Monday, April 23, 2007

Alpha Female

I don't care who says otherwise, I AM alpha female... when Spunky (all 112 pounds of her) steals 7-lb Pooky's tiny rawhide boney, Alpha Mommy is the one who retrieves it, eliciting an obedience that my daughter could well emulate (if she knows what's good for her...)... I do not have to resort to peeing on the lawn to assert myself, either. It is hilarious whenever poor Pooky goes out for a whiz, Spunky follows her around, peeing on the spot where Pook has just gone - sometimes 4 or 5 spots later - no little dogs will out-pee Spunky. Occasionally, Pook stands by, watching and follows Spunk, and sneaks in a final pee on the last place Spunky has anointed... Hilarious.

Maxine, well down on this totem pole of seniority, displays her moment of superiority when she decides that Starr is too close to Mommy. This means some major snarling, snapping and jockeying for position. Spunky can push herself between Max and Alpha Male, but seldom bothers with me... Spunky did take out Spike unfortunately, in a battle over a visiting female friend's attention. Spunky has since shown a penchant for poodle hatred - unfortunately targeting the neighbour's dog as well... Occasionally Spunk tries to push Pooky off her spot on the footstool, whenever we have visitors. Several liberal reprimands, and Spunky remembers her place.

Angeni, at the ripe old age of 8, is attempting to climb the power pole. At 4 and 5, most kids are at the "you are not the boss of me stage", and our daughter was no exception. Thankfully we got through that without use of medieval restraints or shackles. To her credit she's a quiet delightful tweeny, and so far, is not a problem - but the signs are there. She'll beg to do anything around the house except clean her room. Alpha females don't bribe (right?) so we have some serious negotiations, I mean discussions, about how to do the right thing. Or else. She wouldn't want me to pee on her bedroom floor, now would she?

And then we have cats… I am ALPHA KAT. Really. No possible misinterpretation of my monarchy. Nonny, who resembles Monty Python’s version of the village idiot, has no claim to any hierarchical position. Nonster purrs to the beat of her own drumming, oblivious to the machinations of other felines… She has the sweetest disposition of any cat I’ve ever met… Then Zuna Piggles, who is really second in line to Nonny by age, is the real beta Kat, keeping the unruly and despised male cats in their rightful places. The 3 males are way down that pole… To them I’m alpha mommy and I’m loved.

As for the equine kingdom – Jujube loves me, and knows I’m alpha something. Lucky tolerates my presence because I usually carry bribery in the form of carrots or apples. My hair, being tightly coiled in a bun is also highly sniffable, because you never know if that thing on my head is a snake or an apple. Mabel doesn’t take any shi*t from anyone or anything – she puts up with alpha male Brian because he rules the feed bucket. Like me, she is likely near menopause, so we have our grouchy days… I’m not alpha anything to Mabel, I dare concede, but the barn kingdom is beneath me, so I leave that to Brian.

After a lengthy client-filled Saturday, we endeavoured to have a family day together on Sunday... It was so beautiful outdoors. At one point the thermometer read 28 degrees Celsius - we had the air conditioner on in the van. It was bright, people seemed happy and the Hanover park was filled with sun worshippers. I was surprised to see standing water in the park, but that didn't deter visitors there.

While shopping I even broke down and got Angeni a Game Boy Advance game about Zelda. It was not bedroom cleaning bribery... really... it's because Zelda is a warrior princess, alpha female like Marg Delahunty or Wonder Woman, or well... me. Yes, I am the Viscountess of Varney. Alpha Female extraordinaire, lover of fine weather... So we did some needed shopping, drove the main street of Neustadt because I deemed it necessary, and bought grass seed... Brian and Angeni sowed some of that last evening, in advance of the rains today.

With all the alpha female peeing on the lawn, we gotta have fresh grass.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Crystal Skull

We received an email from an old friend, Jim Honey, who used to be the companion to Anna Mitchell-Hedges. Anna died this week, at the age of 100, still managing in her own home. I haven't got all the details, but she was still going, and still feisty, living with a different companion. She held onto the skull for over 90 years....

Several times Jim brought Anna to our house in Guelph, along with the skull, books and a slide show. She talked about her journeys into the jungles of Belize, with her adopted father... The highlight for us was holding and channeling with the skull. I always got quite a buzz from the dear thing. I remember sitting on the livingroom floor, holding it, and channeling for the assembled group.

I also remember, having just moved into the Wolverton house, Jim brought a Belize shaman by the name of Leonardo Acal. We weren't in the house a week so things were rushed to prepare for our esteemed guests... People hung off the rafters, coming down the stairway into the main room, cramming to hear them speak. Leonardo brought this huge cedar bass which he played for us. It was our 1st wedding anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than a shaman and a crystal skull!!!

In recent years I've seen programmes suggesting the skull recovery story was a hoax. A fellow at a museum in England had the original receipt naming Mr. Mitchell-Hedges as the purchaser of the skull for 400 pounds... If that is true, the whole story about him letting Anna down on a rope into the rubble of a temple to retrieve the skull (and later the articulated jaw) were pure fantasy. Yet Anna, for whatever reasons, held onto her story... I could go into the dreamtime and ask the ancestors for "the truth", but I never have... I don't care if Anna needed a story to hold onto, to make her life dramatic. Frankly, the skull was, and is, an incredible entity. I fear it is lost to us now, for it will likely be put in a museum under lock, key, glass and infra-red light alarm.

I'm honoured to have had the chance to meet Anna, hold the skull many times, and know that our ancestors who carved it were marvelously skilled, connected beings. Rest in peace, Anna.


It's been 4 days since the Virginia Tech massacre... I'm still coming to terms with the enormity of the hatred expressed at innocent people. One writer commented that the laws prevented Mr. Cho Seung-Hui from being forced to take medications or treated into a mental health institution - it amounts to his protected civil liberties. Even his school records, including grades, are being withheld from his parents for privacy reasons. The man is dead, for heaven's sake. President Bush, couldn't stay out of the mess. His opening line "Although I support an individual's right to bear arms, I am saddened at... " - I paraphrase, but he couldn't keep the politics out of his statements. I was keenly aware of the juxtaposition when a Japanese mayor - only the 4th person in office to be killed since 1945 - was gunned down by a mobster this week. Japan is so anti-gun that it is, I believe, a life prison sentence to be caught with one... whether you ever use it or not.

The mentally ill do not have the right to bear arms. While I agree that we must uphold freedom of speech and most civil liberties, the right for anyone to bear arms cannot and must not be one of them. Registered firearms for hunters should only be licensed with proof that the holder has no criminal record, and has passed a mental health exam. In that light, MY civil liberties are less likely to be taken away by someone with psychotic tendencies who fancies themselves a heroic figure. Dead is dead.

Canada has similar problems - a man named Dobson, egging for full parole after a 25 year murder sentence (so-called life) is allowed to read victim impact statements from the family 30 days before his parole hearing. The family doesn't get the reciprocal chance - they wait for his rebuttal at the actual hearing. Now, every 2 years, he is allowed to drag everyone through this process again. He savagely beat, raped, sodomized and mutilated a teenaged girl, then had the nerve to phone the family and ask "How do you like me now?"

I don't like using my blog as a political forum, but I'm venting. The pall of hurt the victims' families are bearing is horrific - it casts a psychic veil over the world. I'm disturbed at the number of "copycat" crimes that surfaced as the week progressed. It isn't safe for our kids to go to school anymore. Mr. Cho Seung-Hui was a playground bully of the worst, most evil, kind....

The sun is shining, may we all have a better week. Blessings.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Here Among the Cats...

Somewhere on the second concession, every time we pass by, I ask Brian the same question... this has gone on for years... He knows its coming...
"Honey, can we stop at the Basler's and get a kitten today?"
With a deep gulp, the colour drains from his face, and we get one of the following answers:
"Why not 3 or 4 more cats?"
"What about a couple more dogs too - the house isn't chewed up enough yet."
"Just shoot me now..."
"They're not home today, so we can't stop..." Psychically he somehow knows they're not home, and the speedometer hits 100 km/hr at this point.
I calmly remind him that Ethol indicated she would reincarnate, and that if she's sitting there in that Basler barn, waiting for us, she's going to be really pissed off.
"I don't care," he always says, then waxes philosophical with something like "Ethol hated Starr anyway, so why put her though that again."
Or he says something else, of a similar vein, while he rolls down the window trying not to hyperventilate. I know we won't get any more animals - it's just a pleasurable moment of sadism.

Speaking of animals, Pooky has bounced back to a place I never expected to see... today she walked with Brian and Spunky down to the corner where the school bus stops with Angeni... I don't think she's ever done that... Pook is eating and doing all those necessary bodily functions that had failed her for a few days. One or two more IV boluses this week, and she should be completely out of the woods, so to speak. I marvel at the Creator's gift of a little more time with my old friend.

We're working on setting a date for summer solstice - possibly to coincide with our shamanic gathering in June. It makes sense to combine the two, allowing the communities to integrate and work together. We'll run this by the group and settle on a date in the next few days. Once again, we'll strategize about having an inipi/sweatlodge.

I'm running into some boundary issues with people - it comes down, I believe, to assumptions about working in the home. Being at home doesn't mean I'm working 24/7. We chose not to have "office space" in some outside venue because that's not the aboriginal way of doing things, and the overhead costs would have to be passed on through our fee structure. If we had an office, there would be a separate telephone, and the answering machine would kick in at 5 PM - there would be no access to us when the work day ended.

Somehow, though, a few people feel that it's okay to call us after 9 PM for appointments, or to email asking my thoughts on treatment options, suggestions, opinions and more... This is a balancing act because, frankly, I don't have a secretary, and every situation calls for unique interpretation - that takes time. When advice and healing are what I do for a living, it isn't reasonable to assume I am willing to sit here answering questions and doing research for free. If the situation is serious enough to contact me, assume that the prudent thing to do is make an appointment and support the process. The boundary problems are in part a reason for us to be looking at jobs elsewhere.... If you're calling for an appointment, do so before 6 PM please, or better yet - email. Evening time is family time, and that is a boundary we're going to get really sticky about, in weeks to come. Weekends are also for family, unless otherwise posted.... Emails asking for information will be returned with the suggestion that a time be booked for consultation. No one will honour boundaries unless we do...

The weather finally improves again this week, and this is a great feeling - the laundry goes back outside again. Enough for now... here among the cats.

Friday, April 13, 2007

What a difference a week makes...

Unfortunately it is still snowing - it's the middle of April and the fields are white again... snowed the day before yesterday and although it melted yesterday, the flakes are back again. I think the whole month of April will be flaky... in more ways than one.

Pooky has come out of her renal failure - but for the Grace of the Creator, and some intervention on our part, she is eating, drinking, eliminating and even playing again!!! This was a dog who the vet wanted to euthanize a week ago today. We're still giving her some IV fluids subcutaneously every other day, to lower her urea levels, but otherwise, things have returned to her regular state of health. Clearly this isn't a total cure - Pooky is 14+ years and has terrible scarring in her lungs - but she is comfortable and much more normal. I am thankful to the Creator for this reprieve, however long or short.

On this Friday morning Brian is out working for a neighbour, fencing pastures for the arrival of some cattle. At 60, Brian is the most physically fit he has ever been in his life - the farming has been good for him. I don't envy the slogging through the bush today, though. He is installing electric fence wire, having already erected T-posts. Handling wire in wet weather is tricky.

I'm still making overtures into the working world, and things are moving along in a positive way - for now it looks like a part-time thing, which will allow me to still keep the lodge here and carry on with my practice. Anything that allows me to care for my family's needs, and keep my home, I'm prepared to do, and the bonus is I don't have to move away.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sleepy Easter Sunday

It's so rare for Brian and I to have a Sunday off working to be together as a family that it seems strange... Pooky continues to cling to life, and she and I have spent the last 3 nights together on the couch... I'm tired, and grieving.

Morton the Easter Bunny of Normanby township visited Angeni this morning, after Barney, the bunny of Varney dropped off some goodies in Durham for her, while she visited a friend. Earlier this week Murray the bunny, substituting for the Tooth Fairy (on vacation as she was in the Caymen Islands) had visited to do the tooney/tooth switch-off. Those rabbits will be tired today...

Blessings to everyone of the Christian faith on this special day.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I've been dreading this day...

Just got the phonecall from my vet to say my little dog Pooky is in renal failure and probably won't last the weekend... I've dreaded this beyond anything I can think of, short of losing my husband or my child... Brian is with Pooky at the vet because I have Angeni home and food in the oven, so the vet is giving her a bolus of subcutaneous fluid and hopefully she'll start peeing again. Pooky has been with me so much longer than could have been expected with her lung problems, that I have been blessed with her longevity... Easter weekend - how tragic.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wet and dull, dull and wet...

Spring has returned to "late winter" conditions here in Varney... after 2 glorious weeks of May-like weather, we're back to flurries pending over the next few days. We have a house clearing, blessing and ghost filming to do on Friday and flurries aren't optimal conditions for filming outside, or recording EVPs if it is windy... Oh well, it will be what it will be, frankly... it's just my daffodils and violas are chilly.

Plantar fasciitis has reared it's ugly head, in my foot, again. This is the worst, and most painful it's ever manifested. I've been on my feet a lot this week but today I defer to ice packs and elevating my feet on the footstool. I cringe at how bad the house gets to look even with just one day of relaxing the cleaning mode. It's hard to justify resting today when I'll have at least twice as much to do tomorrow... I hope however, that I can get some relief, even just for today - I have to be on my best for Friday.

I've had some interesting feedback about the possibility of closing the aboriginal healing practice. Most people are understanding, a couple are panicked and many are relieved that I'm not giving up my duties as a minister... I would never do that unless I was physically or mentally unable to perform my duties. A few people can't understand why I won't do all the jobs - now THAT would be physically impossible for me, frankly, and if I had the stamina, I couldn't do that to my daughter. Angeni does need some mommy time. I don't want to give up my practice, but without enough income I have to move on. It will play out as the Creator wishes it to...

I should be going out for a few hours with a friend today, just for some "me" time, but I think I'll pass... my foot is demanding my attention. Have a blessed rest of the week!!

Monday, April 02, 2007

How things change...

Time is supposed to show us that while things change, they also stay the same... I've never entirely accepted that credo... I don't believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder, either. My experience is that "out of sight is out of mind". However, with these thoughts in mind, I went to my sister's place - i haven't seen her in over 3 years. We emailed a bit the last few months, but nothing deep... As we age I appreciate how time is changing us physically (not necessarily for the better). but emotionally has healed from the childhood we shared. Intellectually and spiritually we've found the paths we need to follow in this life, and they are very different... but as long as that heart connection can be massaged, we should be able to go graciously into old age with that sisterly bond somewhat intact... we'll never be really close, but we can share some things, and I think we've proven that to each other... Time and circumstance can't change what we went through, but we can do our best to stay bonded...

Speaking of change, our lives and our practice are evolving with each season that passes... Sooner than later what we do will end, and it will be with some bittersweet awareness that like fashion and music, spirituality has cycles of popularity. Ending a practice of nearly 30 years, without the normal passage of retirement is very telling - we are forced back into the private sector just to make ends meet. Spiritual leaders aren't valued anymore, it seems. I shouldn't feel bad about myself when whole institutions like the Anglican church are near bankruptcy. This generation doesn't tithe, nor is there the sense of needing the spiritual body as a community pillar. Churches, as institutions, have caused some of these problems - sexual predation and residential school abuses are well-known examples of the horrors that have brought down peoples' respect for church, as a sacred body to be trusted. Church should end, if it no longer serves the needs of a community. So I revert to a semi-retired minister, working in the larger community doing something else...

Sad, really...