Monday, December 31, 2007


These are my intentions for the New Year. This is not the same as the typical resolution. These are meant to get at the place where behaviors are born and nurtured so that change-worthy behaviors can be identified, discarded and replaced with healthy habits.

I intend to be mindful
>>>>>of my thoughts
>>>>>of my actions
>>>>>of my dreams
>>>>>>>>>>with which I sight and aim at the future

I intend to take stock
>>>>>of my habits
>>>>>of my talents
>>>>>of my blessings
>>>>>>>>>>from which resources for fulfillment are drawn.

I intend to winnow
>>>>>the toxic
>>>>>the clutter
>>>>>the ennui
>>>>>>>>>>that which hinders progress.

I intend to welcome
>>>>>>>>>>of which joy is woven.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Only If

"Enya: Only If..."

When there's a shadow, you reach for the sun.
When there is love, then you look for the one.
And for the promises, there is this land.
And for the heavens are those who can fly.
If you really want to, you can hear me say
Only if you want to will you find a way.
If you really want to you can seize the day.
Only if you want to will you fly away.

Da da da da, da da da da da.
da da da da, da da da da da,
da da da da.

When there's a journey, you follow a star.
When there's an ocean, you sail from afar.
And for the broken heart, there is the sky.
And for tomorrow are those who can fly.

Da da da da, da da da da da.
da da da da, da da da da da,
da da da da.

Ooh go doe bay mwa.
Ooh go doe bay mwa.


Ah! Je voudrai voler comme un oiseau d'aile
Ah! Je voudrai voler comme un oiseau d'aile,

Ooh go doe bay mwa.
Ooh go doe bay mwa.


If you really want to you can seize the day.
Only if you want to will you fly away.


I've spent most of my spare time since I prepared my Sunday Serenity post Saturday night listening to and watching Enya videos on YouTube. I'm posting this one because the song, Only If, became my personal anthem right around this time of the year in 1997.

My sister-friend, Jamie, had given my a CD with two Enya songs on it, this one and Silent Night. I had just turned forty. I felt stuck in my life. Things seemed to be falling apart. I listened to this song over and over and began to believe again.

In the following months I began to do things that made huge positive changes in my life. I began writing poetry. Many of the poems I've posted on Monday Poetry Train were from the next two years. It was the following spring when I finished the 16,000 word short story, Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes, including the lyrics to the song of the same title which I wrote for one of its characters. I started doing things to take care of myself physically and emotionally. I began a daily walk even though the only safe place to do it was the driveway. I let my Panic/Anxiety and Depression support group talk me into allowing the doctors to treat my mood disorder with meds.

I am posting this today not just because of nostalgia though. I am finding myself in a similar frame of mind as I was that winter when it had such a major impact. I am feeling stuck. Things are chaotic in my life. In my mind, in my room and in my days. All of this is on my mind because Jamie asked me in late November to be her partner over the next year in a project she calls Creative Change. We, each of us, are our own projects while being the cheerleader, encourager and accountability partner for the other.

Jamie made her list of intentions for the year a month ago. I'm still working on mine. I know several of the ones I am ready to commit to. And I know several more which I know I should commit to but am balking. That is the post I am preparing for tomorrow. New Year's Eve.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sunday Serenity #37

I can always count on Enya for a moment of serenity.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Snippets 25

This is the last of what I wrote on this story back in the early eighties when I was in my mid twenties. I am surprised by how much I am still pleased with it. Maybe enough to return to it. It was exposure to Holly Lisle's world building advice on her site that made me start thinking about it again.

If you missed the first two: Part One <> Part Two

Or if you've not the time for nearly 3K for all three here is a synopsis: Mourna has decided to attempt a rescue of her son, Jamyl, who had been torn from her arms and consigned to the Cairn of the Corrupt. She must first escape from the caravan conducting her and others from the Body to their exile in the Colonies of the Woeful. On her way out of her tent with her companion Puryl, La'zurra, riding on her shoulder, she glances at the sky and the light of one of Zircon's moons reminds her of the story of the Advent of the Lord and Lady upon Mount Womb:

They stood there, never moving, their faces towards the rising suns. As the red sun’s circle first peeked over the horizon they began to raise their arms over their heads, still holding hands. The light of their eyes pulsed in rhythm with their synchronized heartbeats. Two bodies, two minds, one purpose.

The Wailing Womb
by Joy Renee

1. The Mourning Mother (part three)

With that image held in her mind Mourna found her own purpose to rescue her son enhanced. And infused with a sense of power that evaporated the despair which had engulfed her since the moment they took Jamyl from her arms, she strode toward the Defender.

As soon as she stepped out from the protective embrace of the shadows among the tents, he swung his gaze towards her calling “Who’s about?”

“It is I, Mourna.” she called.

“It is late, Lady.” he admonished.

“That I know, sir. Sleep has departed from me this night.”

“We break camp at dawn. We must be sheltered by the First Watch of Laz next Dark.”

“Lord and Lady be willing.” she said.

“May they be.” he made the formula response, touching first his forehead then his chest. “For Head and Body’s sake.”

“Sad you must be to separate from your young one and her mother for this long season upon us.” she attempted to commiserate with him, but he stiffened his shoulders and looked pointedly over her head.

“The Body must be served.” he intoned.

“So it is said.” she heaved a huge sigh and reached up to caress La’Zurra who nestled contentedly against her neck.

“And so it must be.” the Defender completed the homely. “Lady, to resist the Body’s decree is unseemly. It can only lead to woe.”

She knew he referred now to her. It had been no secret within the Body that she had resisted the banishment of Jamyl. She had made no quiet protest. Her wailing and accompanying imprecations had resounded throughout the stone halls and chambers. No other Member of the Body could have acted so and expected to remain in the Body; for such behavior must issue from insanity and thus be cause for banishment to the Colony of the Woeful at the very least.

But Lady Maerfaum had at first received only mild reprimands and importuning from Mal’ys, until she dyed her white lock black and proclaimed her name no longer to be Maerfaum but Mourna--for she would never cease mourning for her son. Then, as Head of the Body, Mal’ys could no longer protect even the favorite of his son, Jharmyn naMal’ys, from the implacable Will of the Body. Even so he declared her banishment to be for one season only. If she showed herself to have repossessed her senses after the passage of time, she would be welcomed back into the Body.

Never in the Memory of the Body had such an exception been made. But never in the Memory of the Body had there been such a one as Maerfaum. With her bright eyes colored like sea mist shimmering in dawn light, with that white lock sweeping back from the center of her forehead that seemed to glow with an inner fire whenever light fell upon it, she was set apart from the Body whose members were uniformly black-haired and dark-eyed. Set apart also by her nature that swung to extremes like the very sea, Maer herself, among a Membership complacent and calm and predictable, she had early on received uncommon treatment from the Body. Nobody had thought to question it, nobody had thought to resent it, for the Head had Decreed it and the Head always knew the needs of the Body.

Seeking to draw the Defender into further exchanges, Mourna chose to ignore the allusions to herself in his words and instead, with an impish tone asked: “What then did you defy that you are banished to the Woeful?”

“Lady,” he said, his widened eyes the only sign of his alarm at her insinuation. “It is not banished I am. It is honored. As it was I who found you when I was yet but a Marsh-reaper, and presented you to the Head and Body, it is fitting that I take charge of your defense for the duration of your banishment.

“Found?” she whispered on an in-taken breath. “Was I not born of the Body as any other Member?”

The Defender froze in place, dismay dilating his eyes. Time stretched taut in the silence. “Forgive me Lady. I have forgotten my place.”

“You must answer sir. It unbecomes you to hide behind custom”

“I have said more than is proper.” his voice tightened on words gripped in a fist of formality.

Mourna felt his refusal as a blow. Her mind reeled, straining the bonds that moored her to sanity. La’Zurra chirped in her ear and she turned to gaze into the red maelstrom of the Purryls eyes and found her panic focused into a fiery crystal of anger that rapidly bifurcated as it enlarged to fill her mind. She turned her eyes upon the Defender and said “Tell me.” It was a command.

As his eyes met hers the crystal shattered and in its place was the answer she had sought. His memories, forced from him, assaulted her mind with a kaleidoscope of images, sounds, thoughts, all suffused with the volatile emotions of a boy on the verge of manhood. She whirled away from him and ran, uncaring where she went. He made no move to stop her. He made no move at all except a slow blinking of his eyes.

She ran heedlessly, blinded by a viscous fog of moiling emotions. If she was not of the Body, then who was she? Where had she come from? Where did she belong? She felt cut adrift as on a raft upon the Maer, far from the sight of land and buffeted by wind driven waves and rain, she crested a rise of land, a grass covered dune, and sighted the sea. Maer--oft-times home to her weary or troubled spirit. In a daze of despair Mourna unfastened her cape and let it drop to the ground unmindful of La’Zurra who chattered franticly from her refuge in the hood. The Purryl tumbled to the ground with a screech of protest that failed to penetrate the miasma of memories and emotions that possessed her mistress.

Mourna, having zeroed in on that one seemingly coherent thought, ran for the safety of the sea. She splashed through the surf until the waves tugged at her thighs and then dove into the breakers. She swam with a fury of futility until weariness weighted her arms and legs then rolled to her back and floated. The light of the stars, the moons, and the Ring laved the surface of the water and she imagined she felt their gentle caress upon her face. She allowed herself to be soothed by their aleatoric beauty, letting the colors fill her mind replacing the chaos of alien thoughts.

The filmy white cloth of the j‘mah, animated by the water, caressed her body.


(Glossary: j'mah is a loose-fitting one piece suit gathered at wrist and ankle by bands and at the waist by a girdle) This was the only Glossary entry that survived the loss of the file of notes and drafts because I had typed it directly into the manuscript.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #66

Thirteen Pictures of the Snow We Got Christmas Night Which I Took With My New Digital Camera

1. These were all taken between eight and nine o'clock Wednesday morning. The snow was gone by noon. It has been spitting snow again all day but it isn't sticking. I'm so glad I made it to the library Monday!

2. My father-in-law's car. Ed was taking it to work during the hectic weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas when he had to commute before or after the buses were running.

3. Ed took the bus Wednesday morning. His Mom stayed home so no tire marks backing out.

4. The paper usually comes before five in the morning but it hadn't arrived yet when I took this.

5. Sweetie was romping in the snow. Merlin was doing his best to stay out of it. See last night's post for his close encounter with the snow. As this pic was taken Sweetie was being called back in the house and soon after that, I took pity on Merlin and picked him up. I was carrying him around while the rest of the pictures were taken and he was putting up with it. He is not much for being held or cuddled. Though he has increased in affection since my return last week.

Most of the following pictures I took because I'm fascinated by the way the snow turns ordinary objects into something extraordinary. I suppose I would get over that if I lived where the snow was knee deep for weeks every year.

Except for the final one, I took the rest one-handed while holding Merlin over my left shoulder. Something I couldn't have done with my other camera.





10. I held the camera over the fence and pointed it down to get this. I couldn't have done that with my other camera and expected to get anything worth looking at.

11. Across the back yard fence. The pool is inside the green fence beyond the trees. Right around Thanksgiving some joker reached over the fence and tossed the hose into the pool and turned it on. The pool overflowed and our yard and the yards to either side of us turned into big mud puddles.

12. Dreaming of summer.

13. Taken out the window after returning to my room. This is the roofs of the neighbor's shed and carport. I'm watching the snow fall on them right now. It isn't sticking anywhere except in some of the leaves of the tree

Attempts to take pictures out the window with my other camera got me nothing but big balls of white light. I am really liking this new Camera. I am nothing but an amateur and I know it but I'm having fun.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cold Feets

I was planning to do my TT this evening after I got Ed's help downloading the pics I took of the snow this morning. I hadn't learned how to get them safely from the camera to the laptop yet. Ed walked me through it just a bit ago but now I'm just too tired to choose thirteen of the thirty odd pictures I took, prepare them and upload them and then prepare the post and then start the visiting. So I'm postponing until tomorrow. I leave you one teaser. This is Merlin trying to walk on the tips of the blades of grass. Or maybe he thinks inflating his tail will help him levitate.

The snow was mostly gone by noon today. But the forecast is for more overnight.

I spent the day reading a novel. The last time I did that was December 3rd my first day in Longview when I read Bridge to Terebithia in a single day. Today I finished Jodi Poucoult's The Tenth Circle having started it Monday evening. This was my first Poucoult and I'm sure to try more. I'm much too tired and bleary-eyed to review it now.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Even Merlin got presents this year. His favorite seems to be this collapsible cube.

As for me, my favorite was my new digital camera with flash and zoom and several other features. I'm still learning how to use it

I am way too exhausted to give a play by play of my day. It started before six this morning as all my days have since my return from Longview last week. The social part started at noon and lasted until after eight. Social occasions drain me like a cheap battery. About now I am wishing they made collapsible cubes big enough for me.


Monday, December 24, 2007


A pic of my old cane last April before I taped its sections together

Today has been long and exhausting. It was my first trip back to the library since I got home and thus the first in a month. I've been keeping my husband's hours ever since I got back so I was awake before five this morning. I was all set to leave for the library by twenty to ten. All set that is except I couldn't find my white cane. My Mom had traded me for one that folds up as mine had had to have its sections taped together when the elastic inside the tubes died. (See pic above.) After it was taped together I kept it on the front porch. Now I've got to get used to having a folding one again. It is small enough to slip into a medium sized purse or lose in the couch cushions. I'm pretty sure I tossed it on the bed with the rest of the things I was carrying in from the car after Xmas shopping yesterday. That is why I spent over an hour pulling blankets and pillows off the bed and pulling the mattress away from the wall and getting down on the floor with a flashlight to shine under the bed. It finally turned up in the pilot's case we use as a hamper.

Meanwhile I had worked up such a sweat looking for it my hair was soaked. I made the twenty-five minute walk with a full backpack on my back because both my rolling book bags were too hard to get to. The folding one was still packed in the big box I'd packed at my Mom's in an attempt to consolidate several smaller bags into one for checking when I thought I was taking the bus home. The rolling backpack took on new duties after the libraries closed last April. It became the storage for my purses and was up in the cupboard. Pulling it down meant pulling down several other things that would fall out if the backpack were not wedging them in.

So I used a regular backpack. I had a fleeting thought as to what I thought I was doing planning to bring back a pack full of books when I had not finished unpacking from my trip primarily because this room is already overflowing with stuff and the combination of the neglect during NaNo, plus the mess I'd made when packing for the trip, plus the mess Ed made while I was gone and his hours expanded to over ten per day, plus the mess we'd made with the Xmas shopping packaging and gift wrapping this weekend, had made it extra hard to find places to put things.

As if it wasn't bad enough to bring home a backpack full of library books, I chose this trip to the library to check out the new second hand book store I keep passing on the walk and bought several more!! I spent over an hour in that store while wearing the already full backpack. It was after three when I got home and as some kind of penance or something I made myself unpack the big box before I unpacked the books. I had to get that box out of the living room today as the Christmas company is coming tomorrow.

It was five before I had the box and the backpack unpacked and their contents distributed. I can't really claim it was all put away. Too many things have lost their usual homes because other items gravitated into them. I have a huge chore ahead of me in getting this room put back in order. And to think that by this time tomorrow I will have even more stuff to find places for.

This issue has been on my mind all month because as much as I want to make excuses that it is because we are living in a single room that was half full of someone else's belongings before we moved into it, I have just witnessed how easy it is to turn a thirteen room house into a collection of clones of this room. I have inherited a hoarding issue from my Mom. I have spoken about it here before. It is an issue I need to work on before I have my own home again.

Just think how many pages I could have read during that hour I spent looking for my cane this morning. That kind of waste of time and energy is repeated several times per day though it is usually just seconds or minutes not whole hours lost to the chaos. Still it doesn't take long for seconds to add up to hours.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jingle This

We finished our Christmas shopping today and this is about how we feel. But I'm sure that a good night's sleep will bring back the cheer and the gratitude that we were able to shop for gifts again this year.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunday Serenity #36

print for sale at

This depicts two things that represent serenity for me. Watching kittens play. And fine needlework. Neither of which are in my near future. There are no kittens in my life right now though I did get to play with the litter my niece was raises for adoption while I was at her house in Portland last Wednesday. I've still not unpacked my sewing since I got back from Longview and even if I had I couldn't work on it until after Christmas preparations are complete--sometime on Christmas afternoon!! We haven't finished our Christmas shopping yet. But at least this year we get to shop!! Ed and I haven't exchanged gifts for four years and last year were even unable to shop for the rest of the family. Things are looking up this year. That is piece of serenity right there.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Snippets 24

If you missed part one or need a refresher see last week's snippet.

This snippet takes off after Mourna determines to rescue her newborn son, Jamyl, who had been torn from her arms and deposited in the Cairn of the Corrupt. But first she must escape from the Defender of the Body who is escorting her and other exiles to the Colonies of the Woeful.

The Wailing Womb

I. The Mourning Mother

by Joy Renee


Why had she not thought of it before? Of course it meant defying the Body, but what more could they do to her? They had already banished her to the colonies of the Woeful. But what if she had to contend with the Defenders of the Body, that elite corp of guardsmen who would be guarding the Cairn of the Corrupt. They would stand guard until the Suns went down on the night of the Rain of Rocks. But there would be time, after they took shelter within the Body, to rescue Jamyl and find a place to wait out the Rain. She had the advantage of knowing the territory. She had done much forbidden exploring. It had never occurred to her to wonder how she had gotten away with that or even why she had had the urge to explore. None of her peers had ever displayed an interest in seeing anything beyond the confines of the Body.

With hope in her heart for the first time since that awful moment when they took Jamyl from her, she arose from her couch. Pulling her long fur-lined cloak around her shoulders she peeked though the flap of her tent door. She could see none of Zircon’s four moons from where she stood but there wasn’t enough expanse of sky in her line of sight for her to tell what time of night it was. She would feign sleeplessness and go out and talk to the Defender who stood guard at the camp’s fire.

She was about to open the flap when a tugging on her arm brought her attention to her pet Purryl. La’Zurra chattered agitatedly and commenced an acrobatic dance about the ten, finally coming to a stop on Mourna’s shoulder.

“Oh, so you wanted to come along and thought I had forgotten you, eh?” She scooped La’Zurra up and gazed into her multifaceted eyes. They whirled and seemed to spark, glowing an intense blue. Mourna had come to know the Purryl’s emotions by the color of it’s eyes. This blue meant happiness, excitement, hope.

‘It’s as if you know what I am thinking La’Zurra.: she whispered in her companion’s tiny ear. “I wonder do you think I’m mad to be considering such a thing? The Rain of Rocks is at dawn the next after this which leaves me only one Dur to retrace the steps I took in two. But I will think of something. I must! Shall we go out and keep the Defender company for awhile?

The night air was chill, a harbinger of the Season of the Far Suns which was nigh upon them. Earlier she had fancied she could see the two suns shrinking as they traversed between the horizons of Dawn and Dusk. With a shiver she pulled her hood up to envelope her face and with La’Zurra riding on her shoulder she headed for the cooking fires where the watchman would be keeping himself warm.

The light of Adze, the largest of the four moons, shed a ghastly red glow over the land like that of a conflagration. The huge red globe hung suspended from the sky, haloed by the pearly colors of Zircon’s ring. ‘The arm of the Lord’ it was sometimes called, and ‘The Anger of the Lord’ and ‘The Eye of the Lord’. There were many tales to go with the many names and Mourna had always been fascinated by them but remembered the bard Khor’ol who had come with the merchants and supplicants at the beginning of the fertile season. He had been full of such tales and hinted at many more. She wished she could have listened some more but Mal’ys had said ‘Enough!’ he was irked by Khor’ol’s effrontery in bringing Purryls with his act. It was well known that Mal’ys had no affection for the little creatures. But whether he held them in disdain or disgust was debated. He strongly discouraged their presence in the Body. But even he, the Head, could not forbid it. It was said that any who harmed or intended harm to one whom a Purryl had attached itself to, would suffer similar fate.

Mourna had admired Khor’ol greatly. He had seemed to be speaking directly to her the whole time, as if he had been saying to her ‘We will not be strangers.’ she was mesmerized by his presence, entranced by the sound of his voice. She allows her memory to transport her back…back to that day so many Durs ago…

His costume is a voluminous robe shimmering with all the colors of the Ring. He sits on a pillow with his harp in his hand. His slender fingers move across the strings. The music he weaves with them swirls about him like a thing of substance. The Purryls form a circle around him. They begin to dance and to perform graceful acrobatics that seem to be both choreographed and spontaneous at once. He begins to speak. His voice, a resonant baritone, is controlled. The words are carefully chosen. The words, the voice, the dance of the Purryl, and the music, combine and become one entity--the story. Then a wondrous thing happens. The shimmering colors on the robe coalesce, become a moving picture which acts out the story.

It is the story of the Advent. Of a time before the Body. Of a time when there was only one, long hot season. There was no fertile seasons or seasons of the far suns, no Rain of Rocks and no Ring.

A light appears in the night sky. A second light split off from the first. It seemed to fall out of the sky and disappear behind Mount Womb. Then everything was still, as before, except for the new light in the sky. A shimmering blue light, very much like the light of Laz. Why, that’s exactly what it was! Laz, the smallest and nearest of Zircon’s four moons.

As dawn lit up the horizon, two figures were revealed on the peak of Mount Womb. A man with star-white hair wearing a robe of red. Eyes of the same color as his robe shone like flame. His gaze was searing, passionate. He held the hand of a woman with ember-hued hair flowing long to her waist. She wore a robe of blue the color of her eyes. The blue of scintillating, sunlight-shimmer on deep waters.

They stood there, never moving, their faces towards the rising suns. As the red sun’s circle first peeked over the horizon they began to raise their arms over their heads, still holding hands. The light of their eyes pulsed in rhythm with their synchronized heartbeats. Two bodies, two minds, one purpose.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #65

Thirteen Things About the Book Store of My Dreams

1. The entrance on Burnside. I took this picture from across the street while waiting for the light. This is the Green room entrance (see #9)

2. It is located in downtown Portland OR
3. I was introduced to it in the early nineties.
4. The last time I visited it was in January 94
5. I just got to spend two hours in it Wednesday as part of my late birthday present from my brother's family.
6. It is so big you have to have a map to find things, including yourself.
7. I couldn't find the maps they used to have this time and I got lost.
8. But getting lost in a bookstore is the best kind of getting lost I can imagine.
9. Here was the map posted at nearly every turn around the store but I didn't see one until after I was already lost and they were never marked with a 'You are here' hence once lost I stayed lost until I happened to wander back into the Green Room through a different door from the one I wandered out through over an hour before. My sister-in-law and nieces had been looking for me for awhile. 10. Take a virtual tour of these rooms and see some photos taken inside the store.
Did I say it was BIG?
11. Powell's has an online store as well as several locations in the Portland area. Even so it is still an Independent bookseller. Powell's offers a partnership program providing 7.5% commission on the sale of any merchandise instigated by links from your web page.
12. Besides used and new books, they sell DVD and videos, magazines, novelty and gift items and more.
13. There is also a cafe where you can read or play board games over beverages and snacks.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Home Again

We pulled into the driveway here in Phoenix just before eight-thirty this evening. It rained almost the entire way and at times it was hard to see anything more than the tail-lights of cars more than a couple car lengths in front of us.

I could write a thousand word post on the events of this day which began with a drive in the pouring rain from my sister-friend Jamie's apartment in Vancouver WA to my brother's house just across the Columbia river which took nearly forty minutes instead of the more typical ten.

I could go on for paragraphs about the French Toast breakfast my sister-in-law made for us. There was the coffee with eggnog. There was the antics of the litter of kittens my seventeen year old niece is socializing for a pet rescue agency, the piano playing of her eleven year old sister and the poems and of their fourteen year old brother which he read aloud to me.

I could go on for pages and pages about the two hour visit to Powell's Bookstore in Portland with my sister-in-law and nieces. A visit I've been dreaming of for over ten years. A bookstore so big you need a map to find your way and it is still difficult not to get lost. If there is any place in the world I wouldn't mind getting lost in it would be Powell's.

I could write chapters about the topics three grown women and their nearly grown niece talked about on a five hour road trip: old boy friends, ex-husband, parents and parenting, ancestors, food, recipes, cooking, restaurants, music, kittens, babies, rain, dumb drivers, old school friends and teachers from back when, gas prices...

I could but I'm not going to. I'm practically falling into the keyboard as it is. I've had less than seven hours of sleep in the last three days. Besides I've been away for seventeen days and Ed is working twelve hour days this week and was already asleep when I got home so I've barely greeted him and the only time I will get to spend with him before late evening tomorrow is now by joining him in slumber.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So, I've made the first leg of the journey home. I came the approximately forty miles from Longview to Vancouver WA to spend the night with my sister-friend Jamie. The original plan was for Jamie to drive me to the Greyhound depot in Portland OR across the river at five-thirty in the morning to catch the bus back to Medford OR. But late this evening we discovered Greyhound has changed its rules since the last tme I traveled to Longview and back that way. They used to allow two checked bags and two carry ons. Now they charge extra for the second checked bag and there are size and weight limits to all bags. Also my Mom had hoped to make the boardng process easier in the mornng by buying the ticket online tonight. But that turned out to complicate matters. By buying it ahead of time I would be required to arrive a whole hour before boarding to pick up the ticket. And not only that, they charged an extra 15 dollar 'gift' surcharge for buying a ticket with a creditcard that does not belong to the one who is traveling. What's up with that?

I did not come prepared for traveling back with a single checked bag of under 50 pounds. Anyone who knows me would start laughing hysterically at the thought. Plus I never visit my Mom wthout gong back with at least a few things I didn't arrive with. Who does?

When I learned this I just wanted to go crawl in a cupboard and close the door. I had just spent most of the last twenty hours packing a large duffle and a large cardboard box for checking and a medium sized duffle and a small back pack for carry on. I've had only two hours of sleep since 3PM Monday. I could not deal with this sudden shuffling of my expectations.

Luckily I have some take-charge people for siblings. My sister who lives with my Mom and my brother who lives in Portland got on the phone along with Jamie (who was a ward of my parents through her teens hense the appelation sister-friend) and together they cooked up a new plan. Jamie and I are going to my brother's house for breakfast at eight in the morning and I will visit with my brother's family (three kids still at home, the forth an Army Medic is in Bagdad) while Jamie is at work until noon. About noon, my sister is meeting us at my brother's house with my Mother's van. The same one she and Mom picked me up with in Medford two weeks ago.

So the three sister-friends are making the road trip together. Jamie and my sister are taking turns with the driving and making the round trip in one day as Jamie has to be back at work at ten Thursday morning.

I am typing this on Jamie's computer as I thought it would be easier than unpacking my laptop and hooking it up to her Internet. But I have been hassled continuously by pop ups since I sat down and the browser is not set up with my preferences the keyboard sounds like a herd of elephants. The mouse cursor likes to play hide and seek. And with only two hours of sleep in the last thirty odd I am just a tad cranky. And I have to get up in four hours. I think I better say good night.


Monday, December 17, 2007

This is the counted cross stitch project I've been working on since 2001. It is based on a painting by Christian Riese Lassen. I've been trying to get a picture of it ever since I got my digital camera in March. But my camera doesn't have flash and apparently it doesn't handle bright light outdoors well either. I thought it was my ineptness at photography and the digital technology that was ruining every attempt I made to get pictures. I guess it was at least as much the fault of a cheap camera.

I decided to see if I could get a decent scan of it. I had to do it only half at a time and because it is stretched on a frame the scanner lid could not be closed. It took me six tries on the bottom half to get it centered right and to block the light enough. My mom came in to the room twice during the process to show me pictures she had found and to tell me the stories behind them. She talks with her hands no matter what she is holding in them which is why we have not been able to work in a kitchen together since I was in my late teens. It was bad enough when only she was legally blind. Put the two of us together and it isn't pretty. *

Anyway she was gesturing as she told a story about a picture and she knocked the scanner lid over which jarred the canvas and that scan didn't work. A little later she walked in carrying a big album of pictures open in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other and the album bumped the canvas frame in the middle of another scan. But as you can see I finally got a fair enough scan of both halves.

I'm still a long way from done with this. Although I have finished the background of X and / stitches, there is still a lot of detailing stitches to lay on top. Those stitches are more like embroidery than cross stitch or needlepoint. There is also the two rows of gold X that frame the entire picture. I am working on the first one which shows on the top half. Another row will go around it with a blank row between. Those X are made with two strands of gold floss combined with a strand of metallic gold. I had so much trouble getting the stitches to lay flat and working more than three stitches without knotting, that I took out most of a side and the top of that first row and started again laying down one strand at a time. First a single strand of embroidery floss, then the metallic gold thread and then the second strand of floss.

Most of the work on this was done in 2003. I commonly worked eight to twelve hours a day on it. When I started writing again in 2004, I stopped working on it every day. And when I started sitting with Ed's grandma that year, I took it over to her house to work on it and left it there so I worked on it only when sitting with her. The light in her front room was an artist's dream with those huge picture windows on three walls. When Grandma died in June, my sewing stuff was brought back to the trailer house but by then the good full spectrum lamp I'd been using before had died and my prescription glasses had been damaged. It was too hard on my eyes. Both of those issues have been dealt with since Thanksgiving so I hope to start working on it again. Though not iin eight to twelve hour sessions. I don't want to give up my writing but I do want to add back some of the other passions in my life and fine needle work is one of them.

This is my last night at my Mom's. I'm going to be spending tomorrow night in Vancouver with my sister-friend Jamie who will be taking me to the bus stop at six-thirty Wednesday morning. I have spent most of this evening packing. Still a ways to go on it and I have to get it to a certain place before I let myself scan anymore pictures. I didn't get nearly as many scanned as I'd hoped. I spent so much time searching the corners, cupboards, and crevasses of this house for the boxes and albums. I don't think they have all been found yet either. I also spent hours sorting them. It seems that just as I get it set up to take off on the project I've got to quit and who knows how long before I can get back to work on it again or where those pictures will migrate to in the mean time. It was two years between visits this time. I hope it won't be that long again.

*Though it is true that I alone in a kitchen is a sight not all that pretty. I started my day by nearly setting fire to the kitchen when I turned on the wrong burner for my coffee water and there was a skillet with a wooden spoon setting in it on that burner. The skillet had been used to caramelize onions for dinner the other night so there was a tiny bit of olive oil in it still. I went to check my email while I waited on the kettle and a few minutes later I started smelling smoke. By the time I got back in the kitchen that wooden spoon was black half way up the handle and the spatula end of it was smoking. Both the spoon and the skillet were done for.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mayo Clinic Diet.: Bees Knees & Mosquito Knuckles

This was something that was in one of the boxes of my Mom's memorabilia that I was sifting though looking for family photos this past week. I just couldn't resist posting it. It is a riot.

I had neither the time nor the patience to type it in though so I just scanned it. You will probably have to open the picture in a separate tab or window and use zoom if your browser has it. Oh, but it is so worth it. Just don't be sipping a beverage while reading.

My Mom was unable to tell me who sent it or when and there is no indication of a date. The fact she doesn't recognize the handwriting means it wasn't from either of my parents, grandparents or any of their siblings.

Based on the box I found it in and what other things were in it, I could have been sent any time from the late fifties through the eighties. Though the fact that it was Xeroxed would narrow that some if I knew when Xeroxing became easily available.

I really hope I am not infringing on anything or any one by posting this.

For the really hopelessly obtuse: this is a SPOOF!!!!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sunday Serenity #36

This was a moment of serenity Ed and I shared at a family outing with my parents sometime in 1989. We were living in Longview, WA at the time but I'm not sure where this picture was taken. I've never seen it before. I say it was an outing with my parents because Ed is dressed up and my Dad must have taken the picture. We were both oblivious to the camera.

I'm posting this today because I've not been able to get it out of my mind since I found it in one of the boxes of pictures several days ago. I think I'm homesick and missing a certain someone.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Snippets 23

My snippet this week is probably the earliest of my fiction pieces of which any manuscript drafts survived. I wrote this in the early eighties. All my world-building notes for this Sci-Fi Fantasy were lost when we abandoned our Medford apartment in 87. I was in my early twenties when I conceived of and began work on this story. I set it aside when I went back to school in 85.

I started thinking of returning to it after being introduced to Holly Lisle's clinics. I won her Plot Clinic in a 70 days drawing last summer. I hope to get ahold of her World and Language Clinics and apply her techniques to this story. I had planned a trilogy and had written some of their myths and legends and even some poetry for their sacred texts. Less than five pages of one chapter remains of all that.

The Wailing Womb

I. The Mourning Mother

by Joy Renee

Warm is his body and alive. Secure in my arms, next to my heart. My son. Soft and supple his skin, deep and dazzling his eyes. Blue eyes that gaze into mine. Soul to soul a bond of love is forged. Stronger than the strongest steel. More enduring than diamonds.

To hold him, to touch him, to kiss his rosy cheeks, to caress the smooth skin, to lay my finger gently on his throat and feel the pulsing of his tiny veins and know that life is in him and that life from me. Passionately possessive I feel, ferociously protective. No harm shall come to him. I will prevent it with my life.

He is mine and only mine, I think, and yet know that he is his own and the Womb’s above all. And sooner than I wish he will break free into the private world of his own soul. He will assert his independence, leave my arms empty and yearning once more, declaring his dominion over the earth as all men have since the Advent. But for now he belongs only to me and the union of our souls is more passionate, more galvanic than that between a man and a woman, more profound than that between a soul and its Augmentor.


Mourna awoke. Tears washed out from beneath her lashes as she blinked her eyes open. Dreaming again. Such strange dreams. Thoughts so foreign to her that even the images and words used to form them had a strange feel to her as the dregs of the dream floated in her mind. Augmentor. She formed the strange word silently with her tongue. The word did not belong to her. But she still felt the emotion it conjured up. Awe and utter trust. And beneath that was the straining of energies harnessed and directed….

The images were fading. She could never hang onto them for more than the moments it took her to come fully awake. All that was left was the feel of an infant’s supple skin and blue eyes gazing into hers. And with these a feeling of desolation washed over her. She came fully awake then, crying out, “My baby. Oh my son, I want my son.”

And with the sound of her own cry she remembered, and knew she would never see him again. A wave of desolation inundated her. Even now Jamyl could be dead. But no, somehow Mourna was sure that she would know when Jamyl no longer lived. There was a bond between them, indefinable but indestructible. It had been there almost from the moment she became aware that life was growing within her. Jamyl had been torn from her arms, had been banished from the Body. But only death could truly separate them.

That death would come soon for Jamyl. A matter of hours. And with his death total desolation of soul for Mourna. Her soul wailed within her and instinctively she put her hands to her belly where so recently he had lain curled. A slight swelling still remained to testify to the truth of his existence. There was an ache in her womb and an emptiness. She felt the emptiness consuming her. Could she survive the death of Jamyl? Did she want to? NO! the answer screamed within her heart like the cold winds of the Season of the Far Suns. She must hold her son in her arms again or die! With that thought she sprang to a sitting position on her sleep-couch, every muscle tense, every sense alert. She must rescue Jamyl!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #64

I am so late getting this posted. It really isn't Thursday anymore but I began work on this post over thirty hours ago. I kept running into snags of various kinds. Mostly to do with learning my way around using the scanner and the photo ap where I crop and prepare the pics for posting. But also due to the hectic nature of life here at my Mom's where I'm visiting. Then there is getting lost in just shuffling through the photos and other memorabilia in the boxes.

I've taken on the task of scanning all our family pictures into digital files and creating a digital scrapbook for all family members. This will be a huge undertaking and I am just getting started this visit. I won't be taking the photos home with me because I don't have a scanner. The idea was for me to scan as many as I could into my laptop while here and take them home that way and over the next few months use a photo application to crop and otherwise twiddle with them.

Earlier this week I posted pics of my Dad's parents and his childhood. They were the first because they had been hunted out and collected for the collage displayed at his memorial service two years ago. My hopes of doing my own childhood and my mother's family were dampened when Mom told me she wasn't sure where they were anymore. But I went looking for them and found one box. It includes some of my Mom's family pictures and some of my baby pictures. But so far I've not found my brother and sister's baby pictures nor my parent's wedding pictures. I did find my wedding pictures which was really great because I lost my own wedding albums in our 87 move from Medford OR back to Longview WA. I had more pics in mine than the album Mom has but it is better than none at all.

OK let's get on with it.

Thirteen of my baby pictures:

1. In the living room of our new house. Mom and Dad had to move when I was six weeks old because the house they were attempting to buy did not pass muster with the bank when an ant infestation was discovered. We lived in this house until I was nearly eighteen. I loved the knotty pine paneling in the kitchen and living room. But I think I was in grade school before I learned that it wasn't 'naughty'. You can't really see it in this. There is a better view of it in the next picture.

2. At two months. Mom is introducing me to cereal.

3. In my crib at 2 and 1/2 months. I still vividly remember that wall paper. It shows up in my dreams from time to time still. My love for lilac flowers and shades of blue and lavender may have originated here.

4. This was probably taken on the same day as the one below. I am 6 months old. I remember that Holly tree behind us. It was taken out when they put in the concrete driveway and slab for the carport when I was about 5.

5. Late May of 58. The back says 6 months 10 days. Which means this must have been near Daddy's birthday. Mom is getting ready to take me on a train trip to Paul, Idaho to stay with Dad's parents for several weeks. Grandma was ill and needed help. Mom took the swing with us because it kept me so content.

6. From the trip to Idaho. Here I am held by my Dad's paternal Grandmother, Sue Coon.

7. Still in Idaho. Taken at the farm of some friends of the family there. Mom has forgotten their name. Obviously either they or the ones who gave us a ride were from the Bible Meetings I was raised in as there is one of our trade-mark 'Gospel cars'. My Uncle, husband of Mom's sister, painted those for all of the Brethren of our 14 or so Assemblies scatter from Phoenix AR to Rockglen Saskatchewan

8. July 58 just after arriving home from Idaho. Dad is introducing me to the sprinkles from the hose as Mom waters her flowers.

9. This was taken in July 58 shortly after Mom and I returned from our train trip to Paul Idaho. I'm 7 and 1/2 month. This is in our front yard. That street in the background became a major artery of Longview within a few years. By the time I was ten it was four lanes plus center turn lane plus parking on each side. A mall was built in the field across the street.

The stool I am sitting on was made of upholstered juice cans. When set on its side it rolled. There are pics in this series of my using it as an improvised walker--pushing it across the yard.

10. At 10 and 1/2 months. The dress was yellow with tiny pastel flowers. A 6 month photo was taken in it too. This dress was bought for me by my mother's father. Mom says it was waiting in the crib at their house in Gerber, CA when we arrived for my first visit with them the spring of 58. Later that dress was handed down to one of my dolls.

11. Here I am 2 years old. The dress was picked out by my Dad for my 1 year picture and I'm still wearing it a year later. It was pale blue.

12. Here I am in February 1960 at 26 months helping Mom build a snowman in our back yard. That white expanse behind me is the parking lot of Mark Morris High School which I would attend from 73 to76. Where I am standing is about where the carport was built when the addition was built onto the back of the house when I was 5 and 6.

I remember that red snowsuit. Maybe because it was handed down to my brother and then my sister. But I am pretty sure of a few memories of getting stuffed into it and having to struggle out rather urgently because I had waited almost too long to come in the house to tend to certain necessities.

13. Here I am 27 months. Mom made this dress out of material one of her sisters sent her. It was white with tine pink rosebuds. I often wore it under a jumper.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Family

Richard and Maurine Coon's family, 1970
Joy Renee age 12, Robert age 10 and Carrilee age 6

My last several posts have been focused on my Dad and his family. I want to do a similar series on my Mom and her family. I wasn't sure I was gong to get to this visit because Mom wasn't sure where the photos of her family were nor the photos of her own children's childhood. In a box somewhere in the rec room downstairs which had been rearranged umpteen times since the last time she had started working on making scrapbooks for each of us kids.

Well about three-thirty this morning I went down there to look around just to see if I could spot the boxes she described. I found one of them which contained many of her childhood, some of her grandparents and my baby pictures. It was a treasure trove which I haven't finished digging through so I'm not sure if my brother and sister's baby pics are in a different box or deeper in this one.

The reason I'd started with Dad's was because I'd been working with the pictures that had been used in a collage that was displayed at his memorial service two years ago.

I'm posting this picture as a segue into the one I'm preparing for my TT which will be thirteen of my baby pictures. I was hoping to post it today but it is taking me longer to scan, crop and resize. Not to mention choose!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hayseed From Down On the Farm

Yesterday I introduced my Dad's parents Fay and Jean Coon. Below is a picture of them on their farm in Paul, Idaho with their three sons: Dean, Don and Richard. My Dad is the youngest on the right. On the back of this picture, in my Grandpa's handwriting it says "Hayseed from down on the farm."

Above is a picture of my Dad at around eleven. Below is Dad with his parents in 1949 the year he graduated from high-school and entered the navy. On the back in my Dad's handwriting it says "Taken in our house just before I left to become one of Uncle Sam's boys."

This is Dean, Don and Richard taken sometime in the nineties.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Got mice?

This is Jean and Fay Coon my Dad's parents taken around the time of their marriage in the early 1900s. Definitely before WWI because Grandpa's hair is still pure black and he came home from the war with shell-shock induced shocks of white through it.

This is Jean and Fay around the time of my own parent's marriage in 1955. The picture was taken by their eldest son, my Uncle Dean who had his own photography business. Below is a scan of what my Grandmother wrote on the back. 'Richard's' indicating this was my Dad's copy. And 'Got any mice?' was a reference to a saying my Mom says was common 'back when'. Something about leaving a 'scary or weird' picture laying around to keep the mice away. Mom couldn't quite remember how it went but she immediately knew what Grandma meant. She said it was her way to be humorously self-derogatory.


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