Gosh, I haven’t blogged in so long it seems strange to be doing it again, but I’m hoping it’s a bit like riding a bicycle – I won’t forget once I feel the wind in my hair. With the onset of chilly weather here in northern California, as in other places, it’s starting to feel more like the holidays.
I did start organizing some presents to be wrapped last weekend, and made a few festive raw vegan treats in my dehydrator during the week – also put up decorations. But it was unseasonably warm then, so my psyche didn’t feel “in the spirit” quite yet, although admiring the combination of sparkle and natural elements I assemble for the season is a pleasure.
Reminds me of the Japanese tradition of storing things and bringing out only a few at any given time – allowing the eye to appreciate the aesthetic of things seldom seen.
A couple of years ago, my son informed me that he didn’t really care so much about the whole wheat scones I’d made at Christmastime for many years, and actually prefers raw food treats made in the dehydrator, as they are more unique and he enjoys sharing them with friends. Well, who knew?
Lots to accomplish this weekend – wrapping presents, boxing them up, getting ready for the trek to the Post Office next week (thank God for the Post Office, long may she endure!) It’s all good, as the kids say. Still got a few more treats up my sleeve, too and I have a bunch of recipes strewn about the house in various folders and notebooks. Always mean to collate them and get them in order. Well, we’ll see. It will be nice to be cozy this weekend and start listening to holiday music again….hmmmm
It’s the night before night before Christmas and all is well. We made it past the apocalypse and the world is still spinning in space. Stars are in the sky and the mystery and magic of the season is just around the corner. I’m using a new blog platform on my iPad – so, fingers crossed! Let’s hope the tech gnomes are at hand this night.
It’s been raining like crazy for about 10 days – part of my yard looks like a little lake, which kind of “puts a damper” on the proceedings. Was hoping to drive over the hill to see some family but will have to be content with a quieter season and lots of phone calls. Christmas dinner will be at a restaurant with friends – no cooking or dishes is fine by me! Of course snow seems a bit more Christmasy than a deluge, but I’ll have to be content with photos of that phenomenon. (Snow, I mean)
It’s been a busy season here – can’t believe a new year is almost upon us! In spite of predictions to the contrary, I feel like there will be something extraordinary in this new year. A way to move into the future with hope and understanding of the beauty that surrounds us.
My wish is for kindness to find us. I feel far away from commercialism tonight – maybe it’s the soothing rain.
The night of Solstice was a huge violent thunderstorm with flashes of lightning – not unlike the feeling in a horror movie – a thunderstorm of dramatic proportions. Even though I couldn’t sleep for about three hours, I had to laugh a little. It was like the Mayans were speaking loud and clear: take care of the planet in this new era. Let’s work on it – taking care of each other in the new year. Wishing all the best of the season with love.
Although I’ve been posting infrequently, it seems I always “get around to it” late at night on the eve of returning to work. Had a rare four day weekend, and now back to work tomorrow, so here I am and it’s nearly midnight – wouldn’t you know. The hour of the muse, I guess. Since I last posted (about Wonder Woman), the Mendocino Film Festival asked me to do an interview on Women’s Voices on KZYX with Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, director of Wonder Women, The Untold Story of American Superheroines, which I did on May 14. Great documentary. Coincidence or destiny? Or maybe just a bit of synchronicity. I was walking by Tangents in Fort Bragg just a couple of days ago and a little metal poster of Wonder Woman caught my eye – so I just had to get it. The documentary is terrific. Really well done. I had forgotten that the very first issue of Ms. Magazine had Wonder Woman on the cover. So the film has interviews with Gloria Steinem and Katie Pineda, a seven year old girl and many other fascinating women. It covers the history of Wonder Woman as an influential icon through the years, and her morphing with cultural changes. The filmmakers are doing more with the film, too – hoping to get it into venues other than film festivals – they showed it at Mendocino High School, which was cool. Also saw These Amazing Shadows about films that make it into the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress as part of our cultural history. Another excellent film and reason to support film festivals, where we can see movies that don’t receive wide distribution. Or in the case of shorts – may not be seen at all without film festivals. I was on the board of the Mendocino Film Festival for a year, and I know how much work it is to put together these festivals – so be sure to support yours, wherever you live. The shorts program was the best ever this year: All We Need is Love. Ain’t it the truth? Another highlight at the festival was the Q & A with Mick La Salle, San Francisco Chronicle film critic and author of a new book about women in current French cinema – The Beauty of the Real: What Hollywood Can Learn from Contemporary French Actresses. He’s sending me a copy – can’t wait! He’s also author of Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood, and was associate producer for an excellent documentary film of the same name shown at last year’s festival, but not currently in release.
Is there a new kind of Wonder Woman? I wonder what she will be like? On NPR this weekend there was a pretty good story about how Snow White and her particular archetype is replacing Cinderella as the current popular fairy tale for women in our culture. In her new film, Mirror Mirror, Julia Roberts at least has the decency to play the witch – a juicier and more succulent role than the snowy babe, I’d warrant. The evil queen speaks to a boomer woman’s anxiety about aging, and her potential transformation into an old hag. Certainly an archetype many of us can utilize to confront our fears of aging and also have some fun playing the powerful wicked witch while we’re waiting.
I’ve always had a bit of an affinity for the naughty ones – the rabble rousers who stir up trouble. Christopher Woods new book Sacre Bleu, about the roustabout painter Toulouse Lautrec sounds touching and funny – and the author sweet and refreshingly humble, although his writing is astonishing. Yes, the Beats, Film Noir, German Expressionism – I fancy them all. Just picked up a book – A Literary Paris – read an excerpt from Jack Kerouac’s , Satori in Paris, written in 1966 – the year I moved to New York City to start college at NYU. Funny how I was only peripherally aware of the tectonic shift the country was experiencing. It takes me awhile to catch on. Speaking of Paris, my cousin Maureen Vermilya is there for three months and she is doing a lovely job on her blog.
Well, to keep to the subject at hand. If we are to enjoy our wicked witch days, and maybe even become artists and social activists in our own small ways, and keep living outside the box with other creative souls, there’s always carrot juice!
Can’t believe it’s been three months since I’ve posted on my own blog. Every day I go to the office and write, create, blog, do social media, and concentrate most of my precious creative energy on someone else’s dream. True, I took up knitting this winter. And I’ve continued with radio shows up until this past Monday. I’ve been hosting Women’s Voices once or sometimes twice a month for about 5 years now, and it’s been quite a joy to share the stories of other creative women on the air. As I drove back through the redwood forest to the Mendocino coast last Monday, I felt good. The interview had gone well, and I felt ready to move on. Hopefully, I will still do some shows but I won’t have as many deadlines. I am ready to let go of some of that and move into a more freeing creative space to pursue a few of my other interests like making collage, gardening, and learning how to podcast.
Still. I have a little art room set up, and I glance at it longingly as I grab the day’s outfit and head out the door for my 9-5 (or in my case 10-6+). Work has been especially hectic the last few months, so I am definitely looking forward to a little breathing room. I’ve also had a lot of my frequent visitor, insomnia recently. For awhile I indulged in one of my favorite winter pastimes: watching film noir (lots now available on YouTube – until they take them down, that is.) In the last few days though, in spite of my schedule, I’ve done some physical journaling – with pen and notebook – and now perhaps will return to virtual journaling via this blog. Even picked up the runes again a few days ago after what must be years now. Maybe I am entering a creative period again – I dare to trust it so. Today’s rune is Sowelu: Wholeness, Life Forces, Energy. According to Ralph Blum’s faded little rune book that I’ve had for twenty years, there is a prayer that embodies Sowelo, called Gayatri. He says to address the sun in this fashion:
You, who are the source of all power,
Whose rays illuminate the whole world
Illuminate my heart also
So that I can do your work.
It’s the Second Chrismas Day in Scandinavia – the Day of the Wren, or St. Stephen’s Day, according to Wikipedia. Sounds ever so much nicer than Boxing Day to me. This Christmas season has been quite wonderful, and, as usual, after all of the hullabaloo, it’s the Second Christmas Day when I really begin to notice the beauty of the time. For weeks I was apprehensive about what the season would bring, and worried about what I would do and how I would catch up with all of my tasks, both at work and at home. I watched only one holiday movie (if you don’t count Bell, Book, and Candle at the very beginning of the month.) I talked to my son Simon for hours on several consecutive days leading up to Christmas Eve…that was a special treat. We shared memories, and insights about our lives and Christmases past and future, and tales of his friends’ kids and their antics, and his new favorite Italian coffee shop recently discovered in his current home town, Prince Rupert. He’s so happy in his new job, and I am grateful that he feels appreciated, and also appreciates the new people he is working with. He’s spending Christmas with his Dad in Hazelton, B.C. and with friends he’s known since he was a small boy. He started his Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, and it sounded like he was enjoying the season. That made me feel very happy. I took these photos on Christmas Eve. My friend Martine invited me to join her and her boyfriend Jason at Pacific Star Winery, which is on the coast just a few miles from town.
It was 63 degrees that day, and sunny. We sat outside at a picnic table and shared a bottle of wine. The sea was gorgeous and the sun was setting as I headed home. (On the 23rd, I had been at a party at my hairdresser’s friend’s place, and sat in a hot tub in the cold night, with a fire burning in the fire pit nearby.) The evening of the 24th my friend Patricia, her husband Rich and I went to the Christmas pageant at Evergreen Methodist. Patricia took videos of our friend Amanda’s little girl Chloe being an angel. Then Christmas Day, we had Christmas dinner at Noyo Harbor. We went at 3:30, and left again just as the sun was setting. Today, I organized my art room (with hopes that I might actually do some art in the coming year), and almost got started on my Christmas cards. But not quite, because I decided to write this blog instead. I still have to bake scones, but I’m not too far behind, and I’m listening to Dylan Thomas and A Child’s Christmas in Wales. I’ve also taken up knitting again after 37 years this December. Simon may get something knitted for Chrismas next year.
Feeling winter tonight. The moon is getting fuller and the stars are clear and bright. I like the winter sky, especially living in the country and by the ocean. This morning when I got up at 5 AM it was dark and cold…went on a lovely walk in the fresh air after it got light (had to go back and get an extra coat and gloves). Found some eucalyptus and brought it back to fill a copper vase.
I used to be less fond of winter, but here where the weather is mild, it’s not so bad at all. In fact, we’ve had what seems like weeks of sunny weather, and I love the winter sun with its gentle slant. Only two weeks until winter solstice, (on December 22 this year), which means the days will be imperceptibly getting longer. Even closer is the Gemini lunar eclipse, due to take place on December 10. Question for now is, how to embrace the dark?
I had a book called Faces of the Moon Mother. Must have lost it somewhere, but it had beautiful meditations on the different phases of the moon – I especially liked the meditation for the full moon. I remember reading it when I lived in the country in Louisiana and would hear the owls calling at night. Kind of spooky and mysterious, but good winter memories.
Winter is full of wonder and mystery when you look for it. I have a funny memory of winter in Louisiana, too. My friend Cheryl was staying with me in the country, and we were watching horror movies and videos about raw food guru Ann Wigmore. Some young boys burst in the door downstairs, and we were startled at first, but it turned out they were looking for someone who used to live in the house…we laughed a lot!
Can’t believe it was 40 years ago on November 29 that my son Simon was born in a little country hospital in Mission, B.C. We were the first family to have the father present in the delivery room in that hospital, and I had to talk the doctor into it. He was skeptical about natural childbirth, too, but sat by my bed the next morning and congratulated me for doing a good job without drugs. Forty years goes fast. I’m proud of who my son is. He’s a good person with a kind heart, who looks deeply into things. He loves being in nature, and has had quite a bit of experience going out to sea, flying around in helicopters and small planes, and exploring terrain that many people will never see. Wish I had been a perfect Mom. Wish I could protect him from life’s bumps and jolts. Not always possible. He just got a new job – started yesterday. Auspicious timing, I’d say…new beginnings. Life begins at 40. I can still remember when I was that age, and it doesn’t seem all that long ago, actually. The main thing is, he seems pleased with the new job, and a little excited. It’s a nice company with quite a few people his age. He’ll get to go to different locations around British Columbia and use a lot of the varied skills he’s acquired over the last 20 years. Considering what many people are experiencing in the “job market”, I feel like he’s lucky to find this job – or more precisely, the company is lucky to find him and his unique set of abilities. Time will tell. My heart is full, and I wish him luck, and for happiness to find him all of the days of his life. Work is an important part of life, and whether we find our true calling early, or spend a lot of time dreaming of an ideal job and never quite finding the work we love, it’s almost certain we’ll all spend a good deal of time working. Guess it’s always a good idea to keep a sense of humor about it. Speaking of work, I worked late at the office today, which is why I’m typing this blog close to Midnight. I know Simon won’t really like it that I’m blogging about his birthday and how wonderful I think he is – it wouldn’t be cool, but then what are moms for if not to be uncool? I love you Simon…heaps and bunches!
When I contemplated four days stretching before me it seemed I had a world of time, but days off do have a way of slipping by very quickly….I got a fresh, live tree, and dragged it in the house. Luckily, it is only four feet tall and very full, but it wasn’t hard to carry, and it was already on a stand (one of the main considerations, other than tree lights.) This particular tree only takes one long string of colored lights and the wall plug is just behind the tree. Do these considerations seem frivolous? Not at all..they can be a source of frustration, so why not just make the whole thing easier by having all of one’s ducks in a row. I saw the tree – I seized the moment, and voila! Even before the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, my halls are well-decked. I have several different motifs…all gold on the chest i brought from Louisiana, and a very spare look on the table – the tree is quite natural looking – I’ll share photos later. All this syncing and uploading…well, I’m just not in the mood right now. I’m mainly writing the blog to blow off steam (coming out the top of my head because after I created a playlist for my radio show tomorrow night, I couldn’t burn a CD…uploaded a new version of iTunes, closed all the other apps, restarted computer, had to re-set clock because it said 2000….tried to burn the CD more than 7 times, and I saw on a forum that if you do that it might not work, so transferred the songs to a new playlist – still no luck, just the constant refrain: “please insert blank CD.” Even changed setting to 2x like it said in another forum…oh well. I guess this is a rant. I started working on the show - called Mind Body Gratitude Food (collaborating with poet and artist Blake More) early today, and was very proud that I wouldn’t have to stay up late, and now look!
It’s inevitable. No matter how much you think you might just slide by and not get caught up in the Christmas zeitgeist, it comes out of nowhere and grabs onto your psyche, and there you are – right in the middle of all those memories. Sometimes I just want to escape and not face up to them. I’ve just returned from a visit to my hometown, Portland, Oregon, hotbed of vintage nostalgia and newly landed hipsters. (Or maybe they took over a long time ago.) It was great seeing everyone (although far too short). Won’t be making the trip back up for the holidays, and my son just landed a great new job up in northern British Columbia, so we won’t be getting together this Christmas either. Looks like simplicity is in order…maybe a fast from both memory and expectation?
Easier said than done, some say. Question: where is the perfect couple? How many parties are enough? I was invited to a party last night and heard today that 50 people attended. I’m glad they had a good time, but really, when I listened to what I wanted, I just couldn’t go. I had to admit to myself that with the wind blowing outside, and rain sleeting down, I honestly preferred to stay cozy at home. As it happened, my son called and we had a very long conversation, which meant a lot more to me than small talk at parties. In fact, parties interest me less and less these days. I have a friend Patrick, whose granny always said “I am my own best company,” and I’m thinking I may be getting to that stage. My interior life is becoming more interesting to me than anything on the outside. I did have a good day today. After tidying up ( and changing two light bulbs that required a ladder!), I went down to Mendocino. The windstorm last night blew away the clouds and I had a lovely walk along the headlands. Went to the Art Explorers exhibit, and picked up dinner at Harvest. Must admit, I listened to some Christmas music on iTunes…a playlist I created for a radio show last year. It’s music that gets me in the mood.