"The glacier knocks in the cupboard, The desert sighs in the bed, And the crack in the teacup opens A lane to the land of the dead."

-W.H. Auden

Monday, October 9, 2017

Harvest Moon

October's harvest moon rising, as seen from the end of our street.

Festival Of The Liminal Space

At the fair, in the Autumn, at twilight.

The Tunnel

 In the dark and murky tunnel, down at the river.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

With only one full day of Summer remaining, it's time to think back over the last couple of months. Were they memorable? Were they well-spent? If only Mr. Tastee were here to help us mark the passing of the season.

Even though fatigue had been my constant wet-blanket companion all these weeks, I've tried to do my best. You know me, I always want to find the extraordinary within the ordinary. Despite all the fear and troubles in the world, there must still be a little magic, somewhere.

To prove this point, we have pictures.
For instance - and as previously mentioned on this blog - on the first day of summer, my youngest found this Hand of Fatima bracelet. 2 weeks later, my husband found another Hand of Fatima near his workplace. When you're in the habit of asking for signs, don't you love it when they're this direct?

And here's another fortunate symbol, via the drug store shoe department.You may think these triquetra sandals are too flashy to be in good taste, but it's just possible the sparkle allows the gods to see them more easily.;)
Bigger on the inside - Later, my 6 year old made this TARDIS with a cut-out door, so when you open it, you can see that the space inside "contains the whole world."  Clever boy.
On our rambles, we discovered many fairy tale places, both real and fantastical...
 And there were colorful fireworks and colorful treats.
 There was even unexpected drama at the arcade.
And at the end of the day, there is always the mystery of shadows
 Even the sun and moon got into the act.
Yes, it was a good season, I think.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rain Lilies

After the rain, the rain lilies come.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Storm Night

Early in the day, the wind blew hot and cold gusts and whistled close to the ground. But it was long after that, after nightfall, that the storm finally arrived.

Hurricane Musings

My teenage son and I sat on the edge of the lawn and watched the storm roll in. I said it was coming slow, 4 miles an hour. Walking speed.

My son said, musingly, what if there was a man at the center of the storm...no, a demon...what if there was a demon at the center of the storm and the demon was walking?

I laughed, because I'd had the exact same thought. Like mother, like son. We've read a lot of comic books, we have. But we both got a little chill, thinking about it.

The things that go through your head while waiting for a storm.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Solar Eclipse

The August 21 eclipse of the sun was only a partial one for us, but still an opportunity for Science, and we're always up for a little celestial activity. We made projectors out of cereal boxes and marveled at how we could see clouds drifting across the paper at the bottom. We sought out leafy trees to see the crescent-shaped sunlight on the ground underneath.
We will have to wait until 2024 for our total eclipse, but all in all, it was a good day.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


I remember - though I'm not really sure why - August 8, 1988. It was said to be a special day. 8-8-88, you see, a magic number of sorts, at least according to the tabloids my mother left strewn around the house.

I'd never thought of eights as particularly lucky though, and perhaps this is why I felt a blankness or  blandness in the day, or maybe emptiness is a better word. As if you are waiting for something to happen, though you're certain it won't and it doesn't, after all.

I remember my room, with its sheer pink curtains that would blow in the breeze, though in my memory that day is still and quiet. I had the curtains, though, and flowered wallpaper, a subscription to Sassy magazine, a set of benders, a stereo, and a subtle but gnawing sense of unease.

Nearly 30 years later, this is easy to explain. History has shown us the course things would take. The artifice of the Reagan 80's were about to be over, were already over, really, although we didn't quite know it yet. Only if you already lived on the fringes you would know it, and I was just a schoolgirl then who didn't quite understand. You know things before you know them, though, the way I knew that 8-8-88 was no magic number. The lives we were told we wanted would not quite work out that way. For those already marginalized, the future would be the same and worse.

Looking back, it's hard to say what I thought. My mind was preoccupied.The unease was (for me, then) like a faint smell you can't quite trace. The proverbial rat, before the stench of decay becomes unmistakable.

If it was not that day, it was another just like it that I happened to see the cover for Nothing's Shocking. It was a review in one magazine or another. Maybe it was Sassy, maybe it was Rolling Stone. Wherever it was, it intrigued me in a way I find it difficult to describe today. It was not shocking (as the title suggested) but indicative of something that could not be spoken.

Nearly 30 years later, history lets me see it in full - the flaming twins suggesting, in a dream-like way, the darkness that was coming, that weird black pall that hung over the Bush I years like so much riot smoke. By the mid 90's despair and drugs would would have many more in their grasp, but by then we had Grunge. It was the natural result.

It occurs to me now - and why I think of it this August - this unique image stays with me because it was a symbol, the first hint of the zeitgeist that would overwhelm us all.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Ritual Of The Black Snake

I've been so slow about blogging...fatigue again...but I did want to post this before July is entirely over.

On the fourth, we went out to buy fireworks from the stand at the edge of town. We bought a small collection of sparkly whizzy things for the older boys, but I also bought a handful of black snakes. Partly this was so the youngest would have something non-noisy to enjoy, but also because I have fond memories of them myself. They were maybe 12 for a dollar, anyway.

Early in the evening, about 7 0'clock, I snuck outside to light one by myself. I suppose my inner child wanted a little privacy, the secret glee of creating fire and smoke. I put it down on the driveway, lit the punk stick and lit the black snake. 

As I was kneeling over the flames watching the snake unfurl, the neighbors drove by. So much for privacy. But the looks on their faces was priceless. They clearly thought I must be partaking of a strange and arcane ritual there on the dusty gravel. They looked intrigued and slightly alarmed at the same time. 

But the funny thing was, I had begun to feel the same way myself. It was unexpected, but I swear I suddenly felt a Presence. It was a friendly Presence, but a Presence (disembodied, non-corporeal, possibly holy) nonetheless.

Maybe this kind of thing has happened to you, maybe it hasn't, but in this case, it was special kind of coziness, a tranquility in the evening air. It was what they call the golden hour, so maybe this helped, but the world around me took on a luminescence, and I was sure I was no longer alone. 

After the black snake had burnt itself out, I stuck the end of the punk stick in the gravel and watched it glow. The feeling stayed with me for a while. I thought about the fire deities and elemental spirits throughout many ages and cultures. I wondered if one of them had kindly paid me a visit. 

When it was over, I put out the smoldering stick and went to enjoy the holiday with the rest of the family. It was nice to see them having such fun. But for me, that small moment in the driveway is so far my favorite memory of the Summer. 

A little transcendence will liven up any holiday.

Note: I seriously doubt it was fumes from the firework causing me to hallucinate or anything like that, as we used up the rest of the black snakes without any additional weirdness.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Igneous The Troll's All Night Pottery Shop

This post combines two disparate facts:
1. There is a PS1 game based on the Discworld novels.
2. My brother is living in our carport.

The game is of the point-and-click variety, complicated and frustrating but nice to look at. My husband and I played it all through the summer of 2000.

In it, the city of Ankh-Morpork has been beset by a dragon, and your character, Rincewind, has to deal with it. As is typical, the player gathers items and completes certain tasks before moving on to the next bit. It's clever and funny, and there are many things to do.

Most of the game takes place during the day, but there are sections in which Rincewind has to go out at night. There generally isn't much going on in Ankh-Morpork during these late jaunts. Depending on what part of the game you're on, you can wander into bedrooms or you can try to get into the Broken Drum without getting bounced by the door troll.
There is occasionally a back room or alley that seems promising, but on the whole, nighttime is one of those situations where you have limited options and little guidance. Needless to say, I spent much time wandering around the darkened Ankh-Morpork at a loss.
Eventually, after doing an arcane combination of things, you come upon a little shop on the corner. Inside, a troll is humming away at his pottery wheel. The sign reads "Igneous the troll's all night pottery shop."
 You have to take one of his pots.
He's not necessarily happy to see you, although he won't thump you if you're polite. When you leave, he cheerfully resumes his work. The game continues on at length, but this is the part that really stuck in my mind.

It's probably not too hard to imagine how much the concept of this shop appealed to me. As a person who's most alert in the wee hours and is most creative then, the thought of an all-night pottery shop seems like the best thing ever. When you spend many lonely hours wondering if any other soul is awake, you are glad to spot one of your own. Basically, that troll has my dream-job.

The image has stayed with me all these years. The rest of the game is good fun, of course, but the all-night pottery shop was special. I hadn't thought about it for quite some time though.

What brought it to mind again was disparate fact #2.

Since my brother and his wife split up (no great tragedy, really, they've been off and on again for ages) he's been staying here. It's not because he can't afford his own place, mind you. There's two things you should understand about my brother above all else - he's weird and he's cheap.

He also finds the rest of us annoying, so he's taken to camping out in the carport. Really. He's got a couch and a lamp and his books. In fact, he's out there right now - I could see his 44oz. Big Gulp soda outlined on his side table. Yes, he even has a side table. I'm sure he intends to make hay with his lawyers about how he's been reduced to living in a carport, but make no mistake, he's quite pleased with himself.

Well, the other night, it occurred to me that I should be annoyed with my brother, lurking out there every night when he's perfectly free to come indoors. However, upon thinking about it, I realized I wasn't. Seeing the carport lit up like a beacon, his dim silhouette busy with his iPhone, put me in the mind of something.

Oh yes, it was Igneous the troll.

There's something about the thought of having your own on-site troll that's oddly comforting.

Thinking about getting him a pottery wheel.