Mag 110 ~Gemini

image: Duane Michals


Twins within me, I see you

Angel and Demon reflected back

In my words and deeds

In my thoughts and dreams

Mystic and Pirate

Never one...but always two conjoined

Forever flighty and yet stalwart and strong

My soul with two heads

Always seeing the fork in the road

Forever choosing

Never deciding

World without end


For more poems to express this week's pics....Click HERE to surf to Magpie Tales, where other poets seek to take you on a wordy journey of adventure :)

Week 6 of 52- Supplement This!

Hey Ho~
How are you doing out there with your healthy changes?

I am doing quite well with all these small changes from the book that Lorie and I (and Mary and NJ and a few other friends) are following. In the last 6 weeks since starting this book, I have lost 7 pounds!!!

This week's small change is a simple one~
Yet it is one thing, that I admit, I am not in a good habit of....

It's taking a simple multivitamin DAILY.

Just ONE multivitamin can make up for any lack we may have in our diets.
While we try to eat well....every day may not be balanced.

To be honest....I have a problem already with taking a regular vitamin as a daily habit.
I think it's because I feel it gets complicated so easily....

Like, I SHOULD also take:
a B-100 complex (because I feel so much better when I do)
and a Vitamin C (for immune system and aches and pain reduction)
and a baby aspirin (according to my physician it helps avoid stroke)
and Calcium (because I don't drink milk and AM calcium deficient).
and Vitamin D (because I am deficient due to blood tests...could actually take double D! :)
But taking those means the addition of 7 extra supplements (3 calcium is the dose on the bottle I have!) on top of the multivitamin and by the time I get them all gagged down, I feel like.... ICK.

But this week....well.....
I'm going to just try to focus on the ONE multivitamin for now and make a good change.

And you know what? That's a step in the right direction! :)

So are the other changes I've made so far:
*Drinking more water (I actually notice my intake now, and am aware when I fall short and make it up)

*Setting a regular bedtime (I try to get to bed at a set time to TRY to acquire 8 hours...not easy for a menopausal woman...but at least I'm there...and resting...and sometimes sleeping ;)

*Moving more (Yoga 3x week/dance tapes 2x week/plus taking extra steps throughout day)

*Keeping a daily food journal (a big help to be accountable....and to look back)

*Trying to be more optimistic (very helpful and it helps to keep your chin up and to be aware of where any negativity is coming from)

It's all good.

"If it's going to's up to me."

Hang in there and come along with me for the ride.

And honeys?

Take your Vitamins :)

Because yesterday was my FIRST day of this week's challenge....

and I FORGOT (insert sheepish grin here)

Week 5 of 52~ Like Peter Pan says: "Think Happy Thoughts"

I'm doing very well in the 52 Small Changes Challenge so far!
As some of you know, my friend, Lorie and I are following the book:
"52 Small Changes: A Year to a Healthier, Happier You"

Weekly changes I've made so far include: Drinking lots and lots of water, trying to set a bedtime and sticking to it, moving more, keeping a food journal and being accountable.

This Week's Challenge is to be Optimistic!

Like the old joke goes:
Some people see the glass as 1/2 Empty....They are Pessimists.
Some people see the glass as 1/2 Full..... They are Optimists.
Some people see the glass full of Milk..... They are Baptists. :)

There is a study that has proven that people who are Optimistic and who expect greater results and better outcomes ARE Happier and more Successful! They even have less stress and live longer!

You know, really, sometimes I am SOOOO good at being Optimistic!! I am very happy go lucky for the most part! I have LOTS of ideas (as you know ;) and I am cheerful for most of the time.

But sometimes, well, the Zombie Wolf gets behind my eyes...and my self talk gets me down, and I dwell in the muck and mire of life. (It must be a Gemini thing. Like "Me and my Evil Twin" or something....)

So here's what I plan to do this week.

*I'm going to put some Positive Affirmations around my house to feed my spirit.

*I will purposely try to hang out with Positive Ha
ppy People.

*I am going to continue my Spa Week, and keep ta
king care of myself!

*I am not going to get dragged into negative trains of thought, and if a negative conversation starts, I will try to derail it by interjecting positive comments.

*I'm going to SMILE MORE. (it seems silly to say this, but I'm going to implement some extra smiling!)
Here are some Affirmations that I like....
You may like some of them too! :)

Affirmations for Love
  • I know that I deserve Love and accept it now
  • I give out Love and it is returned to me multiplied
  • I rejoice in the Love I encounter everyday
  • I am a Good Mate

Affirmations for Romance

  • I have a wonderful partner and we are both happy and at peace
  • I attract only healthy relationships
  • I am with you because I want to be

Affirmations for Weight Loss

  • I am the perfect weight for me
  • I choose to make positive healthy choices for myself
  • I choose to exercise regularly
  • I love and approve of myself

Affirmations for Self Esteem

  • When I believe in myself, so do others
  • I express my needs and feelings
  • I am my own unique self - special, creative and wonderful
  • I ROCK!

Affirmations for Peace and Harmony

  • All my relationships are loving and harmonious
  • I am at peace
  • I trust in the process of life

Affirmations for Joy and Happiness

  • Life is a joy filled with delightful surprises
  • My life is a joy filled with love, fun and friendship all I need do is stop all criticism, forgive, relax and be open.
  • I choose love, joy and freedom, open my heart and allow wonderful things to flow into my life.
This is going to be a Great Week !
It's the Vernal Equinox Today!

A day of BALANCE.

and Balance is s a VERY Positive and Optimistic thing.

You still with me??

So let's celebrate Life, Love and Look Ahead with a Happy Heart!

Happy Spring Everyone!!!

The difference between

stumbling blocks and stepping stones

is how you use them.

Mag 109~ Biological Clock


It was Spring Equinox and time to spring ahead to Daylight Savings time.

Max always hated changing the inner clock.

The windings always stuck on the 3rd one.

It was the Universal "get out of bed" gear.

No matter.

Just a bit of tweaking, and elbow grease.

Determination was his trusty wrench.

The world thanked him for his efforts.

Spa Week Experiment Results are In~

I hope you had a great week, I sure did.
My wild hair idea about doing a Spa Week for myself went grand!
I tried out a couple of NEW things:

A cream facial ~ This homemade beauty treatment worked almost like a peel. It was 1 tbls heavy cream whisked up with enough baking soda to give it the consistency of shaving creme. Then add 1 tbls of honey. Cover your clean face with it. I let mine set, grabbed a book, put my feet up and read for 20 minutes -1/2 hour till it gets "tingly". Rinse.
Skin on face and neck were lovely and soft and someone asked me if I "got some sun". So fresh peachy creamy I was! :)

A super condition hair treatment~ rather than try some olive oil or mayo treatment (been there, done that many years ago enough to know that it reeks and is hard to rinse out) Instead, I opted for a tube of special hair conditioner from my hairdresser, with a friend over and we super conditioned our wet hair and topped it with a shower cap for about 1/2 hour. Hair seems soft and a bit stronger.

And some treats:

*Vanilla Almond Bubble Bath

*Epsom Salt Bath

*Saged the house

*Walked on the beach with my doggy!

*Took time for books and reading

* Walked doggy daily for 1/2 hour every morning

*Did 3 hours yoga (M/W/F) and did a dance tape for fun (T/Th)

*Took time for a couple of friend day adventures, with lunch out and a chat.

*Hot tubbed a couple of wonderful relaxing hours with loved ones.

*Allowed myself some great food (and even made a fruit laden ice cream sundae for dinner! Heavy on fruit but topped with some Ben & Jerry's. Hey, it's natural, vitamin C, potassium and calcium :)

HOW the hell did I do this on a week where I had lots of gigs and regular work?


I implemented a SCHEDULE for myself and I disciplined myself to get up at 6am, get going w/ exercise, and to keep sticking to the plan. I got a LOT done, AND got to bed on time for the most part!! (with exception of Open Mic party and St. Paddy's day Irish fest/visiting).
My days M-F looked like this:

6am..... .....Wake Up/Clean up/Awaken/Emails
7am..... .....Walk/Yoga
8:30am..... Breakfast
9-Noon..... Work/Projects
Noon ........Lunch
1-5pm...... Work/Projects/Sunbathing/Sauna/Nap/Personal
5pm......... Dinner
7-9pm..... Evening entertainment/Tea/Conversation
9-10pm... Bath /book
10pm...... Bed (I'm trying to get 7-8 hours sleep)

Well, I adapted it around my schedule of gigs and work....but it was mostly like this.


I feel fabulous.

I think as an experiment, this idea of "SPA WEEK" is a keeper and I would like to keep the schedule and the body treatments as a regular thing, instead of an infrequent thing.

Try it.
What have you got to lose but some stress and wasted TV time?

SPA week for a Minstrel and a Roadie?

Minstrels and Roadies don't have schedules.
I mean,
If we have to be somewhere, for Work....
We are SO there.
With bells on.
But we've probably stayed up WAY too late gigging....or working a stage call....
there is a possibility that we may have drank too much the night before...
to relax or socialize...
ate too many pretzels in the van...
or ate out of styrofoam or wax paper delivered junk food choices.....
and slept in WAY too late...or got up way too early to get to the next gig...

Getting a roadie going in the morning requires at LEAST a whole pot of coffee.
And then some.

I'm really an Early Bird by nature...but (by trying to be a good wife/Mate) I have tried to match the Late Owl schedule of my men. Not easy for an early riser.
While a late night is fine once in awhile, overall, it doesn't make me feel good.

Birdies rise early. Owls shine at night.

I'm a Merlyn Bird.
Harry is an Owl.

So I'd LOVE to R-U-N-N-O-F-T and take one of those Week long Spa Retreats that I've read so dreamily about.
You know the ones....
A week spent in some beautiful Resort, over looking a lake...
where you have a structured day...
Walks, yoga, hikes, health food, time for books, lectures, meditation, swimming...
Handsome earthy Yoga instructors with a calm Zen philosophy that you can daydream about while doing twisted poses...savoring healthy gourmet dinners, having intelligent conversations with other earthy, artist, Birkenstock wearing, Patchouli loving type people... some star gazing, talk of Astrology and your signs...and then an early mandatory bedtime.

A whole week of BLISS.

This last weekend I indulged myself and my sweet girls with a "Mommy Day" and we did facials, super conditioned our hair, and did manicures and pedicures, and added a glass of wine and a movie.
They really liked the time spent and the camaraderie.

So did I.
We are very silly together.
I don't know where my kids get it from....Shawna is my Buddha Baby.
This was the SEED of an IDEA....

a very delightfully WICKED idea...
(like the Grinch's Idea)
I surfed around to these different sites last year, and I made an amalgamated schedule.

You see,

Here's my PLAN that I started yesterday:

I'm gonna add some structure to my wild life. I will let you know how it goes.

6am Wake Up/Clean up/Awaken/Emails
7am Walk/Yoga
8:30am Breakfast
9-Noon Work/Projects
Noon Lunch
1-5pm Work/Projects/Sunbathing/Sauna/Nap/Personal
5pm Dinner
7-9pm Evening entertainment/Tea/Conversation
9-10pm Bath /book
10pm Bed (I'm trying to get 7-8 hours sleep)

I will have to adapt it a bit for my work schedule...

I'm also going to continue my themed weekday idea going:

Monday Put Away Day (don't clean, just put away stuff!!)
Tuesday Self Care Day
Wednesday Create
Thursday Learn Practice Study
Friday Implement
Saturday Play
Sunday Plan

Today is Day 2.

Yesterday went FABULOUS.
I did yoga, walked, got a lot done, sent poems off for possible publication, worked, went to my writing class, took care of myself lovingly, had a sumptuous Honey Almond bubble bath, and above all...

I ENJOYED the process.

Life is what you make it.
While I'd like to go somewhere fabulous and do all those things...

who says you can't bloom where you are planted?

While I can't guarantee I can motivate the Roadie....

This Minstrel IS on her way....
and wishing you the very best.

Have a ZEN Day.

Mag 108- Archeologic Remains

Look within- the books say
Look up to the heavens, say the priests
Look to your feet, says the guru
Look in the mirror- says your face

There may be a snake
with poison fangs
or a badger
teeth bared and claws at the ready


Decaying skeletons
a bony finger of truth

There may be buried treasure
coins buried long ago
set aside
for the day you forgot them

Wrapped in dusty calico
in a disintegrating shoe box
folded in the dated newspaper
of the day you buried

this Pandora's Box

the best and worst part of you

For other poems made for the weekly pic, click HERE

Week 4 of 52~ "To Thine Own Self Be True"

Weekly check in for the Challenge following the book:

"52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier Healthier You"

  • Week 1: Adding more Water -80 oz day Check.
  • Week 2: Averaging Sleep- 7-8hours...."Sorta" Check. Sill slightly hormonally impaired there.
  • Week 3: Adding Exercise. Check. If you count: Yoga 3 hours week. Walking doggy daily. Climbed 110 stairs 4x extra this week. Dancing around the house. Going to keep at it w/o getting burned out with some grandeous crash and burn.
Hey, I've been working it.
It's not as easy as I'd like....
And it's not a magic fix...
But I'm doing it.
Feeling better for it too. Mostly.

How are you doing?

Week 4's Challenge: Add a Food Journal.

Now, I've been writing stuff down daily, for a long time...on daily slips of errant paper...
but I'm going to get more organized.

It's about:


So yesterday, I bought a small spiral notebook at the dollar store (instead of on my willy nilly tear off papers) for my record keeping of daily intake.

Still trying to keep myself at 1400-1500 calories. This means keeping the journal with me, and being present in my activities and judgement. Not always easy to "be present".

I would add that I'm also doing something else.

My writing teacher told me about a book out there that is a daily life journal,...
but its different in that it has today's date for 3 years in a row.

Like it has a daily spot for entries on:

It's for tracking goals, dreams, problems...then after a year or two of journaling, you can "look back" at what you were going thru, what was good, and how you wound up the following year from the choices you made previous.

Interesting, huh?

This all made me remember my Gramma James. She was 86 when she died.
After her funeral, we found many black & white composition notebooks filled with pages and pages of a Daily Journal she'd been keeping for 50 years!
It was a record of the daily weather.
She did this habit diligently for all that time!

That was freaking amazing!

I don't know.

But it was a simple daily habit that she connected with.

Now, I don't know if I have it in me to do 50 years worth of it.
But I do have enough will power to try TODAY.

I thought that the life journal would also make a good Companion to my Food Journal.
I couldn't find that exact book that was recommended....

SO.........being SCOTTISH... (read: Parsimonious :)

I customized a personal template and started that yesterday. For giggles.

I will track certain emotions, information, weather (thanks to Gramma :) BP, weight...

My template looks like this on a single page: (but feel free to copy/adapt it to your personal needs, if you would like to do this for yourself)

I will put copies of these pages in a 3 ring notebook and see how I like doing it for awhile.

Date 3/11/12 Weight BP





Current Project or Book that I'm reading:

Date 3/11/13 Weight BP





Current Project or Book that I'm reading:

Date 3/11/14 Weight BP





Current Project or Book that I'm reading:

Both these journals (Food and Life) should give me an interesting, fun, accurate way to track myself and my cycles and progress....

as well as a longer view of my life.

Where we wind up tomorrow is because of the choices we made today.

Just thought I'd share it with you, for what it's worth.

Shakespeare, that great Journalist....had it right:

Ode to a Digital Scale~

Oh digital scale of mine

why be thou such a feisty bitch?
I've drank gallons of water
and done yoga without a hitch.
Climbed stairs extra
and counted calories to the dime.
Why oh why must thou be fickle
and weigh me MORE
than last weeks time????

Week 3 of 52: Just Dance!

Or Move, or Jump around!
But to "Get off the Couch" it says...

Week 1 was to "Hydrate" (Trying to add 1/2 your weight in ounces of water daily.)

Week 2 was to "Get 7-8 hours sleep nightly".

The water and hydrating are going good...I'm making a concerted effort to drink 4 Sobe bottles of water a day. (Plus any coffee or tea...and I get a glass of wine in there sometimes too :)
That's a lot!

The 7-8 hours Sleep? well, I'm getting there early enough after a hot bath and book...I crash out solid till about 3am. Then I'm up and can't get back to sleep. Ah menopause, what a fickle dame you are.
After awhile, sometimes I get back to sleep...and I think it's working least I'm resting!
(Am also learning that I have to get all my water in by 7pm...or suffer the consequences of waking up for that too..)

This week's addition from the book:
"52 Small Changes: A Year to a Happier, Healthier You"by Brett Blumenthal

is to Get Moving!

This is Week 3.

Now, really, in all honesty... I HAVE been getting a lot more exercise.
I've been walking my Joe doggy every day...and I've also been doing Yoga 3x a week with a great DVD ("Basics Yoga") and it has been wonderful! My back is feeling lots more improved.
My arms are stronger too! (Thank you "Plank Pose")

So, what I am going to try to do is to sneak in the rest. (Pirate)


*Parking farther away in the grocery story parking lot.

*Using the bathroom that's farther away from my office at work.

*I am going to also include 2 reps of the 3 flights of stairs in one of our campus buildings on the days of the week that I am here on a break.

And maybe....

Dance like nobody's watching.... a couple times a week :)

Will keep you informed.


image by Sarolta Ban

Mag 107

He had given her the script.

She had read it.

She decided to improvise.

It was the Yin Yang of his life.

Tomorrow he would command
The Board
The Office
The Staff
His Wife
The Kids
The dog

But today he was nothing.

Scum of the earth.

The toilet water was his commanded beverage for the day.

He happily paid her very well

for this weekly pleasure.

This week's Magpie Tale poem was inspired by reading the steamy memoir:
"Whipsmart" by Melissa Febos.
I don't pick the weekly pics.
How'ere...this was right up that alley. (ahem)

Click here for more writings on this pic!

Wizards Duel Challenge Temperature Check~

Hey Ho My Wizard friends and Enchantresses!

Last Fall I issued a call to arms on Hopes and Dreams and Goals....
I'm just checking in on your Ride!

How are you faring?
Have you made progress on your Journey?

I remember your stated goals and thoughts....
Please check in & tell me how you are doing! I want to hear about YOUR quest and journey!

I have made quite a bit of progress on my plans...

If you remember I made a commitment to you all that I would work on the following back in October:
Space, Independence, Creation, Love, Music, Spirituality, Writing, Friendship, Lust, Adventure, Leader/Teacher, Empowerment, Generosity.

Changes I have made so far include Adding the following components to My Life:

1) I am writing to "a person a day" in my circle to tell them some positive thoughts of how I feel about them. If I were to never see them again, or if something were to happen to me, or them, I want them to know my thoughts of love and admiration for them. This one component has made a HUGE difference in my life. Hopefully theirs too. Why save shit up for a goddamn Eulogy? Tell them NOW. Live NOW is my thinking.

2) Working on writing My Story. You haven't seen it here. It is a work in progress. Only a select few have been my sounding board for some really weird and amazing stories. I am also currently taking a Memoir Course on Writing and reading some Memoir books of other published authors. This is very delicate, fun, scary and empowering to me. Scares the shit out of me, and some of my stories have scared the shit out of others....and some of them make us laugh too. It's a goodly thing.

3) I am committed to my health and overcoming the obstacles in my way that Menopause has so lovingly laid before me. I've added Yoga, walking to my weekly habits. Drinking 65-80 ounces of water a day, keeping my calories down, drinking less coffee and alcohol, eating very little junk and trying to get more solid sleep. I ache less. I have more energy. My BP is phenomenal. 98/65 this morning! Have kept off 19# this last year. Want to lose more, but commitment to healthful living is best.

4) I am taking a more Pro-Active role in my life of Music. I am trying to practice on a more regular basis and MAKING Harry set aside time out of his busy schedule to do so. Not always easy to tackle him for it. He's on the go a lot and when he's home he wants to veg.
I am learning some new music: "Lannigan's Ball", "Loch Tay Boat Song", "Long Black Veil" are all in the memory banks now. Am starting to learn "The Foggy Dew" and "Nonesuch" (with an additional verse that I wrote :) I also have written several Mischievous verses to "Scarborough Faire" which I will be adding to my Faire repertoire. I've been playing and performing for a long there is an effort involved in keeping it fresh and exciting.
It's like being married for a long time. While it may get boring or doesn't have to be that way.
You have to work at the magic....but the magic is still there, you just have to keep it interesting.
New songs, new venues, new costuming. New Story Songs to learn and live.

5) Visited St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC which I ADORED. Am setting up some more Church/Cathedral tours to local lovely architecture sites this year with friends. There will be outings and wine involved :)

6) Have joined 2 new writing ventures:
The Pagan Blog Project- writers once weekly tackle an alphabet letter (for 2 weeks) on subjects of interest to us Spiritually or inquisitively. It's been a lovely, fun learning experience. I have one due out tomorrow on my "Eclectic Spirituality".
Surf to my other blog for this:

Magpie Tales: A poetry writing prompt via photograph opportunity. I post them on Mondays. It's been lots of fun to do this. While I can write reams (and do) this one I am trying to keep short, succinct and deliberate with my words. As Sheldon would say, "It's fascinating." The other writers are very interesting to read too.
Surf this blog under the labels of "Magpie Tales"
to find some of these works.

7) Continuing on with My StoryBook Club. This has been one of the JEWELS in my life along with Music. We have added new members, and we meet at different locations. There is always delicious themed food and drink, laughter, insightful discussion from highbrow to bawdy...and swearing is most certainly involved. No kids. Just smart, immature Adults who LOVE Children's Literature. Since October we have studied the following: Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Zombies, The Golem, Trolls, Damsels in Distress. This month's upcoming theme for March is: Banshees. :) I'm SO HAPPY I started this gathering.

8) Putting myself on a Priority List. To love others better I need to love myself. Take care of ME. That means lovingly, cutting myself out breaks, giving rewards and offer forgiveness to ME for my past, my mistakes and my self induced failings.

9) I have offered Forgiveness to Others. I accept that others are who they are. I FORGIVE them. It's ok to hurt. But once it scabs's better to put on the balm and soothing salve of Forgiveness...for them...but mostly do it for YOU. Move on. You can't change the past, no matter how much you'd like to. So GO FORWARD.

10) Friendships are high priority. Have made an effort to make get togethers happen, large and small for myself, for fun and for others. It's good to have close friendships. It's good to have parties. Even if my house is too small and people are crammed in. You know what? They don't seem to mind. To have a companion for walks, or snuggling with movies on the couch, for chat, for adventures, for phone calls, IMs or whatever. It's good to have a couple of really close bosom friends to be able to write to, bitch with, cry with, get the weirds laughing with, to have a glass with. I treasure them all FAR beyond what they will ever realize.

There you are....I am sitting pretty comfortable in the saddle. It's a long, arduous journey..But there are my high points of my journey. In offering my life up to you, it is hoped in my heart of hearts that it helps you in some way on your path.

How are you?

Talk to me.