Monday, July 30, 2007

Heating Up

And I don't mean the weather, although I'm now really glad we've got air conditioning... The Ont. Craft Council portfolio is gone, the Canadian Doll Artists Association teaching application is in, and all our new job information. We've had such a busy few weeks. Angeni seems to be handling all the work and all the changes well, but she does have periods of being bored. I wish I could change that for her, but we have bills to pay and work to do... We have too much to do and no fun, and she has not enough to do - and no fun.

We've started purging, and that is quite the experience - furniture and appliances, old clothes, unnecessary dishes - all gone. What's gone doesn't represent 1% of everything yet to pass on. Oh my goodness this is like a tsunami of overwhelm. Brian is looking into renting a huge storage container (which are the back end of trucks) brought to the house, dropped off, and loaded by us as things get packed. Getting the best financial arrangement is going to be crucial and loading a trailer/container weeks ahead of time saves us on moving day, if a moving day comes about. So much to do, so little time, and our hands are tied until a week from now... But we're researching and looking at houses and making contingencies...

We had our shamanic gathering yesterday, and I was given 2 copies of a book in which I was published in recently. It's called "River Bundles: An Anthology of Original Peoples in the Waterloo-Wellington Region". To hold that book in my hands, and read my words was moving, and profound. Wow, I'm really a published author now! Although my writings have appeared in lots of magazines, this just feels different. I look forward to reading the writings of my peers.

We still talk of how to get a new puppy of the Yorkie-poo type (like Pooky); the average price is $750 per puppy, coming from reputable breeders. We've decided to wait until we move, if we move, and get the current stresses settle before introducing a wee one. I also need to give my heart some more time to heal. I was touched that an elderly gentleman who came for his healing appointment on Saturday gave me a $20 bill and said "this is for your puppy fund". He used to like how Pooky laid up on the healing table with him, and he missed her this time. Little acts of kindness mean so much...

We're heading into the Civic holiday long weekend. It's almost unbelievable. We're living fully this summer, and living hard - still things move quickly. Have a good one... we're going to try and relax a bit.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dancing with Blogs

I struggle with the notion that, as a minister, I'm trying to be open, "transparent" to use the buzz word, and allow people the space and time to wrap their heads around the idea that Moonstar Lodge is changing. We near bankruptcy, and I'm not going there... I love what I do, but the past two years have shown me that we are not needed for the services we provide here. When the gas prices started inching up - at times dramatically - in the summer of 2005, we noticed a sharp decline in attendance to classes and appointments. It was this way for people coming from a distance AND with locals. The gas debacle made us all nervous, so many people clamped down, removing anything non-essential from their priorities. We sold off our llama herd and cur expenses on all fronts to meet that challenge - including not replacing our old truck when it died.

When people come for counseling and tell me that they're boxed in, and things aren't working in their lives, I tell them - without exception - to examine what isn't working from the perspective that the Creator may be telling them, not very succinctly, that it's time to move on. This could be from a job, a marriage, a family/friend situation - whatever. We've examined the timing of some recent opportunities and have decided to go after them. And while it all looks promising, there are no guarantees. I will make announcements only after contracts are signed. What would a successful opportunity mean to Moonstar? Here are our thoughts:
  • The church, and all it's functions (weddings, funerals, naming, inipis) still truck on - we don't change what we do...
  • Moonstar is the name of the property, like "Tara" in Gone with the Wind; there will be a Moonstar Lodge to go to. However,
  • While we perform our new duties, all healing appointments and classes are stopped. Patients will be given a short period of time to make final appointments, then, if they wish, can be turned over to one of the nine shaman we work with...
  • There will still be spiritual services at equinox and solstice times.
  • As time permits, I will resume channeling over the internet with Skype and my wonderful computer eyeball.
  • Should we move, there will always be people who find that we're out of reach - it happened when we left Guelph, it happened when we left Wolverton, and will happen when we leave here.
The long and short of it is - we have to protect this beautiful child we've been given to care for; she deserves a stable home life and a university education. By the time she finishes a basic masters-level education, Brian would be 75 and I'll be 65. There are no guarantees about our health, so we have to make whatever changes necessary to ensure that she has a bright future.

The Buddhists and the Pueblo peoples of the southwest have, since ancient times, done these beautiful mandalas in sand - the sand paintings. They gather dyes, and work out motifs, then spend long times with their creations, knowing full well that within hours and days of their completion, nature will reclaim them. Why would they go to all that trouble? Don't they have enough to do? Quite the opposite - it is a statement of acceptance that things to not remain the same. We have choices and we have a certain flexibility around how long we stick with a situation, but ultimately things will change. Fear of change is NOT our ally.

My response to gossip is to clamp down, and stop communicating. That may not help in this case, but gossip infuriates me, and was one of the reasons I left the Spiritualist community - there is no place for gossip in a church environment. People expressing opinions of sadness about our changes have every right to do so - but whether it is this month, next year or whenever, Moonstar is changing. We choose to see this as an opportunity to broaden our community and serve those who are least served. We choose to make this a healthy transition and not see it as a "loss" - we need to show Angeni positive models for accepting change. God only knows her world will spin even faster than ours has, and she'll need to learn how to cope.

To conclude, I will not speak of these things in this format, or via email again, until we know whether or not we are moving in the short term. I have no further details to give - negotiations are still happening and it will be about 3 weeks before anything definitive is determined. Know that whatever happens, it is in the best interests of those of us involved.

Try to keep cool on this day between thunderstorms!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Wild Weeks

We're 2/3 of the way through July - I can hardly believe it!! Summer is flying by, and the weather so far has been lovely, although there has been a third round of deer flies which I've never seen in 50 years. My portfolio has flown to Toronto (after 14 months) and we're working on projects for the fall. Right now the house repairs require attention as there may be a move in our near future. Brian is purging the household accumulated garbage and giving away stuff - even furniture - at the curb.

Zuna Piggles, our eldest tabby has been having some problems with the stairs, and so began urinating on the couch. She even climbed under tarps to make her statement, so we've had to get rid of the futon. Mercifully we kept our old futon, so it comes to replace the metal one - this means no more living room naps during the day, as this futon doesn't pull out very easily. I don't have time for naps right now, what with all the shifting...

We're still getting used to life here without Pooky. It's been a progressive acceptance this past month. I look forward to the time Pook lets me know her spirit is ready to return, and we'll look for her arrival, however that manifests.

Once we have our job submissions formalized this week, we'll go through the interview process, some time in early August. Angeni has her birthday party all organized and the kids have been invited. We're looking at 6 kids here on the 11th (including Angeni) and it should be fun as her birthday falls on the Saturday that we can celebrate. We can have a family celebration at the end of the kids' party.

We're off to get Zuna her own brand new litter pan, and are putting it in a place she can access without climbing stairs - I hope this works!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What a difference a day makes!

Wow - from 36 degrees yesterday to 19 C right now - what a blessed relief! I slept so poorly because of the heat, even with air conditioning, so I'm really glad today is cooler. It still feels like another weather front maybe coming through our area yet tonight.

I've been working most of the day on my portfolio to submit to the Ontario Crafts Council, and what a walk down memory lane - pictures of Pooky as a puppy, ex-husbands and partners, old friends, me 170 pounds ago, my sister about 100 pounds ago... Angeni was quite taken aback at who all these people were, and laughed from her belly at pictures of Nonny and Ethol as kittens... She didn't recognize me as a teenager, although she recognized all the photos of her grandparents - not sure why since she never met my father.

Anyway, it is like pulling teeth to make decisions about what creations of mine to include and what to exclude. I had to update and polish my artist's statement, biography and artistic CV. There are 3 portfolio binders in all - my main one, which never leaves my studio, the one being shipped to the OCC, and a back-up, should I need one for a future organization. Brian had to print triplicate copies of recent works not photographed since last fall. This has been a labour of labour for 13 months, and I'm now facing a kick-in-the-butt deadline of the 23rd. Begrudgingly I'm back at it... I need to ship it by the end of this week so it arrives before the deadline, since Brian and I have scheduled a few days away at the cottage. I'd like it gone...

This comes on the heels of submitting a teaching proposal for the Canadian Doll Artists Association concerning some courses for their annual convention in April 2008. I have a hard gut feeling that my work isn't topical for the theme of the convention (Salsa) as nothing I do can be construed as Hispanic. The proposal development and support material took a full 2 days to create, and may actually go nowhere, but it did have some off-shoot benefit towards what I'm doing today with the portfolios. A lot of my angst reflects inner turmoil over the quality of my work, and therefore reflects low self-esteem. I guess I fear the portfolio will be rejected. That would be a tough one, although logically they displayed several of my pieces for 4 months last summer, so why would they accept my work last year and not this year? It's just fear speaking.

We haven't had time to process anymore information about Yorkie-poo breeders in Southern Ontario. With all the client and submission work there has been little time for outside interests, like researching puppies. I'm not feeling quite ready, either. I want to wait until the fall to find another wee lass to bring home. Part of the distraction is more job preparation - we could end up moving this autumn. There is so much up in the air, and the times are exciting - I feel a sense of increased energy and anticipation. It's all good, and things are unfolding as they should...

Even if we do move, my work with these various organizations stays the same, so I'd better give myself another kick in the pants and get back to work... I'm so close to having it all done...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Finally some rain...

It's nice to hear the gentle pitter-patter of rain off the steel roof... the roll of thunder is almost soothing, and not so loud the dogs can't relax. Normally Spunky cowers at the sound of thunder...

I watched a terrible show on the Waverly Tuberculosis hospital (Kentucky) last night; a show populated by B-list actors who were themselves scarier than anything they encountered. Having worked in hospitals, nursing homes and prisons, the clear hands-down scariest place for ghosts is a hospital. This program, part of a series, does nothing for proper paranormal investigation, and has little to do with anything scientific. I watched for the background and not the "stars". I believe it's called Celebrity Paranormal Investigation - watch and be forewarned! Waverly is a very haunted place and deserves better coverage - would that I could go there.

Nonny improves daily from her mastectomy ordeal. The vet said she would not normally have done surgery on a cat of 16 years, yet Nonster is in such good shape she felt safe doing the surgery. Nonny came home that afternoon, got out of the carrier, and promptly ate - if one didn't lift her up to see the shave marks, you'd never know she was any different. I am so relieved that she seems well... it's been just over two weeks, and her stitches came out last Wednesday. Her incision doesn't bother her, and she'll let me touch the wound site to check for ingrown hairs. The vet thinks she might be one of those cats who lives to 25 - I hope so. In the meantime, Zuna is peeing where she shouldn't be, and it isn't because of the state of the cat litter. It is checked every couple of days, and there are several litter boxes. Zuna has had FUS and crystals in the past, but this might also be an infection. In the meantime we must shut our bedroom door and cover the couch every time we leave. That's annoying.

Well, the frequency of the thunder increases so I'd better post this and shut down.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Nice weather

So far, July has been a pleasant month, weather-wise - it reminds me of Salt Spring Island when I was out there in 1990... breezy, mid-20's and not a lot of humidity. We're taking advantage of this pleasantness to do some family outings. Today we looked for the Durham Dam festival, and that bombed, trundled to the Flesherton Farmer's market, and ended in Markdale. There was an ice cream festival in Markdale, but we stopped at the quilt shop for me... had to have a quilting supply fix. I found some bear joints and since I have some bears to make up, I am excited to have some more joint sets.

I am trying to walk more, and my crocs help me manage to move with the plantar fasciitis being so painful. I thought they were the ugliest, silliest fad going, until I talked to some nurse friends who tell me that they couldn't last their 12-hour shift without them. I've tried them and I'm a croc fan. Angeni and Brian even have some! We need some of the funky buttons that snap through the holes to make them special...

It will be 3 weeks on Monday that Pooky passed - there isn't a day I don't think of her wistfully. There are certain things we can do now, like sleep without night lights. There are no sheets to wash in the morning, and we don't have to carry her everywhere - but despite all the extra work she was at the end of her life, we miss her dearly. I've checked with local Yorkie-poo breeders, and I am shocked that the prices are so high - $750/pup, but a contract is signed, and the dog is guaranteed free of genetic problems for life. I guess that's worth the money, but I have to put up a Puppy Fund jar and stick my end-of-the-day change in there, so I can get to $750 for the fall. Pooky has come to me once in a journey, and she was still weak, but barked at me to be picked up - she hadn't been able to bark for a couple of weeks before she passed, so I was taken aback at that. She isn't strong enough spiritually to return yet, and we'll do a shamanic journey when she is ready to take her to the kennel and have her reborn, if she wants that... it will be her choice. Whether it is Pook again, or another gentle spirit, we're looking for another Yorkie-poo. If the circumstances of the universe dictate otherwise, we might end up with a wee poodle or even a Yorkie, so I leave it open to the Creator. Whoever comes has to be female, or Spunky will take serious exception.

Angeni seems to be having an alright summer, so far... She and I spent an overnight at my sister's place in Sauble Beach. earlier this week. I ended up with a touch of gastric distress from the water - Sauble's revenge, I guess. As I reconnect with my sister, we'll head up more often and give Angeni a chance to have some family expansion - my sister is all I have left of my family. Brian and I are going away for a couple nights - alone - later this month. To comfort Angeni, she is having her two favourite people "Aunty Kaaren" and Philomene here to kid and critter sit. They'll spoil her silly. B&I haven't been away together in over 10 years, so this should be interesting.

It's a busy time artistically for me, as I have some course submissions for the Canadian Doll Artists next conference, in the hopes of being asked to be a teacher, and also I have to get my portfolio into the OCC by the 23rd for the Portfolio of Makers. This puts a lot of pressure on me this week - it's positive pressure - and the proverbial kick in the butt to expend some energy in the artistic direction. I feel enthused, even uplifted, about both endeavours.

Our gardens look beautiful and the planters really perk up the porch. I'd sit out there this evening and enjoy them, except we're having round 3 of deer fly season - that's the down side of cooler July weather. Better get back to work!!!