Friday, October 31, 2008

Samhain, Enchantments, & Faeries

This is the time of the Wild Hunt. If I listen carefully I can hear it. There. Do you hear it too? You might have thought at first that it was the sound of a beat up car with a bad exhaust. It just rumbled by. Look beyond the glamour. And the children wearing fairy wings and death masks are looking for sweets for the new year. Beyond them, if you squint, you can see the Faery Queen. The children are part of her court, protected by her this night. I can hear the bells on the bridle of the Queen's horse. Or is that an elf whispering in my ear? Ahhh. It is Hallows Eve.

Most of our trick-or-treaters are gone. Soon we'll bring inside the candles that guided the little ones up our steps. I just took my candle snuffer and put out the black candle that lit up the Katrina doll we got in Mexico a couple of years ago. She still stands in our front window, waving her bone fingers.

I had a lovely Halloween thus far, thank you very much. I drove to Portland today to attend a class my friend and mentor is teaching at one of the colleges there. It's called Faery Shamanism! Can you imagine? I sat in this classroom today listening to a anthropologist talk about faeries, shamanism, gender roles, soul rescue and more. It was delightful! I'm teaching this class in a couple of weeks while my friend is gone. I'm looking forward to it very much.

I realized this week that I have been under a kind of enchantment. Some people might call it a curse or a thought form. I like the idea of an enchantment. It sounds less...curse-like. Enchantments can be good or bad, and if you can sing something into existence, it seems to me you can sing it out again. What I mean by enchantment is this: We all have these untrue things we say about ourselves or about things in our lives all the time. (In fact, we may have said them so many times that they actually have become true.) When we tell ourselves these stories again and again, we are casting a kind of enchantment over ourselves.

I hear people repeat these kinds of enchantments again and again. Things like, "I just always say the wrong thing;" "I never fit in;" "I'm stupid;" "nothing I do ever works out."

One of the enchantments I've been saying for years is that I am not a good teacher. I thought this was fact. And yet when my friend asked me to teach her class, I was very excited. I used to teach college composition, and I loved it. I didn't really love reading and grading all the papers, but I did enjoy interacting with the students.

This week, I began planning for the class, which is four hours long, and I didn't feel a twinge of anxiety, which one would expect if one was really incompetent at something. And suddenly I realized my idea that I couldn't teach was an enchantment I had put on myself. Where did it come from? When I was managing a branch library, I would train staff, and I realized that I knew how to explain how to do a particular task one way. If they didn't understand my explanation, I didn't know how else to explain it. Since I knew this about myself, I would tell my staff that if they didn't understand me, figure it was my fault not theirs and they should ask me again and I'd get someone else to train them on a particular task. Today I realized that just means I'm a poor instructor which is completely different from being a bad teacher.

Knowing that a community college in Portland offers a class called Faery Shamanism has gotten me thinking about all kinds of things. Maybe I could teach again. It's a thought.

So I shall begin the new year without that particular enchantment on myself. How about you? Are you ready to release some of your enchantments?

Tomorrow friends will gather here for more magic, and I'll let you know how it goes.

May Our Ancestors Rest in Beauty!


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Happy Hallows!

air witch

Blessed be & blessed sea!

(Air Witch by Kim Antieau, crayon)

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

This Is GREAT!

My sister sent me this and I just laughed out loud—at people cursing me! You can go here to see it on a bigger page with them trumpeting my "sin" even more.

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How We View the World

I mentioned to my friend in the comments of another post here that we should just agree to disagree because we have different world views. I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately. Sometimes I'll listen to people talk and I'll think they're from another planet. Or I am.

And I do think that there are many different world views, but in our country there seem to be two, generally speaking. Often you can tell who someone is voting for based on those views. I tend to believe that most people are decent and well-meaning. I believe in community and in helping people out. I think people need to step up, contribute to their communities, and to take responsibility for their lives. I tend to see us as a community: fauna and flora, stars and moon, men and women. I'm not an American first. I'm a human being living on a glorious beautiful planet. I am part of a community, part of a family. I live on and love this particular part of the world. Political lines are arbitrary and constantly changing. Unfortunately, these changing lines often become battle lines.

Mark Klempner writes about these differing world views in "How Much Damage Has Eight Years of Conservative Rule Done to Americans' Psyches?"

He writes, "Over the years I've come to realize how much our basic opinion about humanity has vast repercussions—not only on our personal lives, but also on our politics. If you assume people are 'no damn good,' you will probably favor more police officers and prisons, and you may not see anything wrong with capital punishment. You will also favor fences, walls and barriers of all kinds, and believe that it is prudent and perhaps necessary to own a gun. It's likely you will have supported George W. Bush in his pre-emptive war against Iraq, maybe even after you learned that he depended on lies and deceptions to carry it out. After all, life is about choosing the lesser of two evils.

"And what if you think that people are 'really good at heart'? Though you may be a dove, you will not necessarily be a starry-eyed dreamer. Many of those making the most basic contributions to society fall into this category: nurses, teachers, social workers, counselors. These individuals typically believe that it's better to rehabilitate people than to lock them up, and that negotiation and diplomacy are better than the use of tactics of domination and the last resort of war. They see true peace and security arising from goodwill and generosity, and probably keep a good book rather than a gun by their pillow."

Klempner talks about what changes have happened after eight years of Bush's reign of error and how so many of us have become burned out from trying to stand up for what we believe in and work for change.

He writes, "When Bush got in, all the neocons came out of the closet, but if Barack Obama wins, their divisive strategies will be challenged. The White House will no longer welcome or be a home to born-again bigots, torture apologists, habeas corpus revokers and the rest of the industriofascist entourage. I also expect that censored truth commissions, muzzled scientists, harassed librarians, bought appointees and coerced generals will cease to be an issue under Obama's leadership. As he extricates us from Iraq, perhaps he could deliver us and the Iraqis from the Shock and Awe strategists, Blackwater barbarians and Halliburton robber barons.

"But none of this can happen without our making a renewed commitment to once again throw ourselves into the struggle and subject our hearts to the dizzying roller-coaster whereby our dreams are brought within our grasp, but might just as suddenly be snatched away."

So true.

I was just talking to my father on the phone. It's his birthday today. I was talking about these different world views and he laughed and said, "Kim, you've got to stop taking all of this stuff so seriously." One of his brothers and sister-in-law had stopped by the house. His sister-in-law told him she was going to write in Hillary's name, and my uncle said he didn't know who he was voting for. My dad said, "I'll tell you who to vote for." And now he said to me, "These people are in your own family and they have the same background you do."

"I'd been wondering where these undecided voters were," I said, "and I find out they're in my own family!"

Yep. Whenever I start waxing nostalgic about my roots or where I come from, my father puts me straight. Like the time he told me one of my cousins didn't believe in the Holocaust. What? I said. And what? He'd only tell me these horrible things about members of my family whenever I started talking about how great my family was; I used to wonder if he did that purposefully to make me feel bad. Now I think he just wants me to know the truth. Today I think his point was that we can become who we want to be inside, no matter who are family is or how we were raised.

That's his view of the world, and I agree with him.

But my father likes to tease me. People have always enjoyed teasing me—precisely because I am so serious about some things. Today I asked my dad if he watched Barack Obama's infomercial last night. "No!" he said. "I already voted. I watched the Piston's game."

I said, "Yeah, I've voted, too, but I watched it. I felt inspired. I really have such affection for Obama. I really believe he's a good and decent man who will work for us."

And my dad said, "Yeah, well you know con men work on those skills."

"Really? Don't you think he's sincere?" And I kept talking, trying to convince my father, while he continued laughing at me. I know my father and I voted for the same man. He was just helping me get down from my high horse.

And then we talked about other things. I got off the phone and wondered if today was difficult for my father. Another first. His first birthday without my mother. First time in fifty some years.

I want what's best for my family and friends. I want them to be healthy and prosperous. I want things to be easy and joyful for them. I want life to be wonderful and easy for everyone.

That's my world view.

Now someone give me a damn magic wand so I can make it happen.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Overhead on the radio: "Rosa sat so Martin could walk and Martin walked so Barack Obama could run and Obama is running so our children can fly."

I just watched Obama's thirty minute commercial. His life is the American dream. He is America. His heritage. What he's done with his life. I wish him so well.

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It was a beautiful day today, and I had planned on being outside for most of it. I wanted to hang out with the salmon. But I ended up doing library work all day, which was cool.

I also spent most of the day fretting, worrying, dreading—and occasionally scanning job websites. Groan. Most of the library jobs are fulltime and most of the jobs involve spending the day sitting in front of a computer. Ugh. I loved being a branch librarian. I was with people. I was doing what I'm good at: managing and providing good library service to my community. I was also great at getting programs for my libraries.

Anyway, I was stressing. Why? Because Mario and I will find out if we still have jobs November 11. Now if life was fair, neither of us would be in trouble since we've worked for this library for 20 years plus each. Mario is probably all right because he is unionized. Librarians are not.

Isn't life interesting? I have been so grateful as of late that I have this job, that I have this life. And then it changes. Or could change. I have let go of New York publishing. It ain't working for me. It was, a couple of years ago, for about a minute. But generally speaking, I don't get them and they don't get me. Or something. I don't really understand any of it. I'm not going to stop writing, but I'm going to publish myself or find small publishers, preferably green publishers.

Anyway, I've been foaming at the mouth worried about making a living, being homeless, and all that. But I'm trying to let all that go. I'm a happening gal. I'm ready for a change! I'm good at many things; it's just figuring out how to get paid for these things. But I'm not going to figure it out now. I'm going to let the Universe provide. Yes, you actually heard me say that. Or saw me say that. I'm going to try that for a while.

I've got more library work to do tomorrow. Then I need to plan the ceremonies for our Hallows gathering on Saturday. And then the Saturday after that, I'll be facilitating a day of the Gifts of the Old Mermaids. Both will be small gatherings, but they'll be fun. I'll let you know how they go.

OK. I've chilled.

Speaking of change, did I mention the deer bones I found out in the woods? Remember I thought the pelvis was a skull of some exotic species. Well, I took dem bones to a man a few miles away and he put the bones in with his beetles. His beetles munched on any remaining cartilage. Then he bleached the bones in hydrogen peroxide. It was very interesting and a bit ghoulish to look at the beetles, which looked more like tiny worms, running around these skulls inside a kind of glass case. And the light inside the case was red. Mario said it smelled like dead bodies. I couldn't smell anything. I was very annoyed.

I picked dem bones up Monday. Then I sat on the floor and tied the loose vertebrate to a femur to make a kind of ceremonial rattle. I had also spent most of the morning going through Church of the Old Mermaids with my head down, so by evening, my neck was very stiff.

But I got the work done.

Maybe tomorrow I'll take photos of the bones.

I thank the deer for letting me use her/his bones. I promise to honor them always.

I'm making dinner. It's rough. Mario waited on me last night when I was exhausted after a therapy session. I promised him I would wait on him tonight. Only I forgot. He came home from work smiling, ready to watch baseball and eat dinner. So I jumped up, ran to the kitchen, opened the freezer—and took out two Amy's frozen dinners. Ahhh, I'm such a good spouse. Last night Mario fed me steamed vegetables, quinoa, and black beans. Granted, I made the quinoa and black beans days ago. But even if I cooked every dinner for the next twenty years, I wouldn't draw even with how many meals Mario has made over the years.

Not that I'm keeping track.

Because I lost the book where I was keeping track.

I kid the hub.

May You Eat in Beauty!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008



If you can, VOTE EARLY. We're counting on the youth vote. Do it now! And to make certain it counts, vote for the president separately, even if you planned to vote all Democrat.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Just Because...

So I'm back. Lots to say. I'll tell you about my weekend later. First I shall blather about current events. The best quote I've heard lately is, "Just because Republicans don't like it, doesn't mean it's socialism." Said by my husband, Mario Milosevic. He is the dude and the dude abides.

While I was gone I had no TV, phone, or radio. But I drove home one night at 3:00 a.m. so I could sleep for two hours, eat some of my own food, drink my own water, and take some Tylenol. (To understand this, you'd have to be me.)

Redistribution of wealth: Hey, clueless, taxes are all about redistributing the wealth. Do you want to go back to the times (when we were part of Momma England) where only the rich had good roads, decent medical care, good education, etc.? Well then, shut the ef up about redistribution of wealth being socialism. (I do so wish we were socialists, you commie bastards.)

I kid the bastards. And the commies.

Girl who claimed an Obama supporter carved a "b" in her cheek. I heard that this weekend, didn't even listen to the end of the story, and I shouted to the car in the dark driving toward home, "That's a lie. She did it herself." Which she did indeededly do. I didn't even know the "b" was backwards. Seems like some news reporter should have noticed that before it became a major news story.

The RNC spent $150,000 on clothes, hair and make-up for Sarah Palin. This just reinforces how sexist they are in their heart of hearts and how stupid they think the American public is. Let's just dress up this woman like a Barbie doll and no one will notice how stupid she is. (And how can someone spend that kind of money in such a short time on clothes?)

And so now some McCain aides are calling Palin a "diva." That just pisses me off, baby dolls. This again points to their deep sexism. I wonder if these are the same aides who thought it was a good idea to dress her up in the first place? Or to actually put her on the ticket?

And Alaskan Senator Stevens was just found guilty of corruption. Far out! (I'm channeling the sixties tonight.) That's one down. Let's keep going. (See, liberals, especially pinko liberals like me, want justice, not violence. We want real criminals put in jail.)

What else? Oh yeah, baseball players just spit way too much. It can't be healthy. And it's freaking gross.

Later, gators.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Spell It Nature

Below are some words I needed to hear this morning. Perhaps some of these words will speak to you as well. I found most of them in my well-thumbed copy of Diane Durston's Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life.

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful. —e.e. cummings

Climb up on some hill at sunrise. Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you'll find it there. —Robb Sagendorph

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay atention to the story. —Linda Hogan

You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet. —Ron Larson.

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness. —John Muir.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. —William Shakespeare.

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence. —Hal Borland.

To be content with little is difficult; to be content with much, impossible. —Marie E. Eschenbach

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. —Frank Lloyd Wright

Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door. —Emily Dickinson

I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive. —Joseph Campbell

The poetry of the earth is never dead. —John Keats

And at last...

Yes, there is a Nirvanah; it is leading your sheep to a green pasture, and in putting your child to sleep, and in writing the last line of your poem. —Kahlil Gibran

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's Really Good...

It's a good thing that I'm going away soon. All this hateful spewing by the right is driving me crazy. So crazy I'm not even articulate. I'm in a constant state of OMG!!!!! After the acupuncturist today, I had Mario take me to the grotto in Portland. I thought this tranquil place might...tranquil me up. We went up to the meditation chapel on top of the grotto. We looked out at Mount St. Helens and watched airplanes land at the nearby airport. Ahhhh.

We stopped in at the empty church for a few minutes afterward and then we started to drive home and were faced with a horrific anti-Obama billboard, probably on the same property as the grotto. (It's a Catholic Church.) It was a photograph of a part of a fetus. I won't describe it any more in case you're very visual like me. Written on it was "This is Obamanation." I almost threw-up. I remembered when I was in high school walking through the mall and seeing these huge blow-up photographs of aborted fetuses. I had no understanding of what I was looking at, and it just made me despise the people who could take such photographs and blow them up and make partitions out of them.

Today I felt hate and disgust for the people who put up that sign. I don't like feeling hate. I can see how one begins to think of other people as the "other." Anyone who could do something like that seems like the other to me, seems like a psychopath.


So for the next few days, I intend to try to stay away from any news of those other people until I stop thinking of them as them. I will hang out with the wild things.

And then I'll go for my last weekend in my two-year Celtic Shamanism training. A group of us are determined that we are going to have a joyful time this session. The last two sessions have been just a wee bit depressing. Maybe we can dance up a healed world too. At the very least, I will be with people I love, people who talk to the trees, bees, wind, sun, moon, and other visibles and invisibles.

May You Dance in Beauty!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Days & Nights

I'm looking outside, to the south. I have a gorgeous view of the gorge cliffs. The colors have started to change so the deep dark green cliffs now have patches of yellow and orange here and there. A moment ago, it was pouring down rain. No wind, just huge fat drops of rain falling to the ground. Above, gray and white clouds move quickly East.

Mario is upstairs talking with the InDesign folks. InDesign is the new PageMaker. We use PageMaker to create our various books. He's been working on the cover of Church of the Old Mermaids. I have the TV on in the background, Hardball with Chris Matthews. I wanted to see how the Republicans can justify the hate they've been spewing. (They can't.)

Maybe I should turn it off and just watch the clouds drift overhead.

When it rains like this, the missing tiles on the Methodist Church across the street really show up, like when you put a dull rock in the water and suddenly the colors pop.

After the Gathering last week, I couldn't sleep. The next night I couldn't sleep either, not until about 4:00 a.m. (So that was 72 hours with about six hours sleep.) An hour and a half later I woke up with terrible anxiety. I felt like I was dying or my brain was coming apart. I had had a little sugar and chocolate the night before. I sometimes have reactions like this to caffeine and/or chocolate and sugar. I can't tell when this will happen, but it's one of the reasons I have black or green tea about once a year and the same with sugar. Anyway, it was terrible. I couldn't get off the couch I was so terrified. I just kept telling myself to breathe, breathe. I could hear Mario upstairs working, but I didn't want to disturb him. What could he do? I just had to breathe, breathe. I felt stupid, too. If the anxiety (that's such a mild word for what I was feeling) was caused by what I ate, how could I have been so stupid?

A couple hours later, Mario came downstairs and I whispered what was wrong with me. As soon as he touched me, I started to feel slightly better. Skin on skin. The best healing agent.

The clouds above are roiling now, almost like smoke from some unseen fire. Starlings fly below the clouds. A light is blinking on and off across the river.

At the Gathering on Wednesday, one of the women was talking about how her mother was choosing to be difficult, choosing to be depressed. When she was finished, I said, "But no one chooses to be depressed. It's a disease." I think I embarrassed her. I shouldn't have said anything. But it worries me when people think that way about mental disease. My mother did not choose to be depressed. I have never chosen to be depressed.

I was so sick on Friday. I wondered if I would ever get better. I just breathed and breathed. Mario made me breakfast. He rubbed my feet. And then he went to work.

On Saturday morning, I was still woozy, but I felt much better. We headed east toward Goldendale where a friend was holding her wedding reception. It was a beautiful drive. I have lived in the gorge since 1987, and I never get tired of this drive. As you go east, the hills rise up on the north side of the road, huge, always reminding me of the thighs of some great goddess. At this time of year, the hills are beige and golden with dried grass. It's soothing to look at them. They go on for so long that it feels as though we're moving slowly, able to take it all in.

Soon we were up on top of the hills, and meadows unrolled all around us. To the north was Mount Adams partially covered in snow. Big sky country.

I breathed deeply. We had lived in this part of the state twenty years ago and it was one of the worst years of my life. I got so sick. I was so miserable. Everything seemed ugly and sad and depressing. I was so happy to leave. Now, I enjoy returning every once in a while for a visit, especially for something like a wedding reception.

We drove until we came to a grange in one of the small towns in the area. "Town" is probably the wrong word. I didn't see any stores. Someone had wrapped wildflowers around the railing on the steps to the grange. Inside the grange, someone played the piano. We knew a couple people, so we talked and looked at photos from the couple's wedding in Switzerland. The bride is about my age, falling in love and getting married for the first time. I feel so blessed (yes, blessed) to be in this place with her family and friends to see her love and be loved. The couple came into the grange dressed in their wedding clothes, and they received a wedding blessing from the Methodist preacher. (I think she was the Methodist minister.) I can't remember any of the words, but it was lovely. Not a word about god. Just about love.

After we ate, Mario and I decided to go home. We had to wait to leave because a herd of cattle was coming through. Border collies and men, women, and children on horses kept the cows going down the street. One of the young boys practiced roping as they rode by. Some of the cows called out. There was something restful and beautiful about watching the cattle and the horses, the dogs and the people. It was a glorious crisp clear day. I was standing on the Earth next to my man.

Breathe, breathe, breathe.

Later, Mario and I went to Eagle Creek to watch the salmon. Ahhhh. My, my, my. How can I articulate my love and admiration for these maroon-colored divinities? Massed together near the falls, they turned the water burgundy-colored. And they leaped, leaped, leaped into the air! Some of them had pieces of their flesh gone, yet they still had amazing energy. They were still alive. Laying eggs. Mating.

I whispered sweet nothings to them. No, I whispered sweet somethings to them and they stayed close to me and I to them. Remembering what the Old Mermaids said, "Laugh or cry, we swim in your tears." Do the salmon swim in our blood? Does the wisdom of the salmon swim in our blood? What is their wisdom?

You can go home again.

You are home, baby dolls. This is it, this is da place.

Love, love, love.

Later, later, later, Mario and I went to dinner in Portland. Then we stopped at Powell's. Often I long for other places. Especially the Southwest. Many days I wonder why I am here instead of somewhere else. This night I said to Mario what I have said before, "I stay here because of Powell's." I love living an hour from this bookstore. I have watched it change from this relatively small store where you could find amazing books for a quarter and where you could never find anyone willing to help you into this gigantic store with branches all over the city. The people who work there are much more helpful than they were twenty years ago. It is an adventure each and every time I go there. Will I be overwhelmed? Will I spend too much money? Will I find something to change my life? Will I cry? Will I find my own books on the shelves? Sometimes it feels as though I am in the modern version of the library at Alexandria when I'm at Powell's.

After Powell's (this night I didn't buy anything), I went to Vancouver and did some library work. Then we decided to go to the movies. We went to "W." We were so bored that we almost left after the first half hour, then after the first 45 minutes, then after the first hour. Bill Maher had said it was funny, so we waited for funny. I laughed very little. It was like watching a Lifetime movie or movie of the week about George W. Bush. I groaned and moaned. I kept waiting for Oliver Stone to redeem himself—or the movie. My dad said he heard an interview with Stone and Stone said George W. Bush was a great American. My dad couldn't believe he was serious. Well, after seeing the movie, I'd say Stone was serious. This movie was close to a Valentine to Bush—or at least a "it wasn't your fault but your father's and the people you hired to ruin our country." Maybe it's all too fresh for me. But I did not enjoy two hours of watching this buffoon lead our country into the abyss.

I wish it had been funny. That's why I went.

We should have ended the day with the salmon, or even with Powell's.

The rain has stopped now. Mario is off the phone. I've got dinner heating in the oven. I've just realized how long this post is. I think I've said enough for now.

Time to eat.

May You Wander in Beauty!

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Fury & Sadness & Speaking Out, Finally

I had lost any respect I had for Colin Powell when he gave that speech before the United Nations when he knew better. He was a big reason the United Nations essentially gave the thumbs up to the U.S. to go to war with Iraq. He has great responsibility for the men and women and children who have died in Iraq. Yesterday, however, he spoke quite eloquently on why he is voting for Obama. He talks about how divisive the Republican Party and John McCain have been. He talked about John McCain giving the wrong answer when someone "accused" Obama of being Arab. Being a decent human being and being a Muslim are not mutually exclusive! He talked about a young soldier who died in Iraq: a U.S. soldier who was Muslim.

Anyway, listen and see what you think.

I have been stunned and saddened by the racist, bigoted, and McCarthy-era tactics the Republican party has been using in its desperation to win this coming election. I listened to a Congresswoman from Minnesota channel McCarthy as she "challenged" the media to investigate "un-American" Senators and Congress people (including Senator Obama). Chris Matthews kept asking her questions and let her hang herself with her own words. I think he should have been much tougher on her, myself. (I just found this Huffington Post article on it and they use the same words I did—channeling McCarthy.) It was terrifying watching and listening to her. She equated being liberal and leftist to being anti-American. Now the Republicans have thrown up (vomitted, really) the evil "socialist" word because Obama said he wanted to spread the wealth. Are people really that stupid?


I'm not saying people who disagree with me are stupid. I think it's stupid and ignorant to vote for McCain or anyone else because you've heard that Obama is socialist, leftist, Muslim, or anti-American. He is none of those things. He is a little right of center, actually. I wish he were more socialist and leftist and I wouldn't care if he was Muslim. And I don't even know what being anti-American means. Being critical of something doesn't mean you're "anti" it. When you're critical of your children are you anti-child? Or anti-your child?

I got a chill this morning when I learned that there are already problems with early voting. In West Virginia, when people vote for Obama at some voting stations, it automatically changes the vote to McCain.

If this is happening all over the United States, or even in a few key states, this could mean the right is stealing the election again. (I do believe the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen.) And if that happens again, we must rise up as Americans and demand action. As Thomas Jefferson said, there are times when revolution is needed. It's one thing if a candidate wins fair and square. But rigging election machines puts us right down there with third world dictators.

No matter what, please go out and vote. Tell everyone. Help people get to the polls. If you can vote early, vote early. If you haven't registered yet, it's probably too late and I can only say: What were you thinking?

Carry on!

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Friday, October 17, 2008


I'm having lots of dreams these days. These nights. Mostly in the early morning, I think. The other night in the midst of a long dream, I performed a healing. In the dream. I walked by a young man on a hospital bed. He was gravely hurt. I started to go on by, but I thought I could help him, so I decided to try. I went over to him and put my hand on his left side where his injury was, and then I put my other hand over his mouth.

A few moments later, he opened his eyes. He was well. He was going to live. He rolled over and looked at me. He said, "I have not been good during my life." I shrugged and said, "It doesn't matter. You don't have to be good. It's up to you now what you want to make of your life."

This reminds me now of Mary Oliver's Wild Geese, doesn't it?

She writes, "You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

Ah yes, Mary. I need to remember your words. Always. Perhaps that was what I was trying to tell that young man on the hospital bed, the man I had just brought back to life.

"Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place in the family of things."

May You Love in Beauty!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

October Gathering

(Evine in my living room during the Gathering. You can see one of the wooden Old Mermaids and Michelle Hoffman's gorgeous painting, Refugio.)

We didn't have the Gathering here last year because we were in D.C. So it was nice to have the gals back here. I made rice and two different dals. I used the berber spice we'd made at Spicy Saturday in one dal. In the yellow dal, I used some garam masala I made quite a while ago. I put turmeric, a whole clove, and seaweed in with the brown rice.

About fifteen women came. Linda's sister Ruth and her cousin Dee joined us, which was great. The best part of the evening was that Serena showed up! What a great surprise. All night I missed Linda. Missed her and felt angry that she was dead. I don't like death. It sucks. I don't care if it's "a part of life." It's the last part.

Anyway, it was potluck, so there was lots of food. We did ceremony. First I turned off the lights. I drummed slowly, and we called out the names of those who have died this year and others who have died and become our ancestors over the years. After that, we each held a piece of ice and said outloud (or to ourselves) what we wanted to let go of this year. (Remember, Hallows is New Year's Eve for pagans/witches.) After we said what we wanted to release, we dropped the melting ice into a bowl.

Next, we each held onto a seed. I passed around a plate with dirt on it. We each said what seed we'd like to plant for our new year. Then I poured the water from the melting ice over the seeds. The burdens we leave behind became compost for the new year. (Later I would take all of it out to our compost.)

Then we toned together. It wasn't very loud. They didn't seem very enthusiastic about it. One thing I've learned over the years of facilitating ceremony is that unless people are used to either singing or participating regularly in ceremony/ritual, they have a great deal of trouble making noise—they have trouble speaking up and speaking out. I don't understand it since I've always had a big mouth. But I do believe we all got to find our voices one way or another.

After the Gathering, several people stayed to watch our tape of the debate. Mario and I finished cleaning up, doing the laundry, and working on Church of the Old Mermaids while our guests watched TV.

I didn't get to sleep until 3:00 a.m. Not because the women stayed that late. I just couldn't chill out. The hamster on the wheel kept going on and on and on. Like a crazy woman.

Except for the crazy woman who showed up at the end of the night, it was a fine day.

(Some of the Gathering gals, including Linda's sister Ruth who is showing Thelma photos of her family.)

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Week in Review

Phew! What a week it has been. How have you all been? Shall I tell you piecemeal what I did over my summer vacation. Or over the first week in October? Lessee...

I've been sleeping, dreaming, walking, talking, healing, feeling, groovin', movin'.

Last Sunday (not yesterday), Mario and I were preparing to drive into Portland. I had a class that was starting at 10:00 a.m. But early on a Sunday morning ain't my grandest time to be up and around. So I was slow. And a few things happened to slow us down further. I was supposed to pick someone up in Portland, but I couldn't find his phone number. We left the house once and came back after a couple of blocks and then left again.

And then we got a flat tire as we were leaving town. We changed the tire, in the rain. And then Mario drove around town to see if anything was open. Nothing was. We drove across the river and found an open gas station. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking. Or humming. Or moving along. I was late. I hate being late. It's a thing with me. I think people who arrive late to appointments and meetings are rude and inconsiderate. Normally, I would have been stressing out about all of this. Having a flat tire. Changing a tire in the rain. Being late.

Instead I was happy as a clam. I was rethinking my obsession with being on time like the good little girl I am. You know why? All the delays that morning had kept us off the expressway driving 65 mph when the tire blew. That could have been bad. Instead, we were sitting in a gas station waiting for our tire to get fixed.

Isn't that much better?

When the tire was fixed, we drove to Portland. Spent the day doing cool stuff. On Monday Mario and I went to Falls Creek. It had been raining for a few days so it was cold, wet, and slippery. On the way back from the falls, my left ankle buckled beneath me and I went down hard on my right leg and right arm. I immediately started doing healing on it. I picked up a stone and moved it counterclockwise over the hurt parts, chanting, "No more pain than this stone." I couldn't remember the rest of the braucherei chant. These chants always work. I don't know if it just relaxes me to chant or if the motion actually draws the pain and injury out somehow—I don't really know—but it always helps. Maybe it just keeps my mind occupied until the initial excruciating pain ebbs.

Mario helped me up and I limped back to the car. I kept chanting and kept using my fingers and flexing my arm do it wouldn't freeze up. Once home I took some arnica, and then I had an epsom bath. No serious injury.

On Tuesday I had a work meeting in Vancouver about a book challenged at our library. Someone wanted a book we had in the teen section moved to the adult section. We talked about it. Everyone thought it should be an adult book, although I felt I didn't have enough experience to judge. I've been selecting graphic novels and young adult novels for nearly a year, but I still feel like an amateur. Ah well. I was hesitant to make a decision, and my boss decided to email the author and ask his intention. (It turned out he always intended it as an adult book.)

Wednesday we had All Staff Day. I had not been to one of these yearly work gatherings for over a decade. I decided I'd try to go. My library director seemed to appreciate my effort. It was in a hotel, not my favorite place to be, but I got to sit next to Mario, so that was fun. And this year the speakers were actually library people. Their suggestions to make our library—and any library–better were pretty much what I'd been saying for twenty years—a fact I pointed out to my director. Sometimes I just don't play well with people, do I? I don't blame him for not listening to me. I have been very critical of the library over the last few years. After a while if all you ever do is criticize, the people being criticized stop paying attention. (Did that make sense? It's late. I'm babbling.)

I suppose it's easier to hear from outsiders. I believe libraries should be about the relationships we build with the members of our communities. It's not about technology. We need to hire people who are comfortable with "the public!" Too many people still go into library work because they think they can hide out. And libraries need less rules. It's public service, people! At the branches where I was librarian, I greeted everyone who came into the library and asked them what they needed. I loved that. Too many librarians and library workers sit (or stand) behind a desk like a queen or king waiting for an audience. There are many more of us who want less rules and more interaction with the public, I think—I hope.

Of course, I'm now a telecommuting librarian so I get very little interaction with people any more.

On Thursday, Mario and I were once again in Vancouver. This time we were judging stories for the teen Fall Writing Contest at the library. That was a fun way to spend the day. We read some interesting, moving, hackneyed, and imaginative stories. Afterward, Mario and I got pizzas and Coconut Bliss and went home and blissed out.

On Friday, I went to visit the Witch on the Mountain in the hopes of figuring out why I'm having so much trouble with computers. I went by myself. Up the mountain. I passed several people on the trail, all of them with leashed dogs. All the dogs (and peeps) were well-behaved. It seems lately that dogs don't get as upset around me as they used to. Kind of nice. I walked to the top of the mountain. It took me a little while, but I made it. I hung out for a while. Then I went down the mountain. And I fell again. On my left hand. It snapped back. I was afraid I had broken it. I stayed down on the wet ground. I grabbed a stone. I did the healing chant. My leg and arm throbbed. I chanted. After a few minutes I was able to get up and I very slowly went back down the mountain, drove home, and took the arnica and bathed in epsom salts again.

And then, then, then, on Saturday at the Old Mermaid Sanctuary we had Spicy Saturday. A bunch of us roasted whole spices, ground them up, and used them in dal. While we waited for everything to cook, we decorated our menus. You can see the before-decoration menus here. It was a wonderful day.

That night we played cards with friends.

It was a busy frantic week, but I did it. It might not seem like much, but it was for me. I was able to do so many things without getting exhausted, without collapsing. That felt like such an accomplishment.

Hmmm. I know when I started this post a couple of days ago, I had a point. Maybe the point was that I persevered. Ain't it cool when we can do that?

Tomorrow is the Halloween Gathering at my house. I love October. Happy Full Moon.

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The When of It: I Need Your Help!

So, we have decided that Ruby Rose's Fairy Tale Emporium is going to publish my novel Church of the Old Mermaids. Now I have to figure out when. Do you want it before the holidays so you can gift it or after the holidays in the spring??? (Yes, I feel three question marks are needed here.) If you have an opinion email me or comment. Big decisions to be made! You can check out the front cover of COTOM here.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Moment of Bliss

I was driving to Portland this morning. Tired. Sore from falling on the trail twice last week. Nervous I was going to be late to all my appointments. And then the news came on and I heard: Paul Krugman has won the Nobel Prize for economics. This is an absolute repudiation of neoconservative economics—of Bush's economics. I was so happy.

On the downside, Krugman thinks the end of the world is coming, economically speaking, and we are all in for a bumpier ride. But for now, I'm just in bliss that he won.

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I Hope So!

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Deer Heart

Yesterday Mario and I watched the Laramie Project, the movie version of the play. It's essentially the story of Matthew Shepard's murder through the voices of the citizens of Laramie. I had seen it before, but it was appropriate to watch it again on the 10 year anniversary of Matthew's death.

It reminded me how hateful so many people are. Not that I needed that reminder. I've heard the hateful and ignorant remarks coming from some McCain supporters at his rallies. Doesn't it make you shudder?

Anyway, you all know that Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die as his brain swelled. He was left out in the cold Wyoming night. Eighteen hours later, a man found him and called the police. The first police officer on the scene was Reggie Fluty. She said Matthew's head and face was covered in blood, except for two lines down his cheeks his tears had made.

But Reggie saw something else as she ran up to help Matthew. Right next to Matthew was a bush and lying on the other side of the bush, close to Matthew, was a huge doe. When the doe saw Reggie, she jumped up and ran away.

The mother deer most likely spent the night next to Matthew. Did she reassure him? Did she breathe on him and wish him well? Did she keep him company as he lay dying?

This is what Reggie said about it: "When I was running up there, there was a big doe lying there—a huge deer, a mother deer. Here Matthew is, and there's a big bush right next to him, and the doe is lying right on the other side of the bush. I didn't see her until I started running up. ...she looked right at me, and poom! she was outta there. I thought, Wow. Did she know Matthew was there? Oh, most definitely. It's not something that was brought out in the reporting, I don't know why. Matthew couldn't talk to me. He had been exposed half the night and half the day. Even though I tried the best I could to comfort him and let him know somebody was there, I think [his comfort came from] that big old doe...I'm sure he could feel her and she could feel him, and she was staying with him till help came."

Sometimes I wonder if the flora and fauna watch us and don't know what to think, what to do. So they offer us compassion. Love.

Love, love, love.

It's not enough. But sometimes all we can do is to love and to witness.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Just a Reminder

There are a couple of new posts on the Old Mermaid Journal.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Faery Goddessmother

So, baby dolls, guess what? A faery goddessmother sent me a card and a check to get myself a new computer!!! Can you imagine? So I've ordered a computer and should get one soon. We'll cross our fingers it won't make me sick. If it does, I'll send it back and get another. I am determined. Won't you be happy not to hear about my computer woes one more second?

This faery goddessmother has bestowed goodies on us before. She's always understood the work Mario and I do, and she likes what we do! In fact, she said Ruby's Imagine is her favorite book of mine so far, and she's read most of what I've written in the last twenty years. (She was one of the thirteen who got Church of the Old Mermaids when we printed them up a couple years ago.) She's one of my favorite peeps. I named a character after her in one of my books because I admire her so much. But I won't go on because I might embarrass her.

I am always touched by generosity. Aren't you?

Love, love, love!

Thank you, faery goddessmother!

More later, gators, when I get my new 'puter.

May You Generate in Beauty!

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I Am Kim Hussein Antieau

You've heard, no doubt, that some conservatives (hopefully very few) keep referring to Barack Obama as Barack Hussein Obama. Yes, it is his middle name, but you know that's not why they're using it. They are trying to appeal to...oh I don't bigots. So I say my middle name is Hussein, too. Okay, it's not quite up to the "I am Spartacus," but I does what I can. Take that, John Sidney McCain.

Care to join me, readers?

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ruby's Debut

Hello all! Still don't have a computer I can use, but guess what? After a week without internet we now have internet again. It's interesting. But who cares about that? Today I had my first reading of Ruby's Imagine.

It was at the library. About twenty people showed up on this very rainy October day. We had a grand time. I talked, I read, I talked. I choked up a couple of times as I read it, especially when Ruby is talking about her imagine. She is a beautiful soul. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so. You will feel good, I believe, being with her. I am listening to her playlist as I write this.

It was great being in my town and at my library. It was great looking out at these people who have come to so many of my readings and who have supported me and my work. I was filled with love, love, love.

Mario and I had printed up about ten Church of the Old Mermaids to surprise everyone, and most of those got bought up. Now I have to decide if I’m just going to publish it myself so that anyone can buy it. That’s what I want. I want people to have access to the Old Mermaids. I reread COTOM and did a little copyediting. I loved it! Loved it. Sometimes I reread books that haven’t gotten published yet, and I understand why they haven’t gotten published. Not this one. I love it. It starts out quietly, slowly, and the story unfolds. It’s like opening a present with care. First you pull the ribbon out of its bow and you slip it off. Then you carefully push your nail under the tape to dislodge it. Then you unfold the wrapping paper. Not in a hurry because you understand the wrapping is part of the process of the gift.

Same with Church of the Old Mermaids.

It has the flavor of some of my favorite movies. It’s not like them, but it has that feeling I get when I watch them: Enchanted April, Chocolat, Under the Tuscan Sun, Shirley Valentine. What books is COTOM like? None that I know about.

Anyway, I still love it. It gave my heart such a boost to read it these past couple of days.

And Ruby’s Imagine? It’s difficult to imagine I wrote it. She’s so beautiful. After the reading a woman stopped on the staircase as she was leaving and she said, “You write so beautifully. The way you put words together is just so beautiful.” And she said more and she said it better than I can. (It's funny but when someone compliments me, it's difficult to stand there and take it. I'm glad for it, but I get shy or something. Many of us do not know how to take compliments.) But I was so moved and touched by what she said. I do want to keep writing in beauty.

I hope I start writing again. Not only start but keep writing. I’ve started so many novels lately and then I don’t go any further than the first chapter. (Or with I, Assassin, I couldn’t go any further than 150 pages.)

This week was the art show opening here in town. My sculpture was in it! Yeah! That was fun being there as an artist. I did that for about an hour. Then I hurried home, took off my little black cocktail dress, slipped on slacks and a shirt and drove in the pitch darkness out into the country for our monthly Healers Circle. We learned more about nonviolent communication, tai chi, and a new food co-op that might be starting up. And we sang. Did some healing work. Much fun.

OK. Time for some lunch.

Hope you’re all doing well! Hope to have a computer I can use soon. First we have to sell the one I bought that I can’t now use.

By the way, Embracing the Child has me as Author of the Month. And Sandra Ingerman mentions Coyote Cowgirl in her transmutation news. Thank you, thank you!

May You Create in Beauty!

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All work copyright © Kim Antieau 2008-.