Archive for September, 2010

Female Rain, and other surprises

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2010 by Queenie

We’ve had a run of Female Rains, going on about a month now, off and on.  It’s crazy out there.  The ground gives softly, not quite mushily under my feet when I walk in the Back 40 – now covered in wildflowers and blooming bushes of every type – and everything feels reborn, again.  I think I’m working on one of those, too.

It’s insanely green everywhere.  The wild morning glories that are making a run at being genuine ground cover in the front yard are climbing the fences, something they’ve never done in all the years we’ve been here.  They’re blooming when the sun decides to come out, all blue-purple over that shade of green that makes you almost dizzy.  The actual ground cover, which is also of the wild variety well known in these parts, has made a carpet of itself in everywhere the morning glories aren’t.  The Lantana is back, too, not to be denied.  It’s lush, and lush isn’t something you really see too much of around here, except in some of those wet springs that come every now and then.  This, the soft spring in the early fall, is a real gift.  Except for the mosquitos which have found enough reason to hang on a little longer, and the fire ants which are heading for higher, drier ground.  I have little regard for fire ants – nasty creatures – and I can find no good reason for them.  Whose idea were they?

Custody Dog waits, and watches, as the rain keeps falling.

The birds are making idiots of themselves, especially the Blue Jays.  When the afternoon rains have come, with light winds and a pleasing temperature, still warm rain, they sit in it and take to hollering.  I heard one a while ago that uttered something I’d never heard a Blue Jay say before, and I wonder what got into him.  Joy, I hope.  It was such a funny sound, all mullarkied and warbly for a jay, that it made me laugh out loud.  All the bunch get in the act – the Titmice, (which for whatever reason the Queen Mum and I have always referred to as Tithooties – suits them), and the Red Birds, (Cardinals to you professionals), the Scrub Jays, (less decorated cousins of the Blues, but just as raucous), and numerous brownish birds of various sizes and shapes that we call Sparroons.  Covers them all.  In summer we have an occasional Painted Bunting,  some Chickadees and my personal favorites, the Wrens.  The little wrens are here all year, and they are peerless in their song – so much joyful noise out of the smallest creature, and they work hard and are tenacious.  They also let out such a racket when disturbed – no mistaking that carrying on.  And then there are the Canyon Wrens by the river….. but that’s another story.

I heard a roadrunner in the Back 40 the other day.  I’ve simply no way to describe their call.  It’s one of those “you just have to hear it” sort of things.  And even then, it took me a few times to hear it to know what it was, again, because you just don’t hear it very often.  There’s nothing songlike about it, more like some Latin percussion instrument that you twist to get a different sound out of it.  Likewise the sound the Nighthawks make when they do that metallic whang! when their feathers break the Nighthawk sound barrier in their dives.  I swear it’s like that.  Never hear them, or see them anymore – haven’t for years – and I miss them.  No hawks lately, either.  Nor owls.  Progress strikes again.

The peacock, Magic, has his own music catalogue, from the ber-AWK ber-AWK of his lovelorn caterwauling, (no luck here), to the almost catlike whine, to the actual gooselike honk when something chases or disturbs him.  He’s in his psychedelic turkey outfit now, having molted his sartorial finery in the heat of summer, but the new crop is already making its appearance on his back.  Peacock feathers decorate many corners around here, and make for wonderful gifts for kids.

But whoever’s here, they’re all here now, having themselves a lovely singsong trillaway out front.  The doves, big whitewings, are awaiting the nightly feeding, and the ranch herd of deer are gathering for the buffet.  The Queen Mum will be there soon with their glowing meal.  For those who wondered about the mystery picture of several weeks ago, yes, those are little piles of corn, looking like lamplight in the driveway – part of my mother’s offerings to all the critters around here.  It gets her out and around twice a day, and I’m sure the hunters appreciate their fattened quarry.  Don’t get me started on the hunters…..

A couple of weeks ago when we were doing our evening jaunt in the Back 40, (a RUN for Custody Dog), she stopped at a particular bush and wouldn’t give it up.  I wondered if she’d found something dead, or… what?  I walked over and noticed the bush had broken branches all around, some laying on the ground, some bent within the bush.  And then I saw it – what was THAT?  In all these years, I’d never come across freshly shorn velvet from the antlers of the bucks, and here it was.  Pieces of it draped some of the branches like macabre Christmas tree icicles where it had been rubbed off.  Strange stuff, hair and skin at the same time, with the inside still showing blood vessels.  And so they are ready for the rut now, their head-racks free of softness, ready to get down to business when the time comes.  Unfortunately, it’s these beautiful racks that tantalize the hunters….. them again.

No new beasties have popped out, but I’ll share with you the intricacies of a mystery plant that blooms every summer, smelling of rotten meat, or maybe even something dead.  It’s part of the Stapelia family of succulents, sometimes called starflowers.  They stink, and attract flies.  Sort of like old boyfriends.  (I didn’t say that.)  Still and all, they’re pretty wondrous.

It’s a Stapelia grandiflora.  I looked it up.

It’s not fall yet, not quite, but sometime later today is Autumn Equinox to be shared with a Full Harvest Moon right on its heels, and that’s quite a powerful combination.  If it dries out enough, I think I’ll light a bonfire tomorrow night, and celebrate the new season.  Reason enough for a righteous fire, honoring Mother Earth and Father Sky.  The fire ring out there in the Sky Circle on the south acre needs a little tending, and attention.  I’ll sit out there and ponder, and wonder about what is, and what’s next….. unless there comes more Female Rain, and I hear it’s in the forecast.  Strange days, these.

Surely I must give you Art Shots.  So I offer up Yard Art,

and my Psychedelic Driveway, arrested under the influence of Photoshop:

Toward the end of the day I took a walk in the Back 40 with the kids.  And as was so promised, here’s what we found after the rain.

Not bad.  Not bad at all.  Peace and Promise, y’all.  (I’ll be back to my usual pontificating soon, all about Want To’s and Have To’s….. stay tuned, and thanks for tuning in.)

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TRUTH

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2010 by Queenie

Oh man, that’s a big one.  Who do I think I am to be writing about such a thing as TRUTH, truly one of the Big Ones.  One of the Commandment things, if one is so oriented.  No matter what your altar looks like, if it’s worth altaring at, it better, (or should, and that’s still a SHOULD, folks), have a goodly amount to do with Truth.  And there’s where it gets all prickly, doesn’t it?  I mean we’re fighting wars now that are based, (allegedly), on protecting truths and rights, however we all might define them.  The problem raises its ugly and familiar head when we, or someone, has to bring up that “My Truth is Different than Your Truth” thing, and there we go.  Sometimes it’s just a fightin’ thing, to the death.  Really.  It’s not the allowing anyone else to have their different truth and everyone go on their merry way that causes all the difficulties.  Certainly not and does that even much happen anymore?  Notice that different and difficult are rather related – and then think about the difficulties in your own family, maybe because you are “Different?”  See, it happens so easily – contempt or hatred or maybe just bad juju are all laid right at our own personal feet.  All this stuff seems to start right at home.  Who do you think “raises” the terrorists?  The bigots?  The gang-bangers?  We get it programmed right into us, whatever “it” may be, by the ones that nurture us, and it’s Game On.  It all starts at home, with family, or ironically, the lack of one.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.  It is only later, with directed and purposeful thinking and exercise, that we realize we can CHOOSE a different life if we want one.  If we even get around to pondering such a foreign concept.  Ain’t life interesting?

I get off on this tangent because lately I have been having extended phone conversations with friends who are valuing my opinions or audience enough to want to spend long spells of time with me on the phone – talking.  And I listen, and then it seems like I pontificate.  Or I just go on about what I think about such situations, having evidently attained some sort of credibility in their eyes.  Amazes me every time I think of it.  I mean, they go so far as to tell me they enjoy talking to me, or thank me for what I’ve offered.  Jeez Louise.  I fear I really am becoming one of those late life characters.

I guess I’ve been somewhat of a character all my life, but I never knew quite what to do with it.  It for sure doesn’t want to be caged up in an 8 or even 9 to 5 office.  I can’t tell you how many decades I did that, until it became painfully obvious that I didn’t fit.  Hardly anywhere.  I mean I was competent or even talented, (enough, anyway), to make my way through a plethora of jobs, (and some of them were lulus – I suppose there could be stories, actually – and I got myself fired only one time, but we won’t go into that here), and damned if one of those office jobs didn’t get me called Queenie for the first time – the first time that I can really remember it – and I’m afraid it fit.  However, it has taken me 35 years to own it.  To own it and work it and make it work for me, and just be it.  Now what a waste that was, I guess, but it all happened like it happened and here I am.  I do urge my followers, (or whatever they are), especially the younger ones, to get to this point sooner than later, for fun is fun, but fun is sometimes a lot harder on you as you get, uh, older.  I mean the Grand Canyon beat the crap out of me this year.  But I’m probably still going to go one more time, just one more.  And then there are so many places yet to see, but as usual, I digress.

What I’m getting around to, with this Truth thing, is the continual unfolding of the mysteries of it – if you’re willing to listen and look at it.  Some of us are so busy defending our Truth, and I would be so bold to say that many have no idea of exactly what some of those truths really are, especially considering the ferocity of their defense sometimes.  May I just throw in that Politics and Religion are particularly fine examples of that, and ‘nuff said – for now, anyway.  And I believe that there are many who have no idea of what their truth even is, and sad for them.

I was told many years ago that “Nobody really likes to hear the truth,” and I have to sign on with that one.  I spent years avoiding my own truth, and even the truths about others whose impact on my life was significant, and damned if I didn’t just double-whammy myself before it was all over.  But it’s all the same thing – it’s a universal experience – and even if we grow up in the best of functional families, and are taught and know, really know, how life and the world work – even with that knowledge and advantage – you still have to utilize those tools when experience comes knocking at your door.  I’ve seen bad things come to good families, and sometimes nothing makes any sense why.   But so much of the behavior I’ve seen and still experience is so directly wired to agonizingly dysfunctional family upbringing that it’s impossible to come to any other conclusion about it.  About like the abrupt truth of what happens when you stick your fingers in a fan, and I’d say most of us are willing to believe what we hear about that one without actually trying it.  When it comes to people and relationships, however, all bets are off.  We think we become masters of our own ships and aren’t we going to have us a swell adventure, when sometimes we’ve been Shanghaied or sometimes we willingly signed on when we thought it was a better ship than it turned out to be.  But hey, that’s why they invented Mutiny, so all is not lost.

I have a few genuine talents.  One of them is in art and decorating, (something about knowing where things go – or “should.”)  The upshot of all this previous rambling is that I think that another of my more worthy “talents” is to be able to envision what it is that people should or need to do, or perhaps hear.  Already you can see where this is going.  Unless someone particularly asks for anyone else’s valuable service or advice, they can get damned agitated when you enlighten them unbidden, even free of charge.  Why, they can actually resent it.  Once all the characters have come to the stage and engaged in the drama, this is when the line, “You mean, (blah blah blah insert appropriate statement), after all I’ve done for you…..” (or various derivations of same), was invented.  I know.  I’ve used it, only it took me a while to figure out what was my own version of it, and when I had actually uttered or written it.  I’m sure I did both.  Probably too many times.  How very interesting.  I suppose it’s part of the addiction thing, and that’s getting into the guts of it – or some of it at least.  You can talk yourself out of anything when you’re floating down the river of denial, and even paint a pretty picture in the doing of it. But that’s why I persist at this blog, and my writing, and whatever else I think I’m doing with this particular talent – it’s because these little pearls I toss out are something I need to heed my very own self – need to hear – need to KNOW, as in the biblical sense almost.  It’s just MY truth, but I think it just might resonate with some or several fellow humans being out there.  We’re not making up much new stuff here – probably because we continue to make so much mileage on the old stuff.  It’s insanely recyclable, and isn’t that a rub?

So here’s my podium, listen as you will.  I’ve just been offering up my own truths when a couple of friends have wanted to talk lately, or listen to what I might have to say about their stories.  And it always boils down to my own personal experience… and see, here’s what I mean…. I had all the books – I was, uh, Enlightened, (thought I) knew all about it, and what do you know I kept going down that recently mentioned rabbit hole time after time…. even going down the same rabbit hole three times after the same rabbit.  I’m telling you, I speak from experience, no matter how pitiful it is.  Let me be your bad example.  (Kudos to Mae West, I think.  Or was it Sophie Tucker?)  But maybe by making my way through Recovery and Reclamation, I can be a good example.  Yeah, the one so many don’t want to hear about – that one.  It’s a tricky dance, finding your audience.  And good relationships!

I’ve become more than acquainted with Codependence and Insecurity.  I know about Women Who Love Too Much, (thanks to Robin Norwood), and standing in your truth.  But the only reason I can tell those who ask is because, at least once now, I’ve managed to make it all the way up to Standing in My Truth, and spoken it.  And here’s how it was, at least that once.  It was softly yet strongly spoken, with nary a shout.  Many triggers were pulled and buttons punched.  It went something like this…  I spoke my truth, and got:  “You’re just making me be the bad guy.”  To which I responded:  “I’m not making you be anything.  You are who you are.  It’s your choice.  I’m just saying that it doesn’t work for me.”  And that’s all there is to it.  And it IS easy for some, but for so many others, and for me, for YEARS, it wasn’t easy at all.  And it still doesn’t always feel easy.  Many of us are accustomed to avoiding Truth at all costs.  We’ve made a lifetime practice of it.  And probably are considered successful in so many ways by so many others.  Well, maybe yes, maybe no.  What’s your truth?

But those words have become somewhat of a mantra to me.  I had to use them again very recently with a friend whose behavior was having repercussions all around me, ones that didn’t feel good, to me or others.  And so I had to say:  “No, I’m not judging you.  Your behavior is your choice.  You can do what you want to do.  I’m just telling you it doesn’t work for me, and I will no longer participate in it.”  Shazzam.  Just like that – and everybody lived.  A friendship was rifted, but it was on pretty uncomfortable footing anyway.  There are sometimes no more passes to be given, and if you do give them, you are in the end supporting your own disrespect, for you’ve indeed compromised your very own self, and how you wish to be treated.  Might not feel very good, but neither does living a lie.  And giving them those passes isn’t really doing them any favors either.  By golly, those are the smelly things you have to wade through and get dirty all over again when you decide to finally deal with it.  The amazing payoff is, you might think you’re getting the old filth on you, and it’s scary, but in the end, after you do the laundry, and take that bath, you’ll find you never felt cleaner in your life.  And yes, you might fall down a rabbit hole, again, (but not again again, please), but the up side is that you DO know which way is Up and OUT now.  Your choice:  Rabbit Hole Village and Asylum, or Tree Top Life in the Skies and Stars?  Well, duh.

I know.  It can sound cold and cruel.  And maybe especially so to those on the receiving end of it – even if it’s your very own self, or someone you love in whatever form.  But is it them, or the one in the mirror that you must make the peace with?  That is some of the collateral damage about Truth – often it takes no prisoners.  There are, indeed, all kinds of prisons.  Deal with it.  Deal with your part in it.  Once upon a time someone said something profound about Truth and Freedom.  Related, I think.

I suppose that’s enough pontificating for one day, and surely a point has been made by now.  Now it is time to get to putting away the clean clothes, get those piles organized, and make way for magnificent art making.  Truth, y’all.

Press that reset button!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 5, 2010 by Queenie

There come those times when you feel yourself slipping down the rabbit hole.  It has a lot of names lately:  recycling, backsliding, binge eating – yeah, that ice cream thing.  They write songs about it, a lot of songs, usually the bad country variety, but then sometimes incredibly written and sung ones like my singer/songwritier friend comes up with that leave my heart laid out on exquisite stoneware on a beautiful table.  (I had to have a better visual than laying out on dirty dishes.)  It’s interesting how it happens, and sometimes it might be because some newer dream or plan found itself on another dead end siding.  Ah yes, another disappointment, or not what you wanted, or thought it might be, and now what do you do?  Next.

Then you might find yourself taking a walk out in the woods of your mind to clear your head, so to speak, and there it is – that damned rabbit hole.  Yeah, it’s still there, and there’s the truth of it – it always will be.  Like day and night and Love and Fear and all the elements of existence, there will always be rabbit holes on the landscape.  (Nothing against rabbits – it’s that analogy thing again.)

It so happens that I weary of flinging myself down them, for surely I have enough experience with them to know their liabilities and unsure footing around the edges, and I’ve no need to go take a gander at what might be down there.  I’ve already been – too many times to have another “accident” and find myself falling again.  I guess the challenge comes when you come across some different looking rabbit hole – the likes of which you’ve never seen before – and that’s when Mystery and his sometimes companion Hope appear on the scene.  Mystery is so seductive, and Hope, well Hope is another thing entirely.  I haven’t happened on one of those rabbit holes lately, and with all the falling down I’ve been doing on regular ground recently, I’m liable to give any holes a wide berth.  Show me the money, Mr. Hole.

Meantime, things happen and people come and go, and no one has stayed for a while except the tried and true friends that have proven their merit, as I hope, have I.  I don’t know about all this “buy gold” stuff of late, but I sure am into honoring and nurturing my friends.  They’ve certainly paid their dues with me.  They are invaluable, and the true meaning of Priceless.  Not throwing my money, or my friendships, down any more holes.

As time has passed since the last time I pulled myself from the depths of the rabbit hole, or even if I managed to stop sooner on a ledge rather than take the whole soul whacking “all the way to the bottom” ride, I am at least finding that I can manage to steer clear of them a lot easier.  Or maybe the triggers just don’t find such a willing victim of late.  I’m tired of hole falling – I’d rather climb, thank you very much.

And so, when I see a hole beckoning me come back in again….. don’t you remember how much fun you had…… and yes, there was the fun, and I miss it, but I don’t miss the crash and the cactus and protruding nails on the way down.  Not worth the ticket. Ah, but yes, such fun, such dreams, and it was real on my part, and….….Whoops, there you go….. PUSH THE RESET BUTTON!

Clear your head instead with the sound you used to hear on the old cartoons when the character shook his head rapidly from side to side.  (Imagine that sound now…. It was funny.)  Decide you’re going to be the roadrunner ready to zippidy-do-dah instead of the coyote headed downward with the anvil in close pursuit.  Think up the next plan, even if you’re up to R or S by now.  It’s OK to rest and regroup, but no wallowing.  (Unless you need to do it just long enough to remember how it smells when you’ve been in there a while.)

This is when you have to trust in your innate You, and get on with that Creativity thing.  Unless you are in stasis, (and that’s real close to doing NOTHING, maybe too similar to Dead), you have choices and sometimes you just have to make your own opportunities.

Well, I’ll let you know how it all comes out.  I know what doesn’t work.  I know what didn’t work.  The things that do work are perhaps some I haven’t tried or met yet.  Who knows?

So here we go again.  Next plan.  Stand up straight.  Walk on.  Keep singing.  Play that guitar.  Keep writing.  More art…. different art…… what’s next….. and don’t misplace that Reset Button.