Posts Tagged ‘friends’

“White Cranes of Heaven”

January 11, 2010

Sometimes you get a lovely gift out of the blue.   This weekend was an example.   I went to my favorite junk store, just to escape cabin fever, and found a beautiful print.  I am not sure the painter, but it looks like an early Japanese work. It seems 18th  century to me, but I still am searching for the painter.

I have sent the pix of this rather long print to friends and we have come up with some names: Hokusai, Utamaro, Koson, Koitsu, Kunsai, and a few others.  None of us know the piece, but it is so lovely it’s sure to be well known.  I’m not sure it’s a woodblock process made from a painting, or just a print of a painting, because the process is long and complex and it’s hard without really knowing what you are looking at.

In any case, this is a marvelous gift for a couple of reasons….plus I could afford it.

A couple of months ago I started to compile a lot of poetry.  I wanted to publish a small volume of nothing but poetry.  The title flew into my head and I couldn’t get it out.  Ok.  I would work around it. But since it was so visual, I knew  there had to be a cover that fit the title.  I did a search on white cranes, etc. and nothing really fit. At least to my mind.  I am a painter and thought, well, this is a case where I am going to have to paint my own cover.

Fate, as my friend Bill Penrose said, intervened.  This beautiful piece was sitting there in the junk shop, rather dirty, the glazing smeared with something, but I walked by it and my heart just stopped.  There, without effort….was the cover for the poetry book.

I brought it home and just couldn’t believe it.  It was perfect.  I took it out of it’s very good frame (the previous owner went to a lot of expense for the frame, and the print itself was a good one…and 6 inches longer than I thought…more cranes!) and cleaned it carefully.  The print was excellent, the matting very good, and the frame was….well, appropriate for the subject.  It’s about 40 years old in style…but works fine for the print.  I would have had something else, but tant pis.

I was chortling as I looked at the piece.  Just last week I wrote a short poem of the title: “White Cranes …..”  and the print expressed exactly what the poem was going for.  This poem below is just the first pass through.  It will change with thought and revision.

My gratitude to some friends who joined me in the research and pointed out sites to go to: Berowne especially who is very wise in these things.  Thanks, Berowne.

Sometimes life is a mystery.  Other times….well, life works with you very well and throws you cookies.

Lady Nyo

WHITE CRANES OF HEAVEN

White Cranes of Heaven,

Rancorous, quarrelsome birds

Flee a sallow, saddened earth–

Wintertime’s fierce grip does not

Allow for much mercy.

They fall into ranks,

Set their GPS

And ride the chilled thermals

Until they disappear like smoke.

Only their chiding cries

Remind us they were not ghosts.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009

Looking Towards The New Year…..

December 19, 2009

….and looking back over this year.

All in all, it’s been a good one.  January brought the publication of “A Seasoning of Lust”, my first book.  This was unexpected actually, but I wrote a lot of poetry and some short stories and decided…what the hell.  When is it ever the best time to publish anything?  I guess you do it and hope for the best.  I don’t know about ‘the best’, but I am very grateful to those who have brought this book. I hope it entertains.

I faced a lot of challenges this last year:  health concerns were up there, but finally that seems to be under some control.  A change of doctors and some radical ruptures with old ways of doing things has seemed to help. Early on here, but I am more confident.

I went through a lot of things:  BDSM issues, D/s issues, trying on different things and finding that there was no magic bullet.  Also finding out that some things that ‘looked good’ weren’t.  In fact, some things were straight out poison.  But you have to swallow at times and see what it does to the system.

There were some sharp lessons  this year.  You just have to buck up your courage and pass through the experience and decide that you are going to live through it.  I do think it’s a matter of resolve.  There are some very nasty characters you meet in life and they can overwhelm for a while.  You can’t save everyone.  You can barely save yourself.  Discernment is a good word, and it can be applied to many things.  Perhaps it is ‘the’ word  to learn.

Trifling….that’s another good word.

The blog is up a year and a half now.  I had no idea how this was going to go, but so far it remains of  interest.  The readership ebbs and flows, but  grows.  I have worked out some issues in uncomfortable ways on this blog, but in many ways, these things seem to have resonance in other lives.  I am grateful to all who read and comment.  We learn life together.

Two men have stood by me for three years and I have nothing but gratitude for their support.  Nick Nicholson and Bill Penrose have been the greatest and gentlest of writing  mentors…and friends. Three years ago Nick and I joined the list of writers on ERWA, and Bill Penrose grabbed us both for a very small (the three of us) writing group.  Sometimes we ignored our little group, and sometimes we headed there for solace.  I am glad to say  throughout these three years we have maintained it, and right now, it’s a lifeline again.

And on that writing…well, I didn’t start out to be a writer. There were other interests for many years.  But for some reason, I have jumped in body and soul, and over the past few years I have learned a great deal about writing.  Not enough, but I’m on the road.

I just sent “The Zar Tales” to Bill Penrose for formatting.  Bill did “A Seasoning of Lust” and has graciously stood for this new book.  I’ve talked a bit about “The Zar Tales” already on the blog, so I won’t go into it.  It should be published and available on lulu.com and amazon.com after the first of the year.  I am not pushing because life has its own rhythm.

I am looking forward to something very different soon.  I have fallen to the Demon of Poetry, and will publish (this spring) another book:  “White Cranes of Heaven”.  Only poetry this time, and I am having a ball getting it together.  In the past three years I have written so much of it.  At one period, thought it had dried up.  I just needed a seasonal change  and the poetry started to form again.

The  plan is to get back to “The Kimono” after the New Year.  This is a novel I started two years ago and put aside for other things. It begins in the 21st century,  zaps back to  16th century Japan.  Looking over the writing, I think this is where I started to write a lot of poetry.  I put the novel aside with lots of notes and research, and got stuck around Japanese battles.  This issue figures in because the time was treacherous with fights between the daimyos for territory and the manipulations by the Shogun (and court).  There were so many layers of intrigue on different levels and knowing this  well  can only be helpful in completing this novel.

(And “Kimono” is where the Lady Nyo was formed.)

My husband laughs at me because I am a strange creature of habit.  I have set up my art table for writing longhand, staring out at the winter landscape, the black trees and the gray skies of winter. (We’ll see how long “longhand” will last.)  That sharp, harsh light  known in winter and the stillness and solitude makes conditions for writing.   At least for me.

I have the kimono I wrote the novel about.  It’s a black, heavy winter silk, with a river of silver running around the hem and up the left panel.  There is a curious tattoo of embroidery running into the inside tan (silk lining) and I run my hand over it like Braille.

This kimono became ‘magical’ :  what if the bumps  of the embroidery were  ‘code’?  It became one in my imagination and it was a catalyst to transport the main character from the 21st to the 16th century.

It’s a bother when you have the beginning and the ending of a novel and the problem is the middle.  This is where I am.

I intend to don that kimono and see if it gets me out of the usual ruts of writing.  A lot is riding on that piece of cloth.

Life has been good and interesting this past year.  Challenging, too. My friends have stayed the course, even when I looked like I was flying off the map.   In all of the changes of the past year, I am blessed, blessed, blessed.

And Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, etc.

And as my 97 year old Aunt Jean who is the  Hungarian head of my family says:

“May the New Year bring Good Health and Great Blessings!”

Lady Nyo

Forgiveness and Healing…..

October 15, 2009
Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

I’m probably going to regret this in the morning, but I have friends who are pushing me out of a particular shell.

In the past year I withdrew from a lot of people because I was pissed off about a lot of things.  Some of my own making, by either my ignorance or awkward handling.  I withdrew from certain parts of interesting life experiences because they were smeared, in my mind, with a lot of pain and just too much trouble to figure out.

I told myself I was through with a particular ‘scene’ …that these people were not friends, only acquaintances, and we had little in common.  Well,  things took some sharp detours in spite of what I was determined to leave behind.

Though I attempted to desert friends, they didn’t do the same to me.  They remained constant and I remained arrogant to their inquiries.  This went on all summer as I tried to disappear behind self righteousness .  The thaw came later when I went back to dancing in a serious way.  Perhaps the warmth of muscles waking up and the pain of sinews stretching and twisting supplanted an emotional pain that started to fade.  I had others to attend to in a real way, and their growth became part of my own.

My friends were there:  the real friends, friends that were determined I was not going to disappear from their lives….nor them from my own.

I see now that all has happened as it should:  Once I could get out of anger I could forgive others and myself; I could begin to heal.

I have reconnected with friends of the past few years, and they know me as I am and always have been:  goofy, attempting to be serious about life, but easily derailed by any enticement that floats my way.

I am blessed.  I have friends that can look beyond the ice or icing and see me better than I can. And they can gather me in again.

And that is the greatest of comfort to me.

Jane

SAMHAIN

Dark mysterious season,

when the light doesn’t

quite reach the ground,

the trees shadow puppets

moving against the gray of day.

I think over the past year

praying  there has been a

kindling in my soul,

the heart opened

and the juiciness of life is

more than the loins,

a stream of forgiveness

slow flowing through the tough fibers

not stopper’d with an underlying

bitterness

but softened with compassion.

This season of constrictions,

unusual emptiness,

brittle like the dried twigs

desiccated by hoar frost

just to be endured.

I wrap myself in wool and

watch the migrations,

first tender song birds which harken back

to summer,

then Sandhill cranes,

their legs thin banners

streaming behind white bodies,

lost against a snowy sky.

They lift off into a middling cosmos,

while I, earth-bound,

can only flap the wings of my shawl,

poor plumage for such a flight,

and wonder about my destination.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009

Words from Wordsworth and from a Friend.

August 23, 2009

This poem was sent to me  by Berowne, a writer and a friend.

He sent it as a comment to the previous post: “A Passage of Time, The Fruits of Contemplation”.  I find it such a fitting reflection of  my feelings right now, my own contemplation, — I just had to put it on the blog face.

Too much beauty to bury in comments.

Thank you, Berowne.

Lady Nyo

Not useless do I deem
These quiet sympathies with things that hold
an inarticulate language, for those
Once taught to love such objects as excite
No morbid passions, no disquietude,
No vengeance and no hatred, needs must feel
The joy of that pure principle of love
So deeply that, unsatisfied with aught
Less pure and exquisite, they cannot choose
But seek for objects of a kindred love
In fellow-natures, and a kindred joy.

—Wordsworth

Ideas for Surviving these Perilous Times…

July 24, 2009

A very dear friend sent me this email.  I don’t usually do this (post an email as a blog entry) but right now, for our nation and actually the world….there are real issues and stressors out there (and in here) that perhaps some ‘reminder’ like this puts things in perspective.

I don’t even know who originated these 40 suggestions, but they are good ones, and I appreciate this.  Thank you for reminding us.

Some of these really made me think, like the admonishment not to hate….perhaps to forgive, even.  Thanks, Steve.  You are always on the front lines. Also ditching everything that isn’t beautiful, useful or joyful.  I would also add a 41st suggestion:  We adopt more strays.  These hard economic times are hardest on animals that are dumped and forgotten.  The joy of animals and the exchange of love and devotion goes a long way in life.

Steve is also a neighbor and it’s good to have such a friend in for coffee and some heart-talks.  And in these times, friends like Steve are golden.

Lady Nyo


HANDBOOK 2009
Health:
1.       Drink plenty of water.
2.       Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner
like a beggar.
3.       Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less
food that is manufactured in plants.
4.       Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5.       Make time to pray.
6..       Play more games.
7.       Read more books than you did in 2008.
8.       Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9.       Sleep for 7 hours.
10.    Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk,
smile.

Personality:
11.    Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what
their journey is all about.
12.    Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control.
Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13.    Don’t overdo. Keep your limits.
14.    Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15.    Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16.    Dream more while you are awake.
17.    Envy is a waste of time.. You already have all you need.
18.    Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with
His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19.    Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate
others.
20.    Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21.    No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22.    Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.
Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away
like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23.    Smile and laugh more.
24.    You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Society:
25.    Call your family often.
26.    Each day give something good to others.
27.    Forgive everyone for everything.
28.    Spend time w/ people over the age of 70  under the age of  6
29.    Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30.    What other people think of you is none of your business.
31..    Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your
friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:
32.    Do the right thing!
33.    Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
34.    GOD heals everything.
35.    However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36.    No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37.    The best is yet to come.
38.    When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39.    Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

40.    Forgive sincerely.  And wounds heal.

41.     Adopt stray animals.  Really, there is always room for

one more.

One Year of “Lady Nyo’s Weblog” and thanks to my friends

June 20, 2009

It’s been a year now, and checking the stats, there have been 363 entries and twice that of comments.  But the important thing is this:  I started out dedicating this blog to writing, mine and others, and finally, FINALLY~~ I seem to have returned to that with the present “Poetry Workshop”.

This last year has been one of challenges  and real  growth.  It wasn’t nice and painless, but I learned important  things about myself.  And about many around me.

So much was worked out on the blog.  And people saw the transformations and the blemishes.  They also saw the growth of the blog, and the blogger.

I learned I don’t take to fools well, finding an answering chord in my own foolishness.  I don’t like emotional bullies and have learned to call them for what they are, pulling back  the interesting cover they assume.  I also realized  whatever ‘wisdom’ they might have was transitory and not of a lasting grace.  I have learned some men are just cads.

The lessons were hard and tough, and some days I found myself lost. It was the concern of friends who pulled me through and made me laugh… at myself.  Humour is essential to life and without it, the world is pretty dark.

But this is just life and sometimes we act like fools.  The true measure is if we pull up out of  a nose dive and learn…go on.

I have a number of friends who stood by me this entire year of ups and downs.   And some of them have a passing understanding of what they have meant to me:  Bill Penrose, who put together my first book:  “A Seasoning of Lust” published this Feb, 2009; Oxartes, who from Jerusalem, a dear friend and an Orthodox Jew has become a great guide and voice in more than theology. He has made bare the false from the true on this subject and revealed the fakirs. Rose who has become a sister to me; Margie who has resurfaced from a past life and is now contributing to the blog with her poetry; Nick who, along with Bill, grabbed me almost 3 years ago and sat me down in a private writers group; Jerry who has been a heart-friend, almost a litter mate for 45 years; Mary who has been a friend through the thick of it; Katie and Angie and Susan who are a pack of heart witches and the best women to ‘hang with’  (and also great writers);  Brady! Who always makes me laugh and under his bluster, is a very sensitive poet; John Taurus and John Sokol who came out of the local bdsm scene, saw a trainwreck approaching and stood firm and still give the best guidance on weird things; Dr. RK Singh who calls me ‘colleague’ in our poetry efforts, and is just about the most encouraging of writers around; and my husband, Fred who had faith his wife would ‘pull up’ and become a better writer and poet.

All these people (and many I haven’t mentioned because I am half awake this morning) made or contributed to the blog is ways big and small.  Some days they took control of the blog and wrote the entries. Some days they knew I was in no shape to write, but they kept the blog going through their good efforts.

But the point  is this:  This year was a mixture of so many influences and ideas, and over all, it wasn’t a bad one.

Just Longgggg.

So, where are we now?  Well, I have decided to continue the blog for a while, having struggled with the  benefit to a writer.  I am working on two novels  (Agh, Bill, I am following your advice, and I think you must have been  Gestapo in a past life…) “Devil’s Revenge” and “The Kimono” and am preparing a manuscript of poetry:  “White Cranes of Heaven”.

I am happy  a couple of poems and stories have been actually asked for by different publishers: one in Japan (tanka anthology) and another press here in the states.

But  what delights me is  the blog has grown in readership and people tell me ‘it’s entertaining’.  That is gold to the ears of a writer.  I believe this is the best place for the ‘writing impulse’.  It’s a simple issue of storytelling and that really is enough in the span of things.

There has been some private debate about this issue of rewriting poetry and prose.  I see no way around it.  Writing IS rewriting…and those who think they can bypass this are rather foolish in my estimation.  I believe this rewriting is the refining fire and to say it’s not necessary or to push the message that it ‘pollutes and reduces’ the strength of the original ‘thought’ needs additional thinking.

I was one who was ‘too much in love with my words’ in my prose and poetry.  That got knocked out of me when the attempt at communication through those words was falling flat.

The ‘theme du jour’ during the Poetry Workshop running right now is that we Do Not Fear rewriting, in fact, we glory in it.  Better poets through culling and clarifying.  Millions of words out there and we have choices!

Lady Nyo

QUIET BIRDS!

Quiet birds!
I have not changed you into metaphors yet.
Your chatter adds crystallized chaos
to last night’s tokaji droning  upon the brain.
My eyes open with reluctance to splinters of light
challenging soft membranes.

The smell of black coffee cuts
Into the reality I am no longer young.
Nights like last should be wrapped in tissue
locked deep in a trunk, to find when I am past temptations
and have room only for memories and regrets.

Quiet, birds.
The day looks promising.
I await a new flock of metaphors with black polished feathers
to land on my shoulders and weigh me down
with colorful daydreams, peacock words, Bird of Paradise thoughts!

For some reason this morning, words, whole paragraphs,
circle my head, flap off in a thunder of wings,
the laughter of rude crows in my ears.
They leave bird dropping,  a few cracked seeds to begin my penitence;
starvation wages for a poor poet,  left to a flightless life.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2009

With thanks to George Szirtes, for the words: “Quiet Birds, I haven’t changed you into metaphors yet.”

The Poetry Workshop, As Nick Nicholson calls it…

June 12, 2009

has taken off this week.  It was just a small thing amongst fellow poets, but it has been embraced by these poets-friends, and I have some excellent submissions to post, with more promised.

This blog started almost exactly a year ago as  a writer’s blog open to other writers, and it seems that sometimes, some weeks, months, it  diverged from that set task.  All in all, that is fine, there were matters that glimmered and caught our  attention, but now we are back to the basics: writing and right now…poetry.  In particular, the dissection of pieces of poetry and poetry crits.  Actually, Nick has been the one to lead this, and I thank my dear friend for his wonderful efforts.  Nick and I came  out of ERWA (Erotica Readers and Writers Association), basically joining the same time, and we cut our teeth on what we saw and attempted there.  Our guide in the poetry section of ERWA was Gary Russell and he was a good mentor in those things of poetry he introduced.

This week has been a good start, and the stats show that there are over 220 people today reading the blog…and in particular the poetry offerings.  That says many people interested in poetry and of course, we are delighted.

Further, Katie Troutman wrote  last night and said she was delighted in the crits she received and is presently rewriting her poems and making them stronger.  That was  the purpose of this ‘workshop’ and if it does this, then we are succeeding in our efforts.

I’m going to have to slow down a bit right now, because of two situations.  One, we are doing a house remodel, and The Husband needs me to hold up the other end of the 2×4’s, the ladders, hold the end of the chalk line, but there is a constant clean up of debris, dust and plaster.  We bought Festool equipment (fine German technology in carpentry tools) last Xmas, and the best part of it is the vacuum. It gets a workout as we remove walls in place since the 1880’s.  Have you any idea what is behind those walls?  Besides no insulation, there are SPIDERS who look like they could eat eyeballs in a gulp.  There are MORE SPIDERS , and Camel Crickets that jump yards and scare the hell out of you.  My son keeps the Festool suckup away from the spiders and captures them on a broom or in a glass and deposits them in the front garden, but I would  rather suck them up.  I have been bitten and it’s not nice.

Also, I have started another collection of poetry, this time titled “White Cranes of Heaven”, and this  will replace the “Seasoning of Lust, Vol. II”  planned for this fall.   This is a shift for me because there will be very little erotica in this collection, and my friends are chortling at my ‘target marketting” of the first book “Lust”.  A nun, a female rabbi, and 4 90 year old  plus family members and friends of the family are NOT a good market for that first book.  LOL!  I knew that, I tell my friends, but I did hope  a couple were ‘liberal’ enough to embrace this venture.  I was wrong and I seem to be the scarlet woman in my family.  The rabbi still talks to me, but the nun?  She acts very nervous.

So I will parse out the poetry and make it last and hope others chime in with ‘poetry criticism’.  We are not experts here, except for Dr. Singh, but he’s awaiting the Monsoons in Mumbai, and it’s damn hot there he tells me.  It’s damn hot here, too…and the spiders aren’t helping a bit.

Mary sends in a tanka and Susan Clarke from Australia sends in a poem.  I’ll  post them  and perhaps after the weekend, there will be others to jump in the crit circle.

Lady Nyo

Tanka from Mary:

Today is summer

The heat has made roses wilt

Like a sad lover

Crying crystal tears that flow

Can not the tears offer life?

Poem from Susan Clarke:

Weeds

She observes the weeds
multiplying with obscene haste
across every garden bed.
Clandestine seedings
cause multitudes of offspring
to work their way into the light,
mocking her impotence to act.

She observes the weeds,
bees pollinating flowers
that will become cobbler’s pegs or farmer’s friends
depending on your preference.
Her head hurts
as she sees the futility of any effort
to combat their relentless progress
through what should be a garden,
an asset to her home,
a pride and joy.

But she can only see weeds,
a testament to the state of her mind
overgrown with unresolved pain,
longing for a life free of torment.

Her home is untidy,
dirty floors,
old worn furniture.
Anti house-proud
the dust bunnies multiply
in the corners
waiting to be gathered up
by a broom
in a healthy sweep of awareness.

She observes the kitchen
the indifference of family members
brazenly displayed in congealed fat
around the stainless steel sink
red wine and milk stains
stickiness and clumps of crumbs on bench tops.

She observes the open griller gaping
to reveal a crusty cheese coating,
the trash bin lid
covered in grease from food scraps
carelessly scraped in.
bread tags, rubber bands, milk bottle tops and grime
on every surface.
The recycling box is overflowing
the fridge covered in spill stains gone mouldy
the fruit bowl overflowing
with decayed passionfruit, old apples
and mandarins that looked nice
three weeks ago.

She observes her weariness
and remembers observing the same scene
a month ago
and how it mirrored the state of her mind.

Then, as now
she got to work and cleaned up the grime
making the surfaces clean and dry
feeling brief relief and pride
from action taken
ephemeral resolution and peace
a clean tidy house
and a clean tidy mind.

But the weeds remain.

A crit/comment from Katie Troutman:

This poem is wonderful. The imagery is fragrant, sharp, colorful, immediate, and the words slice as cleanly as the images into our psyche. I like the weeds lurking in the background, still looming on the horizon at the end. The image of relentless weeds is a wonderful metaphor for LIFE. Plain, regular, everyday life. No matter how much we do-and we must do it-the everyday things like washing dishes and pulling weeds are always with us. Life is  process. Weeds remind us of that.
Loved it.
Katie

I agree, Katie, I was struck by the pathos and intensity of Susan’s poem….the everyday issues are the basis but I know more about Susan through this poem.  She reveals a lot about herself that connects with others, us, other readers.  I think it’s a good example of lyric poetry…not just a statement of ‘herself’ but the communication that most of us strive to do THROUGH our poetry-  make those connections with humanity.  Not just statements of our lives.

Susan communicates through her poetry in interesting terms.

She cares about this important issue of resonance.

Lady Nyo.

Belly Dance and Sewage…The Stuff of a Good Life.

May 19, 2009

Some pretty funny things happened this weekend.  Funny, in a way…after the mess was cleaned up, and too expensive by far.

Sunday night,  we hear some gurgle from the laundry room.  We didn’t think much about it, until water started seeping under the door.

That got our attention.  The toilet was pouring over the new tile work and there were  inches of water all over the laundry room.  I sto0d in horror looking at the bubbling toilet (I have a special horror of the backs of toilets…where the water and other stuff, those trebuchet-looking things are…)  and I wasn’t going near that.

Long story short, we had a collapsed sewer line due to our lovely misplaced plum trees by the driveway.  Roto Rooter brought up tons of roots, and we are forced to put in new water and sewer lines….84 feet from the street tie in.  $10,000.00 worth of work.

Well, we have been lucky…sort of.  This house is 1880’s.  The sewer lines were put in around 1920.  The shelf life of cast iron for this is about 30 years, or so says the plumbers…

Last night they moved in their equipment to the garden.  Oh Jesus!  It’s a backhoe, and some other piece of equipment to cut concrete.  Lovely.   The new sewage line (and water line next to it) is right in the path of fruiting blueberry bushes, of a number of years duration, and 22 tomato bushes…some with flowers.  There are also rose bushes against the high wall of the house:  a Madame Alfred Carriere and a Cecile Brunner…all about 15 years of growth.  The first covers the wall 35 feet up and the second covers the chimney at about 20 feet.  We have no idea what the lurking monsters below will do to them, but we have been removing rock walls and bushes since dawn.

This should be a really interesting day at Clach Mhullinn.  That’s the Gaelic name for our historic house:  “Millstone around the Neck”.

Yes, it is.

Well, that is the sewage part of this entry.  Nice, have you had breakfast yet?

Belly Dance part:

I have been quiet about belly dancing lately, mostly because I haven’t been doing it..and I am paying the price.  My back is going out, and without at least 3 days practice, it does that.  My students have slacked off to for various reasons, and that’s fine, too.  One had a life changing experience (she got married at 60 and moved to another state), one fell out of bed and hurt her hip…and one just was a slacker.

The slacker is a friend but Brenda won’t MOVE!! That is a cardinal sin if you want to be a bellydancer…you have to shake, rattle and roll. Brenda is a good person, kind to dogs, the local wildlife, etc….but she is afraid to MOVE.  I try to go slow…very slow, and she makes a stab at it…but damn, she ends up watching me, and that makes me nervous.

But I have two new students who are, or were, bellydance students so they know what to expect.  Some women put on a coin scarf and shake their fanny and squeal in delight, and then squeal in pain the next day because if you don’t warm up, take it slowly…you gonna be in a bit of pain.

That seems to end the interest of many women early on.  It’s pretty vigorous, and the muscles, your whole damn structure has  to get used to the core movements  before you go all out.  It can take a year to work up to that.

But Hope and Dance Springs Eternal!  Silvi and Robin are more experienced in this stuff and though they haven’t danced in years, the muscle memory will kick in.  Plus they are bringing the wine.  They drink a lot of wine in the evenings or weekends, and I thought: what the hell.  Why not?  We are all adults and perhaps it will cap the gyrations.

But I am glad to get back to bellydance, because a lot of other things had taken up my time and energy.  Like writing, like this blog…..like fighting.  I done give out.

Belly dance is transcendent. It moves you into a headspace that is trance like.  With two good friends, sitting down, passing a bottle of wine around and sweat?

Can’t beat that with a stick.  Less mental, just muscle memory.

A veritable vacation!

Lady Nyo

The Blessing of Friends….

May 17, 2009

This has been a week from Hell.  But it’s now Sunday, and an appropriate day to give thanks.  Perhaps every day is the same, but I’m getting it in because friends need to know how much they mean to me. Even one who is annoyed at me right now.  I will come back to my old self soon. Just give me a little time, darlin’.

All these are writer friends for some reason.  They have been friends for a year to many, many years.  One is a musician and my oldest friend.  Most of them show up on this blog, either with comments or smack on the blog face.  I couldn’t write this damn blog without their support.  Or their friendship.

MaryMargaret (shia) is my rock.  Her heart is enormous, her counsel steadfast and good, and I wake most mornings with her email telling me to get up and shake a leg.  She offers up much for  the souls in purgatory, being a good Catholic, and she makes me laugh.  I have such a fine friend in Mary.  I can’t remember what life was like before her.  We have spent lots of money on phone calls, but we try to curb that right now because of economics….When the economy recovers we will be burning up the lines again.

If Mary is my rock, Nick is my staff.  Nick has been a heavy writing influence in my life.  He has been a constant for over 2.5 years, and we both have grown in this time as writers.  Nick is also a fabulous musician, and produced “Angel Factory”, composed all by him and all instruments played by him.  It is one of my very favorite cds and I am going to about wear it out, but he promises to send me another.

Angie is half my age, with twice my sense. She is another rock and a real Southern woman…notice I didn’t write ‘lady’.  She has too much energy and vigor and she’s a fighter.  Once she crashes on vampires, I think she will be the new Faulkner.  Angie is one of the most generous writers I know…always pushing me towards publishing, always getting me opinions and resources.

Phil is a very special friend. If Mary is my rock, Phil is my mountain…Snowdon comes to mind.  His voice is hypnotic but he knows that. He calls me frequently from Wales and a day hearing his beautiful voice can change the course of events. He’s pissy  at me right now with  some  reason.  I’ll return to my old self soon, Phil…you know how I am.  Your friendship is precious, and your advice is golden.  We’ll get back to normal..well, as normal as we get.

Rose is my long winded friend, but she is also one that is like a littermate. She has guided my writing, actually likes my poetry! and has been there at the worse of times.  I think we have the same mother…in fact I know we do.  Rose I love so much that sometimes it hurts.  She is just a bit (lol!) younger than I, but she is more like the older sister I never had.  And she is an incredible writer.  She understands everything.

Bill is another mountain, and one of the funniest men I know.  “A Seasoning of Lust” would not be on this earth without his hard work.  He stands ready to do Volume II this fall, but he’s also right now writing a blockbuster: “Mortal Turpitude” and it’s a page turner.  Bill and Nick are two of the strongest writing influences in my life.  He dragged me into eroticrits , our private writing group, just Nick , Bill and I , and it’s a oasis at times for me.

Katie Troutman I adore.  I formed “Not Dead Yet”, our main writing group because I wanted to get close to her and learn her tricks. Katie has become an incredible friend and confident.  She is an incredible artist, too, doing amazing paintings on gourds and furniture.  Katie has walked through Hell with me and I will walk through Hell with her.  Come to think of it, every person I mention here has done so.  We try to support each other, and they have all taught me more about loyalty and friendship than anything else in my life.

Jerry is a particularly dear friend, of over 40 years in the making. I’ve written about him here before, and that he still tolerates me after all these years speaks of a deep love. That is clear.  Jerry is also one of the finest studio musicians around.  He can play anything including goat hair.

Ox is the Rabbi of our group. We get our religion and big doses of the Torah from him. We also get commonsense, love and good cheer.  He has been writing “Oxnotes” for a year now…maybe longer, and we await his special distillation of his particular Jewish wisdom. Ox worries us when the bombs fall or explode because he is in a particular part of the world that violence is a daily trial. Must worse than Detroit.  Ox also is very dear to my heart because he writes much multicultural stories….and is a cheerleader for decency in erotica.  Ox, you are a decent man.  We are are devoted to you.

Brady is our comedian. He is also a devoted friend.  We tease him about adjusting his meds, and he recently had a knee removed, or maybe it was a testicle, we get mixed up.  He is very generous with his meds….and we are not picky.  A very sentimental man who has personally taught me something about faith.  I should listen more, Brady.

Susan is our resident tart! She is courageous in her writing and adventurous in her life.  We live through Susan’s exploits.  Susan is  writing an incredible journal of the last year, and it’s a pot boiler.  Excellent writer who we grabbed when she first appeared on the scene. A new, but very charming friend.  She’s a keeper.

Margie!  Margie isn’t in any writing group, but she’s a fine writer. She also my cousin through almost marriage.  I’ve known Margie for many years and I love her dearly.

I almost forgot my best friend: my husband, Fred.  For 24 years he has shown himself to be the kindest and calmest man I have ever known. People who know us well wonder if we ever fight..We kind of do, but it doesn’t seem to effect us much.  Perhaps we have short attention spans:

“Silent night, holy night, oh look! a froggie! Can I have a cookie? And why is France so far away?”

That about sums up our attention to slights.  Where others are mountains, Fred is the lump in the bed, the encompassing warmth that soothes me to sleep, the sharp toenails that rake my ankles…oh! wait, that’s his complaint. But all in all, I am very blessed to be married to such a sexy guy.  And a best friend as a husband is golden.

Tonight I love all the above dearly, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get pissy.  We just know when to kiss and make up.  I guess we have held hands and hearts and we know life throws curves.  We got our backs.

There are other friends, but the pill I took for my shoulder is kicking in, it starts with Hydro something and I am getting goofy.  I’ll have to ask Brady our resident pusher what it is…but it works!

I am so blessed to know these people and to hear their voices periodically, mostly in loving terms, but also yelling at me when I most need it.  But that is the way of love and friendship and as I said,

I am deeply blessed.  And I am now going to sleep.

Lady Nyo

Damn….I’m slow. GET A GRIP, Jane!

March 20, 2009

I should mention here that I have been invited this weekend to guest blog on “OhGetAGrip”.

Lisabet Sarai invited me a while ago, right after “A Seasoning of Lust” came out.  I am very grateful to her (and others… ) for the invite.

http://ohgetagrip.blogspot.com/

Her topic was belly dancing and the effects on her earlier life.

I am posting a blog entry on belly dancing, so hit that site if you want to read.  However, hit that site anyway because it’s a great site with some GREAT writers:  Helen Madden, RG, Lisabet, Garce, and others.

FIRST DAY OF SPRING and I’m ready for some big changes.

Later for that, next week, but have some new news…

Lady Nyo


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