Who are you, really?

Thanksgiving is now a memory, the extra pounds an effort.

But I am happy to report that along with an extra pound or two I also regained my enthusiasm for writing.

Do you ever go through those dry periods? Not necessarily that you don’t have anything to write, but that you don’t feel like writing.

Shame.

In search of my creative ways, I have gone back to basics of magic and sky and moon and night and the belief in elves and dragons and alternate realities. Not that I ever left that space — I just feel like embracing it more these days. No one knows if there is anything after this life. Heaven, reincarnation, inner-galactic rebirth — take your choice and go for it.

Get past the barriers of proof and direct experience and karma. Take a chance and believe in something that makes you feel whole. Do unicorns exist? Does it matter? We can’t see sub-atomic particles either, but scientists and the world believe in them. Why can’t we believe in time travel too?

Too often we live under other’s expectations. What we should wear, what we should say, how we should act, what we should believe.

I believe at 64 I am old enough to believe in whatever I want.

So I’ve decided to work on my second set of novels — not the simple time-travel ones, but the ones where the heroine gets transported to another part of the galaxy to help discover what happened to the king’s sister.

I mean — why not?

We can write and paint and dream anything we want. And I’ve decided I’m not going to let any correctional unit tell me different.

Don’t let those around you, from society to your girlfriend to your teacher, tell you what you are. What you should be. Want to be a bard? Be a bard. Want to be a witch? Be a witch. Want to be an abstract artist? Be an abstract artist! You can be a pirate that day jobs as a sales clerk, or detective who works in a warehouse during main hours.

Don’t wait until you’re 64 to decide who you are.

What are you?

 

 

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Save the Unicorns!!

I am coming up on a dilemma soon that I don’t know how to handle. And for me, this is a big one.

We are remodeling/redecorating our house one room at a time. It’s been 15 years, and the dirty ivory carpet that I never should have ordered is potmarked with dirty shoe prints and cat puke and dog poop. You know what I mean.

So the bedrooms are turning into …. bedrooms, and the library is being relegated to downstairs last room on the left (with only a window well for light), and we are thinning out all the stuff we’ve collected for the past 30 years.

My dilemma? I don’t have enough room for my unicorn collection.

I know I know — that’s not as horrible as losing a house or a job or getting rid of baby toys because your babies are all grown up.

These are unicorns we’re talking about. Not little teddy bears or Beanie Babies or leftover rabbits from Easter.

I’m talking about unicorns.

Magical, inspirational, surrealistic horses with horns.  Signs of life and light. Ethereal. Magical…oh…I already said that. You get my point.

I’ve been collecting these little things for years. And you know how it goes — once someone knows you collect something they always buy them for birthdays and holidays. So I’ve got quite a collection spread around the house. I have framed pics, mirrors, thimbles, mugs, lamps, slippers, shelves, crystal glass, Beanie Babies, necklaces, hanging rugs, glass statues, stuffed unicorns, brass bells, tapestries, crystal ball holders, earrings, blankets, and a set of 12 plates with a diamond at the tip of their horn.

Most of these have found a home on my walls or my curio cabinet or my bedroom. I even used the tapestries/blankets for curtains.  But there are others that are at the moment on a bookshelf that is going downstairs to the new library whose only light is a window well, and I refuse to let them sit in the dark without me.

What’s a unicorn granny to do?

Our lower level is a monster pit of leftover “things” from my son’s move two years ago, plus things from family members passing, garage sale wonders, etc. The lower level is our last battlefield, and we’re going to war this summer.

I know that when I pass from this world my kids will collect all my baubles and put them in a box and out of guilt keep them stuffed in their basement somewhere. That’s no way for a unicorn to live.

But I haven’t passed and have no intention of doing so any time soon, so I need to figure out a clever, artistic way to display my life’s treasures. The main part of the lower level will be a TV/play room. There certainly has to be SOME part of that room that can house my buddies. Maybe I can find another curio/breakfront/shelving unit that I can display proudly on a back wall somewhere (so that when the grandkids play down there there are no unicorn casualties…)

At least collecting unicorns is a walk in a fantasy world. Dreams of unique creatures that can clean poisoned water and make things disappear and can take you to see the fae are indications of a healthy, albeit crooked, mind.

My hubby should be happy.  At least I don’t collect salt and pepper shakers.

 

A Friend’s Trip Through Alternate Reality

 

in-our-dreams-dreams-1600x1200Reflections of altered states, altered lives, is what writing — and life — is all about. It’s how I feel when I read, how I feel when I write. And there are times when I wish I could stay in those altered states a bit longer…

Enjoy this post from fellow blogger Tom Rains..

 

We long for altered states in life. Is this a bad thing? Is sobriety, the unaltered state, more virtuous? Is it more rational? Is it more real? Or should we aim to exist in altered states as much as possible? It seems like everything we love in life is similar to a drug-induced experience. Sometimes, […]

via Magic in Mundanity — A Blog for Humans

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Anniversary

thThe child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.  ~Pablo Casals

Five years. I swear to the goddesss almighty, I can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog for five years. Five years today. So much has happened in this short period of time — and so much yet to happen.

I almost forgot the significance of tonight — it’s like last Friday I realized that Monday was going to be my writing anniversary, then I got fried watching my grandkids all weekend (I love the tan from that!), then my Sunday Evening blog. So I almost forgot — no, I did forget — until I was laying in bed, in the dark, trying to fall asleep.

My mind was running and running, but not about what you think. It wasn’t full of anniversary sparklers and referrals to past blogs — it was centered on a Facebook experience I had earlier in the evening.

You know how ads and reposts from other people drift in and off of your account. Most I glance at then pass by. But someone posted this picture.  

And I thought, wow..kinda cool. Maybe this is something for my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog. So I followed the breadcrumbs and found out that this artwork — and a number of others — is done by a 14-year-old girl named Candace Walters, who just happens to be severely autistic.

I say “happens to be”, because once I did more research,  her parent’s pride shown through every word they shared. Her parents wrote,  “Candy is showing the World what children with autism are capable of achieving!! They have great potential for excellence!!”

How can you forget something like this?

How can you not love the beauty, the colors, the love this child brings into this world?

I have written to the e-mail address, asking if I could highlight Candy’s work on my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog. Sometimes I just highlight artists, as they are out of reach, but this felt so much more personal. I want to shout out her light, her beauty, on my blog, but I also want her or her parents or her guardians or her family to know I’m shouting it out.

In this case it’s called respect.

So tonight, my 5-year anniversary of having shared my thoughts, my heart, and my love of writing and art to all of you, I find myself turning the spotlight to someone who deserves recognition so much more than I do.

You can find Candy’s artwork at https://www.facebook.com/candywatersautismartist, and her work can be purchased at http://www.zazzle.com/candace69/products.

Hopefully I will be able to share more of her magic with you in the future. Yet, with the sun having set on my 5th anniversary, I’m already filled with magic.

Happy Holidays…Merry Christmas…Blessed Be

 Christmas  is  Magic

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Christmas is what you make it

It is delight, it is memories, it is sadness

It is shooting stars and deep sea glow worms

It is sacred, it is jovial, it is silly

Say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to a stranger

Kiss your sweetheart and hug your kids

Call your sister or visit a friend

Christmas is what you make it

Today and Every Day

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See you Sunday with another amazing artist Sunday at  the Sunday Evening Art Gallery

The Sunday Evening Art Gallery has Opened!

its-not-about-me1I am not sure where the wanderlust for unusual art came from. It might be from stumbling across the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; it could be from looking at Mount Rushmore in person so many years ago.

But once I opened the door, I was Dorothy discovering the Land of Oz. Shapes and colors I’d never imagined appeared before me. More than that — creative minds reached out and touched the creative muse inside of me.  Art that was just a little — different. Unique. Art that brought discussion and engagement to the world.

I found that once I stumbled around and discovered these unique creations, I collected more images than a normal blog attention span could handle. So what better way to show even more examples of the creative mind than to create a gallery dedicated to them alone?

The Sunday Evening Art Gallery is a newly created site that is an expansion of my Sunday Evening offerings. It is an expansion of my weekly gallery — a place where you can enjoy additional creations from magical minds.

Including mine.

I will be adding new galleries every week, so please come and visit often. If you know of other artists/objects/representations of any form of Creative Art, let me know that, too. I am always open for more magic!

http://www.sundayeveningartgallery.wordpress.com

 

The Gazing Ball

gazing-globe-12When you look into the gazing ball, what do you see?

Do you make a wish?

Do you see infinity?

Is it a reflection? Or an inflection?

You are never too old to look into the gazing ball.

The reflection is only the beginning.

I feel a new project on the horizon.

A new chance to

Create

Play

Research and

Wander.

What do YOU see when you look into the gazing ball?

 

 

The Connection

phantomThere is something about a live experience — a concert, a reading, a play — that, when done correctly, vibrates you to your very core. There is an energy, a connection, with the artist that can move mountains. And when your mountain is moved…well, you can well imagine.

Through the loving generosity of family, I attended a performance of Phantom of the Opera last night. A chance to dress up, sparkle a little. A chance to elevate myself up from the everyday grind of cleaning and cooking and sitting in front of a computer screen for 8 hours a day.  The lights dimmed, the orchestra swelled, and the doomed relationship between the Phantom and Christine began.

I am not necessarily an opera affectionado; I’ve seen maybe two in my life. But this encounter was more than listening to singing and dancing and orchestral surges. It was becoming a part of the interplay between actors telling a story. It was as if the Phantom and Christine and Raoul were living their sad, melodic lives just for me.

I tend to get a little choky and teary at episodes of soulful interactions. I used to be embarrassed about shedding tears, especially in public. Crybaby comes to mind…hormonal as well. But the tears I shed at live performances come from a different well — a well that has no faucet, no hot and cold handles. They just appear — slowly, silently, swiftly.

I don’t even know what the trigger is. This time it was the beautiful song  Music of the Night. Sometimes it’s a sappy song like Wonderful World by the one and only Louie. Sometimes it’s the crescendo at the end of an orchestral piece, like the 1812 Overture. Sometimes it’s the words. A poetry reading, or a blog that just sends lightning bolts to the heart.  I’ve cried during TV shows like Chicago Fire or endings of movies like Passion of Mind.

The triggers are always different, but the overwhelmingness is the same. It is like the meeting of souls. Someone’s words, someone’s music, someone’s painting, reaches out and strums your heartstrings like a Stradivarius. You don’t always know which way it’s coming, but you know you will always be right in its path when it comes.

I think that’s why live performances are so fascinating. So magical. When you experience what the creator wants you to experience, there is a meeting of the minds, meeting of the souls, that cannot be explained. A beautiful painting. A well-written book. A love song. An actor so perfected in his craft that you can literally see a phantom in love or a warrior before battle. You see them, you feel them. Your heart bursts with emotion with their loves and hates and the choices they have to make. Even if they’re not real.

This energy exchange crosses over into other avenues as well. There is nothing more exciting than sitting on the sidelines of a football or basketball game. The players can’t hear you or see your collection of expressions, but  there is something about screaming in tandem with thousands sitting right next to you that keeps your spirit soaring.

I don’t know Cooper Grodin (the Phantom) or Ben Jacoby (Raoul) or Julia Udine (Christine). I don’t know what their favorite junk food is or if they have a mortgage payment. What I do know about them — and other artists — is the love they have for their craft. The pride they have in having honed this love into something that others can enjoy as well. And, for the brief moment we connect, them on stage or in a movie or writing that pivotal scene in their book, our hearts are seeing the same thing. It is me on the stage; it is me dancing the ballet. It is me bursting out in song or craft and showing the world what I can do.

Make an effort to see something live this summer. A band at a local bar; a poet reading from their chapbook; an orchestra in the park  or a play or a rock concert. It doesn’t matter what avenue you take — just go and take a chance on connecting with someone who understands you. Who can instantly turn on your water faucets with a word, a note, a sketch. They will never know who you are, never know what your favorite food is or what you take for a headache.

But they will certainly feel your energy. And you theirs.

 

Great Balls of Thunder

thunderstormThere is something about thunderstorms that brings out the creative muse in me. The rumbling, bumbling, rolling approach of a storm, the electricity in the air, all make my senses dance. I know there is a practical explanation for the physical changes an impending storm brings…but we here with the Goddess don’t always want practical. We want mystical! We want magical! We don’t want explanations — we want make believe.

The power behind thunderstorms is magical all by itself. Combined with wind and pounding rain, thunder and lightning can destroy trees, people, and property. But I’m talking about the romantic side of thunderstorms. I live in the country, and I often can watch the storm approach. The scent of rain reaches out to touch me, water hitting dirt somewhere in the distance. The towering cloud tops in the distance sky slowly make their way towards my deck, their churning full of promise of the melee to come.

Thunder begins like a dog’s soft growl, but each growl gets louder, longer. Lightning begins to dance across the sky, its timing closer to matching the explosions in the sky. The storm  makes its way across the field at a slow, steady pace. I once sat in the barn and watched the wall of rain make its way across the field, eventually making its way to and over the building. Once the rain hits, the atmosphere changes. Sometimes the rain is steady, the lightning and thunder steady as well. Other times the rain pours so fast you can barely see your hand in front of your face, lightning crack and lights the night sky, and thunder shakes the walls like an earthquake. Those are the storms history is made of.

So here is this majestic storm making its way across my home this evening, and here is me, running around closing windows. Then it stops. I open windows. Another wave makes its way through the countryside. I close the windows. It stops. I open windows. I don’t move as quickly as the good old days, so there’s a lot of mopping up from Mother Nature. Suddenly this creative muse is a bit crabby because the storm blew over the plant in front of one of the windows and bent the screen on the patio door. The storm blew over the plastic chairs on the deck and I hear the flooding of the fields are incredible.

So goes the romance of thunderstorms.  I guess it just  depends on the storm. And the clean up.

What Is True Success?

So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we  had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.

Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too.  Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.

This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb.  I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in  my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.

That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture.  Yet more often I think  I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.

How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator;  good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.

Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short  story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely.  I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers.  I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the  result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off  the main character.

There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.

So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.

I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world…  humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com.

There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.

Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…

Claudia Anderson

MAGIC 101

Need to  find a little magic in your everyday life? There’s got to be a way to connect today’s mad, mad world to the airy fairy contentment daydreaming brings. What is “magic” anyway? It’s just a word. A word that describes what can’t always be described.  Kinda like love or intuition or Coan Brothers movies. It’s different for everyone. Here’s a few ways to tap into the mist (or is it the fog) that surrounds the charisma called “magic”:

ETHER.  The concept of the Ether (guess we need to capitalize it) is that magic exists in the natural world like air. Anyone with sufficient understanding can process it into whatever it is he or she is trying to do. It’s also referred to as the fifth element (mool-ti-pass?) along with earth, air, water and fire. Ever catch the scent of pine trees in the air? Burning leaves? Pig farms? All of those stimulate the Ether. All trigger the senses, taking them to another level. Learn to feel hot and cold pockets of air, watch the heat waves rise from the road, or feel the breeze blow your hair around.  A heebie jeebie feeling will run through you, leaving you mystified or merely curious. One hint: don’t search for the Ether while driving, starting a bonfire or any other activity that needs your attention. You just might find yourself breathing more than just Ethered air.

HERBS. Certain herbs are said to have magical properties (no…not the ones you smoke). There are plenty of “healthy” naturalities that can open the stuck door to your magical playground. Sage is commonly used for purification and cleansing (see what it does for stuffing?). Catnip is meant to captivate a lover ― or at least a cat. Cinnamon increases psychic power (no wonder we sense cinnamon toast a mile away!). Basil is for wealth and prosperity (I could use a whole back yard of this).  I added my own herby kind of things to the magical list: chocolate (who isn’t taken in by its charm?), wine (loosens up the tongue to speak to whatever higher power is hanging around), and homemade spaghetti sauce (I swoon to heaven and back when I eat it). Whatever herb makes you smile is the one that’s magical for you. Go for it.

OBJECTS:  Throughout time there have been objects that have been sought for their ability to do things that no human can do on their own. The Philosopher’s Stone (turns base metals into gold), The Holy Grail (drinking from it grants immortality), the Pot of Gold (pretty obvious what it does), and Book of Thoth (a forbidden book that was the key to mastering the secrets of air, sea, earth, and the heavenly bodies), all are legendary objects that have the capability to make humans larger than life. Today’s magical objects are a lot more accessible to us lowly humans. The Internet (instant information), CDs (the gospel of Pink Floyd and Benny Goodman were never so available), telephones (or should I now say cell phones), beer steins (symbols of the fruitfulness of grain), gold coins (back to the source of all evil), and dozens of other things can instantly turn our world from mundane to magical. Also consider flags, beer bottle tops, crystals, rock band T-shirts, root beer floats, chocolate truffles, Christmas ornaments (I have some cool Irish ones), and 4H ribbons, are all magical objects (in their own way)..

CREATURES.  Creatures are not often considered fountains for magical energy. However, some are well known for their connection to the magical world. Unicorns, dragons, faeries, Nessie, Bigfoot, Pan, Puck, angels, brownies (not the edible kind), ghosts, Puff ― all are creatures that will stimulate your imagination and tap into the wonder of it all. What does it matter if they were/are real or not? Are you real? How do we know? In a pinch, puppies, kittens, and babies are suitable substitutes.

PLACES.  Places where magic concentrates have dotted the cosmic landscape for a long time. The Fountain of Youth, Atlantis, Never Never Land, Oz, Heaven, Shangri La, Rivendell, Sha Ka Ree, all are places that sprung from the human mind and exist on some plane of existence somewhere. Magic blows the dirt of these worlds into our own back yards. Utopia may not exist in our sphere of reality, but why can’t it exist elsewhere? Why can’t we tap into these magical places and pick up a few tips? I know I could get into a dishwashingless or rakingtheleavesless society. And heck ― Klingons and Elves don’t hold a candle to the nuts we experience in our everyday world. Even our messy home can be an alien environment at times. What inspiration!

DIVINE MAGIC. At the opposing end of the spectrum from Ether is the idea that magic can only be handed down from some divine or infernal source. Granted through either prayers or rituals, this type of magic requires a force from the outside of the normal/natural world coming to bear on a situation. Gods, goddesses, aliens, demons, magicians, angels, spirit guides, and totems come to mind.  Their intervention comes in handy during football games, pregnancy tests, lottery tickets, cooking competitions, and IRS audits. Although whether they wave their energy over the Packers or the Bears remains to be seen.

Be that as it may, I hope you understand that real divine magic exists within us all. It’s called common sense. It’s called love. Let those two energies guide all you think and do, and magic will be at your fingertips. Trust me on this one. Don’t be afraid to use the “M” word when describing your philosophy of life. It melds well with the “G” word and the “L” word, sprinkling a bit of sweetness on our basic beliefs and desires.

And, after all ― it does kinda tastes like sugar…

You Didn’t Read Which One??

With the Madness of Summer burning the bottoms of our feet, there is not often much time to do any deep reading. A news headline here, a gossip column there, is about all one can squeeze in between State Fairs and Renaissance Faires and Italian Fairs.  So I thought I’d make it short and sweet this time around…come along and check out some of my oldies-but-goodies and see for yourself how fun managing the madness and magic and middle age can be!

Sharpening the Tool  — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/sharpening-the-tool/

I hate it when people say that many middle-aged people “aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.” It’s condescending, insulting, naive and just plain wrong. What I hate even more, though, is being one of those dull tools. Alas, there are times when I feel I’m struggling to stay in the shed, period.

Dancing in a Too Tight Tutu — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/522/

I was sitting around the other day with my gal friends, sharing tales about the weekend. We all seemed to have gone through the same delightful experience, albeit in different ways. We all were relaxed, having a good time, and probably drank a little too much, for we all said, “I’m too old for this.”  One sat with friends and sipped with friends all day, one went to an outdoor concert, and I party hopped.  I’m sure the situations were on the same astral plane as many others “my age.”  Time flows, excitement and comfort wraps around us, the atmosphere make us feel good, and before you know it we are waking up the next morning with a headache, saying, “I’m too old for this.

Dinner With the Queen https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/dinner-with-the-queen/

In the mundane throng of your very predictable life, don’t you now and then want to just break out of the box and do something different? Now that you have the experience of all those years behind you, don’t you want to make that experience mean something? Don’t you ever want to be bigger than life? Just for a day?

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwursthttps://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/the-importance-of-unicorns-and-bratwurst/

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwurst. This is one of those ethereal, out-of-body titles that try to connect the cosmic to the ordinary, the magical to the mundane.  I was hit by this title some time ago, not having a clue as to what it meant or what I would eventually write about.  Even now, as my fingers hit the keys, I have no idea where this storyline is going.  But isn’t that so much like our everyday lives?

Merlot at the Lake House — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/merlot-at-the-lake-house/

Quick.  Name a handful of your favorite movies. Not the “great” ones that are in your library ― the ones that define you. The ones you don’t admit entertain you time and time gain.  Are you what you watch? Are you big enough to admit that you are what you watch?

The Diamond Goddess Award

Equal to my desire to become a famous writer (move over, JK),  is my desire for others to enjoy my work. While my first desire is right up there with winning the lottery and swimming in the Mediterranean, the second actually seems possible.

 The other day I stopped into the Goddess Hood and found I had been nominated for the Sunshine Award on WordPress. I don’t know exactly what that is or where you go to find out about it, but just knowing that someone actually READ my blog and thought enough about it to submit my name really made my sun shine.

 I was nominated by  seventhvoice.wordpress.com, who is, among other talents,  a very good, sensitive poet. I thank her – and you – for letting me know my posts make a difference in your lives. I think I’m supposed to nominate other blogs for other awards, but there are so many floating around out there I don’t know where to start. The Inspiring Blog Award, the Beautiful Blogger Award, The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, the Sunshine Award ―  all are accolades that reward the determined writer with a bit of recognition…and appreciation.

 I feel bad because I don’t have as much time to follow blogs and enter contests and write stories like I used to. It seems the older I get the busier I get. How did that happen? I subscribe to a handful of blogs and really want to subscribe to a few more.  But even today I opened my mailbox and found 523 emails waiting for me. Where have I been?

 I realized that asking you to read my blog or get my email blog puts you in the same situation that I’m in. We all are trying to put 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag.  And I thought ― how can I pick out one or five blogs that catch my soul so much that I nominate them for all the awards floating around out there? What makes a blog about spirituality any more enjoyable than one about divorce? How do I know if your blog is an Inspiring Blog Award or a Beautiful Blogger Award?

 So what I have done is nutty and escapist…something those of you who know me have no problem believing.  I’m creating my own award:

  • The Diamond Goddess Award

Who is to receive this precious honor? 

 All of you.

 All of you who take time to listen to my babble, all of you who send your thoughts and comments my way, all of you who strive to be more than you are today.  It is for those of you who peek in once a month or wait impatiently for my next ditty. It’s for those of you who like me but never have time to read anything. And it’s for those who don’t care for my style but put up with me anyway.

 And you know the best thing about this award?  YOU can pass it on!  Pass it on to anyone who makes you smile, anyone who makes you feel.  Take my dancing diamond and send it to your best friend and the chick you barely know. Let them know you’re thinking about them and that you think they sparkle  like a diamond.

 You’ll feel better for it. I know I do.

 

 

 

Where in the (&?;A@#?<%) Did I Put That Magic?

As I ran around the house this morning getting ready for work, feeding the dogs, putting the gym shoe one of the dogs brought upstairs to sleep with back where it belongs, flipping through the TV stations looking for a weather report I already knew, trying on my third outfit because the first two made me look like a pudgy pie, realizing I’ll have to take a banana that’s seen better days and a huge container of leftover macaroni and cheese for lunch because I don’t have time to divvy up the leftover into human-sized portions, I wondered ― where has the magic gone?

Oh, I know “cosmically” it’s still hanging around, in and through me.  I know it’s outside in the morning sunrise, in the beauty of Bach on SIRIUS XM POPS and the bright fuchsia of the flowers outside my window.  I know it’s in the tinkle of a baby’s laugh and the breath of a secret.  Blah blah blah. All I knew was that I wasn’t feelin’ it. And the day was going to go downhill if I didn’t find it soon.

Magic is one of those words that can ruffle feathers in certain spheres.  So to distinguish the word that boasts levitation and lightning bolts from the one that’s benignly linked to the soul, let’s talk about the latter. The one that sparkles with positive vibrations. The one that binds friendships and leaves a smile on your face. This sort of magic makes size 18 look like size 10, makes your doodles look like a Picasso, and your sing-with-the-song-on-the-radio voice sound amazingly like Whitney Houston or Harry Connick Jr. 

In the frustration of having to get up early on a Saturday morning to work my second job, I found myself wishing I could connect to all sorts of magic.  Time travel and teleportation came to mind, along with channeling the winning Lottery numbers and seeing a 1967 427/435hp red Corvette in my driveway instead of my beat up Honda.  Realizing that cosmic power was not mine to wield, I would have settled for a bit of the buzz that would have automatically washed, dried, folded, and put away my six loads of laundry on the floor next to my bed or scrubbed that line of black stuff from beneath my open window.

The skeptics and the pragmatics say I should stop being so selfish and me-centered; that I should use my magic for world peace and feeding the hungry and stopping the drought in Texas. That sort of magic is way beyond the ability of both me and my blog, but, trust me. Should my omnipotence ever reach that level of magicology, those would be the first things I’d handle. 

I think it’s a universal to want to quickly and guiltlessly make our lives easier. Who wouldn’t want to whip up gourmet meals with a flick of the ‘ol wand? A twitch and voila! Duck a l’ Orange! Who wouldn’t like to turn water into wine ― or at least into a German Weiss beer? Who wouldn’t want to buy a pound of ground beef and be able to make enough burgers for a game night of 30 people?  What’s wrong with wanting a little hocus pocus in our lives?

It doesn’t mean we aren’t willing to carry the burden that’s already strapped to our ankles; that we aren’t willing to work out way through adversity to see the sunshine on the other side. Magic is not a cop out ― it’s a viable tool that, in the right hands, makes our lives easier, opening our cosmic space so we can pursue more “enlightened” and worthwhile pastimes.

Somewhere in our under-used brain mass lies a spot where all things are possible. A direct line to the energy that pulses all around and through us ― the cord that connects us with all living things. As we age we realize that spot is not so much buried as it is forgotten.  We find that when we least expect it our desires produce the most magical results. We find we are creative, expressive, loving, and intelligent. We don’t have to twist in angst for hours and days about decisions that need to be made right away. We don’t over-analyze the pros and cons of turning left instead of right ― we just turn. Whatever’s there is there. And we’ll handle it just like we handled everything in our lives.

Isn’t that what magic is all about? Finding our way through life one day at a time, making the world a better place by sending out positive thoughts and feelings? Knowing there are some things we can change, some things we cannot. And swirling our hands and saying a little chant or turning in a circle clockwise three times then counter clockwise two turns does the same thing as plain paying attention. We’re moving forward anyway. We are working on a better life, not only for ourselves but for those we love, for those we know and for those we will never know. What does it matter if you make a brew of chamomile tea and mint and rose petals and a pinch of cayenne and call it a magic potion or a refreshing experiment? What does it matter if you sage your house to protect it from dark energy or if you grow pretty flowers and mow your grass for the same effect? 

We perform magic all the time. Every time we pet our dogs and make them feel good, every time we wrestle with our kids or grandkids and make them laugh. Every time we make a meal from scratch or go to work so we can pay our bills or give money to charity.  Every time we wake up and see sunshine or rain or two feet of snow, we experience magic. For we have seen nature, we have seen the light. And have found a way to handle it, to transform it, to make it our own or a way to get rid of it. 

Now, if I could just turn the clock back an hour, seeing as I’m going to be late for work…

Happy Anniversary, Humoring the Goddess!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MEEEEE!!!

Yes, I’ve been blogging and blabbing and sharing the magic and madness of middle age for an entire year now, and it’s been great. I hope you have taken some of my magic and turned it into your own. You are all powerful — you are magical, crazy, lovable friends, and I wish you all the best in the coming years.

My blogging contest has come to an end; I thank you all for your thoughts and your entries. I will announce the winner next post.  In the meantime, enjoy the story that started it all…

MY MUSE IS AN IRISH WENCH

Everyone has a Muse in their life — a spirit guide, an angel, who nudges them forward; an invisible energy who inspires us to be something more than a slug on the couch watching TV or a potato chip-eating machine.  I have one friend who insists his guardian angel travels with him wherever he goes; I have another who contacts one spirit guide for meditation and a different one for balancing her checkbook.  I know one woman who never leaves home without St. Christopher, and a fellow writer who swears he consults Shakespeare’s ghost every time he gets stuck writing his novel.

St. Christopher and Shakespeare are fine and dandy, but what do you do if your creative muse is an Irish Wench?  The stories of leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day are bad enough, with their drunken rowdiness and stealing of gold for their pot at the end of the rainbow and all that.  But what if your Muse turned out to be a woman with a heart as green as the Emerald Isle who hangs around with those drunken leprechauns?

A Muse is supposed to be your inspiration, your guide, through whatever creative endeavor you undertake.  Venus inspired Michelangelo; Cleopatra inspired Marc Anthony, Athena inspired Odysseus. The original Muses were daughters of Zeus, who presided over the arts and sciences. It just so happens that my inspiration is a fiery Irish barmaid is named Fiona who comes complete with cleavage and clover.  She pops up at the most inopportune times, standing and dancing on my shoulder or steering wheel or computer, rattling off in thick Gaelic who knows what, hoping to jumpstart my creativity.  Dressed in her flowing gauze dress with the girdle that pushes up her breasts in the most obnoxious manner, my little sprite demands attention right then and there.  And I’d better stop and acknowledge her, or she will turn everything upside down.

For instance, one of my favorite short stories popped into my head while I was at work.  The push to get this written came across loud and clear – write me now Couldn’t my Muse have at least waited until lunchtime to rattle off her idea?  I tried to stall my creativity until noon, but it only got worse.  I’m sure some of my creative metaphors got mixed up in whatever I was typing.  Or how about the time that one of my book’s most romantic interludes hit me right in the middle of my son’s soccer game? It was pretty hard to make mental notes when I was screaming encouragements to his high school team.   And what about the poem that hit me driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour?  Or the full-blown idea of a murder mystery that hit me while  I was mowing the lawn?

I am all for inspiration.  Sunsets are wonderful inducements to creative arts, as are walks through the woods or lying on a sunny beach.  Classical music or mellow jazz or even mind-numbing hair band rock can fine-tune one’s creative edge as they sew, paint, crochet or design.  The sight of children at play or two seniors holding hands can unfurl pages of creative prose and poetry.  But how can you write or draw or knit or paint with a foot stomping, sing-along Irish wench dancing on your shoulder?  How can you sit still and concentrate when her Celtic jigs blast through every thread of your body, forcing you to bob your head along with the tempo or sing along with the oh-so-familiar lyrics at the top of your lungs?

Don’t get me wrong – my little wench has brought me much pleasure through the years.  She has encouraged me to write some really intense interactions and deeply emotional poetry. Her Wild Irish Rose attitude inspires me to write out of the box, to reach deep inside for feelings and fears that normally don’t see the light of day, and to let those feelings influence my writing.  She tosses out ideas for short stories or chapters when I am stuck; she helps me smooth through the rough patches of dialogue when they don’t make sense.  She encourages me to do research about places and history and mechanics, refusing to let me slide along with made-up assumptions.

But I have to admit her timing needs a little work.  Driving a car or typing numbers in a computer is not the most opportune time to become inspired.  Nor is when I mow the lawn (a true instance of inspired genius, I must admit). I can’t be pulling over to the side of the road every other block or flipping the light on in the middle of the night just because she throws an idea towards me that I cannot resist.  I do appreciate her help ― I really do.  But I have to teach her to work on her impulsiveness.  There is a time and place for everything ― even inspiration.  Great ideas often have to ferment in one’s psyche before they become full blown masterpieces.  And there’s no doubt that you have your own muse dying to catch your attention.  All you need to do is listen.

Now, if she could serve me one of those Irish brews as often as she jumped on my bandwagon…on second thought, maybe that’s not such a good idea.  If she served me beer as often as she demands attention, I’d be drunk before I started.

See What You Have Missed??

While everyone is enjoying this holiday weekend, merely peeking in at their various inboxes, I thought I’d share the fun and enlightening titles you may have missed in this irreverent blog:

My Muse is an Irish WenchWhat to do when creativity dances on your shoulder ― and on your head

Chocolat and the Tuscan SunOpening up an oatmeal cookie boutique in Europe

Feng Shui in the Cubicle — Trying to find harmony and flow in the office cubicle

Paint Who’s Wagon?Defining the generations by the songs we sing

Real Lists vs. Fantasy ListsWhy making “to-do” lists is a matter of one’s point of view.

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwurst — How our weekly lives run from the optimistic, ethereal beginning of the unicorn, through the dumps of life, back up to the raw, spicy optimism of sausage.

Moonrise at SunsetEven the Moon can fool you.

Dinner With the QueenHow far does your unpredictable meter go?

Middle MagicHalf empty or half full? In reality we just need a bigger cup.

AND YET TO COME

What Is Role Playing and Can I Do It By Myself?Inspirational messages from dwarves and gods.

Cosmic ChatterConnecting to the cosmos through life’s everyday static

Paranoia Writings ― Beware of what you write when you’re pumped up.

Hot Flashes and Cold FeetWhat did I ever do to my hormones to have them treat me this way?

Sex ― What Is It and Where Did It Go?By the time the floor is free the well is dry.

Everyone’s Life is a Best SellerSurely you have an oddity or two hanging from your friends & family tree

Come! Join the Party!

Middle Magic

Surfing the television the other night, I came across a quite entertaining program — one of those behind-the-scenes pieces on the making of a current hit movie. I snuggled in my oversized chair and listened as cast and crew glowed about the setting, the camaraderie, and the overwhelming feeling of family that pervaded the movie set for those two years. Envy tinted with wanderlust began to fill my mind. After it was over, I found myself thinking, “Wouldn’t that be great? Escape the drudgery of my everyday, boring  office job and go off with wildly artistic people to exotic locations and be a part of something big and exciting and creative — like making a movie.” Flashes of famous people danced in my head: cast parties, flights to locations I’ve never seen, working in thunderstorms and desert heat side by side with fellow creative spirits…

I was eventually knocked back into reality through a number of obnoxious commercials, and came to the realization that my exotic movie set was right there before me. Middle Magic. Middle Age.

Middle Age. A word that is still hard to identify with. A word that gives most of us the willies. What does it mean?  It used to mean one’s half-life — half way between the cradle and the grave. Near the turn of the century middle age was 30; decades earlier it was as young as 20. My parents’ generation viewed middle age somewhere in their 40s; my own personal interpretation pushes it to at least somewhere in the mid-60s. But magic? At this point in my life, how could my life cycle resonate with the energy of  Merlin or Dumbledore?

As I dreamt about life as an actress or a jet-setting hotel heiress, it became obvious to me that we are all a result of our choices. I could have chosen a different path. If I had truly wanted to be a part of the acting community I could have gone the way of high school plays, summer theater, or politics. But my choices took me along a different path: family, children, a place to call home. I came to understand that we all hear the call of destiny, but it’s up to us what we do with that calling. Middle Magic goes beyond those initial choices. This sort of magic is a whirlwind of the past and the present, the switching of life’s gears, so to speak. It is a tugging of our soul, asking to finally be set free to wander and explore the world in its own way. You know ― living the “stepping out of the box” cliché way of life. This sort of magic is an empowerment that breaks us from the monotony of routine and propels us into the world of extraordinary. Middle Magic is experience tinted with awe, reality mingled with fantasy. It is part who knows, part who cares. After all, isn’t that what we’ve spent all this time wanting?

Middle age is merely a threshold ― let’s not be afraid to cross it. We’ve got nothing to lose except our inhibitions.  Who needs those, anyway?  The wonderful thing is that we have this power in every thought we have, every moment we live. It starts with an acknowledgement of where we are, and opens doors to a future we only now can  reach.  It is through this energy that we finally connect with our self. Only at this point do the gates of the palace open before us.

Perhaps Middle Magic is nothing more than coming to grips with our own mortality. The Reaper has no discretion with its scythe; it strikes down the young and old, dashing dreams and breaking hearts without discretion. But it is precisely because of the Reaper’s indiscretion that we understand how important it is to live life to its fullest day to day. How important it is to open doors to new worlds, encouraging others to do so as well.  To continue to learn, to continue to share what we’ve learned, to know that our ability to learn is as vast as the stars above.

As I turned off the television, there was still a part of me that wished I had been a part of making that movie: the friendship, the excitement, the stress and the secrets. But I realized I have all the above with me every day — friendship, stress, and secrets   With a flick of the pen I can live in 1880 or 2050, on a space station near Jupiter or in an apartment in Manhattan. Pick up a book and I can walk with hobbits or Sioux Indians or Japanese Shoguns. I have music and movies and my own imagination to take me wherever I want to go. And when I run low on imagination, I have my friends’ imaginations to fuel me.

True magic is the magic of the moment; the feeling that you are making a difference, a riff, in the routine of reality. Magic is realizing that you can be a creator and a dreamer along with doing dishes or being a catalog coordinator or taking care of kids or grandkids. Everywhere there is a story to be told, and every story has a bit of a smile in it. All you have to do is stop and share it. That is what Middle Magic is about. Chuckling at the absurdity of the world around us, taking what we have learned through the years with a grain of salt and a cup of schmaltz and sharing it with everyone.

We can only go one way on this road of life; we should make a point to share a smile or two or a thousand with as many souls as we can. Don’t you know? We are all magicians. We are all whimsical, swirling motes of dust in the sunshine of life. Powerful, crazy, magical motes.

Gandalf would be proud.

 

Even the Universe Chuckles

1 Even the Universe Chuckles What exactly is middle age? 

You always hear people talking about their “mid-life crisis”: how one particular panic attack or moment of decision changed the second half of their life.  But what if your perception of reality has become tilted over time?  Would you even notice it?  I know I share the sentiment of many who feel their cosmic clock ticking away, day after day, year after year, without as much as an apology from said clock for moving near the speed of light.  Some of us reached this level of maturity easily; others bumbled and stumbled our way here.  But all of us have filled our hearts and minds with experiences that made the journey worthwhile.

Humoring the Goddess: Managing the Madness Magic of Middle Age mingles a bit of magic with the madness that surrounds us as we ease away from the dreams of our 20’s to the realities of life past 40. Magic, you say? The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that magic is nothing more than our point of view. Magic touches and guides us from within, a mixture of common sense, experience, and nonsense, taking us from dreams to reality and back again.  And since it doesn’t cost a thing, it can be tapped into over and over again.

Alrighty. We’ve chatted about middle age and magic. What about this blog? What can you expect from this corner of the universe?

Each week, Momentary Musings will bring you stories that twinkle with honesty, irony, and positive energy. There also will be Quimsical Quotations, witty words from some of the most fascinating minds in history; and Frivolous Facts and Falderal, useless bits of entertainment that have nothing to do with the world in general but keep you chuckling with the universe in particular. And believe me.  The universe chuckles.

Sometimes life twists and turns as if we’re traveling down some corkscrew highway.  We think we know where we’ve been, where we’re going.  Suddenly children and elves and family members come along and fracture whatever notions of normalcy we have.  What was simple suddenly becomes complex. We feel slower, chubbier, and denser than we ever have been before.  Other times we fly with the grace of a downhill skier.  We develop insight like Einstein and patience like Gandhi, making the circle of life complete once again.

Let me assure you, you are not alone in your misgivings about middle age, whether you are heading in that direction or already there. There is a thread of truth that rings through all my stories, a thread that connects us all with smiles and tears, sighs and adrenalin rushes. And hopefully you will come to understand that it’s okay to experience them all.

Enjoy your journey through Humoring the Goddess: Managing the Madness Magic of Middle Age.  Before you know it you’ll be humoring the Goddess yourself, no matter what your age.