Friday, February 27, 2009


Every time I see a birch tree, I think about the Bill Morrissey song, "Birches". Hopelessly romantic, I would seek to burn them and dance in the light as well. But even before Bill's song entered my world, I was enchanted by birches. They were few and far between where I grew up, so whenever I spotted their white bark, I was always drawn. Delicate layers, pale and peeling like lace, birches seemed to be the bride of trees. As a child, I would gently peel the bark, trying to preserve a note sized section. Writing on birch bark transported me to ancient times; I was elite, a Russian princess or maybe a chosen Ojibway hiding the scrolls. Now I am content to gaze in fascination, freezing moments in photos and memories. Still, hopelessly romantic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Something changed

80% of the time, lyrics came first. Always. I started making up songs before I could even play a note. It's what kids do. I just never grew out of it. But even when I began playing guitar, lyrics nearly always came first. Poems set to music. Occasionally a whole package would present itself, notes and words seemingly already married. Very rarely would a melody enter my head without a lyric attached.

Past tense. Something strange happened last June. On the night of the full moon, everything changed. I didn't know it then. It was chalked up as one of those rare occasions when a melody alone demanded attention, most likely precipitated by the phase of the moon. Until it happened again. Driving, humming, humming what? And again. Surely, it's something I've heard before that I am unwittingly plagiarizing. So I play it for my husband, a couple of friends. They can't place it either. So it continued. Creativity as I know it was turned on its head.

What could make everything change? Change nearly in an instant, over night, with only the full moon to blame? Was there actually an evolution so gradual that I just didn't notice everything slowly turning upside down? No. Something happened. An odd magic, a twist of reality, something drastic yet natural, something beyond definition. Something.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Sleep. It seems that there is never enough time for the quantity of it which I desire. And I desire a lot. Please don't wake me, let me hibernate. Quilts and afghans pulled above my head, warm and dreaming, stretch, sigh, curl up again, repeat. Today was rare. Somehow the luxury of an afternoon nap became a reality. Once asleep, guilt over tasks left behind is forgotten. Plans for dinner are irrelevant. Control is gone. Such a gift, to be able to let go; to dream even as the sun shines on the scurrying world. The week will be there waiting for me when I return, greedy of time, always pressing for more. But for now, it has to wait. Don't spoil the afterglow. Stretch, curl up again, repeat. Sigh. Sleep.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


"I'm so hard to handle, I'm selfish and I'm sad ....
I wish I had a river I could skate away on"

Joni Mitchell has a way of bringing to light what most would hide and accepting it, if not being proud in the process. From her heart to her sleeve to her paintings and songs, that unabashed honesty flows. We are who we are.

I recognize my selfish streak, my hard to handle tendencies, my stubbornness. Reigning it in can be a chore when the mood strikes at an inopportune time. My father used to tease me in his best Garbo, "She vants to be alone!" when I'd withdraw. Sometimes it made me giggle; sometimes I would just brood. Sometimes I still brood. It's part of who I am, not the whole, but a part. Might as well put it out there on my sleeve, in honesty.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

April come she will

Morning birdsong is beginning. Robins are flocking. Buds are swelling. The calendar still says it's winter, but signs point to spring.

There is no control over the seasons. They will ebb and flow at their own pace, teasing us with a few warm days, only to freeze the world again by Thursday. I can lament winter's passing and our paltry one and a half snows all I want, but it is to no avail. Spring has the blessed freedom to do as she pleases.

So I give in, seed catalogs scattered on the floor, as I sit cross-legged, sipping tea and pouring over blueberries, basil, heirloom tomatoes and beets. I long to work the soil. Sun on my back, fragrant earth beneath my knees, tiny green shoots growing into salads and pesto, ice cream and pies. It won't be long. I know winter will come again, perhaps next week, but spring is immanent. She'll come what may.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day

Love can be forever; it can last infinitely. Or not. Ask anyone who has ever been in love. In other words, ask anyone. Rare is the individual who has never been in love.

Nothing non-alcoholic, nothing legal, can impair judgment as much as falling in love. Under the influence, you can convince yourself of anything. It's dangerous. It's exhilarating. Hormones, endorphins, serotonin, adrenalin. You're a superhero, a psychic, a goddess, a god; you're unstoppable, invincible and immortal. You believe in infinite love.

Perhaps that is why few marriages stand the test of time. When love changes, and it will, people are just not ready. They refuse to accept it. They continue to seek the rush until the chase leaves them crushed. Admittedly, some things were never meant to be, but others?

Infinite love does exist. It takes a good portion of leeway, continual attempts at understanding, repeated forgiveness, sympathy, empathy, patience and humor, but it's there. Sometimes.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Somewhere In Illinois

The world smells like a wet screen door
1978 in Illinois
Woven with patches, white paint peeling
Where the cats have clawed

Rain stopped just after nightfall
Still dripping from bare trees
The sycamore groans, gravel crunches
It’s almost like going home

Then you come to me on the full moon
As clouds skirt the starless sky
Bringing me nothing that I’ve asked for
But everything I desire

And I’m back on that sad old porch
Familiar as my minds own eye
The screen door creaks, you’re there again
With me one more time

Just barely time to say goodbye
As the rain comes back to fall
The moon disappears, and you with it
Somewhere in Illinois.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

"Death is there to keep us honest......"

"......and constantly remind us we are free." DF "Ghosts"

Cemeteries are a reoccurring theme for me. Odd, I suppose, for someone who wants to be cremated. But these were the playgrounds of my youth. Lush and green, lakes with swans and ducks to feed, paths to walk, trees to sit under. Years later, my imagination wandered through endless moonlit graveyards, full of unrequited romance and Hitchcockian terror. Now as I ramble through the quiet stones, my thoughts still linger over unknown stories, broken angels and the ghosts of days left behind. I can't help but be drawn in.

After the last snow, I took these photos in a graveyard not far from my house. Dan Fogelberg's "Ghosts" provide the soundtrack.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I candod beade

I candod beade ad I wand my bandkie......

Having a cold sucks. My lips are chapped, my nose is raw, there aren't enough Puffs Plus with Aloe Lotion in the world, let alone my house. Someone needs to bring me a pillow and some nice hot tea, cover me with a home made afghan or quilt, rub my back and read to me. Nothing I have to do is getting done; no energy to change guitar strings or play, no voice to sing, and the bathroom is not getting cleaned today, either. Soon as I lower my head, the cough will begin, so I fight to stay upright until the dextromethoriphan kicks in, only then will I rest. Of course, a little whiskey might improve the process. The Dextro-Daniels medicinal cocktail. Afterall, what is Nyquil? That's really livin' on the edge, huh? Makes me feel like a rebel without a schnoz. Appearently, my breathing isn't all that suffers when I have a cold. Yep, this sucks.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Shields up!

I name things. Or rather, things I own tend to name themselves. Every vehicle I’ve had has emerged with a unique name. My new truck is no different.

The dealer nearly gave this thing away. They are so desperate to make a sale in this economy. After finding out how much the Chevy Volt technology was going to cost next year, (as much for a small car as I paid for my small house!), I decided to pull the trigger, coz The Grape wasn’t getting’ any younger. I'd keep my beloved old truck and run it into the ground but still get a new 2008, while the gettin' was good. I wheeled and dealed and walked out a winner.

As part of a package, I had to take the truck back up to the dealership and have the Crystal Fusion windshield stuff put on. I was describing it to my husband, “It makes water sheet and rocks and stuff bounce off your windshield without chipping or cracking it.” He laughed, “It’s a force field?” I laughed, “Yeah, but I couldn’t afford the transporter upgrade.” We could not help ourselves. “Shields up!” “Does it have photon torpedo headlights?” Laughter was leaving us breathless. “Where is warp speed button?” “Oh, no! Klingons and Romulans aren’t covered in the warranty!” "Open all hailing frequencies." “Hello, On-Star? This is the Starship Equinox…..”

And so the new truck was named.