The meme that returned from the grave…..*ominous music*

This Meme is borrowed from the blog of Gini Koch ( an author whose work I stalk in her too few pseudonymic incarnations.  Back when she was a newly published author I got to share a bit of whole grain bread, organic peanut butter and ginger marmalade with her as well as talk about her novel “Touched By An Alien”.  I like all kinds of reading material just like I love all kinds of food. Her Kat books, if they were a food, would be Krispy Kreme Donuts.  This meme was my first entry when I ran away to this new blog space. I am including both answers

1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Why?

OLD ANSWER: My choice varies between flying and invisibility, although both are super powers that seem to be less useful if they aren’t coupled with hours at the gym buffing up for the punch or years at college to make sense of the overheard and over”seen” info. Today I pick invisibility as favorite.

NEW ANSWER: I have always wanted to be invisible, hence changing blog hosting sights when I suddenly hit 200 followers and started getting comments on every blog. I think I have always pursued the Rogue package, but I am done being invisible. I want powers of healing/regeneration, you know, high level cleric skills. I want to be able to heal mind, body and soul with my touch, I recognize this may make me more vulnerable to attack so if someone still has a spare invisibility cloak, I wouldn’t spurn it.

2. Who is your style icon?

OLD ANSWER: Easy peasy, except not so much….which style? Fashion? Philosophy? Lifestyle? I would say my style icon is Victor Frankl as played by Doris Day in a tribute to Katherine Hepburn about Kuan Yin.

NEW ANSWER: Wow, was my old answer pretentious and confusing (honest maybe but wow). This question always stumps me, lets just say I am working on this one, honestly I am. I am making cut and past collages in my journal as I try and figure out what I actually like again. Real people in my life whose personal style effect my own are my DIL, her mom, Ann Videan and Jennifer Morrow. All four of you not only look well put together all the time (on budgets) but help me find ways to look my best when we shop together.

3. What is your favorite quote?

OLD ANSWER: Today it is “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. ”
George Washington Carver

NEW ANSWER: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” Robert Frost

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
OLD ANSWER:I have a box of awards, published articles and even programs from conventions where I was a “noted speaker”  that speak my attributes with erudition but whose memories are faded and grey if not intangible.  On top of that  is a 10 year old picture of me with one of my  sons from a  day when I heard . “That’s  MY mom”, spoken with pride by my teen-ager when he thought I couldn’t hear and I can still smell gamer socks, cheesy puffs and mountain dew with a huge warm smile.

NEW ANSWER: “I know you did your best Mamacita, I love you.”  OK, maybe you will note a theme.  I guess my ego was flaring that day, hence my mentioning the past, but I can honestly say my sons matter more to me than perhaps is right, and I have struggled perhaps the most with that roll, so when they are kind or cruel it has more effect than a thousand strangers accolades. The other “greatest complement” I get is when a patient looks up, meets my eyes, smiles back, clearly glad I am their nurse that day.  I would rather be of true service than rich or famous. Finally a special one this year, my sister utilized her limited resources (financial and health) to come visit me and see me perform at the Faire.  Bestest complement this year!

5. What playlist/CD is in your CD Player/iPod right now?

OLD ANSWER: Its a self-made list called “Jason, no Argonauts” that begins with U2’s “If I Don’t Crazy….”, moves to some Jack Johnson with “Breakdown” then I  Concretely “Dance Along the Edge” and eclectically meander on through other semi-pop and rock music of the last two (3?)decades including some Ego Likeness, Queensryche, and Dreamtheater. This playlist is one of the three I made last year for Nanowrimo. Just before that I was listening to Stings amazing John Dowland CD.

NEW ANSWER: I so want to lie here, LOL. Ummm, so I potentially have some minor OCD tendencies, okay. Teasing may begin now. I and up to the “C”s listening to all my music in alphabetical order by artist, then song, as I figure out what I will keep on my car play Ipod and what I will use for my new running tracks, and because I like to do things in an orderly fashion.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

OLD ANSWER:I am a crow so what do you think? Corvids are up at dawn and asleep by sunset .

NEW ANSWER: This one is pretty much unchanged. I am up at 4 when I am healthy, to meditate and run the dogs before starting my official day about 6.

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?
OLD ANSWER: I am happiest when the proud Mother of both but always have a dog, cats come and go.

NEW ANSWER: Actually I have learned I am really a dog person, or pigs. My friends cats knew this before I did and have hastened my realization. They hunt me when I visit, no kidding! I love pigs, goats, horses and dogs but only as pets not as food. Dogs are what I own.

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

OLD ANSWER:The name I want to legally change to as a final means of escaping into my super power of invisibility, and Ok, its my magic pirate name and if a black feather is found in your soup when I am around, I know nothing…

NEW ANSWER: Crowfae is not only my blog name its my license plate and it is short for crow faery;  to me it represents magic in the rejected and mundane. In fact I cringe a bit at the way crows are always portrayed as evil sidekicks, or portents of doom. They are a compassionate, intelligent, community oriented species with a true sense of play and THEY clean up theirs and everyone else’s garbage.  Mostly though, I just love Crows and magic.


Today I redid this meme to close the old circle and start a new one….and because, even though I know they are out of vogue, they are fun. Sort of an online parlor game between friends or acquaintances; I also use memes to develop characters when I write prose. I hope a few of you cut and paste your answers to this meme in my comments or on your blog (leave a link, so we can read it) as well because conversations are more fun when I get to listen as well as talk.

Here are the questions grouped together:

1. If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?

2. Who is your style icon?

3. What is your favorite quote?

4. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

5. What playlist/CD is in your CD Player/iPod right now?

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name? (if you don’t have a blog, use your email name)

And here again is the link to Gini.


Taking my breath away…the beauty of connections

Last week I was plowing along at my usual break neck speed wondering why I just couldn’t seem to find the motivation to train, write, pretty much do ANYTHING besides the most basic housecleaning and my nursing shifts but still not taking the hint and slowing down enough to pay attention, when BANG! life literally took my breath away.

I awoke the first time a little after 9 PM, because I was cold and went to check the thermostat; but it was running fine, said 82 degrees so figured I was running a small fever and took some Tylenol, put a cover over me and went back to bed.  Some back story here might be appropriate. I  have chronic episodes of pain and low-grade fever that are related either to some genetic predisposition to autoimmune anomalies or as a long term side effect of the treatments that kept me alive. I am not sure which, the doctors are not sure which, and I am as I was told actually “an incredibly healthy obese woman for a patient with my history”, and finding the cause is not nearly as important to me as having a happy, functional life.  Anyway feeling run down, minor aches and pains or an elevated temperature are not things that send me anywhere normally except my medicine chest and back to bed, after which I wake up, take my veggie smoothie and go train.

This was not one of those times. I had fever dreams all night about fires and suffocating and woke to find I really couldn’t breathe. Dressing myself winded me and just taking a normal breath hurt, let alone laughing or yawning. I wasn’t coughing, nor did I have any upper respiratory things going on more than the normal Arizona summer allergies.  The symptoms didn’t add up to me but I knew I needed to finally give in and see a doctor so I headed to Williamsfield clinic, who triaged me and sent to the emergency room.

I won’t go into how long my day was at the emergency room, available beds, staffing and the incredible load any VA hospital contends with means I was there most of the day. So long story short, my X-ray showed pneumonia. Admission was the first option, but I hate hospitals and they were (are always) short beds and I begged to go home, I assured my doctor I had the friend support to be safely supervised and I would return immediately if I worsened.  The ED got me my meds, some high tech antibiotics, breathing support, and pain killers and I went home.

My friend who was with me that day was a saint and support and kept making me laugh (maybe just to get back at me, cuz it sure hurt when I laughed). Both our electronics ran out of juice, and there wasn’t much in the way of healthy food choices, but the day could have been worse, after all I got to go home. Once home, my friends and family rallied and I was better taken care of than any hospital could have done. I was/am thankful all the amazing love, support, soup and time.

Which is about where my gratitude stopped. See, I wasn’t going to be released to work for a week, and well I am barely self-supporting, and I like to think of myself as indispensable, and I would be missing 3 days of work.  Actually, the truth is, it is hard to find a subsititute nurse if I am not there, and the family truly needs full-time nursing, that’s why they have us.  I also care about my patients and like the family I serve, and I have a strong sense of responsibility. If I say I will be somewhere, I expect myself to be there.

Then there was that whole thing of my  human “doing”ness  rather than my human “being”ness. I was actually too sick to do anything. So I got a little whiny on FaceBook, and more than a little “why”ney during my morning meditation/chat with my Higher Power. I had just gotten the best ever medical news so why this, why me, why now, why can’t I ever just get ahead a little before my finances wobble again….bleah, bleah, bleah. I really went on and on about money, and my kids (who are grown and awesome but can always use your prayers too) and just when I was about to work myself into a full blown pity party I read this blog Yeah. HUMBLED!

And my self-pity is silenced as I stop thinking about myself and start praying for some one else.

Big ol’ reminder of how incredibly lucky I am, and if the radiation damage to my lungs means I am more susceptible to this pneumonia kind of thing, then I am putting on my big girl panties and being more cautious, but also realizing stuff happens. Good stuff and bad stuff, and it really isn’t about me.

I am blessed. I healed quickly, I usually do. I know a small part of this is my cumulative life changes from all the good advice over the years. I eat healthy (primarily organic vegan), I exercise, I am less obese than this time last year; another part is all the threads of love that hold and balance me like a kite in flight; but there is another part of my incredible resilience that I just call “Miracle” . That part is the result of all the prayers, spells, meditations, candles and energy work sent on my behalf over the last couple decades from multiple people of multiple faith paths, and for them I am grateful.

Laurie will be there now each morning, along with you, if I know your name when I talk to the Universe; there with my sons and their triumphs and times of poor judgement; there with my daily stranger and those who I struggle to forgive or be forgiven by; there with me and my gratitude and resolves.  I hope you all continue the favor for me because whether you believe in the divine or just in the physics of energy, your words of encouragement and healing have changed my life, allowed my life; but just this month if you don’t have time for an addition, let Laurie take my place in your prayers, because I would really like her to have as much magic as I have had.


P.S. For those with questions about pneumonia click here


Here is Laurie’s blog  link again.

Space Pirates start your engines; A bit longer review of Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by G.J. Koch

So a few further musings about Captain Alexander Napolean Outland.  I really didn’t like him at first, but then I must explain that roguish womanizers are not on my list of favorite people in real life or on the printed page. In fact, Mr. Outland made me muse that maybe the author Ms. Koch has been to one too many geek conventions with her Alien series, hopelessly warping her perception of men into caricatures of male post-adolescent horn-dogs.  I still can’t say I really like Alexander, but his misadventures were like a big old, bag of salty Lays potato chips, I just couldn’t stop reading, and I bet neither will you.

Also, don’t be surprised if the voice you hear narrating this Outlandish adventure is a cross between the original honorable outlaw Humphrey Bogart and either Harrison Ford or Nathan Fillion.  Just as many of the great sci-fi movie icons owe their character traits to earlier hard-boiled detective novels and gritty western television heroes, recognizable bits of Hans Solo, Captain Kirk, and Captain Fancy Pants surface in this honorable space rapscallion.  The female characters in the book are predictable Gini with a tiny twist in the mechanics of the co-starring she-male but both are built to keep men thinking with their tiny brains but capable of using their own; sort of brilliant Bond girls with secrets. As in any respectable anime, dungeon crawl or comic book team we round out the main characters with a sidekick and a more-than-he-seems old man

This is not a science fiction story that wants to change anything about how the reader sees the world or treats his/her fellow life forms.  Talking at all about the actual plot in this review could detract from the rumpusy ride.  Other than the nourishment all actual reading brings to the brain by its very process, there is  absolutely nothing even remotely nutritious about this literary dish.  This latest and greatest Koch novel is all spicy snack food that is consumed quickly and leaves the reader licking the salt off their metaphorical fingers and looking for more!

Take Me to Your Reader, some musing on books and snail mail

Words are a powerful thing. The right word at the right time can change things. Two of my top ten things in the whole wide world involve words, books and snail mail. First lets talk about a couple new books.

Yesterday two potential bestsellers broke shelf, “Red Shirts” by John Scalzi and “Alexander Outland” by G.J. Koch both are funny and infinitely readable, chock full of  geek insider humor that will still be funny even if you don’t get the pop culture reference.  Scalzi has arrived already with “Fuzzy Nation”  (his last book for those who don’t follow his daily penning at hitting the NYT Hardcover list in its first week of sales. I don’t feel the need to tell you much about him or his book as so many others have said it more eloquently than I could. Let me promise you that if you can find a copy of this book, and buy it, you will need to make space to read it through to the end; because it’s that good.

Ms. Koch on the other hand is still on her way, struggling out of the cocoon of genre publishing that has nurtured and hampered many the nascent author. Her series, that began with “Touched by an Alien,” is a remarkable example of a developing voice, easily relegated by booksellers who haven’t read it to “disposable genre fiction,” the language and character development is always a little more, and each one improves a bit on the last. Her Alien series are respectable “on base”  swings of her mighty pen, but Alexander Outland is her first “out of the park” hit. Here is hoping readers take notice.

However neither of these books was the most important printed words I read yesterday, nor was it beginning my next book “Praying for Strangers,” or the brief reread of favorite passages in “Tutu: Authorized” before I had to return it to my library.  The most important thing I read yesterday came in a small envelope from Bremerton, Washington. It was simply a snail mail from my neice.

My neice is all and all a pretty remarkable woman. She thinks for herself, makes primarily good decisions, and more importantly always seems to learn from her other kind so rarely makes the the same mistake twice. I don’t actually talk to her much but I hear about her adventures, accomplishments and challenges from her mother, my sister.  I am proud to call her family. Yesterday she made me feel like she was proud to call me family as well.

Even though compassion is my highest ideal, there are only a few things I can say I truly love as evidenced by my daily choices, those are  books, family, friends, music, cooking, spirituality and snail mail, ordered by how much time I spend for each. (I am learning to love exercise, gardening, ecology and financial responsibility but those are a whole other blog topic each.) I love books. I love getting books (hence the jackpot feel of the Mother’s day Kindle Fire  and all the classics now available at my fingertips for free). I especially love to give books to people I  love, and I spend serious time selecting the books I give. I have to like the book itself, have to believe the book and message will amuse, entertain and enlighten the recipient a bit.  Years ago I made such a choice and gave my niece “The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch. I also love to write letters and send cards.

Lately I have been feeling a bit like maybe I shouldn’t give books anymore, and this week for the first time in years I didn’t spend Monday morning filling out cards and notes to pop in the outgoing mail. The world it seemed to me had moved on, and I was a bit of a relic to still want to give books, write letters and send cards all the time. Worse than seeming like no one cared, it seemed that I was being a bother or perhaps insensitive, that my penchant for sharing words, mine or others, was more about meeting my own needs than attending to someone else’s.

Yesterday a thank-you note came with a letter inside, I hope she won’t mind me including a brief quote since I am not using her name here, “I will always be grateful for you giving me the book The Paper Bag Princess. Your timing was spectacular and I needed the message at the time. I still LOVE that book. I still pull it out from time to time and read it. The message in that book (and the fact that someone gave it to me, which made it feel even more special), it helped me not only accept myself but be okay with enjoying who I was too.”

I started to cry when I got to that part, because those few words were exactly what I needed to hear, too. There was more to it as well. I give her credit for what beautiful waves of personal growth she made from tiny ripples my words and a gift of words started. She made her own ripple yesterday, her note helped me accept and enjoy who I am too.

I don’t make my living with words anymore, I don’t regret when I did, but I quit writing professionally because the difference I was making then was not the kind of difference I wanted to make. Words are powerful.  My business card says “Wordsmith” because Probably words are the most powerful tool in my life. I still write daily; blogs, charts, cards, letters, poems, recipes, journal entries, goals, shopping lists, etc. Sometimes I even write professionally. I read incessantly. I don’t make my living with words, but words make up my life.

Thanks to a few well placed words from my niece I will continue my snail mails and book giving. I might have anyway without her, but the fact her letter arrived on the same day I was journaling about whether I should or not, seems more than coincidental.

Words are powerful, today I choose to use mine for good.



How Green is my Valley, or is that just the reflection off my face.

Ok, not actually a valley,  more like a 10 ft by 2 ft stretch of dirt and a few odd containers. And, yes, I am very nauseated this morning, been happenning too often of late. If there was a womb at the Inn, I would think I was pregnant. But I am not, so lets talk about my garden instead.

At the beginning of the season I started seeds for Daikon,  Red Winter Kale, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Swiss Chard, Summer Squash, Winter Squash (Spaghetti Squash) , Cantaloupe, Yellow Dandelion,  Cucumbers, Basil, Mint, and Arugula. (I also planted a bunch of sunflower seeds directly in the left side of my garden and wild flower mix on the right from which one one sunflower actually grew and is now thriving.LOL)

I mixed 1/3 compost with 2/3 organic potting soil and carefully placed one to two seeds in each little starter pot, watered every third day and waited and watched them sprout. Then I watched my mint get invaded by spider mites and die, and my Dandelion just never really take off and grow, but all the rest got pretty and green and ready for a real garden.

When it came time to  plant them in my purchased community garden, my plot was already planted with someone else’s plants, I could get no answer form the garden custodian, so I took them back home and I decided to try them (again) in the raised dirt garden section at the back of my yard. I had tried my first gardening experiment there last year. The dirt was so dead there weren’t even any bugs and I bought some organic fertilizer but my brown thumb and the dead dirt won out and everything died within a week of transplant.

Well, almost everything, my aloe although not thriving did come back and one plant actually bloomed this year.

So, back to this year. I reviewed my desert gardening book, the stuff I’d learned in class and I carefully spaced and transplanted everything into the left side of the garden.  I planted on the left because over the course of the fall and winter I had been cutting in my compost as it ripened and I knew it was working, life was returning to this dead, dead soil because I would see the occasional worm when I played in the dirt.  I was really proud of all my work and the plants that survived the transplant looked pretty good. (Um, Citified Brown Thumb struck here as well, my broccoli and brussel sprouts just withered up and died.)

Then a roadrunner AND a local feral kitty (both of whom have not been back for three weeks, hopefully due to heat not predators) both decided it was their duty to tease my dogs.

First came the cat, strutting back and forth along the back wall just out of dog reach. I am sure he was taunting them in a voice only dogs can hear, or maybe it was hte message of his staccato tail swish. The dogs could not resist and gave chase, back and forth, both 110 lb dogs. They had made  two complete trips through the middle of the muddy plants (of course I had just watered) before I could get them out of the garden and back on the lawn. I tried to set things up and hoped for the best. Some of the plants were gonna make it when the road runner stopped by.

My garden was destroyed. Every plant was broken and dug up. Partly the devastation was my fault because the whole coyote, roadrunner skit happening in my back yard had me rolling on the ground laughing too hard to sound to serious about the dogs stopping. And believe me, that bird was never in any danger.

I accepted my gardening defeat at this point, leveled the soil again and consoled myself with harvesting my first real crop ever from my Arugula which I container garden, so was unaffected.

The once upon a time garden continued to be watered because I use an old fashioned circular style sprinkler which waters some places by accident as well as the intended target, plus it was still spring and raining occasionally.

Well, what do you know right after one of the good storms I noticed things started to grow. Maybe they were seeds that didn’t germinate, or maybe they were the old root systems just hanging in and re-establishing growth. Funny thing was, now I didn’t know what any of the plants were, because my Lab and Retriever had truly rearranged all the dirt and plants. I pulled the ones I knew were weeds and waited to see what would happen.

Funny it is that my accidental garden seems to be my most successful to date. When the serious heat hit, my friend Regina helped me lay down a small drip circuit and currently at least one cantaloupe, a half dozen summer squash, and a winter squash or two are growing and ripening in my little garden. A million little bugs and I are sorting out which ones help and which one hurt, the ground squirrels have feasted regularly on all but the squash leaves but I have still harvested Chard, Collard, Arugula and radish twice. I have even shared a salad of the Arugula and a harvest of greens.

The chard and collards are done for the season I think, but what do I know.

Nothing when it comes to gardening, obviously. Like most things in my life, the best stuff happens when I show up, follow directions and release the result.

My arugula was just thinned and sprayed for the spider mite/flies that love my inside plants and I am starting my pumpkins inside now for transplant in a month so they are nice and ready in Oct, November.

I keep taking pictures of my melon, knowing a lot can happen between now and the table but enjoying the process.

And learning, ever so slowly by failing forward to become a successful suburban Homesteader.