Days of the Dead

Way back, several thousand years ago, there was a civilization in Mexico we know mostly as Aztecs and Toltecs.  To their way of thinking, death was just another phase on the continuum of life and it was disrespectful to mourn the dead.  The dead were still part of the community, their spirits kept alive in the memories of their families and it was on Dia de los Muertos that they temporarily returned to earth.

The tradition survived all these years and has morphed into a 3-day festival in Mexico. I saw pictures of the colorful altars in the cemeteries, adorned with marigolds and family pictures. The parades and celebrations seemed like mardi gras to me, only with a theme of skulls and skeletons.

It wasn’t until I watched the Disney movie “Coco” that I really sat up and listened.

Brief synopsis of the movie Coco, blatantly copied from IMDB:  Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.

According to the movie, you can’t cross back over to earth—you can never again see your loved ones–if you are forgotten. When you are completely forgotten you finally dissolve, disappear, die.  Miguel’s great-great-grandmother tore his great-great-grandfather’s face out of the picture, so he was nearly forgotten, and fading quickly.  Miguel’s trip to the Land of the Dead is filled with music and lush with colors.  There is a scary part and the ending made me cry, but the music made it happy-cry.  (by the way, Coco is his great-grandmother)  (watch the movie)

So, maybe it’s all true.  Maybe there is a time when the veil between the living and the dead thins out and our ancestors are able to visit with us.

I know I’m full of dead people right now, thanks to my genealogy project.  I am lucky enough to remember 2 great-grandmothers who lived until I was 18.  What do you really know about your great-grandmother, though?  I listened to the stories and tried to ask questions when I realized there soon would be no one to ask.  Family histories are notoriously unreliable, if they exist at all,  and I’m finding more questions than I am answers. I stare at the fading pictures of their young faces and wonder.  The census, records of birth, death, marriage, baptism are an outline, but I want to color it in with a flesh and blood human that Lived a Life worth remembering.

The catholic church co-opted the Days of the Dead, turning them into All Saints Day, when you pray for the honest-to-god-saints-in-heaven (like they need it) and All Souls Day, when you pay-to-pray for the rest of the church people who are in purgatory.  The rest of the dead are in hell.   What a bunch of killjoys…

I much prefer to celebrate our Ancestors, showing respect for their lives, and welcoming them with Peace, Love, Food, and lots of Flowers when the veil thins.  I like to think of them living in the colorful Land of the Dead, biding time until I join them in their dancing and singing.  (of course, I believe in Ancient Aliens, too, so what do I know?)

I know this much:  Life is short and Death is long.

So get out there and Be Alive while you still can…and don’t forget to remember the Grateful Dead…

Peace

Distraction

I’m determined to write daily in November, but if I am to judge by this morning, my subconscious is equally determined to not… I’ve cycled through most of these distractions….

Procrastination has always been my m.o. (“if I start writing now, when I’m not really rested, it could upset my thinking, which is no good at all”…Charlie Brown), but modern times have added distractions beyond my ability to ignore.   I open up the computer and I’m like a fly caught up in a Worldwide Web, clicking away at who-knows-what until I forget what I originally started to do.

November is Officially National Novel Writing Month  and I Officially accept The November Writing Challenge.  The Distractions are many and Ours is shaping up to be busy with grandkids, as Jess has a surgery scheduled next week and is going out of town for work week-after-that.  Of course, we’ll vote next Tuesday.  Thanksgiving is just a big blank on the calendar right now, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something festive.

In the meantime, that’s all I’ve got for today, except for this Distraction meant to distract you from the fact that I didn’t really write anything…just told you I’m going to, or will try…

Last night’s Trick-or-Treaters

Peace

 

Long story short…

Oh, my!  I have been so neglectful of my blogging…wondering again whether to quit or jump back in with renewed vigor, writing daily.  For now, I’ll catch you up on recent activities…

Martha called and said she’d be visiting town, so she and Nancy and I had a fine evening chatting and eating…

 

The Master Gardeners Fall Conference was super this year!  Jack Barnwell, manager of the gardens on Mackinac Island, presented a terrific slideshow that really made me want to visit there.  Chef Nathan Lyon did a cooking demonstration for us that was both informative and hilarious.  The after-lunch speakers were Scott Beuerlein from Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and Kerri Ann Mendez from Perennially Yours.

I was also delighted that Sharon and  Charles Sorenson were there, peddling her books.  I’ve been stalking her to buy her latest,

and finally I caught up with her.  This book has me so excited about my Bird Garden project for Spring 2019.  Planning next year’s garden is a great way to get through the winter…

The UE production of Spring Awakening was excellent, though I can’t say I actually like the show…such a bummer.  The theatre always has a full roster of wonderful actors and I’m grateful we have the opportunity right here in Eville to witness their talents.

I’ve fallen down the rabbit-hole of genealogy…  I got out everything I’ve already done and put away about 6 years ago and going through that was a trip into the past, darkly.  In addition to my family tree, I had put together some information on the history of my house and I had forgotten some of the facts I had unearthed.  I’ve gotten it organized and I”m ready to dive into it deeply…

Perhaps I could combine the genealogy research with rejuvenated blogging habits… hmm…

The leaves are beginning to color the trees with splashes of orange, yellow, and red…think I”ll go out to the Thoughtful Spot and figure it all out…

Peace

The Bi-weekly weekly update…

As we watched Hurricane Michael slam into Port St. Joe, I was haunted by these pictures taken just last  March when we were there, staying at Presnell’s Marina…

 

Cape San Blas is the strip of land catching the setting sun…  I read that Hurricane Michael carved some new islands out there.  The beautiful road that we drove from Port St. Joe to Carrabelle is washed out…

We have reservations for this coming March to stay right up the road from Port St. Joe at Indian Pass, a spot called Water’s Edge, and their last facebook post was “Please pray for us”.  I certainly am…

On a brighter note, here’s some photos from a morning at the mall with Olivia and Samantha…

 

 

Though we’ve only been back home a couple of days, it seems like a season ago that we camped up at Brown County,…temps were 80s and humid and it seemed like a last hurrah to summer, though the calendar says it’s October… I didn’t take many pictures, though…

 

Just a few of Brown County State Park (above) and some neat stuff I saw in some shops in Nashville, IN below…

 

I enjoyed getting away…

and came home rejuvenated, ready for Autumn’s changes…

Peace

So long, September…

We seem to have finally crossed into Autumn around these parts and ’tis the season for pumpkins and mums. with some rudbeckia and scarecrows thrown in for good measure.

We spent Mon-Wed doing some babysitting duties, though Saman-THA is quick to let me know she’s not a baby anymore.  That’s okay, because she cuddles and plays, and fully embraces the fact that she will Always be My baby…

But babies aren’t allowed to play with play-doh, so that proves that she is a Big Girl…

We have finished up taking down the pool.  The peas look like they are struggling some, but the green beans are blooming and we should have a big mess of beans by mid-Oct.

Sevin spray on the cauliflower and broccoli has maybe  held off the worms, but I’m not sure what kind of crop we’ll get.  They still look pretty from a distance, though.

We pulled up the travel trailer from its dock in the back to our side yard and plan to keep it there through October.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to find a window of weather to trip in it, but there’s no definitive plan now.

I did my usual shuffling, pulled out the banquette table,  dragged out a round table I bought 30 years ago and it fits perfectly!  Now I’m going to hit up Joanne’s for fabric and re-do in Blue.  I’m super-excited to have a new sewing project..!

I’m going out to enjoy this beautiful day…walk in the woods, smile a lot, and fix up a super beet salad that I’ve had a hankering for…

I roasted beets and they are in the fridge, ready to be cut.  I’ll add some goat cheese and pecans, perhaps a little spinach, then drizzle it with a vinaigrette of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, and whatever other magic I come up with.  I’m not real good at recipes, always changing them up to suit myself, so you can bet it will get rave reviews when it’s served—from me, anyway!

Please take some time to send out thoughts of Love and Peace to the World today –and Every Day.  It really needs it.  #MeToo…

 

Peace

 

Follow the worm down the ear…

I love to take my morning coffee out on the front porch swing to Just Be in the present moment.  I brewed some french vanilla the other morning, settled into my attitude of gratitude, but had a song stuck in my head.

90% of people experience such earworms, also know as Involuntary Musical Imagery.  It bothers some people, but I usually just go with it…listening to my memory play like a stereo.

The song in question that day was Eli’s Comin’ by 3 Dog Night…girl, Eli’s comin’ you better hide, girl, Eli’s comin’ you better hide…hide your heart now…  As the jukebox in my head played, I thought…that Laura Nyro was such a great songwriter… what all did she write? …

the music switched to “and when I die…and when I’m dead, dead and gone” …what was the name of that group?  oh, yeah, Blood, Sweat, and Tears.  While the tinny piano and cowbell from that version played in the background, I began to sort through Nyro’s discography…soon the music became a medley of Fifth Dimension songs…come on down to the stone soul picnic… i got the wedding bell blues..ain’t that sweet-eyed blindness good to me… 

I stayed there for a while, letting those songs play in the background while I looked around at the patch of blue sky I could see through the trees, noticed the birds and squirrels were going about their morning rituals.

Suddenly, the songs were back with a nagging question…what’s that one that goes come on people… I brought full focus back to Laura Nyro’s discography… didn’t Barbra Streisand do one of her songs? Yes..going down to stoney end, I never wanted to go…cradle me, mama, cradle me again..  not the song I was looking for, but still worth remembering…  I expanded to come on people, come on children, let’s go down to the ?jordan? river… I could hear the piano…but could get no farther..The not-remembering finally got to me and I came in to the computer and looked it up.

It was covered by the Fifth Dimension and that youtube video is a wonder of 60’s bright bell-bottoms, platform shoes, and awkward dance moves.  But it was the artist herself, Laura Nyro, sitting at the piano and exuding the feeling of this powerful song that most moved me.

Step into the Wayback machine of black-and-white TV, watch this Vietnam war protest song that offers great wisdom…maybe get it stuck in your head.

It’s called Save the Country

Laura Nyro was 49 when she died in 1997.  She was so brilliant and if you don’t know her work, you’ll do yourself some good to listen to her albums.

May all of your earworms be inspiring…

Peace