Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Herding Cats

My dog who is part border collie can herd our cats into the corner. When the younger kitty-- who knows not what fear is-- made an escape into the snows the other night via back door, the dog dashed around and around the deck until mate could catch the kitty and bring him back in. The kitty was cross about it. The dog-- delighted whenever she succeeds in rounding them up.


You Tube video-- short-- with cowboys herding cats can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8

Friday, 14 December 2007

Visit Hiserville


Dog Snoring Problem


My friend RedBarron has a great solution for snoring dogs. Go take a peak at it. I dare ya.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Circle Work with Insects 11/30/07

earth: deer tick, cockroach, wood bee, head louse, termite, house fly, ground killer wasp

air: flea, white-faced hornet, pubic crab, fruit fly, horse fly, jumping spider, hover fly

fire: firefly, honey bee, wasp, sweat bee, fire ant, red ant, scorpion

water: skate, diving beetle, mosquito, springtail, noctuid moth, leech, stone fly

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Finding Common Ground

The things you learn in maturity aren't simple things such acquiring information & skills. You learn not to engage in self destructive behavior. You learn not to burn up energy in anxiety. You discover how to manage your tensions. You learn that self pity & resentment are among the most toxic of drugs. You find that the world loves talent but pays off on character. You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you: they are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how much you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you - a lesson that is at first troubling & then really quite relaxing.

-- John W. Gardner

excerpts from my own posts at http://pagannation.com :

Well, okay.
There are a bunch of things here that I don't know or can only guess at and perhaps we agree on some of those?

I don't know how person X is as a mother.
Person B has seen person X with her kids.
My fellow wingnut friend C for whom I feel some affection has not observed Person X with her kids.
I will rely on the observations made by Person B-- that Person X is a good mother to her kids.
And yes, I have to agree it is a low blow to any mother to be accused of poor parenting or things similar or worse.

I don't know how many screws loose any of us have.
Is having one big screw loose worse than having two or three little ones loose? What proportion of big screws to little screws determine the severity of the rattling around of a brain?

Even if any or some or two or all of us do have screws loose, is that germane to the original argument?
Is my not being entirely sure of the original argument an indication of too much caffeine [actually caffeine calms me down] or too little caffeine or
an indication of my own brain injury gone awry from fatigue or
perhaps that I've just stumbled into this forum haphazardly?

I don't remember getting born.
A bunch of other people assure me that I was born.
On earth.
So if they are lying, is there a chance that I am a martian viking transplant?
How do I know?
What are my sources?
How valid are they?
Can they overcome my innate strangeness and sense of otherness?

Or, maybe you think I am a whack shack and in that respect as bad as Alan Webster or should be committed or a funny farm escapee or
any number of things.

Here I have to admit that vingnut, whack shack, mental derangement, screws loose, schizo, hallucinating... are just words to me and rather devoid of meaning or threat.

And if you were to tell me that I need "mental help" of some sort, since you aren't my medical doctor I am free to discount that conclusion while admitting that my posting is off the wall.

Yet if you began calling me a Untied [spelling on purpose] Statsian version of Alan Webster [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article787073.ece], I am free to examine the evidence and conclude that there really isn't any evidence for me being an Alan Webster [http://www.guardian.co.uk/crime/article/0,,1793469,00.html] in the making.

As Nathaniel Branden would say [badly paraphrased here] what other people think about me today can never be as important to me as what I know to be true about me.

What I am trying to convey here is that as long as PersonX knows he is not as sick as despised scumbag, not as bad as despised scumbag, not like despised scumbag; and there is no legal evidence that he has ever done things similar to the things despised scumbag has done [shudder],

isn't it more important that PersonY and crew know that he is not despised scumbag, as bad as despised scumbag, or like despised scumbag in respect to that sort of stuff?

This is a forum. It is a lively forum and there are some exciting people here yet it is a forum. Whatever mix of people on this forum may like me, hate me, think ill of me, wish me well, don't have many thoughts about me at all, it is still just a forum.

The sun will more than likely rise and set somewhere in the world at some time tomorrow, my dog will still wish for me to take her for a walk and spend time with her, there will still be laundry to do and bills to pay and frogs for me to feed, and so on.

Marian Zimmer Bradley said, "The world will go on as it will, and not as you or I would have it."

Bowing out now,
spike q. whack shack


To practice self-assertiveness is to live authentically, to speak and act from your innermost thoughts and feelings, as a way of life-allowing for the obvious fact that there may be circumstances in which you wisely choose not to do so-for example, when confronted by a hold-up man.

— Nathaniel Branden

My self-respect is not based on how well I defend myself in a public forum
*or on whether or not I choose to defend myself at any given time in a public forum or in real f2f life
*or on people choosing to think less of me because of my choices in this matter.

I don't operate under the same rules or shoulds as you do.
Different strokes for different folks.

Of course it is always acceptable for someone to choose to defend themselves, their reputation, their character, their abilities, their family members...

The operative word here for me is "choice."

There are times when I may deliberately choose not to defend myself. When I choose thusly, it is an active conscious choice. In my own case, my level of self-respect does not dictate my actions or my choices when it comes to arguments and disagreements.

For example, lets' say you or someone here accuses me of being as bad as despised scumbag or a pedohead or another Alan Webster [http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/article752141.ece] or really sick in the head, demented, needing medication, or any other thing. My choice to defend myself or not will be based on several factors.

When I choose to defend myself, my self-respect is not one of the determinants in making that conscious deliberate choice.
When I choose not to defend myself, it is not a sign that my own self-respect is sinking or not existing at a good enough level.

I appreciate that self-respect may be one of the factors for others when they decide to defend their character. It just doesn't weigh when I have to pick which battles I will fight, that's all...


I am a viking vingnut or is that a wiking wingnut
or maybe a ...


Of course it is always acceptable for someone to choose to defend themselves, their reputation, their character, their abilities, their family members...

The operative word here for me is "choice."

There are times when I may deliberately choose not to defend myself. When I choose thusly, it is an active conscious choice. In my own case, my level of self-respect does not dictate my actions or my choices when it comes to arguments and disagreements.

For example, lets' say you or someone here accuses me of being as bad as despised scumbag or a pedohead or another Alan Webster [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Webster] or really sick in the head, demented, needing medication, or any other thing. My choice to defend myself or not will be based on several factors.

When I choose to defend myself, my self-respect is not one of the determinants in making that conscious deliberate choice.
When I choose not to defend myself, it is not a sign that my own self-respect is sinking or not existing at a good enough level.

I appreciate that self-respect may be one of the factors for others when they decide to defend their character. It just doesn't weigh [in] when I have to pick which battles I will fight, that's all.



My intention was not to call into question Person X's ability to parent and nurture her children.
Nor was my intention to smear or besmirch anyone's character in any way.

Actually, my intention was to find a tiny bit of common ground with you rather than to concentrate on our differences.

Perhaps you or anyone may wish to ask Friend C why she said the things she said. Or not as you choose.

It is not for me to speculate upon the actions of another. For me to guess would be mental masturbation. My brain is battered enough from thinking my way through everyday life.

I endeavor not to engage in sorting people into categories such as [opposing camps]. Usually, I will take people at their word unless there is a preponderance of credible evidence to the contrary.

...The rest of my post did have something to do with all of the name-calling, character assassination, labeling on the parts of many of us here regardless of "sides" and alliances-- and other thoughts and observations that flitted through my head at the time that I was typing it.

As always, you or anyone is free to disregard or to place my name on the iggy collection.

If it don't apply, let it fly.



Your balls don't itch?
I was just about to suggest athlete's foot cream...I don't see why that wouldn't help itching in damp places.

I will duck now.


No. I'm saying [that if] you stick your feet on your balls often enough they can suffer from fungus.

Okay now I am really ducking.



Warm coffee salve applied to the balls will relieve the itch temporarily.

I read that in a book somewhere.



Regarding Person Z's chocolate balls.
No actual balls were harmed in the creation of this treat.
Had they been harmed, we would have told you so...

Actually, his balls are like fluffy bunnies.
They reproduce, however not on this plane.
The chocolate balls have reproduced themselves on an astral parallel plane of existence, thus we are free to offer you Person Z's chocolate balls for loving and gushing without impinging upon the immoral scrutinies of anyone observing us for fear of us becoming a mob of thinkers and doers--

On the second day of solstice, my lover gave to me
two chocolate balls and a...

spike q. chocolate freak


Oh goody an assassination.
Two tickets for front row seats please and some popcorn heavily buttered.

Who do we assassinate?

Oh what's that? Yuck, no thanks. I don't eat hot dogs and I don't allow my dog to either.



Quote: Spike, you have been assassinated!

I have resurrected myself with the help of a holy pot of coffee poured onto my smoldering remains.

Never better.
Wow. More muscles even.
And I'm thinner and blonder.

Walking along in the woods by the coliseum, my dog brings back a limb-- looks like a right forearm-- of--
oh no it couldn't be!-- Person R!

Crap! Hey everyone, Person R has been assassinated!
Oh what to do, what to do.

Doggie, put down that limb!


Here's how it works:

I just assassinated you! You are now dead. Or you can resurrect yourself and assassinate someone else. All you have to do is just post in the assassination forum this entire post...

Okay, I can't tell you who assassinated me, or I'll lose! So, I have chosen to resurrect myself and assassinate you!



I don't believe that our government has proven itself to be adept at keeping very many secrets secret.

Nope, I don't believe that Bush "ordered" 9/11, plotted it, caused it, was in cahoots on it, or any other thing.





I do not believe that President Bush is a puppet of the Religious Right. There are many assumptions about his specific religious beliefs floating around


however, I am personally appalled at some of his policies. There is some evidence for the idea that the agendas of the Religious Right are being pushed through the Senate and Congress in the form of various laws.

The folks at Theocracy Watch are based from Cornell U.

Call me reactionary or a crackpot or any other name if you will, I care not.

Bottom line for me is I don't particularly care for what is happening to this country in terms of religiosity and how that effects policy-making.

We disagree on this last I am sure and I for one agree to disagree peaceably.



Yep, well-versed on that aspect.
And opinionated too.

I don't happen to believe that Bush is anyone's pawn.
I do believe that the preponderance of evidence points toward the founding fathers [signers of the declaration of independence] were deists rather than christians

and that furthermore, even if the United States was founded as a christian nation, it does not naturally follow that it should remain so today.



I like fluffy bunnies coated with shake-n-bake and barbequed.

a wiking wingnut
I am a viking vingnut or is that a wiking wingnut
or maybe a ...


...am I growing on you like a fungus?

I hear that coffee is a great anti-fungal...

spike q. fungus

Fungi rule. Pictures of fungi altered make great backgrounds for e-stationary.


Okay, I am not a fungus then.
A mold?

I must be a mold.

That's it! I'm a mold.

[spike goes wandering off in the direction of coffee and happy pills]


sapphoq on life

Woe to Pagan Poop

Go here:


for an example of a Christian man discriminating against pagan poop.
The resultant mp3 is not to be missed.

sapphoq n friends

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Job Ideas for spike q. poet

*Disclaimer: not necessarily approved of by the local unimaginative VESID/O.V.R. office*

1. Grow hissing cockroaches, crickets, and earthworms-- may distress lover.

2. Photograph frogs.

3. Breed frogs-- too technical. Apparently frogs in captivity can't figure out how to do it without
human intervention.

4. Rescue unwanted or hurt amphibians-- lover thinks fifteen frogs are enough.

5. Raise llamas--- may really distress lover.

6. Trail guide and llama trekking-- requires llamas.

7. Breed snakes-- lover will move out.

8. Receptionist at very quiet office with no telephone lines.

9. Starving artist-writer.

10. Inspirational speaker.

11. Career coaching.

12. Have year round yard sales.

13. Sell things on the web-- requires things that people will want to buy.

14. Drive a truck-- spinal problems will rebel.

15. Teacher's aide-- hate kids in groups of more than one.

16. Landlord-- been there, done that, ain't doing that to myself again.

17. Event planner-- poor organizational skills.

18. Be a clown or stand-up comic.

19. Start a new religion-- bad karma.

20. Grow flowers in a greenhouse-- requires greenhouse.

21. Professional poker player.

22. Raise corn, hay, and other stuff-- requires farm.

23. Own a human services agency-- would rather manually shovel cow shit.

24. Restaurant hostess at a very slow restaurant.

25. Cook at a small diner-- people will die.

sapphoq healing t.b.i.

Friday, 16 November 2007

On Poetry, Writing, and stuff

I started writing poetry in fourth grade.
It wasn't until high school that I began experimenting with prose poems
without rhyming words at the end.

Although I like to play with words using internal rhyming,
alliteration, and other stuff like that, I am lousy when it comes to traditional rhyme and meter schemes. Consequently, almost all of my poetry is written in the style of prose poetry.

Even with a rhyming dictionary such as the one that can be found at:
http://www.rhymezone.com/, my attempts at rhyming are un-good!

Here is my latest endeavor-- the beginning of a prose poem:

The kitten ran out into the street, then stopped halfway.
He strutted up to me, staring at 60 pounds of blond
fur trying to hide behind my legs.
"Oh, what a cute kitten!" I said to the woman on the curb
as I dragged the scared dog out from her hiding place.
"You want him?" she asked.
"He's going to the pound in an hour along with his
two brothers and one sister."

Rhyming used to be much more popular and in my opinion, people used to be better at it. Some rhymed poetry has become classic.

Roses are red,
violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet,
and so are you.

There are other variations out there.
Roger Miller wrote this one:

They say roses are red
And violets are purple,
Sugar is sweet
And so is maple surple.

Here are a couple more that I've heard:

Roses are blue,
violets are red.
If you believe this,
you're sick in the head.

Roses are red.
Violets are bluish.
My audience has all fled
cuz at rhyming I'm newish.

Violets are blue
and roses are red.
I'm 'llergic to them it's true,
so I'll have the fake ones instead.

My dad is a big fan of Shel Silverman, thus as a kid I got to hear dad's renditions of many of his songs and verses.
Dad would recite random ditties such as
"I never saw a purple cow. I never hope to see one. But I can tell you this right now-- I'd rather see than be one."
And the ultra-risque "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your britches and slide on the ice."
He would sing out, "There's a dead skunk in the middle of the road" whenever there was one and he knew all the words to fun songs like "I don't want a pickle, I just want to ride my motor-sickle. And I don't want to die. I just want to ride my motorcy------cle."
He too liked the sound of words.
I never read anything he wrote though and I wonder now if he himself has written anything.
I shall have to ask him about that.

I remember when I got older that dad had a subscription to Omni right along with his subscription to Playboy.
I counted myself lucky because I was able to read both.
I never did tell my mother about the Playboy articles. She wouldn't have appreciated it.
Dad also was interested in psychology, an interest which I share. He allowed me free reign to his own book collection, much as my maternal grandmother did. I read what I wanted there and there was no judgement about material being "too old" for me.
Things I didn't understand he explained in ways that I understood.

My mother sold me on Robert Lewis Stevenson and I spent lots of time reading his stuff.
My mother didn't break out into spontaneous song or verses but she did encourage me to write my own poems.
And she knew that Saturday was Library Day as far as I was concerned.

Many Saturdays I walked the couple miles to the library where I would search the aisles for books to check out. I always walked to and from the library, although the buses were available and I knew how to use them. On one such walk, my younger friend Richard and I threw ice cream cones off a bridge and one landed inside a police cruiser. On others, Richard or Grace and I stopped at the local greasy pizza spot for slices or bought cherries off the vendor on the corner. If no friends were around to go with me, I went alone. I loved the library. I can still see the outside of our neighborhood branch, the blue aluminum-looking framed windows, the take out desk, the houses and stores and streets along the way.

I enjoyed the school library also. We had a one-legged librarian-- she had bone cancer and used crutches rather than a fake leg, I don't know why-- who taught me how to find books in the library, was willing to allow some classmates and I access to the Life magazine issue with the pictures of embryos and fetuses, and always listened to what we had to say. I remember going through reading binges-- one month I read all of the biographies of scientists in the library. I also went through binges of fiction from other countries, mysteries, and series. I was a serious child. Words were everything to me. I was a word nerd.

Those trips to the library, along with helping the one-legged elementary school librarian shelve books, parents who fostered my love of words all contributed to my desire to have my stuff published. I've had lots of stuff published now and yet I can still remember the first acceptance letter, and getting a copy of the first zine with my words in it.

sapphoq the word nerd on life

Monday, 12 November 2007

Four Years

Last week I passed my four year anniversary since my car accident and my traumatic brain injury. I thought somehow I would be working by now. Although I am closer to working now than I've been. Yeah, I am writing a novel and that is cool. To me though, that doesn't really "count" until the contract has been signed and an advance check is in my sweaty hands. I have one potential job substituting for a dishwasher should they get sick and another possibility to work for a friend who is manager at a restaurant. I don't think I will mind washing dishes once in awhile. Working at the friend's restaurant-- well, I gotta start over again somewhere. I haven't even been able to get an interview to deliver newspapers. So I will take what I can get and remember it is just for now, just until I can find something else.

I still have my vision problems, the mild expressive aphasia, and the occasional vertigo. As far as medical experts say, traumatic brain injury is permanent. We improve over time at some stuff, especially if we keep working at it but the basic brain injury itself is there and will be there. Folks say that "the brain can regenerate isn't that amazing?" sort of thing until I am sick of hearing it. Again, I will tell yas that yes, some neurons can regenerate however they do not always reconnect to the correct halves [causing cognitive slowdowns] or at all to anything [causing a central nervous system tremor which yes I do have].

I will never be who I was. I won't lie for the sake of the comfort of others and claim that who I am is a new improved model because it isn't. I don't believe that "all things happen for a reason" or that "I'm right where some god wants me to be" or that "there are no true coincidences." What I think is that life is sacred-- neither fair nor unfair-- and that it is the finite part of our selves that requires and maybe even demands meaning, thus we create it. I don't particularly feel bound by any compulsion to have reasons and lessons for learning. I think that life is far beyond our petty little explanations. Most other folks I know find comfort in believing that there is some sort of grand plan. That stuff doesn't help me though so I dumped it.

Some things have improved. My hearing-- which was supersonic before my accident and right on the borderline of needing a hearing aid or two afterwards-- has re-established itself into the supersonic category as per the last audiology test this summer. The addition of a c-pap machine after two sleep studies and a diagnosis of sleep apnea has really helped me to have a life [although it takes me much longer than average to get into REM sleep, at least I am dreaming again at night]. I keep working on my aphasia and now most folks don't notice it. I got involved with an incredimail creators' group [thanks Jeremy Crow] and that has been of immense help to me in restoring motivation.

If the accident didn't happen, we would have been better off financially and I would not have had my career viciously kicked out from under me. If suffering builds character and strength, I certainly could have done with a bit less of both of those things. In a perfect world, folks who smoke pot would be picked up by the magic yellow submarine bus and driven anywheres they had to go. [The driver who ran my car into a house was high on marijuana]. In a perfect world, we wouldn't need lawyers to protect us from our places of employment after we get hurt, little kids wouldn't be abused or die of starvation and diseases and all stuff like that. But it is not a perfect world. So I just have to do the best I can [most days] with what I got. As Nathaniel Branden would say, "It is what it is."

By this time next year, I hope that my novel will be written and submitted. I also hope to be working at least part-time at a job that I can tolerate. Still be married and in love with my husband and he with me. Saving money for my next cross-country trip. [I want to go every year or every two years for the rest of my life]. And still enjoying my animals, the woods, and life.


I am writing a novel, as I've said before and thus am behind once again in visiting all of your blogs and commenting. Sorry for that. I will get to visiting all of yas to leave comments over the next few weeks or so.

And anyone who has a dog, if you haven't watched The Dog Whisperer, you ought to give it a whirl. He has most excellent ideas about dog psychology and communication. My current dog who is really angelic has become even more perfect since I started doing some of the things he suggests.

Sunday, 7 October 2007


That excitement of finding new places or re-finding old ones.
Pieces of me scattered in places I had never been.
I set off in April alone to find those pieces and indeed
they have been found. I knew. Never any doubt or question.

In my brain, I have snapshots of the many places I've been.
Places I have loved and places of tragedy or apathy.
Sacred places and places that have lost their holiness to me.
I have lived and loved and died many times over.

I have always been able to navigate through fairly well even those cities which I've visited after lapses of decades.
I remember how to get around neighborhoods and I can still see houses, apartments, stores, trees.
There are very few maps in my world; and very little need to ask strangers for directions.
An acute sense of direction combined with almost no sense of distance and a marked indifference to time.
Time leaks onto the fabric of the pages of my life,
muddying the words therein. I can still sing the words and I do.
I can read upsidedown with no problem.
I can write with two hands in various combinations of left, right, forward, backwards, rightsideup, upsidedown.
These things I have always taken for granted.
A long list of "Can't everyone?"

Just like the phone numbers from childhood and the addresses I can still recall.
First memory-- learning how to walk. And the revelation of a secret tryst inherent.
I was on the second floor of a house being encouraged by an old Italian man with missing fingers
to walk around the coffee table with no hands to steady me.
That old Italian man turned out to be the father of my step-father.
That is how old the affair of my mother and step-father was.
She was still married to my dad at the time.
From that memory, I understood how the two of them had met.
My mother had happened to hire an old Italian woman as a babysitter.

Odd. Almost everyone with a traumatic brain injury winds up with deficits in memory.
I am not one of those. I tested in the 99th percentile in both working and long-term.
My t.b.i.-er friends all tell me that they can't remember. I can't forget.

I did forget for a time who I was before my brain injury.
I could not describe my self pre-bonk.
And then random memories of my life began to return at random times.
Not anything I'd been counting on or even expected to happen.
More memories to add to an already bulging mental scrapbook.

Oh, I did forget how to cook.
The burnt pot of wilted herbs in a smoky kitchen told me so.
Cooking, like so many other things now, not automatic pilot.

I cannot take much for granted.
No. Having walked with death, I've been catapulted into life.
Vision like a permanent acid trip took some getting used to.
The world was too fast. I got used to my own pace, my own music.
I've "adjusted." Those who say otherwise know not of what they speak.
Yes, today I can describe my character traits before the accident.
Today, that doesn't feel important.

My mother told me when I was moving out, "You can never go home again."
I thought that meant she would not take me back in. I was too traumatized to care.
She had lost me through her abuse years before I was able to leave her house.

I understood a different meaning to not going home again many years later.
That people and places change, that my memories of those people and places
were expected to dull to inaccuracy, that returning does not render magical healing of heartbreak.
She was wrong.
So fundamentally wrong
in ways that I cannot explain and don't want to.

I have gone home again.
To places where I had never been before.

sapphoq healing t.b.i.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Halloween Jokes

a big shout out to *SnowRavyn* from sapphoq n friends

What kind of mistakes do spooks make? Boo-boos
What's the first thing ghosts do when they get in the car? Boo-kle their seat belts
How do you mend a broken Jack-O-Lantern? With a pumpkin patch
Who won the skeleton beauty contest? No body
Who did Frankenstein take to the prom? His ghoul friend
What’s a monster’s favorite play?
Romeo and Ghouliet
What does Tweety Bird say on Halloween? Twick or Tweet
Where do spooks water ski? On Lake Erie

Friday, 21 September 2007

spike manifesto

I am spike. I am who I am and not who you want me to be. I was never good at being what you wanted me to be and now I am even worse at it. So I gave that up. I have my own way of being, my own dreams. I have my own timetable. What you think I should be able to do by now means nothing in my world. I am healing. I am experiencing a remarkable albeit slow recovery process. Nothing is automatic anymore. Being on manual overdrive is the way it is for me now. I march, skip, dance, and fly to the beat of my own steel drum band.

I am spike. I don't "look" disabled. Casual observers do not recognize my double vision in one eye or my physical pain or my expressive aphasia which I have learned to work around. Only doctors note the hyper-reflexia and the ocular-motor dysfunction, sleep apnea and sometimes the fatigue that plagues me. I take naps almost daily. When I don't, I fall more on uneven ground. I don't like falling. So I've learned to manage my energy and to take naps. I can be a citizen of the universe on those days when I am not screaming with fatigue. On days when I exist in a swirl of fatigue, I need solitude and rest. I am comfortable with my own company. This is my brain, my life. Not yours.

I am spike. I do not care much for instructions on standards or how to behave properly or things like that. I compare myself to myself, not to some impossible standard of normalcy. I know that there is much to be said for blending in, for fitting in when and where I am able to. The world does not owe me a living. I intend to work at something just as soon as I can. Try hard to remember that a traumatic brain injury diagnosis means no open machinery, period. That test for factory work that you are dieing to give me is not going to happen. I cannot do it. I am not equipped to work in a factory. Nor am I able to stand on my feet cashiering. Any ability I had to multi-task is dead. I have not given up on myself. I am my own best advocate, not you. You are someone who is being paid to offer a service. I don't engage in false displays of admiration and gratitude when you the professional "helper" finally do something that is in your job description. You don't get to live vicariously off my back any longer.

I am spike. Do not tell me that "mind matters" or show me your stupid green rubber bracelet. I am not placated by meaningless empty platitudes. Do not tell me that you "know" what or how I feel unless you have had to have three sets of six very long needles stuck into the back of your skull in order to ease the severe constant t.b.i.-induced headache. We are all alone in our own skins. You better hope and pray with all the fervor that you possess that you never have to deal with the things I've had to face in the past almost three years. You may not be able to get through it as well as I have.

I am spike. I cannot bend. My body doesn't allow it. When I am able to work on the garden or rip up carpeting, I have to do it my own way-- sitting. Do not criticize my lack of speed unless you are willing to offer your help. I am not emotionally invested in doing anything because you say I should or at your whim. This is the way of it. I am also not interested in hearing any wangst about "how difficult it is to live with [someone who has] a t.b.i." I don't complain loudly about how hard it is to live with a neuro-typical. Take your wangst to a support group for families and friends. I claim my right not to listen to it and not to get caught up in it. I have no time for bullshit.

I am spike. I am not interested in your pity or your displays of affection. I do not want to be swallowed in your vampiric bear hugs or have the life sucked out of me by your neediness. I have no energy to spare. I don't care for your crises or your drama. If you cannot relate to me friend to friend, I will reject your overtures. Anger is my truest friend. If you are afraid of my anger, chances are that any interconnection between us will be limited. If you are looking to get me "healed" of my anger or want to convert me to your religion or your way of being, save your breath. If you want to be my friend, you must remember that I am living on borrowed time. Those of us who have a nodding acquaintance with Death are forever changed. I offer no apologies for my attitude. I am not a t.b.i. I am spike. I can be a great friend. Or I can leave you in the dust as I and my dog go wandering off into the sunset happily.

I am spike.

sapphoq healing t.b.i.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Hints for living

I declare myself inspired by both
ranting dyke: http://ranting-dyke.insanejournal.com/
and tigresslilly: http://tigresslilly.insanejournal.com/ .
Kudos and thanks.

Hints for survival while employed by a human servitude agency:

1. Keep looking for another more saner job. Sanity of existence is one benefit that you will never hear about at your human servitude agency.
Sanity of existence is priceless.

2. Don't go to office parties or dinners unless you wish to be accosted by the c.e.o who absolutely must dance with you while the d.j. is playing "It's Your Thang. Do what you want to do..." and experience him shaking his thang.
Alcohol does not account for all random acts of bad behavior.

Remember that you have a life. The other workers do not know this. Keep it up front. Say no to overtime. If you never say no, then your yesses won't mean anything at all.

4. The people you work with and for are not your buddies. When push comes to shove, they will rat you out in order to gain brownie points.
Anyone who says, "Trust no one here. Except for me." upon first introductions should be watched.

You are expendable. When you wind up in a car wreck, the human servitude agency will quickly forget that you too are human. Instead, they will call you and argue with you about meaningless paperwork when you are sleeping 20 hours a day because now you have a traumatic brain injury. They will also fax you a safety committee form to the place where your mate works. The form will ask, "How can this accident be avoided in the future?" Knowing that the answer is something akin to, "Ensure that all those who get stoned are picked up by the magic bus instead of being allowed behind the wheel of an automobile," give the paper to your lawyer so he can promptly lose it. When you are down and out, the human servitude agency will not watch your back. You are an insurance
liability now.
All insurance companies wish you would go away or drop dead and so does your former employer.

Hints for getting over your loss of a career after a bad car wreck and traumatic brain injury:

1. The helping agency which is supposed to help you get gainful employment that you can do is also a human servitude agency. Remember that.
Do not allow any organization or person to take control of your life and how it's gonna be. Advocate for you. There is a high probability that no one else there will.

Get rid of toxicity, especially toxic people wherever and whenever you can. They are a strain on the brain. Become involved in disability culture instead.

3. To badly paraphrase the folks at http://www.biausa.org/aboutbi.htm ,
life is different after a traumatic brain injury. It is still very much a life. Celebrate life.

4. Surround yourself with cute doctors. Fire all ugly docs and replace them with eye candy.
When you don't feel well anyways, pretty helps immensely.

You are not expendable. You are sacred. Remember this always.

9/11 came and went. I woke up wanting to cry. It is six years later. I grieve for all of us having to live on this planet and trying to kill each other off.

9/08 came and went. 9/8 is my birthday but not the day I was born in a hospital. I have been free from active drug addiction [including the drug alcohol] since 9/8/80.

spike q. itching for a coffee

Tuesday, 28 August 2007


Excuses-- something that I think about quite a bit and guard against. Making excuses can be confused with that amotivational stuff that I fight with due to the t.b.i.

Do I make explanations for myself out in public? Usually, I consider things as "need to know info." The casual human being I meet in a store does not have to know that I have mild expressive aphasia. My talking is too soft but understandable even if I miss a word and find a similar one to stick in there instead. The jogger that appears down the street does not need to know that I might see him as having two heads, two necks, four arms, two trunks somehow connected to one waist like a morphed out hydra. [The double vision in one eye thing].

It is important for me to know when I am tired and to pace myself so my energy is more even.
And important for me to know when taking time for healing turns into a convenient sort of laziness and unwillingness to extend myself and get out there and job-hunt [again]. Maybe I can't do what I used to do. Maybe I can do something. Even if it is part-time, "something" is better than sitting home crying about my unlucky break and all of that. Taking risks is risky.
And yes, I have used my own t.b.i. as an excuse not to take risks because I am afraid.

The c-t scans and the m.r.i.s don't always show the extent of the damage. Mine showed the specific damage in the left frontal-temporal lobe but not the stretching of the axons that were part of the more diffuse damage. No way am I allowing radiation to be shot into my head [PET or SPECT scans] even if some insurance company would like to spend that kind of money.

The hyperreflexia and double vision in one eye,
the refusal of my eye muscles to move unless forced,
the inability of my eyes to work together or with my brain,
the borderline hearing loss [which has now cleared up],
the difficulty navigating on uneven ground,
the true photophobia,
the objective vertigo [not dizziness, not a balance problem--
the room slides to the left],
the pervasive lack of ability to multi-task;
all are things I live with daily.

I don't get to add those things up in an attempt to justify quitting. I don't get to whine about things being harder for me than the average person even if sometimes they might be.

I am alive and I shouldn't be. My car was rammed into a house at a high speed. I opened the one door that wasn't stuck and let myself out of that car. The last neurodoc didn't understand why I "walk so well" as he put it. My hyperreflexia is very high on the spastic scale. I'm glad he wasn't checking me out in the emergency room. Else I might not be walking today. I walked because no one told me that I shouldn't be able to.

I was lazy before my t.b.i. That didn't go away. I got another crack at life. Maybe I can do it a bit better this time. I hope so. I've got to try. And that means attempting to blend in whenever possible and being as productive as I can be in whatever form it takes. It means not blaming others for my problems. It means being able to see my self as a sacred human being, not as my symptoms or my labels. It means ignoring those who tell me that I am not able to. I can wallow in my self-pity or I can turn my excuses into determination to get back up again and get going. I have to keep striving. I am part of this society, a citizen of the world, and I intend to make my contributions to the society that I live in.

sapphoq healing tbi

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Friday on the island

I woke up to a hazy day and a dog who was quite unwilling to take a walk for fear that we were going home and
leaving her behind. She'd seen the Bean bags and suitcases and assumed the worst. I dragged her to the tennis
courts and back.

We made the eight o'clock and headed up route one for Freeport. Once there, we ate at Stickey Buns [overpriced
but delicious] and then we browsed a few stores. I got a pair of fuzzy socks for lounging around in. We walked
around Beans too, neither one of us purchasing anything there. The L.L. Bean's staff are trained to ask everyone
they walk into how they "are." What if I told them the truth?

The truth is husband's oldest sister asked us the other day if we wouldn't want to go with her mother to some rock
city in Jordan or somewheres in October on a tour. Not having the money to drop, we said no. Does it dawn on
these people ever that we have not had an easy time of this for the past three and a half years or so since my car
accident? I'm on disability. I've got no job. My prospects are thin. Running Sores is not exactly telling
anyone that I was golden. I'm being pressured to work full-time and I don't even know if I can manage a part-time
unless I wind up working for myself. I interviewed for an aide position at a t.b.i. day program and possibly even
to sub as a kitchen helper or at a group home. Dude claimed I have to be able to lift for their group homes. I
know they got some where no, one does not need to lift. No dice. I can't even get an interview for delivering
newspapers or working at a store for cripes sakes. Where are we supposed to pull this money from to go on such
a trip in October? Out of our asses? I'm too old to be a prostitute.

After escaping the clutches of Freeport, husband drove us down to Portland so we could eat lunch [overpriced but
delicious] and go to the comics shop. Then a run to the supermarket for him and the Goodwill for me and back to
the island on the two o'clock boat.

The dog was happy to see me and I was happy to see her. Husband's cousin had arrived on island and stopped by to
talk to me. I like her well enough. We click and she doesn't roll her eyes in horror at the thought of surfing
the net or having a computer art program. One of the great things about her is that she is not afraid of the words
traumatic brain injury. [The rest of husband's family dwells on my back injuries which by far is the least of my
troubles at the moment. My father didn't even tell his side of the family that I'd had a car accident]. Cousin
happened to mention the same trip to Jordan. She and her husband will also be going. Mother-in-law has been
complaining about 8-12K she needs for roof work to be done on this cottage in the spring of '08. Bloody hell, why
not go to Jordan?

Mother-in-law has been having stream-of-consciousness over-idealized monologues about her perfect life lately. The
topic over dinner [chicken for me, salmon for them, stringbeans, corn on the cob, and tomato slices for all] was her
very own perfect diet and she eats salt and butter and still manages to keep her weight the same. That along with
the idyllic farm that her mum grew up on and that she visited. I was not having an easy time of things. I cannot
seem to lose weight and barely manage to stay around the same weight. And she has a perfect life and a perfect
upbringing and a perfect everything and perfect trips to England and one other exotic location every year.

I am tired of having to start at the bottom with the job thing. I have been told over and over how smart I am, how
much talent I have and I know these things. The tragedy is that I have not been able to sell myself into a position
of money. It's always start at the bottom, work my way up. My working experience seems always to count for naught.
So with the last job, starting at the bottom once again, I worked my way up and then along comes a moron who had to
get high before driving and there went my well-paying career. I hated it anyway. But this? An insult to my life
once again. I am tired of having to pay for what other people do. I am angry. Seething. In a rage over it and
I cannot find my way home.

After the meeting tonight was reading, computer time, this bitchy synopsis, listening to the neighbor's drunken kids
peel up and down the road, and bed.


Friday, 24 August 2007

Manifesto # 50

The colors ran out of her;
all the colors that she had loved
and all the colors that she had hated.
She was dead.
Deader than the fluffy bunnies that bloodily
littered her crabgrass-infested lawn.
Deader than Live Journal after the fanfic fest.
Deader than the internet and all of its' bright promises.

She had woke up one morning and found herself dead
and then wondered what to do with the rest of her life.

blue space goddess

Tuesday, 21 August 2007


My aunt has two cats, Tiger and Red. It may be that husband and I will stand to inherit one or both of them after
my aunt dies if no one else steps forward for them. Tiger is older. Red is younger. Both are female. Both are
overweight. But this is not really about Tiger and Red, or even about cats.

His name was Red. He had no other. He had a red curly fro and green eyes and coffee-color skin. He was chunky.
He has a sidekick whose name was Slim. Slim was very very dark and very slender. I can still see Red in his tan
shorts and a sleeveless tanktop that read, "Good ass is hard to find." And Slim in blue jean shorts that went down
to his knees and a red tee shirt that had no motto.

I was nineteen, naive and a virgin. Shirley was my party buddy from work. We were both working in a mall
restaurant. I was assigned to the pizza station. Shirley was to train me. I was there for the summer. Shirley
was on welfare and not reporting her income. I had dreams unfulfilled. Shirley had a kid. She was not naive in
the least. She was poor and doing the best she knew how. It was with Shirley that I sprinkled marijuana on some
of the pizza slices, heated them up, and sold them to unsuspecting customers. It was through Shirley that I learned
how different my life was from the lives of those who were stuck.

Shirley and I decided to sell reefer in the city. We met Red and Slim in Brandeis Park. We'd gone there in my
daddy's car to sell reefer. We took Shirley's preschool-aged daughter with us. Shirley didn't ever have a sitter.
Years later, I would be left to wonder what became of her daughter. I hope she escaped her mother's world. That is
something I may never know.

Brandeis Park was small, several blocks off of Broadway and Central Park. Brandeis Park had trees and benches.
The park was full of pushers and gang bangers. I didn't know that. I was a stupid white girl with too many dreams
and not enough reality. My dad would have given me any money I asked for. I was not there out of financial
necessity. I was attending college. I hardly studied and I was getting 4.0s in almost all of my classes. I was an
addict even then. I suspected but didn't know that for sure. It was summer vacation. I had a future for the taking.
I didn't know what I had so through the years I threw it away. What I did that summer was an indication that all
was not right with me. And so this stupid white girl and her worldly friend met two guys in the park.

Shirley and I got to be-- friends isn't quite the right word, associates-- with Red and Slim. Red [and sometimes
Slim] took us to the local Steak n Brew restaurant for steaks and brew. Red always paid. He wouldn't take a dime.
Shirley and I would dig in. I'd been to fancier restaurants but I forgot that when we went out to dinner with Red.
Red played the big shot with his wad of bills and I let it be so. I was deaf to any warning bells going off in my
head. I was afraid of getting busted, of daddy finding out where I was taking his car. Not of anything else.

One Saturday afternoon there was a raid on the park. I didn't know that many of the people selling were packing
heroin. I didn't know the nickname of Brandeis Park-- heroin alley. I didn't know about the pimps and prostitutes
either. Two huge blue buses pulled up along the side street and a ton of cops busted out of them. We stuffed the
marijuana joints we'd been hawking down the lining of Shirley's little girl's box of crackers. Red, Slim, Shirley,
her child, and I headed for the little bar across the busy street. The little bar was in the middle of the block.
We watched the action over our drinks. I think I was drinking something fruity. After the buses left, we went back
to the park. A woman came up to Red crying. "They took my man away." There were still customers waiting for our

Shirley had warned me never to go to Red's apartment without her. I didn't fully comprehend her warning. I was a
stupid white girl, playing at the game of grown-ups and ill-equipped for life on the streets. I knew nothing.
I went into the city alone one Friday. I met up with Red. "The dasheki is at my apartment," he told me. I went
with him. We walked the ten blocks to his rooming house. A man behind a wooden split door nodded as Red and I
walked in.

Down the hallway to the left was Red's room. It was a disgusting room. The paint was old and greasy. A mattress
to the right against the wall shared with the hallway. One window to the left. I ran out of the door naked but
Red pulled me back in. If the man behind the wooden split door heard my scream, he ignored it.

Red raped me. I thought he was going to kill me. This was not the promised, "I will get you a nice apartment in
the City" guy. This was a man who was hell-bent on taking from me something that wasn't his to take. With "You're
gonna miss my lovin'..." playing from his cheap boombox in the background. I don't remember coming the first time.
"Two more times," he told me. I faked them.

Afterwards sitting on the bed, Red apologized. Said he had to do it. Said he didn't think he would ever see me
again and he was sorry for that. Insisted upon walking me to my car because the streets were dangerous. Gave me
the dasheki though.

I drove home numb and became hysterical later. I woke my dad up finally. "I been fucked," I kept yelling. Finally
he asked me, "Where were you tonight?" The story came out through my hot tears. The next day, he sent me and my
step-mother shopping. I never could talk to her. Too bad now I think. She knew some things my dad didn't.

My dad had contacted his lawyer and was advised that pressing charges would do no good because of the dealing. A
rapist got away with it that time. Did he ever get caught? How many other women? I never found out and never went
looking for the information. With my photogenic memory of places, I know I can find the rooming house, Brandeis
Park, and Red [if he is still around the area there] if I choose to go looking. I don't choose so today. What will
I say to him? Shall I tell him I'm sorry that I held a resentment towards him in good A.A. fashion and beg his
forgiveness? Ask him how he's been, if he ever went to prison, got religion, got recovery? Tell him to fuck off?

When things calmed down a bit, my dad would start in on me over breakfast. "About what you did this summer..." I
learned to sleep late. He endorsed the movie, "Looking for Mr. Goodbar." I was horrified when I did see the movie
years later. School started up again and I went to the library. It was in the stacks that I discovered research
that told me that 50% of families blame the victim for the rape. My dad was blaming me for being raped by a black
guy. He didn't want me to have black friends. I kept my black friends. I knew that rape was not about color or
sex. It was about power. I wasn't able to bring myself to see a gynocologist until a year and half after the rape.
She offered me legal uppers. I left shaken and bitching about the drug-pushing doctors. I didn't know that my
addiction was robbing me of my free will. It would be several more years until I was freed. And years before I
could take on the mantle of my own power.

I think I may have tried to put on Red's dasheki but found myself unable to wear it. Who could wear a gift like
that? Years later, I found the Take Back the Night marches in Albany and defiantly walked through the streets
at night with other survivors of rape, sexual abuse, incest. I became more than a statistic, more than my history.
It was a struggle. I fought violently for the right to be. And today I am.

Within the current menagerie, there is one red kitten. He is ever curious, bold, and sure of who he is. Husband
would have wanted to name him "George" after all the red cats in his family. I wanted him to be his own cat. I
listened to his sould and named him Twinkle. With the twinkling of stars comes a wish and a promise and maybe even
riches. If we do inherit my aunt's cats, Red will become Ruby. Ruby for the richness of living, of being able to
love in spite of trauma, for the warrior that I have become.

sapphoq on life

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Maine-- Friday and part of Saturday

This morning, husband and I loaded doggie and a variety of suitcases into the car and we took off for Maine. We got here this afternoon. Husband's eldest sister came to pick us up. Dinner was a cream chicken dish, salad, and peaches and ice cream. Mother-in-law complained during dinner about one of her granddaughers. Granddaughter had moved far away with her lover and hadn't seen my mother-in-law in pretty near a year. Mother-in-law complained about the guests that granddaughter had invited along. Mother-in-law has something wrong with her I think and has probably had her whole life. Because she is rich though, she got to be eccentric rather than subjected to mental hell 'treatment.' That is a story for another time, After dinner was the island A.A. meeting and now a bit of reading before bedtime.The fire is going in the kitchen woodstove which makes things toasty. The skeeters are out full-force tonight and the autumn weather is slowly moving in. It was a relief to get back here after the meeting and away from the little bastards who are flying blood-suckers.The reason for coming up here has been moved from tomorrow Saturday to Sunday evening. And it has become a family of four plus whatever other flotsam plan to show up for lemonade and whatever alcohol will be available. I was a bit put out at first for the party being moved and us not being notified until Wednesday evening. In the end, I decided that it didn't matter to me. Husband was the one who had to take the extra day off of work when he still believed that the party was to be Saturday.We left this morning anyways. I do not enjoy the feeling of being held hostage to someone else's whims. Since this party has dissolved into something less than family, if I'd had my druthers, I woul have elected to come back up here some other week. My homegroup N.A. picnic is Saturday and so I am missing it this year for this non-party up here in Maine. It was supposed to be a big gathering with all the family and some sort of weird-ass christmas tree out front decorated for the occasion. None of that happened. It is what it is. Pretty island and the dog likes it-- two things right there.SaturdayCloudy day.I took the dog for a nice walk.Then husband and I went to the library.I was all set to download my mail to incredimail here at the library hotspot
and the stupid ucking puter will not connect.
it says the adapter is under control by another program.

Going to instructions windows from husband's computer it says
run system 32 root etc and the damn puter
cannot find it.

I will have to fix when I get home
hopefully without a high bloodpressure attack.
I hate my laptop.
husband's just a button connects.
mine doesn't..

Stupid party is tomorrow-- it turns out
just four of us "family" including motherinlaw--
if I knew that iIwoulda just
stayed home.

Meanwhile I am sure iIwill feel better but
I just dont know when,

On the plus side I finally finished and sent in
application for the state program to give me a job.
It is not definite that I will get one but at least
it is sent.

And when I get home I am going to apply to
Goodwill for a part-time job.
Maybe some other places too.

love yas,

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Don't put those books on a chair...

Late afternoon husband and I went to a bookstore as we do almost every Friday. It is one of those bookstores with overstuffed chairs and couches distributed throughout so that way I don't have to stand in the aisles to read the books that I have no intention of buying. It also has a coffee bar and tables and cafe chairs.

Usually I go through the bookstore and meet husband at the cafe with my bunch of books and magazines to thumb through. Husband comes back with four books. We sit at the too small table. Husband goes up to get the drinks. I like rasberry-chocolate freezes and cherry-chocolate freezes. In the winter, I like hot chocolate with a shot of coffee in it. Husband likes caramel freezes. In the winter, he likes hot coffees. I usually snag an extra chair and pile the rejects on it. This has not been a problem in the more than ten years that I have been going to bookstores in this area.

A man in a brown suit made his way over to us. He stared at the 14 books and 5 magazines which I had gone through and which were in the reject pile on the chair. "It is against the rules to put the books on a chair," he told us seriously. "The chairs are for other customers to use."

"I don't see a crowd of customers waiting for that chair, but thanks for telling us that," I said. "Are you buying any of those books?" When I indicated that I wasn't, he said, "I have to put them back," and he walked off rather stiffly with an armful.

I don't mind following the rules if I know what they are and if they make some sort of sense. But that rule was (a). one I had never been confronted with before in my entire life of going to bookstores and (b). made no sense, especially given that there were no customers who required a chair. The bookstore was almost empty. There were four other customers in the cafe area; and three adolescent gamers sitting in the overstuffed chairs discussing the idea that the next president has to have both charisma and experience.

The man in the brown suit had a fancy tag by which I took that he was some sort of mucky-muck manager. When he told us he had to put the books back, I couldn't figure out why he was telling us that. We were done with them. It appears to be the habit that most people leave stacks of unwanted books around. If he hates his job that much, he can always go get hired by the human servitude agency where I used to work and find out what real aggravation is. Those were some of my thoughts. I refrained from saying things that I really wanted to say since I don't like cops being called and I do want to go back there again sometime.

Rather baffling it was.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

The First Cutting

Disclaimer: Those who are looking for scholarly essays on the witch's holidays based on ancient, historical resources are encouraged to look elsewhere. There are thoughts and memories only. No gnosis. No, not even that.

Some folks in the witching world are celebrating Lugh's Day [as I call it] or Lughnassad or Lammas. At least one group of pagans has gone off to the local park for a picnic and a swim over the weekend. Some other folk got together and had games and such dedicated to Lugh. I didn't. One druid of my acquaintance broadly insists that August 1 is the first day of autumn. Not here.

My second teacher celebrated the Solstices and Equinoxes as the major holidays and hardly gave a passing nod to the other four. Not quite a newbie some years ago, I was amazed to discover during my brief exposure to a witch temple of sorts that I was out of step when it came to holidays. I don't much care now. I still hold the Solstices and Equinoxes as the major days and consider them to be the astronomical marking of each new season. It was only through a flurry of stints in public witch circles that I began to grudgingly acknowledge Sam Hain, Bridhe's Birthday, Belta[i]ne, and Lugh's Day.

Oh, I don't have anything against Lugh. I'm sure he was a grand fellow and very skilled at all that he undertook. I like Bridhe well enough. And Hallowe'en costumes are pretty cool as is fertility rites superimposed upon the driving of cattle through fire to get rid of their fleas and stuff. And I am sorry that the English weather by all accounts is rather crappy. Damn the potato famine too. Yet, I don't live in England or anywheres near there and I am no druid.

I am the grandchild of two dead farmers. My grands bought their farm in their retirement years and worked hard to gain a living out of the cows and the land. My grandmother had quite the green thumb. Anything she planted grew. She planted by the moon.
She kept a faithful record of daily temperatures for many years. My grandfather was a dour man who kept making me promise him never to become a farmer. He wore a green cap and had two tractors and a red truck. Grandma understood what I was becoming. Grandpa consoled my fancy for candy and other sweets while fighting his own madness and his tobacco habit. He managed to quit smoking.

In addition to the cows, two dogs, chickens, geese, and barn cats, my grands raised hay. They had hay fields, including one which got infested with pumpkins along the southern edge after my grandfather had dumped pumpkin seeds on a manure pile there. My grands would watch the weather carefully and when there was three days lined up without rain, they would go out toward the end of July or early August and take the first cutting. After cutting, the hay laid down for three days-- and provided the weather co-operated by being dry-- then it was baled and thrown into the creaky ol' black hay wagon, then taken to the barn where it was then transported to the top room.

It was hard sweaty work for two older people, one of them prone to severe untreated depressions. My grandmother could run circles around both my grandfather and the hired kid from down the road when it came to working. A couple of years before he died though, my grandpa had two heart attacks in succession. The second was worse than the first, as is typical. Damage was severe. The cardio doc wanted my grandfather to not lift, not work the farm, not drive the tractors. By April, grandpa was doing all of that and more daily. When he died, it was cancer that took him. His heart remained loyal 'til the end.

My own heart is not into this artificiality of picnics and games. The
artificiality of celebrating Lugh's Day or Lughnassad or Lammas hurt. I stopped doing it. The First Cutting is what has meaning for me, the grandchild of two dead farmers. The first cutting of my memory was the first yield, the first harvesting of the hay. The first cutting prepares the way for the second cutting.

And so in my life, I gather the first fruits of my own endeavors this year and I wonder. I take the dog over to the creek and we watch first and second year bullfrogs dart into the water, swim under rocks, pop out to lay on top of one, sit quietly by a frog hole, test out their voices. The dog wades right in. I hold myself back in wonder and in awe. A slinky blue dragonfly hovers over the weeds growing in a clump by the shoreline. A few birds trill loudly to each other from trees farther away. The natural flow and ebbing of life's tides; the cycles of grow, green, brown, die, begin again; it just keeps going.

I used to be a go-getter. I am no longer. Now I am content to sit by a creek watching and waiting. I gather my thoughts to myself like stray children and I wonder-- will the rain hold off for three days for me this year? Or will my own hay field grow moldy and damp under the onslaught of the summer rains?


Sunday, 29 July 2007

Battle Cry July/August

During my indoctrination into the Aggie Church [Assemblies of God] at a younger age, I was exposed to Jack T. Chick tracts and indeed I used them in my "witnessing" to bring people into fundamentalism christianhood. I was unaware of some of the controversies involved and would have dismissed it as "the work of Satan" if I had known. I had never heard of Alberto Rivera, Elaine Moses and her cohort Rebecca Brown [a.k.a. Dr. Ruth Bailey], John Todd, or Bill Schnoebelen. I did know and read the works of Charles Finney and Hal Lindsay. [By the way Hal, what happened to the rapture occurring in 1981?]

I look back on that period of my life with mixed emotions. The problems that I'd had fitting in socially were not alleviated by my forays into pentecostalism. Nor were my fantasies about women relieved. Two things did happen during that time that may have ultimately saved my life. It was a church member who called my father and blew the whistle on my mother's physical abuse. And I took a break from drinking and using street drugs. It was during that break that I was exposed to an accurate definition of addiction. I remembered that definition several years later when I was seeking a way out of my own active addiction.

Husband [non-theist] has an obsession with Jack Chick tracts. To my chagrin, he dropped-- I think it was-- 15 bucks on a box of them and now he is on the list to receive a copy of each new freebie as it comes out. Additionally, he gets a bi-monthly copy of Jack Chick's little 16 page "Battle Cry."

Jack Chick has been a long-time advocate of conspiracy theories regarding the Vatican, the Illuminati, and witchcraft. Via contact with the late Alberto Rivera and the now convicted rapist alleged former satanic high priest and Green Beret John Todd, Chick has made various claims in his tracts that are not historically accurate. Among the claims are that the Vatican orchestrated the founding of the Muslim religion and the Holocaust, and that an unholy triad of witches, Masons, and Catholics [some being Jesuits a.k.a. Illuminati] have infiltrated all or most christian churches. Sucks to be christian these days. According to Chickology, one can't trust the cops or the folks in most christian churches these days.

Jack Chick has [wisely] chosen to distance himself from the now dead Elaine Moses and her controversial defrocked physician cohort Ruth Bailey/Rebecca Brown. Both have claimed to be witches who converted to Christ. Brown authored a book about curses on christians and others. Elaine Moses claimed to have literally married Satan [in a white tuxedo] and then supposedly traveled all over Europe and the U.S.A. on behalf of some huge satanic network. Brown was brought up on charges [as Dr. Ruth Bailey] for doing things like praying over patients for deliverance from demons, diagnosing non-existent illnesses in patients, claiming special knowledge of healing including sharing Moses' leukemia very much in the fashion of pranic healing but with the twist of actually [allegedly] coming down with Moses' leukemia herself, and injecting people with non-medically necessary controlled substances for treatment of the non-medically existing diseases.

In the July/August issue of Battle Cry in the editorial on page 15-16, Jack Chick claims that the [now dead] Alberto Rivera as a [supposed] Jesuit was told that Pope John Paul II [also dead] in pre-papal days of lusting after the young boys of the factory workers he was [supposedly] assigned to investigate priests who were assigned to minister to Polish factory workers. Alberto Rivera was no Jesuit, despite his pretensions otherwise. He was a bit of a con man and a fraud. Many christian bookstores removed the Alberto comics when he was found out. Chick touted the action as a victory for the Vatican and Satan. In the editorial, there is an oblique reference to the controversy.

Also in this issue are advertisements for various books-- including one by anti-Mason and alleged former wiccan turned satanist Bill Schnoebelen-- witnessing and tract-passing tips, a summary of a lawsuit allowing a bible study outfit to send inmates who request it material [note: an outcome which I believe is correct according to the described circumstances], and references to the sexual abuse scandal within some catholic churches in California [continuation column on page 7 subtitled "Homosexual Subculture"], and a few other tidbits.

The back cover features a cartoon frame equating Islam's promise of peace with chopping the heads off of the infidels. A tiny chick in the right-hand corner says, "Ouch" much in the fashion of Spike the dog in some of the tracts.

I found the editorial in the July/August issue of Battle Cry to be particularly abhorrent. Then again, Jack Chick is known to be anti many things and to use inaccurate or made-up information as the basis of the biographical stories featured in his tracts.

sapphoq reviews























Another day is here and we awake to the sun upon us,
I feel refreshed as the energy from the sun awakens my soul.

Do you feel that sense of power from the sun?
Do you feel that energy how it brightens your day?

My soul becomes clean, and the feeling of energize
just from the sun and the feeling I get.

How can we ever be so blind to not see what it is around us that gives us the power to be so strong?
How can we turn our cheek from mother earth and all of the energy she provides for us?

Take a moment to see around you, believe in the power you have, for with that power you have
is the power from the sun, the rocks, the water, the trees.
When you tune into what that is, there is a feeling that you will know when it comes.

Do you feel the brightness in your day?
Does your soul feel refreshed?
Another day is upon us, and I feel the sun give me the energy to make it through my day.


Mabon Thoughts of a Heretic, 9/23/05

A bit early for this perhaps but nevertheless...

Nathaniel Branden, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. Bantam, New York 1994. p.8

"But if I lack respect for and enjoyment of who I am, I have very little to give --except my unfilled needs. In my emotional impoverishment, I tend to see other people essentially as sources of approval or disapproval. I do not appreciate them for who they are in their own right. I see only what they can or cannot do for me."

Armando Favazza, PsychoBible- Behavior, Religion and the Holy Book. Pitchstone Publishing, Charlottesville, Va, 2004. pp. 227-228.

That self-mutililation may be a morbid type of self-help is not such a far-fetched idea...Consider the Hamadsha, a group of Islamic, Sufi healers in Morocco...Then they dance and slash their heads. This is the moment that the sick participants have awaited. They step forward, dip bread or sugar cubes in the freely flowing blood, and eat the miraculous food in the belief that the power of healing resides in the healers' blood...here the therapists mutililate themselves to benefit the patients...'

"...At another level, however, the symbolism of the behavior suggests something profound, something that is embedded in elemental experiences of healing, salvation, and social orderliness. Without understanding why or how, some self-mutililators seem to tap into these experiences unconscioulsy, intuitively seeking to heal themselves and to restore order to their disordered minds and lives...'

"In shamanisn...the healing of illness and reversal of misfortunes are affected by the shaman's personal contact with the spirit world."

Issac Bonewits, Real Magic. Weiser Books, Boston, 1971. pp148-149, 159.

"...general prayers...Passages are then read from various books...Thus the deity in effect replies to the prayers just offered...sermon...basket...resumes his dialogue with the god, presenting him with gifts, especially bread and wine...'

"The priest now identifies himself with the god by repeating the incantation that turns the bread and wine into the body and blood of the god...If you are a Catholic, this is a literal change...if you are a Prostestant, this is a symbolic change. Somewhere there is a very important difference between these two terms; you can tell because millions of men, women, and children were maimed, mutiliated, and murdered over it...'

"Now the congregation and the priest consume the now tangible god, believing that in doing so they will absorb his power and characteristics....The minister tells the people that their prayers will be granted, that the god is with them, and then dismisses them."

"Note the pattern so far: Supplication-Introduction, Reply from the Deity (or personified group-mind), Identification of Participants with the Deity (same note), Statement of Requests and Statement of Success."


Take the passage by Nathaniel Branden and substitute the word "god" or "higher power" or deity of your choice where it says other people. Thus you now have a description of an impaired relationship with divinity:

"But if I lack respect for and enjoyment of who I am, I have very little to give-- except my unfulfilled needs. In my emotional impoverishment, I tend to see...' [insert the deity or deities of my choice here] '...as [a source or] sources of approval or disapproval. I do not appreciate [him or her or] them for who [he or she is, or] they are in [his or her or] their own right. I see only what [he or she or] they can or cannot do for me."

How we grown out of that sort of relationship with divinity? Or have we clung fast to it because it is the only thing we have ever known? What is a good [Pagan, Christian, Polytheist, Monotheist, Duodeist, regular Deist, Nontheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Moslem, Spiritualist ...] to do? How can we grow away from our old notions and mature into something better?

At the risk of offending everyone, I'd much rather believe in the flying spaghetti monster or in the olden Hebrew god who made the world and then flat-left it than base my self-esteem on my idea of whether or not I am looked upon with favor by any god or goddess. If I believe in the flying spaghetti monster or in nothing or in the impersonal forces of nature which are indifferent to my pleas, my life becomes simpler. I don't have to get hung up on whether or not I am going to heaven or the summerlands or the flying spaghetti spaceship in the sky when I die. I can concentrate on the here and now, squeezing whatever joy I can out of each day-- and not forgetting to share the joy. Can I have joy without a personal relationship with the olden ones of my pagan roots? You betcha. Can I have morality without religion? Sure I can. And it is unencumbered by a belief in the twist of fate, no coincidences, the frozen chosen, or being 'right where I'm supposed to be.' Why then should I believe?

Why then magic? Why then the cycle of prayers, reading/singing/sounding instruments, meditation, gathering energy, sending, cakes and ale, grounding the circle? Why not just skip the whole deal?

There is freedom when walking the [somewhat modified] path of my spiritual ancestors. There is power too. This mantel of power I will not deny. Because I am not afraid of my separateness--my intrinsic aloneness--I do not fall into the error of believing that individualism must be dammed in favor of the new agey "we" of the cosmic soul. Because I embrace who I am, I am no longer a frightened child calling in the dark praying to whoever cares to answer. I no longer have to hide behind the great collective "we." I have grown up.

Because I have freedom from religion, I can freely choose how to conduct my life without regard to whose god is the right one. And I don't have to fear scientific knowledge. I can truly embrace life as being sacred. And I can truly celebrate diversity.

I am a Pagan. I am a Solitary Hedge Witch. These words are visceral. They are words of power because they hit me in the gut. These words sprang forth from my innermost being when I first began to re-claim all that I am.

What do I believe? Do I believe? Are all the gods one god and all the goddesses one goddess? Are there more than two? Are there less than two? Why does this matter to you? How I work with power and spiritual principles is within the sacristy of my own life. Shall I profane it by spelling out my spiritual or religious beliefs or non-beliefs? What does it matter who or what I gather energy from? It is not the who, it is the how. It is focused intent. It is healing. Witches didn't used to be afraid of pissing into bottles or of offering their own blood. They knew something that our sanitized society and modern how to be a witch books no longer care to acknowledge. In the healing, blood must be spilled.

In the healing, blood must be spilled. People who cut feel the pain of the universe keenly. In western society, people who cut are looked upon as pariahs and social outcasts. People who cut need "treatment" where very often the professional helpers do not believe that people who cut can truly "get well." The best the professional helpers can hope for is that their cutting patients can "age out of their personality disorders." The professional helpers all participate in professional supervision sessions lest they catch the 'craziness' of their cutting customers. If the cutting is the letting of blood, then is there not a holy act in the release? In our society, cutters are unhappy traumatized people who need "treatment." In other societies with other expectations, cutters are holy people and healers.

In the Moroccan society, Shamans cut their own heads open. The afflicted partake of the sacred offering of blood by mixing it with the staff or the sweetness of life. Bread has been called the staff of life. The holy man Jesus is called the bread of life. Jewish people offer each other sugar cubes during their new year as a symbol of the sweetness of life that is possible. Isaiah in the hebrew bible tells us, "By his stripes we are healed." [KJV]. Wounds caused by whipping bleed. Some modern day celebrants of easter in Spain beat on drums until their hands bleed. Others flagellate themselves in religious estacy. Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in blood transfusions. There is indeed power in the blood. Cutters and people of faith all acknowledge this power in different ways. But it is there, whether we embrace it or deny it.

Catholics and Protestants unite with a tangible god in partaking of communion. The body and blood of their god is [or is like] the bread and wine is [or is like] the cakes and ale of the Witches is like dipping bread and sugar cubes into bleeding heads of shamans. Vodoun practitioners refer to loa possession as "riding the head."

Learning to navigate through this life with true power is the challenge I present to you today. Remember though, that all revolutions are bloody. It is indeed a bloody gauntlet that I throw down before all of us, regardless of anyone's creed or non-creed.

May we all put on the mantel of power and embrace ourselves in our aloneness. Only by embracing our aloneness can we truly find each other without merging into nothingness.

-spike q