Life, Death and Dirges

The Wolf Moon greets us on Friday, the day of Venus, while Mercury is in retrograde. It is a time when deep emotions swirl together and the unspoken needs to be heard, witnessed, and expressed. I struggle in the cold, dark times to release the words clogged in my throat. Superhubs and I had a deep conversation recently about death, afterlife and near death experiences. This is what emerged:

The Twin Jet Nebula, or PN M2-9, is a striking example of a bipolar planetary nebula. Bipolar planetary nebulae are formed when the central object is not a single star, but a binary system, Studies have shown that the nebula’s size increases with time, and measurements of this rate of increase suggest that the stellar outburst that formed the lobes occurred just 1200 years ago. Photo from NASA image library

Life, Death and Dirges

I’m sorry I couldn’t stay
time has come for me to go
that’s OK, I’ll be fine
I’ve just run out of time
when I’m gone just
remember what we had
the good times and the bad
now that my story’s
reached the end
would you smile for me
now and then

I know that you’re sad
I know that you’re blue
but I know you’ll make it through
there’s more to life than we can see
you’ll be fine even without me
I promise you that
the sun will shine again
so smile for me now and then

now that I am gone
remember life goes on
when you keep me in your heart
we’re never far apart
I promise you’ll be happy once again
so smile for me now and then

Til next time ~ Remember to stop and smile ~JP

Thoughtful Thursday – Humbled

The beach near Seal Point Kaikoura, NZ

The older I get, the quieter I become. Life has humbled me so deeply. It has taken me many years to realize how much time I’ve wasted on nonsense. I am only now beginning to find a place for my sparkly star-shaped self in a beige world of square pegs and round holes. To listen to the words of the wind in the trees.

“A perfect blossom in a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one and it would not be a wasted life.” ~ Katsumoto ~The Last Samurai

~Til next time ~The answer is blowing in the wind ~JP

Thoughtful Thursday – Dog Days of Summer

from my polyvore collection

The breeze this morning bears a certain something. A phantom caress as I lift my face into it and breathe in the faintest lick of coolness. A sigh comes unbidden at the first hint of Autumn. As nature prepares to run her flame-colored tongue over all this green and fresh, I pause in anticipation; sensing the tingle of excitement the precedes the nuclear explosion of color that is Fall.

I seem to lose a bit of myself in summer, routines go to pot, fatigue runs amok, outing plans are lackadaisical at best and all sense of purpose seems lost in an endless litany of “what’s for dinner?”

The “ber” months may well be the most scrumptious of all, but to get there, I must slog my way through the sticky final vestiges of Summer. Those final dog days that can leave even the most resilient Spoonie exhausted and frumpy. Hair has wilted refusing to do anything other than frizz, shorts and light tee shirts have long since lost their appeal, cosmetics are comprised of nothing more than sunscreen and even a bentonite clay mask cannot restore any semblance of vigor to my lackluster complexion.

And so it is time to rest, to dream, to plan. To re-establish the structure that supports our lives. Time to plan fall outings, and winter holidays; to dig through my recipes for soups and savory muffins. Time to dream of pumpkin spice and contemplate the world over a steaming latte. Time to breathe in and pause in anticipation … Winter is Coming.

Til next time ~ Keep Calm – Fall is coming ~JP

Thoughtful Thursday – a Penny Saved

photo from Pexels

“My Mom can squeeze a nickel ’til the buffalo farts.” ~My son 1986 age 7

I read a little blurb this week about grocery prices. According to the article Americans have seen an increase in grocery prices of over 11% in the past 12 months with more increases on the way. I get this news in JUNE, the month when produce starts to be abundant and … yummy. OK, I don’t want to get off on a rant here but really Social Security received the highest Cost of Living Adjustment in the past 40 years in January of this year. A 5.9% increase doesn’t even begin to cover the actual rise in costs. Medicare premiums alone rose 14.5%, add another 11% to groceries and a general consumer price index for all urban consumers of 8.3% (I’m not even going to mention gas prices) and you’re starting to see some financially strapped seniors. ** OK, OK JP, calm down back away from the soapbox ** Uhumm pardon me a moment while I recollect myself and untwist my knickers … grumble grumble *&^%$#@#$!&^

OK that’s better, on the brighter side, increases in interest rates have improved our portfolio some. There is ALWAYS a bright side, just gotta dig deep sometimes. So what are y’all doing to combat inflation?

Here are a few of the things we’ve done this week to “use it up, wear it out, make it last, or do without.”

* We participated in a neighborhood cookout. Our HOA paid for the hot dogs, plates and utensils as part of our social activities fund, we all brought a side dish to share. A couple of folks brought corn hole boards and I must say a fabulous time was had by all.

* We eliminated one grocery shopping trip from our weekly routine.

* We enjoyed two vegetarian meals at home.

* I returned an item for refund that should have been an HSA item and repurchased it through said HSA, dratted scanner glitches.

* I refused to accept a prescription that I specifically told the pharmacy NOT to fill as I get it through mail order much less costly.

* I reworked our meal plan, grocery list, and grocery budget for July. Better.

So that’s my rant for this week. I think I’ll go take a nerve pill and have a bit of a lie down.

Til next time ~Keep Calm and drink decaf, like homemade, from a reusable mug ~JP

Farewell Wide-Eyed Wanderer

Fall in Rapid City SD

It’s been a tough couple of years filled with surgeries, strokes, pandemics, wild fires, floods, disastrous vacations and catastrophic hail storms. It was past time for a change. If you haven’t read about the hail storm that altered the course of our lives, you can read a little more about it here. It’s funny in a way but a friend, while discussing the damage from the storm, fired off that tried and true line “well at least no one was hurt.” Really? Define “hurt.” Because if you think no one was hurt you obviously have never encountered a PTSD episode. It’s tantamount to the well-meaning friend who when told you have an autoimmune disease replies “well at least it’s not cancer.” Make no mistake, an autoimmune disease will alter your life just as much as cancer and broken bones heal faster than psychological wounds.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD isn’t a mental illness so much as a psychological injury. The brain overloads on “fight of flight” hormones and coping mechanisms begin to break down under the constant onslaught. Healing is possible to varying degrees but there’s always a psychological scar and like any other wound, it can flare up leaving the patient hyper-vigilant, panic stricken and heartbroken. So it was for me.

There’s a fair amount of guilt and shame that goes along with PTSD, shame for the hours spent in gut-wrenching sobs for NO REASON AT ALL. Guilt that your loving partner has to bear witness to them. More shame because your eyes look like two boiled onions and your face resembles a tomato left in the sun too long. Yeah, it’s ugly. Anyway …

We gave up full-time (and even part-time) RVing, sold the rig, bought a townhouse and relocated halfway across the country in the matter of about 5 weeks. It’s been over three months since the Holy Handgrenade of Hailstones bashed through my roof and my life. I’m finally off the sedatives and pretty much back to functional norm (for a Spoonie).

I stroked the entry of Optimus Lite, our 5th wheel, with a silent blessing and a good spritz of peppermint spray. After 15 years on the road as full-time RVers, the time had come. I watched as the blue skies and vast umber grasslands of South Dakota faded in my rearview mirror.

Thus the story ends.

And another begins.

Deep in the heart of Bluegrass Suburbia, in a little house alongside a tiny lake, there lived a Witch and a Knight of the Old Code…

Magikal Mundanities and Spoonie Retirement – Thunder Snow

October has been warm and mild thus far. Temps were slightly above average for this area, wonderful weather for fall. And then, there’s today. Today we have a viscious cold front blowing through bringing rapid drops in temperature, rain, and snow. Yeah, three inches so far. It’s also brought thunder. Thunder during a snow storm is rare, and given our propensity for hail storms, more than a little scary. So, here we are holed up in our battered little RV, riding out the storm … again.

On the good news front, we found a permanent home that we like, much farther east, a little farther south, much closer to the children (but not too close *wink*). We’ve taken a virtual tour, gotten an inspection, made an offer, set the closing date and now we’re just waiting to close. So, we’ll be packing up the RV for the last time and heading out to start the next adventure in a house that has no wheels. Wow, I mean WOW this is gonna be a huge change. The other good (?) news is that everything we own fits in a 5X8 U-haul trailer and the back of the Swiss Cheesemobile (honda fit) and we should be moved by the first week of November.

Today’s thunder snow reminds me so much of all this move represents. It is beautiful, rare, inconvenient, terrifying, not at all what I had planned. I am equal parts ecstatic to the point of mania and terrified to the point of blind panic. It’s a thin line between the two. I’m currently using that line as a jump rope, keeps life interesting. 😉

Ahhh well, I’m off to pack something.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

The Best Laid Plans of Witches and Wanderers

a piece of the holy hand grenade of hailstones

It’s been just over a month since we returned to South Dakota. Just 33 days since the wandering course of my life was suddenly, profoundly altered when hail stones the size of baseballs punched through the roof of our home. For twenty minutes we were bombarded. Such a short time to change the course of a life. I went into PTSD shock, I shook and wept for days as we struggled to clear the debris and make the immediate repairs. I’m still weeping.

We were stranded for a week without transportation. You never realize just how much you depend on a car until suddenly it’s useless and that little seven-mile hop into town for milk is no longer feasible. So now we deal with the clean up. The car is a write off to the insurance company. We replaced the windshield and it’s drivable. Our 5th wheel was not a total write off so we’re left with a small settlement, a home that we can’t get repaired until spring, and then we’ll have to find somewhere to live for several weeks while they replace the roof. Not happening, not in this town.

First priority, transportation. That’s been accomplished with the new windshield. All the remaining damage to the car is cosmetic. I’ve ordered some cheese decals and we’ll call it the “Swiss Cheese Mobile.” I have this bizzare urge to put a bumper sticker on it that says “WHO MOVED MY CHEESE?”

Next priority, housing. Our original plan was simply to move the RV to another park. Somewhere closer to our family, without hailstorms and have the repairs done there. But, as fate would have it all of the parks we would consider living in are full. Back to square one. Next option, rent an apartment, again just not happening. Wait lists for anywhere we’d actually consider living for a year. Next option, buy a condo and give up the wandering lifestyle entirely. That one seems to be working out. We’ll see how it goes. So if I’m blog-absent for awhile, it’s just the massive amount of mental and psychic energy that’s spent in adjusting to the idea of a house the doesn’t move, finding, financing, inspecting, said non-moving house and the realization that we’re getting too old for this crap. *Dreams die hard and you hold them in your hands long after they’ve they’ve been crushed by the holy hand grenade of hailstones.

Ahhhh well, we shall see what this next adventure holds in store.

Til next time ~Peace ~JP

*adapted from “Dragonheart

Sunday Stills – The Landscape of My Life

For Sunday Stills – Your Favorite Landscapes

The Landscape of My Life

The landscape of my life lies before me
and it is beautiful
filled with the ‘teeners of Colorado
bleeding their rust-colored stains
the Grand Canyon deep and vast
where Condor shadows fade in twilight
Sunset on a snowy field sends skyward
a brilliant flash of gold
south to Death Valley’s salt flats
eerie, barren, grey and cold
I have seen so many sights
from Zion and Osaka,
New Zealand and Kauai
The landscape of my life lies before me
and … it is beautiful

We spent many summers in Colorado, Silverton, Ouray and Durango. It was here in the Red Mountain Pass I began to understand “Colorado Rocky Mountain High” whether from the majesty of the landscape or the lack of oxygen, I cannot say.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We have visited there several times alone and with family. Pictures cannot do it justice for it is the very definition of the word “vast.” I have never felt so small.

“Flash of Green” over the horizon in South Dakota. “Presence of God” moment, perhaps a soul coming back to earth.

Badwater Basin salt flats in Death Valley, California. 200 square miles of … nothing. All I could think was “what must the settlers have thought?”

Shugakuin Imperial Villa, Kyoto, Japan. There is a reason Kyoto is one of my spiritual centers and this shot pretty much says it all.

Skyline of Osaka, Japan from Osaka Castle. A stop at a okonomiyaki restaurant on the way home reminds me that some things are the same world wide. Like, pizza.

Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah. We spent a decade of falls, winters, and springs exploring this beautiful National Park. The awe and grandeur are never exaggerated. It lives up to it’s name “Sanctuary” and peace of mind, body and soul are palpable.

One of a hundred soul-stirring sunrises on Kapaa Beach, Hawaii. During our morning walk along the beach tears started rolling down my face. When Superhubs asked me what was wrong, I told him “my hands don’t hurt.” For the first time in decades, my hands did. not. hurt. The absence of pain, not relief of pain but the absence of it, can be a real eye-opener.

Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP

The Alchemy of Acceptance

I find that when I accept my circumstances, feelings, pains, health, finances as they are right now, a subtle alchemy of spirit occurs. I stop fighting and start seeing all the blessings I do have, my vibration changes, I relax, and I once again tap into the positive energy of the universe.
Then, my T-Rex eats your sparkly vampire.

For JusJoJan and One Liner Wednesday – Vampires

Til next time ~stay trippy hippies ~JP

What Day Is It Anyway? — Coping with Covid

3.25.20 bill the cat
Image found on Pinterest, attributed to Berkeley Breathed‘s Bloom County

For Linda’s What Day Is It Anyway?

It feels like war, this pandemic. Like stories my grandmother told me of the great depression. Of course it’s not that bad but my reaction seems to be the same. I have convinced myself that if I don’t have something positive to say, I shouldn’t say anything and that has led to a lot of silence. I honestly don’t have any real opinions about what’s going on around me. I don’t want to contribute to the hysteria, the mass misinformation, or the blatant denial that I see everywhere. Life is not the picture of lock-down joy I’d like to believe, but rather a Monet, fuzzy and indistinct but beautiful all the same.

So much has changed in the past year that it’s hard to get a grip on where it’s all going. I float along in the vessel of my dreams, trying to adapt to the new flow, but I am stuck in a kind of paralysis. My creativity seems to have closed up rather like the shops and restaurants I never visited but now miss terribly. I cannot write, so I read. Whole books in a few hours, and oh thank goodness for my Kindle app. I clean, I sanitize, I cook, I craft. Crafting at the moment has been limited to making a variety of cloth facial masks.

I find that I am not alone in this suspended animation. Friends who are painters find they cannot paint, so they garden. Musicians cannot compose so they play Warcraft. Career women who cannot work are creating new casseroles, accountant’s without ledgers to balance have taken up tarot reading. It’s not a writer’s block that I’m feeling, it’s the trauma of a world gone sideways. I know that this will pass, that the stores will reopen, I’ll go back to work, creativity will flow again, for all of us. But for now I’ll try to remember “the dream is like a river, ever changing as it flows, and the dreamer’s just a vessel that must follow where it goes.”

The River Garth Brooks — Cover by Clayton Smalley

Til next time ~Peace ~JPP