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seagulls and masts. Is this image serene or is it "so much to do, so little time"?

seagulls and masts. Is this image serene or is it “so much to do, so little time”?

Last week I made appointments and this week I followed through.

On Wednesday I gave a talk at Gilda’s Club.  They’re starting a series called “Members Speak”, and the series is front loaded with members who have public speaking experience.   My talk was the second in the once a month series.  Timing at the end of August is tricky.  Things are generally slow in the clubhouse as everyone is either taking their last vacation or getting the kids back to school.  Even so, I had more than double the attendance from the July talk!

My speech was titled: “Ooops I Did It Again!”.  I spoke about the differences both medically and personally that I’ve seen with two cancer diagnoses 24 years apart.  I talked about the niggly voice in your head, and anyone who has had cancer knows it, that wonders what will happen if you have to face cancer again. I talked about how important reading Gilda Radner’s book was to me 24 years ago, and how disappointed I was that a clubhouse like that didn’t exist.  I talked about how valuable my experience with Gilda’s Club has been this past year, as a member and a volunteer.  I got good feedback.  When I was done and we chatted after everyone stayed and was engaged in the conversation.

The Riverboat cruises all the way down the Mississippi. Sounds like a fun escape!

The Riverboat cruises all the way down the Mississippi. Sounds like a fun escape!

I met with a professional seamstress/tailor about what to do with my wardrobe.  She’s a friend I haven’t seen in some time so it was nice to catch up.  I got a tour of her gardens along with a lovely cup of tea.   What was fun was going through my basket of fabrics I’ve collected over the years.  We have similar tastes in fabric and styles.   I’m excited to be turning clutter into function.  This week we’ll go shopping for patterns and notions.

Having a meeting in the sunshine on a sailboat. YES!

Having a meeting in the sunshine on a sailboat. YES!

The photo gallery is from this weekend and my meeting with a web designer.  This is definitely the way to do a meeting.  We had perfect weather and wind for a sail, a lovely conversation, and we also determined that we are a good “fit” in terms of taste and style.  She will be sending me a “to-do” list, essentially holding my hand through the process of producing an up to date website that actually serves as a promotion tool.

School starts, and I maintain that I am enculturated to also start new things in the fall.   It’s when my energy is geared up and willing to take on new tasks.  Some of that is the drop in average daily temperature.   It’s easier to be active when it’s just a little cooler and the air isn’t as thick.

What are you starting this fall?



I often start the autumn decorating in August, with the first harvest.  Then add and subtract all the way through Thanksgiving.  This year though it’s taken me until now to start thinking about Halloween decorating.  It’s the neighbors that got me started.  All those walks around the block are becoming inspirational.

Orion in Mazatlan

Orion in Mazatlan

I was surprised at how few actual Halloween decorations I could find.  I suspect several of the things I know I’ve got somewhere are too practical to be tucked away.  I know I have a few serving platters and baskets.  The gourds and corn may have all been tossed.  Over the years they can get a little nasty in the damp basement.

What I did find was my Brujeria.   I picked her up in Mazatlan when I was there with Orion for his High School graduation trip.  She’s too delicate to ship well.  (I’ve been glueing bits back on ever since.)  But I loved her attitude.  Halloween, Samhein, Dios de los Muertos all come together for me in this little witch.

I’ve always enjoyed the fall.  The cooler weather appeals to me.  In Minnesota fall is much more dependable a season than spring.  Denial of winter is easy as long as the snow doesn’t get too thick on the ground.  I’ve trick-or-treated in snow pants and boots, but most of the time those early snows don’t linger.

On the other side of the year it doesn’t seem like spring until something green is poking out from the ground.  That doesn’t often happen when there’s still melting snow.  In Minnesota spring can last a day or a week, but fall can go on for months September-October-November.  Sometimes it feels like fall in August, but it’s still summer at least until Labor Day, regardless of the weather.

It’s a good time of the year for fires in the fireplace, or even a bonfire outdoors.  It’s all about being dressed in layers.  Sweaters, woolens, deep pockets and hats but mostly sweaters.  It’s not unusual to see a sweater with shorts, or a wool coat and shoes – no socks.  There are plenty of people here who will hang on to wearing sandals until the snow really flies.



At this time of year it’s easy to be aware of the presence of our ancestors.  I think about the fishing and hunting this time of year as a way to gather enough to make it through the winter.  I think about my own ancestors wishing for a little more warm to get in the crops and a little more cold to make refrigeration possible.  When I pick up sticks in the yard I’m planning kindling for when the woodpile is buried under the snow.

The Brujeria thinks like this at all times, in all seasons.  She lives in harmony with the world around her, even when she is at odds with the culture.  She gathers her ingredients when the time is right and uses them at her own discretion as the need arises.  She feels the changing of the seasons in her bones and readies herself and her clients for whatever she foresees.

This year I’m hoping she’ll help me with that!


PART_1411156911626_20140919_124335With the Fall equinox upon us I’ve started to notice the signs of autumn creeping up.   The leaves are just beginning to turn.  The trees that have been severely stressed by our odd weather are further along, but the majority are just hinting at colors.

That stress is definitely in the air.  One day the highs are barely above 60F  the next they’re well into the 70’s.  Mornings are cool, almost cold when they are damp.  There’s been hard frost further north and it would not be unseasonable to see some here in the city.  It’s difficult to dress for such unpredictable, changeable weather.PART_1411157001023_20140919_124008






The sun shines, equal with the darkness.  It still carries warmth with its light,  but that warmth seems more focused.  It gets hot in the car, if it’s in the direct sun, but the warmth doesn’t creep past the edges of the shadows of the tree line.PART_1411156928515_20140919_124253-2

I’ve had a fire or two in the fireplace, trying not to turn on the heat.  It’s difficult to crawl out of bed when the temperature in the house is below 65.   When I do turn on the furnace (because it’s impossible to get out of a warm tub when the air is that cold) I try to remember to turn it off again.  Sometimes I get to wondering why I’m so hot before it occurs to me I’ve forgotten.PART_1411156884393_20140919_124529

At least with the heat on the air is filtered.  The cool and damp is ideal for mold – one of my worst allergies.  It will get worse before it gets better as leaves fall into mulch.  Soon I’ll be begging for the hard freeze, but I wouldn’t begrudge a few more weeks of summer weather after. PART_1411156845480_20140919_124552

Happy Autumnal Equinox!


Previous Equinox blogs:








100_4359As we approach the autumnal equinox I am finding myself torn.  On the one hand I feel this “start-up” energy that comes with the beginning of school and the bounty in the gardens.  On the other hand I recognize the shortening of days, the approaching darkness.

After this coming weekend our nights will be longer than our days.  This is great for romantics, evening walks in the cool sunset and not too late nights under the stars.  This is not so great for mornings, getting up before the sun makes getting up that much harder.

Spiritually, the dark side of the year is an opportunity to explore the “hidden” parts of ourselves.  This can be working with darker aspects that we don’t like to acknowledge or just spending more time in quiet meditation.  It’s a time to work through old issues and clear out the attics of our souls.

It’s also a time to nurture ourselves.  Those tender seeds sprouting from that fall planting need time to gain strength before they break through into the light.  There is the nesting that comes with the harvest season.  The gardens are put to bed, fruits and vegetables canned.   I have an urge to bake, keeping the house warm without turning on the heat.

This is my third blog on the autumnal equinox.  I’ve written about Choice and I’ve written about Balance.   This year though I am headed into the darkness.  I’ve reached an age where it’s important to me to be honest with myself about myself.  I have to look at making some changes to my lifestyle, pruning away the things that interfere with my ability to truly prosper and grow. 100_3493

These are small seeds I plant in my heart this season.  The dark is scary and compelling.  There will not always be a light to guide my way.  I’ve commented on several of your blogs how facing fear, taking the risk and moving forward is the best way to grow confidence.  Maybe I’ve been talking to myself all along.

Blessings on your equinox.  May the balance shift in your favor.


Hints of fall color on the sumac

Labor Day has so many meanings, but it always seems to signal the end of summer.  The fall migration has started.  We may have been ignoring it for the last few weeks, but once Labor Day has passed, the move is inevitable.

It’s odd this shift into an autumnal attitude.  The weather is still hot, the air full of allergens and the days are still (for a few weeks more) longer than the nights.  I suspect some of it is living far enough north that the threat of winter is a little more urgent.  We’ve had some pretty crazy weather the past few years, but I remember the Halloween blizzard – over 20″ of snow Oct 31-Nov 1.  I know that in Minnesota, Trick or Treating involves coats over or under the costumes most years.

Mom’s tomatoes are nearly done

I also think some of it is cultural.  I don’t have anyone in household starting school this fall.  Still, there is something in my world view that says things begin at this time of year.  It’s always been a good time for me to start new projects.  Diets and exercise that I start in the fall have a greater chance of success.  My best relationship memories, all the way back to high school, involve walking through the fallen leaves.

Storing up for the winter

The geese won’t really start moving until we get closer to frost.  There is an increase in food gathering, but hibernation is a Thanksgiving event.  Still the migration has started.  The hummingbirds, first to go, are  diminished in their ranks.  Even our state bird, the loon, makes its way to warmer climates.

Ready for the school migration.

We may no longer be a migratory people, but we migrate in our habits.  We stop planning the backyard BBQ’s and start planning the tail-gating parties.   We run the winter coats to the cleaners and send the children back to their regularly scheduled days.  Our diets begin to shift from corn on the cob and melons to squashes and apples.  The air conditioner may still run during the day, but the windows are open at night, or even closed to keep the warmth in against the evening breezes.

Only one hummingbird where 20 used to be common.

Is there a migration in your life this fall?

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