Putting the pieces together~

I just got back home from leading a church service at the Unitarian Universalist Church for Hogmanay, the Scottish equivalent of New Year's celebrations. We laughed, we sang, we ate the bread, we sprinkled salt for flavor and we drank whiskey for warmth and comfort. I will clean my house today and tomorrow to be able to set a good foot into the new year. It is good to do so.

To "clean house" as it were and get ready for the "First Footer" (oh I hope he's tall, dark and handsome for good luck!)

So here we are at the end of 2012...

As I have done for years,
this time of year brings me back around to finding my clipboard...
and on that clipboard...
on the last few pages on the bottom of the stack...
I have saved the goals I wrote down from a year ago for me to direct myself toward.

Notice I didn't say the word, "Accomplish".

But as with any good road map...sometimes I do find myself actually arriving at my destination of choosing.
This year I see that I've been able to cross off several things from my list. And that does feel good!

Some of these things I've done with the help of good friends...
and some I've done by my own sheer will...
and done only some by magickal divine intervention and stamina..

The first wish and desire I had at the very top of my list at the end of last year was this:

"To get over being heartbroken and to get on with my life and love." 

WOWSA....that's a doosey!
A whopper of a charge to manifest!
But it was an important one...and I did manage it.

Yes, I obsessed.
Yes, I cried a lot.
Yes, I counted my blessings.
Yes, I practiced forgiveness on a major scale.
Yes, I tried to keep positive.
Yes, I tried to reinvent the wheel.
Yes, I gave myself time to grieve.

And you know what?
It fucking worked.
Time is the healer of all things they say...
but it's not time itself that can heal.
It is the daily balm of prayers and forgiveness (of self and others) and redirecting your energies and thinking of people and situations in a different light that does the trick.

It ain't easy. 
But it IS possible!

Here is a saying that kept me going forward when I had the hardest  and darkest time of it:
"The heart is the only organ in your body that can be broken...and yet you don't die."

But I have to tell you....it sure don't feel like "living" at the time....
Yet I am grateful that (as Beatrice in "Much Ado about Nothing" says)
"My heart stays on the windy side of care...poor fool."

And I'm grateful to that too.
For what are we to do, but to LOVE others?!
And to show forgiveness!
And to LEARN!

In the movie, "Moonstruck", Nicholas Cage plays Ronny Cammareri who says:
"Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either, but love don't make things nice - it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and *die*. The storybooks are *bullshit*. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and *get* in my bed!" 

And truly, this is so. This is how love feels. This is how love can be. This is how love IS.

And yet...what doesn't kill us...makes us stronger!

I HAVE healed.
I truly feel stronger.
My heart feels like the Grinch's heart and has swollen to 3x it's size!

The StoryBook Club (Children's Lit for Adults Only :) that I run, is my pride and joy and 'tis true that some of the storybooks ARE bullshit. TOTAL CRAP.
But how we love the ironies that these stories give us!
We love the hidden truths that they reveal to us!
We adore the adventure in the woods!
We also love returning home with tales to tell!
We love conquering the wicked witch and becoming the wise shaman!

I've done much this year, have accomplished much on house, home and career!.
New CD out, new music video finished and new website and I appreciate the help that I've had with it all!
I am truly grateful!

I've led rituals and services at churches and bonfires...
I've played music for thousands of people!
I've dressed in dozens and dozens of different costumes!
I've learned new music and stories to share!
I've addressed health issues with courage and got things taken care of!
I am all the better for all of it!

But the thing that I am most proud of is the fact that I DID "get over being heartbroken and to get on with my life and love." 

You know what?
Don't let the media scare you into thinking that people are all horrid and that you should be afraid.
Our world is a big wonderful place full of people and adventures and experiences!
Our job is to seek them out with an open heart, albeit a wiser one, each time having learned a bit more from each and every experience and each and every love.

And this is my conclusion:

Unlike the song, We are NOT a rock nor an island.

We are each- more like ....

a Jigsaw puzzle... 
and each person we put in our life, puts in a piece of us, that fits perfectly, 
even if we can't see the picture at first. 
It comes into focus as WE grow and add pieces to it.

What shall I put on my list for 2013?
Many things...jobs, chores, adventures...

But the most important is this:

I shall keep finding the puzzle pieces and adding them in, 
as I come across the ones that fit perfectly and make sense of my bigger picture.

Do not grow cold when your heart is chilled and frozen. 

Be of good warm cheer!

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Wassail! Good Health to You!

Codependence is NOT a 4 letter word

Hey Ho.

Been doing a lot of soul searching and reading and remembering...and here is my current conclusion:

I think a lot more of us have problems with Codependency than we think.
What is it? It is linked to alcholism, but NOT ALWAYS.

Here are a couple of definitions:

"A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior." ~ Melody Beattie

Some professionals have described it thusly: "It is not a disease but a normal reaction to abnormal people."

"Codependents are people whose lives had become unmanageable as a result of living in a committed relationship with someone addicted or mentally/emotionally behaviorally affected."

Wher'ere it comes from,  it matters not if we learned coping mechanisms of trying to please others because of our situations growing up. It may have grown out of real need to care for a sick parent, or maybe there were other darker things... addictions or alcoholism or neglect or abuse or trauma when we were young.

The fact remains that some of us learned that we should DO for others. It was our saving grace. When all else failed...if we could help another all would be well.
At first that kind of behavior makes us feel GOOD.
Like angelic good.
It is even a bit edgy and gives us the feeling inside, like we are superior to those who need us.
Because we have the answers and are in the position to share.
We can HELP you, anyone.
Especially those that we LOVE.
And to be perfectly honest.... that all makes us feel pretty good about ourselves.
I mean, what's not to love about helping others?

But hold on...
From there it is only a short hop, skip and a jump to where we feel the need to connect duty and service with love..and lust. Soon much of our confidence comes from the approval of others.

And if it doesn't come, we feel miffed or rejected or lonely or angry. Or starved of affection.
In fact,  we are easily snared into being roped in by a charmer who wants to be our everything.
And they usually come with much baggage and they ask us to "fix" them, help them, feed them, love them.

And so we do.

But then, when we can't fix them (because they need to fix their own problems)....
and we get frustrated
and they then become the scapegoat for our lives.

Granted, our sin is that we have, in the interim, put OUR lives on hold for them.
(Oh silly Little Mermaid...giving up your fin for a pair of legs to please a man...)

The person that we loved and adored, soon gets sick of our nit picking, nagging and leaves us, (even if we did have reason...) giving us once more this feeling of abandonment that we ran from in the first place into their arms..

And if they DO stay, sometimes you find that they have pulled away some how, emotionally, sexually, or spiritually, in order to find their own space...that we invaded...that they wanted us to claim.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
It's a bizarre dance and vicious cycle.

Are YOU codependent?

Maybe you could ask yourself some of these questions:

Have I given up things that I loved in order to be loved?

Have I bent over backwards and given of myself and done for others what they should be doing for themselves?

Have I neglected my own self sometimes in favor of gaining favor from others?

Have I gone without in order to give to someone what they need?

Have I gotten angry when the person of my devotion didn't take my perfect advice and change?

Society does not help with this phenomenon.
It teaches us to be a "cheerful giver"....to "give till it hurts"...."to turn the other cheek"....to "love others as we would like to be loved."

Well the hell with that plan.

Maybe INSTEAD we should be taught to:
"Put on YOUR oxygen mask first before the childrens' on the plane in order to help them best"
and "what others think of you matters NOT"...
and "love yourself first and always".

People don't care how much we do for them.
They don't like us any better if we are generous or not.
As a matter of fact, some charmers take that virtue of ours and run with it and abuse it and take until there is nothing left.
(That is because they have their own problems of control. Many charmers can be codependents and  control freaks too)

I feel that Codependency has gotten a bad rap.
You aren't an ugly banschee monster.
You aren't a doormat or a control freak.
It comes from a hurt individual with a generous heart and a need to be saved from former traumas.

But I really think it comes down to how we DO raise females in this country, and yes, throughout the world.
If you don't think that's true, find a woman who DOES take care of herself and doesn't barter for affections then society calls her "selfish" and a "bitch", while a man is labeled "confident" and "in control".

We use these reasons to make sense of our life.

"If only (he/she) were acting better my life would be great."
 "If only I wasn't so preyed upon by others then I could find some time for myself"....
"If only my house was clean and I didn't have to pick up after everyone" ....
"If only my lover would stop playing on the computer and living on SL" .
 "If only my boss would appreciate me" 
"If only people could see how wonderful I really am and appreciate me"
"If only my wife would stop drinking" (or ...shopping/gambling/drugging/gossiping-fill in the blank as needed)
or insert whatever issue is of utmost importance...

It's really all the same. Yes, we were probably all injured at one point or another, during childhood. Yes, we all have scars. Some are deeper than others. Really, who doesn't?

But here's what's really interesting. You see, sometimes, in a twist of karma and fate, we actually ATTRACT and find people that will attack that same tender scar, the same ouchy achilles heel, stress that same weak link. ON PURPOSE. Albeit, we do it subconsciously.

It is because there is an inner need to recreate it and then get it FIXED. But that's not what happens. We just keep reinforcing our weaknesses and building bigger scars.
(The definition of insanity is: "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."~ Albert Einstein) 
Oh, and go crazy we DO.

As far as "fixing other people" well, forget it. As one book I read said, "You didn't create it. You can't change it. You can't fix it."

Their problems are NOT our problems.

From trying to fix the alcoholic mate or parent... to the hoarder husband... to the lover addicted to sex and conquest on the internet... to the girlfriend who has a crack problem... to the wife with a shopping addiction....to the mother who had a nervous breakdown....to the friend with a penchant for risk taking...
to the grandmother who was bedridden most of her life....to the mother who was absent.....to the father who has a gambling addiction...
and oh so many more possibilities out there that you may have felt responsible for!

Guess what?
These are NOT ours to fix and make better!!
But because WE may have been neglected or put down....WE want to feel needed and the way to be needed is to feel helpful....TO DO for others. To FIX them.
We get easily sucked into their worlds...and then they make us feel responsible for them.

BUT We are NOT responsible for their issues.

We are only responsible for ourselves.

Maybe we don't know how to fix our own lives...
maybe we were told we weren't smart enough, rich enough, pretty enough, or capable enough.

That's NOT true. We are all those things.
You ARE capable!

We can start by taking care of our own SELF.
Not reacting.
NOT FIXING their issues.
No longer make excuses for them.
No longer cover for them.
No longer try to make everyone happy.

It only leads to anger, resentment and pain in our OWN heart.
Let GO and let GOD deal with them and their lives.
It's their path.
It's their Karmic Destiny.
They are the ones trying to work out their problems.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.

We need to disconnect from everyone's expectations.
We need to disconnect from OUR expectation of THEM.
We are not superior to them.

We have our own junk to deal with.

In the Bible it says, "Do not try to take the splinter out of someone's eye when there is a log in your own."

Good advice.

In the meantime....I'm trying to sweep my own path and find the sun on my horizon.
I hope you can too.

If you are interested in more of this wonderful way to heal... I HIGHLY recommend the following books:

"Following the Yellow Brick Road: The Adult Child's Personal Journey Through Oz"  by Joy Miller & Marianne Ripper

"Doormats & Control Freaks: How to Recognize, Heal or End Codependent Relationships" by Rebekah Lewis

"Codependence and the Power of Detachment: How to set boundaries and make your life your own" by Karen Casey

"Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself"  by Melody Beattie

I've got a gal and her name is Sal....

Got invited to participate in the The Folklore Society and the Erie Canal Museum's Symposium yesterday and today.

Very interesting to be on panels of discussion and performance for this subject matter! Met other singers, musicians, actors and history buffs!

We performed an interesting program on "Through the Eyes of a Canal Cook".  We were on a panel with someone from the Smithsonian and also a fun actress who was a dirty old cook :) No really. That's her character! :)
Here's Lisa from the NY Folklore Society and Dave Ruch, a folk and traditional musicologist, getting roped into her fun show.

We also snuck away for a bit and took some time on the packet boat....
What do you think of these pics?

Here's the composition of a woman going through the baby years alone with many worries on her mind.....

 I found the necessary!

I even got my old job back as a pub wench.  Care for a drink? I'm pourin'. :)
Ya hungry?

After Harry found the jug, he had a good time too!

It was lots of fun with all kinds of musicologists, folklorists and interesting tall tales!
Swedish music on the canal~
Lot of instruments chatted about and brought forth to make music and otherwise hobnob and schmooze (As the Great Oz would say:)

It was thirst quenching to absorb so much "edu-tainment"

Hope your day was a grand one too, full of music, kind folks and garb and learning!

Squirrel Haven 2.0

Hey Ho! Thought I do another update.

Everyone involved (Harry, Dave, Joe, me) in our home project has been busting arse around here and it is really starting to come together!

Our wiring project is done and I will be getting to redoing the office very soon.
Dave didn't have to do this patch, but before we knew it, he was done!

The house is a lot sturdier and safer now! Looks good too!
I like it when it's fall and the green ivy turns orange and red, don't you?

 We can even OPEN these lovely windows on the back room now!!!!

and we have a bit of a roof over our deck now for over the back door and over the hot tub!!
 The hot tub needs repair. That is one of the next projects to be done...
but when it's cleaned off and fixed ...
it'll be AWESOME to have a roof over us
and that also means.....

and there have been 8, count em, 8 new ones put in too! :)

 Hey, careful there......that first step is a doozie...

Yes, it's starting to feel lots more cozy here :)

And also QUIETER too with the tighter more efficient windows!

Hey Lorie...here's the wreath you gave me. Looks good with this plaque I had!


Here's a before picture....of one spot....
the cinder block addition was added WAY before we got it. It was painted to match the Harvest Gold aluminum stuff. I decided to just go with the white...as it would be too costly to match the old aluminum.
and one from this morning....same spot.
I like the way it looks, fine.
It looks good.

 I will be painting the privacy stockade partition white for on the deck...
No sense in the neighbors getting a wild buck arse show :)

and previous pic (the backyard is another story...but inch by inch....eh?
Harry is being fabulous and making a lot of changes and pitching in....
We were joking this morning that we've finally made the commitment that we love each other enough to work together and try to LIVE together so it's good for BOTH of us....
even if it's not easy sometimes....
it's worth it!

we have lots more to do.
And miles to go before we sleep....

but HEY!
it's better.

WAY better. :)

The outlook is very good.

Mag 104

"He approves of the undertakings"
 "The New Order of the Ages"
These are the words printed on our money.

Those trustworthy Washingtons.
Those steady Lincolns
Those stalwart Benjamins

In our pockets
In our purses
In our dreams

 Really are

The All Seeing Eye
Magnified thrice 
by Magickal Pyramid Power

Mammon lives.


If you would like to read what some other fine writers have done with this inspirational photo today....
surf here!

Remodeling....Squirrels are Us....

Just an update as to our progress over here at Squirrel Haven.

I pretty much finished the front room. I found an awesome unit for the tv and equipment. Harry did NOT want me to buy "any particle board shit". Yes, I'm sure I got that quote right. My smart daughter, Jesse, said I might want to try an antique store or a thrift shop.

I did and I found the PERFECT thing!

 Check out this handmade piece of furniture that I found for $90!

We don't watch TV at all, (don't want cable and never wanted to replace the antennae when it was ripped down in a microburst in 1998). We choose what we want...and only watch videos or Netflix when we sit down to be entertained. So enclosing the TV in between time was awesome!

Dave and Joe have been working steadily on the roof. Got the uppers done and all that it entailed with new base under that one rotted spot. It's really coming along...even though the weather has been off and on again rainy and cold....
Dave is doing great with the project and both of the guys have been super!
I've been keeping crockpots of food on for them on their breaks.
Joe is funny. When it rains, I say, "You guys ok out there?"
And Joe will say, "I'm not made of sugar. I don't melt. But then again...shit doesn't do well in the rain either. I must not be made of either sugar or shit."

Now the guys are into the next step and  are endeavoring to make an overhang for the hot tub on the deck before the roofing is done.
Our hot tub has been down this season and all of last season. Some sort of tragic accident happened the night that Merlyn and Jesse were partying and forgot to turn off the water that Harry told us to "add some water to it after you get out". Blah blah blah. Something like that. ANYWAYS....during a movie and after several beers, Merlyn realized water was running. "Oh FUCK! We forgot to turn off the hose!!"
But it was too late. We smoked the brain on the computer in the unit.
Harry is finding parts for it....but it's an old unit and well....he's gonna have to be creative without schematics. We hope to get it up and running again after the roof and office is done.

Speaking of the office...

Harry IS brilliant with wiring and schematics....
but has run into a wiring nightmare in the soon to be painted (hopefully) office.
Old houses are fraught with problems such as these.
The first thing to do is to isolate just what is hooked up to what.
As in, "where the fuck does THIS wire go?"

It goes something like this:

Harry goes into basement and Merlyn is stationed upstairs in rooms that we are checking.

Harry: "Honey? You there?"
Merlyn: "I'm here."
Harry: "I'm gonna flip a breaker and you tell me what goes off, ok?"
Merlyn: "K"
Merlyn: "The desk light and the computer went off."
Harry: "Did the overhead light go off?"
Merlyn: "NO."
Harry: "SHIT."
CLICK. (Lights back on in office).
Harry: "How about now?"
Merlyn: "The lights in the front room went off."
Harry: "The overhead light in the office is STILL ON?"
Merlyn: "YUP."
Harry: "FUCK."
CLICK. (lights go back on in front room)
Harry: "How about now?"
Merlyn: "Overhead light OFF in office! But now the stove in the kitchen is blinking"
Harry: "What the hell did they do??? I'm coming up...I have to see this."

And like that.

The circuit that he's working on is (we found out) shared with stuff from upstairs, the kitchen and the lights on the staircase....
and he's trying to separate the circuits.

In between installs, and Screamer's Hollow tech needs.


Well, it's VERY difficult to find out where you ARE in relationship to the upstairs outlet from the basement. Thank God for heating grates as landmarks so he can triangulate where things are. So here's the good part.
Evidently, some ratty/mousie/squirrel varmit had in the course of the last milennium, had decided to be thankful to the owners of the house.

(Here is a fun pic I found online....while it isn't my house...I'm sure it's the plan our mousie in the wall had...before he met with his unfortunate demise in the Adirondack trap in the basement..)

It had chewed a perfect access hole at a ridiculous angle (that works perfect for Harry) for him to fish the new wire beyond the old foundation.  
Otherwise, Harry would be taking more wall out and drilling at an angle through 2 foot thick stone foundation, and the main beam is a foot diameter tree trunk. Thanks to the RATTIES, here at Squirrel Haven, who are SO considerate, we can go forward a little easier.

See the yellow wire sticking out? Harry fed it from the basement up through the hole inside the wall which was made eons ago by some industrious mouse, chimpmunk or squirrel deep within the walls.

How'ere, the Squirrels here at Squirrel Haven are also doing a LOT of bitching in the treetops, because due to the new roof....they can't find their door....nor their nuts...nor their party haven and winter orgy grounds.
 They are yelling in their squirrely chatter to the guys on the roof.
In squirrel language it must translate to something like:
"HEY! Get off our house! Let us IN!! Give us back our nuts!! SQUATTERS!!! Thieves!!!!"

Let them yell.
So far, it's been a LOT quieter here inside since the roof went on.

We shall see once the winter comes if they continue to stay out.

So far....so good!

Gypsies & Graveyards & Vikings....Oh My!

A day of history, friends and frivolity of the most imaginative kind!

10-13-12 started out at my friend Fox's event "Harvest Folklore and Cemetery Storytelling" at Clay Park.

I have my daughter Shawna home from her residence this weekend and we had lots of silly fun!
We saw Fox and her special goat friend, Darla!

This is the goat blanket that Fox made from fabric scraps from friends all over the world!
There is even some special fabric from me in it. :)

Darla is so pretty! :)

Then we made Corn Dollies together with these Gypsy girls who helped us....
Then it was off on a bus ride with friends and family to go to Morgan Road Cemetery to visit this old graveyard and have a Storytelling by Fox!

I toasted my wee friend Miss Lily Rose on my lap. We are good buds :)

I have not been to a cemetery for YEARS. I am just too sensitive and "pick up messages". How'ere, this cemetery was very quiet and peaceful. My dear friend Anne Dougherty who I have a Tarot booth with, told me to "put out your CLOSED sign" when I go there. I did. I was very happy and I felt fine this time!

Fox and I are truly Gypsies! Friends for a Looooong Time.
Old Souls are We.

Shawna's daddy, Dave even met us to wander the cemetery. He reminded me of all the fun he and I used to have in a cemetery a loooong time ago when he and I were naughty hippy teenagers.
Notice the twinkle in his eyes?

Then it was off to a Viking Party with the Vogdis Clan! We are all great friends and such fun we had on a chilly October evening! Of course, the food, friendship and drinking kept us warm. Just like the furs that we wore!

Shawna makes a good Viking. For tonight her name was Brighetta :)

The fire bathed us all in a warm glow....
it was savage HOT.
Most of the revelers tried on a Viking hat or wore some fur....and the rest of us just had fun and drank! There was SOOO much food and drink!
I told everyone that I was bringing a traditional Viking dish to pass.
"Sheep Testicles in Clotted Cream."

They were kinda wary....

but then they realized Merlyn's word power and gobbled up the "Sveedish Meatballs" in my crockpot!

I'm a Saxon, I'm a Saxon, so are you! So are you!
Let's go kill a Norman, let's go kill a Norman....
Biff bam boo....biff bam boo....

Here is Viking Ilsa (Merlyn :)

Shawna had a beer...

And she wanted to try one shot of delicious meade so silly supped from "The Sword of Drunkeness" with friends Lori and Craig.

and den like Good Viking, she snuggled up by the fire.
Craig wrapped her up in a toasty blanket....
 All in all a VERY full day ....

Full of Gypsies, walking, fun, Vikings and good times.

Night Shawna! :)