31/365/2015 Party Prep


I went out early this morning and got the food for tomorrow’s party, and groceries for the week. No, we won’t be eating only onions, but I liked the visual appeal of the bowl after I got the shopping unpacked, and you’ve seen several shots of my “ready to cook” counter later. I thought I would show you something else. Besides, I wanted to let you all know that I bought fresh garlic today because I learned last night how easy it is to “crush garlic with side of knife.” I know I am so ignorant in the kitchen. I can only say that both my grand-dad and my step-father were men who preferred simple foods, so I learned my kitchen skills from simple cooks. The spice cabinet consisted of salt, pepper, onion powder, Italian seasoning and bacon grease. “Crush the garlic” is not something I ever saw anyone do until I asked someone to show me.

While I was out, I had to remind the guy at the liquor store that he was supposed to be working in a no-judgment zone. I guess most people buy their alcohol a bit at a time, instead of running out of everything and then waiting a few more weeks to go replace any of it. HA!

You know how sometimes you take a nap and you feel refreshed? And other times you take one, and you sleep so long and so hard that you spend the rest of the day muddle-headed? Guess which one I had today? I’m trying to get alert enough to make a pie and mix up sausage balls. These are easy enough things, but…..I can’t quite get there.

I’ll be thinking of Aunt Janey while I make the sausage balls. She made the first ones I ever ate, and I can’t even think of them without seeing her face, and hearing her say my name. She could make “Denise” sound like “You are precious and loved.” I miss that.

10/365/2015 Bittersweet–some pieces come with stories


So, I posted a photo of the unfinished Bittersweet yesterday, and I told you there would be more about it later. Welcome to “more.” I finished this piece last night, cuddled up on the couch watching Netflix. (BTW, if you haven’t checked out “Ripper Street,” it’s a decent period piece from BBC America, and makes good cuddled-up-and-knitting fodder. Find your own cuddle-ee.) I call this piece Bittersweet because that’s the name it has earned.

Bittersweet is supposed to be a bit larger than it is, because there are supposed to be two more balls of yarn in it. Unfortunately, on multiple levels, I have lost contact with the holder of the rest of this yarn. I’d put the piece down in September or October when I realized that I was very near the end of what was in my possession, figuring to pick it up again when I had the rest of the yarn. Yesterday, I made myself finish it with what I had on hand. That is to say, yesterday I achieved another measure of closure. This piece is the last tangible tie between then and now. I have put the rest away already.

As you can see, it’s pretty short and a bit frillier than my normal work. The extra length and weight would have worked most of that frilliness out, but it is usable as is, particularly if I put a button on it instead of closing it with a brooch. It will go well with many of my brown clothes, and it’s a good accent piece. And it feels divine around my neck, being mostly cashmere. But, Bittersweet. I do not know if I will ever wear it again or not.

Now it is going to appear that I am changing subjects, but I’m really not. I related the story of this piece and the yarn to a friend of mine this morning. And I thought I was done. And then, when my mouth stopped moving, my mind started working. The pattern recognition software that is installed in my brain went tick, Yarn Holder, tick, Step-father, TICK, Father. Walls of silence are not a new phenomena for me. Walls of unbeing. This feeling is one to which I have become accustomed due to prolonged and repeated exposure.

This is how I know that homosexuals really are born that way. Because men, as has been noted by one who knows me well, have been a firestorm on my life. And not just husbands/friends/lovers, but also men in the form of fiduciary guardians. Maybe moreso in that capacity, because there is such an element of…dentrayal. That’s a made up word. It means denial and betrayal. Which is a word that had to be made up because there is no other word to go with the usually mutually exclusive actions of denial and betrayal. I often say that if I had a choice, I would be gay, because men. But I can’t. The best I can do is asexuality, and that only works for a few years at a time.

And this also brings me back around to non-attachment. It is only because I practice non-attached loving that I am able to handle some situations with any grace at all. Because I don’t want to be bitter. I choose not to be angry. And the principles of non-attachment allow me to say “You are perfect in your (insert name)ness. Namaste.” The principles of non-attachment allow me to let go of that which is not meant for me without leaving claw marks on relationships or people.

I noted today that I have come a long way in regards to my dad’s death. I can reflect on him when I bring him consciously to mind without distress these days. I’ve had a number of comforting dreams lately in which he appeared. But when my subconscious does its work, when my own brain slaps me with that loss from out of nowhere…then I am a small and wounded child again.

Janus’ Joy


These are the items that made it into my Joy Jar for 2014. And, yes, I already have a jar for 2015, though I have to take the wild rice out of it so I can use it. There are a lot of good memories in here, and you should know that things got so crazy after my move that there are many beautiful moments that aren’t represented because I forgot to drop in a stone when they happened. Yet, the jar is still so full I have to stuff the things in to make them all fit. 2014 was a large and wonderful year for me, and I haven’t added a marker from last night or from my recent trip yet. I need to do that today.

But it is the bittersweet, the Janus part, that I want to talk about today. There are a great number of items that represent time and adventures spent with someone I am very unlikely to see again. I look back, and I smile, because these events happened and I was filled with joy in those moments. I look forward and know they will not happen anymore, and I am saddened. Janus. I see in both directions.

In the past I would have, mostly without noticing, erased all these events from my mind. I am very good at Dissociative Memory Loss, having had four decades of practice. Today, I am deciding I don’t want to do that. I would lose the pain, but I would also lose all that joy. The trade-off is not worth it. I want to keep the joy, and so I will sit with the pain as well. Later today, I will go through the trinkets, and I will record in my journal the joyful memories around this person so that I have the joy forever. And then I will finish letting the person go. It’s quite possible that I should have done this yesterday, in the old year, but I was busy doing yet more joyful things yesterday and so did not have time to sit and reflect in a manner worthy of what I want to record for myself.

I had an interesting discussion on the way to New York about non-attachment. My travel companion thinks that you cannot love someone as deeply in a non-attached way as you can in an attached way. I disagree. I think that choosing to love someone without expectations allows both parties to enter into relationship fully and freely for as long as they mutually choose to do so. And it allows a relationship to follow its natural course– even when the parties change and the relationship does not go the way I hope. It makes it easier for me to continue to think of them with fondness, to genuinely wish for them peace and joy and all good things. It makes me more willing to sit with the pain of loss, because I still get to count all the joy as mine.

Non-attachment doesn’t preclude hurt and confusion, but it does preclude anger, because if I have no expectations from the outset, there is nothing to be angry about. Non-attachment allows me to continue to love someone, even when we are no longer in communion. I’ll take that over bitterness any day of the week.

Response art


I made this after finishing Artful Grief.  I’ve called it “when the heart is broken, love pours out.”

Start of another art


“Professional Grief”

People I used to be




Years of undergrad syllabi, exams, papers, and journals.