Thursday, July 31, 2014

Life-long Learning

I know the world is going to hell in a handbag. I don't mean to be flip, not about Gaza, or Ukraine, not about the children at the border, not about the Ebola, no. I am sincere.

The news is grim regarding these situations I can't possibly understand or do anything to change. I wish I could do something. It's discouraging.

However, closer in, the news has been hopeful, also powerful - almost unbelievable.

First I had the waking dream of extreme old age. That was really great. The next day, I saw a few women clustered around one of the seats on the Metro. It was obviously a happy confluence with a lot of laughter and talking and exclaiming. I got in on it. The woman everyone was clustered around is 104! She's the woman on the first bench. A woman was with her, the woman on the left in the picture. The old lady seemed quite frail physically. She is carrying a blanket with her on the subway train. But she was sharp as a tack, funny, engaged and engaging. Her spirit was hearty. Talking to her was delightful. Look at the faces of the women on the right. I had that same look on my face. It was like encountering one of those impossibly old trees in Britain. Fabulous.

I know that her story of making it to 104 is hers alone, but the fact that she showed up in the movie of my life, that I got on that car at that time, even that I sat kitty-corner from her perch, well, you can not plan for timing like that. In the Reyaverse, that encounter was a blessing and an encouragement. Seeing and chatting with her for a few minutes made me wonder if I should toss out all of my assumptions about what it's like to get really, really old. The mind does not always go before the body. It was a revelation and she: impressive!

Even more impressive is my friend Julie's experience. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a hideous cancer of the lung's pleura. When I heard the news a few months ago, I prepared myself for the worst. It's a really bad cancer. She went to see a specialist at Duke - the best of the best. They thought she should do three rounds of chemo, then have her lung removed. This was, in their very wise opinions, her best chance to survive the disease. Yesterday was her surgery to have her lung removed.

I spent the morning walking around, thinking about her, sending her good wishes and hopes. I sat by the fountain at the American Indian Museum, a place I believe generates a tremendous amount of healing energy. Once upon a time I would have done a lot of magic, but these days I work hard to let go, knowing my hopes and opinions about what should happen are narrow. Best to leave these things up to a greater wisdom. My job is to try to remain curious and hopeful. I thought about the paradox of life - tenuous and yet so strong. I thought of the 104 year old woman who made it through God knows what to survive long enough to take the Silver Line out to Reston, Virginia. And here was my dear friend, who is my age, by the way, on the table in the operating theater, having her lung removed, fighting for her life.

It was hard. Though I tried, I did not feel hopeful. I've read about this disease. I was so worried. But then this morning I learned that once the surgeon got in there, he realized the chemo had worked and there was no sign of disease. Therefore, she did not have to have her lung removed! He told her daughter he has only seen that twice before.


Lately I've been shown in many almost unbelievable ways that the stories of life do not end at some predetermined age. No one knows what might happen, of course. However, it seems clear I must not assume the worst going forward into cronehood. I must hope for the best. Because the best can and does happen sometimes, it surely does!

Life is good, surprising, sometimes almost unbelievable - and I believe in almost everything. Still. I'm grateful for these marvelous glimpses at the mysteries. L'chaim!

This is a in a fabulous front yard garden, a little patch of Bali in the middle of Capitol Hill.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Due Diligence New Moon Dreaming

The new moon, new technically this past Saturday, but still very young by any account, is a Very Auspicious Moon. It's a great new moon on which to hang wishes and dreams.

Hence I've been spinning dreams, lots of dreams about things I believe I want. Because I've been reading Grimm's fairytales lately, I have been mindful not to prick my finger on the dream wheel, no matter how appealing my dreams have been.

Whatever you do, if you spin, do NOT prick your finger on the spindle. Do not! Or else.

This morning I decided to gaze at clouds and let the dream come to me. Yes, I was spinning, though it wasn't as consciously directed. It was a stream-of-consciousness dream thread that spun out of the nowhere, or so it seemed. I went into a trance state in which the dream unfolded right before my inner eye. It was like watching a movie.

Impromptu, surprising visions that come from the nowhere is what we shamans call "true seeing" or at least one my teachers said so. It involves letting go of the agenda, whatever that may be. The rules of how and what to dream about, what to wish for, can be swept under the rug while the true seeing unfolds.

Here's the true seeing dream:

I wake up. I'm comfortable, tucked into a nice bed. The sun is shining through the window. I am so old! I take time to stretch before getting up. I am mindful of my very old body. I can hear people downstairs. I smell coffee brewing. I go downstairs. It's an eat-in kitchen with a large table. Sunlight shines in through the windows and screen door. There's a dog sleeping on the floor on an oval shaped braided rug. Air is moving - oh - yes there are ceiling fans. I pour coffee, sit at the table. The others, 2 or 3 of them, are on their devices. I get on my device, too. It's a lovely quiet. The only thing I can hear is the song of the dog's snoring.

Now I'm in the garden. Others are working here, too.
Now I'm in my "studio," a very small room where I draw, paint, write and listen to music. This is my room, there are no others here. I think it's a very small shack behind the house. There's a massage table set up at one end of the room. I believe I still work a little bit in this dream. I love that.

I don't hear traffic or sirens. Good lord, I realize, this must be out in the country. I'm such an urban person, except not in this dream.

Now I'm on the dock on the lake. I see other houses now. The lake stretches out and around a corner. Our dock is in a cove. There's a funky canoe, a couple of kayaks on the dock. The kayaks are newer and nicer.

I look up and see puffy summer clouds.

Well my goodness, what a dream! I am so in favor of this dream. May it be so!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Lives I Never Lived

The waning super moon. This was taken a few days ago. It's an ancient crescent now. New Moon on Sunday.

One of the things that happened in Paris is that I at last let go of an old dream I had, that at some point I would live in Paris for awhile. I didn't even know I was still hanging on to that dream - it was a shock when it came up to the surface. If I had had the wherewithal in my 20s to get a work card, my aunt Edie would have set me up. I would have been motivated to make it work so I could move out of her apartment. I could have done it, it was there waiting for me.

I could have lived in Paris.

But I didn't have the wherewithal, I came back to the States and then my life went in other directions. Somewhere deep in the funky recesses of my heart this romantic dream remained neatly folded, tucked away, unbeknownst to me for all those years - wow.

Letting go of that particular fantasy was symbolic of really and truly letting go of my youth. Like most other people, I was clinging to the idea of eternal possibility with this story I told myself all the time. Realizing it's never going to happen, which is fine by the way, still - oh my, what a shock. Letting go was important, necessary. It was strenuous emotionally and spiritually, even for me, the Queen of I Love Getting Older.

OK so be it. Off you go, dream of Paris. Hasta la vista, baby.

There are a lot of other lives I never lived that were so much easier to let go of: marriage, children, making money, for instance. I know marriage and children bring people into their fullness. Who knows who I could have been if that had been my fate? As it turned out, romance was never my best thing. I never wanted to have children, even though I was supposed to, and as for money - well - I really suck at all things money related. You wouldn't believe. Knowing I don't have a talent for these things perhaps makes it easier to let go of them, I'm not sure.

I imagined I would be good at living in Paris, that the city would make sense to me, would welcome me. Oh my god what was I thinking? Right now the image in my mind is of the day I went down to Notre Dame. It was rainy and windy. The streets and grounds around the church were jammed with so many tourists I could not elbow my way through and would probably have put my eye out trying since everyone had umbrellas. It was not fun. I decided to walk across to the right bank, but no, I kept crossing bridges thinking I was heading the way I wanted to go, but ending up on the left bank again. This happened two or three times. I consulted maps, even google maps so I would be pointed in the right direction, but no, I could not get oriented. I was like an leaf whipped around by a whirlwind, drenched, bewildered and annoyed. At last I gave up and just went back to my hotel. Paris vs. Reya? Old madame Paris wins every time. Every time.

A big piece of entering cronehood involves letting go. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to really let go, not just SAY I've let go. Oh man. I see that trying to hold on to the old dreams makes a satisfying old age much more elusive. It happens all the time, people think back to the good old days so poignantly they can't find anything good about the present. They feel betrayed, even though everyone gets old if they don't die first. Everyone.

I don't want to shuffle into old age. I want to be edgy - in a different way than when I was young - I want to be a real elder. Perhaps that's a dream, too, but at least it refers to the future rather than the past. It can't hurt to try, can it?

Every time I find myself grasping at dreams that have passed their expiration date, I think of that day in Paris, spun around as if on one of their beloved carousels, unable to navigate, completely turned around. All that spinning in circles that day, in the rain and wind that kept turning my umbrella inside-out, well, what a metaphor. It was a sacred drama representing the dream of being a Parisian swirling, swirling, swirling: down the drain. You know that little pop, the sound when the last of the water leaves the sink? Yeah. The baby, the bathwater - even the tub - had to go. It went all at once that day. Glub glub. Pop. C'est tout. At the hotel after that, I drank wine out of a bottle and watched The Simpsons, dubbed in French. I had no idea what they were saying.

The world shows me everything; I feel very well guided no matter how confused I can be at times. Everything is clearer now that I've entered Cronehood. I'm a baby Crone, just starting, yet already I feel freer, clearer, and wiser. Let the old dreams go the way of the dodo. May it be so.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Keep the faith, baby

I say it all the time, might as well say it again: this period of time feels just like the sixties. It's incredible to have lived through two periods of social and cultural upheaval and change. Exciting and alarming because there's always chaos during times like this, always.

Thankful that in my life at this precise moment in time, the dust has more or less settled. I've passed through the rite of croning and now I'm back to my modest ambitions for this summer: see clients, cook for friends, walk around, take pictures.

I could get myself very worked up about the crashed plane in Ukraine, about the violence in Gaza, the drought in California, the myriad personal problems people around me are experiencing. Once upon a time I fed on that kind of crazy intense energy. It's hard to remember why that was appealing, once upon a time. Hmmm.

As a very young crone, my duty - as I see it - is to remain as calm and grounded as is possible instead of freaking out, blaming, or seething. I remember when it felt like the world was turning upside down in the sixties. Things changed forever, but the world kept turning. Until I see evidence that points to something other than that, I'm going to assume these crazy times will settle just as we settled after the sixties, into a new way of thinking and living.

Every day this week there is a major astrological configuration. This will be an eventful week amongst the planets and stars. Complicated. Epic. Also perhaps a big week for we individuals. Not everyone will feel it and god bless them!

For those of us tuned in: do not duck, do not cover. Do not hide. Put your feet on the ground, let the energy smooth your sharp edges. If you can afford it, be compassionate. Remain curious. Open your heart.

May all global and personal tragedies unwind without spinning out of control. May sanity reign. Onwards and upwards. May it be so. Shalom!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


At the height of my career as a witch, I spent a lot of time designing rituals. I was part of the planning for most of our public solar rituals but also officiated at many a private initiation ritual. Initiation is a sacred drama, a ritualized shamanic death and rebirth. I've spent many years thinking about the structure of these events, the energies that should be present. Rituals are meant to trigger transformation. I've thought in depth about how to set the stage for transformation. I experimented with different forms, I learned from other ritual planners.

I know my rituals is I guess what I'm trying to say. Or at least some of them.

What I've learned over time, since I left that life behind, is that I don't have to plan and create transformational rituals. Life is one big ole ritual, from the cleansing ablutions of morning (tooth brushing, showering, and such) to soothing bedtime rituals (setting the alarm, washing the face, plumping up the pillows, etc.) We humans ritualize so much of our existence. When we do it consciously, all of life can be meaningful, even the smallest event. All of life can be transformational.

I thought there had to be plans and ritual outlines and a lot of fuss and practice to access the transformative possibilities of ritual, but I was wrong. Of course some rituals must be planned, like weddings for instance, but in many cases, the rituals come right to us. We don't have to do all the planning. We do have to pay attention, in order to benefit from them. That's the hard part, should say. Paying attention.

My soul retrieval at the Eiffel tower is a perfect example of a moment of transformation, ritualized by sacred drama, that created itself in a nearly unbelievable way (that the sun would come out just as I rattled and danced, that the woman would give me the Euro - c'mon - you can't plan for this sort of thing.) I was paying attention, yet it still took a couple of weeks before I realized what had happened, that a soul bit, tucked away in the realms of light for safekeeping, had returned to my body/soul. Miraculous.

When I arrived, it was overcast.

As I danced and rattled, the sky suddenly cleared.

Light rolled down the tower, into my body. It was palpable.
Then the woman gave me a Euro. It was a spectacular, unplanned, transformational moment.

I'm thinking about this because I've realized that saying goodbye to my old client a couple of weeks ago was a ritual of initiation into my cronehood. I've been preparing for this moment for a few years, not consciously. As I look back on the changes I've made, I see that my work has been consistent, almost methodical, as if by a plan. One by one, I've been letting go of the relationships in which I attempt to nurture people who, for one reason or another, did not learn to nurture themselves.

I've had many different kinds of relationships that relied on me playing a maternal role. My marriage was one of these. In personal relationships, this kind of mothering is often nothing more than codependency - at least it was for me - but professionally I have been able to provide nurturing for clients, also for students, in a therapeutic way. It's a classic teaching role. Done well, professional nurturing provides a platform from which the client or student can learn to take care of themselves, if they choose to. Some benefit from it, others do not. I was OK playing that role for many years. I didn't have children, but I had to do some kind of mothering. It's instinctual.

In the last couple of years, I've lost my urge to be in these kinds of relationships, even the professional ones. I stopped attending births, stopped working with people who blatantly projected on me. It became so exhausting to be motherly. The title I used to refer to this kind of work, mama gaia reya, wore itself thin at last.

Saying goodbye to my client was my ritual of Croning. No human had to officiate, no one had to plan the ritual. Even so, a sacred drama unfolded that made the end of the relationship inevitable. In planned rituals there is a script and a lot of rehearsing. Everyone involved is fully read in to what's supposed to happen. When these rituals arrive unexpectedly, they can be clumsy, awkward. This experience certainly was. It was also extremely effective, as powerful as the soul retrieval at the Eiffel Tower.

I'm 61. The time was right and so it came to pass. A door was closed and locked. Big Daddy was my initiator. It marked the end of an era as clearly as the end of childhood when I had my first period. Oh my, that came as quite a shock. I knew it was immanent, but ... eeewwwwww! Moving into cronehood is equally nerve-wracking but also: such a relief!

These things do not need to be planned! Realizing that brings up in my heart a marvelous form of trust. Wow.

I know how healing it is to have someone else hold your self loathing in their hands for a little while. Many healers have done this for me. I am grateful. That was a big part of my work, personally and professionally, during my reproductive years and for some years after that. I'm a crone now; this is no longer my work.

It's going to be so interesting to see how life's circumstances shift in response to this big ritual of Cronehood. I remain curious.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Make me one with everything

As above, so below.

In the Reyaverse, my environment is no different than my internal life. Life is a sacred drama, a dream in which all the people, animals and circumstances are grist for the mill of my personal unfolding. This is true even though these people, animals and circumstances are simply going about their own business, living out their lives. Most of them have no idea about the dream of my life, nor do they care - why should they?

It's a paradox that they're following their own paths, and yet they are likewise cast in the dream of my life. Paradox is truth.

One dream technique I learned a long time ago involves telling the dream in present tense, adding the words "part of me" after every noun, the words "ego part of me" after the words "me" and "I." The technique can be clunky, but certainly sheds light on my dream life. My dreams are multi-leveled and can refer to many things external to the Reya Dramaverse, but deep down they always show me what's ongoing in my heart.

Hence when people, animals, and circumstances come and go from my life, I tend to wonder what that reflects, because: life is a dream. It surely is!

I recently said goodbye to a long-term client. It came about suddenly but with great clarity, that it was time to say goodbye. What part of me has just dissolved and fallen away? What have I just shed? What is this rite of passage reflecting within me professionally and personally? I'm wondering, because it's a really big deal.

What did my adventure with the Big Daddy family of mockingbirds reflect? What exactly is the Big Daddy part of myself? If phrased a certain way, the nesting and hatching and fledging of the young mockingbirds comes across quite biblical. I even come into the saga as the Eve type character with the snake. (Right after the babies hatched, I tried to water the garden with the hose. Big Daddy came after me. His energy field puffed up to Jurassic Park size, and he was relentless, a kamikaze bomber. He terrified me. I fought back, spritzing him with water which only seemed to strengthen his resolve. Finally I retreated. After that he sat at the top of the weeping spruce for an hour, panting - if it's possible for a bird to pant. His beak opened and closed, his tail went up and down, but he made no sound. He was so worked up. After awhile it occurred to me that he must have thought the hose was a snake. The nest was close to the ground. Of course. Forehead slap.)

It was a great lesson.

Big Daddy, after our epic battle.

After that, I used the watering can. There was peace on the terrace.

There was no hostility in the violent encounter. He had to do what he had to do, I had to defend myself. It was an epic battle, not only like the serpent in the garden of Eden, but like a Godzilla movie or maybe a knight slaying a dragon. It was mythic.

There is no hostility in the violent encounter part of myself. The Big Daddy part of myself has to do what it has to do. The ego part of myself must defend itself. It is an epic battle part of myself, not only like the serpent in the garden of Eden part of myself, but like the Godzilla movie part of myself or maybe the knight slaying a dragon part of myself. The circumstances are mythic. 

See how interesting the dream technique is? Fun to think about while waiting for the Metro train. It was after that when Big Daddy and I came to an understanding. It was then we entered into relationship. So interesting!

One thing I know for certain about the mockingbirds is that I'll be thinking about it for a long time. I surely will. No less than the Big Daddy episode, I will be thinking about what it means to the massage therapist/healer part of myself to say goodbye to this client part of myself. Bet on it.

I'm in awe of this summer. It's a powerful summer, epic, life changing. I honor the summer of 2014 part of myself. It isn't gentle, as I'd hoped. Oh well.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Put your foot in it, Reya

I took such a nice walk before it got hot today, ran errands such as going to the bank, etc. All along the way I saw blessings underfoot, including these stepping stones in a front yard on East Capitol street and the chalked blessing at Eastern Market.

Tra-la. A little while later I was taking a picture of a fig, looking straight up into a tree, not paying attention. I slipped off the curb and twisted my ankle. Blessings underfoot, eh? Oh dear.

Well, it was just stupid, but it happens sometimes. My ankle is not terribly swollen. I cancelled my clients, never a happy thing for them or for me. Now my foot is up on a pillow, and I will spend the rest of the day doing a whole lot of nothing. Sometimes that's the best idea. Sometimes it is the only option.

Though I feel idiotic, I will make the best of it, watch movies or binge watch Endeavor. I've seen them all but I can watch them again anytime. Shaun Evans is magnificent as the young Morse. I'm reading a book about the geographical history of the French language, very cool. The house is clean enough that it won't bother me to gaze around. I'll listen to music, maybe, too. And hobble from the sofa to the kitchen, back again.

I even took an Advil today, something I hardly ever do. It can't hurt, right?

It's funny that this morning I was reading about today's intense astrology. The person writing, bless her heart, described today's energy as a "gentle hurricane."

Is there such a thing as a gentle hurricane? I guess not.

Oh well.

Trying not to complain. After all, I'll only be an invalid for a day or so. Some people can't walk at all. So I'm actually lucky and freshly reminded that when I'm taking pictures, I need to pay attention. Oh yeah.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Close the door and turn the corner, Reya.

One thing the Voice in the Shower told me at winter solstice is that the coming year would put spunk in my buzzer. It is such an unusual phrase, I wrote it down, put it on the fridge where I could see it every day. I didn't want to forget.

Right after that I began wishing for a gentle 2014. I guess it scared me a little bit.

Fridge, upper lefthand corner.

With some trepidation I awaited the buzz, the spunk. When I bought the ticket to Paris, I felt sure that would be part of it. However, I was anything but buzzy or spunky while in Paris, or even after I returned. I did have that fabulous moment at the Eiffel tower, so maybe I shouldn't altogether dismiss the trip as a piece of this prophecy. There's surely a way that a soul retrieval must put spunk in one's buzzer, eh? For sure.

Today I was thinking that the mockingbirds who nested in the front yard brought a great deal of spunk and a whole lot of buzz into the feng shui of the garden, and into my heart, too. They are not exactly restrained in their behavior, especially when nesting. They don't hold back or think about how to behave appropriately. They are not polite. What I'm thinking about today is that their behavior has nothing to do with being mean. It's instinctual. Their fierceness is part of the survival instinct. I couldn't judge them, even when Big Daddy was scaring me half to death, dive bombing me. (Eventually he accepted me, begrudgingly, it seemed, as part of the landscape. Those first few encounters were harrowing.)

Several situations that have been brewing came to a head recently, not all of them in the most graceful ways. For instance, I had to say goodbye to a client I've seen for many years. The problems have been just under the surface for a long time, especially in the last year, but I intended to carry on because this client has become very dear to me over the years in spite of our differences. I have been biting my tongue, trying not to say what I was thinking. It has been an effort.

As it turned out, carrying on was not possible. One day my mouth opened and I said a bunch of things I've been thinking. I'm not proud of my behavior but it did the trick, helped me turn a corner that badly needed turning. It was definitive. I think in the moment of speaking up, I was channeling the mocks in some way or another.  Maybe I shouldn't blame them.

I'm grateful to my fabulous sisters for helping me walk through the process of letting go, for helping me think clearly, with kindness. I still feel a little shaky about the decision, even though I believe in my heart of hearts that what happened was for the best. Shaking is a type of buzz, right? It's a slow motion buzz.

Everything has a lifespan - everything comes to an end. OK then, onwards and upwards.

Speaking of endings, my ex housemate's father died last night. Today I've been listening to the jazz CDs he made for me years ago. He was old and very ill, but of course his passing is still extremely sad. May his spirit fly high.

My ex housemate's father, back in the day. He was quite dashing.

Life is short. Carpe diem. I plan to seize this day at least. I'll take a short wander in the punishing heat - because I enjoy that sort of thing - come home, shower and cook a nice dinner for myself. I've got the Grand Budapest Hotel queued up on the iPad. After that I hope for a peaceful sleep. May it be so.

Life is good and I am grateful, even for the shakes (sometimes), also for the spunk or lack thereof. Change is life and change is a necessary thing. In Chinese medicine it's believed that change is so important, if things don't change, disease will result. So be it. Shalom.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Let go or be dragged, redux

One of my mantras, when I'm anxious or depressed is, Whatever is happening, remember it will not last forever. So true! I forget this when I'm upset, of course. I also can't remember it when I'm really happy. I forget that happiness, too, is fleeting. Everything is fleeting.

It was a quiet Fourth for me yesterday. I saw the local parade, homegrown and sweet as always, after which I took a nice walk downtown. I'm not usually down there on the fourth - oh my, the throngs were overpowering! How do people handle being in massive crowds like that?

After I had my fill of the noise and chaos, when I'd seen enough of everyone dressed in red, white and blue, I beat a hasty retreat to the quiet hamlet of Capitol Hill, enjoyed a quiet dinner with friends. The fireworks were especially intense last night, but by the time they really got going, I was safely inside the chateau.

As it turns out, it's OK if I don't cook all day on the Fourth of July, it's OK if I don't eat ribs and drink too much with my old neighbors. Everything is just fine without the old traditions. Who knew?

I've heard no news so I assume that my ex housemate's father has not yet passed away. My heart goes out to the whole family. As someone pointed out to me, sitting vigil with the dying is not only nerve-wracking but also boring. I wish for him a smooth passage out of his body. May his spirit fly high.

Another conundrum I've been dealing with is at last resolved. All I had to do was let go. Why is it so hard to remember to loosen my grip on my favorite stories, find a new way to think about the world? I blame it all on my opposable thumbs. My hands were made for grasping, right? I am so good at grasping. Once I manage to pry open my fingers, relinquish my grip on whatever it was I held on to for dear life, everything feels so much better.

As if to dance in shamanic alignment with my state of mind, the mighty broom of weather came through a couple of days ago, mucked out the swamp for a couple of days. There was rain, lightning, thunder and wind. In the aftermath, it is beautiful! Right now it's around 80 F., with powerful sunshine and dry air, a Lake Tahoe summer day. It will get hot again tomorrow but that's to be expected. As long as I get a few days here and there of this kind of refreshing weather, I can handle summer.

The weirdness of this past week is done. Thank you to the gods of change. I am grateful.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Doors closed and locked

It's a bizarre week.

The traditional 4th of July Festival of Ribs and Cole Slaw, which takes place every year at the house on Tennessee Avenue, has been cancelled because my ex housemate's father is in hospice.

I knew his father pretty well. He was a complicated, talented man. I'm listening to one of the CDs he made for me years ago, of jazz saxophonists. He was a jazz aficionado.

Shouldn't talk about him as if he's already dead. He's old and has been sick for a long time, and still - it's tough to say goodbye, will be harrowing even for his family, for whom he has been a tremendous burden in recent years. Of course it's tough on them. Of course. I know two other people whose fathers just died, and a friend whose beloved husband at last yielded to liver cancer. He was a snappy dresser and strong as an ox. He carried on for a long while after his diagnosis, playing golf, traveling with his soul mate. What a man. May his spirit fly high.

The passing away of the patriarchy. I guess!

I'll be on my own on the 4th, for the first time in many years. I'll go to the parade here on the Hill of course. After that I'm not sure where I'll find myself. It could be a great day, who knows?

Monday marked the fifth anniversary of my dog's death. For some reason this year I felt it deeply. Grief is odd, the way it pops up, fades slightly, then comes roaring back when least expected. I even cried this year. Surprising.

Yes, it's a bizarre week but .. well ... so what? Mama said there'd be days like this. I'm eating well, sleeping well, turning up the music here in the chateau, dancing around (since it's too hot to take a good walk), seeing clients. A storm is supposed to move through later today, bringing cooler weather for the weekend. I hope so. We could use some rain.

Everything has a life span, including dogs, fathers, traditional rib feasts on the 4th of July. Even heat waves have life spans. Today I'm thinking about the way sometimes doors must be closed, locked and that's it. I'm thinking about the endings of things, not in a tragic sense at all. Endings can feel like a relief at times. Sometimes they're bittersweet. Sometimes, sweet.

Why must one door open every time another one closes? Isn't it ok sometimes to close the door and that's that? I'm not talking about slamming the door, you know?

When one door closes, sometimes it just closes. I think that's ok. It's interesting to think about.