And on the third night

Samain and the waning crescent of the Holiseason Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Jon, in trouble. Ruth, caring for a friend. Gabe, cheerful and helpful. Hanukkah. Lights, presents. Gratefulness. Sarah, Anne, BJ. Tender brisket. Melts in the mouth, they said! Neil Stephenson. Termination Shock. The Master of Djinn. Reading. Fantasy. Science fiction.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Gifts



Hanukkah. Lights, camera, presents!

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Remodeling. Water.

Samain and the waning crescent of the Holiseason Moon

Dazzle Jazz, 2017

Tuesday gratefuls: Land Institute. Giving. Tara. Jon and his worm fantasy. Rigel. Kep. The Sun. The Moon. Orion. The Zodiac. Republicans. Trump. Omicron. Covid. Death. Life. Kate, always Kate. Wood. Water. Fire. Air.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Kitchen remodel starts Monday

Tarot:  The Queen of Stones, Bear.  wildwood deck


counter top slab pre-fabrication

Jodi emailed me yesterday. Bowe will demolish my kitchen on Monday. That’s a good thing. Because. He’ll start to rebuild it on Tuesday. Once he gets the cabinet bases in place the quartzite fabricator folks will come to do their arcane work. Can’t imagine the precision they have to have. Wait 10 days or two weeks. In which time Bowe will finish the cabinetry. After the installation of the counter top Bowe will put up the brick backsplash and make finishing touches. Done by Christmas. Probably.

Deconstruction. Yes. Construction. Yes.

This week then. Empty all the kitchen cabinets. Getting started today.

At that point I’ll be finished with my 2021 house projects: Staining the house. Adding the mini-splits. Remodeling the kitchen. Hermit neon sign. With one exception. I want to get the furniture rearranged. A lot of heavy lifting.

I’m going to text Mike Vanderhee who put in our fence. I imagine he has a buddy who’s strong like bull, too. Mike carried my 50 inch television up the stairs to the loft and put it in place. Damn thing is really heavy.

Next year. Couch and landscaping.

The ephemeral nature of all this. Could be a wildfire tomorrow. Take it all out. Just after it was done. Could be. But. I choose not to live that way. Insurance. A mountain attitude. Just things. Take the dogs and go.

Jon does not have hookworms. His cat apparently does. The urgent care folks said no. No evidence. He expressed chagrin. Anxiety. Rides him like a cowboy breaking a hoss. You know, rodeo metaphors. The West.

Speaking of the West. Snowpack worries have begun to show up in the Denver Post. The Southern and Southwestern part of the state are in 30% of normal range. The Northern part of the state is more like 75%. Most of the Snowpack comes later so no one is sure what’s going to happen, but the possibility for dry adding on to dry is high.

The highest stakes though are in the Northwestern part of the state where the Mountain snowpack feeds the Colorado. The reservoirs downstream like Lake Mead are so low that a minimal snowpack would (probably will) cause old Water rights to come into effect. This means upper basin states like Colorado and Utah may have to let more water go downstream than usual. Water rights holders in those two states may not get all the water they’re used to. The future. Is now.

As a lifelong resident of the humid East until 2014, I find Water politics passing strange. So important. The growth in Colorado population, which is rapid, is in the Front Range/Denver metro corridor. The Water is mostly in the Western part of the state. A call on Water rights for the Colorado could/would produce impacts here. Complicated. Difficult. No easy answer.

Well. Wildfires and Drought. The modern West. Right where I am.








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A twofer

Samain and the Holiseason Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Ancient brothers. Bright, Sun shiny Day. Black Mountain. Enduring. Wildfire. Drought. Kin. Of all kinds, furry and other. Cooking. Kitchen(s). Beds. Chairs. Computers. Televisions. Wires. The internet. Newspapers, online and papery/inky. Reporters. Politics. Climate. Its changes.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Cooking.

Tarot: Sunday-The Queen of Stones. Bear.  Wildwood Tarot Monday-The Sun of Life, #19 of the major arcana


Oh, boy. A little bleary eyed at 8:30 am. Slept in till 7:30. Made a chicken stew(soup). A Joan Nathan recipe. A Jewish Julia Childs. I made brisket as well for our traditional Hanukkah dinner tonight. Instant Pot. Moist and tender.

Had an interesting experience while I was cooking. A sense of well-being and rightness rose up. I love this! Cooking. It made me so glad that I’d persevered with the kitchen remodel. I feel alive in the kitchen in the same way I do when I write. Paint. With the occasional call from the mitzvah committee at CBE, Jon and the kids I have real people to cook for too. Including me. Maybe I’ll work on a cooking for yourself cookbook.

YEP. Forgodda about it. So, this is now the post for Sunday and Monday.

Saturday evening cooking put me down. For the night plus a bit. Has me thinking about finding those cushiony mats for the stove and prep area. It’s the standing. Combine low to no testosterone and sarcopenia. Result: Legs not as strong as the gardening days. Or, the more recent fire mitigation days. Even so you’ll note I’ve found a happy place. The kitchen.

The Ancient Brothers (our new name, probably the one we’re sticking with) zoomed. Paul joined on the road from Burlington to Robbitson, Maine. Topic: post-pandemic life. Positives from the pandemic. I’ll share the article and some of our thoughts later this week.

Lunch with Tara, who has moved on from her position as director of the religious school at CBE. Sushi! Tara and Marilyn, both last name Saltzman, not related, Kate and I met our first ever evening at CBE over six years ago. Both of them are good friends today. I celebrated her work for the synagogue and our friendship.

Jon discovered what he believes are hookworms in his feet. So. No Hanukkah yesterday for the kids. Maybe tonight, or we might do it on Saturday. My brisket and the chicken stew with matzo balls rest in the frig until they come. I had a bit of the brisket last night. Moist and tasty. The chicken stew has a second lap to its cooking and I won’t do that until I know they’re coming for sure. Part of it is making the matzo balls. Needed the rest yesterday, too, so I’m not unhappy with waiting. Still worn out from Saturday evening.

Need to go down for breakfast and break Kep and Rigel out of the house. It’s housecleaning day. I so look forward to the day when the house has been reorganized, the kitchen remodeled. I have boxes and piles everywhere on the main level. Getting ready for emptying the kitchen when I get a firm date from Jodi.

Bought a Roomba. Kep. It will keep the main level and my floor downstairs clear of dog hair. Shoulda bought this years ago. Happy Hanukkah, me!


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A Joyful Hanukkah

Samain and the Holiseason Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Tara. Workout yesterday. Feeling good. Rigel sniffing around up here. Ham. Stuffing. Lox. Latkes. Brisket. Chicken Soup. Chicken Pot Pies. A full refrigerator. Alan. The Weekend. No workouts. Dry Weather. Drought. Wildfire. Prostate Cancer. Myriad Genetics. Kep. Lying outside in the cold air. Happy.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Hanukkah

Tarot: Four of Arrows: Rest, The Guardian, #15, The Sun of Life, #19  wildwood tarot


Question: What do I need to know to make Hanukkah joyous?


What to avoid: OK. This one stumped me at first. The Four of Arrows. Rest. So I read further. It can signal a time of anxiety and stress from which we need rest. It can also signal trying too hard in a relationship, pushing the other away. In order to transform into the beautiful Butterfly I need to avoid being anxious about Sunday. Simple as that. If I can do that, and I can, it will flow.


The Issue: The Guardian, #15 of the Major Arcana. The Wildwood Tarot Guardian replaces the Rider-Waite decks’ Devil with the skeleton of a Cave Bear. The Bear guards the entrance to our inner darkness, our fears and prejudices, our deep concerns about worthiness, even the inner pathway to the Otherworld. I live on Shadow Mountain, atop the burden of the occult.

Our family ripped open, fault lines ready to move. The death of our matriarch, the anima. Hanukkah, a festival of the light, offers us a chance, as did Thanksgiving, to confront the Guardian, show him our fears of family disruption, even dissolution. And gain the rich power of fears felt together, of fear turned into psychic power, enough power to sew a new quilt with the remainder of our lives. May it be so.


Action to Take:  “A symbol of the power of light and fertility, The Sun Of Life represents blessings, joy, health, and emotional harmony. Like the bright rays illuminating the darkness in your heart and life, The Sun of Life reaches deep within you and energizes your soul. This is the time for your sun to radiate the world around you, bringing warmth, light, and harmony to others.” tarotx

Be the Sun of Life. Avoid giving in to anxiety and stress, go past the Guardian into the dark cave of my inner world and face my fears, then burst out of the blackness filled with joy, with sunny fertility, with the joy of creativity.

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Samain and the Holiseason Moon

Friday gratefuls: Thanks giving. Kate. Who was always prepared. Ruth, who did not want to talk about Grandma. Then, did. Good stories, well told, bringing Grandma to Thanksgiving. The Ham. The Stuffing. The Pecan Pie and the Cranberry sauce, both made by Ruth. The Texas Toothpick Gabe got me served the ham. “It was the best present ever for you, Grandpop.”

Sparks of Joy and Awe:  The kitchen remodel

Tarot: doing a spread later


On the Pampas, 2011

It has come and gone. The first major holiday without my wife, without Grandma, without the oldest sister, without Kep and Rigel’s and Jon’s mom. These are holes in the fabric of our family, dug by Azrael. Left to be filled in as we knit together a new family, one without her physical presence.

Since I have long cooked the holiday meals and since Kate’s presence as an active participant in the holidays began to fade a couple of years ago, it was not as painful as it might have been for me. Ruth, less so. Jon, too. Gabe seems pretty level.

We spent time talking about Kate. Jon remembered when she brought the makings for pizza when he was in rehab. Ruth remembered Kate and her cooking. Gabe said he didn’t remember much. I told about the time in the Galliard Cut of the Panama Canal when a woman sitting with us pulled out wet wipes, just like Kate always did, and I gave in to her be prepared way. Then there was that time in Pizarro’s house (really) in Lima, Peru. She leaned her head on my shoulder. So much more.

Pizarro’s Place

On our honeymoon I got pneumonia and spent most of the time in Vienna recovering. Thanks to the antibiotics Kate had packed. Kate as the ninja weeder. Her name for her dogged attention to the plants out of place in our garden. A bandana around her forehead, a spading trowel in her hand. She gave so many things all she had. The ski bags she made for Jon. That dress she made from six-year old Ruth’s sketch. The shirts she made for me. Her medical practice. Her quilts. What a woman. So lucky I met her and got to love her. Be loved by her. May her journey be what it needs to be.

Slept in for an hour this morning. Cooking and cleaning up after a big meal. Whew. I find myself now able to do all that, not cringe. Just do it. What I’m not is a great host. Kate had that gene though neither of us enjoyed the role. Wonder if I could learn? Not sure. The introverted me finds shepherding an event and cooking/cleaning for same just too much. Not sure if I want to learn though it is an ancient and honored part of entertaining. Making folks feel welcome, seeding good conversations, maybe a game or two.

Kate with Jon at St. Josephs 2019

Whenever reading books about the Middle East, especially historical works, the rules of hospitality are so prominent. No matter who, even an enemy, deserved and received at least three days of food and shelter and freedom from attack. Don’t know whether that reflects actual practice, but they did lift hospitality to a prominent social norm, for sure.

Sunday night, the first night of Hanukkah, Jon and the kids return. I’m making brisket, traditional, and Jon has the making for latkes. We got a gift from Schecky and BJ, a box of lox (hah), latkes, apple sauce, sour cream, Hanukkah candles, and gelt. The presents from the sisters, the wrapped ones, are on the downstairs table. Not sure yet how we’ll handle the 8 days of present giving and candle lighting. We’ll decide on Sunday.

Another first without Kate.


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The Seven of Vessels comforts us with grief

Samain and the Holiseason Moon

Thanksgiving thanks: Safe trip up the mountain for Jon, Ruth, Gabe. Joe and Seoah. Mark in Minnesota. Snow. 17 degrees. Rigel whining at 5:30. Kep nudging me. The warm loft. Mini-split. The warmish living room. Mini-splits. The warm when I need it downstairs. Mini-splits. The ham. The Italian sausage. The sourdough bread. Cranberries. Dried and fresh. The Wild Rice. The Pecan pie. Kate, Thanksgiving and Hallelujah.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Gabe, the helper

Tarot: Our Thanksgiving Oracle – Seven of Vessels, Mourning*. wildwood tarot


I encourage you to read the words from Tarotx*. They feel true to me and to my recent experience. The spot on nature of this card, on my first Thanksgiving without Kate, would have amazed me a couple of months ago. Now, it’s just wonderful.

Thanksgiving. Everyday. This day, too.

We had snow yesterday. Made the trip up here a difficult one for Jon and the kids. 285 gets slippery and clogged with Colorado drivers during snow events. Nice to have white outside this morning though.

The solar panels have snow cover. This year I’m going to start raking the front of the bottom tier of panels, encouraging the snow above to slide off and onto the ground. The mini-splits are electric. Trying to find a less expensive way to heat this house. Not an easy task.

Taking care of Rigel and Kep (as they in turn take care of me) and taking care of the house. Things that keep me going. Burdens? In some moments, yes, but overall? Not at all. Privileges of skin color, money, survivorship, true, but mostly of a full heart.

Whoever you are. I’m thankful for you. Reader. This dialogue. You. Me. Together for this moment. Namaste.

Started reading A Master of the Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark. Trying to cut into my television habit. Which I enjoy. But. I also want to read more. This is alt-history with steam punk flourishes. Set in 1912 Cairo it features alchemy, magic, boilerplate eunuchs, dirigibles, and djinn. This one has me. A lot of my kinda stuff.

Also reading from the same stack: The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow. Kate Strickland and Michael Banker recommended Heller. He’s a Coloradan and a hell of a writer. The Dawn of Everything takes a new look at the pre-history and early history of humanity based on archaeological and anthropological work over the last several decades. This is an important book. It recasts everything from the nature of hunting and gathering to the Neolithic “revolution” and beyond. The two David’s especially rely on indigenous actors and thinkers.

Well, the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh over the white and drifted snow… Have a good time today!


Kate, on the Pampas, 6 days before Thanksgiving, 2011


*Mourning begins the process of recovery after failure or loss of a loved one. This process may even be unconscious, we often do not realize what is important to us until they disappear. Mourning gives us a way to live with loss and to honor the important and meaningful things we have experienced in a personal relationship. It allows the flow of emotions to go up and down naturally according to the mood and bring about a sense of ending, healing, or peace. That, of course, can take a long time and some of the losses become more profound than others because mourning is a very separate and private process, sometimes it takes many years to heal.

In Ireland, the custom of guarding the dead is an example of handling and healing the loss by transforming a ritual into a ceremony to honor the achievements and life. Celebrations of completing a journey and starting a new journey are part of the traumatic cycle of people. Regardless of the loss, regardless of the ritual guarding of the dead, let them go in love engraved with true memories. Save the wonderful and precious moments of life and do not let the memories go by when there is no respect for life…

The Seven of Vessels Wildwood comforts us with grief. The skulls and grave merchandise have been carefully laid down – and ritual – with love and respect. When we also set out our losses, with love and respect, we will find freedom and peace that eluded us. As The Wheel and The Mirror show us, if we can free up the past, we will start to heal and start a new cycle for ourselves. Today, the Seven of Vessels asks us: What are you mourning? Can you create a ritual that will help you honor what has been lost?    tarotx

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Samain and the Holiseason Moon


Wednesday gratefuls: The Turkey Liberation Front. Stuffing. Family and friends. Clouds. Drought. Woolly Mammoth tusk found ten miles off Monterey Coast. 200,000 years old. That’s older than even Frank. Mark in Minnesota. Honey Baked Ham. In the frig. Ready. Safeway pickup after I talk with Diane. Jon, Ruth, Gabe. Coming tonight.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rigel shook off her hang dog look. (I think she had indigestion. From that glove of mine she ate.)

Tarot: Message of the three card spread from yesterday. We will have a joyful Thanksgiving. If we remember Kate (we will), and rejoice in our time together. (and I intend to)


Bit the quartzite bullet. Ouch. $$$. Not gonna settle. I want a beautiful kitchen. Jodi and Bowe came by. Brian, the Fairplay cabinetmaker whom we chose because my cabinets would be handmade and available in time to get the work done before Christmas, told Jodi he needs more time. Ah, the joys of remodeling.

I liked Bowe. He seems competent and confident. A good combination. The sticking point is this: Bowe can do demo and install the new cabinets in two days. Give or take. But he has to wait to finish the backsplash and the plumbing until the quartzite fabricators measure, cut, polish, deliver, and install the counter top. So, if he has to wait a week on Brian, that means a tight, tight schedule with the waiting time on the countertop.

All in all, not a big deal. With one exception. I have to empty all of my cabinets. I don’t feel comfortable putting things away in the new kitchen until it’s done. A long time to have everything in boxes. I can still cook, use the refrigerator, and the microwave though I don’t know about the sink.

As most of you already know, remodeling means people a large sum of money to inconvenience you in your own home. I don’t have the wherewithal, nor the desire, to move out during the work.

The end result though. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Decided I’m going to find a personal trainer who will come to the house. I don’t need a lot. A new workout every 6-8 weeks. Attention to form so I do the exercises correctly. I like Deb Brown and On the Move Fitness but I don’t feel comfortable going in with Covid surging. Especially, I’m sure, after Thanksgiving.

I do have questions about physical fitness and the aging body. What is my goal? I understand the cardio goal, I think. Work the heart hard, often. At faster and slower intervals. But in the resistance work I’m not trying to bulk up. Never was, certainly not now. How do I know when I’m doing enough resistance work? Do I really need to do three sets? Those sort of questions. Even the cardio. I’ve read too much and absorbed too little.

Trying to bring Kate in closer. Has resulted in more tears. But I expected that. Kate and I are still together, always will be. Unlike, for example, Raeone and me, Judy and me. Kate and I shaped each other. Not so much with Judy and Raeone. A bit, of course, but nothing at the soul level.

Had an insight about mussar. Jewish ethics it’s called, but it’s actually about practical ways to improve character. We learn about midot, character traits. Examples: joy, patience, judging another favorably (and, ourselves), loving-kindness, curiosity, courage of the heart. Each session we come up with a practice to help us “get” the character trait.

Here’s the insight. It’s not so much learning about the character traits that’s important. It’s the constant willingness to examine ourselves and pay attention to the ethical choices we make that creates a heightened awareness of how we are in the world. That awareness is the gift of studying mussar. One I imagine you could gain by studying Buddhism or Taoism with a similar intensity and regularity.

It is not, let me emphasize, a guilt trip. You could take it there, but that’s sorta silly. The core of mussar teaching recognizes our humanness, our flaws and our strengths. Work on one, build on the other. Life-long journey.

When you add tarot into the mix, another route into the development of character opens up. Archetypal work. Venturing into the collective unconscious. Like mussar tarot guides us into looking at parts of ourselves we might otherwise gloss over or outright ignore. Both tarot and mussar require unflinching honesty. That’s another psychic muscle that gets bulked up in both. Without honesty we fall prey to our prejudices, our assumptions, our too quick takes on the world.

Let me give you two examples. The first, about judging the whole of a person favorably. When I encountered this idea in mussar a month and a half ago, I realized in my thinking about Jon I had allowed myself to focus on what I found lacking in him. (note: by my standards, probably not his) When I balanced those things with the good parenting, no, excellent parenting, the long arc of his art teaching career, his own art making, his tender heart, I realized I had an unbalanced approach to him.

Since then, I’ve changed my interactions with him, trying to respond to those positive characteristics and reinforce them. To give him support in critical life areas that can reduce his anxiety. Result? I feel better about my interactions with him and he seems to be eager to interact. A positive change.

Tarot: Each card I draw for a daily oracle or the cards dealt for me during my Tree of Life spread reading with Mark Horn invite me to investigate areas of my life I might miss, or deny.

rider-waite deck

In the Tree of Life spread I had the Emperor in the Keter position and the 9 of Swords in Malkut. The Emperor suggested I look at how my organizational skills might help some as yet unidentified cause. I’m moving in the hermit direction but the Emperor suggests I should not foreclose any particular style of living. I’m currently resisting the idea of becoming engaged with or creating a new organization and might continue to. But even the resistance is a creative tension. Making me consider facets of my new life I might have pushed away.


The nine of Swords in Malkut, the opposite position on the Tree of Life from Keter, this world as opposed to the whole universe, suggested I had grief work to do before I could move on to the next phase of my life. Specifically, I have to bring Kate in closer as a blessed memory, as a daily helper, as a net positive in my psyche. This is to counter my remorse over feeling good when I wonder if I should still be feeling bad.

Continued feeling grief stricken will cripple me. Block me for a new vision. I sense my movement is in the direction of bringing her in closer. But, I’m not there yet.

Time. As Kate would say, the tincture of time.




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Dogs. House.

Samain and the Holiseason Moon


Tuesday gratefuls: The waning Holiseason Moon, high in the Western Sky. Thanksgiving. Family. Joe. Seoah. Ruth. Gabe. Jon. The Johnson sisters: Annie, Sarah, BJ. Their gifts for Hanukkah. Kep and Rigel. Kate, her memory, alive and loving. Wildfire. No snow. Drought.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Irish Wolfhounds. (almost bought a puppy)

Tarot: The Green Woman, #3 of the Major Arcana, Queen of Vessels: the Salmon, Three of Vessels: Joy


Good workout yesterday. Made myself a homemade version of cacio e pepe. Had it at Gaetano’s while waiting to see if they could find Roger. Really liked it. There’s had two eggs over easy on it and so did mine. Tasty and filling.

Brian came by to do some final measurements. He’s building my cabinets. Jodi and Bowe, the installer, come this afternoon for measurements, too. I’m leaning toward the Taj Mahal quartzite in spite of its price. The aesthetic of this kitchen is a major reason I’m doing this remodel. The quartzite would be the signature element that brings it all together.

My vision for the house is even clearer now. Leather chair upstairs. Buy a rocking chair, a distinctive low table, an Arts and Crafts chandelier, and an Arts and Crafts floor lamp. The turning book table upstairs. Downstairs. Kate’s leather chair. A small table next to it. The rolling computer table nearby. The coffee table stays.


The Stickley table goes up to the Sewing Room (aka, our dining room). The leather hassock goes upstairs to the loft. How to decorate the Sewing Room as a dining room is still a work in progress, but I’ll get there.

I know this all probably seems weird, but it’s my way of honoring Kate’s presence here while making the house more mine.  Next year will be the outside, front and back. Retop the driveway. Make a gas firepit and lounge. Perhaps some more plantings. An ignition free zone around the house for 5 feet. And the garage clean out, redo the floor.

OK. Maybe Hermitage is a bit far out on the continuum. This will be home. Yet it will have both recharge, refresh and work place, as well as be both family home and my home alone (with dogs).

Rigel, 2011

BTW: My cousin Kathy sent me a link from an Indiana breeder of Irish Wolfhounds. They have female puppies. I could get one. Not cheap. $2500. $500 to hold. Boy, I want to. I even messaged them, asked them about payment. But, as with the Akita puppy, I’m going to pass. A main reason in the case of the IW is size. I long ago lost the ability to move a 150+ pound dog into the back of a car. I can do 100 pounds. In the case of the Akita puppy, it could outlive me. And what would happen to it? Murdoch is not other dog friendly.





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Some days…

Samain and the Holiseason Moon

Monday gratefuls: Mark Horn. Tree of Life spread reading. Ancient Brothers. Siblings. TJ Henry. All-Clad 12″ skillet. Induction cooking. The Ham. Ruth, Jon, Gabe coming up Wednesday night for Thanksgiving. Mark going to Minnesota. The beautiful Holiseason moon. A splendid morning. Life with Kate. Now. A corner I need to turn.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Tree of Life tarot spread

Tarot: Eight of Stones, skill. wildwood tarot.


What a day. Ancientrails. Journeymen. (Ancient Brothers?). TJ Henry. Derek and the air conditioner. Late nap. Tarot reading by Mark Horn, Gates of Light Tarot. Lots of love on this day.

The Journeymen. Or, the Ancient Brothers. Yesterday morning Paul, Bill, Mark, and I. We spoke of siblings, how we felt about them, how they were in our lives now. A heartfelt hour plus. In the end we recognized the truth. That we are, and have been for many years, true brothers to each other. Including Tom, absent with Roxann for her mother’s funeral on Saturday. Siblings are not solely about blood.

Afterward over to Evergreen Comfort Inn Suites. A woman had posted on Nextdoor about being forced out of her house with her two dogs. The guy she lived with shut off the electricity to her area, cut her wifi, and did other things she chose not to mention. Some thought it was a scam, but it felt genuine to me. And, besides, I’d rather take a chance and be scammed rather than not take a chance and leave somebody in need without help.

Even after I met TJ and her two fluffy snack-sized dogs, I couldn’t tell for sure. Came home wondering.

Then, I found this posted on Nextdoor this morning.

TJ Henry and me
Strong and Powerful Evergreen Community.

Thank you all so much for your help and support in my blight of late. I cannot thank you all enough. I am putting together a list of all the resources sent to me for someone else who may need them in the future. I will distribute.

Charles Buckman-Ellis, who recently lost his wife, left me with these kind words today. “Thank you for allowing me to help you today!” A beautiful man with a amazing soul. Rich Wyatt. Thank you for the ride to Walmart. Greatly appreciated. 🦋

Not a scam. My heart. Went full.

Later in the day Derek, a true neighbor, came over and helped me remove the single room air conditioner from my front window. It had cooled Kate while she sat in her place working crosswords and playing solitaire. With the mini-splits in place it had become a source of cold air leaking in from the outside and unnecessary. Into the garage.

Also Derek.

Couple of trees, one dead, too close to the house. He also took down dead trees further back on our lot. A decent symbiosis. He heats with wood. I’ve lost the strength necessary to do my own logging. (which, btw, I don’t like) Even when I was able to do it these particular trees seemed beyond my amateur arborist skills. Didn’t want to drop  them on my roof. Derek tied ropes to them and felled them away from the house.

He also offered to build a bench using one of the logs and the two stumps. I said, sure. That’d be great. Think he’s doing it right now.

Kate, about a month before her death

Then, in the evening I had my first ever tarot reading. Mark Horn, of Gates of Light tarot. Gonna go more in depth on this later. Tarot works. How? Not a clue. Well, some clue, but not much.

Here’s the big takeaway. In order to move into my next life, next phase, I need to embrace Kate as a presence in my life, a positive, support presence. I need to end the paradox of feeling remorse for feeling good. When I can pull this off, my next life will emerge on its own.



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Samain and  the Holiseason Moon

Ruth arranging Hanukkah presents

Sunday gratefuls: Ruth and her sadness. Gabe and his joy. Jon and his struggles. A family meal. Chocolate chip cookies and chex mix. Holidays. Holiseason. Cold weather. Drought. Wildfire. Kate and Mike. Max. Paul and Sarah. Tom and Roxann. Death. Life. Friendship and family. Politics. And its heart knives. Weariness. The race has been long.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Hanukkah gifts from the Aunts

Tarot: The knight of stones, wildwood tarot


The Aurora Olsons

When I woke up from my nap, Jon, Ruth, and Gabe were already here. They came in quietly knowing my napping habit, bless their little hearts. Around 3 pm. Long nap.

Gabe, who is blossoming, took a box I had set aside, one of many for the kitchen remodel emptying of cabinets, and cut arm holes and eye holes in it, wearing it over his head and upper body. I’m a box troll. Good energy for the day. For the Hermitage.

Jon got tired out by the end of the week, but felt good about it. Next week he’s off for a week, then starts up for two weeks, then Christmas two weeks off. A gentle return. I take him on December 7th for a colonoscopy/endoscopy. He’s never had a solid answer as to why his heath declined so fast. I went from a strong middle aged man to an old man over the course of a year.

He limps from some muscle weakness in his left leg, unexplained. His hip feels out of joint. But. He seems to have the Addison’s (adrenal insufficiency), thyroid insufficiency, and his type 1 diabetes under much better control. In particular he admits he’d let his blood sugar run high since the divorce. Five years ago. Now he’s trying to go back to his usual running lean.

Like many others during Covid Jon got off his exercise routines, too. Pretty important for maintaining muscle strength, cardio fitness. He feels in a bad enough place physically that he’s not planning on skiing this year.

Ruth made biscuits and chocolate chip cookies while I made chili. Discovered a flaw in the induction ready pots and pans I purchased as a set. The skillet is too small and so is the dutch oven, at least for the kind of cooking I do when I’m making a larger meal. Back to Williams-Sonoma this morning.

The Paula Deen chili recipe I chose filled the whole skillet and I initially had to leave out a can of black beans. Overflow. Felt like I was cooking in a very cramped space. Good part? Induction stove tops are easy to clean. Still learning, but getting there.

We ate late. For me. Early by the Aurora Olson’s standard which it seems is a more Latin American 9 pm.

Far from gone

Still suffering news aversion. On NPR I heard the Rittenhouse verdict. Pounded my steering wheel. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Then I turned off the radio. Feels like the world may be slipping out from beneath me. If it does, where will I be?

On the other hand that new life, the one I’ve written about, wondered about. Seems it will have cooking, family, friends in a central spot. One ring in a three ring circus. A second ring. Work, my life alone.  Third. Something more communal, perhaps political, perhaps religious, perhaps occult. Maybe all three?

The fourth phase. Spirituality. Relationships. Action. Creativity.

Tired. Lost sleep last night. First time in years I had a small stitch in my colon, a sure sign of anxiety for me. I’ve remained calm, mostly, even through the strains of the last year. Oddly, I think it may be getting back to a more normal day-to-day that has caused my anxiety. I’m not fending off or encountering huge stressors. I have time to think about my relationships with Jon, Ruth, Gabe. With Mary and Mark. With the Journeymen (aka Ancientones). CBE. I may slip out of the moment and into tomorrow, or the next day. Result? A frisson of tension. A soupcon of angst. Working on it.






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