Saturday, November 28, 2009

Looking glass triptych

Mirror mirror

Mirror Reflections
Only with your permission can
Tell a little white lie

~Ken e Hall~

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank you....

Soaring hawk on Autumn afternoon - I don't have a real zoom lens on my camera, but you can see a bit of the magnificent raptor.   Click on image to enlarge it.

Just a note to thank you for your kind words of condolence on my father's passing.  It was comforting for me to read each of them and feel the warmth of your cyber hug.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Long and winding road

When I first started this blog, I didn't think I would have much to say.  Or that anyone but me would even read it.  But, after 200+ posts, I'm still surprised how wrong I was!

However, yesterday was the first day since August that I posted nothing.  Nada.

And that's because my father, for whom I've been the primary caregiver for the past 6+ years, passed away.  He was short of 90 years old by 5 months.  I don't think he expected to live that long; few people expected that he would outlive my mother what with all of his health conditions, but he did.  And was quite determined the stay in this realm for as long as he could.  At least, his spirit was willing to do whatever it took to stay in this realm, but his body wasn't able to support it.

Here's a bit about him, with surviving family first names and surnames removed:

Frank was born in New York, N.Y. He resided in Linden, NJ, for many years before moving to Winfield Park in 1951. He was employed by Exxon-Mobil Bayway Refinery, Linden, as a chemical operator and mechanic for 40 years, retiring in 1982. Frank was a World War II Army veteran 2nd lieutenant, serving in the Pacific. He was a member of Teamsters Union, Linden, and the Cranford Millburn Camera Club since 1947, receiving many awards for his photography. He was also the township photographer for Winfield and a past member of the Winfield School Board. 

Frank was also an avid league bowler at Linden Lanes, an audiophile, and nature lover, often seen walking through Winfield Park with his many cameras. He was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Madelyn . Surviving are seven daughters and one son, and one sister.  He is also survived by 11 grandchildren, five great-granddaughters, two sisters-in-law, many nieces and nephews, and five loving family dogs, and a parrot. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Winfield Volunteer Ambulance Squad.

And from another song:  The road is long, with many a winding turn. That leads us to who knows where. Who knows where.

May the road to Summerland be a smooth one, Dad....

Friday, November 20, 2009

The shape of rain

“I think if you look at any facet of nature in enough detail, you find it fascinating. How could you not? The universe is so full of marvels. Here's an example -- rain, the shape of rain. I was minding my own business, working on my book, looking out the window, and it was raining and I was noticing that the raindrops were falling in that classic round-looking way, and I thought, 'I wonder if raindrops really are round?' So I started researching it a little, and I discovered that raindrops change shape 300 times a second.”

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mud puddle joy

A friend of mine sent this to me in an email and naturally, I had to see if there was a YouTube of it.  There is and here it is for your immediate smile!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

After the Spring blush and the Summer riot, Beauty lives on

On Beauty

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is kind and gentle.
Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us."
And the passionate say, "Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.
Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us."

The tired and the weary say, "Beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.
Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow."
But the restless say, "We have heard her shouting among the mountains,
And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions."

At night the watchmen of the city say, "Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east."
And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say,
"We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset."

In winter say the snow-bound, "She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills."
And in the summer heat the reapers say,
"We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves,
and we saw a drift of snow in her hair."
All these things have you said of beauty,
Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

~Kahlil Gibran~

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nature's astrological chart

I took these yesterday.  The pattern is on an old and weathered redwood stool in the back yard.  I wasn't sure about the actual detail of the pattern until I uploaded the picture - the formation does look like an astrological chart, doesn't it?  A natural astrological mandala!

And if the question does arise:  No - I have never seen the face of the Virgin or Jesus on a piece of bread, although I have seen other faces in trees!  (Click on images to enlarge them.)

Update for all Sagittarians - good news from Rob!

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Have you resolved every last detail of
your unfinished business? Have you tied up the loose ends, flushed out
the lingering delusions, and said your final goodbyes to the old ways and
old days? "Yes," you say? You're absolutely positive? Well then, it is with
a deep sense of pleasure and relief that I hereby unbound you and unleash you. 

You are officially cleared for take-off into the wild blue yonder or the
fizzy red vortex or the swirling green amazement, whichever you prefer.

To which I add a resounding Huzzah!

Oh, Deer!

I opened the back door a little before 8 this morning, and here's what I saw!


I watched him as he sauntered towards the neighbor's yard thinking he would head to the forsythia hedges....


But NO!  He was on the other side of the shed - I'm not sure who was more surprised!


He stood and let me take some pictures of him - so brave!


So handsome!


I didn't have shoes on so I took this last picture and went back into the house...what a nice way to begin the morning!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mandala musings

Fork in the Road

My bones stand naked in my skin.
Time to metamorphize,
shed my carapace that was worn to transparency
by living, simply living
day by day, minute to minute.
Time for rebirth as a butterfly or snake,
but which one?
A butterfly carries no trace of its former self,
the worm it once was;
a snake keeps its crawling form,
clearly hinting what it will become,
yet a bigger snake.
Butterflies have wings, are closer to angels;
snakes are more down to earth.
Butterflies are transient beauties,
the proverbial meteor blazing across the night sky.
In the “once upon a time”
one might even have landed on Eve's hair
when her tresses were bedecked with Eden's flowers
as she stood naked in her flesh.
They die, these fluttering angels, after their nuptial flights.
Snakes live through many frosty winters.
They resurrect themselves each spring
and flick out their tongues to taste the air,
find their mates and survive the mating.
Cold-blooded, slithering, slow, earthbound, fork-tongued,
and craftier than Eve,
I’ll be a snake.

~Richard Fein~

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Narrow sparrow escape!

I KNOW you're in there!


Come out, come out wherever you are!

Well!  I wasn't THAT hungry anyway!

All photos taken by B. Fontana in her yard and used with many thanks! 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Think like a Tree

Think Like a Tree

Soak up the sun
Affirm life's magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.

Friday, November 13, 2009

3 years ago

3 years ago today, Kylie arrived on a flight from New Orleans to New Jersey, sprung from a high kill shelter in Houma, Louisiana.  She was a scrawny 29 lb, 11 month old Border Collie I had only seen in a picture.  I had no idea what temperament she had - the gamble was one of the best I've taken.  She is a great dog - happy, funny, friendly with everyone and every dog and is great company for me.

You're a good girl, Kylie and everyone loves you - especially me!

Now, let's go for our walk!



Thursday, November 12, 2009

Splash happy

Image was sent in an email by my cousin ~ it makes me smile! 

My Elephant is Missing

I cannot find my elephant.
He must have run away.
He isn't on the sofa
where he promised he would stay.

I've looked around the living room,
the kitchen and the hall.
My elephant is missing
and I'm not sure who to call.

I'll need to get a bloodhound
who can track him by his scent,
or hire a house detective
to discover where he went.

He isn't in the basement
or the attic or the yard.
You'd think, to find an elephant
would not be quite so hard.

Perhaps I'll make some posters,
and I'll offer a reward.
I'd make it more, but fifty cents
is all I can afford.

If you should see my elephant,
he answers to "Jerome."
Please tell him that I miss him
and I wish he'd come back home.

He knows the way. It's up the street
and down our garden path.
And next time I won't warn him
when it's time to take his bath.

Southwest dreaming

The Sun is hidden behind clouds this morning and so many of the intensely colored leaves are now carpeting the ground.   When the weather changes like this and the colors disappear, I find myself once again dreaming of the desert Southwest.  New Mexico, specifically.  When it's time for me to leave the East, that is where I will head.

The picture above is one of R. C. Gorman's works.  I loved his earlier paintings of women; they were so large and so powerful; Mother Nature embodied in the Southwest woman.  His colors are spectacular in some of them - intense, just like the Southwest.  That is one of the draws for me - the colors of the Southwest are marvelous.  I love the food from the area and the crafts - the pottery, the rugs, the turquoise squash blossom necklaces. I have a small collections of pots and a couple of rugs that my grandparents bought back in the '40s from that area.  It's a dream of mine to live in an adobe home, facing those red rocks and seeing the big blue sky with the whitest clouds...

Yep.  I'm in love with that area!


Here's some Carlos Nakai music - Shaman's Song with images from the great Southwest.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making the connection

Oh soul,
you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
Of anything less,
why do you worry?
You are in truth
the soul, of the soul, of the soul.


From the Mandala's Heart

I saw you looking at your chart with symbols and connecting lines.

You've seen them before and even thought you understood what it all meant. 

But you didn't. 

Only when you left all of your preconceived notions of how you were going to make "your" mandala was I able to materialize and show you what you were missing.  Only when you were quiet were you able to use your eyes and hands and listen with your Heart's intuition to my Heart's communique.

The Elements are what they are and using words to describe them doesn't let you experience them fully.  The mandala made with hands and eyes and no mind will give you the truest picture of me - which is a mirror of you.

Fire, Earth, Air, Water contained within the circle, which is contained within another circle, which is contained within another circle - you get the picture.  Contained, yet pulsating and expansive, merging into the other circles - individual yet part of a larger picture or body.

You once wrote a poem dedicated to and about Changing Woman - your words painted a picture.  Today, I'm changing the last line to read:   

all that I see is now who I am.

When you have no words, make a picture to find the words.

(One of the suggestions from Patricia was this:  I'd like you to "speak" to your mandalas. Write a brief letter or a poem telling them things, like if you were talking to somebody you just gave birth.  I wasn't sure what to write, so I let the Mandala write to me.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mandala from Creative Astrology course

Well, here it is - I finally uploaded it to Flickr, was able to rotate the picture there and then blog it from Flickr.  A round about way of doing things, but I simply could not get the picture to load correctly in Blogger.  Even in Flickr, I had to correct the upload.  

Anyway, this is what I created as a result of Ariel's wonderful course - people are still working on theirs and haven't uploaded them yet.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's creations!

This is basically my astrological chart with visual elements of my choosing, rather than astrological symbols.  I don't understand working on a flat piece of surface - like drawing, painting, etc - and just had to add some texture to it.  As you can see, I like lots of textures, colors and visuals - they keep me interested in viewing any object. 

I wanted to show some of the details with this, but I can't figure out how to blog several photos from Flickr.  I guess I'll have individual posts with their images. 

Clicking on the picture will take you to my Flickr page.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Up-side-down and sideways

I'm frustrated with Blogger and uploading pictures today!  The ones I took of my mandala that I made for the Creative Astrology course with Ariel are only posting up-side-down or sideways.  I guess Blogger is feeling creative today!!

Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Maybe tomorrow it will be more cooperative!

Another beautiful day here - almost 70!  I'm loving the mild weather...time to head out in it for a bit before it becomes too dark to see!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reigning Sunshine

O M G - it is so gorgeous outside as I type this.  I would be outside, but you know what?  I hate the damnable noise from the damnable leaf blowers and the damnable lawn mowers that people ride around on like some suburban cowboy!  I just want to shout, "Shut those things off already and enjoy the gorgeous day!  I want to hear the Wind, I want to hear the birds, I want to hear the silence!"

But, they wouldn't hear me over their noise....

We'll head out to the woods where some quiet prevails....see you later!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

First Frost

We had our first frost of the season last night - it was 32 F when Kylie and I went for our walk.  She was quite frisky, romping through the leaves in the woods!

Frost on sage leaves.

Frost on bee balm leaves.


Frost on more sage leaves.


Frost on more bee balm leaves.


Frost on more sage leaves.

Click on any picture to enlarge it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Air element from Creative Astrology - further thoughts

Image is from here.
Jasmine asked me this question in my previous post and I feel like I need to think out loud about my response to it.

Hi. I was wondering if you felt disconnected to the written interpretation of air as well as the collage? I found I had two very different reactions to words and the image. So many surprises in this course. I always thought I was a pretty true gemini x

This made me think, Jasmine, what I actually think about Air signs in astrology.  I don't think I actually understand them, in spite my having 2 major planets in the sign of Aquarius; in spite of being married to an Aquarian for 11 years; in spite of having friends with strong Aquarian influences.  I've known Geminis and I've known Librans, but honestly, I cannot say that I understand them.

I see the potential of how Air can relate to and with Fire, Water and Earth and yet, I do not understand Air on its own.  Perhaps because I can't touch it - it touches me, but I don't touch it.  I can touch the Earth, I can touch the Water and I can touch (ouch!) Fire, but how does one touch Air?  I can touch things floating in Air, but when the Wind blows through my fingers or hair, I am not touching Air, it is touching me.

I think part of my problem is that I view Air signs as intellectual and not in their bodies.  With all of the Earth I have in my chart, I can understand why I would feel that way, although it is rather shallow of me, isn't it?

I remember watching "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" for the first time in the theater.  There was a part when the young girl has stolen the sword and is running across the rooftops, being pursued by the older woman.  At one point, the young girl is grabbed by the older woman; she escapes her grip and once again, the older woman is in pursuit.  The young woman appears to be flying!  The older woman finally gets the younger woman and yells, "Get down here!"  They then proceed to have a wonderful martial arts "dance" sequence.

I understood the older woman perfectly - that's how I feel when Air signs head off into the ethers and I stand there, squinting at them, wanting to pull them back down to Earth.


That is not their element, is it?  Air is their element and they are what they are, as is Air what it is.  The interesting thing is that I am quite capable of heading off into the ethers with them - but don't know or don't trust that they will head back to Earth.  I think that is  the unnerving part to me.  It's the same sort of feeling I had with the Water element - would I ever touch the Earth again, have my head above water and breathe again?  I've worked through so much of the Water element fear; I wonder how I will work through the Air element fear?

I have lots to think about with respects to the Air element, thanks to this course.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Creative Astrology - the Element of Air

From Croneletta's altered book which she made for me.

I'm participating in an online Creative Astrology course, hosted by Patricia Ariel, a gifted artist. It's intended to spark more of our creativity through the language of astrology.  From her blog:


If you enjoy astrology and have interest to know a bit more about how it works, while finding out more about yourself and yet sparking your creativity, you may enjoy Creative Astrology. This workshop was designed to help you understand the astrological language in an intutitive way, taking your own birth chart as a reference, and learning how to recognize the astrological symbolism inside yourself and in the world around you. This workshop is not intended to be a complete course on astrology, which would demand many months of apprenticeship and a different learning approach, but to give you a glimpse of how it is based upon and how you can see it in action in your life. as a complement you'll learn how to build a mandala journal and connect the mandala imagery to your chart and personal experience.

One of our exercises today was to look at digital collages made for each of the Elements in Western astrology - Earth, Air, Fire, Water - see what our reaction was to each of them.  The Air collage was the first one I viewed and it immediately turned me off.  Surprising me.  The other 3 elements did not produce that kind of reaction, so I'm curious what will be revealed.

I have the planets Venus and Jupiter in Aquarius, an Air sign - last year, after having an intense dream, I consulted my friend, Lark, a very talented astrologer.  She informed me that that portion of my chart was lit up and I think it still may be.  After thinking about my immediate not-so-great reaction to that collage, I know it's something I'll be working with.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I am but a leaf

I Am But A Leaf

Autumn is so beautiful.

Summer came to an end
How do I know? Here comes the wind.
All the leaves are falling down...
Rain, silver and clean comes calling.
I can see the branches
Twist and bend.
I am just a leaf
And I shouldn't mind...
But once off my tree
It's so hard to find...
Somewhere else to call my home...
I feel so alone...
Guess I can just go and rest
By the great mountain of stone.
Autumn is my favorite time of year
Because I am admired and I turn to gold.
And since summer's so hot and I dry up fast,
I prefer the cold.
I love the rain as it patters upon my tree,
And when the wind uproots me
I sail free!
I can roll along the meadows
Or slip down along the street,
Stay around long enough
To hear the autumn rain's beat.
What becomes of me
At autumn's untimely end?
I fly away, fly away
Awhirl in autumn's wind!

Free Will Astrology

Image is from here.

What to make of this, from Rob:

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

Congratulations, Sagittarius! Free Will Astrology's Task Force on Creative Suffering has confirmed that your current dilemmas are exceptionally interesting and useful. You have demonstrated an impressive talent for getting embroiled in riddles that promise to bring out your dormant reserves of vitality and ingenuity. The dumfounding questions you've been wrestling with are high-caliber tests that have drawn you closer to the heart of the reasons you're here on Earth. Take full advantage of this beautiful mess, my dear. Chaos this fertile is hard to come by.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


The birth of a fairy,
though a flower may die,
brings yellow and crimson
and gold to the sky,
angels blush lavender,
lilac and rose,
Apollo’s blood child
wavers and blows,
across dancing lilies
of valley and Nile,
where laughter is light
and tears can’t disguise,
swirling realm of the fay,
under pale, cobalt skies,
though silver be stolen
the child of fay hides,
amongst the leaves
of windblown dreams,
a feathery chariot drawn
over cordoned seas,
to visions of Venus,
so pure and subdued,
her flame imbued face
reflects only you,
while dawn’s liquid fingers
caress the day,
dew’s dripping veil revealing
the birth of the fay.

~S.K.Lindeman©2009 NY USA~

Image from here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mt. Diablo

This is Mt. Diablo, located in Contra Costa County in California.  I moved there kicking and screaming from Pacifica on the coast - I did not want to leave living so closely to my beloved Pacific Ocean.  But move I did.

I lived in Mt. Diablo's shadow for 19 years and only went to the top twice; both times were in the first year I lived there and both visits unnerved me.  I never felt that way when I visited Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County - those were always joyous visits.  But Mt. Diablo felt almost ominous to me.

Mt. Diablo is quite impressive, very massive and I think it is a very stern teacher and task master! Perhaps those 2 jaunts up the mountain with my ex-husband were preparing me for the next 19 years!  Much of my life in Contra Costa County was really about enduring and change - divorce, melanoma, disillusionment with the status quo, financial challenges, crazy fundamentalists, etc.  You get the picture.  However, endure I did and I gained a lot of inner strength from those 19 years.  I think I could go to the top of the mountain and now feel relaxed.  Maybe it would be like returning to some class you took that really jammed your buttons, pushed you to learn something, not because you wanted to, but had to - and now that you passed with good grades, you're almost nostalgic in remembering the ordeal!

Why am I bringing up Mt. Diablo?  Well, my friends Lark and Kris Bowerman, pictured below, just re-released their CD entitled Mt. Diablo.  Their experience of hiking the mountain was completely different from mine and they've celebrated it in this CD.


If you go to their website,, you can listen to the title track along with some others from all of their CDs.


Lark told me that she drew the cover for their CD on Hallowe'en - the CD was to have been re-released on that date, but it was released earlier and it is now available for purchase. Here is a blurb from their website about the CD:

Meet the mystical, mysterious mountain from which Coyote, according to Miwok Indian tradition, created the world. Through close harmony vocals, guitar and drum rhythms and recorder solos, meet some of the denizens of the mountain. Kuimba's third CD, is filled with fun, upbeat, as well as contemplative music. This EP length recording (26 minutes) commemorates Mount Diablo, which is located in near San Francisco, California.

This re-issue of the CD is packed with changes. For starters, a whole new dynamic version of the title track. In addition, Mount Diablo has new vocals and vocal harmonies on some tracks, and added background instruments. It has also been newly REMASTERED.

Wander on over to their site and have a listen - I think you'll enjoy your visit!



How must it be
to be moss,
that slipcover of rocks?—

greening in the dark,
longing for north,
the silence
of birds gone south.

How does moss do it,
all day
in a dank place
and never a cough?—

a wet dust
where light fails,
where the chisel
cut the name.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Samhain afternoon

 My electric cauldron in wide open window, 2009 Samhain

kiddies in costumes
warm witchy winds swirling leaves
samhain afternoon

What a gorgeous day we had yesterday!!  It reached 75 degrees here in NJ!  So unseasonably warm; kids parading around in such cute outfits so happy to put their little hands into the big bowl of candy and treats I offered; Kylie loved answering the door - she always thinks everyone is here to see her and play with her Squeaker football!  I still have some candy left, but the juice boxes and treat for Hallowe'en pups were a hit!

And the wind!  It was so special yesterday - like Witches swooping, diving and having fun on their besoms creating the warm wind that swirled the leaves up and around and down.  It was quite a magical feeling...

Such quiet in the neighborhood today...such a different feel from yesterday!  And how wonderful to wake up after the time change - I hate getting up in the dark.  It seems so unnatural.

Kylie goes to the groomer today - she seems to have picked up a flea or two.  Poor little girl is so itchy.  Now, the big chore will be to get rid of those critters naturally - can't use a flea bomb because of Millie and my confined to bed father.  Wish me luck!