coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Thursday, March 15, 2018


I went to a psychic recently for a mediumship reading. Yes, I know that's a wacky thing to do, but it was fun and eerily accurate. The outing was my birthday present to my daughter and we went together. We figured we knew all the same dead people, so why pay for separate readings?

Many years ago, my friends and I would attend a few Spiritualist Church camp's Wednesday night readings each summer to hear what we could hear. We tried to be respectful of religious aspect of the service, but I'm afraid we were a naughty bunch of heathens looking for a good time. Still, there was always "something" said or revealed that was close enough to truth that it brought us back.

One summer night, the poet Diane Ackerman was there with a posse of loud and confident women. I heard one describe the evening as a field trip. That was how it was for my gang, too. A field trip. This is where I should include that smiley face emoji with a clenched toothed smile. 😬

I'm a staunch agnostic, so I am never convinced it is real, but I am also never convinced it isn't. I take what I can get, and I enjoy the process. When the psychic is faking or trying too hard to convince me, I smile (a little too hard) and ignore the BS. When s/he is spot on, I get big eyes and know I won't be able to sleep that night. There is usually some spine tingling accuracy thrown in to justify the payment.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Aches and Pains

I ache from gardening today. I am battling a specific flowering plant propagating via underground suckers AND volunteer seeds. It is called Mexican Petunia, a non-native perennial that was here when we bought the house. Mexican Petunia is choking out my canna lilies! This  formidable enemy will take me a long time to vanquish. I have fought this particular battle many times before with invasive plants. I am not worried. I will prevail. I know what to do. Although it is a frustrating struggle, it has to be done. Can be done. Will be done. I am sore, but that's why God invented ibuprofen, right? 

Time is the forgiving nature of gardening. One does not have to do all the maintenance at once. I take as much time as I need to get the perennial beds ready. I take longer now that I am older than when I was younger. I love getting my hands in the dirt. I love digging things up with large, impressive gardening tools and metal implements. I love cutting plants back with both large and small "cutting tools." Mmmm, "cutting tools!" I am a cold-hearted weeding machine. Bring it on!

Here's to spring, my friends. She is already here in Florida, and soon will arrive for you, too. I promise.

See - my yellow canna is being invaded by the beautiful, but greedy Mexican Petunia!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Another blog

I have started a second blog.  It is a simple effort, not as verbose or reflective as AFBB is.  In fact, I don't use words on the new blog.  I will occasionally post one photo as a blog post.  It seems a simple way to showcase some of the photos I have taken and particularly like.  I won't post all that often, maybe a few times a month.  I have put up a number of posts already, so you can see what I'm "shooting for."  I would like to invite you all to view it, and perhaps follow that one as well if you like.  I hope you enjoy it. 

You can find this new blog, Photos Now and Then, at


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Love hurts

My daughter, M, texted me that little N cried and screamed for her at the kindergarten school's door this morning. Teachers had to hold him back so he wouldn't grab on to her. She is heartsick, and so am I. 

My sincere hope is that he bounced back quickly once she left. It happens. My rational mind knows all is fine, but my heart aches for this little 6 year old boy who wants to stay home and play. I can't help it.

Love really does hurt sometimes, especially when it comes to loving children.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Cultivating strength

Whimsy alert. Read no further if you aren't up for the indulgent ramblings of an old hippie chick today.

I admire strength, but what exactly do I mean when I say "strength?" Well, it doesn't have anything to do with lifting bar bells... I think true strength is a mental muscle involving character and resilience. It is the spark that keeps us going, keeps us accomplishing things, keeps us coming back even when we are exhausted. True strength is that desire to continue living despite the cruelty and meanness that would have us surrender to despair. 

Do you love lists as much as I do? If so, feel free to add your own in the comment section. Here's a quick list of what I think of as true strength:

1. Battered women who eventually leave their husbands and start their lives over.  

2.  Children who grow up in dysfunctional families and, despite physical, emotional and sexual abuse, grow up to become good people who raise good children.  

3.  Men who are kind and good in a freakazoid culture trying to intimidate them into becoming selfish and violent.

4.  Those of us who can admit we have a problem and then seek the help we need.

5.  LGBT people who refuse to live a lie

6.  The people who love LGBT people, and support them, despite family pressure to do otherwise.

7.  Introverts who find a format for speaking out that works for them.  (There is more than one way to do the right thing.)

8.  Extroverts who use their power for good and don't forget the power of humility.  (The second part is equal to the first)

9.  The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who stood up and shouted to the world #NeverAgain when their classmates were gunned down in cold blood. They are actually at the top of my list right now. I love those kids.

True strength involves thinking and feeling. It requires that we become more human. As you will notice in the tarot card below which is called Strength, the woman is closing the mouth of a wild animal. She is restraining her lower self; taming it. The blue mountain in the lower left represents the great work - human evolution and personal growth. The infinity sign over her head is an occult symbol for the number 8. It is also called Splendor because by the time you get to 8 on the the tree of life, you've accomplished a great deal.

Strength isn't something that comes naturally to us. It must be cultivated, watered, mulched, and fertilized.  Let's get to it before we die of thirst.

Strength: 8th Major Arcana from The Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Taking a few minute break from angst and activism...  

T and I went to Leu Gardens in Orlando yesterday.  There are so many "early spring" Florida style flowers in bloom right now, including any number of different kinds of bromeliads.  Here are a few for your viewing pleasure:

Bromeliads really are practically insane plants and flowers.  I guess that is why I love them.  I have a couple camellia photos that are pretty nice, too.  Maybe tomorrow. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

School shooting in Florida

It is easy to feel discouraged when yet another school shooting occurs. Please don't surrender to despair. I know how hard it is to stay positive, but we must. In the U.S. we are in the midst of an extraordinary power struggle, a struggle for the soul of America. It is a fight that cannot be ignored and will not go away. If we give up, then evil triumphs. Do something small to affect change. It will make you feel better.

Call lawmakers in your state, or those who represent you in Washington, D.C., and ask for them to vote for gun reform. The people answering lawmakers' phones are professionally trained to be courteous and take your calls. Be courteous in return.

If you are phone-averse, then write a letter. Send a postcard, or an email. Show up for a protest. Donate to your favorite candidate. Join a Facebook secret group to keep informed.  Every little effort matters. Every one of these small steps is an action that will make you feel better about yourself and your place in the world. 

Do not respond to trolls on social media. They are often not even human. Others are Alt-right provocateurs who are posting or commenting based on scripts they have been provided. Responding to trolls only serves to bump their Facebook comments up to the top, which is the purpose of their vitriol. It is best to ignore them.

Don't be afraid of failure. We must try and fail many times before we win. We only truly lose if we give up.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Am I Blue?

My grandson turned 6 earlier this month and I had the great privilege of making his birthday cake. He watches a goofy cartoon called Phineas and Ferb. They are two young boys who have a pet platypus named Perry. Perry is also a secret agent, so he has two cartoon personas.  

When Perry is a pet he looks like this:

When he’s a secret agent, he looks like this:

For his birthday, I made a Perry cake that looked like this:

Being able to do these "Grandma things" reminds me of why I moved to Florida from New York State. I made a hard choice that I sometimes bemoan, but never regret. Still, there are things I miss. I think that's fair.

I miss iris reticulata, an early spring "bulbous perennial" we grew in NYS. It would not be blooming right now, all things still being covered in heavy snow up there.

Reticulata are a harbingers of spring; a reminder that beauty and love endure through even the coldest, darkest months. 

Our reticulata were blue. Not teal like cartoon Perry, not neon blue like my Perry cake, but the color that passes as blue in the plant world. Aren't they pretty?



Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Venus of Willendorf in Blue Jeans

My husband and I dug up and divided Louisiana Irises this morning.  I was gloriously filthy by the time we were done. The sunscreen I slathered on my face was smeared with dirt and sand. Yes, sand. That is what is REALLY supposed to be on the ground here, sand.  Demon developers came along and dumped dirt upon this land. Then they set about to destroy the primeval beauty of Florida with endless housing developments and soulless gated communities. But I digress. Different post.

Starting again: My blue jeans were covered with dirt and mud. What to do? I simply turned on the hose and sprayed myself down with water. Easy peasy. I'm getting too old to struggle trying to finesse these housewifery things. Jeans dirty? Stand outside and hose 'em down.

After both my showers (...) I went in to check my social media pages. I recently joined a FB group called Crones of Anarchy. Hilarious name, but the site leaves much to be desired before it could truly represent anarchistic crones. I know a few. They could eat these pretenders, baked in a pie. 

Synchronicity being what it is, I found this post on the Crones of Anarchy page:

Stop wearing jeans?  As the song goes, "That'll be the day-ay-ay, when I die!"

Friday, February 2, 2018

Something to Say

I am tired this week. However, I have been busy collecting quotes for a series called #powerofwords my political FB group has started. If you don't mind, I will share a few here in honor of Black History Month (February).  I promise to rest up and come back with a post in my own words very soon.