thoughts randlomly dropped

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     Well, it’s June, which means my month of vacation is over.  It’s time to return to regular daily stuff.  Monkey is getting back to homeschool work, and I will be returning to ‘work’ on massage stuffs.  This means a website, pamphlets, real grown-up business cards (no more of this small-time “student” nonsense), marketing.  I feel like I’m in limbo at the moment.  Until the board licenses me, I can’t get paid.  I’m tired of working out of my home and hauling my table all over creation, so I need business space.  I have no idea how best to go about finding the perfect (read: inexpensive) digs for my office.  Also, I might be having a small crisis of confidence.  Or slightly larger, but really, who’s measuring? 


One of my classmates had an office paid for and decorated before we graduated. He’s already done the whole LLC thing, pretty much has a full roster of clients, and he’s also still waiting on his license to come thru.  It’s really no wonder I feel inadequate.  Of course, I reckon I could have done all that if I operated the same way he did- but I feel like he’s a bit more together on this than I am (and maybe a bit more type A). 


I feel like this most recent internal struggle for me is about duality.  On the one hand, I want to be my own boss and in charge of my own everything.  On the other hand, responsibility- urgh.  This is probably why I am at impasse with everything else related to this.  I’ve tied m’self into 2 different directions and nothing can move forward until I decide which way *is* forward. So, I have to decide- am I going to be in charge?  Am I willing to take full responsibility for the entire circus?  If not, I’d better seek out a spa or someplace to be my packmule.  Of course that also means I will have fewer options as to things like scheduling and location, and my pay may be significantly lower.  I think owning the circus and working it looks like a better option.  So the next thing to deal with is the fear. 


What if I flop?  What if the business falls flat on my face?  What if I get out there and can’t perform? 


Well, I reckon I’d be out a chunk of change and I’d need to take another run at it from a different angle.  The performance….  I don’t really think that’ll be a problem.  Things I have questions on, I can always look to my references- human, book, and net.  The underlying fear of doing accidental harm- I’m fairly certain my tendency to err on the side of caution will be my ally there.  It may mean seeing slightly slower results at times, but often slower, more gentle work ‘takes’ better and lasts longer. 


With all that out of the way, I can consider digs.  Optimal things:

*within walking distance

*inexpensive (does not cause stress to make rent/utilities)

*includes a bathroom

*waiting area (including chairs/table/bookshelf)

*space for must-needs storage (linens/oils/etc)

*light (windows & decent overhead light)


I feel like I’ve missed a thing or 2, but that’s a start.  The walking distance one is a good starting point, gives me a definite area to look at.  Everything else will follow.  It’s time to take a deep breath, go for a walk, and get started. 



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I have been swimming.  Navigating the murky waters of education and daily life, trying to see past the seaweed of anxiety and futurefear in order to gather together the pebbles and shells of presentjoy.  I graduated massage school at the end of April, a well-met challenge.  Licensure exams and paperwork are all complete, and now I wait for response from the state medical board. 

In the meantime, the Fam and I went to the beach. 




We lit out well before the sun was up and were met with thick fog all along the first leg.  There were moments I couldn’t see more than 5 feet in front of the van.  Bear kept watch for deer- an excellent second pair of eyes at my side.  By the time we hit the mountains in West Virginia it was nearly gone in the lower areas, but still holding fast up near the peaks. We had fantastic driving weather the rest of the way- it was all blue skies and gentle breezes.  Leaving so early also meant we encountered less traffic, which makes the case for doing it again. 



Our destination was around 750 miles away, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Having multiple drivers to switch off is an excellent thing- means everyone is sane and coherent on arrival.  The last leg crossing Pea Island is always the most difficult for me- by the time we hit Avon my eyes are usually buzzing in their sockets and my brain is feeling like mush.  This time around wasn’t so bad- I drank a lot of coconut water to keep hydrated and we switched off more frequently than we normally would have so everyone got to rest a bit more.  Worth doing.


We spent a week relaxing with friends and hanging out by the sea.  My head took a while to clear.  All the detritus of city living and hanging on to bits of thoughts and info that just haven’t been properly finished or cleared out took about 3 days to get sorted. Then it occurred to me that I wasn’t making good use of this time.  I was still running in 5th gear in a place that only required me to run in 1st.  I got up when the sun poked me, went out on the deck, and just sat.  All the dreck was just allowed to slither and ooze out of me and my mind.  By the time the others were up, I was clear.  I feel lighter and unrestricted again.  This is why I go to the sea. 

And this…



The fellas got to fish, and caught their limit of Red Drum- if you’re going to the Outer Banks and want to charter a fishing boat, check out Capt. Aaron at Tightline fishing charters, he did the guys right and is really cool. Another great option for charter fishing is with Capt. Rudy at The Hook Up charter.  The fellas went with him last time around and had a great time then as well, but were unable to schedule with him again this year.




I found books and yarn, so I was pleased.  The yarn I scored at the Blue Pelican Gallery– which now has 2 rooms of yarn to goggle at and try to decide on.  I went with 2 skeins of rainbow coloured silk/wool blend, and I’m making a scarf with it.  The bookstore- oh, joy.  The lady running it is the quintessential bookshop owner.  You want the book about the thing with the couple by the guy?  She has it, right around the corner.  Want a bit of local art or history?  Got that too.  Buxton Village Books has been there for 30 years, and with good reason. 


I could rattle on and on about how great the Outer Banks are, but I think you get the idea.  If you get the chance to go, go.  The folks there are wonderful, the scenery is gorgeous, the food is delicious.  I look forward to going again at the soonest possible opportunity.  In the meantime, I’ll keep swimming.

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It’s all just an experiment, isn’t it?

All my life is circular, I think.  I look at situations and think ‘I’ve been here before, almost’.  My massage instructor suggested that time is circular as well as linear- sort of a spiral stretched out on a line.  That makes absolute sense to me.  Like I have to check the lessons I’ve learned, then go back and check what else can be gleaned from the situation (or a similar one).  Maybe check back once or twice over the course of 10 or so years, in case I’ve missed anything.  I was looking at old pictures a bit today.  They’re from when my brother was 4 or 5 and I had just got a camera so I was taking pictures of everything (remember that?  The magick of point and shoot and capture that fuzzy moment forever?)  He was playing in our little pool on the concrete driveway, grinning.  In others he’s looking furious- these are group shots of all of us at Graceland, my graduation, other family group shots.  Always standing apart, or glowering, or both.  My little brother.


He’s in jail at this moment.  Clean and sober, not by choice but by circumstance.  He writes to me:  ‘Sissy, I can think so clearly now without the drugs in my body.’  ‘Sis, I can’t believe I got so bad.  I’m scared to get out.  How will I live?’


My brother is a heroin addict.  So is my sister.


I tell people this regularly.  Not to gain sympathy or notoriety or anything else, but because this needs discussion.  It needs to be heard and spoken and acknowledged.  People need to understand that even if you have all your shit together it doesn’t mean you can’t be affected by heroin.  Or cocaine (that was my birth mother).  Or prescription drugs (my aunt).  Or alcoholism (the list is too long).  The thing is, I’m the only sibling who learned anything from having an addict raise us.  I’m apparently the only one who got lucky enough to break the traditions.  And it was luck, make no mistake.  I was well on my way to pickling myself while I went tripping every weekend when one night I just…. didn’t want it.


Luck.  Or maybe the Universe tapping my soul?  Maybe it was my soul’s plan to be the sober support person this time around?  I’d like to offer you all the suggestion that being the clean, clear-sighted one is plenty frustrating.  I get to watch my family go down in flames, offering helpful suggestions the whole time.  I love my family, and I can’t fix them.


I’ve come to terms with all this (most days).  What I still struggle with is this:  the birth mother?  That we all share?  Saw it all coming down.  Allowed them to shoot up in her home.  And did nothing.  Nothing.  NOTHING.  I don’t even have words for how this makes me feel.  Fury.  Heartbreak.  Tired.  Disappointed.  Sad.  Is there a single word to convey all that and everything else I have trouble naming?  I haven’t spoken with her in something like 7 years, since she told me to get out of her life (I was ever the obedient one).  Funny though, we only live 3 blocks apart.  She could have sent a message by carrier pigeon or neighbour or in the everloving POST for chrissakes letting me know what was going on.  How does a mother just sit back and watch her youngest children destroy themselves and their lives?


Nevermind.  It’s a rhetorical question.  I know the answer (in this case).  It’s because she has her own demons.  Because she’s lost too.  And I can’t help her either.  So I stay away.  Protect my tiny family.  Try to model healthy behaviour for Monkey (who will be driving soon).  Try to teach him to be strong and safe and sensible before he heads out into the world on his own.  Try to offer good advice to my brother in our weekly letters.  I tell him I love him in each one.  I try to remind him that he is more than his addiction and mistakes.  That he can plan to do better and follow through.  That he can be a better father to his kids.  That he has to take care of himself.


All these things I’ve told myself in the past, at other moments.  All this ground that I’ve almost already covered.


Life is a spiral, stretching forward and back.  Allowing us to touch multiple moments in time with one hand.  Sometimes it’s just so damn hard.

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Seasonal prep


It’s nearly Samhain, and I’m nearly ready-ish. Monkey is hosting a bunch of friends for a Day of the Dead themed dinner party, so the house is sporting an almighty great altar (great for our tiny place anyway). It’s pretty amazing, I have to say. The fellas have made masses of sugar skulls to decorate and go on it. It’ll look amazing when it’s done. In the meantime:

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Horace, chilling with the spirits….

Bear’s Grands, who had the most beautiful orchard.

Have a lovely Season, all. May the Ancestors surround you with their love and affection.


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Ripples in the pond

It’s been a busy, long season.

I’m having coffee on the patio with Bear this lovely morning and reveling in the emptiness of today’s schedule. At some point there will be grocery shopping, but otherwise I’m free, and on break from classes for another week. Full on relaxation is happening today.

Having been in classes to become a licensed massage therapist for almost a year (!) I can safely say I’m looking forward to having my time become my own again as much as I look forward to being certified. Possibly more. Don’t get me wrong, the classes are great, and I’m learning a ton- but I am about fed up with replacing my entire life with studying. My classmates are (mostly) lovely. There are one or two folks I don’t connect with, and I get outright annoyed at a few sometimes, but in the main they’re a good bunch of people whom I’m very pleased to know. I couldn’t ask for better instructors- they’ve both shown themselves to be exceedingly patient and kind with our various learning curves. I’m quite grateful to my Hula sister for pointing my way there.


My brother called me late last night- his ringtone is ‘man of constant sorrow‘ for a reason. He and his girlfriend are addicted to heroin (discovered that about 6 months ago), they have a baby, and he recently quit his job of 13 years (hasn’t gotten a new one yet). They were evicted from their apartment a couple months ago, so they moved in with a friend. There is so much more back story here it would take a week to write it all…. Anyway, his call last evening was to ask if they could stay the night with us.

I said no.

I felt like an asshole, but I still said no.

I know many people would look at that information and say ‘ how could you leave your family hanging in the wind like that? They have a baby!’ My answer is this: I have a child as well, and my job is to put his well-being and the well-being of my immediate family first. Monkey is a teenager now, and while we have had many discussions about drugs and healthy behaviour, and making healthy life choices, my actions speak louder than my words. How can I expect him to make difficult choices, even if they are right and healthy, if I won’t show him how? Bringing my brother and his family into our home to stay -even for a night (which we all know turns into a weekend, which turns into a month, world without end amen)- would not be healthy for my family on any level. So I said no.

And I feel like an asshole.

I’m considering building a shed on our property, so that when people ask if they can crash I can point to the shed and say- there’s nothing in there, it’s yours for the night. I thought about loaning* my brother the tent for the night, but that’s like feeding the local strays**, which is always a bad idea as well. I feel bad for the baby, but I don’t know what else to suggest or do.

*read: giving
** yes, I know this analogy in and of itself makes me a terrible person.

Every time I’ve offered advice or help that isn’t money or otherwise tangible I’m met with large quantities of agreement, a lot of head bobbing, and epic inaction.
I’ve offered to help him get to NA meetings, suggested avenues for getting assistance for housing and getting on his feet, offered to help hook him up with counsellors I know to help him sort out his anger issues- and nothing ever comes of it. He doesn’t want help, he wants someone else to take care of him. He’s 30 years old and been saying he is “a grown-ass man***” since he turned 18. I’m just expecting him to start taking a little responsibility.

*** if I never hear this fucking phrase again it will be too soon.

Meanwhile, here at the pond, the ripples from last nights disturbance are beginning to smooth out. I remind myself that I’m not really a bad person. Bear and I discuss the facts and look at the situation from various angles to ensure we haven’t missed anything. Monkey is glad not to have to share his space and deal with all the drama his uncle brings, which is really sad. I can’t fix my brother, I can’t fix his life. All I can do is reassure him that I do love him, even though he can’t stay with us.

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Sitting here at the Preserve passing time because I left for tonight’s workshop too early.

The trees are considering the merits of budding verses the prospect of potential (and likely) frost.

Maples are the optimists of tree people. I’ve seen buds on maple trees as early as late February some years.

The canal is high now, so much rain in the last few weeks here and upstream- still icy cold though.

I think about the flow of water, winding and coiling through the land in places I can’t get to in my beloved Subaru. Rise and fall and gentle nod, making its stealthy way to places loft unseen. Ghost boats carrying people and requirements to and fro. I hear a song from childhood echoing through the recesses of my mind::

“Low bridge, everybody down!
Low bridge, for we’re coming to a town….”

I’m so glad I left early today.

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“Heard you comin’ up the gravel road…

…I could tell it was you by the weight of the load.*”


Wow, I reckon it’s been a bit since I wrote here last…. Everything’s all fancy and redone.  Alrighty then. 


Things have been… strenuous lately.  Not in the lifting heavy things and shifting them around the place way, but more in the sloggingthroughwhatever-that-is-ohitdoesn’tsmellverypleasantdoesit? kind of way.  Let’s be honest.  February sucked so hard it’s inside out.  Not just for me either- that would be comparatively easy.  It’s watching everyone else slog that poses more trouble for me.  For instance:

~A family member revealed that he’s a long time heroin user and wants to stop.  (As I type this, this song started playing- the universe DOES, in fact, have a crafty sense of humour.  Or something.)

~Several friends having money issues in such a way as to jeapordise current operations.

~Another friend’s husband shipped out for Afghanistan

~Another friend’s mother has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease– which is fucking awful.  “painless, non-contagious and cruel — the motor function of the central nervous system is destroyed but the mind remains fully aware to the end.”  To be filed under “I’d rather drink Hemlock- same effect, more glamour.”  Fuckall.)

~misc other similar issues happening to EVERYONE AT ONCE

And to ice the cake::

~Bear had to go to hospital for appendicitis (which we didn’t know he was having because the pain went away- which apparently means IT RUPTURED, but because his body is FUCKING AMAZING he did NOT get peritonitis because there was an abscess with all the toxins neatly collected within.)


Deep breath. 


So, yeah.  Fuck February.  Like, all the way. 


March is better so far, and I fully intend for things to continue in a better direction.  Dealing with my addicted family member- henceforth referred to as Flash- has been trying at times.  I have to keep reminding myself I can’t fix him.  I can’t solve his (multitude of self inflicted) problems.  This is his fire to walk through.  All I can do is remind him he can do it.  I gave him the old saying ‘I can eat an elephant if I take small bites’.  I remind him to take one thing at a time.  I remind him I love him, and that he can do this.  He has such a long, potholed road before him. 


Classes have been good.  They are a touchstone for me- my classmates have such a positive, kind, supportive attitude overall.  How lucky I am to be learning healing arts with such a marvellous group.  The material is getting more difficult, which means I have to take my study time more seriously.  Which is a good thing.  I’m still trying to figure out what my post licensing plan is.  I’m loving the healer-bodyworker concept, but I live in the land of conservative which makes marketing a rubic’s cube to figure out.  Good thing I have a marketing madman to ask about these things. 

I gave the first massage I’m not pleased with over the weekend, though.  A learning experience, and the client didn’t seem to know the difference, but I did and it’s definitely something for me to process and improve on.  I have a pretty good idea of where and what my problem was- just need to be sure I don’t allow it to happen again.  I wasn’t focused, and so I went through the motions but there was no energy flow of note.  Not that I have to be in charge of every little thing, but my goal is to facilitate movement and improved flow of energy.  I’m a conduit.  If I’m distracted, I’m disconnected and therefore Not a conduit, but rather, a cut wire.  That is not what I’m going for.  A lesson, and one I don’t plan to repeat. 


Bear’s tattoo enterprise is coming along.  Had him work on me for the first time last night.  He was nervous as hell, but still did well.  Just a small one, an easy one.  Something to ease him into working on me.  I have more planned and I look forward to him gaining the skills to complete my plans (mwahahahaha).  He’s recovering well from surgery, although he lost almost 20 pounds over the week he wasn’t feeling well- mostly muscle mass- which has caused him a bit of difficulty.  He literally has to get his strength back.  Having him in hospital was so very scary.  I coped really well when the shit was in the fan.  A couple weeks after is when I had my meltdown.  There’s nothing like seeing the person you love most in the universe lying helpless in a hospital bed to reality check you on what you would do if you had to do it alone.  Not something I ever want to experience again.  Told Bear he better stay healthy from here on out, and that I would do the same. 


Sometimes it’s a wonder to me that we are here at all, let alone that we find others to love and be happy with.  How lucky we are to have such magick in our lives.  The joy and fear and sorrow and everything of love and being connected to those we love.  Astounding, really, that some can get by for so long without it.  It’s worth it to remember that everyone is fighting valiantly some battle or other, and be kinder for that remembrance.  Even on days when the weight of air on your skin tries your patience.  

Be good to you.  Be good to one another. 




*Dust and Bones by Cary Ann Hearst