Wednesday, December 8, 2004

From my Parents' House

 I am settled in, now, at my parents townhouse, in Highlands Ranch, CO, looking out the window at a small patch of the mountain range, missing J-Land. I find it difficult to be on the computer for very long here because my parents flutter in the background, muttering about interrupting phone service. They are both quite deaf, my mother more than my father, and don't realize how much I hear their complaints.  

The visit is going well. They have their routine worked out-who gets up first, who reads which newspaper first, who cooks, who cleans up, who has custody of the family room at what times, when each retreats to his or her bedroom to nap or read. I work to fit in around their schedule, spending time with each, although more with Mom than Dad. I know for their ages-82 and 79-they do quite well, and have a certain fondness for each other. They have been married 56 years, and are used to functioning together.  

It's not a particularly happy marriage, though. On their 50th Anniversary, after forbidding us to throw a party, my mother said, "Fifty years of cooking!" and my father said, "I am beginning to get the rules down now." These days she nags him to do stuff, then mutters angrily under her breath while he ignores her. I am not sure how much of this he actually hears, and how much he stonewalls. My particular struggle is not to rush in to play go-between, a childhood role in which I no longer wish participate. I'm doing quite well, too. Thank Goddess for therapy!   

I have hung out with my mother quiet a bit, encouraging her to talk about her childhood, and mine, about family history, and have worked hard at giving positive affirmations when she says anything about her feelings or experiences, and harder at trying to ignore the stream of negative comments and complaints which pour out of her. I have realized how lonely she is, and feel very sad about it. Still, we do manage to laugh about things-old family stories and situations, stuff going on today. I feel blessed that we have always shared a sense of humor.  

I am going to write her a letter, telling her what I want her to know-the good stuff I have recieved from her, how grateful I am, because I know now I would cry too much to get it out aloud. I get choked up just thinking about it. Too much emotion not allowed in the years of my youth, it comes leaking out around the edges now, and I am glad to feel it now, even if it makes both of them uncomfortable. But I want her to hear me, not feel upset because I am crying.  

 Colorado is beautiful, as always, and the mountains are so amazing to an Easterner like me. I am here for another week, and am enjoying the quiet beauty of the antiques I grew up with-at home(which was outside Philadelphia) and those from my grandmother's house. My mother has a decorator's ability to arrange her furniture,  paintings, and  odds and ends in a beautiful casual elegance that I could never aspire to. I enjoy it, but could not keep any place so neat!  

Thanks for listening to me, and please know I miss my J-Land friends almost as much as I miss Rene, and Roxy, my dog! I hope all are well, or at least hanging in, during this complicated, blessed holiday season.  

Blessings, Margo    

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

This and That

Odds and ends, as I get ready to leave my life for two weeks and step into my parents' world. I fly out to Denver Dec.2nd and return the 16th. I'll rent a car at the airport and drive to Highlands Ranch (near Littleton), so my father doesn't have to come get me, and I will have the freedom to escape if I need to go for a drive now and then.  

My partner Rene has started a journal! It is called Growing OLD Younger ( ) I am so pleased. I hope you'll go over and leave her a comment or two, especially while I'm gone.  We are very different, but her view on life is always interesting, as she ages up and down at the same time. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.  

I have realized that at least part of my timing of my trip is to avoid some of the Christmas chaos. I get overwhelmed easily these days, and I will have fewer days to worry about what needs to get done when I get back.Last year we did not celebrate Christmas at all-we were both too sick(another long story). I figure anything at all will beat last year, so I have fewer anxieties than normal anyway. It's all for the best. 

 I am taking Rene's laptop out to my parents' house. They are completely uninterested in joining the computer age, and I am already aware that I will not be able to keep up with my daily reading and comment making. I'll try to drop in a bit, and maybe post an entry or two, but do not worry if I am somewhat missing until mid December; I shall return!  

Please know, I will miss you all a lot. The J-Land community is very dear to me, and not keeping up will feel strange. Also, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers, or send me energy or light, or whatever feels comfortable to you for the flight as well as my time there.  

I'm not fond of flying, though I no longer have to keep the plane in the air personally with high levels of stress. I have let that go. Now I just worry about the mundane things. Will I have to sit next to some jerk who hates fat people? Can I handle my suitcase and carryon? Will my body make it without back spasms? Will the titanium rod in my arm set off the security alarm? Will terrorists pick this flight to make Bush start a new war somewhere? Will I get my rental car easily? Will I be able to find my way to my parents house? You know, all the little things. :-)  

Blessings, Margo      

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Family History, Continued...

...Continued from last entry...  

As the eldest child, I was stunted, but also the good, responsible one, and so I went to boarding school, followed its rules, got decent grades, and sulked at home over vacations.

I graduated in 1967, and went onto Clark University in Worcester, MA, were I blew everything - family, school, and myself - out of the water. I discovered drugs. Mostly speed, weed and acid. They helped mask the pain. I acquired an education, but not the one my father was paying for.  

I am sure it was very difficult for both my parents, but especially my mother. While I was having a high old time, she was at home worrying. And not just about me. My brother got kicked out of his boarding school( for 5 marijuana seeds), and went off to New York to live with friends. And she was suffered through a difficult menopause, and a some bad years with my father in their marriage.  

I was quite oblivious of family problems, though. I met Geoff, my ex-husband, and dropped out of school, then went off speed cold turkey for the first time since I was 13 (when my mother had our family doctor put me on "appetite pills") For over two months I stayed in my one room apartment and slept and ate food my crazy gay floor-mates brought me (a whole other story), while Geoff worried and visited every evening after grad school. I was 19 and going nowhere very slowly.( I never dropped acid again, but smoked pot for a while longer.)  

The next summer, Geoff took a teaching job in Connecticut, and. after we went to PA to meet my parents over the summer, I moved here, too, although we kept up the fiction of separate abodes for both our parents' sakes. He proposed, I accepted and I happily had the wedding my mother always wanted. She did give me one good piece of advice, however, "Don't marry a man you want to change. It won't work"   "Oh, Mom," I laughed, "don't be silly, I don't want to change Geoff, he's perfect!" One unhappy woman giving great advice to another,completely unheard  

Things got better, though, between my mother and I, when I had Meg, their first grandchild and only granddaughter. Tentatively, we began to spend more time onthe phone, then summers together, and we began to "play" again, the way we had before adolescence, by laughing together at silly things, enjoyed adding Meg in our activities, taking first weekend, and then a couple of longer trips together. Even though she lived 5 hours away, we spent a good deal of time together, and had fun.  

It was good, except that I still suffered from times of paralyzing depression, and she did too (although she has never been officially diagnosed) so there were gaps of time we did not connect.

Eventually, I went into therapy, and began to discover just how wounded, demanding, spoiled, guilt-ridden, passive-aggressive, perfectionist and hurt I was.(Gee, somewhat like my poor mother, though I couldn't see it then)  

It was easy to blame my parents, and Mom was an easy target because she knew how unhappy the family had been, and was well taught about guilt from her own mother. And yet, we still spent time together, had  mammoth fights, but always got back together again. I had realized how much she loved me, and I loved her. Sometimes I even felt blessed.  

As time has passed. I learned how to cope with my anger better, to grow and change, and the roles began to reverse some- I became the one who listened and reassured, the one to tell her it was ok to be introverted, to choose herself in stead of everyone else, to not care what other people thought. And she, too, has changed, become less worried, a bit more direct and open.  

Don't get me wrong, our relationship still has sharp points and awkward angles, but I am no longer stunted by my childhood. I have grown into myself enough to see that I have my own beauty and worth, inner and outer, as does my mother.  

Last year,once I was recovered enough from my accident to sleep in a bed again, we went to the Poconos in PA where they have a cabin and had chosen to stay for her cancer treatment. I was a mess, and she was very sick, but we had Thanksgiving together, and stayed  a week. We went back in the winter, after her surgery, then in June and again in August for a family get together, (See August's entries.)  

Eachtime, I realized more and more the feelings of regret and guilt she has about not having been a good mother, a better buffer between my father and me, never physically nurturing enough... so many negatives. I feel sad for her because I know she did the best she could with what she had and knew and understood. And I want her not only hear me say it again, but to feel it, to know how much I love and admire her. How much I am like her, and glad to be.  

So I have booked a flight to Denver, where they live in the winter, and I've scheduled enough time to really hang out with her, and I am hoping I can help her see how much I love her, and how blessed I have been to have her as my mother. I hope she can hear me, and believe.  

Blessings, Margo      

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Family History

Mood: Thoughtful 

On December 2nd, I am flying out to Denver to spend two weeks with my parents. I am saying casually to friends that since I'm not working and they're not getting any younger, I might as well go see them, and maybe my brother who lives nearby.  

The real reason I am going is to tell my mother how much I love her, and that she was a good enough mother (to me, at least) and she has no need to hold onto all the regrets she has about our past. It is a gift I want to give her now, not at some eventual deathbed scene.  

On August 8,2003, the day after I fell at work and changed my life forever, my mother, then 78, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. I was so out of it that I didn't know until the next week, when Meg appeared at my  hospital bedside saying she was going to the Poconos for a family get together. I knew, immediately, something was wrong with my mother. She and Rene looked  guilty, like they were hoping I wouldn't pick up on something, and I kew she'd had a recent colonoscopy  

"Mom has cancer, doesn't she?" I asked, and the two looked at each other and at me and at each other, and started to stammer, no,no, nothing was wrong, but I knew.  Meg would not leave unless something worse was going on elsewhere. I told them not to lie to me, that I KNEW, and they told me. Turns out my doctor had been so worried about me, he did not want me told. I was so exhausted, in so much pain, that I could not react at all. I told myself-and them-I could only take care of myself right then, but I have never wanted to be with my mother more in my whole life.  

Two weeks later, after surgery, when I got home and stopped throwing up the pain meds, and the visiting nurses were coming in and out, and I could spare a bit of energy, I started to cry. And worry. I spoke to her briefly-she is quite deaf and hates the phone-and we agreed we each wanted to be there for the other, but instead would work hard at taking care of ourselves, I hung up and cried, and cried and cried. And worried a lot.  

Over the next three months it became clear to me that I had a lot of things I wanted to tell her before she died, and I very nearly missed the opportunity, because she came very close to dying.  

We have never been a demonstrative family, nor a very happy one. My parents' marriage was filled with quiet animosity. My father was a intellectual man who lived mostly in his own head, and my mother ruled with unconscious passive aggressiveness. But it was impolite-and therefore forbidden- to express any strong emotion. I struggled with (undiagnosed) depression as early as 7 or 8. My brother, two years younger, struggled in school and at home, probably with undiagnosed ADHD. My sister, born ten years after me, was an overachiever who loved to trade witty barbs with my father-and had a childhood completely separate from my own.

I know it was a difficult life for my mother, an introvert married to a Philadelphia attorney, having to keep up with the demanding set of rules handed her by her perfectionist mother and very middle class society, and always feeling less than whole because she had only one arm (long story). And I was not an easy child-unhappy at the same private girls school she went to (and hated), and when hormones hit, I made it clear how unhappy I was with outburst of anger they alternately punished harshly or laughed at. Finally, they sent me off to boarding school at 14. 

Boarding school was a very mixed blessing. I was very angry at being sent away, although I had agreed to go, but it was a co-ed Quaker boarding school, liberal for the mid-60's, and I brought all sorts of radical ideas and attitudes home to drop on the family dinner table, much to the horror of my (then) conservative father. (He has mellowed in his old age, because of all the things his assorted children have put him through-but that's another entry).  

And yet, below and aside from all of this, my mother and I had a  very close relationship. We were connected somehow from root of our beings, both introverts, sharing the same name, a quirky, sardonic sense of humor, and a huge fear of what everybody might be thinking of us, of looking or sounding silly or stupid. Like wearing shoes  that didn't fit, it was a stunted way to live, but it was the only way we knew. 

To be continued...        

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

A Real J-Land Get Together!

Well, it is nice to have something really enjoyable happen on a random Tuesday in November. This morning I had my first J-Land get together, with Sara, and  her two kids AJ and Cady. You can find her at I had a great time. We sat together, drank tea, and watched/played with the kids as we talked. I am quite shy in real life, but did not feel constrained at all.  

When I started my journal, it never occurred to me that I would get to know real people through reading and writing, let alone meet people in real life! Sara is a completely unexpected blessing, with whom I felt immediately at home. I played with transformers with AJ, and watched Cady move busily messing up one spot after another, and I realized how long it's been since I watched kids play. They are good kids, polite and demanding in equal parts(a very good combination, in my eyes).  

 Sara is a calm mother, and an interesting woman, quick and bright and struggling with 2 kids and MS, and running a home, and cooking and all those other things Rene and I do as little a possible. I am really looking forward to getting to know her better.  

 I am trying to keep as busy and active as possible, without overdoing- a tightrope walk with the chasm of wiped-out exhaustion waiting for the smallest slip. Today is too busy, but tomorrow is slower, and Thursday a friend is coming up to help Peggy do some plumbing. I am going to sit in a chair and watch!  

 Blessings, Margo    

Friday, November 5, 2004

So How Was Your Week?

You'd think any week that starts with being unofficially declared disabled has no where to go but up, wouldn't you?  Not so this week. Tuesday I received a denial from Social Security Disability, which tells me that I am able to return to my past work, even though I am experiencing some discomfort(!), Wednesday, Sen. Kerry was kind enough to send me an e-mail, conceding to Bush. I worry about our future as individuals and as a country. Thursday, it became clear that the cortisone shot Dr. Only-Do-Hands gave me was not one of my best moves. My hand still hurts, and my whole arm is painfully numb, in a way that defies description. Today I have a killer headache, and could not go out with Rene and friends for dinner.  

Sorry for myself?  You betcha. I am really in a slump. I am still doing all the correct things. Called my attorney about SSD benefits, went to the gym twice, allowed myself a week or two of mourning before looking for political coalitions to join, cried (for me this is always therapeutic), decided to spend the first two weeks in Dec. visiting my parents in Colorado, saw my therapist, went with Rene to couples' counseling, took a cold short, brisk walk, and a nap most days.  

Next week I'll do more correct things,  refusing to fall into complete inertia, and hope against hope that  some switch in the kaleidoscope of life will offer more light, more color, more energy, more hope for the future. One small brightness is my excitement at discovering a fellow member of J-and who lives in the next town over. Sara and I are going to have tea on Tuesday. She can be found here: Like Sara, I never thought I would have a real J-Land get together in my own backyard!  

I apologize to those who read my journal that I keep posting from the same old place, that I cannot see beyond the end of my nose, because I do know life can be quite good, even on a reduced level, and that I just have to get over some hump to see that. Then I can move on a bit, to seeing the  light as well as the dark. Meanwhile, thank you for your comments; I can no longer imagine what my life would be like without you.  

Blessings, Margo    

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

I Voted-And Was Reminded How Old I Am!

I voted, around 2 PM, with Rene. It's a small town and we chatted with a couple of neighbors, and waved to candidates of all persuasions. One group had set up a small pup tent 75 feet from the polls, and had a baby and 3 small kids warm and happily eating pizza inside it. Rene wanted to join them, but the tent just wasn't big enough.  

I also reminded my daughter (age 31) to vote, and got a lecture on how her mother taught her well, took her to the polls as soon as she could crawl, that she had been voting regularly since she was 21, knew her candidates (local too), and her duty as a citizen, and besides, her civil rights were in danger, too. She told me that her partner had voted, too, so I didn't have to ask.  

I apologized. Sometimes I forget she's a fully functioning adult these days, and has been for many years! Only yesterday she was crawling around my feet as I voted. Well, maybe it was several days before yesterday.

I won't know the outcome 'til tomorrow morning, because I won't listen to hours of talking heads, and am planning to go to bed soon.   Maybe tomorrow will be a good day.  

Blessings, Margo

Monday, November 1, 2004

Today, I Asked

Today was an absolutely beautiful late fall day in CT. The sky was blue and clear. It was jacket weather at its best, with a brisk wind blowing late leaves off the trees, up and around, through the air, to send them scuttling across the ground. Everywhere there were small, dry piles of leaves to scuff through, and the good smell of newly fallen leaves whirled across the neighbors lawn and down to the Thames, which looked blue and cold. It was truly amazing.  

Today was also the day my PMD, Dr. D.(the one I like) told me gently that, yes, I am now truly  totally disabled by peripheral neuropathy, heart disease and diabetes. I had asked, I was pretty sure what he would say, but it was still hard to hear. Despite it all-the pain, the meds, the unsteady gait, the loss of feeling in a lot more than just hands and feet, the problems with joints and muscles, the angina, the depression AND all the ongoing problems from the fall at work-despite it all I harbored a secret hope that I could somehow, somewhere go back to a productive working life.  

It's not going to happen.

In fact, said Dr.D., he'd have considered me at least partially disabled after the bypass surgery in '94. He wasn't my doctor then, but I know the ones I had at the time did not give me 10 years to live, so I've beaten a lot of odds already. And I am grateful for these years. I am also grateful for any time I have left, and will somehow come around to seeing today's revelation as some sort of gift, too. Eventually. I have no doubt.  

But not right now. I'm still sort of looking for the gift that people keep telling my will come from my fall, and that was over 15 months ago.  

 As he was saying yes to my question, I began to well up. I let the tears fall, slow tears, not sobbing or hysterics, just sorrow sliding down my face and onto my shirt, while I tried hard to listen to what he was saying. He talked a bit about the neurologist's report on the electro-stimulation test thingy I had done last summer, and lab results, and how he wished I could have been so pro active 10 to 15 years ago, because I'm real good at it now. He was not patronizing or overly protective, he just told me what he believes, and all the time, I just knew what he was saying was true. And felt  relieved, even as the tears continued to flow.  

 Part of the journey is over.  

Oh, I'm not giving up by any means. I'll find a neurologist, I'll continue to work on my arm and shoulder, I'll keep looking for the next orthopedic surgeon, I'll continue to struggle to self advocate,  I'll deal with the pain and the legal ramifications, and money issues, and continuing depression et al.  

 But I need to take time to float for a while, to lie in my gentle river, cool under the sun dappled trees and let go of worry and stress. I'll chant :       

We all come from the Goddess/ and to Her we shall return/ like a drop of rain/ flowing to the ocean.

and be free for a while.  

Blessings, Margo      

Friday, October 29, 2004

Situation Normal... snafu.html   All f''ed up. SNAFU! But I did all right anyway, considering that...  

I drove an hour to get there, read my requirements and the invocation/chant Jazdia had written for me, walked in the door only 10 minutes early(yes, I am one of those always early people, and 10 minutes is pretty good for me-sometimes it's an hour if I'm really stressed!) and into a waiting room full of people. I think every orthopedic surgeon in the world overbooks. I gave them the paperwork that I down loaded and filled out last night, and hit...  

Problem #1: workers comp. had not faxed the paperwork. I decided to stay anyway, put it on my other insurance, pay it, and fight it out later.  

 Problem #2: I sat for  one and a half hours in an uncomfortable chair, while my back began to spasm. Could take no meds due to long drive home. Finally was shown into cubicle, waited 25 more minutes. Read the chant and my list of requirements several more times. Finally the doctor entered, and asked what he could do for me. I said, "I'm having problems with my shoulder."  

Problem #3: He said, "Well, I'm not really up on shoulders, I do more with hands." Hmmmm. I was with the wrong doctor. I briefly considered hysterics, but alas, that's just not my style. So I took a deep breath, mentally tossed most of my requirements out the window, and said, "Well, I have carpal tunnel, too." I'd come this far, I wasn't going to waste a doctors appointment.  

Problem #4: Not carpal tunnel, he said after examining me, but tendons in my wrist rubbing together(I made him write down the diagnosis, and will eventually google it). The solution-at least temporarily?  

 Problem #5:Cortisone shot.  Not something a diabetic loves to hear, plus they hurt.And give me a fever. And hurt more the second day. But I accepted it after another deep breath or three. He gave me the shot and then left the room, and I re-read the chant and cried a bit, but not too much, I did not want him to think I was crying over pain(which was not too bad, considering this time last year).   While I waited for him, I thought things over a bit. None of the fiasco was his fault, or his office's or mine, just more of the same perpetual struggle. Since I would not be returning to him, there was no need to discuss psycho-social issues, or the need to be heard and believed so I did what I could do;  asked for a script for  more physical therapy, and his opinion on my shoulder. He believes there is impingement there, too, and gave me  5 names of members of his group in Hartford who do shoulders. Then I tried to split. 

 Problem # 6: Because 2 staff members were sick, his staff was so overwhelmed that it took them 20 minutes to Xerox the info I'd brought with me, that he really wanted in case I needed to come back because of the cortisone shot. Again, no one to blame-I've worked in a crazy busy medical situation in the past and I could see how the day had unraveled for them long before I had arrived. They were doing the best they could.  

Overall, while it was disappointing, I did manage to hold my own in a reasonable, expectant manner. I got my referral for physical therapy, and took it immediately to a place that honors both body and psyche (workers comp. will probably hold it up for weeks, but it's a start). He was not the doc. I need, but I'm working on plans J,K,L,M and N already.(I passes ABCDE months ago) I did not get flustered or outwardly angry or impatient-I knew that wouldn't help me. I came home and sat on the couch with Rene and cried a bit, while both dogs tried to cheer me up by licking my face, then moved on, no more depressed than before.  

 I appreciate all the energy and good wishes, and suggestions, and the invocation/chant more than any of you will know. Your support helped a lot, and as I drove home, I realized I am once again amazed by the members of this community we call J-Land.  

 Bless You All, Margo      

Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Little Help, Please


I am going to a new doctor tomorrow- a new shoulder orthopedic guy, and I am asking for energy to present in a positive light and say the things I want to say well enough to get what I need. I need the following:

 1) For him to listen to what I say, and not jump to any conclusions(fat women don't know their bodies).

 2) For him to understand that I've been at this thing called rehabilitation a really long time now, and it's gotten really old. 

3) If surgery might help, not to make me wait forever, while he tries this and that and runs tons of more tests (though some tests are inevitable, I'm sure)

4) That I need a psycho-somatic approach; body and mind/spirit must both be recognized and honored. They are intrinsically combined.

5)He must believe my pain is real, and not just the right arm and shoulder, but knees, back, neck, etc

 6)A referral for more physical therapy, if surgery is not forthcoming, and not to a sports-type rehab place(I need more encouragement and less go get'em tiger attitude, which turns me off badly).

7)The empowerment to ask for this in a reasonable, expectant manner without crying too much, or whining at all.  

If you receive this after 11 AM, send energy anyway. I am almost positive that time is relative and flows in several directions. I promise not to tell the doctor this tomorrow. I don't want him to catch on that I'm a little crazy until after the first visit. Thank you.  

Blessings, Margo

Monday, October 25, 2004

Cloudy Weather

  As some of you may have surmised, I have not posted in a couple of weeks because I have been really depressed, unable, or unwilling, to summon up the energy to write anything new. I can keep on posting "poor me, I'm not doing well" until the cows come home, but it doesn't help me, or make interesting reading, and I'm tired of it all.  My life is so much better than so many people I know, online and off, that I am ashamed to be down in the pits so long.  

 However, since I know it will be a long time before anything of a bovine nature comes wandering down our dead end street, I better jump back into the J-Land pool now. I have been a lurker, dipping my toes in the water by posting an occasional comment, but mostly just passing through day after day, a weary wanderer, searching, searching for I know not what, etc,etc,etc... ;-) I seem to fall easily into exaggeration and cliches at the drop of a hat when I'm depressed. At least I can smile about it now and then!  

 I really appreciate those who left comments or e-mailed me, it helps to know that I am missed when I disappear for more than a few days. I am always glad for a small missive to remind me there is a world beyond my gloom.   And despite all this, I know that in the long run I will be okay. The clouds will lift enough for me to find a path-they always have in the past and they will this time, too. I am trying to take care of myself by not beating myself up too much, drinking plenty of water, getting outside every day (no matter how gray the skies), keeping my various appointments without fail, lighting my special candle and meditating(briefly) daily, and remembering others I care about who are also struggling.  

 I have a lot that I am thankful for- people who love me, money to live on, a place that I love to live, a computer to play on, and the sure certain knowledge that this is not forever.  

Blessings, Margo      

Monday, October 11, 2004

Betwixt and Between

 I have been meditating on liminality a lot lately.  

Liminal, from the Latin word Limin, threshold, as an adjective means 1 relating to a transitional or initial stage. 2 at a boundary or threshold (Compact Oxford English Dictionary). In Anthropology, liminality  refers to "the transitional period or phase of a rite of passage, during which the participant lacks social status or rank, remains anonymous, shows obedience and humility..."(Fact Monster).  

 I remember this vaguely from my Religious Studies major. In Primitive Cultures, the boy is taken from his mother's house, and marched into the bush, where he undergoes arduous, humiliating, and painful ritual, to emerge, reborn. He then returns to his village to take his place as an adult in the community.

 In more modern terms:  

Liminality: is the state of being neither- this-nor-that, betwixt and between, neither me nor not me, like the mythic Cynocephalus (dog-headed human).             

                                                                      -Victor Turner  

This is how I feel, neither me nor not me. It is as if I have stepped out of one life, a normal working woman's life(well, as normal as possible, considering I ran HIV positive women's support groups at a high level security women's prison)and into...what? A year of terrible pain and physical therapy, and now -terminal liminality?  

 I  don't plan to be terminally liminal, of course. I will work my way  into some other life, slowly, of course. My pain is not as terrible, just chronic, but this being neither-this-nor-that IS as bizarre as the mythic Cynocephalus(what ever that is). Still, I supposed it is not surprising that someone who has a working diagnosis of Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place, would be living in a state of Betwixt and Between.  

Blessings, Margo      

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I saw my Primary Care Physician this week-the one who I like. He is blunt, has occasionally minimized my complaints, worked hard to save my life when I was hospitalized after the fall, and has stabilized me on a multitude of meds over the last 10 years. We have discussed everything from the weather to his views on adequately medicating the terminally ill. I have put more trust in him than any other doctor, and have rarely been let down.

I described my current situation, ending with, "I just seem to need a diagnosis!"  He laughed ruefully, then said, "You want another one? Don't you have enough? Heart disease, diabetes, neuropathy, etc, etc, etc.All this seems more than enough for me." Then he looked down at my thick file and sighed.

"I hate to say this, but you are between a rock and a hard place." He want on say that he believed that a lot of the pain is diabetic neuropathy, perhaps exacerbated by the fall, and the medication- which I truly need, and he does not want to take me off - is causing the exhaustion and brain fog. We talked about it a long time, but by then I was on auto pilot, unable, and unwilling to take in any more.

He ended by saying, tentatively (I think for fear I'd  be offended or fall apart) that he wanted to say, without being patronizing, that he did not think he could handle my illness as well as I am.

Two days later, I let myself feel the pain, and the irony of the whole situation. For the moment, I have a working diagnosis: Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place.  Trust me to end up with a Rolling Stones song as a diagnosis.

Nothing has changed. I am no worse or better than last week, it is just suddenly so painful to recognize that this is as good as it gets, and I really have to move on in some direction or another, dealing with what I have now. I have known this for a while now, but refused to look at it.

Funny how the mind works-I can see why the Goddess Hecate has moved into my life when I ended up with Judi's beautiful torch. She is the Goddess of the Crossroads (and a lot more) who, carrying a torch to light the way, guides women when they come to a changing point in their lives. That would be me.

I wish I could be funny or clever or even sarcastic about where I am in my life, but I'm not there yet. I am standing in the middle of a crossroad, crying a lot, waiting fora wise woman with a torch to come along and point the way. I know she lives inside me, and will appear, but right now I'm still humming the Rolling Stones.

Blessings, Margo

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Calling Change into My Life

I I have been suffering from a bout of writer's block, because I have been struggling a lot lately, with depression and anxiety and feeling stuck. I know I am not stuck. The river is flowing no matter what I do, and I am part of that river as surely as I breathe air. I just have hit another rocky run.

Nothing has changed. The pain, which has become a background to all I do, waxes and wanes according some arcane pattern or rhythm to which I have no access. Oh, I know weather affects me, and how active I am, and how depressed I feel, but there is something deeper that I cannot put my finger on. Yet.

I was overwhelmed with the number of people who responded to my 2nd 7.5 minutes of fame, with comments and e-mails and IM's, many of them with promises of prayers and suggestions I will discuss with my doctor. I was also overwhelmed at the number of people struggling with chronic illnesses, and the amount of pain, physical and emotional, they suffer.

I am a lucky one. My pain is fairly well medicated, and I am capable of going back to doctors over and over again, until I get a diagnosis and what ever treatment is available. I have done this before. At the moment, I have enough money to live on, and health insurance. I have a partner who loves me, a house I love, and a daughter who is funny and quirky and self-supporting. I know how blessed I am, and I am grateful to the Goddess in her many forms for all this. Truly. So why am I crying all the time?

One comment (and only one) accused me, among other things, of hating my body and having a pity party. I John Scalzi'ed it, (that is, erased it and blocked her) and told myself she had no power in my life, but it still rankled. I hate that one comment can make me feel guilty, go through a cycle of self-doubt. I am over it now, but it took a while, and I am more aware of the perils of public journaling.

But the crying is not self pity. For me crying is a good thing. It took me years in therapy to get beyond cramming all emotions down, deep inside, never to be looked at or acknowledged. It is a childhood survival mechanism that is no longer needed in my life. I now need to be able to cry the emotional pain out. And so I do, in safe places-like my car, my recliner, my bedroom, and at my computer.

And believe me, I am crying at the drop of a hat. Beautiful song? I cry. Weather changing? I cry. Loving journal entry or comment? I cry. Rene snaps at me? I cry. Therapy session? I sob. Leaves falling? I cry. Need to buy sweatshirts for winter? I cry. See a pattern here? I don't, not quite. Roxy loves it, though; she has taken on the job of washing my face of tears and (less endearingly) snot. She makes me laugh, and then I cry some more.

I can see that it has to do with lost hope. This time last year I was in terrible, terrible pain, my right hand lifeless, my right shoulder immobile, living 24/7 in my recliner, needing help to take a shower, but I expected to rehab and go back to work. That kept me going to physical therapy 3 times a week for 9 months. It kept me going to a personal trainer, on a diet, going to literally dozens of doctor's appointments, all with a smile plastered firmly on my face, and the cheery response of "I've been much worse in the past!" on my lips whenever I was asked how I was doing. Ugh. I HAVE been much worse. I AM much better, just not well enough to claim my old life, and not far enough along to see my new one.

I know that losing hope for one kind of life does not mean I am giving up. I am mourning, and will continue to mourn, even while new hope begins to grow inside me. I will have a new life. It is clear that change does not come easily to me, and that it frightens me, too. But I see a little more clearly now that when I started this journal, I was calling change into my life. What was I thinking? Truth is, I wasn't thinking. On some unconscious level I was setting up a framework in a community called J-Land to facilitate change, however slow and painful. This is not the only community in which I work on change, but I am so grateful to be here, and feel the support many of you offer.

I have put a picture of Roxy and me up, so that you will all know that I DO smile now and then!  :)

Blessings, Margo

Friday, October 1, 2004


If all has gone well, you see a picture of the new love of my life, Roxy. This is the first of my own pictures I’ve posted! Roxy is 3 pounds of pure love and wiggle, and her goddess is… me! It is a rather humbling experience, actually, even when she is barking at the wind in the middle of the night, waking me out of much needed sleep . Like many Chihuahuas, she sleeps under the covers, curled tightly against me, readily moving whenever I roll over. I don’t stay on my side long-the pain wakes me up-and when I roll back onto my back, she moves agilely and patiently back to her previous spot. She has no complaints.

When Rene told me we were about to acquire our first Chihuahua, Miya, I said, “Oh, no.  Two very large lesbians cannot own such a silly dog!”  Within two days, that dratted dog had wormed her way into our hearts and lives as if she was born to be there. Maybe she was. Miya is now 15, and I cannot imagine ever again living without a Chi! I think this is every Chi owners experience, while all our friends scratch their heads and wonder why we love a barky, possessive, addle brained rat-dog, whose temperament ranges from hyper to more hyper to complete stop.


They just don’t see the Chi in the same light as an owner. Our Chi’s bark a lot because they are vicious watchdogs who make strong men step back from the door. They make terrible guard dogs, however; they ignore any visitor’s entry if we are not home. Friends see a hyper dog that runs around while they are here. We see them sleep the rest of the day. Friends worry they are cold because they shiver all the time. We know they shiver when they are cold, hot, excited, interested, surprised, or just engaged in life. Friends laugh at their antics. We roar.


Not everyone who owns a Chihuahua owns up to owning one! We had an attorney friend once who said no self respecting gay man would own Chihuahua. He told people his long haired Chi was really a very rare Hawaiian terrier called a “Ch-Hua-Hua.” When people asked how they could get one, he told them you had to know a secret breeder in Hawaii. Some even asked if he had a phone number for one!


I think Chihuahuas were put on earth to make us smile. Tia, our elderly, handicapped, rescued Chihuahua oversaw the first half of my recovery. When I was pretty much confined to my recliner for several months, she wanted nothing more than to lie in my lap all day long, followed by lying there all night as well. At times, in the middle of a long night, she was a true lifesaver, just happy to be there in my lap, no matter what I was feeling. Putting her down was a terrible decision to have had to make, though the right one, and I still cry when I think about her.


Roxy, although very different, has come to take her place. She is so tiny she makes seven pound Miya look big. She has the energy of a gazelle. She is a great licker of fingers and faces, and she actually fetches stuffed animals twice her size, but only when she has a mind to. As I write in my Journal, or read others, she crawls under my shirt and curls up for a nap. She is there now, wishing I would not move my hands so much.


Yesterday, I took her out side and across the street to an empty lot where she can run free. And run she did, like the wild thing she is, back and forth, across and around, up and down almost lost in the taller grass, dashing after a late butterfly, exalting in the glory of an autumn day. As I sat and watched her, I realized that, while I am no longer able to run, I too can exalt in the same glory of the day, and eventually the two of us made our way home, tired but happy.


She is my Blessing, Margo

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Let This Be My Prayer

 Mad Agnes


Let This Be My Prayer

                                By A. Jones


Let this be my prayer today

May I be easy in my heart

Let me see a clearer way

If I can heal then let me start


If I should love let love return

to this dark and silent space

where I have learned to count these hours

between the done and rising days


    Let this be my prayer today

    World of sorrow, wash away

    Let this be my prayer

    Let this be my prayer


Help me hold my loves ones close

And when their time comes, let them go

Knowing they’re not lost or gone

But, like me, just moving on


Let time and weather not lay waste

the beauty of this changing face

Give me wisdom as I see

the things that never more will be




When I am locked and cannot speak

Let that silence set me free

If once I give this heart to break

Let the one I love love me


Rooms of splendor in my house

Though I stand sad and lost without

There is untold joy within

Open, gates, and let me in

Open, gates, and let me in.


                      - Mad Agnes, from the Magic Hour


This song has been making me cry, in agood way, on and off all week. You can find Mad Agnes at thier site, and learn how beautiful their harmonies actually are.

Blessings, Margo

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Featued Again, For Chrinic Pain!

I figured I had had my 15 minutes of AOL fame when I was featured on keyword Gay and Lesbian, but apparently it was only seven and a half minutes, because I seem to have been given another few minutes of fame at AOL keyword Health Community. There I am holding Roxy! I seem to have become momentary queen of chronic pain, and I am getting comments, e-mails and IMs from any number of people. I am both touched and overwhelmed.


Many people want to talk about their frustration with the medical system, in general, and methods of pain relief in particular. I have googled around in a very cursory manner on chronic pain, and have discovered we who live in pain in J-Land are not alone-70 million people face chronic pain daily. Most of us are under medicated, not over medicated, by doctors who are not up on today’s standards in pain care. And lots of doctors really don’t care. They are quick to blame psychological problems. I want to shout back. Yeah, who wouldn’t be depressed if they live in pain?!? It’s the PAIN that’s the primary problem-have YOU ever lived with chronic pain!?! I have begun asking my doctors this question, so far, none of them have.


I feel blessed because I like my primary care physician, who keeps referring me out to specialists in an attempt to figure out what’s wrong. And I have a pain clinic. I may not like that doctor as much, and they are really overworked (because there are so few pain clinics in the area), but I have never felt belittled or judged as faking it there, and they give me medication that helps. I am glad I demanded a referral from my orthopedist, who, unable to see my whole medical picture, kept prescribing meds bad for my kidneys, one right after another.


I have learned that this is a long and arduous journey, and those of us who start out as sissies had better toughen up, fast, and become demanding bitches if we really need help. It is shameful that this is so. I have learned that chronic pain separates you from your previous world in a way that is incomprehensible to those who don't have it, and because it often doesn't "show" people get tired of your limitations. I get tired of them, too. Many of us feel suicidal at some point or another, and somedays getting out of bed is simply impossible. Hopelessness lives just on the other side of the bedroom door, and sometimeds it is better to stay put, with the covers over our heads.


I have also learned how helpful most people who live in pain are. I appreciate the outpouring of suggestions, the promise of prayers and support and even the pleas for help I have been receiving. The light of hope flickers through each message. I wish I could offer more than sincere thanks for the concern and care out there. It makes me feel supported on this unasked for journey I am trying to embrace. Thank you all.


Blessings, Margo


picture "Chronic Pain" from: abstract.htm

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The river flows

This is a very odd time in my life. One day I’m down and out, the next I am crawling back, and the day after I feel okay, only to fall back into the pits again. This is not meant as a complaint, either, just an observation. I well remember this time last year when I was still sleeping in my recliner, dealing with sharp, serious, relentless pain, getting up only to use the bathroom and do physical therapy, needing to ask for ice water and help putting my legs up.


Back then, I expected to fully recover and go back to prison. Now I am working on living day by day, accepting the ups and downs, looking around for what life will bring me next. Life seems in no great hurry, however. I am reminded of the phrase I took on at another bad patch in my life:


Don’t push the river; it’s already flowing by itself.


I picture myself standing thigh high in the Tobyhanna River (my favorite river, in the Poconos), happily being pulled downstream by the rushing current, content to let Her take me where She will. This takes place in mid summer, of course, and I am warm and sure footed! That’s the good thing about memories. I will take what the Goddess offers.


Saturday was the Fourth Annual Neighborhood Olympics. Now, the members of the US Olympic team have nothing to worry about, but we do it up proudly, complete with the younger athletes (all available neighborhood kids) marching down the street, carrying the flag, into Jaime’s yard, followed by the National Anthem and  the dedication of the games to all those serving in Iraq, especially the cops and firemen. Then, with all due ceremony, we light the torch (a tiki torch from someone’s backyard), and the Games begin.


Since remnants of Ivan had blown through earlier in the day, we had a somewhat shortened version this year. Usually we start at 1pm with a pie eating contest-one for kids, one for adults, then have lots of kids games, with prizes like candy and small toys, and versions of the same games for adults, minus the prizes. Some games are mixed, adults and kids, and then we move on to other yards for bocce, croquet, and end with an hysterical game of volleyball, one street against the other. All this is followed by a cook out and community meal. Those of us who are not athletic watch and cheer.


This year, under a windy sky, in Jamie’s cold, after-the-rain-soggy yard, we persevered, 41 of us, kids and adults, with kids’ games, volleyball. a bit of bocce, followed by the meal-as always lots and lots of good food. We ended with fireworks, set off by Rene, Joey and Joe. They were wonderful! Our next big neighborhood get together will be our After-Christmas-Is-Over Progressive Dinner.


Have I said that I live in the best neighborhood in the world?  We know each others kids' names, and everybody’s dogs, and it is okay for the younger ones to leave their bikes by the side of the road.(The Younger kids, not dogs!) We are all so nosey about each others goings on that a stranger doesn’t have a chance down here. All this, and old houses, and a view of a river. I am blessed by where I live, and truly appreciate it.


Autumn helps. Today is the Equinox, and though we have tipped over towards darkness as the days get shorter, I got a spurt of energy and called the local women’s center. I’m to try babysitting there one evening a week, while one of the groups meet. I also stopped over to see how Glenn, my personal trainer, is coming along with his new studio. The equipment is due to arrive momentarily, so soon I’ll go back to working out- something I actually hate, but have sort of missed this last month. Funny how that is. I guess I really miss Glenn who, after almost a year of my working out, has become a member of my extended family.


Perhaps the river is flowing a little more smoothly, at least for a day or two. On the good days I can feel my feelings flowing like Tobyhanna, sometimes smooth and quiet, sometimes blocked by debris, sometimes pouring joyfully around rocks and over stone, looking for expression and freedom. And I am grateful.


Blessings, Margo


picture of the Tobyhanna River from https:/.../Tobyhanna_eq/ tobyhanna_final.html

Friday, September 17, 2004

Getting Up

Falling Woman Statue

I spent part of this morning crying in my attorney’s office. Not while he was in the room, of course, I don’t know him well enough to accept any attempt to make me feel better. It just struck me all of a sudden, that I am 55 years old and disabled. Yesterday I applied for social security disability, today I was discussing the possibility of disability retirement with my lawyer; it all seemed rather surreal.


Now, I know I am no more handicapped today than I was last week, when I was happily basking in my15 minutes of lesbian fame in J-Land. The pain is no worse, the exhaustion hasn’t changed, the brain fog that I struggle with is the same. Nothing has changed but my perception of my self. I simply stumbled over the edge of a concept, and fell again. This time flat on my face into misery.


I know lots of disabled people who get along just fine. Hey, I married to one, for Goddesses sake. My mother has one arm and I never realized until I was an adult that I grew up in “a handicapped household.” (The truth is, of course, that the household handicap was really emotional, not physical, but that’s another story.) I know people who have overcome incredible obstacles, and would never consider themselves handicapped. I ought to know better than to label myself.


Surely my working life is not over. Because I was a SAHM, so I didn’t even start that work-for-pay thing until I was forty and divorced. After 15 years, I finally had something of a career going, a state job, no less, with a good paycheck that enabled me to have a real savings account for the first time since the divorce. And I actually loved parts of what I was doing. What more could I want? (Besides less paperwork and more money, of course)


Sometimes I second guess myself and question my own experience. If I only tried harder, I’d be okay to work. A little pain? So what, just keep slogging forward. Brain fog? Find a job that requires no thinking. Exhaustion? Join the world, we’re a sleep deprived nation. Depression? Snap out of it! Just stop Dwelling!


Well, I do know I am somewhat dis-abled. I am not able to do a lot of things I could before. But despite being a cup-always-half-empty depressive, I do have some resources. I stumbled out of the attorney’s office and sat in my car. First I cried some more (I seem to do an inordinate amount of crying in my car these days), then I took stock.


I had asked the lawyer if I could at least volunteer some place, and he said yes,for a few hours a week. I decided to call the local women’s center on Monday. Then I drove to a small, very local Farmers’ Market and bought myself some flowers. From there I went to our local BBW clothing store and bought bits of a fall wardrobe I don’t need, spending money I can’t really afford. Retail therapy is not something I indulge in often, but it can be helpful. I began to feel better.


I am actually quite well off, if not financially. I have house to come home to, and Rene waiting inside the house. I have a great neighborhood to be out of work in, and it is my favorite time of year. I have friends and a support system, online and off. And I get to go on living, even if life is difficult at times. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but then who does? Life is always lived without assurances.


Whatever the lesson I am supposed to be learning from all this, I will keep on keeping on. Tomorrow I may fall off the edge into the oblivion of permanent depression. Today I tripped over a concept and got back up.


Blessings, Margo

Monday, September 13, 2004

Ordinary Lesbian, Featured

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From Deborah, at:Confessions of a Lateblooming Lesbian

“If you go onto AOL, Keyword: Gay & Lesbian, up pops a pic of Pres. Bush.  Click on the number 2 under the photo and up will come a pic of ... Ta Da ... Me!  There is also a link to this journal and two others.  I hope it encourages more gay folks to start and read journals.”   (as of Monday, it's the 1st page-Margo)

Hey, guess what? I am one of the other journals AOL includes!  Debbie was cool as a cucumber about being featured; I am very excited! There are a lot of journals written by lesbians out there and I am proud to have been picked, along with Debbie and Darla.( Simple everyday thoughts of a lesbian) I like being in the company of “everyday lesbians doing everyday things.”

I cannot speak for the other two, but for me being in a relationship with a woman is only one of the interesting things about my life. I have my coming out story, as do most of us, and may tell it here someday, but I have lots of other interesting stories to tell, too. I am a mother, a friend, an HIV Counselor and Educator, a supporter of women’s rights, a murder mystery addict, a slob, a pagan, a tax-payer, a neighbor, a home owner, depressive, struggling to heal, a member of several diverse communities, a lesbian and a lot more. To me, it all feels quite ordinary.

I like that I can think of myself as ordinary;  times have changed a lot in the 15 or so years since I came out. It seems amazing that we have moved from the Stonewall Riots to everyday lesbians (and gays, of course) in less than 35 years. Of course our freedom to be regular people in the eyes of at least some of the world has been hard won, and at times seems precarious today.

This world is not always accepting of those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. There are still rights we don’t have, and powerful politicians who are working very hard to make sure we never do. ( Small plug: please vote with a variety of issues in mind, thoughtfully.) There are people- some of whom are good, church going Christians- who hate me without even knowing who I am. There are people who live in my own community who don’t "approve of my lifestyle choices." (I want to ask them when they chose to be heterosexual, but that's another story.) And there are kids who are unsafe at school because of their orientation, whether it be perceived or real. And much, much more.  All this seems very odd to me, living my humdrum, suburban life.

I feel as if I have been one of the lucky ones. When I came out, when I marched on Washington for GLBT rights, when I wept over the Quilt stretched from one end of the Mall to the other, when Rene and I had our Ceremony of Commitment, my job was not at stake, nor was my life. This has not been true for many who have lost everything-including freedom and life-for being who they are. And we can never forget the holocaust of AIDS which took so many bright lights from our midst, nor the activists who, in  anger and deseperation, brought both the disease, and our way of life, out of the closet and into the light of day.

This everyday lesbian feels a debt of gratitude for all who have gone before, so I can have the freedom to be ordinary, to keep an on-line journal, to have a place in J-Land, and in the world at large. I hope this small featuring of three journals will lead others to do join me, both in life and in journaling, because there is a richness in the freedom I now tend to take for granted.

Blessings, Margo

:)picture of two "ordinary lesbians" celtic_hearts/art/05.htm


Saturday, September 11, 2004


 Picture from HometownToday is my 55th birthday, and as always I am grateful to be alive. Ten years ago last week I had open heart surgery, and I don’t believe my doctors gave me 10 years to live at the time. Ha, fooled them all!


Open heart surgery at 44 is a sobering experience, or should be, but in some ways it was freeing. I had always been afraid of death, and I discovered then that it is not death I’m afraid of, it’s dying. Big difference, truly


I am not thrilled about the process of dying at all- our culture treats dying badly, with secrecy and panic and extraordinary “treatments” meant to prolong dying, not enable living well until the end. In fact, I’d rather skip the dying part all together.


But having looked at death fairly closely, I realize that I am no longer afraid of being dead. My belief system centers around life tasks. We are given one or two life tasks when we enter the word, and we work on them on and off our whole lives. When we die, we somehow continue, with the same tasks- especially if we have not been able or willing to work on them in this life- or we get new tasks to do. For me, this explains why I seem to have worked on the same spiritual and emotional issues in so many ways and forms, over so many years, from so many angles and so differently during the various stages of my life.


This has become a bittersweet day. How can anyone let the day go by without remembering the terrible loss of life on 9/11/01? The horror of that day will stay with us forever, and with it, the horror of the wars that have now spun out of control as a response to this act of terrorism. There are some things we can never understand, just mourn.


As I have said before, I choose to continue to celebrate my

birthday on the 11th because not to would be to give the terrorists a piece of my life I am unwilling to yield. So why am I meditating on death? Well, actually, I’m not, really. As I said earlier I am thankful to She who has claimed me that I am 55 and still learning and growing and changing!


I know my big present, because it is sitting on the couch- a new printer, one that will actually work! Plus, we gave each other half a digital camera last weekend, and I will soon be able to post pictures- I am so excited! I already have the software installed; now all I have to do is figure out how to move them from my documents to my journal. And how to actually take a picture I want to post! (Just a note: We each gave the other half of the same camera, lest you are thinking about us wandering around with half a camera!)


My other big present will come later- I won a Judith HeartSong torch! (Judith HeartSong)I am so excited, I can hardly stand it. Her creativity and openness and courage and ability to love and share are quite inspiring, and I am thrilled to receive such a gift. It comes at a good time, too, perhaps to light my way as I work on how to continue to live and grow despite pain and depression. Often the universe does provide what we need if we are open to it.


Tonight, we celebrate at a local Greek festival, with good friends and baklava- what more could I ask for on a birthday?


Many Blessings to all,



torch by Judith HeartSong, of course!

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Change of Season

Autumn is by far my favorite time of year. (At least until Spring arrives after the long Winter.) For me Fall always seems like the beginning of the year. Perhaps because my birthday is soon, and certainly because the school year is indelibly burned into my consciousness, it always brings starting over, beginning new endeavors, perhaps even a minute burst of energy in my otherwise generally energy-less life.


I know that Autumn Equinox will be on us soon, a time of Balance, when the world is poised to tip towards darkness, days growing shorter, light fading faster, night coming sooner, cold drawing nearer, yet still I love the season. For pagans, it is the celebration of Mabon, the time of the second harvest, when vegetables like pumpkins, potatoes, onions and other winter staples are ripe for harvest, and we celebrate a time of plenty, before the dimming of the light.


Rene and I chose to have our Ceremony of Commitment on the Autumn Equinox, a fitting time for two late middle aged women to take each other on as partners in life, we thought. Ours is not a spring-time union, but one meant to warm us through the autumns and winters of our lives. (I plan to be a thorough Crone before I die, and Rene says, I don’t get the Crone thing, but that’s a whole other entry)


My birthday is September 11th, another day that will live in infamy, and I deliberately choose to celebrate it anyway. To do any differently would be to give up a bit of my self to the terrorists, and I refuse to do so. The day, however, is forever marked by the memory of the towers going down, and the terrible loss of life. Somethings are too hard to understand.


So Autumn brings melancholy with her as she settles in, but she also brings chrysanthemums in Mabon colors- reds and oranges and golds and russets – and the riot of fall colors which creep slowly down New England from Maine, arriving in full glory towards the end of October with colors which outshine the mums   I realized how atypical a Virgo I am one year while sitting on the ground, drunk with the pleasure of being at one with the litter of leaves around me; I seem to thrive in chaos, not neatness.


It is the season to sit in the hot tub and let the wind blow swirls of leaves off the trees, a time to wear socks with my birkenstocks, to wear jackets on my daily hobbles, to have fires in the fireplace, and sleep with the windows open, under quilts. And this year I will actually have a quilt!


I know that it will also be a season of continued doctors’ appointments, pain meds, and struggle with body and spirit, but a new season brings a breath of hope for continued change. I’ll take it.


Blessings, Margo


picture from:<o:p></o:p>

Monday, September 6, 2004

And She said to me

And She said to me


“Go inwards”


And I said, “No, I don’t think so, I’ve gotten used to it here. I really have. I’ve been there in the past, and it is too long a trip. I really need to take a nap because my back hurts, and I didn’t sleep well last night, and I have a doctor’s appointment and maybe tomorrow…”


“Go inwards.”


And I take a deep breath and go inwards, spiraling down into darkness. Around and down, around and down, around and down into the grave/womb beneath the Great Tree of Life.


Deep into the darkness where the Mother Bear hibernates to give birth to her young, to gather strength to protect them when she wakes.


Deep into the darkness where the snake sheds her skin to emerge new and strong and shining.


Deep into the darkness where I lie naked alone and shivering with cold, moaning, tears flowing first awkwardly, then freely down my face and onto my breast, running off my nipples like milk.


Slowly, the cold seeps away and I warm up, warmer, warmer, warmer until I’m steaming, sweating, frying, screaming, screaming..


And suddenly She reaches out and offers one caress, across my soul, and I can Be again.


I rise slowly, climbing the spiral, up and around, up and around, up and around, until I emerge, new skin drying, blinking blindly into the light of a new day.