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Another exploration of the meanings of words. I love them. I love to research, study, analyze, discuss. Take the word berserk. Violently or destructively frenzied, wild, crazed, deranged. A berserker was an ancient Norse warrior who fought with frenzied rage in battle, possibly induced by eating hallucinogenic mushrooms. These guys also wore bearskins. Put that together with the fact that many of them were huge, massive men with wild, crazy hair and have them invade Scotland and mix with the crazed ones playing bagpipes as they marched into battle and then paint them blue like the Picts. Run away fast!
I don't know about you, who ever you are dear reader, but some days I really do feel like the above definition? In fact, I even have the hair for it. Do you ever feel berserk? Onward. Another word I love is rogue. A dishonest knavish person, scoundrel, playfully mischievous person, a scamp, a wandering beggar or tramp. Vagabond. Rogation, rogare, Latin, a stray. And vagabond. A wanderer, a vagrant, especially an idle one. Having no fixed habitation. Vagari. To wander. Extravagant. Same origin. To wander beyond the boundaries. And these words connect to the concept of the word gypsy.
Perdition. A state of final spiritual ruin, loss of the soul, damnation, future state of the wicked, utter destruction. Latin - to ruin/ lose/destroy. What kind of a word is that? Who believes that? A word like that could make a person berserk. Sure makes me want to live an extravagant life. Wander beyond the boundaries. Infidel that I am. Definition number 3: (loosely) a person who disbelieves or doubts a particular theory, belief, creed, etc.; skeptic. 4: not accepting a particular faith. 5: rejecting the Christian religion while accepting no other, not believing in the Bible or any Christian divine revelation.
Sacred Time and the Search For Meaning. A book by Gary Eberle. Page 8 - introduction. "Perhaps, I thought, we modern folk have grown afraid of those quiet times our ancestors took for granted, those moments in the dark, without external stimuli, when human beings looked inside themselves and examined the slower rhythms of their existence. This has always been the path to wisdom but we seem to have abandoned it in recent years. Or at least we seem to have lost the time needed to follow that road." I asked the runes to give me a sign for contentment.
They gave me Isa, just one straight vertical line. Simple yet complex. Brilliant. Isa, the rune for ice. Be still it said. Be content. Even when things appear to be frozen, there is still movement. Ice is in motion; just so slow we don't see it. Ice preserves. It protects. And even in the stillness there is no stagnation. Ice floats. It could not be otherwise. If it were to sink to the bottom of a lake or river say, then it would never be able to thaw in the spring. The rays of the sun could not reach it.
Tillie Olsen from Silences. "The habits of a lifetime when everything else had to come before writing are not easily broken, even when circumstances now often make it possible for writing to be first; habits of years - response to others, distractibility, responsibility for daily matters - stay with you, mark you, become you." So this is the exploration I get to make with my friends, roommates. We are all three at a time and place in our lives that we have the luxury of not being distracted, not needing to be accountable to anyone other than ourselves. We are free, unencumbered.
So today we made art. I started by creating a birthday card for my youngest son, Dave. He will be 31 January 11. I created a large collage with images and words that reflect some of the story of his life and the things he enjoys and participates in. Then I did some research and writing for him around the Tarot and his life journey and purpose. Karen did some pictures with crayons and watercolors. Kira worked with pastels. It is fun to make a mess and be able to leave all the supplies out on the dining room table.
Word playing with a friend about the origin and definition of the word frivolous I decided to make something up first, before looking to the authority. I said its origin was Old French, perhaps Middle French from friv meaning feeling cold because you were not wearing any underwear and hence the definition of frivolous was the state of having a dresser drawer filled with underwear because you weren't wearing any and feeling cold at the same time. The actual dictionary definition and statement of the word's origin is quite different. Frivolous - silly, of little value or importance, trifling, trivial, paltry.
It actually comes from Latin, frivolus meaning brittle, crumbling, cf friable which means easily crumbled or reduced to powder. Also to rub. I do find it all fascinating how words are formed and then take on a life and meaning of their own that may be very different from the origin. I'm not always playing with words, however. Nor am I always writing or knitting. Many days I ride my motorcycle, Gretta. Getting ready to ride on days that are cold and windy is rather like dressing small children to go outside and play in the snow. Lots of layers.
Yesterday I found out the hard way that Gretta's gas gauge doesn't work, in short, I ran out of gas. The good news is I had my cell phone with me and my lovely/loving roommates were home and came to the rescue with a can full of gas, smiles and relief that I was fine and nothing bad had happened. I rode again today out toward Vancouver Lake. I love that ride because there is very little traffic and there are incredible views of Mt. St. Helens, our local, active volcano that is steaming and smoking as she recreates herself.
Today is my youngest son's birthday. David Andrew, 31 years old, born in Meriden, Connecticut at 2 minutes before midnight. A big baby, over 10 pounds and 23 inches long. My third child. I had just turned 25 the month before. It was a bad winter. I remember being afraid that I would not be able to get to the hospital because our house was at the bottom of a hill and the road was covered with ice. I remember worrying about how my mother was going to be able to come and take care of the other two children.
Alone, I sip diluted Scotch, ice cubes melting, condensation forming ever so slowly on my glass. An amazing drink, quite different from bourbon. The single malts all have their own distinctive flavors, characteristics. Some are smoky, others are peat flavored, with a hint of cigar. Some are sharp, clean, occasionally a taste of caramel or the delicate touch that comes from being aged in old port or sherry barrels. When I was in Scotland a couple of years ago I learned there were people who taste Scotch and can detect even the slightest most subtle variations in the water used.
I miss teaching. Today I reread a letter from one of my former students and was re-inspired by her words. "I do believe that the greatest value of all comes not from the text, the assignments, the content of the class (all of which is hugely valuable) but from the space you provide for intelligent women with myriad, inspiring commitments to come together, to share themselves and their creations and a piece of their dreams and their life journey. Thank you for the marvelous environment you provide for us to discover who we are and what we have to give.-
On my birthday December 16 I entered into a Chariot year according to the map used by Angeles Arrien in her Tarot Handbook. This, The Chariot, represents the universal principle of change and causation. This is supposed to be the best year to move, relocate, travel, or make career changes. It requires that changes I make are nurturing and fortunate in all arenas of my life. Isn't that what I just did, last year? Could it be I ran ahead of myself? Should I be prepared for even more upheaval? The Tower is the outer representation of the Chariot card.
My youngest son called today to thank me for his birthday gift and letter. I had expressed how much I enjoyed being his mom and acknowledged that our family life hadn't always been easy. He said, "Mom, don't worry about that stuff. You were a great mom and you did a good job. Besides you are always growing and changing. Lots of parents don't do that and that's why their kids can't talk to them. And I'm glad you bought your motorcycle. It challenges you on all levels to do new things so you're getting younger." He just turned 31.
After two days of not leaving the house, we'd eaten all the food (well not all of it) in varying and creative combinations and were happy the ice thing didn't continue any longer or we would have had to eat each other. And the three of us vowed to pay closer attention to news/weather reports in the future seeing as we live in an area of real winter weather (maybe not real compared to North Dakota/Siberia) but winter none-the-less. Shop in advance. Who knows when a storm could hit and last for days? The cannibal thing just doesn't suit us.
Yesterday we had an ice storm, first one of the season, first one for the three of us to experience here in the northwest. I know them well from the years I spent in Connecticut even though I was born in California. Kira knows them well from her previous life in Wisconsin. Karen is our southern California girl. Well, the problem was we were told it was coming but we didn't pay any attention so we were caught off guard regarding the food thing, as in what is there to eat in the house. Today we didn't go out either.
Here's a mistake. You may have noted a discrepancy in my postings. I discovered I had entered day 16 as day 17. I guess since I was on the computer late at night it was already January 17 someplace in the world so I was allowed to enter it as the wrong day. Last night, again real late, when I tried to enter January 17 words on January 17 I couldn't so I entered them instead as January 16 even though they are really the words for January 17. If you were not already confused, you surely are by now.
Two days of cooperating weather, meaning no rain, ice storms or freezing cold, so I rode Gretta, today and yesterday. I am riding farther and farther, getting to know the area here around Vancouver. Dave is right. Riding the motorcycle really does challenge me on all levels. Just paying attention to the traffic is a big deal. Since the ice storm there is a lot of gravel and sand on the roads which makes things a bit more dangerous. Washington and Oregon don't use salt like they use back East so after the ice melts, the gravel is still here.
The day to day ness of my life seems boring to me at times. Don't you the reader think so also? It rained today and since I didn't want to ride I decided to go buy new tires for my car instead. Not just a whim. I really did need new tires especially since the weather here is challenging. So off to Les Schwab I went. Seems logical to buy tires from a place that specialized in tires. They are guaranteed for the life of the tire, with free rotation. The whole thing took only 20 minutes and $250 dollars.
The weather was absolutely glorious today, really warm for January. I love riding. At times I can't believe that I'm a 56 year old woman who learned to ride a motorcycle less than a year ago and now I own my own. Each time I go out I gain more confidence. I'm intentionally doing daily, mundane things while out riding, like going to the post office, stopping by AAA to change my address and get some information about road side assistance programs that would include motorcycles. I also stopped by the dealership to have the pressure in my tires checked.
I met a man today. We had one of those discussions I used to have with people in the California Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬Ëœspiritual' community, you know, the ones about enlightenment/higher consciousness. I said that just the use of the words alone implies an unspoken concept that enlightenment is better/higher, is more desirable which is again back to the same place of right/wrong, good/bad, up/down, them/us. And why is it that everyone is seeking enlightenment? As if somehow there is always something better, some other place to go that is to be sought Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬Ëœabove' what it is we have right here, right now.
I finally felt ready, experienced enough to ride Gretta on the Interstate. I rode south on Interstate 5, across the Columbia River and over to Jantzen Island where I met a friend for coffee, did some writing in my journal, got back on the freeway and went north. Sunday was a good day for my first time as there are very few large trucks and not a lot of traffic. It was great. I felt exhilarated, excited, free, scared and also not scared. There is nothing between me and the pavement but my clothes and my leathers and my helmet.
More ordinary, sameness of day-to-day life and it is Wednesday night, late, almost midnight and I didn't write for three days and now I can't even remember what happened on Monday. Oh wait. I had a massage. I rode Gretta there, which was a surprise to the massage therapist since I arrived in all my gear and had to take some time removing it. The massage was great. She used a variety of techniques, including hot stones, stretches and essential oils in a special way called Raindrop Therapy. The only problem was I was almost too relaxed to ride home.
My older sister's birthday is coming up on Friday. I haven't bought/made a gift for her. I'm feeling guilty. Perhaps most of the guilt is because she sent me something for my birthday and I get stuck thinking I must reciprocate. That's the problem with the whole gift-giving thing. I'd much rather do it in a more spontaneous way, by surprise or for no reason. Sometimes I think we end up buying things people don't want or need. Then they are held hostage by it; the gift I mean. So I think I'll just call her and say happy birthday.
I stayed home in bed most of today. I didn't feel well. You see, last night, I kept having trouble with my heart. It beats irregularly at times. That makes me tired, breathless, heavy in my chest. I think it is aggravated by menopause, hormonal stuff. Maybe not. Could be I just have an erratic heartbeat. I'm taking hawthorn tincture for it and motherwort and some herbs that are supportive for menopausal symptoms. Don't worry. On days when I feel like this I don't ride. I did wear a monitor for a day but that was about 10 years ago.
I'm feeling better today. A day in bed must have done me good. I'm back in the mood for knitting. It left me for a while. I just finished the neck scarf for my daughter. It was made of cotton yarn. I really don't like working with cotton yarn that looks like string. It is actually boring to work with but it was a labor of love as she has skin sensitivities and really needed something to wear under her wool coat. Now I'm working on a pair of clog-like slippers for one of my roommates. I will felt them.
Today's my older sister's birthday. I spent some time thinking about Mom. She was only 19 when my sister was born. She had been helping Dad sand and finish the hardwood floors in the house they were building on the lot they had been given by my maternal grandfather as a wedding present. Mom went into premature labor and delivered my sister 7 weeks early. It was a big deal back then. Things were not so advanced. The baby was kept in an incubator and Mom contracted a serious pelvic infection and spent many months taking penicillin. She almost died.
Mom told me not too many years ago that she never bonded with my sister. She said she always felt like she was babysitting someone else's baby. They didn't encourage touching and holding premature babies back then; 58 years ago. Also Mom didn't get to breast feed her. My sister has been estranged from most of the family for many years and I have often wondered if the circumstances of her birth have contributed to that. I also know that my parents were still paying off the medical bills when my younger sister was born which was four years later.
The weather was so warm today it was like spring. We all went into Portland for Sunday breakfast at a great little cafÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â© in the northwest called Besaws. It's so popular there is always a crowd of people waiting on the sidewalk and the cafÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â© brings out coffee and waffles for those who are waiting. And it's worth the wait. The weather was so clear we had a perfect view of Mt. St. Helens which is steaming again. The news says the earthquake activity is increasing and the dome is growing. I have never lived so near an active volcano.
We all got up early this morning to drive Karen's daughter to the Portland airport. She was off to Paris for 4 months. She is going to college there studying French and photography. It is easy to get to this airport compared to going from Santa Rosa to San Francisco. Sometimes that could take hours. Many times if you had an early morning flight you couldn't even take the airporter so would have to drive down there and spend the night. Do you realize that right now you can get a flight from Portland to Paris for less than $400?
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