Thursday, January 25, 2007


Sasha called me from Valdosta. She is on her way to visit a friend in Tampa and wants to see her old Auntie while here. Anastasia Lynda Maria Kerik-Coglianese is the only living reminder I have that I had a sister - viable and real. She is called 'Sasha' , a nod to her Siberian ancestry that lies atop her Italian paternal surname. Her mother was murdered and left in the Yuma River in Arizona like so much flotsam in 1986.

I haven't seen Sasha in four years since she called me from 2 miles up the road four years ago to announce that she was bringing 'friends' ...which consisted of two gay men, one a transvestite, and a young woman of questionable bent. They stayed at Dog Patch a varying amount of time up to 2 months - except for Kent, who really wanted a change from his background of managing MacDonald's restaurants. Kent stayed two years and continued to find a life in Florida. The rest went home in dribs and drabs, Sasha included. She tired of the slow cotillion here at DP.

Such are the vagaries of youth. I used to do the same thing at their age - my early 20s. I was footloose and could go where the wind carried. No longer. Age seems to have weighted me down in ways hard to describe to you. But you know. We no longer can pick up and waft away on the breeze like an unfettered dandelion blossom when we age. We seem to need more than the iron in Geritol to hold us to the Earth. It's as if our fractious bones are ready and able to pick up and fly without leathered flesh to the next realm at any moment.

So. I am looking forward to seeing my Baby Girl. I fell in love with her at the Tampa International Airport in the 1970s when her tiny squirm of a body was thrust at me for the first time. Lynn and Ed had come to meet me at the airport. I wished that I had been around for her growing up when she was without her mother. But I was engaged with struggles of my own and could not afford forays out to rescue anyone else.

Now, she is grown up. I can tell her stories of her mother, including confirming that her bent for travel comes from her mom. Lynn was always up for an adventure, including an unexpected trip to Columbia that happened on the way to college classroom. She came home with an incredible emerald, stories to tell and no homework.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Wouldn't you just know it that as soon as I say I have nothing new to report that there is, indeed, something. After my entry last night/early this morning, I return to the living room to do my rendition of straightening up. Which is, sit on the couch and become interested in a book on Early American costuming.

I leave the door open on the water side of the house for George, the cat until we go to bed. She likes to go in and out and I don't have a proper pet door. At the moment, she was sitting up on a shelf above the door entertaining a bolt of fabric. Fabric bolts and beads and laces and trims and mannequins and machines are everywhere in this house. They're the detritus of my day job.

George looks down at the floor by the door as I hear this tiny rattle, rattle. I stand up to see what she's looking at and see a big possum standing just inside the living room trying to pick up a plastic box of beads left out from tonight's project. Maybe he was looking to embellish a quilt.

"Nothing there to eat B'rer Possum," I say. He looks at me and then turns around, ambles out the door leaving the beads behind. I am not insulted by his disinterest. Most of the critters tame and wild have this attitude with me. I'm nothing to be intimidated by, at least in their diaspora.

You see. I have left most of Dog Patch in a state of wildness remarkable on my country street of manicured yards. The neighbor men knock down the grass next to the doors and in the driveway so I can go in and out, but the balance of the yard has become way overgrown by default. My depression and disinterest in the avid gardening I used to do has become a tumult of cultured things gone wild. There is a Blue Skies vine with it's garlands of lavender-blue flowers growing up and over the house and into the trees above. There's the Chinese honeysuckle that has grown bored of it's tree and has escaped into the yard. Pandora vine looks aloft from a June orange tree and a purple passion flower vine happily shakes hands with it from a plumbago.

My wildness has become the last refuge on the street for critters who have nowhere else to go. Development all around me has grown concrete and warehouses in place of the trees and woods that were cut down to make room for them. So. The denizens of the woods moved over here. I share grounds with raccoons and possums, some snakes and birds of every description that appreciate the fact that I took them all into consideration when I did my planting once upon a time. I put in things that seed, nut and fruit: A veritable supermarket for creatures looking for a quick stop for dinner fixins. They have their choice of passion fruit, several kinds of oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, sunflowers, rose hips, pineapples, mulberries twice a year where they gorge so much that you can see possums supine with distended bellies for weeks, elderberries, flowers with edible seeds and roots, acorns, palm nuts, fruiting cactus, plantain and bananas. There's a really good produce section here at the Dog Patch Ashram and Hot Flash Hotel.

Over on the meat aisle, we have every conceivable kind of bug and moth, lizard, and frog. The caterpillars who take over the mulberry trees every six years or so bow to me in unison, all the thousands of them at once. If someone knows what this phenomenon is, would you let me know?

My payback is the general disregard for my presence. I interrupt possums and coons sharing the cat food bowl out back with Skitty, the partially feral outdoor cat with red pants who lives outside in a little house I built for him because his indoor manners border on the unsanitary. I put out extra and look the other way. But sometimes, I have to stand there to be sure that Skitty gets his share. "Doesn't your mama cook for you?" I say to the littlest ones who barrel off the porch at the sight of me. They have yet to learn what their elders know - that I'm a harmless old dumpling that welcomes them and talks rough. The birds will alight just above my head in the same passionless disregard.

But the coming in the house is a new behavior. Although, I've seen many a black paw and arm feeling under the large crack at the bottom of the door and a ratty tail or two swishing contentedly there as a possum cosied up to the cat food bowl. Curiosity to see if there's a wildlife version of aisles with cans of possum food may be it. Well. The tree that I grew from a little nut just outside the back door, now 30 feet tall is showing promising signs of fruiting. I'm happy to report that this year I'll be adding avocados to their fare.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Nothing to Report

There are those mariner's logs, left behind on a ship with no inhabitants with several vague entries. the last few ominous notes hold nothing but a bit of pocket change for detectives. I am one. A person of pocket change. I have nothing to report today.

Yes. There are stories of women, poetry, writing, art and all the news that is fit to print sitting in a box on the floor to be entered. But tonight, on this Monday, I have nothing to share with you other than a good night's sleep. I watched "Passion Fish" with Phyllis. Had chardonay and popcorn (a good combo by any standard). I worked on Rainbow Mountain Woman's ritual gown in between comments and chews, and bought a day planner online that had the days of the week along side the dates so that I couldn't falter when I made appointments. Called a Country Woman's Diary 2007. I've written in such before and appreciate the large spaces that allow me to sketch in a design or idea.
Maybe there will be poetry or art tomorrow.
(Portrait above of 'Ghost Ship')

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Afterlife of Sam the Dog

Pam asked me if I believed if dogs had a place in the next world. Pam, my answer is that dogs have a place in ALL worlds. And cats. And horses. And dolphins, spiders, crickets, birds – especially birds.

I have a story about dogs reincarnating. You knew that I would if you’ve been reading the blog posts about my life. I just about have stories of one of each thing from vibhuti/vibuti to trucks and panthers. You’ll see.

My story about reincarnating dogs involves a chocolate colored creature I called Sam. He was a poodle/wire haired terrier mix; called a terripoo by the breeder who’s female papered poodle got a midnight visit from her not-so-papered wire haired terrier neighbor dog. I called Sam a ‘pooter’. He had a propensity to fart. It suited his personally.

Anyway, Sam came into my life shortly after the Kharman Ghia rollover. Bobby and I were captured by a box of puppies outside my Aunt Tina’s shop in Gibsonton. Sam was laying on his back in the corner, oblivious to the fawning behavior of his other sibs who were wiggling and widdling all over themselves and yelling, “Pick me! Pick me!” We took Sam home.

He caught on pretty quick to the housebreaking thing almost at once. Sam was a bugger about chewing up underwear and socks until he bit into an electric blanket, which straightened him out like a sail cat and spun him across the bedroom. He kept his teeth to food and items he was given to play with after that.

Sam could catch a Frisbee in mid-air like an athlete and would drive you nuts to throw it. He also had this amazing ability to cruise over tall grass between leaps, ears flying as he surveyed the turf below for mice, balls or sticks. Water was another passion. The dog actually leapt out of my car window at a stop sign to dive into a roadside pond! He could dive under water for rocks or sticks that sank and was a veteran traveler.

Being fearless and convinced he was 100 pounds bigger and heavier than he was led him to attack much bigger animals. I have a picture in my mind of 45 pound Sam hanging headless out of the mouth of a huge military German Shepard named Pax in California. Sam's engulfed head was still barking and growling. This is how he came to have a black spot of fur on his back. Sam chose a pretty irascible Sheep Dog named Moose to pick on. Moose bit a mouth-sized chunk out of Sam’s back. When it finally healed, the hair grew back in extra curly, wiry, and very black.

Sam stayed with me after Bobby and I split up. Sam and me were great traveling buddies. He rode all over the United States and Canada in vans, cars and trucks as I explored the highways and byways of America. We traveled to California and back and he made it up the East Coast, around Mystic Seaport, over the Bay of Fundy, around Nova Scotia and through Quebec. He had his frequent flyer miles.

An old cheerleader’s sweater complete with letters that I found at the thrift store that he wore with pride was his prize possession. He would wear it, put his right elbow up on the armrest, and survey the countryside with interest as we rode. He was very protective of me and tried to take the arm off of a burglar who dared break into my bedroom window in Atlanta.

Sam was with me for 15 years. He spent his final days in Salt Lake City, Utah. His last years, he reverted to chewing up my panties and shoes. He dug a hole into a Bassett sofa cushion and spread the innards all over the house. He couldn’t see very well and would run headlong into walls and the furniture. I’d had Chris by then and Sam took to biting and growling at him. When I was in the second big accident of my life and couldn’t take care of baby or dog, a friend took Sam to the shelter and Chris was taken care of by my friend, Kathy.

About three years later, Becky, Kathy, Mary, Wick and I took the kids to the Japanese gardens in Austin, Texas. We were coming down into a little meadow and there on the top of the next hill was a couple with a dog on a leash. The dog broke the leash, came barreling down the hill, threaded his way through the group, and about knocked me down! Yep, a chocolate colored poodle terrier mix the spit of Sam down to the black spot of hair on his back! Even Wick and Becky said, “It’s Sam!!”

He squealed, barked, spoke, licked and loved all over me until the couple ran up all apologies. He was trembling against my legs, trying to tell his new owners all about me as they explained he had the black patch of hair from birth. We compared notes on Frisbees, water diving, attacking much larger dogs, and his love of travel. I told them that he needed an old cheerleader’s letter sweater and they promised to get him one.

With some final hugs and love, I left Sam with his new owners. He looked back once, barked and wagged his tail and was off to new adventures. The experience was the topic of discussion for days.

So, Pam. Yes, there is a place for dogs in the afterlife, and other lives. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
(The poodle terrier mix is named Chico and I found him on the web. Sam was a bit curlier and a lighter color of chocolate. - Dina)

Friday, January 19, 2007


Did I tell you that I am a fortuneteller? One of my many personas in a full house in here – so much so that friend Rocco Zanino brought me back a small plaque from Sedona, Arizona that says, “Please allow me to introduce my selves”. I embrace all of my parts joyfully, defend them raucously.

The ‘parts’ of me comes from an assessment when I was guest at Charter Hospital for the Blessedly Questioning of life out in the real world. That’s those of us that can no longer make sense of what happens out there. You know the ‘real world’, the one passing for sane that’s full of wars, graft, pedophilia, anger, murder, hate, terrorists, illicit affairs, back stabbing, jostling, liars, mutilation, car crashes, bigamy, muggings, rapes, bombs?

One segment of my personal Persephone Journey, dark night of the soul, happened full tilt in a state of grace at the funny farm. I fought going in and fought just as hard when they wanted me to leave. It was safe, protected, and they read bedtime stories every night. Someone prepared every meal, gave me crafts and art for my hands to do, actually listened and took notes when I spoke, made sure my bed was made, saw to it that I rested and took total care of myself, and marveled at the things they found out about me as I peeled back the pain of my wounded soul.

My doctors handed me my records when I left. I must have made an impression. On the induction interview page, one of the rule outs was ‘multiple personalities’. But now, don’t we all just have multiple personalities, different faces – one for the public, one for our in-laws, our bankers, the holy man, the cops? So. I sought out and embraced all of mine.

I read fortunes for the Zodiac Club tonight. No. They’re not into astrology, but affiliated with the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg across the bay from me. Me and friend Teresa Olsen were hired for the evening’s entertainment. She’s an intuitive. I read cards. No. Not Tarot, but a regular deck of 52 – the same one you play poker with.

I became psychic at birth. We all are. I believe that the ability developed along with our efforts to walk upright, our skulls sliding on our spinal column to align with a larynx that allowed us the ability for speech. We had to have some form of communication when we were lying there in the grasses trying to stay away from the tooth of a predator. Was it safe to run? Should we stay put? There’s a big Saber Tooth over there. If we walk downwind, we can get around him with no problemo. Animals have IT. We're animals. We’re no different. I believe science will catch up with the idea of psychic phenom someday because the new physics that is finally discovering Divinity in the realm of mathematics makes me hopeful of many things.

Being from a family of believers that listened to the gift and embraced it encouraged me to accept my own. My ancestors on both sides of the gene had examples of IT – my dad had a sister that died at a very tender age who was born with a veil over her face, the caul of skin that his people told him was a sign for second sight. She supposedly foretold the manner of her death. My mother’s side had readers, tales of the goings on of the afterlife; dreams of the passing of loved ones. My mother read cards, my grandmother read tea leaves, my great read from opening a bible, one before her was a scryer with a bowl of water, yet another was a ‘root woman’ with no legs who healed a black man with advanced gangrene during the Civil War.

Teething on the knowledge that the entire spectrum of life that is visible to a child was very all right. It was expected that we children listen to our dreams and intuitions. I thought everyone had full-blown psychic experiences of the world and remember being very confounded when I found that was not the case. Speaking with entities not entirely ‘here’ happened frequently. There was a state of mind I got to when I ran where my feet never touched the ground. If I could do that today, I’d fly. Magic was the norm.

I settled on the deck of cards because that’s what my mom used and a friend and mentor who was an old North Carolina mountain man used the same and taught me to see past the numbers and faces on the cards. When I lay them out in the three standard patterns I use, I see sentences, words, pictures, and I let you know.

One of my early visions involved sitting on the horse staring at the water down at Six Mile Creek. I was lost in some daydream when the water took on an eerie, smoky glow and I saw my father grab his chest. He fell down in the bedroom trying to steady himself on the bench by the dresser. I KNEW the movie I was seeing on the water was happening real time in some sentient part of myself, turned the horse around and galloped pell-mell back to the house almost jumping a car on the county road out front.

We hit the front yard; I bailed off the horse and ran inside flinging open doors as I went. There was my father, lying just as I’d seen him in the water pool by the creek. I pounded on his chest, blew on his face, and watched some color return to his blue lips. I called my mother at her work and the ambulance was there very quickly.

Other episodes saved teenaged girlfriends out on a night’s cruise. I just finished telling Donna Jean about this dream I’d had of a girl with long, pale blonde hair in a black dress sitting between us on the front seat of Donna’s dad’s Ford Fairlane and how a car had run a stop sign and plowed into the side of us. The results were bad. Here we were at the Dog and Suds in Brandon and our friend Janice Blanton came over. She’d been with her dad and had asked him if she could ride with us. So there she sat, long, pale blonde hair, black dress and all. Of course, Donna had to tell her about my vision. We quit laughing when a car ran a stop sign and only that second of Donna being jokingly and elaborately cautious saved us from what would have been a terrible death. He didn’t have his headlights on. Just as in my vision.

So I grew up with it. Any woman who has children knows what I’m talking about when I say that you just know when something’s wrong with one of your kids. How many times have you thought of so-and-so and picked up the phone to call only to find them on the line trying to call you? Ever thought of something and it appears right in front of you? Have you men had a gut feeling that you should drive a different route and find out later that some idiot was driving a tank through town right on the road you were supposed to take and didn’t?

I have an elaborate discussion involving Doppler sound and Einstein’s theory of bent space that I could give you where I could debate that there is a mechanism we have to see or feel the other side of the loop of time. I also know that there are charlatans who film-flam an unwary public and give the gift a bad name. Think Ghost with Whoppi Goldberg laughing it up. It doesn’t matter if you believe or not. It doesn’t matter if you laugh and think that I’m half a bubble off. It doesn’t matter if you chalk it up to coincidence and probabilities that I’ll get some of the stuff right some of the time. I can’t see love either. But I know it’s there. Am I trying to convince you to believe? Nope. I don’t care.

Please do not come at me with religious folderol about conversing with the Devil. I don’t believe in that. There’s nothing evil in what others and I do. It’s natural. I’ll quote you passages from your bible that will tell you it was a part of life at least that far back. And it was accepted as an okay thing.

How long have I read for people? My first reading was when I was about 13 years of age for some of my mother’s friends. I began being paid for it in my 20s during the rocking 1960s where psychism became chic once again as it has throughout history. It helped put bread on the table for my son when I was a struggling single mom. I still read for clients that have been seeing me for up to 25 years. I read on the phone for folks living in other states and they stop to see me when they travel. I’ve read for corporations and businesses that would cringe if the news got out. I’ve read for cops and doctors, professors and lawyers. I even have a reading name – Madame Zucchini.

You know those signs on the sides of the road of a palm face up, usually in lurid neon? Yep. Those. One day in the early 1980s, my friend Alice Halverstadt was talking to me in her garden in Aspen, Utah. I was down from Montana on a jaunt away from the cowboy I was dating who was driving me crazy. Alice always let the word out I was in town and the folks lined up for readings. Paid for the trip and my gas. She decided that as such a big hit, I needed a professional name. Picking up and waving a large, green fruit in the air, she declared, “I got it! You’re Madame Zucchini!” Sounded right. It stuck.

So. Back to the future. I spent the evening reading for the gentry from the Dali Museum. Tomorrow, I have a gig at the St. Petersburg Pier in their semi-annual Psychic Faire to attend tomorrow. Gack! That’s in less than four hours so I need sleep! Or I predict that I’ll be a bleary eyed psychic for the folks!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Gallery Opening Tonight

After angsting with Martha Marshall the past few weeks -- I was the one in angst, she was just speeding along at her usual Mach 10, hair afire -- all her paintings were reading, shipped off to one gallery in Key West and hung in the Lyssa Morgan Gallery in Tampa for another show with tonight's opening. Martha shared the spotlight with another artist, Antonio Puri.
So I trotted out my finest uptown artist's togs, picked up Phyllis McEwan, and we puttered downtown to the show. Great art, saw some old friends, drank some wine and ate wonderful food from Cellini's. The photo above is just one of the walls showing some of Martha's awesome work. I love the little boxes on the left. They can be purchased separately or in groups. The texture is amazing in them! I wish you could really see the depth in them.
Martha is a working artist. Phyllis is a poet, actor, librarian and is teaching a class at the University of South Florida on Zora Neale Hurston. I haven't decided what I'm going to end up being yet. I've had lots of hats in my closet. The one for costumes is about to come to a close. I'm burned out on it. Forty five years is enough to stitch rags. I want to devote more time to my writing, drag out the several book manuscripts that lay gathering dust under my bed in need of just a final editing and then sending off, and want to research and finish the book I'm writing on the Civil War.
I'm also trying to get enthusiastic about the last few mortgage payments on my old girl of a house and how and what I'm going to need to do to get her refurbished and spiffed up. I'll be paid in full in a few short months. I've been struggling to send in mortgage payments for so long that I think the void of not having to do that will trip me. I know the look I want in here -- clean, white with blue ceilings, a wainscot of bead board and furniture for a beachy look, but you would have to see the condition of the house now to know how terrifying the aspect of remodeling is.
I've been watching BHG t.v. for inspiration, but am trying to figure how I'll juggle having my one bathroom torn out and rebuilt. Do I pee in the yard? Shower under the garden hose? Or do I have a small extra bath built first for the apartment that I want to add on the water side of the house? My kitchen is almost non-existent and there are many signs of the hurricane damage that happened two years ago: Sagging ceilings deluged down being held up under the prop of a 2 X 4, kitchen cabinets that 'float' because the rain dissolved the bottom boards and warped the doors, a hall that has every bit of wall cladding stripped out where I can see the underside of the roof from rain. The back end of the house that contains my utility and bath are sagging at about a 10 degree angle having been picked up by a tornado and slapped back down pulling away from the house.
Can I do this? Can I really make it through the remodel to have a house with real closets, a real kitchen and a bath that works? Time will tell. Until I have to deal with the nitty-gritty, I'll attend art shows and forget about it.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Criticizing and judging are dangerous, I have found. It's the reason I don't steal and am a terrible liar - although I am a great bullshitter. I sit here on this end of my life and look back over all the times I have found an aspect of what I considered in my rash youth as someones "terrible" appearance I subjected to eye rolling, declared some behavior as abysmal, or proclaimed that a health issue was deserved by anyone daring to be ugly to me or a loved one.

For the following reason, I'm very careful nowadays to not point the finger or poo-poo others, their little afflictions, or my naming what I see in all my wisdom as faults in others. I've learned the value of being accepting and also had large bits of my own brand of hubris dashed by Fate. You see. I get Instant Karma as well as the Not-So-Instant variety.
Every single fault I've found in others, every snigger at what I perceived as other's hypochondriasis with their illness, every eye roll at fat people, all of the various haughty judgements I proclaimed on others has come home to roost in me. I truly get to wear someone else's shoes for much longer than a day. This has been a great equalizer. My life and my body has become the literal Portrait of Dorian Gray, only I have to wear mine and can't hide it in an upstairs closet.

Fat. Nasty word. Our culture abhors it while all the time executing the sales pitch from Wall Street on the virtues of our fast food culture (You gotta eat - Over a billion sold - Hot and juicy - Piled high with real meat - Five Pizzas for five bucks apiece) extolled in mega commercial campaigns flying over the airwaves and the Internet in a come hither siren song burying desire for the high caloric and cholesterol busting fare deep within our collective psyches. Then out roll the diet ads with aids and programs so varied as to bewilder. So.
I weighed 118 pounds soaking wet most of my adult life until I contracted Graves Disease at 41 years of age. Could eat the north end of a south bound mule and never gain an ounce on my 5' 7" frame. Double whammy here. All those gross fat people and the unkind comments I made over the course of my earlier life about them settled in my ass and thighs. I can hear them whenever I catch a glimpse of the ponderous pounds my disease gave me. I see my lips curled down disapprovingly when an obese person ordered any prodigious meal in the soft, fleshy folds that now adorn my once svelte body. I've gained almost double my body weight over the 17 years I've battled Graves.
Then there's the thyroid issue. I heard folks blame their pudge on a malfunctioning thyroid. "I eat like a bird and still gain weight", and said under my breath that if they'd just quit stuffing their faces with the ENtire sack of bird food in one sitting, they'd have an athletic body, too. Pish. Tosh. Here it is. There really IS a thyroid issue and I believe that it's pandemic in the U.S. because of all the chemicals we've subjected ourselves to in our food, the sedentary lifestyle our affluence has led all of us to, the pollutants that lurk in our water, soil and air. Rich and poor, we, the majority no longer keep ourselves active for the most part preferring to experience life vicariously on a t.v. or computer screen .
Every proclamation I've ever made on another person in my life has come home to roost. I once made faces about various person's housekeeping, or lack of it. Now I slog through a happy melange of fabric, paper and the detritus of living in a century old house that was built in the day before there were closets. I dodge dust bunnies so big they have their own zip codes.

Every fiber that enters my house exits with lint, cat hair (and dog hair back when), or fuzz of some stripe. I have become what I proclaimed as a lazy housekeeper after many decades of having OCD tendencies about cleaning and decorating my various lairs. No more. Let me be perfectly frank about my latter day housekeeping: The Health Department would shut me down for more than a few corners, lo, these past ten years.

Did you ever say, "I'll NEVER do things like my mother/father!!" Yeah. Right. I succeeded in making some of the same mistakes as they and actually embellished creatively on quite a few of my own in child rearing and slogging through life. I had a small warning of this when I looked down at my hands one day in my thirties and said, "Gack! I've got my mother's hands, wrinkles and all!" I should have seen it coming.

Let this be MY cautionary tale to you all. Let this be the case in your life where you do NOT have to stick your own paw in the fire to learn the lesson of hot. Do not try this at home. Take care when you squint down your nose at others for whatever reason and have the good sense to feel guilty about it when you fall off the horse. Be kinder to people. If you can't be kind, ignore them and move along.
(Ed. Note: I don't know the name of the charmer in the above photo, who to give credit for it, but let me say unequivocally that I think she looks just fine. - Dina)

Saturday, January 06, 2007


If you've been reading the other blog entries, you'll know that my dreams are rich and wonderful for me. This is last night's installment.

I am on a huge, white ship that is hurriedly being loaded for a migration to another shore. The ship is enormous and has several levels and multiple decks. It seems to be the size of a small city and is a composite of ocean liner and masted tall ship.

There are other ships loading though none quite as large as the one that I’m on. There is some sense of hurry to get to the destination. Once everyone is loaded, there is a race where several of the ships almost collide with ours. Our ship has some kind of enormous engine drive and picks up speed so fast that several people fall off of the masts, which have been divided into areas for different clans as is the decks and levels below. I remember one mast was for ‘pirates’, another for Irish bands, and one for friars with tonsures. It far outdistances the other ships and arrives at this beautiful cliff faced lagoon with turquoise waters.

The ship is at the destination so rapidly that the brakes have the same effect of dislodging riders. My group is called the Sea Maidens and we scurry off the ship and lay claim to a grotto with fresh water right on the mouth of the lagoon the ship lands in. The water is very clear, fresh and cool. We get hogsheads of ale and plop them into the grotto to keep cool in the water. They were stored in one of the wooden coolers of a tavern group on the ship we’re associated with.

We have to fight for our claim to the huge grotto and surrounding rooms when men come and put soap in the water of the grotto to make it foam up and challenge our right to be there. A ‘Grandmother’ is consulted as judge and determines that the soap is a temporary pollution and will clear up, which it does. She also grants our claim to the grotto and the rooms around it carved in rock because the Maidens have put our items in them, and because it’s our job to help off-load ships coming into the lagoon, defend the port, and to keep watch on the seas. It’s fitting and proper that we have the quarters and not the big warriors who challenged our claim.

Our leader determines that the big room just off the grotto would make a good sleeping chamber for the Maidens and has our bedding put in there. Candles are lit revealing a sparkling rose-colored room carved out of the living rock with a wooden door that leads to the side of a tavern – the same ones who stored our hogsheads of ale. There are chairs and tables put out and a musician is already playing. We are delighted to have a gathering place just outside our door with friends we know.

We discover other rooms and assign them their uses – one with a huge natural chimney will be our kitchen and dining quarters and small alcoves are used for storing food and supplies. It leads directly out to the beach just outside our door.

After our quarters are secured and our things put away, I go exploring with our leader. Everyone else has been busy as well. The land seems to have been divided much like our own into clans with their various affiliations and functions. There are several taverns with National themes like Ireland, England, Italy and France where the clans dress very alike and very colorfully.

We pass by scenes of celebration – one is a group of Warlocks and Wizards who are holding some kind of stage show complete with fog, blue demons with red eyes, and caped Wizards dancing in what I can only describe as very New York choreographed. Beautiful colors and lighting and a Warlock snaps lightning and colored orbs overhead throughout the production in a weird rendition of Warlock’s “River Dance.”

We walk outside and see that there are vast areas that are still untouched and uninhabited. It is beautiful and wild and seems to follow the one huge river that inlets right from the cove we landed on. Our leader is up ahead of me and comes to a place on the path that seems to be over grown. Her/our gown is a wench type outfit with long skirt, apron and blouse with a weskit laced up over it and our hair is tied up in a caul. Very practical in earth toned shades. But her outfit seems to waver as she does on whether to go on. She starts to look like a Hershey’s Kiss that has been elongated and curled. Her gown is now dark lapis blue with gold in wide stripes curling down to the belled bottom of her gown. I encourage her to push past the bushes and see what’s beyond and she morphs back into the plain gowns we usually wear.

As we clear the overgrowth, there are even more clans going busily about their day. Some are merchants selling various kinds of wares – jewelry, dry goods, foodstuffs, cheeses, spices and cloth. Some are making drums, shoeing horses and smithing. We decide to go back to our grotto and then will make a more thorough exploration later.

Back at the grotto, the other Maidens are checking charts and looking at timetables for ships, cooking, pulling small children away from the river, which is inhabited by these huge grouper-like fish. Men are pulling them out as fast as they can and carting them off to be salted. Further down the river from the inlet, there is a yellow-gold water grass that makes the surface of the water look as if you could walk across and it is here that children are trying to walk out on it, but we know that they will fall through and catch them setting up a guard to keep them out until they can be educated about the dangers. One of the large fish could swallow a good sized child whole.

The dream was very colorful, very vivid in detail down to the weave of my skirts, the textures of rock and sand and wood. It’s very exhilarating to be part of this effort to move all of my history to another land. Because that’s what I believe the various clans are – my history, bits of me. All of them represent some part of me from protector of children and the sea to standing up to the bullies to the pirates and gypsies I come across. Even the warlocks dancing with their demons are part of me.

Water always represents my spirituality in my dream symbology. I enjoyed traveling with the Sea Maidens and liked their energy. If travel was as easy and instantaneous to a destination, it would be wonderful. I’m not sure what the migration means but maybe I’m taking my act on the road.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Close Encounters of the Culinary Kind!!

Following my nose via a comment from Jann, I mosey on over to her blog and discover a wonderful treasure trove of beautiful photographs and recipies from all over the world! Both are interesting, her travels and comments AND the glorious recipies she shares from all over the world. I'm adding her to my favorites list and you may wish to do the same. Just check out the recipies!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Resolution Revolution

I'm at the age where I can look back and touch bedrocks of my life to see how far I've come. This and making New Year's resolutions is a sure fire way to set yourself up for failure. Can you chart a new course with novel things to do this year? Can you remember what you vowed to do last year? Did you accomplish all of those lofty goals? Were they complete and fast and satisfactory, checked off like a tick list?

Mine weren't. I used to write a letter to myself on the last night of the year to be mailed and opened the last night of the next year containing what I hoped to accomplish on the clean slate and blank days of the coming year. I poured my heart out in a bid to be a better human being hitting the ENtire holy trinity of body, soul and spirit. Yes. A few of those were attained in a Sydney Omar sort of way. That is, if I said that I wanted to be a better friend, I could point to general instances where that was true.

But I also lost friends over that year via attrition, dying, moving away, not living up to the high expectations that they had of me - the reason I've refused to be a guru to anyone. It looks like there are going to be more in the 'gone' column because I'm aging, as are the friends I've made. I mourn those that have gone and celebrate the ones that are left.

The 'left' list is long, so I'm happy there. My Aunt, Lee DeCesare once told me that I had an uncanny knack for moving to a new town and assembling a sterling support system there. I moved a lot in the course of my life and have been lucky to retain many of those I was closest to in whatever State of the Union I happened to plotz down in. I moved so many times when I lived in Salt Lake City that I had T-shirts with Paradise Trucking Company printed up for the stalwart group of friends that helped me pack from one apartment to another. Having gypsy feet is one of the reasons I know people scattered all over the place.

So. Resolutions this year? Not to make any. I want to quit setting myself up for failures of any size, especially the lofty goals usually flying about this time of year. If you don't think it's not a national pastime to make New Year's resolutions, just count how many weight loss commercials are on the tube this week. The geeks of Wall Street and corporate monkeys just roll their eyes back to dollar signs at us this time of year with one type of self-improvement racket or another rolled out for hooking into those goals.

The other revolution is that I want to quit saying what I need to accomplish by such and such a date or age or time. This is what the looking back over my life has garnered: That no matter how honest the intent, I will not be famous, ridiculously wealthy, will not have written the Great American Novel. I'm discovering the fact that to have reached any age after fifty is a Herculean task given the way life beats the hell out of you. Maybe life's intent for all of us is just to be the very best self you can be and get through the days allotted to us the best that we can.

Maybe having friends and a roof that doesn't leak and food in the pantry and a good time or two is all any of us can look forward to or strive for. So instead of carrying around the weight of all those resolutions on my back as I putz through this next year, and having to deal with the guilt of not having met all those high bars, I'll just give myself props for having a good support system. Maybe I'll just be thankful for the simplest of things in my life. Maybe I'll just be surprised by what turns up as the days unfold and be grateful for the little graces that fall in my lap.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


"I'd pay more attention to them
if they were BIGGER"
That's what he said.

"They're so small I forgot about them."
Uh-huh, that's what he said.
Too small to fill a B-cup and
Way smaller than my ass.
He forgot two babies grew fat
and sleepy because they suckled
my half pint breasts.
They only knew that it was warm,
sweet and felt good in their bellies.

He forgot about my tits even
after seeing my blue-white milk
under moon-yellow cream
in bottles filled from the leftovers.

He forgot about them when he
fucked me.
My tits did all they were supposed

He didn't.

by Tary Peace. Cracker gardener with a magic touch. Queen of fishing. Worm hunter. Songstress. Glass maker. A shock of reddish hair and a beautiful face hides one of the most glorious souls I'm privileged to know.

Painting is "Psyche" (Fredrick Leighton 1830 – 1896)