm so ready.

Hermione sleeping on the waterbed this afternoon.
And yet. As I type this, a tiny kitten lies on my chest, satisfied in her supreme entitlement. My partner, whom I spoiled with homemade soup and homemade wheat bread, is waiting for me in the next room. The utilities are on, we have two cars parked outside, and I have a job. More, I sat in my front yard today and watched light dance on water and thought of my godson, my sister of the heart, of my daughter of the heart, and of my lover and thought how grateful I am to have them in my life, and how much meaning their presence brings to my life.

Camron and I are waiting for the time to go to Portland. I watch our investment and pray it will bring the financial security we need to meet the next step of our calling. I dream of a homet here, a building next door for a studio and space to do therapy. I want to set up a non profit. Maybe put a "blessing" jar by the door. Would be cool for folks to drop a minimal payment in the jar on their way out. Or come to use the extra studio space for art therapy, and leave a small payment for space on their way out. We value what we pay for, especially where therapy is concerned, and $10 is plenty to meet the cost of the space....something to think about anyway.

Cameron, reading over my shoulder, tells me I just didn't have the right goals in my 30s. She says I should have been dreaming of marrying a transgender man, moving to Portland by way of South Carolina, and practicing making homemade bread. Well, I added some of that myself, but she'd say if she wasn't out walking the dog.

As the wheel turns, so does my life. We move into the dark of the year, the time of introspection, the time of accounting, the time before we begin to plan again. I want to rejoice in the harvest. I want to hear the voice of Oak King, to walk with him as be becomes the sacrifice of wheel. I want to align my life with wheel. Slow my pace, stay ready for change, but not so lost in the preparation that I miss the dance of the wind and the sound of his pipes.

Blessed be.