Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Road Warrior

That's a vest I made for a friend a couple of years ago. I really love to sew, but I haven't made enough time for it lately. Finding this pic in my archives reminds me that I need to do so... or need to do sew...


Well, howdy, Friends n' Neighbors. Greetings from...HUH?! Las Vegas?! Yes, yes, it's true. From the mountains to the mountains... to the, uh... mountains... to more mountains... to the desert - I've given myself over to my gypsy spirit, let Birddog run wild, and here I am.

I've traveled nearly 2000 miles, through four mountain ranges - from the Cascades to the Rockies, to the Sierras, to the Spring Mountains - all of them beautiful in their own ways. I've made my way through the rolling majesty of the Cascades; seen sunlight on the great snow capped teeth of the Rockies; moonlight on the glittering pearly whites of the Sierras; and the spirit-yanking, nearly eerie, crouching stone animals that are the Spring Mountains. I've decided that I am, no doubt, a mountain woman. No matter where my gypsy heart lands me, I'll definitely need a mountain upon which to rest my eyes.

It seems I've brought the North wind with me, as it's cold and windy here in the desert, but sunny too. The armpit of Las Vegas aside, the desert is beautiful. Any time I land in a desert, I feel haunted. I swear I hear whispers of ancient spirits - stirrings of souls that have traveled before me. It's easy to imagine the Indians, cowboys and pioneers of old making their way to wherever their own nomadic calling took them. I'm certain I was born in the wrong era, or maybe in a past life I never found what I was looking for. So, I continue the journey toward... wherever.

I think the impetus of these next few months will be to sell off most of my worldly possessions, so that when my lease is up again, I'm free to go. Free to wander. Free to explore the paths that I feel are part of my journey. Free to see all that I want to see of our tiny globe, in the relatively short time this life allows for. The Spirit of this immense Universe is calling me. All that's required of me is to bow low in acknowledgement, and say, "Yes, I hear you. Take me, I'm yours." I can hardly bear the wait, but there is much to be done in preparation.

"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins."
~Bob Moawad

And, so....

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hittin' the Road!

That's a stash box I made for a friend... for stashing... um... stuff. It was lots of fun to do and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Well folks, Birddog and I are headed up over Snoqualmie Pass in just a few short hours. New adventure, new possibilities. I feel so alive. I promise I'll be very careful and will "keep the rubber side down."

I don't know that I'll get much of a chance to post over the next week or so. They only have access to dial up in them thar hills. But, I'll try to drop in and let everyone know I'm safe and sound.

Recommended reading in my absence:
The Art of Peace, Morihei Ueshiba
Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
Fair and Tender Ladies, Lee Smith (Note: Of all the books I've read, this one has had the greatest influence on my writing style.)
Bonesetter's Daughter, Amy Tan
The Talisman, Stephen King and Peter Straub
The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd

In the meantime, all of you be safe too, please. Enjoy your families and friends, but keep it real and realistic.
Good Solstice,
Good Christmas,
and a Peaceful New Year to you all.

In the meantime, I leave you with one of my favorite poems, by Robert Frost:
The Road Less Traveled
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
and having perhaps the better claim
because it was grassy and wanted wear;
though as for that, the passing there
had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
in leaves no feet had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Let It Be

No, sorry, I didn’t write yesterday (but I did post a new poem on the Gypsy Scribbles on the Wall site). Thank you all for your concern. I guess I’ve spoiled you a bit, huh? Well, I’m flattered that you worry when I don’t post. Fact is, my head was too full to put into words, and I spent my creative ducats doing artsy stuff and composing a new song.

Ok, so… here’s the thing. I love you all and you’re wonderful for caring, but please stop worrying about me so much. Let me out from under the microscope? I’m fine. I really am. I love this life, and I’m excited about the direction(s) my life is taking. Yeah, there’s a dark day here and there. Storm clouds roll in, sometimes without notice, but that’s expected. That’s healthy, even!

To be fair, part of my frustration comes because I’m currently receiving what I’ve started to refer to as the 2nd Generation sympathy cards… holiday cards wherein people feel the need to recognize how awful the holidays must now be. “Thinking of you ... this must be a difficult time of year,” is really starting to grate on my nerves. Why would this time of year be any different?! Yes, I loved a man with my whole heart and soul (I still do, always will), and I lost him to a horrible disease. However, and this is going to sound very harsh to some - but deal with it, since I’m the one stuck feeling it - John died, Barb did not.

Please let me get on with my life. Please stop giving me the Grieving Widow Stare. (I will carry this grief forever, I promise you.) Please stop looking at me with the sad eyes as if to imply that my life is somehow less worth living, less worth enjoying. It’s not at all, in fact, these days it’s even more important to me to cherish what I’m given on a momentary basis than it ever was before. I am just as whole as I ever was, maybe more so now than ever. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – I made a promise to John that I would go on living, and that I would live well. I am doing my absolute best to fulfill that promise. I owe him that much and I owe myself that much. Dudes and Dudettes, I am diggin’ every damned day – even the bad ones.

Also, brace yourselves… I will find love again, and probably sooner than any of you would expect, think, hope, or find fashionably acceptable in terms of time. It may just be waiting for me as I write this. Who can say? I can only hope. I want love again and I want to give love again. John wanted that for me too (you can bet that, before he died, we discussed the hell out of every issue that I might face over the next decade). John knew the size of my heart, knew that there’d be room in it for someone new (even before I did), and knew that my loving spirit would be wasted alone.

Happiness is only real when shared.”
~Christopher Johnson McCandless

Why do I even feel like I have to defend myself? Or justify myself? It’s certainly not because I’ve lost my I-Don’t-Give-A-Rat’s-Ass attitude. It’s not because I missed my daily dose of Fukitol. It’s because I want you to understand that this is a process. It’s ongoing. It’s all part of the Journey. It’s all part of the scenery that lines the path I’m on. To put a fine point on it, it's my fucking life!

Don’t ever presume to know what’s going on in my mind or what I’m feeling at any given moment. Trust me, you haven’t got the foggiest idea. Don’t you dare judge me, unless you’ve wandered in my shoes for a good long while. The story goes, that when John Lennon died, Ringo Starr rushed to be at Yoko Ono’s side. Supposedly, he walked in and said, “I know just how you feel.” To which, Yoko replied, “You haven’t got a fucking clue.”

This life is wide open to me now, and I am wide open to it. It’s my time to feel the sun, my time to feel the wind on the wings of this gypsy soul. “Live and love,” said the man. I intend to. Allow
From the bottom of my heart
comes an army of one,
marching back up the steps
into the rays of the sun.

~The Wallflowers

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Think Outside the Box

Last night, dinner was ready and I was looking for some kind of entertainment while I ate. Normally I read, but my eyes were tired from a full day of work, so I decided to turn on the TV and do some channel surfing. I hardly ever watch TV any more, and now I know why.

The program I found was interesting enough, as I stumbled onto the last quarter of
Kingdom of Heaven with Orlando Bloom (he could read Washington State Revised Code and keep my attention). Kingdom of Heaven
is a movie about the crusades to "save" Jerusalem in the 12th century. Further evidence that there will never be peace in the Middle East - the conflict there is centuries old and there are no solutions. But I digress, that's not what this rant is about.

As I was eating my dinner and enjoying my time in the dust and unrest of the Holy City, I was rudely interrupted by a commercial break. (Reason number one for why I dislike mainstream TV). I forked a tidbit of salmon into my mouth just as a woman cheerfully came on the screen to tell me how Ducolax changed her life. "Great," I thought. "I'm eating dinner and they're trying to sell me laxatives..." Next was a commercial for Nutri-System. (Yes, you too, can forget about using your mind, let someone else do the thinking for you, and be fed like freekin' cattle.) Close on the heals of that one was a commercial for Immodium! So, we've been given a drug to make us shit, then we ate, now we need to lock down again. (What the fuck!?) I waited for a commercial to come on regarding IBS... surely that was going to be part of this game. But no, the next commercial was for some kind of Calvin Klein stinky stuff for men. I tried to ponder the demographics that this ad space was selling to, and quickly gave up.

Finally, after a commercial break that was nearly long enough to allow me to eat my entire dinner, it was back to my yummy friend Orlando and his quest for peace amid turmoil. Just as things were cranking up again - the battlements had been fortified, the women and children were hidden away for safety, the men had been knighted, Saladin's army was standing in the desert, just waiting for the right moment to attack... and... and... and...
commercial break
! Agghh!!!

Once again, the woman came on to tell me how Ducolax could make my life more comfortable. Next, a happy couple strolled through a mountain meadow as some voice over told me how Cialis would change my life. Fascinating, Captain! You mean, all those spam emails are true?! Next came the commercial for men's cologne again (because now you've spent the day pretending to love walking through the wildflowers just so you can get laid, your dick is hard, and you need to smell good just so you can get sweaty again). That was followed by a commercial depicting a greedy teen (ah yes, the expensive by-product of a night of steamy sex) leaving messages all over the house so his parents would know what to buy him to show their love.

Finally, back to the original War on Terror (*rolls eyes*). I won't tell you how it ends. Ahem.

I've heard a lot of whining lately about the writer's strike, about the lack of new scripts, new shows to watch. "What'll we do? We're mid-season and we don't know what's happening to the fictitious characters whose lives we're trying to emulate!" Whaa, whaa, whaa...

I wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence. There's a knob called 'brightness,' but it doesn't work

I'll tell you what to do. Pick up the remote control. See that little red button at the top? Says, "Power"...? Take back the Power! Turn off the damned TV!!! Yes, you heard it here first - it's that simple! Pick up a book and read. Pick up the phone and call someone... have an actual conversation. Light a candle and stare at the flickering flame until your mind goes to a quiet place (that's called meditating - you'd be amazed at what it can do for you). Get a deck of cards and play a game with your kids (remember me talking about what a great bonding tool that is? Yeah... beats the shit out of everyone lined up and starring, hollow-eyed, at the TV!). Take your best girl or guy to bed and take time sharing some good lovin'. (Skip the cialis - it's bad for you, and making love isn't about the strength of a guy's dick anyway. It's about the strength of the mind.)

You've got to say, 'I'm a Human Being, Goddamnit! My life has value!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Just an Un-manic Monday

I'm feeling so peaceful inside this morning, more so than I have been in a very, very long time. Why is that? I'm not entirely sure. I know some of it is the anticipation of my trip next week - seeing new places, meeting new people, the road trip itself (it's all a journey, no?). I can't wait to be on the road. My gypsy spirit is in a...a... froth - much like the restless waves on the ocean in their anxiousness to kiss the shore. Funny that I can feel so peaceful and wound up at the same time. C'est moi.

"The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases."
~William Hazlitt

Maybe that's it. Maybe it's allowing my soul its freedom. Uncaged and untethered are better conditions for any being.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wandering Lust

"The core of man's spirit comes from new experiences."
~Christopher Johnson McCandless

Well, my friends, the call of the open road has captured this gypsy again. I have an offer from a friend to come spend some or all of the holidays in Montana (Missoula, to be specific), and I just can't refuse. My inner child is itchin' for some real snow to frolic in... one of the things I've missed most since I left Michigan two decades ago. Besides, I've never been to Montana and I've always wanted to go. So, why not? Why not, indeed.

Birddog's been howlin' and prowlin' and hollering my name lately too - just begging to be let loose like the mile-chasin' dawg she is. Missoula is a mere 6-7 hour drive from here, so I'm thinkin' I'll just load up and fly off into the East come Christmas Eve.

In preparation, I've been re-watching my DVD's of Lonesome Dove. I watch the series about once a year. Woodrow, Gus and the gang feel like old friends to me... so I have to visit every now and again.

I'm going to lunch with a friend this afternoon, and then I think I need to find some boots. A gal can't tromp through the snow properly without boots, and I have no snow gear to speak of whatsoever.

Who knows, maybe I'll find my new home. Maybe there's enough wide open sky in Montana for this Gypsy.

Men go back to the mountains, as they go back to sailing ships at sea, because in the mountains and on the sea they must face up
."~Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What Lies Beneath

"What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I had a bit of an epiphany late last night while I was visiting my old friends, Courage and Resolve. Yes, so many events in my life have required courage. All too often, I've had to call upon a deep well of strength that seems to be one of my greatest blessings and curses. (My theory: The stronger a person is, the more the person gets tested.) Is courage my creed? I don't know. As I've stated before, I've simply done what needed to be done - others see that as courage. I simply wouldn't allow myself to be cowed by what was thrown at me - others see that as resolve. Girded with love, there was no question that the warrior mentality in me would prevail - others see that as strength. Fine. Alright. I've learned to graciously accept what others see in me, since I can scarcely pretend to define it myself.

But, and, so. I looked at courage in a different light last night as I lay awake pondering my future. There's much more to it (courage and the future, both), I discovered. Courage isn't just facing what is. The greater Courage is in facing what isn't. Courage isn't walking into the Valley of the Shadow with a dearly loved one. Courage is kissing the loved one goodbye and then walking on. It's taken a great deal of resolve for me to stand again. It's taken a greater deal of courage for me to begin anew.

Courage wasn't loving John into and beyond death. Courage is allowing myself to continue to love those still in my life, and allowing for the possibility of new love. Trust me on this... it would have been so much easier to simply shut down, close doors, and disappear. I'm painfully aware, every day now, that all too soon, too unfairly, I will again have to say goodbye to someone I love. Having lost several people I've loved deeply, it seems to be my lot in life. I've come to a certain level of acceptance, much as I might "rage, rage against the dying of the light." **

Courage is being open to the certainty that I will again find love, that I will give myself over to it when it comes, without fear or trepidation. Courage comes with continuing to be wide open, knowing just how painful the ensuing wounds can, and likely will, be. This is how I choose to live my life, this is who I resolve to be. So, I continue walking this path, enjoying the journey for the journey's sake, keeping an eye on the horizon for what is to come...

Besides, after all the beauty I've been given, who am I to deny anyone a slice o' this gypsy heart?

** Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Friday, December 14, 2007

Oy to the World

'Tis Friday, at long last. Thank all the gods! It's been a long, tedious work week. People are getting crabbier by the minute. What's with that?!

Today is the Red Dingo company Christmas party. Translation: cold cut platter from Costco and a sparkling cider toast. Note my excitement. The upside is, I get out of work early and get paid for the whole day.

I'm looking forward to the weekend. No, no big plans really - just the usual stuff. I should attempt to do some cleaning (hey, do not laugh... it could happen!), will probably just immerse myself in my artwork or writing. Maybe I'll watch a movie (maybe = likelihood). Maybe meet a friend for some good bean. I'm looking forward to sleeping. Heck, maybe I'll go to bed tonight and just hibernate. Someone wake me on 3-Jan-08 when it's safe to come out again.

I'm ready for a new year. Ready for a new number in my head. Ready to leap into another 364 days that I can attack and screw up with great
élan. Yes, I'm in a rather sardonic mood... company Christmas parties will do that to me. Ready to be past the fucking whirlpool that 2006 and 2007 have been. It can only get better, right? It's gotta. Or don't even bother waking me on the third.

"When I know that I can't stand it anymore... I go one minute more. Then I know I can bear anything."
~Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Paying the Syntax

As is obvious to anyone who knows me for more than 5 minutes, I love words. I love the sound of them, the meanings of them, the texture and taste of them. I love knowing where they came from, digging into their roots. I love playing with them.

"There ought to be a whole separate language, she thought, for words that are truer than other words - for perfect, absolute truth."
~Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

I get teased for saying, "no worries," rather than, "no problem." I like "no worries" better, not because I work for an Australian based company, or because I have an Australian expatriate for a brother, but because it's got better meaning. It means, "don't sweat it," whereas "no problem" could imply that there was going to be an issue, but I can (grudgingly) deal with it.

I've been accused of being a walking dictionary. I'm one of those people that everyone comes to and says, "Hey, how do you spell (insert word here)?" My response, because my memory banks have been breached and scavenged over the years, is "Well, I spell it (insert spelling), but that doesn't mean it's correct." I belong to a couple of message boards, and there have been a few times when I'll get going on an idea and someone will say, "Oh, hang on... Barb's here. I gotta go get my dictionary."

Truth is, I'm not all that smart. It's just a lifetime accumulation and culmination of reading and retaining, and of my mother drumming vocabulary, spelling and grammar into me as a kid. (Thanks Mom - [*rolls eyes*] - you were right.) Granted, English was my best subject in school - to me, parsing sentences was like doing puzzles. When one of my high school English teachers turned me on to poetry, I felt liberated - I could take an entire emotional event and whittle it down into a bouillon cube of thought. What a time-saver!

"A poem should touch the hearer with a sense of his own weakness, and should institute some comparison between mankind and flowers."
~E.M. Forrester

I find that people often apologize to me for their lack of spelling prowess or bad grammar. It's true, the improper use of some words, such as there, their and they're; or to, too, and two; or your and you're will drive me nuts. However, I have family members who can't get it straight and I love them just the same. I'm not here to grade anyone's papers! I'm my own worst editor - it keeps me too damned busy to deal with anyone else's lexical challenges. I can channel Ms. Malaprop with the best of 'em (I once told a boss I was going to sue him for worker's constipation), and I can dangle participles like so many bulbs on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
That being said, I got the following email from a client last week. I simultaneously cringed and laughed so hard that it nearly had me dizzy. Keep in mind that this is from a business owner, who very likely could afford to put spell-check on her PC, and yes, English is her first language: "I have faxed and tryed to call twice in the last todays. I am trying to find out about a tag It was sent on 11/28/07. There was 3 sent on that day. Only two were gotten. I recent this one on 12/03/02 (Note from Barb: Impressive! a time traveler) Please let me know if it was gotten and if it was sent out?"

Oh, the glorious agony.

I once heard John ask a kid how he was. The kid answered cheerfully, "I'm superfluous!" He told the kid we really hoped he didn't mean that - everyone's got a reason to be.

"The difference between the right word and almost the right word, is the difference between lightening and a lightening bug."
~Mark Twain

Wordplay. Nothing gets me giggling harder than wordplay. My oldest brother excels at it, and he's so doggone dry about it that you'll never see it coming. One time we saw a woman walking down the sidewalk and she had a pair of scissors dangling from a cord around her neck. My brother's ex said, "I wonder why she's wearing scissors like that." Mike's deadpan answer was, "So she can cut across the street."

Reminds me of my first job at an orange juice factory. I was fired because I couldn't concentrate... *ahem*

Read the dictionary from A to Izzard today.
Get a vocabulary. Brush up on your diction.
See whether wisdom is just a lot of language.
~Carl Sandburg,
Is Wisdom a Lot of Language?
My advice... never use big words where a diminutive utterance will suffice.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Connecting the Dots

"Adversity draws men together and produces beauty and harmony in life's relationships, just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers on the window-panes, which vanish with the warmth."

Lately, a few people who knew John well, but who - until recently - didn't know me quite as well, have commented that my writing style reminds them of John's, or that my style of talking reminds them of John (must be my deep, rich baritone voice, y'know).

Last week, his sister mentioned in an email (with regard to reading my posts here), “I could read his words over and over and over and never be bored because there was a new meaning to me every time I read them. Yours are the same way.” His best friend Timothy and I talk on the phone regularly (I have to quit calling him that because really, he’s become one of my best friends). Timothy has often commented, “Shit, you know, I feel like I’m talking to John, but with a female voice. I don’t know anyone else I can talk to like that. I could just say anything to him, and I do the same with you, and it’s like it’s no big deal.” (T-man, ya think anything would hold any shock value for me after nine years with Brudda J?!)

Really, I take it all as high praise, but it's had me ruminating. To me, it's not such a great surprise. After all, John’s printed words were what drew me to him, before I'd even seen a picture of his face. (John and I met online in 1998, and from the very first email from him, I was captivated. Evidently, he felt the same way about the things that I wrote.) I'd read his ramblings and think, "Wow, who is this guy?!" Our early correspondence could easily be a novel - we were both good with turning a phrase, witty humor, and expounding on ideas and thoughts in a fairly verbose manner.

In living together, as with any long-term couple, our speech patterns often mimicked each other without us even being conscious of it. However, we did have a unique way of bantering with each other when alone – we were both big on wordplay, both having rampant, and completely irreverant senses of humor. Anyone listening in would have thought we were mutually deranged - I’m not saying that’s untrue, mind you… *grin* We’d say words backwards, sideways and “malaprop” pretty much anything we got our tongues on. (Hey, it’s only kinky the first time.)

Even when we weren’t being silly, when we’d have serious discussions… we’d talk for hours about life, the universe and everything. Truly, beyond everything else we shared, John was the best friend I’ve ever had. Spending that much time together, being the intelligent people we both are, it’s only natural that we’d sort of combine styles.

I think part of it, too, is that, for the past nine years, these are people who knew John better than they knew me. Now they’re getting to know me - seeing into my essential self, as John would say - and realizing just what it was that John always saw. I’m ashamed to say, that as much as he constantly amazed me, I did take for granted the uniqueness of our relationship, and the depth of what we shared. Really, we were the perfect yin and yang as a couple – John was the ground, I’m the sky. Even our colors reflected that. His colors were greens and browns and black, while mine are blues and grays. His eyes were the deep brown loamy color of a freshly plowed field; mine are the blue of a clear Spring sky. I’ve only recently begun to discover the real wealth of what we had together. Part of that has come from seeing John, seeing how John saw me, and seeing our relationship, through the eyes of others.

To say the least, I still very much feel his spirit around me. It goes without saying that I carry him in my heart, and always will. So, often when I'm writing, it is his voice in my head that's flying out through my fingers. Or his voice that I hear, as he looks over my shoulder, saying, "You tell 'em, Barbarienne! Give ‘em hell!" If I’m doing some kind of artwork, I often sense his spirit nearby, tangibly so, and can nearly hear him whisper, “Pretty, Hunny…” No question about it, I've been channeling the man in everything I do lately. I owe him that much, at least. I owe it to him to keep his beautiful spirit shining. Knowing him, being privy to the wisdom he possessed, changed my life in ways I can't begin to describe - not yet. Leading him through the valley, hard as it was, was a precious gift. Someone recently said to me, "Hell of a way to find out what you're made of." Oh yeah. But a gift, nevertheless. More than that, it was my honor. It is my greater honor to carry on.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."

Live and love…

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Interpreting the Intangible

"To sleep, perchance to dream..."
~William Shakespeare, Hamlet

"Are you prepared to take a dive into the deep end of my head?"
~Jason Mraz, Wordplay

This is going to be a long one... grab a cup o' bean....

The dream I posted about yesterday stuck with me all day. It's still lingering this morning. So, I did some research last night into possible interpretation(s) of the elements of the dream. Upon waking yesterday morning, I felt I'd been on a spiritual journey - as it turns out (according to various dream interpreters), I wasn't wrong.

Why don't I start with the main character, the field of lavender...

Let's take a look at the field in general: To see green fields in your dream, symbolizes great abundance, freedom, and happiness. You may also be going through a period of personal growth. Alternatively, this dream may simply be an expression for your love of nature.

Interpreting flowers in general: When we look at flowers, most of us feel some joy and vitality. At the very least, we appreciate their beauty and see their value. Flowers are beautiful and in our dreams they could represent the simplest feelings of contentment to the deepest feelings of spiritual completeness. Additionally, the colors could symbolize the psychic centers in our bodies called chakras. Flowers also represent hope and positive growth, along with simplicity, innocence, and possibly virginity. (Virginity?! *low chuckle* I think not!)

In that vein, consider the color purple: Purple is usually the color of royalty, high rank, or dignity. It is a strong color that can not be ignored. It can also represent spiritual and personal transformation. Purple could also represent higher consciousness and spiritual protection. A version of purple is also the color of the crown Chakra. (Wow! I'm honored.)

"I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it." ~Shug Avery, The Color Purple

And, specifically, that I was in a field of lavender: To see lavender in your dream, indicates mysticism and spirituality. (Wow, and I was wandering through a vast ocean of the stuff! How cool!!!)

The first person I saw was Bill, a friend: Friends are interpreted as being emotionally valuable to us, because we learn about ourselves through them. (I coulda told ya that much... and, in fact, B - I told you so!)

That he turned into a hummingbird it interesting of itself, but first let's look at birds in general: Carl Jung said that birds represent thoughts, while birds in flight symbolize moving and changing thoughts. Birds are generally associated with freedom and abandon. In old dream interpretation books, birds are considered lucky omens (except for blackbirds, which are generally negative). If the birds in your dream were flying free, it may be symbolic of spiritual, psychological, or physical freedom. (*smile* Take heart, Bill... it's all good.)

Hummingbirds are an intriguing thing to see in a dream: To see hummingbirds in your dream, suggests that small ideas or concepts may possess much potential and power. Alternatively, it indicates your flighty thoughts and frivolous ideas. It may be a metaphor for your inability to commit to a relationship. (Since committing to a relationship isn't what the dream was about, nor has that ever been an issue for me, I don't think that particular metaphor applies here.)

Next, I came upon my Father. One of the things that struck me was that he actually spoke to me in this dream. Most often when I see him, he's just there, kind of in the background. This time was a definite connection, and that he used his pet name for me doesn't escape me in the least, that he was being creative gave me an uplifting feeling. Anyway: Dreams with fathers in them can be looked at on several different levels. You may be dreaming about your father and expressing your feelings about him in a safe way. Traditionally, a father dream can be seen as symbolizing authority and power. In the dream you may be expressing your attitude about strengths and weaknesses as they relate to your position in life and your general attitude toward society. The image of the father could also represent the "collective consciousness," the traditional spirit, and the yang. (I could easily apply any of these, but the collective consciousness bit really appeals.)

I did a lot of walking: To dream that you are walking with ease, represents the way you are moving through life and progress toward your goals. Consider your destination. To dream that you have difficulties walking, indicates that you are reluctant and hesitant in proceeding forward in some situation. You may also be trying to distance yourself from certain life experiences. (Wow. No shit, go figure.)

Then, I sat on a big warm rock: To see rocks in your dream, signifies permanence and stability as expressed in the familiar phrase "as solid as a rock". You may be contemplating some changes in your life that will lay the groundwork for a more solid foundation. On the other hand rocks may also symbolize stubbornness, disharmony and unhappiness. (Oh, the glorious yin and yang of it all!)

As I sat, I was visited by Bob Dylan. I tried to look up troubadour, but couldn't find anything. I decided to go with oracle, since that's what he was especially, but really it applies to all three men in my dream (they were all bringing me a message, and trying to get me to "see"): To dream of an oracle, symbolizes your belief of fate. You are expressing a desire to know what the future has in stored for you. The dream also serves as a reassurance that you are looking ahead and moving forward in a positive direction.

Further, I checked out the meaning of music and song, since Bob's message was thus delivered: Hearing music in your dreams has positive connotations. Music is healing to the soul, and as you are listening to it in your dream, you may be connected to the wonderful, creative spirit or flow of life suggesting a degree of inner harmony and emotional expression. To hear or write songs in your dream, indicates that you are looking at things from a spiritual viewpoint. Consider the words to the song that you are dreaming about for additional messages.

Again, I walked and came to a tree: To see lush green trees in your dream, symbolizes new hopes, growth and desires. It also implies strength and stability. You are concentrating on your own self-development and individuation. To see a willow tree in your dream, symbolizes mourning and sadness. (All of that applies... the willow could be a representation of my feelings for John, as well as letting go of various other things in my life. It was a beautiful tree though.)

I found it interesting that, at this point, Bill finally smiled at me. None of the three had smiled until then: To dream that you or others are smiling, signifies that you are pleased with your achievements and approve of the decisions you have made.

It was then that I finally saw the canyon: To see a canyon in your dream, represents your unconscious mind and hidden feelings. It may point to emotions and relationships that you did not recognize. (And oh, the vastness of what I saw!)

Finally, I flew. It's significant to note here (I think) that I was pushed into flight. In any other flying dream I've had, I've simply leaped into the air and took off: Some people believe that flying in our dreams can be an actual out of body experience, that we go to places on this physical plane as well as into the inner planes (mostly the Astral). Edgar Cayce thought that Astral travel or "soul travel" might be a precursor to becoming lucid in a dream. Carl Jung's idea was that in a flying dream we are expressing our desire to break free of restrictions and limitations. We have a desire to be free and above all difficulties! Alfred Adler thought that this dream was a type of a superiority dream in which we reveal the desire to dominate and be above others. Focusing on the libido, Freud thought that flying was another way to express sexual desires. (I don't buy Adler's interpretation here - that definitely wasn't the feeling of it in my dream. As for Freud's libido notion, well, that also wasn't what my dream was about, and it's not an issue - *wink* - 'nuff said.)

Finally, considering that I was in the starring roll... I was definitely in touch with my gypsy spirit - the walking, the exploring, etc. So, I decided to look up what a gypsy might signify: To see a gypsy in your dream, signifies your desire to roam freely without responsibility and obligation. Alternatively, this symbol may suggest your need to look toward the future.

So, it seems that all of the rich symbolism in my dream was an amalgamation and incorporation of all of the things I've been discovering recently - emotional discoveries, spiritual discoveries, even the discovery (and acceptance) of my need to wander (whether literally or figuratively). The dream left me with a sense of elation that stayed with me all day.

"Dreams are the answers to questions that we haven't yet figured out how to ask."
~Fox Mulder, The X-Files

Dream on!

Monday, December 10, 2007


I've always had vivid dreams, but sometimes, a dream will strike me with such force that it feels real - real enough that I wake up wondering if I was actually asleep or not. Such is the case this morning.

I found myself in a huge field of lavender. It was vast, as big as the ocean. The sun was high and warm, and the scent of the lavender coming from the vivid blossoms was utterly intoxicating. I could see my friend Bill standing not far away so I walked over to him. He was holding a white cardboard sign that read, "Without sight, the Gypsy can't..." I uttered a short laugh and said, "Cute, but what the hell...?" He said nothing in return, just stood there, serious look on his face. I tried again, "Bill... what gives?" No answer. I reached out to touch his shoulder and he turned into a hummingbird (not at all the animal familiar I'd have picked for him!). He flitted away across the field, and apparently, having nothing better to do, I followed.

It wasn't long before I saw a man sitting at an easel. It was my Dad. I strolled over to him. I saw that although we were surrounded by this tremendous, swaying sea of lavender, he was sketching what appeared to be the Grand Canyon.
"Dad," I asked, "What are you doing?"
Without turning, Dad said, "Layin' it down, Punkin. That's all."
"But Dad, we're in the middle of a huge field of lavender, and you're drawing a canyon."
Again, without turning, Dad replied, "It's all in the journey."
Just as I opened my mouth to persist, Bill (still in hummingbird form) buzzed by my head. As I turned to look, Dad said, "Go on then, Punkin. It's your field today."
So, I wandered off, following the already distant hummingbird.

I walked a long, long time. Just as I was beginning to think my feet couldn't take much more, I came to a big rock. It was smooth and warm from the sun. I sat down on it to rest for a bit. As I was sitting there, enjoying the beauty of my surroundings, a man came walking toward me. I could hear him humming from a good distance. As he got closer, I could see that it was Bob Dylan. I smiled in greeting, and said, "Wow, hi Bob! What are you doing here?" Bob said nothing, merely unshouldered his guitar, strummed and sang, "She was ridin' a big warm rock, and it was takin' her nowhere... she was happy with the sunlight on her hair."
I chuckled and said, "Nice, but I'm just sitting here to rest for a bit."
Bob continued to sing, "She didn't notice the cliff for all the flowers... She was just wanderin' through the hours... She was a gypsy, but she couldn't see... it would take more knowin' for her to be free..."
I said something like, "Wow, Bob. What...?"
But The Troubadour was already wandering off, hummin' and strummin'. As I began to puzzle what he'd meant, Bill the hummingbird buzzed by again. So, I scrambled off the rock to follow.

Again, I walked for a very long time, the color and scent of the whispering lavender on the breeze filling all my senses. I came to a gigantic Weeping Willow, standing by itself in the middle of the field. As I stood there, staring up at it, I heard the buzz of the humming bird wings again. I glanced around just enough to notice that it was regular ol' Bill again, standing next to me with an enigmatic smile on his face. I turned my attention back to the tree, and felt Bill put his hand on my shoulder. "How nice," I thought, and moved my head to smile at him. Just as I did, in a sort of double-vision, juxtaposition whammy, I saw that beyond the now suddenly gauzy scrim of the lavender and the tree was a deep, endless canyon... and I was standing on the edge of a cliff. Again, I began to turn toward Bill, this time in wide-eyed, voiceless questioning, but as I did, I heard his voice in my ear, "Fly!" just as he pushed me from the ledge.

And I did. I flew. I flew in great swooping circles. I flew high, and then dropped down low, almost to the canyon floor, then back up again. The feeling of it was enormous. It was glorious. I was crying and laughing at the same time.

Then I woke, still feeling the tingling rush of wind on my skin, huge grin on my face. The cat was sitting on the edge of the bed staring at me. I don't know what it meant, I haven't chewed it all up yet to squeeze the juice out of it. I'll tell you this, I'm keeping my eyes open... Without sight, the Gypsy can't... fly. And, oh, I want to fly.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Another Sunday Scribble

Yipes! Where am I and what am I doing in this hand basket?! My good intentions seem to have paved a slick road today...

I had intended to get up early and get some things accomplished (cleaning, crafting, writing). I woke up at 5, in obeisance to my bladder, and once having paid respect, quickly crawled back into the warm womb of my bed and blankets. I didn't open my eyes again until a little after 8:30, whereupon I was invited to see an 11 a.m. viewing of
The Golden Compass

Excellent movie, that - full of wonderful imagery, and the finely crafted message that we are to stand by the power and courage of our convictions, to be free and critical thinkers, to overcome fear and preconceived notions, to honor commitment, and to stand tall regardless of what others may think of us. Guess you could say it spoke to me (*smile*). Nicole Kidman was merely so-so in her role, but that's how I feel about most of her roles. Daniel Craig was wonderful and I'd have liked to see much more of him (I'm told that's coming in the sequel). Sam Elliott, well... Sam... he's just such a delight to watch. I found myself grinning whenever he was on screen, as I usually do (damn his twinkly eyes, deep rumbling bass, and sly sideways smile). If I ever get the opportunity to meet the man, I'm just gonna hug him. Ignore the critics (what do those bat rastards know anyway?!) and go catch it on the big screen.

Then I came home, checked my 58 1/2 emails, responded to some. Yes, only some... How much viagra and cialis does a girl need anyway?! Why would I pay for a dating service - isn't that prostitution? And, I'm quite satisfied with the size of my boobs, thanks much.

Now here I am, finally cranking out my daily scribble, having accomplished little else. Oh well. It's been a good day either way.

I'm fascinated by the email response I've received to my last two posts. What began as an attempt to shake n' wake, has become quite an event. There's a real dichotomy in feedback (with the bulk of all of it coming from people who are proponents of Christianity, I'm happy to say), but thank all the gods, no fence-sitters. I've been lambasted as being venomous and hateful (I don't see that), blind and godless (neither applies). One person accused me of being a heretic (someone needs to look up the definition of heresy). Still another accused me of being a heathen. Okay, fair enough, by the very definition of heathen, I'll buy that. However, it was meant as a pejorative - how rude. Conversely, I've been applauded for my directness, openness, and strength of conviction. One person even expressed that they wish they could be so outspoken about their belief in Christ. Thanks everyone for writing and sharing your views. Truly, I do appreciate that, not only are you reading, but you're thinking as well. Rock on!

All of it brought to mind another lovely scene from Northern Exposure. Ruth Ann Miller and Joel Fleischman are having a conversation in which Ruth Ann explains that she's an atheist. Joel (a Jew) looks at her without speaking for a stunned moment, then stutters out, "I always admired atheists. I think it takes a lot of faith." Amen, Joel.

Is my gnostic approach to spirituality such a threat? Impossible. Am I attacking Christianity? No. No more than if you were to tell me that you love the color yellow, it's your absolute favorite color, and you want everything in your life to reflect that color, and then you go and paint the entire inside of your house red. You betchya, I'd call you on it. "Here is what you're saying, and this is what you're doing - what gives?"

All I'm asking... be real. If you believe it, be it.

"Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sounds of Distant Drumming

It's a sunny Saturday here in Kirkland. What are the odds?! Weather usually doesn't matter much to me, no matter what flavor it is. I'll get out there regardless. I'll admit though, after this past week, it is nice to see the Bright Hurty Thing up in the sky again. On my agenda today are a few errands, a few chores, and a few creative endeavors. That should keep me (somewhat) out of trouble. So, here I am, good bean within easy reach, cat curled around my feet like a uni-slipper (Midnight is good for that much, at least), pondering what to post here.

It seems I offended some folks with my Christmas rant post yesterday (now I know what to do when my email inbox is empty - *evil grin*). Well, good. I'm glad if I offended you (that means an element of truth to what I posted made you feel
something); I'm glad I riled you (be it right or wrong, Righteous Indignation wins over Apathy in my book every day); and I'm glad I got you thinking (when was the last time you took minutes from your day to really ponder the meaning of something?). Does that mean I meant to hurt anyone's feelings? No. Never. If your feelings were hurt, then you don't know me very well. Much like the parent who only wants all good things for the child, I chide because I care
. Consider this, too... when I say things that are intended to shake people from their passivity, it's because I've been there myself - how can I speak of anything without basing it on personal experience? I wouldn't dare try to polish someone else's mirror - how arrogant would that be? However, I won't hesitate to turn you toward your own mirror.

Also, it seems there are a few of you who are concerned for my godless soul. Stop it. Please. My soul is not at all godless. However, having been a practitioner of, and participant in, various forms of Christianity (from being a born-again pain in the ass to being a good subservient Catholic girl, and several other iterations in between), I made an
informed and conscious decision that it is not the path for me. There is an amazing Universe of greater Wisdom, Truth and Love
out there, and I strive daily to discover more, and to live closer to those three precepts. I have a rich, beautiful, and powerful spiritual life that simply doesn't conform to, or recognize, any one dogma. Kindly worry about your own soul, as mine is well on its Journey.

I guess another thing that might be helpful for you to recognize (in reading my scribbles), is this: for so long I've kept silent, and I simply can't allow myself to do that now. Reticence would fly in the face of everything I've begun to discover about myself, and would, I feel, be unfair to everyone. If I'm to live life wide open enough to accept and explore the tenets that are, and the revelations that are to become part of my life, then conversely, I have to be just as open to revealing those things. Repression no longer works for me, expression does. Without being grounded, one can't stretch toward the sky.
What it comes down to: I am ever and only who I am. That who has gone through some tremendous trial by fire this year, and the forging therein melted all the useless bits, and brought about something steely and strong (and simultaneously sharp and blunt). That who has faced the darkest moment of a human soul and found profound beauty in it (someday, when I can find the right words and we all have kleenex, I will share that moment). That who
found out that our little worlds can do a reversal of rotation in the blink of an eye. So, you'll understand if, when something strikes me, I don't hesitate to holler, "Hey!" Suppression at this point would likely require thorazine and restraints.

I'll try not to step on your toes when we dance... but I won't follow your lead. My Drummer bangs a wicked good off-beat.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Great Gobs of Joy

I was on the phone with a client yesterday. As we finished our conversation, he said cheerfully, "Enjoy the Season!" I couldn't help myself, I said, "Oh, I don't hunt."

*heavy sigh* Here we go...

Christmas. Let's just preface this a little by reiterating that I don't believe in Christ as a savior or as a god. That being said, I'll try not to rant too much (yeah, right). After all, I know some of y'all are kind of sensitive about the subject.

However. You, the ones to whom I'm speaking directly, the ones who are already feeling riled and offended, you know who you are. The rest of you, the ones who are nodding in agreement (or are about to be), you know someone who needs to read this - pass it on.

I'm trying to understand why you're celebrating Christmas, and just what it is you're celebrating. Don't claim it's the Reason for the Season (Christ), because I don't see it in your eyes, your hearts, or your actions. I've been standing on the outside looking in for a few weeks now, and all I've seen is apathy, aggression, greed, and attitude. You're rushing around trying to do it all in an attempt to live up to some false expectation of merriment, you're spending money you don't have in an attempt to live up to someone else's false expectations, and you've completely lost sight of The Reason
(if you ever even truly believed it), so far as I can tell. I've overheard so many conversations that start with a disgruntled sigh, a grimace and then, "So, what are we getting for (insert name)?" I've seen you jerking your children through the stores, talking harshly to them for breathing the wrong way, treating your spouses with disdain and indifference, and not so much as gracing the unseen, underpaid cashier with a smile. Oh, but deck the halls and jingle those bells - you'll raise unholy hell if someone ignores you! I know Christmas Day is going to be no different, you'll grit your teeth through the trials of dealing with relatives you don't care for, dinners you'd rather not cook, and the long headache of opening gift after gift that you don't appreciate (and watching others do the same).

You might go to church, but it'll be a rushed fling to dress appropriately (maybe), speed down the highway and curse others out of your way so you can be on time to (*cough*) worship. You'll look for the closest parking space and bark at your spouse for not being ready earlier, because now you have to park a full 200 feet from the front door. You'll count the minutes until the service is done, because you're missing something on TV, and then dash for the door so you can fight your way out of the parking lot.
Tell me again, just what is it you're celebrating? What is it about any of this that is bringing you "Glad Tidings of Great Joy"? It sure isn't merry. Come December 26th, you'll say, "Thank God we don't have to do that again for a year!" (Ya'll catch the irony there?)

I've been sent copious Christmas-esque emails, ostensibly in the Spirit of the Season, ("Look at this! It's hilarious!" or "OMG, too funny!" or "You're gonna LOL at this!" - and so far none of those has applied). They're cartoons and .wmvs depicting Santa being beat up, Santa beating up cops, reindeer turning guns on people, snowmen pooping in ice cream cones, even one rather harsh "joke" in which Santa refers to Mrs. Claus as "The Bitch with the North Pole Up Her Ass." People, please - forget about your convictions (well, you obviously already have), but at the very least, where's your damned sense of style?! And yet, as made news in another country, Santa is no longer to say "Ho Ho Ho" because it might offend women. Still another country has concerned itself with providing a skinnier, healthier Santa, so as not to teach people that being fat is ok (without Santa setting an example for physical fitness we'd all be in the dark, huh?). A new and improved Santa Claus... this is what Christmas revelers are concerned with?

You'll put great thought into whether or not you should allow your children to believe in Santa, yet you'll push dogma and religion down their throats so hard that they'll end up rebelling against it, and you'll wonder where you went wrong.

Why don't we give up this idea of Christmas altogether? Sure, the Christians who truly do believe in celebrating Christ's (supposed) birthday in quiet retrospection, introspection, and prayer, can still do so, unencumbered by the pressures of a material world. Why don't we just set a new date, call it the Winter Holiday of Gift Giving (WHOGG)? Think of all the great advertising to "Go Whole Whogg"! You can still roast the suckling pig, shop 'til you drop (or drop someone else), drink until you're stupid with it, and the great part? You won't even have to go to church!

C'mon... you know you wanna...

Visualize Whirled Peas.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Unbearable Darkness of Being

I am in a dark place. It always takes me by surprise, though you'd think I'd be used to it, but no. I'll be walking along, whistling, and with the slightest turn, suddenly be up to my chin in quicksand. I don't want this bottomless sorrow any longer. I never did. But a dark mistress rode in and stole my love away, and in the process, left me with this sucking chest wound, for which there is no fill. Might as well try to patch a dam with jelly. These tears threaten to flood and drown, and I only only only want to be held, buoyed in the current, and allowed to cry. I don't want to hear, "Shhh... it's alright." A lie - there is nothing alright about this. I don't want to hear, "I understand." Another lie - there is no understanding.

The antidote is to give love, but the love I give is refused. My love is tainted, it's laced with recent death. It's too much to ask of another. And so, I am alone, and grasping for branches that break and crumble like ancient bones.

So, I go to work with a smile on my face, and I'm pleasant and I chew the shit out of each millisecond that passes, and gulp down my grief with glasses of water, and get pissed if someone asks if I'm ok.

This is never ok. This was unexpected. This was unfair. This was so wrong.

Tomorrow it will be 7 months since I last held John's hand, last kissed his forehead. Tomorrow, it will have been 14 years ago that I last held my friend Cindy, and then held her husband and children after they said goodbye. I am left with ashes and memories... and this sucking chest wound. Yet, I'll get through it somehow... somehow... because I'm the strong one, right? Fuck. If this is strength, then I hope I'm never weak... because it feels like I'm broken inside. And I am so very weary of that sensation.

Before all of you panic and start calling me. I'll come back from it - I always do. I'm with Agatha Christie on this one:

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Artistically Challenged

I just found out that I've made it to the quarter-finals in the contest. WoooHOO! (I entered Gypsy a couple of months ago.) I'm honored to have made it as far as the top 296 out of 1196 entries. I'll know by December 18th if I've made it to the semi-finals or not. So... keep your digits crossed. I'm excited either way.

I also have an acquaintance who has taken an interest in my cards and artwork, and is trying to market them for me. It has the potential for quantity, as well as for accreditation and visibility.

Something out there in the universe suddenly seems to be paying attention to me, and I have to admit, it's thrilling, albeit a bit disquieting. Maybe the many loved ones I've lost in my young life have gathered together to supplicate the gods on my behalf (I would agree with Vicki, that there's definitely some channeling going on). Maybe it's all of you out there, my cheerleaders, rooting me on. Maybe The Fate Sisters are nodding in my direction, having had tea with The Sisterhood of Muses, who did some name-dropping. Maybe it's just my time in the current. Maybe all of that.

It has me pondering though. For so long I've held my creative side in check. Much of that came from fear - fear of being laughed at; fear of being misunderstood; fear of being booed off the stage; and if I'm honest with myself,
fear of success
. In opposition to those feelings has been a lifetime of frustration at working jobs that, while I may be good at them and find some level of enjoyment in them, leave me feeling mired and wondering why I was given wings in the first place. Mea maxima culpa. One can never feel the rush of the wind if one doesn't jump. I don't know where all this will take me - I don't know to whom, exactly, I need to submit my endeavors, which work(s) to submit, or even what I need to submit to (except, perhaps, my fealty to the talent I've been given). I do know that I'm not afraid anymore, and I'm no longer allowed to hide. Daily, I stand out on the back porch, open my arms wide, and say, "I'm willing."

Thoreau said, "
To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts." If I can do that, whatever I'm working on, in whichever field (yes, even if I get to be a Customer Service Manager for the rest of my life), I'll have succeeded.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Committing Commitment

My co-worker's recent engagement, and her subsequent flurry of activity and expenditure to move toward a February wedding date has had me thinking (and biting my tongue while at work).

So, fasten your seat belts - I'm about to opine. I know, I know... what a shock.

I don't believe in marriage. Having worn the tarnished badge of marriage once, I've earned the right to say that without compunction. I don't believe two people are any more committed to each other because of a religious rite to which a church gives credence and/or a document that a government declares legal.

Why is there a need for religious ceremony? If one is to believe that "what god has joined together, let no man put asunder," then that god has already managed to bring two together as one, has issued the bond, and it's a done deal. Anything beyond that is excess. It doesn't require a guy in a satin bathrobe, waving the sign of the cross over their heads to seal it (or any other dogma-style ritual you care to insert there).

That a government would financially penalize (tax) a couple for signing a document (that said government has declared worthy on its own terms) is a travesty. That alone makes me dig my heels in on the subject. What Fat Cat in a silk suit (that doesn't even know me or my chosen mate) has the right to a) approve of our commitment to each other, and b) then turn around and tell us we have to pay for such a union? Sorry, this gypsy don't buy that.

Some FC (and the initials here, in my mind anyway, often change to far more unladylike words than Fat Cat) at some point decided that once two people have signed a legal document of union (yeah, ain't that romantic), that the encumbrances visited by one become the encumbrances of the two - meaning that property becomes equally divisible no matter who paid the mortgage(s). Well, guess who makes money off of that - especially when it comes down to divorce? Uh huh... the Scum-sucking Bottom Feeders (lawyers) and the Blood-thirsty Leeches (lenders). It also means that if one of the two runs up astronomical debt, both of the two are equally and entirely responsible for it.

My "Legal Marriage" lasted less than eight years, and the signed documents did nothing to stop me from saying, "I'm miserable. You're apathetic. I want out. I'm leaving." My Committed Relationship, which was not based on a signed document, lasted nine years through all kinds of hills and valleys, and I'm certain would have continued endlessly. The lack of paper didn't stop either of us from saying or believing, "I am by your side for always."

Over the years, John and I occasionally touched on the subject of the possibility of marriage (mostly for no other reason than to please our mothers), but we both felt that we were right where we wanted to be in terms of a commitment to each other. Last year, when John found out just how sick he was, he cried and said, "I'll marry you if you want me to. All I have to give you is my name." I choked in reply, "Oh Hunny, I already have your name. It's written on my heart, and I will love you until the day that I die." Truthfully, any new guy standing in line for my heart will have to understand that - that kind of love doesn't go away simply because one finds new love. If anything, it gives the new love deeper meaning - the deeper the well, the sweeter the water.

I'm glad John and I never married - in fact, I'm proud of it. We showed the world what true commitment and unconditional love are about, and we did it without ceremony or legal entanglement. Had I married John, simply by virtue of being his wife, I would be in millions of dollars (yes, really) of healthcare debt right now, and that, after a year that was already financially crippling. (You can bet your butt there's a healthcare rant coming to this blog soon.) John's truck (aka Birddog) was his most treasured possession. He chose to sign it over to me when he could have given it to anyone, as I'd suggested he had the freedom to do. It was his truck, solely in his name. It wouldn't have bothered me if he'd had given it to someone else. That he did choose me is more touching than I can say, and the gods know I love the ol' Birddog as much as John did, maybe more, because it's played such an integral part in my Gypsy Revival. John's gift of the truck was worth far more to me than any gold band he could have put on my finger... his name on my heart, more than untold riches.

So, no, I don't believe in marriage. (But, ya'll don't let that stop ya... g'head... I'll come n' dance.) I do, with all my heart, believe in commitment and unconditional love.

Shakespeare said it best in Sonnet CXVI...

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
~William Shakespeare