"Buffalo gal won't you come out tonight, come out tonight, come out tonight. Buffalo gal won't you come out tonight and play by the light of the moon." There are old, old voices in that song, and I would like to say it was a gentler time. We all like to think that the long ago of our childhood was gentler. It felt that way, at least to me.
There are differences between then and now. The people who taught me that song have gone to heaven, nirvana, or the stillness of the stars. Gone, not here, they are out on sabbatical preparing for their next gig. They were difficult when they were here and it is difficult now that they are not; It's complicated!
The past unfolds itself with stories, pictures, songs, or art... Nostalgia makes the hash or rehash of long ago, go down better. Love is always truer, fights are fiercer, and the apple pie tastes oh so good! Nostalgic remembrances are part of what makes childhood seem like a gentle time. Those old voices put themselves between me and the hard times. The people who knew me best kept so much at bay.
Spirit shows up when we are doing ordinary things. My family did so many ordinary things with my siblings and myself. They fed us, clothed us, taught us. I took those gifts for granted, and did not see the spirit in them at the time. We were taken to the county fair every year. Our childish voices join our Aunt Anita in song. I made wine cookies with my grandmother. Playing tag, Red light, Simon says, Old maid, Pin the tail on the donkey with my sister and cousins. On a cold winter's day my father put my sister and I in an old horse drawn sleigh and pushed us around, and around the town's ice skating ring. My mother's famous cookie jar that was never empty. All these things zinged with spirit, and then some. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, all of them miracle workers of the ordinary.
The people and the ordinary things made me less afraid during the Cuban Missile crisis. We ducked and covered at school. The television brought troubles right into our living rooms for us to hear and see, The turmoil of Civil rights struggles. We watched JFK's funeral together, together in sadness; thought not like Caroline, and John John now without a father. The news still came into our living rooms, and the people I knew best still kept doing the ordinary things. That buffer of love that I took for granted.
It is not that I did not appreciate it, I just did not understand the depth of it. Maybe I do not fully understand it now. I can picture them in my head, hear their voices in my mind, all of them. Of course there was confusion and chaos when we were all together, yet I miss the bickering, the noise, and especially the laughter.
Here's an old song taught by old, distant voices, remembered by a woman who was a young girl once. "Gonna dance with a dolly with a hole in her stocking, knees keep a knocking, hole in her stocking. Gonna dance by the light of the moon." By the light of the moon. I appreciate more and more the spirit that is in ordinary things.
"Snarky Fairy Godmother"
The past couple of weeks I've wanted to use my magic wand in very inappropriate ways. The gremlin godmother has been trying to possess me. I feel like the tomatoes in the tv commercial. "I've been pinched, poked, prodded, and punctured." Physical retribution would definitely provide big satisfaction, even though I know it would only last a sort period of time. Oh and there is:
What goes around, comes around, plus when it comes back around to me it will be three times as bad.
I have difficulty with frustration. When I get frustrated, I jump right into judgment, anger, bad-mouthing etc., etc., etc.... Also with an Italian cultural background (esp. with my family), yelling and holding a grudge is in my DNA. Patience was not a virtue, to be able to outshout someone was.
Hot weather and bad knees have not made me a kinder, gentler person. The fact is for a fairy godmother I am very human. I realize the things I get frustrated with, are the things I usually don't like about myself. If those traits are exhibited by another person, it is so easy to point the finger. The hard part is figuring out what upsets me in the first place. Then come the realization that "oh crap" I do that too!
There is no boot camp on how to be human, or a fairy godmother. I've learned behavior equals communication, so that should be the cue. If I am behaving like a jerk, what is it that I am trying to tell to myself? My friend has a daughter who has challenges with socialization (like she is the only one). Her therapist gave her a motto to remember and use, "Say what you mean, and mean what you say". Hey that sounds so easy, we humans make it such a real chore.
The book, "Plant Intelligence, and the Imaginal Realm", by Stephen Buhner, offers up this interesting tidbit. The word intelligence, comes from the Latin phrase, inter legere. It means simply to choose. The dictionary defines intelligence as the ability to learn or understand, or deal with new or trying situations. Keeping the magic in my magic wand entails not exhibiting snarky behavior. Being true to the code of the fairy godmothers seems to be the appropriate choice. Hey, I think I just learned something!
Sorry about the wait. I have suddenly developed a social life. Today is for being social with the people where I live, and all the beings that are here. Blue skies, light breezes, the crows cawing in the distance and my cats helping me write. There is so much life here... plants, trees, animals, insects, fish, birds, the creek. It is wonderful to just sit and be.
A long time ago in the mystic, distant past, the Scandinavia people called the Sami were asked to make a choice. Just what the choice was, I don't remember. I can not forget the outcome. Part of the group was destined to live for generations by building and living in shelters. The other part of the Sami kept the skies for their roof and the earth as their floor, and continued to walk with the reindeer.
Why does that story make me think of home? In a dream, I went back to the Eternal City restaurant. It was much like the way I remembered as a child. There were two doors to my grandmother's house. The door to the left lead to the area where my grandparents lived. The door to the right lead to the restaurant, and bar. Entering the door on the left, I saw my grandmother, I knew I could not stay, so I entered the right door. Instantly I started walking, looking and talking. I wanted to make the Eternal City a shrine. Then I woke up.
I did not live with my grandmother, yet her house is where I felt at home. Entering that door to the living quarters, was entering a space where I was loved unconditionally. When I opened the door to the bar and restaurant, I could be totally myself amongst the friends and strangers there. Receiving that gift of unconditional love made it possible to give love.
What does that have to do with home and the Sami? It takes time to find the words to express an idea. Quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Where we love is home. Home that our feet may leave - but not our hearts." The Sami brought me to the realization that this body, heart and mind that I inhabit is my home. When I love myself unconditionally, it is all the shelter I need. If I truly care for myself, I can be at home anywhere, even with the skies as my roof, the earth as my floor, walking with the reindeer.
"What the Knotweed taught me"
I confess, I used to be a pull it out by the roots pruner. If a plant offended my human sense of order; it was just a tug, a rip, and the mulch heap for them. No mercy. No thought, their best use was compost. Even in this place where I live, the lush land reached in to my heart touching it so tenderly Still, I was agressive with certain plants.
I started with Jewelweed, also called Touch Me Nots. Bedazzled by Better Homes and Gardens' gardens. I wanted one. The obsession turned me in to a plant terrorist. Store bought plants were superior to weeds. I uprooted the Jewelweed left and right. The hot house honeys did not last long and my planned garden failed.
As much as I tried the Jewelweed came back which was good. When the Jewelweed came back so did the Hummingbirds. It is one of the favorite nectar flowers that fuels the small bird's flight. A friend had me taste one of the flowers, I can understand the attraction.
Then I turned my rath upon an invasive called Knotweed. According to the in-the-know plant people, invasive is bad, native is good. I got on my garden gloves, and went after the insidious Knotweed plants. There was only one course of action...eradicate the invasive.
By chance, a radio had Stephen Harrod Bunner, a National lecturer on herbal medicine, on . The host who had Lyme's disease, asked him about invasive plants, naming Knotweed as one. Bunner stated when a plant arrives in a new habitat, there is a need for it. Knotweed somehow helps with Lyme disease. That was the twist I did not expect.
My private war on weeds in general has stopped. I may contain some when they try to take over. I always make sure there are enough to flower and bloom again. Why? Because this Spring I have not had the Bumblebees in my yard like I have had in the past. Hummingbirds and Bees love those plants.
Nature describes itself honestly, relationships are not hard to discern. The connections of all life displays the intimacy of symbiosis, where needs outweigh the wants. Success or failure depends on agreements made. Harmony and balance are necessary because we are all magical beings and we all share the earth. I've held a stunned Hummingbird in my hands, its heart beating so fast, the wonder of the Bumblebee who should not be able to fly, and doing it anyway because that is how it survives. The plants and flowers that sustains them bring beauty and grace into my life. This place where I live which touches my heart so tenderly, made me realize I need it as much as it needs me.
One day recently I woke up in a funk. A sleeping pill hangover kind of funk. Funny thing.. I don't use sleeping pills. Everything was hazy and fuzzy.. Yes, I have cats and they are shedding. It was not fur. Edges seemed blurred, and my get up and go packed up in the middle of the night and left without me.
I still had to get up. Cats won't let you stay in bed when they want to be fed. The world wass revolving at its usual speed. While I was moving like I was underwater. My vivid imagination even gave me bubbles when I was trying to speak.
The question becomes, what should I do? I just could not shift out of low gear. The thought of getting dressed, having breakfast, seemed like taking those first steps up a very steep hill. Just thinking about all of the promises I had to keep made me short of breath. How could I function? The only option available was to do everything ever so slowly. If that is all you got, you just have to work with it. Do a little ... sit down ... space off ... rest .... then do a little more.
The everyday chores got done .... with more thought and more deliberately. My daily walk was slower, the turtles sunning themselves were impressed. I did not zip by them. The catbirds who took their time getting back up north drawled greetings at me. When I needed to drive, I took the road less traveled. Therefore it was not necessary to keep up with the regular traffic. It was just the road, the car, and me going slow.
When people talked, I listened very intently. It took me longer to understand. The idle chatter in my head stopped just to give me time to focus and respond. Undivided attention is what I handed out. Slowing down..... it was not a bad experience. I got more out of that day, than if I had rushed through it. Mahatma Gandhi said, " There is more to life than increasing speed." I think he was on to something, if you are so inclined, I invite you all to take a "slow day".
The media presented a wonderful human interest story. A young man, a teenager, discovered his great grandmother never went to the school prom. She told her great grandson that she was a teenager during the Depression. She told him, even if her school had a prom, she would not have been able to afford or attend. He invited her to his prom as his date. He even had the DJ play a special Frank Sinatra son so they could dance.
There is a children's song that sings, "Be kind to your web-footed friends because they might be somebody's mother.". The subject of moms can be dicey; experiences with the person who acted as mom are varied and emotionally charged. That individual who filled the bill as mother can be almost anyone, it does not even depend on gender. Mother's day at the very least should be about examining that realtionship and honoring the person that laid the foundation for the individual you are.
A philosopher, Epictetus, thought everyhting has two handles: One by which it can be carried, the other by which it can't. If we grasp the handle of hurt and injustice, it makes any situation unbearable. If we pick the situation up by the other handle, you or I can carry it and go forward. That other grip could represent focusing on the brightest moments of a relationship. Enduring family ties or how we grew and developed as a result of the relationship.
None of us have had a "Leave it to Beaver" childhood, some of may have come close. So pick a grip, if the choice is hurt and injustice, we do not have to hold it forever. When the weight becomes unbearable put it down, try the other handle. When my mother turned 80, I began to let go of the hurt and injustice. Picking up that other handle was not always easy. Changing the grip made being with my mother those last years of her life, a journey. An adventure that was worth the whole trip together. I got to see her as a young girl, a young woman, and to appreciate all she had gone through.
Cinderella was her fairy tale, and mine. Something we shared as a personal joke. There is always stuff you have to go through in a fairy tale to get to the ball. It is not always pleasant. Once we got through that stuff, there we were in fancy dress, with someone we loved and they were playing our song..
PS. Remember to be home before the clock finishes striking twelve...
It was an extreme winter; snow, sleet, freezing rain, frigid cold that went forever. It also effected a good chunk of the USA. Mother Nature played with us, the two previous winters were mild, I would say they were balmy in comparison. I try not to put good or bad into events. I enjoy Winter and still do even though this past one was harsh, and a challenge. It wore me down and took me longer to recover.
"If you ask for redemption, it will tune in and answer". This is a song lyric I just heard maybe from Roseanne Cash. Winter brought me car troubles and a bout or two with cold weather viruses; yet there were some wonderful moments.
A small band of whitetail deer paid a visit from time to time. First one would appear, then another, and another. Together, yet with enough space between them, so they could bound off in different directions if anything threatened. Cautious grace making its way through a tough season.
The resident red fox ran across the frozen creek, just at dusk. Enough light so I could watch in silent admiration. It was so swift, the gait was almost unnatural looking, as if the fox was gliding. A minimal amount of movement, it paused checking for a meal, wary, composed, then it moved, following the frozen strea, checking the edges for mice or moles.
Birds I usually don't see in the Winter, were at my feeders. It appears some of the migrators divided their ranks. Some staying north, others going south, intuition warning that the Witer would be harsh in both places. A strategy to ensure their survival.
Lingering Winter made appearances in March and April, even though the vernal equinox arrived. Redeem meaning to get back or recover, that cautious grace that gets us through the tough parts of each season. Spring offering promise and hope. A warmer sun, melting snows, you and I have reached another season. It has come back, let's see what we can recover.
A Fortune cookie recently offered me this advice, "Adventure is worthwhile in itself". The word adventure brings up a picture of Action Max or Maxine with all the right tools, physical and mental abilities, and skin tight pants with tees, oh my! Certainly that does not describe me, no skin tight clothes, I'm built for comfort not speed. I can figure things out sometimes, and tools are not usually in the place where I need to use them. The way adventure is portrayed, is not what adventure is.
The Eternal City Restaurant and Bar is the place where my roots entwined with my mother's family. Many grand adventures occurred so that the people and the business could come into existence. A Revolutionary war was fought. The New Englanders who fought that war moved to frontier New York looking for good land, and better opportunities. The Erie Canal was dug, railroad tracks laid, communications improved, and families in Europe yearned for something more.
My Great Uncle came to America, and built a restaurant called The Colonial Inn on the Erie Canal. He made money to bring his family to New York. Slowly some of his sixteen brothers and sisters came, then his mother and father. They settled and made lives for themselves in Upstate New York.
Adventure is my heritage. My ancestors survived ocean voyages, tuberculosis, The Roaring Twenties, World Wars, and the Depression. They sent sons to fight in World War II, grandsons to fight in Vietnam. They did all this by cooking meals, and serving drinks. They made a place where the average adventurer could rest, refuel, and then carry on.
The adventure is life itself. Sit. Have a meal. Pour yourself a drink. Rest, and let your thoughts go over all the events and people it took to bring you into existence. Now start adding up people and events that got you to the place where you are now. It is quite the advneture, and it is still going on.
PS. Welcome to the Eternal City Restaurant and Bar, please make yourself at home.
Welcome to this new page! My good friend Andrea has joined the site to blog... She offers so much from her life experiences. She is a care-giver to all of nature's beings. She is the person who drove me back and forth to work when I had broken my elbow.. 2 months of making sure my life did not stop. She advocates for those in need, and just does it because it is the right thing to do. Her partner in crime, Jim, also supports her noble causes.
The name of the page is based on the restaurant her family owned. It should actually say restaurant and bar, but the page name can only be so long. Andrea had been sending out her blog on e-mails, but since we all live deep in the woods where even internet struggles to find us, she has asked her community to joing our community.
So welcome to all....
New Years eve 2013....
It just got up to 10 degrees here, the birds are stopping at my bird feeders, and a couple
ducks are taking advantage of the corn pile before the creek freezes over totally. Ah winter
the time you keep the wood rack filled and the home fires burning.
I had a very good holiday, I put the intention out that I wanted to have more contact
with family members and low and behold I ran into more of them out and about then I did
at holiday gatherings. That is a gift.
Now, I will no longer be sending out e-mails, as the Ghanaian proverb for today states, "all
things have their time and end." I will be blogging on the web site www.gotpeaceofmind.org
I am on the second page and the title of the page is The Eternal City Restaurant. That was my
grandparents place of business and their home, it was right next door to my family's home.
I spent a lot of time there.
Speaking of home lately there has been a great deal of emphasis on the one home to us all
The Earth, it has come up in tarot spreads I've done, conversation, in the wanderings Jim and
I have done recently around the house we live in, be it ever so humble there is no place
like earth. Treat her as your home, honor her and take care of her, she quite literally
supports us all. We need her though to make the relationship truly work she needs us too.
Happy New Year all and look me up if you feel so inclined, love and good wishes.
Con Brio, Andrea
Today is is 16 degrees out and the snow covers most everything. Yesterday we
woke up to -8 degrees and an odd snow event, we did not get over 5 inches though
the cold kept the salted roads very slippery, it was not a good travel day.
Society has deemed it necessary for people to receive what they want the moment they wish for it and we feel got to have it now and in abundance. The past few months spirit has made that a lesson point for me. One of the African proverbs
was "hardship can teach", our transports both broke down on the same day, and we
live way out in the nether world. Not having a car is not difficult if
you live by the rule, have most of what you use in stock, which we did, living
in the country it is good to have a little back up. Our problem was getting
to and fro, a friend came to the rescue and now both cars are fixed. It took
time and many unnecessary things got put on hold. You know, I did not need
all that I thought I needed in an instant. Great lesson!
Deepak Chopra in his "Book of Secrets" Revealed that there are two chemicals
called actin and myosin that evolved eons ago to allow for the muscles in insects wings to contract and relax. Those two proteins are responsible for the beating of the human heart. Millions of years in the making coming to a human on your street. An insect evolution into flight helped us to have a working heart. So our job is to learn to use that beating heart, when to hover,
go back and when to go forward and never to give your heart away. After all
it is yours, though be secure enough to show your heart it takes a life
time and a few million years to know its value.
Con Brio, Andrea
Written on 9/11/12
travels up north in NYS I driven by a church that proclaims it is a
Free Association Church, in my imagination it is a church where any religion is
embraced and celebrated and all our welcomed even those who do not have a god, goddess or any belief at all, free association totally. What is truly the
one law of the church is the association, I have discovered a quote that
I need to share from a book I discovered at a garage sale that says it all.
The book is "The Bone People" by Keri Hulme copyright 1983:
"They were nothing more than people, by themselves. Even paired, any pairing,
they would have been nothing more than people by themselves. But together, they
have become the heart and muscles and mind of something perilous and new,
something strange and growing great.
Together, all together, they are the instruments of change."
No matter who we agree with or disagree with on this perilous journey we are
all instruments of change.
Con Brio, Andrea
Funny the way things work out, I noticed that all the humming birds had left
my area at the end of the first week in Sept. Last year they where here until
the last week of Sept. So taking the clue, I got my indoor plants in and
yesterday my sweetie and I worked at getting the raised beds he made for me
prepared for winter. A good thing the weather man said only the valleys would
have temps down close to freezing last night, it was thirty two degrees last
night. We got the pepper plants that still have small peppers up and out
of the ground and now they are house plants. The birds are better weather
people than our weather people. If I had not noticed I would have lost a few
plants. Migrating birds do not give any public announcements, so
I try to pay attention. Often that is not easy, we are told to pay attention to
so many things; fashion hairstyles, cars, health reports, politics, etc. and etc.
I am very glad I noticed the birds. The full moon makes its appearance this
Saturday Sept. 29th, 2012 at 11:19EDT so be aware and take a look. Slip out of
the TV, the computer, the smart phones go a little naked with your senses into
nature. See the sights, touch the fall flowers and leaves, hold someone hand,
feel the crisp air, breath in the wonderful smells of apples, apple pies
cooking. Taste those items that are the harvest of the summer. Sense what is
around you, be aware. Drink in those simple pleasures, don't take them for
granted they support us in so many ways.
Con Brio, Andrea
Written on 10/15/12
There was a new moon at 8:03 am EDT today, I wanted to touch some e-mail hands.
I've been thinking about a place that most of us have experienced. A certain
house in a certain neighborhood one that existed sometime in our lives. A house
where there are a lot of people, everyone is welcomed, if food is being served you are offered a seat an the table and a plate. You don't have to dress up, there is sharing, laughing, talking maybe even music. When I first thought of this I instantly was in my Grandmother's house. Relatives came and went, home made tomato sauce, the neighbors came it was the neighborhood bar and eatery, everyone was more than just a costumer. As I went into my memory more I remember
an Uncle Eddie who lived in Staten Island his home was like that, and a friend
I met in the 1970s and another friend I am close with now who opens her home to
the neighbors and the neighbors children. What got me into this thinking, well
I am not able to quote it well and I do not remember the poet' name; the idea was if your heart is full there is always room for more, if your heart is empty there is no space.
Also around the last full moon I woke up three mornings in a row with two
words sacred ground running around my mind. Out of the box thinking made me realize all that I love in nature is a sign of a full house. The wonder, I actually got to walk with a flock of wild turkeys for a few moment last week.
All the creatures, plants, trees and rocks that have for what ever reason made me take notice. A full house, they give me so much! It makes me realize there will always be more in the universe. There will always be more after that. Look
into your heart, your memory and all around there is more fullness than we
Con Brio, Andrea