Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter and Bread

First off, I had a wonderful Haitian dance class today, with a woman from Haiti (subbing for my regular teacher). It was interesting to see a more feminine side of this dance (we did a choreography of market women sifting rice, which was really fun). My regular teacher, S., shows a more masculine side of this dance. This is the class which is going to make my body strong again. I walked out feeling hopeful even that I would work again at my teaching job. I just got my leave approved through the end of December.

 My heart is very sad about all this still, though things are getting better bit by bit. This was one of the hardest times of my life, to come to a realization that the love I thought I had turned out to be nothing but a total deception, where my health tanked, when I was diagnosed as bipolar 2, had to leave my job because my health was gone, and had to face my greatest fear with lupus, being put on chemotherapy like my sister, who died within a few years of doing so: all of this happening in a matter of perhaps three weeks was enough to kill me, and I am bloody glad and lucky it didn't.  And still, how small all these things are in the context of the world, of people who have lost loved ones, such as in the terrible Malaysian airliner tragedy--people who do not even know what happened to their loved ones--and recently, in the ferry disaster.  I can only hope that what I have been through makes me more compassionate with the world.  It is a hard climb, yet I am climbing, a step more every day.

I am getting ready for Easter, as much as I celebrate it...even though the two churches I might like to attend here in Santa Cruz are no longer safe for me to go to (sadly enough...I really would have liked to attend The Center for Spiritual Living this year with Thistle), we are going to do our best with it.  Tomorrow is egg-dying and something very special to me:  making a recipe that comes straight from my Italian great-grandmother, braided Easter bread with red-dyed eggs baked into it.  The red is such an amazing, fertile color against the pale brown crust and looks very pretty in the braid.  Even if Thistle and I don't make this perfectly, we are going to have a lot of fun.  At the left is a picture of what I hope to accomplish (though this has pastel eggs...the eggs I will dye tomorrow for the bread will be an intense pomegranate red).

Wish me luck!  If it works, I will post a picture tomorrow.

Friday, April 18, 2014


By the way, I do not mean to be cruel about Christianity..perhaps one day I will find my way back to it, but I have become estranged from it gradually in the last few years...hypocrisy and deception really are the serpents in every religion and people need to be protected from these things. At least CG is an agnostic and actually encourages me to follow my heart in my spiritual life...which right now is Zen...a good place for me.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

performance Saturday

Just a short note...my troupe,Dancers of the Crescent Moon,is performing on Saturday at 1:30, at the Crepe Place, Santa Cruz...just in case you are in Santa cruz and want to check it out!


I have had a long and tiring morning, beginning with a dental appointment at nine, 40 minutes from my house (I like the office, though, and am finally going to get a crown on a front tooth that has been discolored from a root canal). I need some work on my teeth, but not much, though what I am getting (two replacement crowns an an implant to replace a missing molar, removed through substandard dentistry years ago). Still, my copays are a bit high; as CG says, there is really no good dental insurance. At least they are finally re-establishing dental care for adults through MediCal, our state program that is now Obamacare for low income people. It affects me very little, but I am glad for the people who have not been able to get dental care for years. Proper dental care is extremely important for health, especially cardiac health.

I have been reconsidering CG's generous offer to support me and pay my health insurance premiums if I do not go back to work. Unfortunately, I have been considering that this is the wrong way to go. If something happens to him and I become the sole support of Thistle, she can probably still attend the school for gifted kids that she has been accepted to, but our lives may be very hard if I am just on disability. It will all be easier and better, no matter what my life circumstances, if I am able to work and have good benefits for myself. I also do not like being financially dependent on someone, unless that person is my spouse, and that is not on the horizon. My chronic illness has prevented me from working full-time since my diagnosis in 1993 (I was very ill with lupus when I was diagnosed and had to give up full-time teaching). I don't think any woman especially should be dependent on a partner who is not married to them: generally my history has been that they send up with pretty much everything for whatever reason and I am left back at square one: this past time, I ended up without my job partially due to severe stress in my circumstances, and here I am with just a disability income and my insurance ending in a few months. The fault is mostly mine, but had I not had immense stress, I think I might have avoided having to go on disability. But here I am, and I will, of course, make the best (and better) of my life.

Btw my Easter will be small...I am really tired of Christers who talk about how they are "in the light" or whatever and treat vulnerable people badly. I would rather consider this season as one of hope and the renewal of life, and how I can be an increasingly better person to myself and others....nothing more, nothing less.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


 I had a wonderful time sitting in the woods, watching the total lunar eclipse. When the shadow finally engulfed the moon, the bullfrogs down at the creek went wild, calling in chorus.  The owls starts hooting, too. I watched the whole thing...perhaps the most amazing part was watching the silver moonlight fill the woods as the moon emerged from eclipse. I also heard the local cougar, twice.

If you missed it, here is a link:


There are three more this year!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dragon Eclipse

The old dragon who sleeps unseen in the sky will wake tonight, to devour the pearl of the full moon, shy in her veils of white dust. For some time, the moon will sleep in the dragon's red belly, making it a crimson lantern.

In other words, there will be a full lunar eclipse tonight, visible on the West Coast! I have a sizable meadow in the back yard and will be there. I might try photographing it, but mostly want to experience it in a centeredness Zen spirit.

Here is a link to some information:

Total lunar eclipse 2014

Enjoy it if you are able to see it!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Documentary on Coalinga State Hospital

I did promise to post resources about protecting one's self from sexual predators from time to time...I did not think it would be so soon, but I was alerted to this film about a place I did not even know existed.

 I think this is an important documentary by the BBC on Coalinga State Mental Hospital, which houses sexually violent predators (mainly pedophiles).  It is chilling in that the denial of these individuals is so extreme, so entrenched, that one wonders if they have any idea what basic human decency is, or if they understand anything about the harm they do. These men blame others, minimize and do not seem to understand fully and honestly the egregious impact of their deeds..which I have come to believe are wilfully and consciously chosen with the hopes that they would get away with it. Even the ones in treatment still seem like this.

What drives an individual to this could be a propensity they are born with, a glitch in the brain. Surely there must be a few with this propensity who understand that they have zero right to act on their urges, that the harm they do destroys, that it is a line on the graph of the great continuum of horrors we have enacted upon one another as a species since time began...and that a supposedly narrow minded society is not to blame. There is a reason why adult-child marriages and relationships are outlawed for similar reasons that murder is outlawed: no one has the right to help themselves to the life of another person and snuff out even the slightest bit of their faith in life and the upward trajectory of their human potential, at any age, but even more so for the most vulnerable members of society, our children and young adults.

I have said before that I often wonder what my life might have been had I not spent 90 percent of my energy dealing with the collateral damage of being abused. To put great energy into this and re establish my life's upward trajectory is the way I reject being victimized.  Still, that child I was, that 21 year old woman, that woman in her early fifties, still feels the wounds of violation. They never heal. They never will heal. I can cover the psychic wounds with scar tissue, but they will always be present.  They are the shrapnel I will carry to my grave. And what I say here is not unique in the least, which is the most horrible part of it for me.

This is a highly triggering documentary. I can say that its worth is very real: one sees that too many of these men are gaming the system; they simply do not or will not be able to really understand the great harm they have done.  One guy out of all the ones interviewed might have the ghost of a chance to live in society, and by the end I wondered even about him.

Here is the link to the documentary. Again, it is difficult to hear these interviews and can be highly triggering, so please do care for yourself and do not watch if you think it will make you feel in any way unsafe:

BBC Documentary, Coalinga State Hospital

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bellydance tomorrow, Redwood City.

I am going to make a decision to have fun tomorrow at my gig with my bellydance troupe, Dancers of the Crescent Moon.  I remember how nice it was to have a friendly beloved face in the audience before, but I will find people to smile at in the audience....maybe someone who looks as if she might like to dance but is hesitant.

Crying after my new writing group today...the camaraderie lovely, such wise and mature young people, but when I go home, memories wander in and I let myself grieve tonight as I get tomorrow's costume ready.

CG asks why I still cry over someone whose actions so badly compromised my physical and emotional health and every good thing about myself that I believed in.  I think I had to push the grief, shock, and anger aside very hard to survive my first month of chemo and now am working on the grief, intense as a sudden death. CG, who has known me for twelve years, said that he knew I was closest to dying in early December.  He is also right about another thing: my body is strong and will come back. Last night my dancing self remembered the way to jump into an airborne spin time after time. I will come back from all this, better and stronger.

Here, by the way, are the jewelry pieces I wear.  I say a silent prayer of gratitude when I put these on; many are authentic pieces, more precious to me because of the women in Afghanistan and Morocco to whom these belonged.  I will wear these tomorrow in thanks and in unity:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Strength of Refusal

I wished last night that I could do some jumping and turning, as I miss that from all my other African dance classes. One day  I will just go again to those and the devil can take the hindmost. No one has the right to limit my steps in this world.  If someone decides to treat me wrongly, THEY will be asked to leave, not me.  I am not a victim nor will I act like one. I am also not a second class citizen and no one has the right to take anything like this from me, even if they think they do.  All I care about is being able to dance.

Anyway..wishing for jumping, S. The instructor in Haitian dance taught doubts today, a dance mimicking work, but full turns, jumps, and spins. Be careful what you ask for!!
I think I love djouba best...it is a balance of hard work and a playful ending.

Here is a group playing djouba almost exactly as it was played tonight:

and so it goes

Good song...thanks to my troupe leader who was playing this before class...not a big Billy Joel fan, but I like this song.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

This Day

Thistle announced that she does not wish the word "eyeball" used at dinner because it is inappropriate at the dining table.

Her exact words.

Yellow wild irises are blooming in the yard. Pictures tomorrow.

I have a stand of scotch broom to hack down tomorrow also.

The afternoon sunlight on the backyard creek is amazing, like something from a fairy tale.

I have had a good and quiet day.

And that is all  Good night and pleasant dreams to all.

The Carrot

One dilemma I am facing as an instructor on disability is whether to return to teaching or not.  Right now it is an unqualified yes, in Spring 2015.  CG talked to me about how I'll I still am, that he is willing to help me lifelong if I choose not to go back, including with health insurance, and said he would not support me doing any sort of return to my job unless I was registered as disabled faculty.  He said that trying to work with a capricious illness such as lupus AND parent a small child will likely end my life unless I make major changes in the way I work.  I am not going to be allowed to return to San Jose State unless I register as disabled faculty anyways, something I should have done from Day One...I should have even registered as a disabled student in grad school.

I still feel that I can go back if Imuran gets things under control, but it is going to be a haul. I appreciate how much CG is in my corner with all this, too. Teaching is the carrot just out of reach that is keeping me, the stubborn old mule, going.  I still have a few things left to say, after all.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Cosmos, Hidden Benefits

Writing a futuristic novel is scary and fun at the same time, a bit like riding in the Chrome Tadpole (what I call the thing that transports NDGT in Cosmos) must be.  Speaking of Cosmos, I must say that it is giving me a great many ideas for my book.  Unfortunately, some of my grieving is bound up with that series, which I had so hoped to watch with someone.

And still, this old astronomer waits each week for that great show. The universe does not want to listen to us....I think the universe wants US to listen to IT.