25 July 2009


Been drinkin' mead at my friend's house...this makes it very hard to type. I'm finding it very hard to find the keys. They just don't seem to be in the right places, and I'm working a mere anxiety sweat trying to figure out where the correct letters/keys are in general. But maybe this is the first time this week that I don't feel too much pain since my friend has died. And maybe that's just not true because as I type, my eyes are so filled with tears and my nose is so snotty that I can't see a thing on the keyboard.

I think of my five closest girlfriends/confidants, and now there is a vacancy, because one of those five is dead.

I'm not taking this so well at present.

21 July 2009

Much to Remember

I keep looking at the blue clear sky and think that my friend is missing this. When we die does another day in the life of the living matter? Do we really want to return?

When someone dies, the living are left with all the questions and the suppose to-s.

We were supposed to have girl vacations together in Mexico. We were supposed to have a farm together so I could grow you fresh organic produce, take care of you and help you get better. We were supposed to get old together forever laughing about what ever in the hell we wanted to laugh about. We were supposed to travel together in search of the perfect beach. So many suppose to-s...

But the illness took that all away from us, didn't it? It robbed us of all our future plans and dreams. It took your laughter and your smile and your quirkiness that I appreciated so much.

I feel frayed, like the ends of the carpet that have come undone. I'm still here, though, and as I experience something new and wonderful I will forever be reminded of how much you would have loved it, too.

Every time I go to the beach or feel a nice clear humid-free day, I will be reminded of the joy you found in those things. When it rains too much, I'll be thinking how much you didn't like the cloudy humid weather, and I'll laugh just because I'm thinking of you.

So many things...

I'll always remember how much you loved the sun, your cats and walks in the woods. You were so giving and had a huge gigantic heart. You were an advocate for the underdog and had no tolerance for the unjust. You saw the importance of Earth and had a true appreciation for nature.

You let me know while you were still alive that everyday is a gift. At that point, you had seen death, and we all thought you were in the clear. We allowed ourselves to hope and dream and laugh and share and remember.

I cried when we last said our good-byes, not because I even fathomed that the illness would get you, but because I wished the distance between us wasn't so far away. I was SURE that we would see each other again.

Now, I'm not so sure of anything as my fabric frays and I allow myself to mourn the future we won't share together in this world.

Am I selfish to want you back? Which returns me to the question that when we die, do we wish for another day?

Of course, we will all know someday.

Good Bye Dear Friend

There's nothing like the news of death to ground you and stir the thoughts.

A good friend of mine lost her battle with breast cancer yesterday at 10:45 in the morning.

Of course the sadness I feel is for the living and the pain that we will no longer be able to share life with her, for she is not in pain anymore.

I wrote often with my friend in mind knowing that she lurked my blog and a secret way to keep her abreast of the activities of my life. It was a way to share thoughts and ideas without the entanglement of engaging in conversation for her illness kept her from discussion, but I know that she could still read when her health permitted. Neither she nor I are phone people and the physical distance between our homes would only allow for such contact if we wanted to verbalize anything to each other. I knew that I could talk with her through written word.

I feel incredible loss and sadness knowing now that she won't read these words and death had ended the special relationship we had through this blog.

Sometimes I would write special things that I knew would make her laugh or wonder. Many times I wrote just for her.

Oh, God, I'm going to miss her. And for the other people in her life, I know that they are feeling the same sense of loss. If I walk around as in a trance, what is her partner of 22 years feeling? What is his sense of loss? He nurtured her everyday since she found out about her breast cancer. He solely took care of her through the chemo and radiation. He stood by her day in and day out. I can't imagine how he must feel right now.

I'm feeling rather spent, quiet and tired. I don't know what else to say right now except, "I'm going to miss you Snorkel Girl."

17 July 2009

Dream: The Link Between the Worlds

I had a dream last night about a place that I have dreamed about before. I won't go into the long detailed mix of the dream, because that is not the important part.

The important part was that a very important and special place, a place that is a link between two different places. When I first visited this place years ago, the group in care of it was just starting out and things were very roughed. It was possible to ascend and descend between the worlds, but the route was tricky to maneuver. It also cost money.

The place in now under the care of a fine, soft and gentle woman who loves her place in the scheme of things. She was shown to me as a woman I know in Knoxville, Amanda, who embodies the elements of the Sacred Feminine.

The group, with her influence, has completed wondrous projects and improvements. Their are two routes now. One is a ramp that is steep and challenging, and the other is a hand built ladder that is strong and secure. The routes are open to anyone who seeks them. The place is supported by donations, but they never ask for money.

Despite my trials and tribulations to get my stuff from one place to the next, Chad and another female friend (as the dream fades in my waking mind so does this person, but in the dream she is someone who is prominent in my waking life) showed up to help me out with my struggles by carrying some luggage for me. I felt relief.

In the process, I got to chat with the woman like we were old friends and about the old days of the place. Both of us remembered, like two veterans, at how far the place had progressed compared to its rough beginnings. We spoke in a cheerful and friendly manner as we shared smiles and memories. The place is very comforting and secure with a nice clean creek winding through the natural landscape, which I was able to cool off in.

Is this a metaphor for the changes in me as I continue to strive to the next level or is does it represent something physical in this world? In either case, I believe this dream to be a positive representation of the healing happening all over the Earth.

16 July 2009

Camping on Everest

Yesterday I wrote about not reaching my personal summit, and this morning amongst squealing cousins and playing babies, I had a brief thought.

I had always considered Blue my Everest. I thought 9 months of pregnancy, labor, natural childbirth and 2 years 4 months 9 days of breastfeeding that I had conquered my personal Everest. I definitely came out the other side a changed woman.

The thought I had this morning rocked my world a little bit and trails back to the Intuitive Counselor I visit. She said in response to my feeling apprehension about the journey to Pine Ridge, "It's normal to feel a push and pull right before you give birth to yourself."

Hmm, birth to myself? If I felt growth by giving birth to Blue, what would giving birth to myself feel like? That's when I remembered that to summit Everest, there are many steps including base camp which is at 17,585 feet through camps 1 to 4 then the final and dangerous climb to the summit at 29,029.

It's possible that my own birth to this world may be viewed as base camp and many people may just hang at this level their entire lives never really striving or reaching beyond it. Content and comfortable. (And I'm not here to judge them. Sometimes I wish that same simplicity for myself, but the restlessness doesn't quite relinquish its hold...be careful what you wish for, right?)

Could adolescence be considered camp 1? or Schooling and my degrees? Marriage? Maybe, but if I have to ask that question, it probably is not. What are the DEFINITE milestones of my life that have truly transitioned me? Blue's birth.

So really, I may be sitting at camp 1 on Everest awaiting for the weather to change or to acclimate so I can venture to camp 2 taking little steps and each experience brings me closer and closer. Sometimes, though, it may be too extreme and I need to retreat to my tent for a spell or further training.

So, as I write, the chaos ensues around me. I hope the thoughts and introspection came out proper. This is rather raw...not polished...a brainstorm...free stream thought. I beg your empathy for feeling rushed, kids running around, questions being thrown at me, talking in the background, TV, the pressure to finish writing so we can go on a hike, having to pee and the craving for a smoke as to excuses for not fully developing these thoughts nor editing for mistakes.

That's okay. I'm not the first to create the analogy of Everest to personal experiences. Maybe, you yourself have done the same.

Whatever the case, thanks for reading.

15 July 2009

No Everest This Year

Well, we had to turn home without reaching the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I would be getting ready for sweat lodge right now, but instead, I am in the suburbs of Olathe not, surprisingly, drowning my sorrows.

Blue was so sick yesterday. All he did was lay on the couch, watch movies and sleep. After a restless night of sleeping, he awoke with a low grade fever. There was just no way that I could selfishly put him in a car and head up into the middle of no where and submit him to a 16 hour round road trip.

He asked, "So we're not going to go see the Native Americans?"
I answered, "No, baby."
He asked, "Because I'm sick?"
I answered, "Yes."

It didn't seem to bother him.

Blue didn't want to make the trip to begin with, and that little bugger, one way or another, usually gets his way. I am sad though that he has a fever.

This morning, our friends' five year old daughter, Anna, wanted us to watch her swim lessons. It was cool out, so we all went to the pool and watched both Helen and Anna. Blue was so sad and wanted to swim, too, but there was no chancing his getting more ill. Last time, in Florida, when we let him swim with a very low grade fever, he got ten times sicker.

After swim lessons, we said good-bye to the girls which was very hard for me. I love those girls and tried to talk them into returning to Tennessee with me. Tonya, Chad, Blue and I headed to downtown Lincoln for a quick look around and some ice cream. We went to their Old City, Haymarket, down by the tracks. I must say that I was very impressed. I must mention how CLEAN Lincoln is in general. Haymarket was equally so.

We had lunch at a cool bookstore, Indigo Bridge, that had no prices, but accepted donations. Today's fare: soup and bread. We had a very delicious West African peanut. The other soup was a gluten free creamy potato. When you order your soup, they give you an envelope and you pay what you can. You can also eat all that you want. Cool. They also have a wonderful bookstore.

After lunch, we scooted over to Ivana Ice Cream where ice cream is made fresh daily. As we walked in, the ice cream vats sat right by the fornt door on display still with ice and water used to freeze the cream with salt caking the sides. I had fresh pistachio on a sugar cone for the fair price of $2.40. Blue's same sized cone had a special price for kids under 12 for only a dollar. What a bargain.

We took some cool photos, but I left my battery charger in Knoxville and was shooting on borrowed time. I think I clicked off a few good pics. I can get lost in a historic district taking photos and Lincoln had plenty of cool sites. I could have used more battery power and more time.

In 1993 I drove I-80 across Nebraska and said that I would NEVER go back. I'm very glad that I had the opportunity to return because not only Lincoln, but when you get off the main roads, Nebraska has a very beautiful landscape.

We left Lincoln around 1 p.m. and headed south on a state road instead of the interstate driving on part of the Lewis and Clark scenic route. The cornfields of Nebraska gently roll and the farmers practice contour planting giving the effect of terraced corn gardens. I almost forgot that we were driving through mono-crops of industrial corn.

We crossed the Missouri River into Missouri on a cool old bridge in Rulo, Nebraska which seemed like such a neat deserted old town on the river. What made Rulo so interesting was how different the terrain was compared to the rest of the Nebraska that we saw because there were so many trees. Agriculture surrounded the town, but the town itself was seemed mountain-esque as it descended down to the river. But I just googled THIS while trying to check the spelling of Rulo. Whoa.

We continued on to I-29 south where we had to quickly pull to the "safety" lane to let Blue out of the car to throw up. As tractor trailers sped by, Blue vomitted. I was so scared standing out there on the side of the interstate, but we had no choice. There aren't many exits in rural Missouri even on the interstate.

We made it to Kansas City without further incident. I'm sitting in my in-laws living room right now. Blue still has a slight fever and now I must weigh the option of staying out another day or trying to make the two day trek home.

I feel disappointed that I didn't get to go to Pine Ridge, but I said to Tonya this morning, "Some people go to Everest with the hopes of making the summit, but circumstances keep them from getting to the top. Many try again. At least I didn't go all the way to Everest!" She added, "Yeah, you only went to Nebraska!"

Hopefully, I'll get the chance to travel to Pine Ridge again, and hopefully, the circumstances will be more on my side. If not, I'll just try again. One way or another, I'll summit my Everest.

14 July 2009

To Continue On?

We made it safe and sound to Lincoln, Nebraska to see friends Tonya, Rich and their precious little girls. We hadn't seen them in five years since they lived on their farm in South Dakota. Chad met Tonya years and years and years ago when they both worked at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas.

When we lived in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1999-2000, Tonya (pregnant with their first) and Rich came to visit us. It was the first time we had all really met. We instantly bonded and have remained dear friends through the duration of time and space. This is only the third time in my life that I have spent time with them, but it was like no time nor space has kept us apart. I believe that we have a rare bond and seeing them is like returning home.

We were leaving today to head out on the next part of what has become a pilgrimage for me...to meet with a representative of Running Strong for American Indian Youth. This has been in the planning for a year.

We woke up and Blue was acting very cranky, but we hoped in the car and stopped at the local Food Co-op for supplies. Since he seemed to be getting crankier, we stopped at the Walgreens and I bought a thermometer, and sure enough, Blue had a 100.3 fever.

Since the town, Chadron, NE, is 7 to 8 hours NW near the Wyoming and South Dakota border in the middle of no where, we have decided to return to our friend's home in Lincoln to rest and spend another night. If Blue clears up, we may head out early tomorrow, but if not, the trip is canceled. If the next stop was only a few hours out, I would set out on my own. I don't feel comfortable though heading out into unchartered territory alone at this point. I know that Chad would worry imensely about me the entire time.

I'm feeling let down. We have come so far, but things happen for a reason. Right?

11 July 2009

Kansas City

We arrived in Kansas City, actually Olathe, on Thursday, July 9th after a thirteen hour road trip through six states; Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Kansas. The only hang ups were road construction and a milk truck that WOULD NOT break the speed limit on a single track during a construction zone.

After arriving, I quickly drank two beers in about ten minutes then nursed a third while winding down.

On Friday, my sister-in-law took me to chop off some more of my hair and then we went shopping. I was sad to learn that Olathe Boot no longer has a store, so I'm not getting boots this trip! I have learned that Olathe Boot still makes boots, but I have to find a store that carries 'em.

Friday night we went to Chad's childhood friend's wife's 40th birthday bash. She themed it "College Party Days" and we listened to eighties tunes and played drinking games. No kids were allowed, so we parents were truly allowed to relax and "party" down! We stayed out till 3 am central time (this is a big deal for a couple of folks from the eastern time zone!) Much of this lateness occurred because Chad and his childhood friend, Brad, got a wild hair up their butts at 1 a.m. to bike several miles and wake up their high school friend, Todd (and his entire family!). Todd and Chad hadn't seen each other in ten years. So, apparently they all sat together and had a beer before brad and Chad biked the several miles home. The party was completely over and Liz and I had cleaned up the kitchen.

We drove back to Chad's brother's home watching the most amazing lighting streak the sky. Just as we entered the house, the sky opened. I stormed hard, and I thought we were going to have to hit the basement! But I fell asleep no problem.

After waking up late, we hung out at the house and neighborhood pool. We are now getting ready to have dinner with our sister-in-laws parents. So I need to stop being rude by blogging while were all trying to chat!

Stay tuned. We leave for Lincoln, Nebraska on Monday then on to Chadron to meet with Running Strong representative, Tom Cook.

Thanks for reading.

08 July 2009


We head out for Kansas City tomorrow where we'll spend a few days visiting family then on to Lincoln, Nebraska for a pit stop at our friends house before we move on to Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

About a year ago, I had a compelling urge to visit with the Grandmothers, Beatrice and Rita Long. I haven't confirmation that I will meeting them this journey, but I have made contact with Tom Kanatakeniate Cook, who runs the Pine Ridge field office for Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Running Strong another organization that I discovered a year ago (about the same time I learned of the Grandmothers). I've been wanting to visit and see their agricultural work on the reservation.

I'm very excited about this. Tom has graciously arranged a purification ceremony for the night of July 15th. I'll try to keep you updated as to our journey, but I'm not guaranteed WiFi so you may have to wait till our return.


01 July 2009

Agrarian Urbanite

Hooray! I made it through the second issue of the Agrarian Urbanite.

Agrarian Urbanite

I already have ideas for the third, but I need your help. Send your agrarian questions, ideas and short stories/essays/articles (100-400 words) to agrarianurbanite@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading.