Monday, July 30, 2007

Mermaid Love...

Ever since I saw that the theme for this month's Art Bead Scene challenge was Mermaid's Grotto, I wanted to make something to enter. I'd been thinking about entering before, but mermaids!!, I love anything related to the sea and mermaids are so especially lovely.

I had bought this Russian lacquer hand-painted pendant not too long ago at Reed's Beads in Ambler, PA, and had several different ideas on what to create with it. I usually think of greens and blues for anything to do with the ocean, it's a very emotional connection for me, and the greens and blues are soothing and heart-centered, in my mind.

I must have picked up the curly everlasting shells, though, and realized how perfect they were for this pendant, not only for the colors, but for the curly-ness of them which is reflected in the curly-ness of the mermaid's pose and her hair. I loved the way the black seed beads set it all off, and the rest just sort of fell into place as I worked on it. I had to use smaller size 11 seed beads to fit into the shells before adding the size 8's that I used in between shells, so I wouldn't end up with gaps of exposed beading wire. The fringe is size 8's in matte black and iridescent green with black size 11's for the branches.

I love to be able to combine the different techniques that I've learned in my beading journey, though I had never had to tie thread onto the slick beading wire before. It took a few tries to photograph this well enough for the colors to be clear...the background is a sheet of hand-made paper that I have collected from Creative Papers Online.

Other bead sources are Sedona Stones for the aventurine bead, and Happy Mango Beads for the shells and freshwater pearls. The little Thai silver beads in the fringe are from Saki Silver.

You can get to the entries from the ABS blog, but here's a direct link to the Flickr group, to make it a little easier.

***I've noticed that not all the entries will show up, including mine, if you are not signed in to Flickr and, I think also, signed in to the ABS group. I sent an email to ABS about this, and will see what can be done to change that. Meanwhile, you can still see a large portion of the entries, which are quite beautiful.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

cat in the grass...

Just some silliness tonight...I was so sick on Thursday with some kind of stomach thing...but managed to get myself together enough to get the guys to aikido for the later class. I thought recuperating would be easier than this, but it's taking a little while to coordinate my hunger with my body's ability to handle food again, so I am feeling quite slowed down at the moment.

Just before it got really dark, I went outside to lay in the grass on our hill behind the house. It felt and smelled so good, my cat, Tippy, thought so too, and came to join me, which made me want my camera sooo bad, so eventually I went in and got it but it was getting quite dark then and the mosquitos were extremely plentiful and hungry as well! I did manage a few photos, so here's my contribution for the moment....

I'm also working on a necklace for the Art Bead Scene Challenge for July...the theme for the month is Mermaid's Grotto...I've been collecting all things sea-like for so long, and have several mermaid pendants, so when I saw this at the beginning of the month I knew I'd have to make something for it, but with all that's been happening with the boys' aikido testing, it's taken this long to get going on it. Check out the entries that are there, there are quite a few and they are all beautiful! I do have something in the works, and expect to have it done and photographed soon. I also started creating a beading nook for myself in an upstairs room. The room has needed an overhaul for awhile, after incarnations as a craft/computer room, a bedroom for friends who needed a place to live while starting an alternative health center nearby, a ferret play space, etc, etc. I'm finding that it's just easier to focus on one area right now as my need for beading space dictates. Maybe I'll just go through the room corner by corner ;-), having a dormer in it, there are more than four, so that helps.

I also just finished watching The Holiday...that was fun, a sweet double love's nice to watch one of those every once in a while.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

paperwork and music...

I am getting the paperwork together that notifies the school district of our intentions to homeschool again this year. This is simple, just a notarized affidavit and a list of objectives covering every required subject, three pages all together to be mailed certified mail before August 1st. I used to go to the school itself and walk down that long carpeted hallway to the superintendent's office to drop off all our paperwork, and then decided that although it felt silly to go to the post office when the school is hardly a mile away, it did make life a bit more pleasant for me in the long run.

When I submitted last year's portfolio, it actually took until April of this year to receive it back with an acceptance letter from the superintendent. I've been through lots of years of having to send additional papers, or having to explain why the law didn't require me to submit certain things, so, I was quite happily surprised this year when I received the portfolio back within a month of submitting it, along with a thorough approval letter! For once, I had decided that it didn't matter to me if they approved of it or not, or how long it might take, and here was the response that I would have loved to have gotten many years ago. I know that I have grown through the complications that I had through these years, I also believe that my responses to the school district helped to educate them as to what the actual minimum is that is required by law, and so make it easier for future home-educators in this district who choose not to over-comply with the law.

I've definitely had lots of help with these issues, from other homeschoolers who have had to deal with the same issues. One of these is our current evaluator, Gloria Molek, who made my life so much easier in June, when I thought I wasn't moving fast enough on getting the paperwork done. The end result was that she called me the weekend before I had planned to mail out my papers, and took care of half of the evaluation process right there on the phone, thereby making the whole process that much easier for me to complete.

I have wanted to share something about her daughter since then, but haven't gotten around to it until now. Her daughter is a gifted singer/songwriter/musician and has been performing at clubs around the general Pittsburgh area for some time. Now she is looking for venues that will expand her geographical range, and I was asked that if I knew of any venues that were good places for her to perform, that I might notify her, and to spread the word as well. So here it is. And here is Cathasaigh....

If you know of any clubs, fairs, any kind of venue that would be good for a young artist to perform in, please let me or Cathasaigh know about it. She plans to spread out to several states around and including PA as far as I know. There is a place on her website to see where she is playing now, and also to submit your own suggestions.

You can hear her songs on her website, and I found a video that she has uploaded to her myspace page....

Call Me Hitchhiker [live]

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Seane Corn "Critical Impact"

so ordinary...

...sung by the anything-but-ordinary Paula Cole...
I find this so fascinating and paradoxical...none of us is ordinary...knowing astrology and the Human Design System, I know that we are each like two alike, and yet how often do people not really see us, and dismiss us as 'ordinary'? How often do we not really see ourselves, and think that others are more exciting and intriguing than we are. I think the dilemma is more about how two people connect (or don't) with each other, we are not all equipped to see each and every person as they are...and so why do we tend to attach ourselves to those people who can't really see us properly...and then try to find ways for them to notice us? Many times the other person is just in a space in their lives where they can't see all that is happening around them, and it is not a matter of ignoring so much as it is a matter of inability to see and comprehend.

Quite a large subject, but everytime I watch this video it makes me think and wonder...the juxtaposition of unusual looking people with Paula Cole's beautiful, un-ordinary face, and later the more 'ordinary' looking relationships between people...something that seems to equalize and balance everything out keeps me guessing at all the meanings in the video...(the lyrics follow)

p.s. Paula Cole has her moon in who nurtures...and then can feel passed over when the caring and nurturing is not noticed or appreciated...

I nearly died I suicided softly
I saw her shadow through the cafe window
I watched you lean across the table
I watched you whisper in her ear

And she is your holy Mary
And I am so ordinary
And you can use me if you want to
I know you need me just like an old soft shoe

She looks like me but a bit prettier
She's a skater and a ballet dancer
I saw her on your motorcycle
In the seat I thought was meant for me


And when your mother came to Boston you disappeared
And then I saw you three together
I guess she makes the best impression
With her charming femininity...


Oh but I am the one you will call when alone
And I am the one who will give when she's gone
And so I give
So I give

I tell myself that love is truly giving
Somehow I justify this
Hoping you will understand me
Hoping you will love me back

And she is your holy Mary
And I am so ordinary
And she is your Queen Cleopatra
And I'm just your morning after
And she is your Star Spangled Banner
And I am just Frere Jaque
And you can lose me if you want to

And I am so ordinary

...and where she's been and where she is now...
there's a longer, better version of this here click on MUSIC on the upper right after you enter the site and then Where has Paula Cole been? at the bottom.

Monday, July 23, 2007

putting the dojo back together again...

Today was the day for the mats to be returned to their home and for the mat room to be restored to it's functionality as an aikido classroom. There were only a handful of people there to unload the truck, but it was quite enough and all went smoothly. The people who have regularly done this in the past are no longer able to do so, so it becomes more of a cooperative project than one where one or two people guide the proceedings. It has actually been working out better this way, as a new rhythm and routine is being established in a very communal sort of way. We took notes on how the mats get fitted back together, and George will be creating an instruction sheet, as the previous one was only a diagram that was difficult to understand and it was lost in the shuffle of camp proceedings anyway.

These photos were taken afterwards by a bored mom ;-).... They were having such a good time together that I wanted to allow for as much of it as possible. I did have to get them moving towards the car eventually, and stayed much longer than I thought I would, but I think it was a good time for them all.

blogs in print...

I stopped into Barnes and Noble tonight, after getting something to make for a late dinner, and that after spending a few hours at the dojo laying the mats back down and waiting for George and Mike and Cathy to finish rolling around on the mat and talking and talking and...yeah, talking some more ;-).

I saw this publication and browsed through felt so weird...there are excerpts from blogs in here, quite a few people whose blogs I read, and yet instead of seeing it all in what feels like 3-D online, it was in print. Nina Bagley's photo of herself in black and white striped tights...I remember her writing about how she felt about it and people commenting on how they liked it...and here it was in print with no room for was just such a funny thing to experience... Blogs are things that are interactive to some degree, and that can change at the whim of the blogger, and that take on a different flavor depending on who is commenting and what they say... So a reader of the magazine might take it all as though this is the way a blog needs to be...there's even an article of tips on starting a blog which I didn't see....and then they might get a more solidified view of the way blogging 'has' to be. I'm sure it's also got a good purpose, of bringing blogs to a wider audience who might not know where to look to find them...I just found it to be an interesting way to experience a world that I have recently become a part of and that I am not accustomed to seeing in a magazine format. It felt similar to the difference between a living flower and one that has been pressed between the pages of a book ;-).

the Beech tree...

In my post 'firsts' I wrote about my experience at the Aikido camp party, and of feeling the need to re-center myself, and going outside to commune with a wonderful tree. I did some research online and determined that the tree probably was a Beech tree. Beech is one of the flower essences that Dr. Edward Bach discovered and it is one of the essences that I have worked with for the past 9 years. I have also been following the movement of the moon through the filter of the I Ching hexagrams, and I am realizing a profound connection between these ideas and the night of the party. Here is what I wrote in 'firsts' about the tree:

"This was the kind of tree that you could just climb into and feel held in the arms of the Universe! I think I needed that little interlude to re-center myself as an integral part of the Earth and the Universe. The party was starting to feel very shallow and empty to me, lots of people, not really connecting with each other, just kind of rubbing elbows with each other, which is what parties tend to be, I think."

Here are some excerpts from the books that I use about the Beech flower essence and the hexagram that the moon was moving through at the time.

on Beech....

For those who feel the need to see more good and beauty in all that surrounds them. And, though much appears to be wrong, to have the ability to see the good growing within. So as to be able to be more tolerant, lenient and understanding of the different way each individual and all things are working to their own final perfection.

Twelve Healers 1936-Dr. Edward Bach is essential to know that in the final instance we are all only reflections of mutual projections. Therefore we should not project our own negative apprehensions and defense mechanisms onto other people, but rather try to look within ourselves for the positive projections of others. Instead of feeling cut off, one will then have a feeling of unity, a fellowship of souls and harmony; and this is what a person in the negative Beech state is at heart looking for, despite outward critical attitudes. Becoming aware of this feeling of unity within one, will make the outside world seem suddenly to be more harmonious. Little things will cease to irritate, because we will be more and more able to recognize the unity that lies in variety.

The Beech Flower Remedy helps us to re-establish contact with our Self and with Unity.

-Bach Flower Therapy...Mechthild Scheffer

on Hexagram 50-The Cauldron

(Acceptance of one's fate, and of being guided.)
...This hexagram calls for sacrificing that which is of the highest 'earthly value'-the feeling that we are in command and we have the ability and right to guide ourselves. The fact is, we are not in command. Growing older, or being pinned down by an adverse fate, makes us aware of this. The idea of such power over self is only an illusion created by our ego. To sacrifice this illusion is also to sacrifice the ego. Simply by relinquishing this pretense we allow ourselves to be guided (and protected) by the Higher Power. Nothing else is required, for the sacrifice of the ego automatically empowers the Creative (Higher Power) to act beneficially in our lives.

-A Guide to the I Ching-Carol K. Anthony

Beech again...

When you find yourself using harsh words to create boundaries for yourself, the cause is often having too loose a connection to the physical body. Using Beech flower essence brings you into the body and gives you a feeling of rootedness that grounds and supports your real nature. When you feel secure again, it is natural to experience the beauty of others and the world.

-Floral Acupuncture-Deborah Craydon and Warren Bellows

The experience of feeling 'cut off' from others that I had that night was fairly mild, and I only needed a short time in contact with this tree to re-establish my sense of Self. The change that I felt afterwards was quite profound, though, and I believe that it had a lot to do with this tree. It is so fascinating that I simply was drawn to this particular tree and did not realize what it was at the time or why I might have needed it.

I have taken this essence in the past, and will definitely be taking more of it now... One of the indications for this is that it is for a person who has received a lot of criticism in childhood and this very much fits the life that I had as a child, and also the one that carried over into my marriage. I have also mentioned my own Human Design chart, and the fact that Hexagram 18 plays a large part in it...18 is a hexagram that focuses on correcting what is I would also relate the Beech essence to this hexagram. When we get continual messages and experiences that follow a particular pattern, we are usually projecting what is inside of us onto our environment. We don't have much choice in this, it is what we are born with, and what we come into our lives to heal within ourselves. Becoming aware of these patterns is so difficult, and yet it is the only way that our lives can truly heal, and the only way that we can ever help anyone else to heal...unless we do so by providing a negative example...something that I strive not to do...but don't we all do some of each end of that spectrum?

Another connection..hexagram 50 is in the sign of Libra in the Human Design System...Libra is ruled by Venus....and in Floral Acupuncture we read...'Known as a planetary tree of Venus, lovers often carve their initials in it's soft, vulnerable bark.' Hexagram 18 is also in Libra...and where my Ascendant is, in fact my ASC is not only in Libra, but in Hexagram 18!

Remember what I excerpted from Floral Acupuncture? 'Using Beech flower essence brings you into the body and gives you a feeling of rootedness that grounds and supports your real nature.'
Well, looking for another photo to put in here, I was reminded that as I walked away from the tree, I took off my sandals and walked across the dew-wet grass back to the road....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

quiet today...

The calm after the storm of activities...
Here are a few random photos from yesterday at camp....

George was handed the new Harry Potter book yesterday, in it's box that says 'Attention Muggles-Do not deliver or open before July 21st' had to be handed to a person on delivery, not just left on the doorstep. Is it any wonder that it hasn't been the center of our lives this weekend? It is good to have it though, and I look forward to many nights reading aloud to just wouldn't be the same for me to just read it to myself. It is amazing that in 9 years of Harry Potter books, this has always been my experience of them, to be reading them out loud, and there is a certain quality of experience in that that gives them a special place in my heart. There is a very lovely short tribute to the books and their author from one person's perspective here at Gryphon's Feather Studio.

In the camp photo above, my guys being 'ki' tested along with the 5 other people who tested along with them. They tested two at a time, side by side and then the last three together. George and Mike sat far enough away from each other that they didn't end up testing together, thank goodness for me and for Janet and Keith who took the video that I can't wait to see! Jorge and Lex had planned to uke for both of them, provided they got a break in between the two freestyles, but George was called up right after Mike and it was not possible for them to do two in a row. I am so pleasantly overwhelmed at the way this dojo functions like a family...and also grateful to Eric and Dave for volunteering to uke for George, and to the other two men, who look familiar to me but whose names I don't all worked out very well.

The gi on the fence belongs to some unknown-to-me person, it was just an unusual and intriguing sight. The clouds up above from the same time and place, and my tree from last night, taken around midnight so flash was a necessity.

One more, of the building that the test took place in...
Okay, two then...the building where the party was held as well....

On to the rest of the day, in peaceful quietness so far...


An evening of firsts for first Yuengling beer, and in fact, my first beer in a looong time. First dance in forever.... Even a first at someone trying to pick me up ;-), I'll have to ask Cecelia who that was... First time truly enjoying an aikido camp party, too. Of course, the music was too loud, the room was way too cold, and too dark...not even a candle on the tables. But I just felt oddly calm and happy. I could see a tremendous change in the boys, too. They were suddenly on a different plane...having achieved a major hurdle in their lives, testing for brown belt (2nd kyu) at camp and actually having fun at it, and making quite an impression as well!

Interestingly, though, at one point I just started feeling lonely...very separate from everyone, and I took a walk outside and communed with the most wonderful tree! I think it was a Red Horsechestnut, as there was another similar but younger tree with a plaque on it with that name.

This was the kind of tree that you could just climb into and feel held in the arms of the Universe! I think I needed that little interlude to re-center myself as an integral part of the Earth and the Universe. The party was starting to feel very shallow and empty to me, lots of people, not really connecting with each other, just kind of rubbing elbows with each other, which is what parties tend to be, I think.

It was after this interlude, that I went back inside and had a conversation with one of the aikido instructors who then asked me to's really been so long...but I surprised myself at just being totally at ease with it. Cathy came along and joined us, and then Maruyama Sensei did as well. He kept asking if I was Cathy's mother for some reason...I think it's because I watch out for her to some degree, maybe I made him nervous, as she tends to be his favorite person to tease.

Later, I was standing by the doorway to the room, and a man came over and asked me what my official function was, standing there by the door...I don't mind a casual conversation, but then it started to dawn on me that there was a definite purpose to this one...luckily someone else came over and pulled his attention away long enough for me to realize that I could politely walk away.

Lex took my photograph several times, also another first. I think I'm getting a little better at being comfortable in front of the camera...I'm so much happier being the one behind it ;-)

Here's a photo of most of the aikido group, getting ready to have their portrait done... this was also the first time that George and Mike have been in one of these photos, as they are not usually in the class when the photo is made.
Maruyama is the one standing away from the group, with dark hair. Click on this one to get a larger view, otherwise it'll just look like ants in white pajamas :-).

Oh, and thanks to Carter, too, for calling from LA to see how the test went. That was really nice!

p.s. after some online research, I believe the tree is a Beech tree....and I found out that Villanova has an arboretum of about 1500 trees, including a giant sequoia...I may take a ride back some day just to see the trees and photograph some more.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


The test went beautifully well! My guys did great. Here's Mike during his freestyle, with three ukes (or attackers). Two are from our nice to have familiar faces during the test..
In the photo on the right, Mike is throwing someone from another dojo, and Jorge and Lex are attacking from the left.
The ukes just keep getting up and coming back, rapid-fire, so the pressure is on continually.

Here is George in his freestyle....getting ready to throw Dave, who was his first mentor in the dojo, and Eric standing behind him, with another person from another dojo getting up.

George and Mike after the test....

and with their very proud Sensei Cecelia!

This will have to do for now ;-).
We've got to get something to eat, and then head back to Villanova later for the party.

They did so well, I wasn't the only one who was proud of them...people they didn't know were coming up to them and congratulating them on how well they did.

p.s. on the way home I had to hit the brakes again for another deer! Right at the side of the road...I wasn't sure if it might run out in front of me, but it just looked straight at me when I stopped next to it!

Simply Your Self™...

Consider for the week: As a beacon of light shining and visible to the consciousness of all humanity, you have a responsibility to take care of your Self and your health. Take time to be with your own process aligning your purpose to your deepest core of
knowing and watching your chemistry for information about your well being as a
whole. Love your body. Love your Self.

Download this week's report here. A subscription service will very soon be announced for this...but for now it is free.

Friday, July 20, 2007

some photos from my walk today...

I'm so glad to be able to open the windows today! What gorgeous weather after all that heat and humidity. It will be wonderful if it stays this way for tomorrow, as the gym where my sons are testing is not air-conditioned (the first year we went, the room was much larger and a/c'd) and last night people were just dripping with sweat.

I had a nice walk behind my house, in the cemetery/park/woods that we are blessed with. I had stopped because I saw a black and white cat stalking a mouse, and then realized that just behind it was a deer. So I waited for the two people who were walking up behind me with their dog, to let them see the deer, who was somewhat hidden among the bushes. While we watched, the cat caught the mouse and ran with it, the deer panicked and bolted, making sounds I'd never heard from a deer before. And so, my new acquaintances and I walked until our paths separated, and I found out that they are related to people who live just across the street from me and one house over. We had a lovely, comfortable conversation, mostly about how wonderful a place we all have for walking in the middle of a very populated area, as well as all the animals we had each been treated to seeing. I also noticed lots of blackberry bushes, and even had a ripe one before I started my walk. I'll have to go back and collect some when they're all ripe.

You can spot the moon in the photo above, in the upper left. The clouds were putting on quite a display today.

This next photo, a bit 'muddy' but I like the sun shining through the cemetery.

Looking forward to tomorrow, and seeing my boys take their test!

I Ching...

A quick list of the moon's activations up to the full moon, for those who want to look up the I Ching hexagrams and work with them up to the full moon.
The times are approximate and EDT....

Saturday, July 21st...
....hex 57 The Gentle (carried over from Friday)
....10 am.....hex 32 Duration (Libra)
....10 pm.....hex 50 The Cauldron (Libra/Scorpio)

Sunday, July 22nd...
....10 am.....hex 28 Preponderance of the Great (Scorpio)
....8 pm.......hex 44 Coming To Meet (Scorpio)

Monday July 23rd...
....8 am.....hex 1 The Creative (Scorpio)
....7 pm.....hex 43 Breakthrough (Scorpio)

Tuesday July 24th...
....7 am....hex 14 Possession in Great Measure (Scorpio/Sagittarius)
....5 pm....hex 34 The Power of the Great (Sagittarius)

Wednesday July 25th...
....5 am....hex 9 The Taming Power of the Small (Sagittarius)
....3 pm....hex 5 Waiting (Sagittarius)

Thursday July 26th....
....2 am....hex 26 The Taming Power of the Great (Sagittarius)
....1 pm....hex 11 Peace (Sagittarius)

Friday July 27th...
....midnight....hex 10 Treading (Sagittarius/Capricorn)
....10 am....hex 58 The Joyous (Capricorn)
.....11 pm...hex 38 Opposition (Capricorn)

Saturday, July 28th....
.....8 am....hex 54 The Marrying Maiden (Capricorn)
.....5 pm....hex 61 Inner Truth (Capricorn)

Sunday, July 29th...
.....4 am....hex 60 Limitation (Capricorn/Aquarius)
.....2 pm....hex 41 Decrease (Aquarius)

Full Moon @ 9 pm hex 41 line 5 Authorization.

p.s. the I Ching itself does not relate the hexagrams in this way to the astrological signs...this comes from the Human Design System, although the ancient Chinese did have a system of relating the year's changes to the I Ching....I think the timing may be different, though, but I'm not sure.

where is the moon now?...

I thought I might continue my exploration of how the moon might be influencing us these days between the new moon and the full moon. Ever since I started studying the Human Design System and it's connection with the I Ching, I have tried in different ways to understand it experientially. It's easy to just accept the doctrine of a system such as astrology, but no true understanding will come unless one can find the truth of it within oneself. So, I don't have answers as to how this may be affecting anyone, including myself, but I do find that I go through cycles of different ways of seeing things, and sometimes I find that I can understand them better through seeing it through different filters, and this is just one filter that may or may not apply in your life. I like to just play with these possibilities, and not attach a tremendous amount of importance or expectation on it, to just see how it feels within me and within my experiences.

The day starts (and I'm starting just after midnight) with the moon in hexagram 18. Work on What Has Been Spoilt...
This hexagram brings a focus of examining within ourselves what we may have been seeing or doing wrongly. It can bring a lot of self-doubt and questioning, but also provides an opportunity to re-assess situations and thought forms. It is a difficult energy at times.

"...this hexagram tells us that some of the perceptions and beliefs we have been taking for granted are incorrect."

Around noon, the moon moves into hexagram 48...The Well...
From The Rave I Ching...The necessary and qualitative foundation that is a prerequisite to establish the common good.

(Don't remain locked in a conventional view of the way things work.) Carol K. Anthony

"The Well represents the I Ching as a source of universal truth and nourishment, and a way of gaining access through one's deeper nature, to Universal Truth."

"The Well also symbolizes our self-development and education in the fundamental truths of life. The I Ching guides us through the hidden world that parallels and mirrors our external life, a world that may be seen in meditation, and sometimes in dreams. Receiving the hexagram means that we should develop ourselves through making a keener effort to understand the fundamentals of human behavior. Above all we must not remain locked in the conventional views of the way things work."

And last for today, the moon moves into hexagram 57 at around 11 pm. The Gentle...The extraordinary power of clarity.
"Sun (Chinese), the trigram of the second daughter, represents wind that penetrates cracks in buildings, and wood as roots that penetrate soil. Through their ceaseless but gentle energy the wind and roots penetrate the most obdurate objects. Just as roots penetrate the cracks of boulders and break them apart, the influence of the Sage penetrates our subconscious until one day, in a flash of insight, we understand with amazing clarity. This is the step-by-step enlightenment by which spiritual mysteries are penetrated as we progress along our path.'

You may want to refer back to my post on the new moon, to see the overall focus of this period of time, and then try to see how the patterns represented by these hexagrams might fit into this focus, and into your life.

All of these photos were taken yesterday at Villanova University.

Also, these hexagrams, when used in the Human Design System, which is an astrology based system, are all in the zodiac sign of Libra, and all relate to our ability to recognize our intuitive faculties, since when they are transposed into a chakra based body graph, all are in the energy center that relates to intuition and awareness of logical patterns.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Just a few photos from our evening at Villanova U. for the beginning of aikido summer camp. We needed this 'dry run' as now I know that I have to take a different entrance ramp to the turnpike to get there for Saturday's test, since there is construction going on at the one that I tried to take today.

Here is a quietly taken photo, as photographs are generally discouraged...I set my camera on the bench next to me and hoped for the best. Only a portion of the people who will come for the weekend show up on Thursday night...I assume it's easier to take off work on a Friday than on Thursday for most people.

While George and Mike watched the class, I took a walk around the campus and got some decent photos. Here are two for now....

I'm feeling so wiped-out may be the humidity, but also, when I have to ignore my own natural rhythms and keep going when I need to take time to do other things or just 'be', it takes a toll on me. It's like my mind and my energy are telling me to go one way, and I am fighting against it in order to do what has to be done. It's not always easy to find a balance in these things.

I'll feel better when I catch up with myself ;-).

Maybe I'll put up some more photos when I have a chance to play with them a bit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Carter's new belt is, at least.

Here he is after a workout after a marathon of a day, having taken his brother to the airport at 4 AM for his new life in Mongolia.

Then he stayed for another hour or so, to help break down the mats and load them onto a truck to go to Villanova University for this weekend's summer camp event.

The whole process went very smoothly and fairly quickly. All the foam mats under the canvas have to be tightly rolled and strapped and loaded onto a U-Haul truck. There are two layers of foam mats here, and then more in the garage, some 20 + rolls of thick foam, plus weapons, etc. It's a fun time, though. I think anytime you get a great group of people together all working for a mutually desired result, there's just a nice energy in the air.

I forgot that my marathon of last week was not to be the last one. I didn't factor in tonight's mat rolling, and tomorrow's trip to Villanova to observe and get a feel for what class will be like on Saturday. George and Mike collected lots of 'luck' for Saturday from those who will not be attending, as well.

Cecelia Sensei had a student in her class that she hadn't seen in 20 years! I didn't catch where he was visiting from, though, but just a little after she made the introduction to the class, another man walked through the front door, asking what the name of the sensei here was...I tend to look like I work there, so I greeted him and found out that he used to study with her in 1999. He had been through a transformative 8 years, and I could literally feel the energy radiating from him...he felt to me like he had come was a very interesting and nice experience for me. Cecelia had picked up on his energy as well, and commented on how spirited he was after such a difficult time. I love these encounters....unexpected and very pleasant, and I learn more and more about what I am able to pick up from people when I am in their energy field. It's no wonder that I can sometimes just feel exhausted after being in a group of people, especially if the energetics are chaotic or very negative. I think that's why I like going to the dojo so much...lots of good, uplifting energy!


I'm feeling silly tonight, and thinking about families. So, it's an odd'll see.
For some reason, my birth family was not very big on family connections. On my mother's side, her father was not around much...from what I was told, he was around long enough to get my grandmother pregnant, and then he'd be gone. He did this enough times to cause four children to come into the world, many of whom spent a good part of their young lives in foster homes until my grandmother was able to take them all home again. Grandma even adopted a young neighbor girl, so that she wouldn't have to be put in an orphanage, I believe she was older, just not yet 18 and of legal age to be on her own. Family relations between my mother and her brothers and sister were not great, maybe because of the separation at such a young age. So, we had some Christmases together, but as I got older, those events faded into distant memories.

My father did not have a happy relationship with his mother...even up until her recent death at the age of 99! I had good connections with both my grandmothers, but sustaining them was not always easy, with such difficult circumstances. I remember when I was old enough to get my license and drive, my maternal grandmother would ask me to take her out to a diner for breakfast. We'd have strawberry crepes together, it was a wonderful time for both of us. And, as my paternal grandmother lived in Godeffroy, NY and I in Brooklyn, we at least had a good telephone relationship, although it was quite frowned upon by my parents...they said I didn't know her like they did...well, it didn't really seem to matter. Interestingly, both grandmothers were named Mary...and both were born on July 27th! They both had great leadership qualities, my father's mother was given the responsibility of raising her brothers and sisters when she was still a child herself.

I do remember my paternal grandfather...he died when I was pretty young, but he used to live near to us in Canarsie when I was little, and when he would walk into the driveway of our house he would grab me and lift me up into the air...and, all the neighborhood children would come running, yelling, grandpa!, grandpa! and he would pick them all up as well!

My brothers and I grew up under a lot of stress and conflict, and so family memories tend to be negative ones...not easy to maintain a good relationship with that kind of history...but maybe that can change...

So...why am I feeling silly? I feel like I want to adopt some distant relatives. I don't know if they are relatives or not, but it is entirely here are my two adoptees on my father's side of the family...

I found a facsimile edition of this book one day while looking for books for my young sons. Clara amazing to see your own last name in print when you least expect it! I had asked my grandmother if she was a relative, but she knew nothing about her...given the predilection for art in my family, I've decided that she very well could be related...she actually does look like my cousin Suzan...

Clara (Louise) Tice was born in Elmira, New York in May 1888. Only a few years later her parents, Benjamin and Mary Eckenberger Tice, moved with her and her siblings, Sarah and Clifford, to New York City where her father had found a new job as superintendent for the Children's Aid Society. In this city Clara Tice spent most of her life. It took her only a short time until she and her art came to the attention of the city's inhabitants. In March 1915 the headline "Comstock Ban Brings Art Buyer" sparked the interest of the New York Tribune's readership. The accompanying article described how the anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock had visited Polly's, a well-known restaurant in bohemian Greenwich Village, and decided that some of Tice's works of art which were exhibited there were indecent and had to be removed. Before he was able to take any further action one of the diners bought the pictures and thus saved them. This was only the first occasion when Comstock tried to confiscate Tice's art - many others were to follow. Her art was the perfect target for him since her favorite subject were female nudes which she portrayed perfectly in oil as well as with just a few fast lines in her drawings. (Thanks to Patricia Guenter for that bio)

This next 'relative' I have known about for q
uite some time. I think my first awareness of him came through seeing his photographs of the Amish of Lancaster County, PA, which is where one of my brothers and his wife live now.

George Tice is one of the best known fine-art photographers in the nation and has authored 15 books. He has been making photographs for over 40 years. His prints are in many museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum, where he had a one-man show in 1972. The Afterimage Gallery has handled his work over 20 years.

Mr. Tice was born in 1938 in New Jersey where he still lives. His first museum sale was to the Museum of Modern Art in 1959. He has received fellowships from both the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His photographs have been shown all over the world.

It seems a bit silly, to be adopting people that I don't know, but I've always felt some kind of connection to them. My own love for photography and books and art seem to be reflected among these two people's works.

Maybe it's time to gather photos and stories from my brothers...sometimes I think being silly has it's own purpose...and leads one on to new discoveries.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

dragonfly energy...

While I was resting this afternoon (not getting enough sleep, lately), George, Michael and Claire, who is visiting for the first time today, took a walk in the woods behind our house. I handed George the camera before they left (so glad I did!) and he encountered quite a few dragonflies hovering over the man-made lake in the back. I had seen one the other day as's been a good time for dragonfly encounters.

Dragonfly embodies a stripping away of all the beliefs that say we cannot do this or that, achieve a dream or goal, it is to remind us that anything is possible when we really get the understanding that we are part of Spirit and as such we have the power to manifest anything that we desire.
Dragonfly is the keeper of dreams, the knower within that sees all of our true potential and ability. Dragonfly strips away the illusions that say to us we cannot achieve our dreams and goal
s, that we are not worthy or capable when in fact it is our birthright and our true power to create anything we choose!

There's a lot more info at the link, just click on the first word above. The flower is, I believe, Pennsylvania Smartweed...
I love that name ;-).

Good job, George!

Claire and Mike at what's been turned into a skateboard ramp next to the water, reading all the 'lovely' messages there............>