Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Princess Leia, One with the Force

I hadn't planned on writing anything else until the New Year, but with the death of Carrie Fisher I guess there is a little more left in me.

Those of you who know me know that I am a Star Wars geek. I have been obsessed with it literally all of my life. By the time the third one (and by that I mean Return of the Jedi) came out, I was old enough to go to the theaters to see it with my friends. And I did. Twice. And I bought the soundtrack record. Literally, the sound track to the movie. It had the nearly complete script on the record. To this day, I can not only say the entire movie word for word, I can tell you when to flip the record over.

When I was growing up Star Wars (known now as A New Hope, but back then you could just say Star Wars and everyone knew you meant the first one) was on television at least once a year, and I always cajoled my parents into letting me stay up and watch it.

Star Wars captured my imagination like nothing has ever been able to do, before or since. I couldn't then nor now tell you why out of everything this is what resonated so strongly with me. But it did.

And there was Leia. No Disney Princess, she. Sure, she had to wait for some too-short storm trooper to open the door, but she didn't expect him to rescue her while she passively bit her hand in the background. Oh no. She took matters into her own hands, she took action. She was strong and "bossy" and beautiful and elegant and intelligent. She knew how to shoot a blaster and had no qualms crawling through the mud if that's what she needed to do.

About effin' time you got here, Shorty. What took you so long?

For a little girl who tended toward "bossy" (what we call little girls who know what they want and aren't afraid it get it), she was a breath of fresh air. Someone we could look up to even as we were being told to tone it down because good girls don't tell other people what to do.

Princess Leia was the older sister I would have followed around annoyingly if I'd been able to. I would have been into her makeup and playing dress-up in her royal robes. I would have begged her to show me how to shoot a blaster, and I would have had the biggest crush on her boyfriend Han.

This year, I think nearly every single one of us has lot some icon who defined their youth. Many of us more than one. It has been a heartbreaking year to see so many talents who changed our lives move on to the next level. It seems surreal to think that people we've never met could have such a deep, lasting impact on our very Selves... but they do. There is something in their creativity that matches whatever frequency we need boosting. They help us find our way, our voice, solace, peace, bravery... the list goes on.

It seems strange to think that losing someone like this could feel so personal, but it does. It feels as though a piece of you has died. That piece of their creativity that met you and became You at that moment... gone.  One can, I guess, be grateful for the time and the magic that we had. We carry it still.

But the world is now one Princess short. I hope everyone at the next level is prepared for the juggernaut that is Carrie Fisher. What a party that will be.

May the Force be with you, always.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Year in Review

I think all of us can agree that, one way or the other, 2016 was one hell of a year. For all of the turmoil that bubbled this year, I hope each and every one of you found some joy. Because what is life without joy?

I was neck deep in work, a terrible cold that would not go away, and wedding planning. This was the month when, in a last-ditch desperate attempt to kick a cold that nearly sent me to urgent care, I tried oregano essential oil. I locked myself in a small room for an hour with two diffusers going. I did this for two days running, and four days later I was demonstrably better. My life has forever changed and I will never be without oregano EO ever again.
New Year's Eve: Champagne and Doctor Who

Early on in the month, Best Guy and I got out of dodge and had a lovely weekend retreat in Montpelier, about an hour south of us, and then did some 251 towns. I also officially became an LLC, thus doing the one thing that really freakin' scared the crap out of me.
My logo, thanks to Best Guy Graphic Designs

We took a quickie trip to Florida, where I got to meet our Best Man, his lovely lady, and Best Guy's Mom (hi, Mom #2!). There was also another 251 trip and a purchasing of the Mother of the Bride's outfit. We officially reached 60 days out and applied for our wedding license.
There are already talks for a 2017 Florida visit. I cannot wait!

Some more 251, and we officially put the death nail in the Moratorium on Major Life Changes by deciding I should quit my spa job and focus on my business and adopting a dog. Little did we know what an exciting journey Toby would be.
Little did we know that this would be the last time Toby was happy to be in a car.


My troupe Leanan Sidhe performed at the Vermont Ren Faire. It was beyond hot and so much fun. It was VT's first Ren Faire in at least 10 years, and they were already talking 2017 by the time we hit the second morning. We are already booked for summer 2017's faire, in addition to the one day winter faire they will be doing in March.

We did a lot of 251, and we spent a weekend in New Hampshire while Best Guy played a couple gigs with his band. We took a quickie trip to York, ME to visit his cousins and got some ocean time. I attempted to take a break from Facebook because of all the politics and partially succeeded.
York, ME. I loves me these beaches.

It was a pretty stressful month, I'm not going to lie. This is when we first got the news the Beck the Cat probably had a month or two left. This is also when some serious drama went down in regards to Best Guy's band. Luckily, by the end of the month the latter had dissipated, the former was still going strong. This is also the month where Toby the Dog got his Prozac. Praise Cheesus.
If I can't have an ocean, I'll take a lake any day.

My business saw its best month to date, and it is also the month where I started the motions toward changing office spaces. We did a 251 trip, saw the Prozac finally start taking effect, and worried about the huge growth on Beck's chin.
#85: Peacham

I officially started at my new office space. My dance troupe had a very busy performance month, which left us pretty exhausted. Beck's abcess popped, which was disgusting but then she perked right back up like nothing was wrong. And we squeezed a 251 in there as well.
Just a typical October Friday night...

Can we erase this month from our collective memories, please?

It's not quite over yet, but this is the month where I started my Kempo classes. I have also embraced Christmas as a home-owner and have been going a little nuts with the decorating (I already have plans for 2017). We also said good-bye to our dear Beck. They said two months and we got five. And she has been seen wandering around the house out of the corner of my eye, so she's not entirely gone. 
Beck and Bauer in healthier times.

As this cycle around the sun draws to a close, I hope each and every one of you has found some happiness, peace, love and prosperity. And I hope for all of you more even more of all of them in 2017.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Yesterday we said good-bye to Beck the Cat. We had her for much longer than we could have hoped, but in the last week or so she started deteriorating significantly. To the point where, on Tuesday morning, we made the call.

There is a local cat vet who will make house calls. We (well, Best Guy) has used him for years as both Beck and Bauer do not travel well, and the carriers are highly traumatic for them both. Yesterday morning, he came to the house, and released Beck of her broken body.

Bauer, her litter mate and never apart from her for 18 years, was our greatest concern. We didn't know how he would be without her. So far, he seems just fine. He has been distancing himself from her for about a month now, preferring to spend his time with us. We think he said good-bye a while ago.

We spent most of Tuesday confirming to each other that we made the right call. When the Vet got here yesterday, he picked her up and immediately said "smells like kidney failure." So, in addition to the cancer eating away at her mouth, she was in fact shutting down. So, we made the right call.

The energy has changed in the house. The tension that was here for so long is gone. We are hoping that our two remaining animals (Bauer the Cat and Toby the Dog) will find some kind of truce. Of course, that remains to be seen. But now that I am the Lady of the House, it would seem things have eased.

We spent a large portion of yesterday washing everything that Beck had touched, because even five minutes of her on something left a deep stench. I ended up doing five (!) loads of laundry yesterday, and Best Guy took carpet cleaner to a couple couches and a rocking chair. I burned some sage in the rooms where she spent the most time, and then some aroma therapy in a diffuser to help clean the air.

We miss her. I miss her. She was my first "in" to this family. Bauer will accept anyone who will let him on their lap, but Beck? I needed her approval before I was truly part of the family. And boy, did she accept me in. By the time I'd been in the picture for a year, she was sleeping either on my head on under the blankets curled up in my arm pit with her head resting on my arm. Behaviors I'm told never existed in her history prior to my arrival.

I have not felt her presence since she left, but I don't think that means she's gone for good. Rather, being free of something that tied her down for so long, she soared. Good for her.

But her absence is felt. And we miss her very much.

Monday, December 12, 2016

In the Still

This morning, we woke up to fresh snow. As Toby the Dog and I set out on our morning rounds, it was still quiet. It would seem everyone else in the neighborhood decided either on a late start to the day, or to not start it at all.

As we trudged through the snow in the gray morning, the season hit me. Not Christmas; that season is glitz and glitter and show and Look at Me. But rather, something older, quieter, heavier.

The season of darkness.

The season of going inward, the quiet hush when nothing grows. The heaviness of many blankets keeping you warm and covered while the cold holds court. The pops of color berries and Cardinals bring to remind you that deep - very deep - within, there are embers waiting to come alive.

All to often, we use the busyness of Christmas to distract us from the realities of this time of year. It's meant to be a quiet, cozy, burrowed-in time of year. However, when you spend too much time alone with yourself and your thoughts, you start having to face things.

But lights and presents and mistletoe and parties keep the darkness at bay, don't they? Not that there is anything wrong with that at all. In fact, there is something to be said for a little raucousness to light the way as we head toward the darkest 24 hours of the year.

But today, watching my dog run joyously after snowballs, I realized the simple beauty of slowing down and going inward. Today's grayness and blanket of white do not bring me despair, or frustration, or anger. Today, I appreciate the opportunity to see the beauty around me.

Stark, exposed, and stunning.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The World Keeps Spinning, Regardless of What We Do

This is the post where I start transitioning back to more mundane things. 

Or maybe not.

Thanksgiving was interesting this year. We once again had it Mom's place. The food was tasty and I ate a little more than I probably should have, but that's what harvest celebrations are for. We brought Toby with us and he performed admirably, despite being miserable about the car ride.

An interesting conversation that quickly escalated into unnecessary drama was provided, because what is a holiday without a little drama?

I do find it fascinating that even as many of us are finding our voices and speaking up, many more people are still falling through the cracks. There is still a dichotomy from the haves and have-nots on both sides of the political spectrum, and the haves are still not listening. They are making the right noises for change, but what they are seeking still does not benefit those without a financial voice. As much as change needs to happen from the top down, it also needs to happen from the bottom up. 

When you are struggling to work, stay warm, and feed your kids, nothing Washington does helps you in the least and it doesn't really matter who is in office; you're still going to get screwed. Which brings us into the fallacy of capitalism and I'm just not educated and/or qualified enough to speak well on such things. All I know is what I have historically experienced, and what I know many are still experiencing. It is tough as balls out there right now, and there is a huge financial gap between those who are struggling and those who have enough money to be angry about politics.

Because when you get right down to it, politics is a rich person's game. If you don't have money, you don't have a voice. Unless you want to get all French Revolution with things.

Which I'm guessing is not far away at all.

Oh, the irony. I wasn't going to write about any of this. I was going to tell you how I had my first jujitsu class last night, and how much I loved it, and how I'm taking on extra hours at a second job to pay for six months of classes.

Because they let you hit things.... HARD. And then compliment you on it.

I want to hit things. 


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