Monday, November 28, 2011


Or- how my soul simultaneously blooms and stills.

I have recently become quite taken with essential oils; aromatherapy if you will.  Peppermint, lavender, rosemary, Frankincense, Myrrh... you know, the usual suspects.  Each have their own purpose; each have their own reason.  Then there is one called Jatamansi.  It's a fairly unusual oil, introduced to me by my beautiful, wonderful, harmonious yogini.  So if you ever get the chance to have a sniff, have a sniff.

It smells terrible.  I mean, it is not an appealing scent at all.  However, when I get a whiff of it, I feel like I have finally met my soul mate.  I literally can feel my spirit, my heart, the very essence of my being both calm and blossom under the effect of that scent.  Why it has this effect on me, I can't say... but it does, it absolutely does.  My hectic brain and scattered world comes to a grinding halt and suddenly I feel at peace and whole and right. I have been trying to describe this effect to myself and to others with little success until I realized that the key point is that all of this happens at once.  At the same split second.  Stillness and overwhelming vibrant blooming.

Cheers, Friends.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pilgrimage, Part Two

To keep things alive and entertaining, I give you 'Pilgrimage, Part Two' or 'How Many Women Does it Take to Make a Drink.'  Let me preface by saying I adore my family.  I adore every bizarre, quirky, outrageously distinct  inch of my family.  And this blog serves distinctly as a chronicle to the greatness of the Seyfried-Cleerdin/Devaney/Zdobinski/Thompson clan.

 Right now I am sitting in the kitchen and drinking something called a Poinsettia.  It's a delightful champagne drink (see below) with triple sec and a bit of cranberry.  It's totally girly and does, indeed take four women to make.  Once again, I love these people.
So aside from a non-stop festival celebrating the White Man's Fire Water, this past week has been full of the most delicious possible excursions.  For example, and I must say I don't think I could be more excited to share this, I saw a wall of toilets.  A WALL of TOILETS.  It is the first wall of toilets I have ever seen.  And this wasn't just any wall of toilets, this was the wall of toilets at the Kohler Design Center in Kohler, Wisconsin.  It is epically art-deco (or art nouveau depending on which school of thoughts to which you subscribe). And my oh my, it was beautifully well done, all things considered.

Not to mention the phenomenally well-designed toilets (which you can use, as opposed to the wall of toilets toilets) John Michael Kohler Arts Center.  These Wisconsinites really seem to enjoy their personal spaces... their very personal spaces, know what I mean?

There has also been epic shopping- food, thrift, chocolates, more thrift, more chocolates and food.  Shopping in my dearest Auntie Nancy's jewelry box, planters (I am now the proud owner of a Jade plant named Pomona) and closet in general.

Then there is the Drunken Turkey.  I know, I know, but I haven't posted photos in a long time.  Yes, this is our Thom Turkey- or Thomasina, rather, because apparently the smaller birds are women-folk.  And if you look carefully in the back of the picture you will see aleve, ibuprofen, tums, AND Magners hard Cider.  Only one of those items contributed to the cooking of the holiday feast.  I will give you one guess to which item that was.

That's right.  The Cider.

Thanksgiving is the right season for happy thoughts.  Like toilets.  And Poinsettias.

Go Packs (I was informed by Wisconsinite Auntie that I must absolutely say that whilst in Wisconsin).

And then some.

Wait till part three... tentatively entitled 'Without Advertising, We Wouldn't Eat Cookies Made By Elves.'


Until three days ago I had never seen a Great Lake.  Of course in grammar school I learned the acronym HOMES for these harbingers of geological time; later, in college I imagine, I studied the importance of the Lakes in frontier movement and later in the development of shipping, trade, and simple, elegant movement in the United States.  So I knew of them, I knew a great deal about them, but I had never SEEN them.  Not a single one.  At least not that I can recall with any adult memory.

Lake Michigan.  What an elemental experience.

This Thanksgiving Holiday I have begun to think of as a Pilgrimage of sorts- with Wisconsin of all places as my Mecca, my Wailing Wall, my Vatican City.  That's right- Wisconsin.  My father's sister Nancy lives here, in Sheboygan, on the banks of Lake Michigan (of course.. I am geographically challenged so when she informed me that the Lake was some seven blocks from her house I had to lug my jaw off of the floor).  Some time ago I decided that for this first Thanksgiving stateside in two years I should probably take off for parts unknown.  I felt comfort and rightness in going north, started sending out self-inviting emails and my Aunt welcomed me quickly and happily.

Then, because families are what they are, my parents decided to join me; my honorary Aunt would make the trip as well; and about a week ago we learned my father's younger sister and her husband would join us as well.  I guess my pseudo-spiritual quest for warmth at holiday was infectious.  So off we set, my parents and I, and others, on the journey north.  Over the river, through the woods... through mountains and a stretch of Indiana that Dante himself could not have written with more Inferno-esque accuracy... and suddenly (not so suddenly... more like 15 hours later) we pulled up in front of 1212 Main.

We had arrived.  I had arrived.

And then the Lake Michigan bomb was dropped.  Some blogs ago, I mentioned that Mother Nature gives me gifts in the most precious capacity.  This is certainly one of them.  I had no idea that I would see this  body of water.  I had no idea how striking the colors of the sinking sun which played upon it's surface.  That's right, the Pilgrimage was no longer pseudo-spiritual, but entirely so.  The Lake embraced my soul and wrapped me in its ancient, surreal presence.

I have stared at the Lake every time we have driven or meandered by it, trying desperately to memorize it's immense power, it's old old beauty and endlessness.  Here is something glacial, something ageless and unconfined except by shorelines which barely seem to hold it in place.  Here is something that makes sense in a senseless place and a senseless time.

Mother Nature, Lake Michigan, the Pilgrimage, Tom Turkey.... It is Thanksgiving today.  I can hear my aunts and mother in the kitchen, talking about stuffing and clam dip and the date/pecan scones I made last night.  The sounds of family are as comforting and elemental as the sounds of that Lake that is pulsing and vibrating with Greatness just a few blocks from here.

Stay tuned, my friends.  And Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Night of Hecate

If you have never tried psycho-analyzing yourself- you should.  Seriously, give it a go.  Today I wrote the following sentence in a journal designated to chart my course through healing: 'Perhaps my empty body reflects my empty spirit?  Perhaps I punish my body for what I feel my soul lacks?'

Ah yes.  You never know what you'll discover about yourself when you sit back, psycho-analyze, and write.

Anywho, tonight is the Night of Hecate.  For those of you who are wondering, Hecate is the Goddess of femininity and the path of life- she embodies the sacred trinities of Maiden, Mother, and Crone; Mind, Body, and Spirit; Birth, Life, and Death.  If you watch movies about witches, or television series about the same, you often hear her name invoked during rituals.  It's because she's a damn strong presence in the Earth.  Damn Strong.  Her celebrations generally take place at the crossroads- symbolic of decision-making and change.  Light a candle, thank the goddess for her presence along your own particular life path, and start making decisions.

For me this is an important moment.  I'm always all about intuition- knowing when the time is right... to throw away the necklace, to burn the letters, to be braver than the day before- and if there is one thing to intuit about the Night of Hecate it's that my time as Death should be coming to a close.  It is time to make decisions and changes that will lead to Life.  I'm not quite ready for Birth yet.  But Life is important.

And when you have the kind of weeks I have had- the kind of day I have had- you sometimes need to see that in writing.  It does not really matter how obvious a statement it truly is.  Life is Important.

Sit back, psycho-analyze, and write.  Because Life is Important.  And it's important to know what you are doing with it.

Until next time... I wish you all a power-filled Night of Hecate and Good Crossroads.  Cheers, Friends.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November Dark

It is my favorite kind of day.  Dark, low clouds; cool weather; leaves rustling in the chill wind.  This is the fall, this is November.  I sit inside looking completely ridiculous in fake-Uggs, leggings, and a tunic- the clues that I have just finished yoga.  But at least I am meditative and mellow, a good thing for me these days.

The dark of autumn differs from that of any other season.  It rolls in quietly, almost politely... and then it sits, changing its manners to become almost sinister in a way.  It surrounds everything, subtly reminding us that the cold, long winter months are on their way.  It hangs, looms, not brutally cold just yet, but getting there.  Oh autumn, my dear friend.

Autumn, as I have blogged before, is a time for introspection and preparation.  Time to make plans and break plans and plan for survival.  Some of my plans I am particularly excited about- about others I am petulantly and childishly less than excited.  But survival is on my mind today, it has been on my mind for several days, to be honest.  And not just survival in general but how to survive and how to grow; how to turn the need to survive into the want to survive.  Wanting to make it is so much more imperative than needing to make it.  If you don't want it, you probably won't get it.

Which is a bit scary when it comes to survival.

But it is November, and I am okay.

Much love and autumn cheer, Friends.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dear Peanut Industry

I'd like to thank you for all of your diligent and delicious work at keeping me out of the hospital.

I have been thinking about this for a while now.  You see, I am sick.  Not that my dear readers and dearest friends have not picked up on this fact.  No, I am quite confident in the intelligence of my readers.  I am sick with an eating disorder that has torn my psyche apart for a dozen long years.  The past few difficult months have seen me drop a solid 20 pounds off of an already petite (but muscular) frame- far and away the worst I have ever ever been.

Now that everyone finds themselves sufficiently frightened.... The point.

Thank you, peanut farmers, peanut growers, peanut industrialists, inventors, innovators, processors... peanut powerhouses like Jif, Skippy, MaraNatha, Crazy Richard, Teddy's...

You folks have unknowingly and unwittingly saved my life.  Peanut Butter.  Two simple words- Peanut. Butter.  The undeniable superfood.  The most perfect substance for they like me.  Perfectly calorically dense, perfect fats, even more perfect oils.  Super. Food.

So thank you, Peanut Butter.  Without you, I'd be a different...  person.

Cheers, Friends and fellow Peanut Enthusiasts.