April 29, 2006

-image-wide expanse of something

She and I rarely talked about it. Years went by before I even owned there was a problem. When I finally did, I stood in the kitchen and she sat at the table, the wide expanse of counter between us. There’s always a wide expanse of something between us. I spoke haltingly, hoping not to cry too much, and in less than a minute, I’d said what I needed to say. She sat there, didn’t move.

Why didn’t you say something sooner?

I don’t know. I was waiting for the right time, I guess.

Well, you always used to be able to tell me things.

Hm.

Oh, you don’t think you can tell me things?

Some things.

But not this?

I’ve told you this. Now you know.

If that’s what you want to call it. I just want to help. I’m your mother.

Do you know how you could help?

How?

Well, maybe you could pray with me. I mean, when we’re together like this, maybe we could pray.

No. No. I can’t do that. I pray by myself in my own way. I just can’t do that.

Okay. Well, you wanted to know how you could help.

Well, I can’t do that.

Okay ….. I gotta go, then.

Well, wait a minute.

She got up, moved toward me. She patted my back.

Let yourself feel bad for a couple of days and then just move on.

Mm-hmm. Well …. see you later, Mom.

April 27, 2006

-image-two (really big) photos

All right! Here’s the original of the picture I used for Evil Dolly. Some background: I was in kindergarten and this was my first school picture ever. I remember the photographer kept trying to get me to smile and acted like a complete LUNATIC in doing so. You can tell two things from this picture: 1) It did not work, and 2) I did NOT like him. Look at how wary I am! All his crazed effort for naught, haha! And may we please discuss my BANGS?! WHAT is going on up there?? They look like a wild dog just chewed ’em off. Oh, and the white you see me wearing? THAT is a big, ol’ lacy gramma collar on a hand-me-down dress from my sister. Ugh. I was unhappy in SO many ways on that day. Well, I showed you, everybody. Take that! Here’s an unsmiling, bug-eyed mug for all posterity:

Here’s one of my favorite pictures of my dad as a dad, posing with my sister and me. Not sure which one’s me? Really? I’m the pale Buddha face with the bizarre white sun hat. Wow. That HAT!! Am I The Flying Nun? Am I AMISH?? A little Amish Flying Nun Buddha baby. Ah, how ecumenical of me. All right. Enough of that! Because ….. I’m sorry …. LOOK at my dad! My Lord. I can’t help it. He is simply stunning. I love his expression here, his warmth, how he’s holding my sister close. He looks content and comfortable, doesn’t he? (And you certainly can’t tell from this, where I look like a big blob of bread dough, but I have his eyes, smushed in there somewhere!) Look at how my sister is snuggled up to him, so happy, her little hand on his leg. Oh, my gosh, she looks so much like Piper! The eyes, the mouth! Wow. My dad and sister, so cozy, so sweet, and then … me. It’s killing me that my face looks like a popover. Ah, well. A few years later, my brother joined the picture. And many years later, my cheeks slimmed down nicely.

But, wow. Look at my dad again. That face.

April 26, 2006

-image-I, devil

Here’s a comment I received on my paper doll post. It went into moderation because it included a link. I still haven’t “approved” it and, well, I see no need to now. I won’t name the person here, but say only that he’s never made his presence known on this blog before. For all I know, he was a first-time visitor.

And if you’re reading this, friend, well, ya bugged me. You REALLY bugged me. But I’ll get to that.

On to the comment first.

(And the “definition” in this comment is where I simply cut and pasted the link he used as corroboration that I apparently worship dandelions or practice voodoo or WORSE!!)

Here we go:

I’m concerned you may have re-invented the “Poppet,” a device commonly used in Wicca and Santeria.

Definition: A poppet is a small doll or figure that represents a person in a ritual or spell. These items are NOT evil things for you to stick pins into. Poppets are frequently used in healing spells, and are usually hand-sewn and stuffed with the appropriate herbs. Magick of this kind is common in Santeria.

Of course, the purpose is prayer, not magic, but the similarity is, at least on the surface, disturbing.

Although it has to be said that Pagans do a lot of things Christians also do, such as prayer, fasting, eat, drink, et al. The mere presence of an equivalent in a non-Christian religion doesn’t mean they are one and the same thing. Must think about this…

Ya know, friend ….. thanks for your concern and sorry you’re disturbed and all, but if you’re going to lay a charge like that at my feet, you’d better do your homework. Seriously. And I’m not buying the guise of benign, Christian concern, either. You come on my blog as someone previously unknown to me, and THIS is where you comment and what you choose to comment upon? Listen to your WORDS. You are basically accusing me of engaging in occult practices and I CANNOT tell you how offensive that is to me. And you offer, as substantiation of your concern, a single link to a page that contains ONLY that definition above? NOTHING more? You have no other proof than that? So I guess it’s just maybe I’m an occultist?? I know I’m laying into you here and I wish I could say I am sorry, but I’m not. I imagine I don’t sound too “nice,” but I see no call to “niceness” in Scripture.

We ARE called to speak the truth, though.

So in speaking to THAT, I did your homework for you. I’m sure you won’t mind if I demonstrate the difference between my doll and these poppets and giddily demolish your charge, will you?

First, “poppets” ARE used in healing and other spells. They’re used for specific intents — “healing” of illnesses, for creativity, prosperity, help with relationships, improvement in grades, pretty much whatever. Lengthy rituals surround the use of these poppets.

Here are a couple of personal stories on the creation and ritual of poppets that I gleaned from a site called Earth Witchery. Oh, and these are not MY personal stories, just in case that’s NOT clear:

For a friend who was addicted to cocaine… On a very windy day when the moon was waning, I made a poppet out of red wax, for life force and survival energy. I used a piece of amethyst as its heart to give her a clear mind. To make the poppet symbolize her, I used pieces of her hair and carved a small tattoo on the poppet representing the one on her body. Once I felt the poppet was united with her, I used knot magick to rid her of the need for coke. I then made the cord into a necklace and let the magick take its course. Between the poppet and an intervention of friends, my friend had turned herself into a rehab center. It must have been hard but she is better now.

(Yeah. And I’m SURE it was mostly because of the poppet.)

Anyway, here’s another one:

I propose to make a healing poppet for my mother. She is 81 years old, visually impaired and has recently moved to a hostel [aged care facility] (ed. here: um, I think she means “hospice.” Maybe she needs a poppet to get ‘erself some brraaaains. But Gammie in a “hostel”? Now, that’s funny) where she is not settling well.

I have asked for guidance and will make paper poppets. The first will be on grey paper. I will cut out a small poppet and draw grey hair, closed eyes, and a sad mouth. I will write the reasons why mum had to leave her home. I will set up a cleansed area similar to an alter (we know, hon) and have ready a green or white candle, a shallow dish and a box of matches. I will also have another paper poppet of green or white paper and also coloured textas. I will call on my guardian, my guides, and Kwan Yin to assist me. I will meditate and ask my mother’s higher self if she will accept this healing. If the answer is positive, I will proceed.

I will light the candle and use it to light the grey poppet, which I will place in the shallow dish to burn. As this poppet burns, I will use the coloured textas to write on the other poppet all the benefits of being in her new place of residence. I will say these aloud as I write them on the front of the healing poppet. On the back of the poppet I will use the ashes of the grey poppet to draw, with my licked right forefinger, the Rune – Nauthiz- the banishing rune. This will help turn frustration and stress to one’s advantage and will help turn a bad situation into a good one.

Finally, another elaborate description of one practitioner’s ritual:

I was going to work on a prosperity poppet, but decided to work on one for protection instead. I am constructing it out of dogwood twigs, lashing the twigs together with black thread, so the twigs will be like the “skeleton,” using an acorn for the head. I’m using nine herbs, cotton thread, cotton, eucalyptus, sage, thyme, oak leaves, parsley, some dogwood shavings, fern and birch bark. I began consecrating these items and grinding them last night, meditating on the purpose all the while. Also I have mixed in nail clippings, my hair and some blood. I will be mixing this over the next two nights, completing the spell on the 20th during the full moon. On a piece of birch bark I will draw the rune of “Ohl” with Dragon’s Blood ink, roll it up and tie it to the “torso’ of the poppet with black thread. I’m fashioning clothes out of an old pair of shorts beyond repair but dear to me and an old t-shirt. I’m applying my own hair to the poppet. I won’t be doing the face thing since I feel that there will be enough of my own energy within the poppet already between my own “body parts” and my favorite clothes .

On the night of the full moon I will cast my circle, sew my clothes onto the little guy and stuff him. After I’m done stuffing him, I will be anointing him with cedarwood oil and placing him on the pentacle on my altar. I will meditate in his purpose and then dedicate him to the south and do my incantation.

Whhhhhewww!

Notice a similar theme in these descriptions, friend? Besides the gross, exhausting, and nearly obsessive-compulsive ritual of it all? I DO. A poppet for another person is meant to symbolize the OTHER person — with pieces of her hair, her characteristics, etc. For these occultists, the poppet becomes that person. Notice how the one description spoke of the poppet being “united” with her friend? I can’t help but notice, too, that these practitioners call on “guides” and “guardians” and “higher selves” for assistance in these poppet rituals. They chant and burn and futz about with herbs and twigs because they actually believe there is power these THINGS.

MY doll was an image of me, NOT my friend, with some verses from Psalms on the back.

I did not chant over her or burn her or smear her with blood. I did not draw runes on her or anoint her or dedicate her in ANY direction. There were no twigs or fingernails or ratty old shorts involved in her creation. I did not call on guides or guardians or Kwan Yin.

Rather ….. I sat at my kitchen table, sick and depressed, frankly, and needing to reach out to someone ELSE. As I created this doll, I thought of my friend far away who was sick, too, sicker than I. Thinking of that put things in some much needed perspective for me. During the process of making this little thing, somehow, I recovered small bits of myself that I’d lost over many, many months. Frequently, I found myself thinking of how WONDROUS it is that, as believers, we have this bond through the Holy Spirit. A bond that crosses all boundaries and covers all distance, connecting me to my friend. It is transcendent. I do not even understand it.

While I worked, I prayed, yes. I prayed that my friend might be encouraged by this small token of affection. I prayed that the Lord might use even someone like me, who at that moment was a low, self-pitying wretch, but someone who needed, who HOPED to be used for something right then, no matter how small.

In a way, my doll was a greeting card, although more elaborate, pehaps. And, you know, every Christmas, millions of people send out cards with their pictures on the front and a joyful greeting or some Scripture on the inside. Maybe even a prayer for the new year. Still other people actually send get well cards expressing fervent prayers for the restoration of a sick loved one. I wonder if you, friend, have ever sent out something like these yourself? Or received such evils into your house? *Gasp!*

This was just a paper doll with my picture and God’s Word on the back. By itself, it had no special powers except that it cheered both the giver and the receiver.

So, really, really, how dare you drag a such a simple thing through the mud of your “concerns”? How dare you throw careless words around with no corroboration? How dare you suggest it was something occultic and sully everything it meant? How dare you, without even knowing me, assume the worst of me?

Comment on this post, if you choose, but then, please don’t come back here again.

(And ….. you know ….. just now …. after I mixed Dolly’s toenail clippings and blood from her chopped-off heads into a roiling smelly brew which I used to doodle random runes on her butt, she bubbled to life long enough to say, “Taa-taa and tooodles, Judgey-duuudles!”)

April 25, 2006

-image-american idol in lovvve ….

All right. Love songs with Andrea Bocelli. Just a ramble here:

Katherine — “I Have Nothing”. She was a trainwreck. TrainWRECK. She was trying too hard, straining, forcefully strutting in hopes of having SOME impact. At one moment, as she was singing “don’t walk away from me,” a weird, inappropriate smile flashed. So disconnected and contrived. Bizarre. This should be a song all Idol contestants are steered away from, ALWAYS. Whitney Houston set the bar so high, it’s in the stratosphere. I liked her dress, though.

(By the way, I LOVED how, during the rehearsals, David Foster basically told them they all sucked. He was VERY blunt. He pushed them hard. I loved him for that.)

Elliott sang … something. I didn’t know the song. But, oh, he was GOOOOD!! On the downside, his eyes are always frozen somewhat, ah, unattractively. He needs coaching on the way he LOOKS when he sings, just like Clay Aiken did a few years ago. To me, he always looks like he’s reading off a TelePrompter or staring down the barrel of a shotgun. He doesn’t know what do to with his face. But he WAS good!!! And Poorla was a puddle. And Simon laughed at her. As did I.

Kellie — “Unchained Melody.” AGHHHH!!!! Well, all I can say is Pickler, meet Playboy.

Paris — “The Way We Were.” She CAN sing, but she sang this song like a girl. She IS a girl. She just needs to skip on home and live some life. Until then, she won’t be able to sing from her heart. It’s clear she’s never been in love, never really been tested or heartbroken. I mean, she smiled through this entire song. She had no clue. If she’d understood the song, you’d have seen it on her face. Remember Fantasia and “Summertime” a few years ago?

Taylor — “Just Once.” Why is he dressed like he’s got a best man gig after the show? Ick. He seemed out of sorts. I could swear I caught him looking for the exits. And he wasn’t breathing right. Oh, Taylor. Not good.

Chris — “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” Well, he just brought it! He DID. Thank God. He saved the show, really. Good for you, Chris!!

-image-village idiot

LAWWDY, PEOPLE!!

I just called NFL house and freakin’ NFL player answered the phone!! Um, I recognize his voice. Where the hell was Jeeves to answer the phone??

Oh, and I was an idiot, of course. My voice suddenly squeaked reallyhighandfastandbreathlessandRETARDED!!

HoooRAAAY!!!!

You stay classy, San Diego.

-image-TKO?

We were in the car, having some kind of generic brand domestic squabble. A brief round of sparring followed by several moments of silence.

Then:

MB: Well?? What’s going on over there??

ME (with great energy): I’m gettin’ mad just THINKING about what you’re thinking about!

He burst out laughing. Squabble over.

April 22, 2006

-image-crimes and misdemeanors

So I’m reading something to My Beloved the other day. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him DARE to sneak a peak at the book in his lap. WHAT?! Something more captivating than I AMMM??

Total mayhem ensues. Accusations, charges, counter-charges, interrogations.

Finally, he breaks down, confesses, agrees to listen as I finish my, uh, riveting dramatic reading.

And then comes this, said lightly and deftly, the plea bargain of someone who knows me a little TOO well and is accustomed to dealing with the impossible every day:

“Okay. Okay. I’m totally listening to you. And I won’t look at you, which I know you hate. And I won’t look at anything else, which I know you hate. Pro-ceed.”

April 21, 2006

-image-be still my heart

Oh, I received my favorite kind of compliment the other day from a Beanhouse customer:

Wow. You’re really beautiful without your glasses.

Ooooh, thank you, thank you!

But without my glasses, how ever will I see that I’m spilling scalding coffee on your pants whilst swooning deliriously?

-image-mother’s day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Childless as I am, I admit the day always sets me off — in a variety of ways. My persistent low-grade melancholy flares to the surface and burns a little too hot.

So …. in honor (?) of Mother’s Day, I’m going to try to start tapping into things I don’t really want to tap into. (Wheeeee!) I’ve mostly buried my feelings about our infertility so I can actually live a sort of day-to-day life, but I can sense some of them starting to claw their way out. So maybe they should. Maybe it will help. I really don’t know.

I’m not even sure I can do this. I worry what people will think. I worry how I will sound. The subject of infertility makes people uncomfortable, especially Christians. Which is actually a whole post in itself ….. I just know that I’m tired of feeling I have to bury the reality of my life so that no one has their faith shaken. So then I think of that Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do” and I think that I must try.

Not all my posts will be about this. Just some of them.

Hope you won’t mind. You can always skip these posts. Maybe I’ll even warn you with a”one of those posts” label or something. But may I gently suggest that if the topic makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you need to “do the thing you think you cannot do” and read it.

So …. it’s comin’ ….. and please don’t feel you have to tell me how sorry you are. I know your hearts are kind, so I’d actually prefer you didn’t. It’s just a …. thing I have.

It’ll be Mother’s Day from a different perspective, I guess.

April 20, 2006

-image-two posts in ONE evening??

Well, first, I put up the one below — especially for those of you who’ve stuck around for all my drama camp stories.

But this news story, I could NOT resist. So, a second post was in order!

Here’s the story, in photos — um, I didn’t write it:


What happens when you cross a curious pooch with a piece of pipe? Well, in Fort Worth, Texas, Wednesday it resulted in a sticky situation.


Rescue crews think the dog was chasing a rabbit when her head got stuck in a metal pipe.


The dog was taken to an animal control facility where they greased her neck with baby oil and slipped off the pipe.


The shepherd mixed-breed dog has now been named “Piper, ” in honor of her latest adventure. She will remain at the shelter for 72 hours, and if no one claims her she’ll be put up for adoption.

I caught the video footage of this on our local news tonight. You could hear her sad, muffled whimpers for help, poor thing.

Just look at that face! And her name is PIPER!

I think I’m in love.

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