One of my dear teachers sent me an exerpt of desiderata today.  Good advice to tuck into the heart:

 

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
Be on good terms with all persons,
Speak your truth quietly and clearly,
and listen to others.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
Be gentle with yourself;
no less than the trees and stars you have a right to be here.
Whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Whatever your labors and aspirations
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.

 

–Max Ehrmann c.1920

Dear Friends,

Happy Holidays!

This treasure showed up in my in-box today and I must pass it along so you too can enjoy holiday happiness in the form of goats dancing to Jingle Bells:

 

 

Every year  for a long time now I’ve been asking Santa to bring me Goaty Goodness. The ducks have a new pen, which means we finally have goat space! Now I just need the goat.

Goaty Goodness

Can’t get enough goats? Me either!!  Check out the goaty goodies below for more pictures and videos:

Goaty Goodness Christmas Campaign I

Goat + “Yoga” Ball = Goaty Goodness

A Gentle Reminder

El-D took me out on a date last night. I got all decked out and then asked him who he thought I was going as.  He dubbed my look Spunky Spice; I dubbed his Incognito. 

Pockets of free time are bursting open in my world – time for dates and other joys – a welcomed gift following a frenzied semester that is nearly over.

Here’s what I love most about December: all the busy-busy of autumn finally finds its way back to stillness. It’s Nature’s time for sleep and dreams.

Only four days in to December, but sleep and dream, I have.  Strange dreams go on and on across years of life, a parallel universe transversed in a single night.

December means time to catch up with old friends, which brings to me to the story of beauty secrets that inspires this post.  The other day I saw a friend I’ve known for many years.  About six months have passed since our last visit. On this occasion she surprised and delighted me by speaking the words every woman wants to hear.  She said,

“Everytime I see you, you look younger and more beautiful! What is your secret?”

Never being one to accept compliments gracefully, I laughed in her face at the absurdity of the remark.

Afterall, I do keep mirrors around the house and I can see Time’s lines etching across my face.  And let me assure you, I know the number of wayward silver hairs wildly weaving through my tresses: sixteen.

Having more social grace than I, she persisted, “No, seriously, what’s your secret? Do you use Oil of O’lay or what?”

I should also explain that my friend and I were in a pretty dark room, so her projection of beauty was  clearly being cast by her own inner light.

Her sweet words got me thinking about the many magazine and internet pages we have devoted to sharing beauty secrets.  So much “beauty” is out there being sold and prescribed: pills, products, lotions, serums, and surgeries. Take your pick.  From eyelashes to fingernails — you can find your beauty fix.  Adornment at these fringes, is that beauty?

Perhaps beauty isn’t in the products we add, but in what we take away or avoid.

Let me tell you another little story.  Around age 8 I began painting my nails – fingers and toes. I collected a rainbow of colors and at least an hour each week was devoted to removing polish, filing, and repainting. This strange obsession of mine went on for a quarter of a century! It wasn’t until my 30s when my nails beneath the paint had turned brittle and yellow that it finally occurred to me I was putting toxic chemicals on my body – and wasting  a lot of time and money in the process. In the elegant words of Sweet Brown,

“Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”

So I stopped.  Without the distraction of the poisoning Mint Candy Apple polish at my fingertips,  I had more time to think about and do other things. Time has to be filled somehow. Shortly thereafter, I also quit eating meat. My conscience could no longer abide the behavior. I’ve never made the connection between these two decisions before now, but I was doing a bit of thinking at that time about the environment and consumption and how I wanted my existence to contribute to the world.  Life went on. My nails grew back healthy and natural. It took awhile to get used to seeing them all naked and unpainted, but eventually I came to realize naked is pretty sexy.

As I write this, I realize how often beautiful and famous celebrities choke the airwaves with their beauty secrets. Why should they get all the attention? We ALL have beauty.  And sometimes our best kept beauty secrets are hidden even from ourselves.  Let’s own up to it.

So what’s my beauty secret?

Beauty comes from prioritizing radiant health and a clear conscience.

What are your beauty secrets?  Please share them.

Read a questioning child’s face
And say it’s not a testament…
That’d be very hard to say.
See another new morning come
And say it’s not a sacrament
I tell you that it can’t be done.

–Peter Mayer

full of awesome

earth, sea, sky & guy

 

 

fallen butterfly on the altar

fallen butterfly on the altar

 

sunshine & shadow play in the meadow

sunshine & shadow play in the meadow

 

the old bridge

the old bridge

 

This is the first time in the four-year history of My Little Spacebook that I’ve gone over a month between posts.  There’s so much to report!

In August El-D and I celebrated our 20th anniversary.

1st 230

El-D & Lunar in the Pirate Phase of our Youth

 

We have seen each other through many faces, phases, places and lives…not to mention various hats and corsets. Whether leaving for the house for dinner or the grocery store, we continue to ask each other “Who are you going as tonight?” There’s Country Gentleman and Woodland Fairy, Monday Night Bowler and YoginiTini, Mickey Mouse Man and Bag Lady, The Professor and Mary Ann.  The odd pairings seem to be endless.  It’s great fun.

Also in August, I turned 40.   My wonderful family made it the best birthday ever!  The party was dubbed “The Redneck Shindig” and featured Slip’N Slides, Italian cream cake, a million baby crickets, and family members trying to one-up each other’s tales about the fires I’ve started in their homes and wrecks I’ve had in their cars.  Good times. Thank you, dear family, for loving me in spite of the havoc I have wrecked in your lives.  I love you and your terrible singing and zany presence.

Forty is fabulous!

Forty is fabulous!

 

One of the highlights in September was a six-hour kayaking trip on the Wolf River. Things were going great until I rounded the bend to enter Ghost River. At that very instant Nature got all up in my business. Plant life reached out to caress me in a creepy-uncle sort of way and two big spiders – one fat and hairy and one little-bodied with long skittering legs – leaped simultaneously and aggressively into my kayak.

Before I go on, I want you to know I can appreciate spiders when they spin their string art and sit around calmly eating less superior bugs. In fact, I appreciate them so much I take pictures and wax poetic about them (see Centered Scribe Spinning, Spinning ) I can even appreciate momma spiders when I disturb their peace with my weed pulling and they take off running with their egg sac full of future spiders.

a mama carrying her silver orb

See? I know this spider and her progeny. We coexist peacefully on the farm!

 

However, when spiders jump in my tiny kayak and proceed to run AT ME despite my flailing paddle and panicked shrieks, I will fight them until death.  It was a long, hard battle – and I had doubts about who would paddle or skitter away the victor as the kayak tilted precariously this way and that. After all that, I thought I was done with kayaking for awhile.

Ghost River

Wolf River

 

So it was a bit of a surprise last week when I found myself back in a kayak, this time in the bayou, on a soul journey with nine strangers. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how that happened and what it was all about.  I’ll let you know when the pieces come together…

Altar on Deer Island

Altar on Deer Island

 

 

 

day after day
I kneel
at the feet
of three year olds

tying shoes
wiping noses
drying tears

and listening to stories about
new bracelets
playing basketball
mean dogs
birthday parties
cooking with daddy

I stare
into the eyes
of the future

and stand up changed

–lunar euphoria

————

On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

– Kahlil Gibran

Disclaimer 1: I didn’t  set out to do a study of bondage, but the theme emerged in every book of my most recent reading spree.

 

Title: Fifty Shades Trilogy Bundle: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed (Vintage)

Author: E. L. James

Synopsis: A rich control-freak falls for an innocent college graduate who looks like his delinquent mother; glitz and glamor, high-speed chases, and deviant copulation ensues.

Why Did I Read This?  Everybody else was doing it?  I wasn’t planning to succumb to peer-pressure, but when I found the first book in the series at the Goodwill I decided to see what all the fuss was about.  As for why I read the second and third books, well there’s no good excuse.  I guess once you jump off the bridge with your friends  you can’t just stop falling.

Was it Worth It? The series may be best enjoyed if you check your intellect at the cover. On a positive note, the improbable scenarios are a diversion from mundane life. The shallow characters and redundant inner and outer dialogue made it a super quick read. The element  of “how much weirder can this possibly get?” and “how will this ever be justified?” may keep you reading.

You May Like This If You Liked:  The Twilight Saga Complete Collection

Title: Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel (P.S.)

Author: Isabel Allende

Synopsis: The life of a slave, Zarite, is portrayed from her girlhood on the island of Saint-Dominque to the “freedom” she finds in New Orleans.

Why Did I Read This? Isabel Allende is a master storyteller who never fails to bring history to life in her brilliant, complex tales. My worldview widens every time I read her work.

What I Loved About This Book:   The characters were layered and multidimensional. I admired Zarite’s quiet, persistent dignity and the rich duplicity in her relationship with her Master and their children.  The history of Haiti was fascinating, as was the view of New Orleans in the early 1800s.

What I Didn’t Love: The brutal bits were hard to stomach.

You May Like This If You Liked: Daughter of Fortune

Title: Burn: An Anna Pigeon Novel

Author: Nevada Barr

Why Did I Read This? Many years ago I joined a mystery readers’ book club at Bartlett Books.  I wasn’t particularly fond of mysteries, but I was fond of cake and I was always looking for an excuse to eat it regularly.  Bartlett Books had the BEST Italian cream cake in all the realm and all their books smelled of coffee.  I convinced my sister to join the club too. She provided my ride to the cake place and served as a social buffer.  I was the youngest member of this book club by at least a decade or three, and her presence allowed me to eat my cake in relative peace. While I always read the book selections, I rarely enjoyed them and I never actually spoke to anyone in the club about them, except my sis. I dismissed most of the books we read as “Scooby-Doo mysteries.”  There were a few notable exceptions, particularly Nevada Barr’s  Track of the Cat (Anna Pigeon Mysteries Book 1), which I loved. I identified with Park Ranger Anna Pigeon, who preferred the company of animals to people.  Anna was gritty and tough and she had a deep reverence for nature.  The other clubers thought Anna too “dark” and “serious,”  which is exactly why I liked her. Over the years I’ve followed the series, but I got behind at some point. Burn has been sitting on my bookshelf unread for about 4 years, so I finally decided to read it.

Just Let Me Say:  Barr went over the deep end of darkness here.  The content was extremely disturbing.  The plot revolves around a child sex-slave and skin-trade industry in New Orleans. Barr zooms in for a horrifying close-up view of a problem that many would prefer to ignore. The details were as repulsive as one might expect from the topic.  In the midst of all that, with smoke, mirrors, and voodoo, she created a huge brilliant plot twist that I never saw coming.   And to confuse matters even more she peppers in a liberal dose of strange  humor  in the most violent scenes. There were several times I had to put the book down and wonder:  what the hell?  

Who Would I NOT Recommend This To? This is definitely not a mystery for the faint of heart or the lovers of Scooby-Doo mysteries or “cozies”.  Based on the reviews of her regular readers on amazon.com, it appears that this is not a mystery for most of Barr’s regular readers either.  All that said, I went out and bought two more books in the series after I finished it.

—-

Disclaimer 2: I’m an Amazon Affiliate, which means 1.) I can use their book cover images in my posts without having to worry about them suing me, and 2.) if you use one of the links I provide in the blog to purchase the book on amazon.com I’ll get like a nickel or something.  I’m disclosing this so you will be aware that if you click on a book link, our electronic “footprints” will be walking together toward amazon.

 

This mind has a life of its own.

It invents infinite lists…
of tasks to do,
of whos to be,
of conversations to replay,
of facts to analyze,
of images to dissect,
of memories to revisit,
of futures to find,
of art to create,
of words to compose,
of dances to choreograph,
of stories to live…

of needs
of wants
of likes
of loves

and so it goes…
on and on.

I’m immersed in the mind as I sit with it all,
the time ticking by and I’m…
Impatient.
Anxious.
Hungry.
Thirsty.
Itchy.
Too hot.
No, too cold.
I’m entirely too dog-covered!

I need a cookie.

and I’m…
smelling flowers that are wilting.

and I’m…
waiting for this 15 minute self-imposed morning meditation to be over,
so I can go on with my *very important* day.

I have forgotten what the point is.

I try yoga-teachering myself, in an attempt to remember,
but the undone stuff calls, waits, looms, threatens, even.

Then, a subtle shifting.

A clicking.

Faint on the periphery
a thousand cicada tymbals vibrate
their persistent little stream of sex and magic.

The chorus swells
into a tidal wave of sound
breaking through
scattering the thought-sandcastles

the mind awash disintegrates like salt

and in the undertow…
the present.

Ever wondered what do with an unsightly tree stump?

I had  a tree stump in my front yard and I thought I was being creative by hollowing it out and planting a flower in it.

But then my sister took tree stump creativity to a whole new level.    Skattur of SoKaN and Recycled by Skattur fame, transformed her ugly stump into a fabulous little gnome house.

 

gnome house 2j

 

You can check out all the adorable details in the pictures on her blog:  Skatturcast’s Blog

I had a magical woodland fairy moment last night.

I stepped into the back yard at dusk, my mind all a-flutter with at least 15 different undone things on my daily ToDo List. I don’t remember why I was headed out back…the ducks were fed, so what could I possibly have had to do out there at nightfall? What I do remember is looking down at the ground and being so lost in a swirl of thoughts that I was seeing, yet not seeing.  Then suddenly I lifted my gaze and my attention snapped back into the living, breathing world as a family of deer – two adults and two babies – came bounding out of the treeline and into the little meadow on the other side of the pond.  I stopped in my tracks and they in theirs as we all stood looking dumbfounded at each other by this chance encounter.  After an eternity or maybe a few seconds, the adults sauntered on through the clearing on their spindly legs and the two babies frolicked, literally frolicked, on as if the word had been invented just for them and they had to show everyone what it meant.  It was so ridiculous and adorable, I could hardly stand it.

Prior to all that I was having “one of those days.”  I had an afternoon class to teach and I had spent all morning- from 6 a.m. ’til noon – preparing for it, and when it was nearing time to leave, I did a final mirror check and realized I had glitter all over my face.  My attempt to brush it off succeeded only in adding considerably more sparkle and smearing it around, for the glitter was all over my hand as well.  Apparently one of my little friends had overturned a jar of glitter in a drawer I had been digging around in for supplies. Another glance in the mirror revealed little chocolate polka dots all along the backside of my skirt.   I had sat in my own chocolate chip cookie crumbs.  On my race to the kitchen to check the time (there was none left) I stepped on a tailless lizard that Yip had been torturing in the living room. It was  on its back – still somehow alive and waving its front lizard foot at me as if trying to tell me there was no time left for either of us. “Go on, go on…” his little gesture seemed to be saying.

So I did.

And I taught my class sparkling like a Stephany Meyers vampire, smelling of chocolate, with lizard blood on my shoes.  I wonder what this will do to my teaching evals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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