November 30, 2007

Promises, promises

You'll all have to wait till tomorrow for my list of promised blog subjects. I've been sick all day, yet running myself ragged. I had to drag my butt out of bed just to post this lousy sentence. But hey, I managed to post every day this month, and fulfill my NaBloPoMo requirements. If I happen to win any of the prizes, I hope it's this.

November 29, 2007

This blog postponed...due to impending migraine

I'll have to write more tomorrow, about
•my job interview today (which went well)
•the half-dozen reasons I can list of why I hate Macy's
•my Christmas obsession reignited: must. find. Fontanini.
• the Venn diagram of Jesus and Santa

I'm going to bed. Yes, it's only 8:30 and I've only just gotten my kiddos off to bed. My body aches, my head is throbbing. It's either the flu or one helluva migraine.

November 28, 2007

Music Wednesday

During my 'sick' day yesterday, I managed to get the TV shut off and put on Paula Cole's Amen, and remembered how much her music moves me. I got into Paula Cole when I first saw her playing tiny clubs in Indianapolis while I lived there, and stuck with with her through her rise and fall. Well, she's back now after a 7-year hiatus with her new album, Courage. This track, Comin' Down, is more overtly spiritual than some of her past music, but she's always managed to speak to my soul. It's clealy inspired by the prayer of St. Francis, but with an empowering wise-woman theme throughout. It reminds me of the St. Augustine's quote that, "those who sing, pray twice."
At this time when I'm trying to summon my own courage while counting my many blessings, this song certainly does come to me as a sweet daily prayer.

November 27, 2007


I called off of work today because M.A. puked last night, and she needed to stay home. I probably could have worked out some arrangements for her today, but I figured, what are they gonna do, fire me? Hah. So we lazed around in our pajamas, listened to music, cuddled on the couch and took it easy. I managed to get the lights onto the Christmas tree that's been up for a couple of days now. Maybe another week and it'll probably get some ornaments. I'm in no terrible rush.
I heard on the radio today that Quidditch is the sport on college campus' these days. It sounds somewhat anti-climactic to me, given that there are no flying brooms, no golden snitch and no quaffle. Still, not bad for a fictional sport. M.R. plans to get a Quidditch scholarship to a Vermont college. Yeah, she's definitely my kid.
We've reached the final stretch of NaBloPoMo, and I'm feeling a little blog-exhausted. Goodnight.

November 26, 2007

Cyber Monday

I heard on the radio this morning on my way to work that it's Cyber Monday — which reminded me to get on the ball today and order that special gift that I'm pretty sure I can only track down online. It sure does feel like a Monday morning; I'm back at the job, which is harder and harder to want to come to, now that I'm a marked woman (only about three weeks left here). I'm tempted to start cleaning out my desk. I've already taken the office key off of my keychain. And I'll probably spend the majority of the day working on my new online portfolio and job-hunting.
There is the slightest bit of panic starting to build — but I'm doing my best to supress it.

November 25, 2007

A possible sign of healing

I've been trying to stay aware of my actions and emotions when I'm feeling triggered. For maybe the first time, today I was able to recognize my compulsive urge (to flee a stressful situation), and to resist it — choosing instead to breathe, talk it through, and get support. It was really hard. There was a moment when I felt a rage building inside of me and in my mind I hurled glass against the wall and overturned the coffee table. But I just sat down and breathed, got a grip, then talked it through.
I'm hopeful that as I continue to take these steps, I'm on the road to healing.

November 24, 2007


I spent the day putting up the Christmas tree — but left if bare until all the kids are home Sunday to decorate it. Then I became the ultimate TV whore for the rest of the day — snuggled under the blankets with my sweetie. Not much else to say; I guess it's a pretty down day and I'm still in Black Friday recovery mode.

November 23, 2007

Black Friday

You know, dear readers, that I abhor Black Friday. I have never been one who even had a vague urge to get up before the crack of dawn to attempt to get my hands on the latest must-have Christmas gift. First of all, I don't even like to shop. I think of it as something that simply has to get done (and over with), not something I actually think of as a fun time. Some people are not born to shop. Secondly, I try to keep my holiday focus elsewhere. I don't want my kids growing up with consumerist and materialist values, and Christmas, after all, is a holiday that has actual meaning. We have an advent wreath, put up and decorate a tree and a nativity scene and buy some gifts and make others. But we never go overboard.
But this Black Friday (usually celebrated as "Buy Nothing Day" by me), I did the unthinkable. I joined the herd. Now before you gasp in disbelief, know that I did this for only two reasons. First, my girlfriend is one of those curious creatures who participates in this annual ritual, and well, she has a way of convincing me to do things that I wouldn't do for just anyone. And second, I decided that instead of actually buying anything, I'd simply observe, sort of a sociological phenomenon to be witnessed first hand. So with promises of hot coffee and the chance to witness the bizarre spectacle that takes place every Friday after Thanksgiving, I set my alarm for 4 a.m. and reluctantly agreed to join all the other sleepless crazies.
We were out the door by 4:25, and headed first to Dunkin Donuts for the promised coffee. There was a line out the door. We then headed to the antithetical home of capitalist consumption — WalMart. The crowds did not disappoint; it was there that I witnessed many disgusting displays of humanity. First, a lady nearly cut us and caused a crash, then waved frantically for us to hurry and go so that she would make it into the store when the doors opened. And when they opened, there were people with camcorders recording the spectacle, making me wish I had planned better and brought my camera. People ran, threatening to trample each other. Everyone seemed headed to the back of the store, and when we reached the bottleneck, I heard on man remark to his friends that he was "fixin to go to jail" because he was about to fight someone. A huge obese man pushed through the crowd past us, calling an immigrant woman a "cockroach."
And so the day went. We got what we had come for, made our way to Target for a few more things, then were off to run some errands. T bought a black sparkly Christmas ornament to remember the day that she coaxed me out of the house and over to "the dark side." It's 8:45pm and I'm barely coherent at this point. I need to go to bed and recover. Maybe I'll wake to find it was all just a dream....

November 22, 2007


If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.
—Meister Eckhart

Waking up this morning, it was clear what I am most thankful for. She lay at the end of my fingertips this morning—and nearly every morning since we fell in love. I am brimming with gratitude that she and her daughter are a part of my life, and my children's lives. Together, we are a family.

I'm running out to join friends for dinner, so more on what I'm grateful for tonight. Have a great Turkey Day everyone!

November 21, 2007

Music Wednesday

With the frantic holiday shopping season about to begin, I couldn't resist posting this decidely critical song about American values. With my apologies to Canada and Mexico, here's LCD Soundsystem's North American Scum.

November 20, 2007

Chaos theory

I used to think when I was growing up that things would be okay when life just settled down. If I could just get over the rough spot, past the hurdle, I'd find quietness and peace on the other side. Then I could really live my life.
But the passing years have taught me that it's useless to wait or even look forward to that sort of calmness. The chaos is life itself. I've learned to embrace it and let it have it's way with me; miraculously, I'm still standing.
There's only one thing thats certain in life, and that is that life is anything but calm and peaceful and stagnant. Life is constant change. A writer friend of mine put it this way: after so many years of rolling with the punches, it's easy to forget that you are rolling, or that there are punches. Maybe that should actually be our goal.

November 19, 2007


It's damn grim in my office today. No one is talking about the layoffs, and no one is talking to me. And in truth, I already feel gone from this place. I'm just marking off time now. Still, it's surreal to sit at lunch with my managing editor and not have any conversation take place — which wouldn't be so out of the ordinary accept for the fact that the silence occuring is not because there is nothing really to talk about, but because there is so much to say that is not being said. We've both been laid off, he and I, but there seems to be some sort of office taboo about talking about it. Whatever.

Happy Birthday Delle! Sorry I couldn't go the special mass that V organized for you and eat red velvet cupcakes and sip tea at Metropolis afterward. I'm sure it was a lovely morning.

The weather is pretty grim today — to fit the mood I guess, but I swear, I didn't order up this grey day with slight face-misting drizzle. It's not too cold, but it's the kind of cold dampness that sinks into the bones of your feet and leaving you chilled throughout. The smoke from my cigarette mingles with the fog and just hangs there, not sure what to become. Boy can I relate.

November 18, 2007

Positively like a dream

There's been an overwhelming show of support and good feelings about my recent job loss from the people who care about me and know me well enough to know that something bigger and better is just waiting for me. And I feel it too. Sometimes the blessings we get really aren't so hard to figure out. I didn't like my job, mostly because of the terrible pay, at ten grand less than I deserve, at the very least for my skills. But I took the job because of it's many perks: not working for "the man," a month paid vacation, and a generally laid-back and understand bunch of bosses who never questioned why I was 20 minutes late or couldn't come in because of a childcare snafu. That and wearing sweatpants to work — a major perk.
Although I reserve the right to fall into a totally depressed panic if I don't procure a job by January 1, right now I'm feeling hopeful and confident that all of this is happening exactly as it's supposed to. And I'm excited for the first time in a long time about the future and all the many possibilities and chances for career growth that are now rolled out like a red carpet before me. I've already updated my resume and I'm going to spend the Thanksgiving weekend getting my portfolio up to snuff.
It seems like a dream, though, that I actually have to go back to my office and work for 5 more weeks. I'm going to ask for all of my vacation time right before Christmas, which should make Dec. 14 my last day. It's going to be tough to continue to work and I know I'll be compelled to start cleaning out my workspace and saving files on CDs when I'm not doing layout. And I'm sure the office atmosphere will be grim. Mental note: bring some cheery music to upload to my iTunes tomorrow.

November 17, 2007

Trying to be grateful

Yesterday turned out to be quite a sucky day. The Angel of Death swept over my office yesterday and I got laid-off, along with several others. The truth is, I've been wanting to leave for quite some time, but let me tell you, it's damn scary being a single-mom and not having anything lined up. They've given me till the new year to find employment elsewhere, so I'm scrambling to do what needs to be done: updating my resume, writing cover letters, sending out emails to other designer friends, and applying online for anything that fits my skills. Although at times I've found myself overwhelmed with despair in the last 24 hours, I also am sensing some peace that everything happens for a reason and that something really good may come of this. The truth is, my prospects are much better than those of several others in my office who got axed.
Today I'm gathering my energy, and recovering from the shock of all of my blood draining from my body as my boss uttered words like "inevitable changes" and "position eliminated." And when all that blood rushed all at once back into my head, I thought I might faint. I thought of Christmas gifts, of my children, of my girlfriend in nursing school. My boss asked me if I wanted to sit alone for a minute and "collect my thoughts," and I remember mumbling "no" as I stumbled for the door, immediately put on my sunglasses, logged off of my computer, grabbed my coat and headed for the door. I've been let go for financial reasons, but it still feels like a rejection.
I slept in this morning, and haven't moved from the couch accept to do a little work and grab a shower. T is working a 12 hour shift and the kids have gone to their father's house for the evening so it's quiet here. Usually I'd feel anxiety, preferring company to solitude, but right now I'm craving the silence and the peacefulness that comes as a respite from yesterday's anxiety.
I have time to find a job, which I'm thankful for. And I'm talented and qualified, which is a blessing. This really might just be the kick in the ass that I've been needing, so I'm trying to be grateful.

November 16, 2007

Wake up!

Woke up with a jolt this morning when T noticed that the alarm hadn't gone off. I guess it can't go off if no one has turned it on. Oops. Blame that one on watching TV in bed which threw off my bedtime routine a bit. I did, however, manage to set the coffee pot to brew at precisely the same time that the alarm was supposed to have gone off. Hah, priorities.
The tooth fairy brought major cash last night to M.A., who finally lost her grey front tooth last night with a little tug from me. The nerve was declared "dead" by the dentist almost three years ago, when M.R. decided to ride her little sister like a horse after her eighth birthday party, at which point said tooth met hardwood floor. The dentist thought it was likely to fall out due to the damage. It held on for nearly three years. A Sacajawea and a five dollar bill were the booty for this special tooth — destined to a place of honor in toothland.
Finally, with a little egging-on from fellow blogger and friend at Eating Rice, here's a survey to help me fill my NaBloPoMo requirement for today:

1. What is your occupation? I am a Graphic Designer for a national lefty political newspaper and the Art Director for a quarterly political youth magazine.

2. What color are your socks right now? Black.

3. What are you listening to right now? I'm listening to the phone conference meeting going on in the other room, that I am thankfully not required to attend. Some tunes would be nice though, so I think I'll put my headphones on and set my iTunes to shuffle.

4. What was the last thing that you ate? I just ate a Maurice Lenell cookie, taken from the big bowl on our office table.

5. Can you drive a stick shift? Yes indeed. My first car was a Ford Escort with manual tranmission, and if I weren't so lazy, I'd still drive one. (A manual trans., not the Escort).

6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? T, to say I was sorry about the stressful morning and wish a more peaceful day for us both.

7. Do you like the person who sent this meme to you? Uh huh, which is why we're friends.

8. How old are you today? Thirty-freakin-five. Meh.

9. Favorite drink? Lately it's been coffee, but red wine is coming in a close second. Just picked up a bottle to share with my sweetie tonight, but shhhhhh, don't tell!

10. What is your favorite sport to watch? men's college basketball

11. Have you ever dyed your hair? I have been dying my hair since I was about 16. I dyed it various shades or red/auburn for a decade, but have been doing dark brown for the last couple of years. I'm tempted to go red again...feeling a little saucy these days.

12. Pets? For the first time in a very long time, I am pet-free. T discovered that she's got a severe allergy, so we handed our cat off to my ex.

13. Favorite food? Sushi. If I had to eat only one food for the rest of my life, I'd be good with a selection of Maki rolls.
14. What was the last movie you watched? 'The Village'. It's an interesting statement on the psycology of grief and what legnths people will go to preserve their traditions in order to placate their fears.

15. What’s your favorite day of the week? Thursday. It means the rushed part of my week is over. (keeping A's answer)

16. How do you vent anger? On good days:Take a deep breathe, realize that I am responsible for choosing how I react to things that anger me, and try to choose a different response. On bad days: Yell and scream, grit my teeth and finally realize that I need some solitude and usually find a way to retreat. Try to come back, apologize and talk calmly about things from a more rational point of view once I've calmed down.

17. What was your favorite toy as a child? I'm not sure. I think I've blocked out a lot of childhood memories. I remember having an Atari, a Spirograph, a magic set, lots of Barbies — but I don't recall feeling particularly attached to anything.

18. What is your favorite season? Summer. Which is why I'm fighting the blues right now. It's freezing!

19. Hugs or kisses? Hugs in the morning when I wake up, kisses goodbye for the day, more of both when we return at the end of the day, and more of both when it's bedtime again.

20. Cherries or Blueberries? I love cherries. And blueberries. Particulary picking them myself in Michigan. Mmmmmm.

21. Do you want your friends to try this meme? Nah, it's all good.

22. Who is most likely to respond? No response is really necessary.

23. Who is least likely to respond? The folks who stumble on this blog after doing various google searches.

24. Living arrangements? I live in my three-bedroom apartment with my partner and our 3 collective girls.

25. When was the last time you cried? Monday, November 12, I think.

26. What is on the floor of your closet? Shoes.

27. Who is the friend you have known the longest that you are sending this to? Oddly, the friends I've known the longest don't read my blog. Should I be offended?

28. What did you do last night? Got home in time to take M.R. to her basketball practice, but T took her instead while I got M.A. and J bathed. After picking up M.R. from practice, I ran a hot bath with geranium oil and lit candles for T (her first in years) and tried to get the kids settled and in bed. Watched a bit of Grey's Anatomy and ER, then fell asleep around ten, without turing on the alarm clock.

29. Favorite smell? Amber, Vanilla and Geranium. A a ton more yummy smells.

30. What inspires you? People with integrity. Art that provokes deep thoughts and questions. People who offer their lives in service to others. People who seek to be the change that they seek.

31. What are you afraid of? I have a fear of being abandoned, physically, but even more so, emotionally.

32. Plain, cheese or spicy burgers? Cheezeborger, cheezeborger, cheezeborger!

33. Favorite dog breed? I'm not particularly a dog person, but there are some that I've grown fond of. I generally like larger breeds (akitas, labs, sheepdogs) and can't stand little yappy dogs.

34. How many states have you lived in? 5, if you count a month in Hawaii when I was a baby.

35. Favorite holiday? Holy Thursday: foot-washing, benediction, singing in Latin as we process around the church, and visiting the Altar of Repose late into the night. Call me crazy, but the smorgasboard of emotion on that night, the first night of the Triduum, is as good as it gets for me, spiritually.

November 15, 2007

Theological gymnastics

I guess it should come as no surprise that conservative religious leaders are paving the way for the faitful to back the leading Republican candidate. Remember 2004, when faithful Catholics were told that a)Catholic candidate John Kerry should be denied Communion because of his support of abortion rights and b) any Catholic who voted for him was imperiling their immortal soul? But this time they face a connundrum: Rudy Guliani has a record of backing both gay rights and abortion rights. No worry, because now Catholic voters have been given the "wiggle room" needed to cast a guilt-free vote for the Republican, thanks to the U.S. Catholic Bishops. In a document released yesterday, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," the bishops laid out the theological gymnastics needed to move abortion from "non-negotiable" voting criteria to "acceptable" when faced with other "morally grave reasons."
These flip-flops aren't limited to the Catholic Church; earlier this week, Pat Robertson threw his support behind Giuliani — telling conservative evangelicals that it was more important the Rudy had promised to appoint conservative judges in the mold of Roberts and Scalia than his history of support for abortion rights and gay rights.
Of course, the hard-core conservatives are in an uproar about the apparent pragmatism, some declaring that if Giulini becomes the Republican nominee, the party will certainly lose the '08 elections. Not to mention that by removing roadblocks for the Republican, they similarly remove them for Democrats who have a tough stance of other moral issues: like ending the war, stoping torture and the restoration of civil liberties. At least that is what I'm hoping. Clearly retaining power trumps everything for this bunch — and the price of one's soul isn't too steep.

November 14, 2007

Music Wednesday

As Wednesday coincides with my deadline day at work, I've decided to insitute "Music Wednesday," both because I'm pressed for time to blog, and because I really rely on music to get me through the tension.
So without further ado, have a listen to Sinéad O'Connor singing (live) If You Had a Vineyard from her album, Theology.
See how many direct quotes you can find from the Old Testament in this poignant song dedicated to the Israeli and Palestinian people.

November 13, 2007

Post # 14

This post ties me for my all-time monthly blogging record of 14 posts, and it's only day 13 of NaBloPoMo. It's tough at times but I'm determined to keep on truckin'.

I've got some odds and ends to toss out today:
• Thanks to Sitemeter, I've discovered that the number one reason people stumble upon this blog is from googling the terms "anima sola" or "anima sola tattoo." Here's a direct link to a picture of the tattoo I got last March, and a link to my post about it if you want more info. People-with-anima-sola-tattoos unite!
• I updated a few things around here: the descriptive subtitle to this blog, the "about me" section, and put up a new song too. Let me know what you think.
• I'm contemplating my Next Big Blogpost — a custom-tailored and fully revised version of Fifteen Saints for Girls — hopefully a little more feminist and progressive than those contained in the book left to me by my grandmother when I was nine.

November 12, 2007

I must be a genius...

Heard this on the radio the other day and it made me smile. Finally, score one for the curvy girls, whooo-hooo! So yeah, I'm having the cheesecake for dessert to celebrate. It's all for the kids....
I deleted the descriptive subtitle for this blog yesterday. Needed to clear it out to get the brainstorming going. Stay tuned.

November 11, 2007

Who is Anima Sola?

I've been feeling pigeonholed by the subtitle of this blog: the chronicles of a queer catholic as she attempts to dismantle patriarchy. Maybe it's just the predomination of labels, or maybe it's that there is so much more that is encompassed in these postings. I'm feeling a little hyper-critical today about my writing. Writing everyday has been a good exercise, but I still don't feel like I'm fully expressing all I want to get across in each post. My language gets too flowery and my point gets lost.
I am gay, I am Catholic, and I hope that I'm doing my part to put a little dent in patriarchy, if not dismantle it. But these are hardly the limits of my character or the topics of my writings. Perhaps I'll remove the description altogether? Or take suggestions for a new title? I'm coming up short today so for now I'll leave it, but it's gnawing at me.

November 10, 2007

Cry, baby.

A few weeks ago, I flippantly made a comment to my girlfriend while we were cooking dinner that I "didn't think I believed in 'the one.'" Trying to backtrack when she took offense, I posited that it was perhaps a Hollywood construct — purely the stuff of love stories and girlhood fantasies. I murkily tried to explain that as far as "soulmates" go, I wasn't sure that the concept incorporated the idea that there was only one soul for each of us — and that true happiness couldn't be ours until we had found them.
But the truth is, I lied. I have always believed in soulmates, always hoped that I would find "the one," always fantasized that "forever" was possible. It's a lie I'd been repeating to myself for a couple of years — since the end of my till-death-do-us-part marriage (non-soulmate #1) and the heartbreak of another romance with my best friend (non-soulmate #2). If soulmates did exsist, I'd either already blown it or didn't deserve to find it. So I began the trick of convincing myself that such things were silly constructs meant to drive us all insane. I was above it all.


Yesterday I convinced my girlfriend to watch one of my favorite tear-jerker movies, The Notebook. There are many emotional scenes in the movie, but I surprised myself as I began to choke back tears in the first two minutes of the film — tears that didn't subside until the end of the film, at which point the climax had my girlfriend sobbing as well, and she's not a crier like me (at least not admittedly). I had been telling her for days that I wanted to watch the movie, to make myself cry. Not because I particularly like to cry, but because every once in awhile I need to make myself remember what it is that I really do believe. As if trying to convince myself that "soulmate" was not something within my grasp would somehow insulate me from heartbreak and longing I'd already experienced. So I put on this armor of disbelief as a shield against pain, all the time affirming that I didn't deserve that kind of lifelong soul-connection with someone.


"Tears are the hallmark of the Holy Spirit." Quoting her wise aunt, Delle used to always push me to examine the tears that would sometimes overwhelm me. And she was right — those tears acted as salve to my wounded soul — always pointing me to the truth that I rebelled against, calling me to surrender deeper and deeper. I cried the first time I saw Delle up at the St. G's pulpit — my soul knowing it had found a spiritual home. And now I delight in my tears, because they force my body to give it's attention to the truth before me. I needed that movie to shatter the skin that I sometimes let grow too thick around me — and remember. I want forever, I want soulmate, I want "the one." I have a lot of healing to do, but I plan to do it arm in arm with my love.
Nevermore, my love.

November 09, 2007


I've had a ton on my mind today; so much I could blog about, really. But the time got away from me again, and I"m just worn out. I promise something readable tomorrow. This is lame, but at least I've fulfilled my NaBloPoMo requirements for the day. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

November 08, 2007

It's a conspiracy I tell ya!

It's my slow day at work, which has got me surfing the web. I've managed to suck up my entire morning checking out some conspiracies.
• First, I couldn't resist the link I stumbled upon about occult symbols in corporate America, which ended up being the perfect stimulus for my graphic design brain combined with my obsession (since high school) with Freemasonry. If you need to kill a bunch of time at work, I reccomend viewing all three videos.
• Next, it was to St. Louis, where two women are set to be ordained this Sunday. They're being threatened with excommunication and in a letter from Archbishop Burke they were warned that, "in order to protect the faithful from grave spiritual deception...additional disciplinary measures will also have to be imposed."
Rose Marie Dunn Hudson, 67, on of the women to be ordained, responded, "What is he going to do, burn us at the stake, or what?"
Of course this is a conspiracy to overthrow the hierarchy. Where do i sign up?
* Oh, and the Chinese are trying to poison us. Clearly a commie plot.

What other conspiracies will I occupy my afternoon with? Any suggestions?

November 07, 2007

An anniversary

Dear Delle,
I can't believe it's been a year. Then again, I can't believe all that has happened since you've been gone. First, I just have got to say, that I deeply regret not coming out to you when I last saw you. I was searching for the words, but my attention was elsewhere — and before I knew it, my time with you was over. I thought we had more time. I know you did too. If not, you sure hid it well. All propped up on your big fluffy bed, nice crisp pajamas, ready to receive visitors. But when I came back the next day to bring Communion, the facade was gone. I noticed your swollen legs, your chalky white tongue, the distant look in your eyes as you grimaced at the pain.
I really miss you. I wish so much I could talk to you about everything in my life. Well, I do talk to you, I just have to be a lot more attentive to notice how you respond now. I felt you really strongly right after your death, you know. As strongly as I felt my granmother when she died. You both visited me in that uncertain space between dream and wakeful vision.
I couldn't bring myself to go to the Good Friday service this year. Remember how I prayed those days before Easter? I know that you do. My prayers were desperate and filled with longing and demands that my lonliness and hopelessness be removed. I was purging then — friends who didn't respect me, emotionally abusive lovers — and chasing down love in all the wrong places, finding only it's illusion. Remember that list I made in my diary on Palm Sunday? Everything I deserved and demanded from the Universe, combined with frustrated tears? I know you had a hand in manifesting those things in my life. Instead of missing you in the church pews Good Friday evening, I met a dream girl. The answer to my prayer that night.
So I'm in love! And she is wonderful, Delle. I wish you could have met her. She's a bit younger than me, a nursing student. I know how you felt about nurses — unsung angels. She's got a beautiful little girl, the same age as M.A.! She moved in with me a few months ago. We're making a life together with our brood of girls, and I'm counting on you to help me out from up there, sista. Relationships are hard work! So many hidden things about ourselves get dragged into the light where we're forced to deal with them. Lord knows I've got issues. I guess it's time to deal with them, huh? If I really want all the things on my list — which are now right at my fingertips — I've got to heal that broken girl-turned-woman inside. I need your help with that. T and I are overflowing with love for each other. I'm counting on love to see us through all the challenges. We're both committed to the health of our relationship, but we sure could use a sizable dose of grace from time to time! Oh no, you don't get to rest now — we need you to call in a few favors for us down here! I know what a workaholic you are anyway! I wonder what work God has for you now? I bet it's everything you ever dreamed of.
It's been a blessing to know that you're in our corner, always. I know if you've got God's ear, you're filling all of our lives with a constant flow of grace.
I've got an ovarian cyst. I had the CA-125 test and the results were normal but I'm not convinced I'm out of the woods yet. My doc wants to "wait and see" until March, where we'll take another look and talk about surgery. If there's anything you can do to help me out there, I'd be grateful. It would be more than ironic to me if I had to face the same disease that took you from us. That squatter better not try to find a home in MY ovaries!
We're all taking care of each other. The FaithFolk list continues, but has been silent so far this morning. We're all thinking of you, still greiving in our own ways. When we need each other, we reach out. I plan to write your brother a note today. I can still hear R singing 'The Deer's Cry' at your funeral. She is going to be an amazing woman one day. My heart is with her today too. What an incredible girl — to allow her mother to spiritually mother so many others. Damn, I wish I could hug you right now. A wink up at heaven will have to do.
All my love,
P.S. Oh, geez, how could I have forgot to mention this blog? Do you like the name? I know you'd get where I'm coming from with the Anima Sola image and it's many layers of meaning. You were always after me to write more, so here it is: my shot at filling a fraction of your shoes. I'm sure I don't bring my readers to the same spiritual heights that you brought so many, but I hope I at least stir a few souls from time to time. And I'm really enjoying my writing too — it really helps keep me open and grounded when all the stresses of life make me want to shut down and run screaming down the block. I'm only half kidding when I say that. It's become a real anchor for me in a turbulent sea. A source of graditude. I never would have started this blog if not for you. How am I doing?

November 06, 2007

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about relationships, and we kept arguing and talking past each other about what characterizes a healthy relationship and what signifies a problem. We agreed that respect was a key component — both receiving it and knowing that you deserve it. You'd think that would be a given, but unfortunately, I can say that I've been in a series of relationships where there was a lack of basic respect — from both parties. This is not a pattern I'm interested in perpetuating.
So, as I struggled to point out what I thought characterized respect in a relationship, my friend kept redirecting me, pointing out that the things I was mentioning were just ordinary things that any responsible adult would do, and were not particularly indicative of respect, per se. I suddenly was at a total loss. Did I even know what respect really was, and how that looked in a relationship? I mean, it's pretty obvious when something is wrong in a relationship, but how do you know when things are right?
A little quick research revealed some helpful guidelines.

In a healthy relationship, you:

• Treat each other with respect
• Feel secure and comfortable
• Are not violent with each other
• Can resolve conflicts satisfactorily
• Enjoy the time you spend together
• Support one another
• Take interest in one another's lives: health, family, work, etc.
• Have privacy in the relationship
• Can trust each other
• Are each sexual by choice
• Communicate clearly and openly
• Have letters, phone calls, and e-mail that are your own
• Make healthy decisions about alcohol or other drugs
• Encourage other friendships
• Are honest about your past and present sexual activity if the relationship is intimate
• Know that most people in your life are happy about the relationship
• Have more good times in the relationship than bad

In an unhealthy relationship, one or both of you:

• Try to control or manipulate the other
• Make the other feel bad about her-/himself
• Ridicule or call names
• Dictate how the other dresses
• Do not make time for each other
• Criticize the other's friends
• Are afraid of the other's temper
• Discourage the other from being close with anyone else
• Ignore each other when one is speaking
• Are overly possessive or get jealous about ordinary behavior
• Criticize or support others in criticizing people with your gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other personal attribute
• Control the other's money or other resources (e.g., car)
• Harm or threaten to harm children, family, pets, or objects of personal value
• Push, grab, hit, punch, or throw objects
• Use physical force or threats to prevent the other from leaving

This is my new bottom line list for all of my relationships — family, friends and my lover. There have been times when I have not shown respect in relationships, so I'm not pointing any fingers. I am willing to do the work necessary to examine my own behavior and additudes. I can only worry about today, how I will choose to respect those I am in relationship with, and how I will not accept less than the same respect shown to me. It's actually shocking to me that I had to research this, because my relationships have been so dysfunctional, I couldn't even come up with some basic hallmarks of respect. Sigh.
Today I choose to both give and receive respect. Nothing less will do.
The good news is, with a little work from both of us, my partner and I have a great shot at having the healthy relationship that both of us deserve.

November 05, 2007

The real dream, and more about love

I had a weird dream last night: I was a cab-driver, and I pulled my cab over to the curb in front of my youngest daughter's school. I stepped out into the rain and walked over to where the kids were playing and found her -- preschool aged in my dream. I had my pillow under my arm and lay down in the street, snuggled against the curb and laying in a puddle. It then occured to me that T probably wouldn't like my putting our freshly washed pillows on the dirty ground in the rain, so I got up and walked over to where MA was playing. She was splashing in a puddle with a tamborine and she handed me a small inflated bat and I began to splash with her. Then I woke up. Interpretations welcome.

This planting of seeds is more subtle than it first appears
its not just about a dollar to the homeless man
it's about perceiving what's happening in this very moment
and then deliberately choosing to extend love...

— The Gardener, Rebecca Riots

I'm still not sure what it was that I was meaning to write about love being a choice — accept to say that I do believe that it often is. I try to choose for love to be what motivates me, particularly when lesser emotions seem to be taking the helm. This conscious act has changed many things in my life. My activism that was once motivated by disgust and anger at our political system (and a certain chimpy in charge) is now motivated by my love of peace and the promise that positive action results in positive growth, both personally and collectively. I only made that connection when I stopped hanging out with anger-driven activists and started attending Pax Christi meetings.
Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. I've always snickered when I've heard that line of scripture in church, because honestly, I've had enough trouble loving the people I'm supposed to love. I have to fight passive-agressive urges, resentment, irritation, and cognitive distortions. I have to stay open and communicative and humbly be able to admit when I've hurt someone and ask for forgiveness, as well as openly talk about what hurts me. It's hard work, but I believe that we are created to live in relationship with each other. If you can continue to do that with the people you are supposed to love — your friends and family — the trick is making the larger world (and even your enemies) a part of your family — if only by meditating on the fact that we're all human and all stuck in this together.

November 04, 2007

It was almost a dream

I was laying in bed, trying to hit the sack a little early tonight and see if I could take advantage of that extra hour of daylight savings sleep time, but I found myself blogging in my head, only to realize that I hadn't yet blogged today. My dutiful girlfriend gave me just the swift kick mixed with sweetness that I needed as she encouraged me to go type something quick. So, the blog I was writing in my head? I was remembering a homily I heard sometime last year from a young Jesuit. He was talking about love, and how it's more than just an emotion, it's a choice. More later...I'm going back to bed to mull it over.

November 03, 2007

Bad medicine

You can be sure you're on the right track when your challenging yourself to be a better person or quit bad habits, and God sends you more and more tests. I've gotten a couple this weekend and I'm doing my best to pass them, if only by the sheer force of my will. Sure, I raised my fist and said, "yeah right, God, you've got one helluva sense of humor. F**k you." But dammit, I'm gonna pass the test if it kills me. It's gonna taste like bad medicine, but I've had to choke that down before. Just crossing my fingers that there's really some good that can come out of this, and that I'm not just caving in to please other people. Adding resentment to my already-full plate wouldn't be a good idea right now.

November 02, 2007

Santa Muerta

I was talking to T yesteday about blogging, and she mentioned hearing a piece on NPR yesterday that she found fascinating about St. Death, or, Santa Muerta. I first found out about St. Death when I stopped into Augestine's Spirital Goods, a couple of doors down from where I work. Amidst the various icons, herbs, oils and candles, I found little statues of Death — looking very much like the Grim Reaper. As I've read up on her (she is most often depicted in female form), I've thought of her as a balancing aspect to Anima Sola (though I don't think I'll get a matching tattoo). It should be noted that Santa Muerta bears a striking resembelance to the Virgin Mary — and stays true to the Vesica Piscis shape which alludes to the Goddess. Outside the symbology she bears for the Mexican community, for me she symbolizes the veil of death that is patriarchy. She is the woman shrowded in fine cloth, dressed up with nowhere to go. I don't find it a conincidence that many pray to her for release from poverty. Just as this world is veiled in great wealth and riches, the poor are the hidden reality we all must face. It is as unescapable as death.
And speaking of death, I'm headed to the National Musuem of Mexican Art this afternoon to take in the Día de los Muertos exhibit and admire the many ofrendas and maybe even get a calavera or two for the kids.

November 01, 2007

A tidbit to cheer about

Yeah, I'm still in a piss-poor mood, but this made me crack a grin this morning. The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church has been ordered to pay $11 million to the family of a dead marine at whose funeral they protested. Yeah, you know these douche bags — the ones who show up at funerals with signs like "Thank God for dead soldiers" because they believe that God hates the gays, and this is his way of letting us know. Hopefully this will throw a bit of a monkey wrench into their travelling circus of hate.

Grey room

I hate to start off NaBloPoMo in such a grumpy mood, but I can assume that if you know me or regularly read my blog, you already know how moody I am. As I lay in bed last night I mapped out what I wanted to write about today, and for the life of me, I can't remember what it was that had me so inspired. All I know is that right now, I'm on the verge of making several enteries here that will assure everyone that I've totally lost it. Civility seems higly overrated today.
I find myself in familiar territory — expected to be the strong one with solutions to problems — but all I really want today is to fall back into strong arms and be held while I cry. I realized that I have to be that person for myself — be very gentle and loving with myself, stay firm in my boundaries when I'm feeling unsafe, and allow myself to be open to whatever comfort the Universe can provide for me. Sometimes all you've got is your pillow and a small window for grace to swoop in and save the day. I'll be listening to sad songs and choking back the tears while I'm at work today until she appears. I hope she doesn't let me down.