May Ends, June Begins and the Mishigami

Dearest Gentle Readers,

Today is the last day of May and soon our official Summer will start for the Northern hemisphere.  In the past days at home in Edwardsville the daytime sky has had an evenly clouded dome from morning zenith to high noon:  The sun shining as though every beam of light is coming through a frosted pane of glass.  And when night comes upon us all, the distant sky and the very air weaving through the trees looks to be as one.  Only once when the midnight tolled with frogs and crickets did a few stars appear against the dark grey night, breaking the illusion of a snowless globe.

I am writing to you tonight from outside Chicago in Waukegan and it is amazing how the wind off of a glacier-fed lake can lower the ambiant temperature.  There was strong nostalgia as we walked through our old neighborhood and saw all the aging ornate cornices of buildings, the blooming Spring flowers planted in every patch of ground, and could smell the cooking coming from all the local restaurants. We went to an indie comic book expo and it was an absolute joy to see all the colorful and creative people shining bright as they talked up their books and art.  We met up with our friend M and finally met his girlfriend R, so I have proof positive, gentlemen, that the good guy can get the girl and she can be vivacious and lovely too.  The cold Spring rain kept up just enough to dampen the sidewalks and bring up the scent of wet bricks on the breeze. The Mai Fest in Lincoln Square was a milling riot of people from all walks of life and the occasional lederhosen.  It resembled one of those cozy block parties that has suddenly exploded into white tents and hundreds of people with knockwurst and sauerkraut and a few extra dirndl thrown in. Our beloved friends P&T go every year; sharing this with them was special beyond words. Their dog BB is still the loving and perfect puppy who was adorable in her rainbow bow tie, even remembering us enough to bring her new tug toy to us to play with her.

This morning was ideal, soothing warm sunshine with that cool breeze that only comes from Lake Michigan.  Waukegan has a Howard Johnsons which I can not recommend enough: Clean, quiet, and comfortable with a cafe next door worthy of the nostalgia of an original HoJo’s dinner. What joy it was to see that intoxicating swirl of American people around us in the dinner; Greek, Slavic, Oaxacan native, Latino, Polish, Puerto Rican, Russian, and so many more amiable blends that I felt a part of the true melting pot that is this country.  We were only ten minutes away from ‘my’ Illinois Beach State Park so we made a detour for beach rocks. Yes, Gentle Readers, let me eat crow and admit that this is where the rock hound in me delights. I often lament the lack of crystals and rocks in the state of Illinois yet, while this is true in my estimation, the beach never disappoints.  High tide was just starting to slip away from the shore back into the dark peacock green depths of the Mishigami (the not so creative North American Native word for ‘big lake’). Families were just starting to migrate to the rocky sand and picnic tables wearing thin jackets for the children and the quintessential scarf for babushka’s. The morning sun had already beamed down onto the chunks and boulders of dolomite and the two foot wide band of beach stones was warm under the touch.  I could simply not revel enough in the sound of the continuously crashing waves mixing with the seagulls over the water and the song birds in the high grass.  The flood waters in southern Illinois are of course coming from this area and points higher so the flat wet lands surrounding the beach were lush: A myriad of Spring green colors like a vast even prairie covered stretches of land by the shore with only a few young cattails and reeds to disturb the undulating beauty.  It was with a slight squint and imagination that I could see how early Chicago had looked when the Illini and the Mississippi Rivers were the greatest ‘highways’, before it became a concrete City of Commerce and Blues Music. ( The few pictures we took did not do justice to the great expanse of Lake and blue sky so you get a few picks of me and the dolomitic boulders. And, yep, rather very blue Vibrams.) (And another ‘yep’: that is indeed a cotton sweater because this is Chicago with a lake breeze that is still having a nip to it.) Honest to goodness folks, despite the grey and greyer appearance of the beach rocks in the pictures there are actually reds, tans, greens, and yellows on the beach.


Back home safe and sound the day is pleasantly overcast with the crows, mocking birds, and robins vying for attention and nest building. The oppressive humidity of last week has succumbed to cooler temperatures and once again we have the windows open and the feel of wind through the house.  Just 5-8 more feet and Highway 270 will be closed going into St Louis, as we are down to three bridges and the historic Cahokia is isolated by overflowing water.  I went to visit the famous archeological Mound Builders plus the Museum there a few weeks ago and this East facing valley must have surely been a devoted place to the sacred Seasons as well as part of a hub of transit and commerce when canoes were the mode of transportation. Once the water along the public cliff sides near Cahokia goes down fossils and knaping artifacts should be plentiful. While the museum could be considered quaint compared to the Field Museum and even my beloved NC Museum of Natural Sciences, the staff at the Cahokia Mounds were knowlaegeable and enthusiastic while the exhibit space was also excellent.

So many people that I know in person or as pen palls on Face Book have already started vending at fairs, festivals, and gatherings: They create, pack up, drive, vend, pack back up, and prepare to go again.  And if they are on-line they are making and creating at a rapid pace to replenish stock from the buying spree that is Valentines through Father’s Day and to make into reality new ideas before Autumn arrives. I congratulate All of you for keeping alive the American dream; send you my Love for continuing your dreams. I will continue to try following beside you all with my own hopes. Soon I want to share another ‘step’ of mine with you although perhaps step is not the right word for it.  Since I have been using rivers and streams in the above blog, please allow me the analogy of a new found stream winding it’s way into my river of personal growth; it is not so much a new path as a new tributary to explore and encourage.  During and after every fibro flair and migraine, as per the encouragement from my excellent therapist, husband, and close friends, I must remind myself that I am not back sliding or committing some great personal travesty for halting work but am waiting for the pain to recede enough to think and continue onward. I have a list of friends the length of my arm I would like to commend for keeping Life at their terms despite depression and or chronic pain but to name a few are Gaily, Pat, Bob J, Sam L, Romilly, and Kay:  Keep at it! And remember: We may not always soar with eagles but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

Now for the next installment of the intrepid Inspector Greywaves in Red Angels’ Rise where she gains insight on the massacre from an unusual source and readers can glean important aspects of Cinerarium itself. This part I took completely on my own and as Ian didn’t really change much about it and even approved of the idea, I am proud of adding more mysterious insight into my character and furthering the mystery itself.               ****** cont’d…

There was not much left to do at the train station but the Inspector wanted one more chance to view the crime scene. The building was eerily silent in the dusty morning light once the last body was removed and the last witness questioned.  For just a moment Mariesha listened to the silence and waited for it to speak. Nothing. There was no telltale whisper of air through a vent fan or faint groaning of bricks grinding under their own weight. Then a rat scurried across the floor.  It was skinny and black, running across the blood spattered tiles and back through an iron grate. She could barely hear it skittering through the drain. Mareisha smiled in the grim irony, their only witness that may have seen something inside just disappeared down the sewers.  

“Not of the ground then of the air, perhaps,” whispered Mareisha to herself as she walked back through the heavy front doors.

Elsbeth went to stand by Mariesha, “Do we go to the next station now, Inspector Greywaves?”

“Not yet,” she answered looking toward the heavily gabled roof and the assorted murders of crows sitting across the tiles and ridgeline.  “I have some feathered friends to talk to first.”

Elsbeth smiled and gave a little demure hop, “Excellent, ma’am, I do rather enjoy watching this part.”

While not the second story artist that she wished she could be, the young Inspector had slithered, climbed, and repelled her way through enough shambling ruins to make the wall of the train station akin to going up stairs.   She crouched upon the roof-gable and called out to the crows, their wings shining stark black back to her. This was not a natural gift of hers like seeing in the dark or her double rows of canine teeth, which she thought were rather attractive; this was a gift from Murder, her animate chain, a gift from her teacher.  While not alive Murder still seemed to murmur and purr against her as she walked toward the crows. A raucous cawing erupted, a brief flight of feathers whirled about and then it quieted, the assembled murders having made a space for her to sit and ask her questions among them.

The teifling hunched down on her heels and wrapped the cloak around her, scarlet like a drop of fresh blood in a field of night black iridescence.




“It is 10 minutes and 13 seconds until highest sun.”


“10 minutes 11 seconds until highest sun.”

“10 and 10.”

Crow voices called out to her from across the roof.  As a whole they are a time conscious bird, even navigating by the exact second in an exact direction.

“We spoke 13 days 4 hours 15 minutes ago,” said one crow fluttering its wings and moving its feet to speak along with its cawing.

“I too.”

“I too.”

“And were you here when the train pulled in?”  Mariesha looked intently at the crow that had first remembered her.

“It was early.”

“At what time?”  She questioned intently.  The train attendant swore that the 9:00 train had arrived at 9:15.

“9 hours, 14 minutes, 50 seconds. No clouds, clear sky.  Hungry.”

“When has the train arrived before?”

“Train arrived past sun at 9 hours 5 minutes and 55 seconds.  Two passed suns 9 hours 20 minutes and 2 seconds. Three passed…”

“8 and 58 and 16.”

“9 and 30 and 32.”  Crow voices filled over each other in a cacophony of cawing and feather flapping as though the arrival time was a game.

Mareisha redirected the questions back to the main crow before her, “Why were you hungry?”  Crows, she had come to learn, were always thinking of food, so much so that it was not worth mentioning.

“Dead meat!  Rotting meat!  Train was full of rotting meat-bags to eat for days. City feeds us.”  Humans and people in general translated down to living-meat-sack or not-dead-yet-dinner.  Every crow has a different term for those that are not crows but they are all hungry.

“9 hours and 16 minutes and 6 seconds the doors opened.  People run. All doors opened,” the bird offered with wounded pride without any encouraging questions. “Undead. Not-meat. “



“Rancid.” Indignant crow voices rose above even the noise of the city.

“Where did it go?”  Mariesha was insistent.

“Undead sunk.  Flowed and sunk down below.  Sunk into the rivers of the City.”

“Thank you, my friend.  You know where to find me.”

“I will time you at a needed place.  The City will feed us.”

“City feeds.”

“People flesh.”

“Horse flesh”

“Another time.”

Mareisha nodded gravely to the crows then abruptly stood and swirled her scarlet cloak about herself, walking back down the ridge line and emerging out of the alley a few seconds later.

“And what do the crows say to you, inspector Greywaves?”  Asked Elsbeth excitedly with her pen and tablet ready.

“We need to learn to speak Rat, Miss Elsbeth.”

“I’ll write that down Inspector Greywaves.”


**** to be cont’d…

Right as the Gloaming started tonight the sky turned brown and luminous with the storm bands beginning to move through. After three hours of the gutters flooding down the sides and porches of the houses the air stilled and the rain slowed to only a few drops falling from tree leaves. Walking Sorcha during this lull was familial and magical at the same time. It is strange how the rain puddles along the sun drenched asphalt, for it got up to 93 today, were warm and yet a few steps more onto concrete that is shaded by trees  and the water was cold; almost surreal walking from warm to cold water on the same path I take almost every night. The bull frogs, spring peepers, and tree frogs were not even the chorus that is used to describe them: They were a continual wave of a cacophony that also echoed back upon itself, drowning out the wind and even distant cars.  And now I sit cozy on my couch with only the sound of my dog snoring and rain once again lashing the windows.

May God bless you and Goddess comfort you; may the Sun and Moon both sing their songs to you; and with your feet on the earthen ground may you know where you are.

Be Well






Saluting Mother’s pluss Loving Rainy Rocky Days

Hello, Dearest Readers,

Today is a soft and rainy day in Chicago. Last nights’ storm of steel grey clouds and ominous glow moved out over Lake Michigan and left us with gentle rain. Trees are leafing out and gardens are sprouting crocus, tulips, and daffodils. Down home in North Carolina and across the South they are battening down the hatches and watching for tornadoes while last week parts of the Pacific North West had snow fall. Wherever you are Gentle Reader I hope you are safe and dry.

Mother’s Day is coming and then Father’s Day soon after. While not all of us have reasons to celebrate and love, enough do that I want to celebrate Mothers with you.  For many women motherhood is a choice what with birth control, adoption, and final options.  And I have a Dear Girlfriend who made that choice.  I can’t tell you her whole story for it is hers to tell but here are the parts that count for Mother’s Day: In her thirties she was single and pregnant with no strong family to lean on and a delinquent father of the baby.  She not only gave birth and decided to love and raise the baby but got her bachelors degree then moved to North Carolina to finish her Master’s Degree in biology.  Now any nay sayers may say  “So she is smart.  Should I be impressed?”  My Dear Girlfriend’s intellect is not the purpose of this story.  She chose to be the mother to a wonderful baby girl and not just rest on her laurels.  She chose to ignore the statistics that said she should fail and went on to prove to others and one day to a young girl that mother’s and therefore girls can achieve the proverbial impossible.  I send my salute not only to Dear Girlfriend but to all mothers that try every day to prove to daughters and sons alike that the world is yours if you never give up.

In the interests of spoiling me rotten and gaining more of my undying love, my Beloved Husband has taken me to the Lake Michigan beach and helped me collect stones to my hearts content.  Oh what a delight it was ti hear the surf crashing over and over, to feel the warm sand under my feet and to gaze at a beach made of tumbled stones.  I even managed to find the elusive Lake Michigan agate and those special rocks showing compacted breccia from the glaciers that once flattened the land and dropped these very stones.  For more fantastic stones and rocks try my web site:

And here are some of those pictures from my beach sojourn.IMG_0300 IMG_0297 IMG_0294 IMG_0293

I never  anticipated so many fossil stones and to even find such a glorious agate, but Mother earth and Mother Ocean came through and my prayer before hand didn’t hurt either.  Yes Dear Reader there are no atheists in fox holes or when collecting rocks.

Blessings of the Sky and Earth and Sun to you, Gentle Readers,

Be Well

In like a Lion… Out Like a Pride

Hello, Dear Readers out there.

I assure every one that the tornadoes did not sweep me away. The storms that swept the South and put a tree through the house of a Dear Friend of mine managed to bring down a twig in my yard. Yep, that was it, a twig, oh, and we lost power for three hours. The March Lion started out as tentative grey showers and as April moved in the Lion turned into a very hungry Pride. We are still waiting for the Lamb.

I commend everyone, especially my Lovely Red Headed Girl-friend, who have donated time and goods to the tornado victims across the Plains and the South here. And I give a true compassionate thank you to Fire, Police, Rescue, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army for being the first on scene and still there now.

Right now the frogs are croaking for all they are worth, a vibrant chorus in the dark. This makes the weeds and brambles and discarded branches of the way-back an ecosystem instead of weeds, brambles, and discarded branches. We have even seen several Mr Hoppy Toads in our front garden beds there has been so much rain. They could be Lady Toads quite frankly but I am not picking them up to check.

I am very happy to say that the God Baby’s pumpkin from last Fall has seeded in the garden. Scattered pumpkin seeds have sprouted like a little green hat of leafs over the dessicated pumpkin shell.

I would also like to officially say that chervil and lovage are difficult to grow from scattered seed. If I can get one plant from a whole packet of seeds I will be ecstatic. Now the fennel is popping up with the dill but everything else is pretty much laughing at me.

Thumbing our noses at convention we were radical and alternative and had an egg hunt on Mother’s Day. (The invited children had been sick on Easter but I prefer the radical image myself.) The day was perfect and lovely. My Greatly Beloved and I had fun trying to find unique places to hide the eggs. There were even tea cakes made from altered cake mix that went over swimmingly I must say. The two girls even ate them when they found out the “squishy things” were raisins.

My kitchen was 3/4 covered in crystal rocks from a recent trip to Diamond Hill but it all got scrubbed and put away in time for the cups of egg dye to be set up. There were several instances of pale lavender druzy and wonderfully weird specimens of crystal growth. There are small chunks the size of two or three thumbs that had quartz covered by a blanket of black manganese oxide then clear crystals grew over the Mg. I also have a similar sample now in iron oxide rust brown. They may be small but so amazing in the chance creation and beauty.

Everybody has favorite sites they go to for information and answers or just to read and relax. I would like to commend this blog and web site to you folks. The Lady who started this started with the SCA, who are by and far just good people, and then morphed this into a a real bonafide web site and blog. This takes dedication, talent and lots of guts and fortitude.

My thanks to you Lady for giving us another quality research tool and a friendly voice to read over the internet.

To all, may you feel the Spring wash through you like a pulse of sunlight carried on the whispering breeze.
Be Well

Fog, frogs, and St Patrick’s Day

Yea!!! I had two people visit my site after thirteen days or more of nothing. Now I have to keep typing, which in reality is a good thing. So here we go folks… (drum roll, please) bbrrr,bbrrr, ba-bump, bump, bump!

I got my lettuce seeds into the ground and the Swiss chard. The seeds went down right before the last snow and now we have had rain for two and a half days. The snow was cold but not that tushy freezing ice storm of the past. The beans and beet seeds went in between drizzle on Wednesday and hopefully all these years of throwing vegetation and bags of manure on the garden patch will pay off. One of my favorite places to get plants and medicinals is from Companion Plants of Ohio. Even if a plant arrives puny they have always done right by me and answer my questions friendly and fast.

Yesterday was another soft, soft fog: cool and grey, a day to sleep in and revel in the quiet coolness before the heat of summer comes. Now there is a steady rain and steady cool drizzle falling.

Saturday is Reptile Amphibian Day at the Museum and I hope lots of people come. It’s the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ way of “puttin’ on the green” for St Patrick’s day. This celebration is getting as big as Bug Fest and with all the hard work that goes in to this, the popularity is well deserved.

Lets not forget St Patrick’s Day is Wednesday and Vernal Equinox is next Saturday. St Patrick fought to bring his faith and beliefs to Ireland through sheer faith and strength of will. Celebrating such a strength of faith and historic piety at nearly the same time as the Vernal Equinox is strangely appropriate.

Last night I slept after after almost three weeks of insomnia. The last thing you should ever tell an insomniac is “…take something for it.” Yah! Just pop another pill and all my problems are solved. Dream on buddy. Yes I did resort to a sleeping pill last night but also a pain pill and muscle relaxer with phenugrin to keep me from vomiting. (Skelaxin can be taken with the sleep aid safely.) Pain can be so long term that finally your stomach turns on you and trying to keep down a whole bunch of pills just makes the pain and burning more intense. This is why I much prefer acupuncture. Unfortunately insurance doesn’t always recognize this invaluable medical service and some acupuncturists are only so-so. Get recommendations from previous patients and don’t go if they say “I think it helped ” or “The doctor didn’t really do much” or “Well, he looked at my tongue.” (Sure, inspecting the tongue is a valid tool for acupuncture but that should not be the high light of the visit.)

I would love to talk about Etsy but have very little to say right now. My shop is on auto pilot until I can get some more sleep and concentrate on talking with other bloggers. The hits have slowed considerably and it is rather dismal for me. My beloved husband still believes in my ideas and that buoys me but frankly neither of us is a marketing genius. I am rather flat at self promotion: I can talk about the relevance of art and self expression especially with children but not about what I produce, even though they are related. I am thinking about creating packs of lots of scrap cloth and colored card and trying to promote collage packs for children. It’s just an idea right now but hey, it’s twenty cents and worth a shot.

Beneath our feet all the stone and soil and water is swirling and leaping, ready to bolt forward with the turning of Spring that has already arrived. Feel the strength that seeps from the aether around us and celebrate before the Summer comes and brings it’s dying heat.

Flowers will come after the rain.
Be well and be dry.

Finally Did It!

I finally bit the bullet and put items up for sale on Etsy.  I took the advice of friends that unless I begin to sell a LOT of items should I have to worry about permits.  Everybody in north Carolina needs to remember sales tax.

This is a huge leap of faith for me regardless of if I sell anything.   I know my cabochons are good enough to sell and I have been told I have the “eye” for forming them.  I tried something and didn’t let myself talk me out of it. As trite as it may sound, and it can, sometimes you just have to do it. You can prepare for only so long. Luckily Etsy makes everything pretty easy. Now, I did take over thirty photos of cabochons on different backgrounds for half a day but a picture really can be worth a thousand words.

I can only thank those people who’s advice and shoulders I have been leaning on.

About the weather,  I hope every one has been enjoying the idyllic warm weather here in North Carolina; it went cold again today. Rain has poured like velvety cold curtains all day. A quietly grey day, soothing and somehow of a sensitive feeling to it. The rains of several days ago did indeed bring thunder to the night but today it is quiet and soft.

When I look out into the back yard and see the leafs and rain I am also looking on my little cat Hobbes’ grave. My husband put her four feet down and we put white rocks over the spot. The one that misses her the ,most is her litter mate Calvin. (Yes, we both liked the comic.) Cal may be 16 years old but the old-fart-kitty really dose miss his sister. Anyone who says animals don’t grieve can come and watch him look through all the rooms then start warble-meowing. To all of those people who have lost beloved pets be it a rat, dog, snake, or fish: Mourn well.

And with these sentimental but solemn words I leave you to your own thoughts and this night’s soothing caresses.

The Weather This Winter

It is warm and almost fall like today, cloudy gray sky with moisture just tickling the edge of the leaves. Rain will come and give us all quite a show as it falls. February will not be as gentle here for Fuquay Varina and Raleigh. whether snow or cold I am not sure but there might be some of the white stuff finally.

I got the book from the library and now realize that the first thing to invest in with asmall business is a pen. PAPERWORK and permits start to come out of the woodwork. The name I want to use for my shop is free and clear of trademarks and being owned by someone else. There can be county, city, and state permits to get for a business depending on what type you are. I remember a past boss of mine, we may have run low on paper cups or had to go out for cookie dough but the one thing he always had was EVERY permit and license he needed up to date and visible. He was a business major not a chef; the chef he hired. And yes he is successful.

While waiting for Martin Luther Monday to be over just so I can call my local business support office, I am still working toward having a shop on line. I took the Etsy suggestion to heart and am tidying up my office and storage room. My storage room is also my guest room so I can now get into it in case a friend comes to visit. When I go on etsy the shops that get my attention are the ones that have good pictures. The product could be just fine but it is the picture that can make it or break it. (Thank you, Dear Friend for telling me to redo my first sets of collage pictures.)

February 9th is the day my Gem and mineral club goes out for its first outing. I just have to say that Tom is really doing a great job with this. (Yes, I use his name ’cause there are half a million Toms in the world.) He try’s to give us all the info in one e-mail, none of this call me for info sort of thing. Hey, he even got us a Google map picture of the mine ’cause none of us have been there. This also makes me think of selling on line. I must give people as much pertinent information as I can; they can’t touch it and pick it up after all.

I am already thinking of my garden and only hope my plans are equall to my energy level this spring. i am thankful that I do have more agave and cactus than I can use so I plan on giving some to my neighbor. Last year she gifted us with a whole bunch of cactus and agave and now I can repay her with some that are more exotic.

May the rains and snows water not just your grounds but the richness of your hearth. God bless the sleeping Earth around us and know that it is alive and waiting to Become again.
Be well, folks