Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Fall into the Drink

This past Sunday Corby and I went out to Kehoe Beach. You have to wade across a narrow part of the lagoon to get from the dunes to the beach, as you may be able to tell in the panorama. It was windy and cool with some high fog. The surf was rough and loud, but the dune grass offered shelter from the winds if you just want to sit and meditate. I had no trouble getting there. On the return walk, however, the mud seemed to give out under me when I first stepped into the water, even though I thought I was being very careful, and down I went into the drink. Pants, T-shirt, sweatshirt, vest, and pack, all soaked. I attempted to break my fall with my right arm by reaching for the dune behind me. It felt like my arm took the full weight of my body because my stiff forearm rammed up into my elbow. It hurt like hel. Corby ran back and helped me up, then back across the water, where we found a log and I sat down in shock while he squeezed water from the looser clothing and fished around in my pack for my camera and phone. Evidently they were deep enough in my pack and I was out of the water fast enough that they didn't get wet. My watch, which also got wet, seems to have survived and still runs.

I didn't much enjoy the walk back was through lush Spring wildflowers, because I was kind of nauseous from shock. I just wanted to get back to the car and take off my wet, sandy, clammy clothes. Fortunately I had a sweater and a small blanket in the car.

Now my arm in quite swollen and hurts a lot. I think it's a sprain. I've iced it and taped it to keep it immobile and taken lots of Ibuprofen. Typing is difficult but not as bad as one might think because my wrist, hand and fingers seem okay. I've had to clumsily feed myself, try to unscrew jars, brush my teeth and comb my hair with my left hand. I can't turn my arm palm up. I can't drive.

And dang! I had to miss my Goddess Grace class tonight. More about that anon.

In the meantime, Happy Solstice to all!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ms. Deirdre Turns 30

Sunday was a big day in my life and in my daughter's: she turned 30. This is one of the most recent photos I have of her, a playful one from her wedding to Donald on Rodeo Beach in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in October of 2004.

Judy Chicago's 'The Dinner Party'

Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party, after years in storage, will be moving to its permanent home at the Brooklyn Art Museum this coming March. No notice has been published on the website yet. However, there's a cool replication of Lady Liberty going on for a long-term installation.

Here are two articles about a 2002 exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.

I had the privilege of viewing the original exhibition at the SF Museum of Art back in 1979 (back when the museum was housed in the SF Civic Center, before the erection of its new digs at Yerba Buena Center). It's breathtaking.
In March, 1979, The Dinner Party premiered at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where it attracted record crowds, helped to balance the museum's annual budget and catapulted Judy Chicago into a new level of fame. However, at the same time as people all over the country were clamoring to see The Dinner Party, museums were refusing to exhibit it, even those that had previously committed to shows. At the end of its first 'triumphant' exhibition, The Dinner Party went into storage, Judy Chicago went into shock and the many people involved in The Dinner Party studio scattered.
I have no doubt it will continue to have a great emotional impact upon viewers lo this quarter century later, even though women's rights have advanced much since then. I intend to make a pilgrimage.

Thanks to my friend Amy Luna Manderino for this tip.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


This is a photo of a very young, and still healthy, Raven Moonshadow after the Spiral Dance at the SF Women's Building in 1982. He's standing in front of the "soul tree" (hung with clay skulls of various sizes made by sculptor Eleanor Myers (not visible in this shot)) wearing Moira's crow headdress that I'd worn during the ritual that night, and for some unknown reason of his own holding his teddy bear. This was the year after Gwydion Pendderwen passed. Sadly, the photographer, Ken Willard, is also on the other side of the veil with Raven and Gwydion.

Saturday at McClure's Beach

Corby and I spent Saturday afternoon at McClure's Beach on the Point Reyes Peninsula, a piece of land to the west of the San Andreas Fault. I find this place incredibly restorative. I bring no notebook, no sketchpad, this time only a camera. Mostly I just sit there and watch the waves or walk along the strand letting the ninth waves wash over my feet. You can see what a busy place it is, simply teeming with people everywhere.

The little girl is playing on the rocks while Corby is climbing around on the other side taking photos of tidepools.

(Forgive the klutziness of this layout. I'm only just beginning to learn the mysteries of composing a page with photos on it. It's been frustrating. I'm lucky to have gotten this far.)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

More on Dalai Lama

Although I have more reflections about this event to share, in the meantime this came from the organizers:

On April 15, 2006, His Holiness the Dalai Lama traveled to San Francisco to attend an historic event, embracing his Muslim brothers and sisters, as well as other world faiths, to foster mutual understanding and to celebrate our common humanity.

We have finally been able to post the photographs that were taken at the event. ... Please click on the link here ... to review and purchase photographs, additional pins, and to join further discussion about the event. ...

At a time when the world is experiencing and witnessing more suffering and rising tensions between faiths, it was the goal of this gathering to promote open discourse about our commonalities centered on dignity, respect, love, and compassion. As a result of the event, over 200 publications and 50 news stations around the world covered the event. Each of us, our families, friends, communities and faith-groups, are talking, thinking about, and acting with more tolerance, care and compassion.

This event was the first step of many to gather with one voice representing the overwhelming majority of people of faith who live moderate and normative lives of service, mercy, and compassion. The goal: a world without violence, respectful of diversity. This gathering demonstrated to the world that a calm dialogue between a broad cross section of Muslim and other scholars and religious, community, and business leaders highlights the ideals and precepts of each faith that speak from the center of the heart and resonate through all faiths.

To each and every one who attended, supported and assisted with the event, we thank you from our hearts.

Fifty news stations and 200 publications, wow! I knew there were a lot there but this is way more than I realized.

I checked out the photos and found none that show Don, Patrick, Barbara or me. Photos of the pre-gathering panels begin around #364. (You can sort of see the backs of our heads in some of them. We were in the third row, to the left in those photos.) We were told absolutely no cameras, at least not for us guests. We complied. I still feel good about this all these six weeks later.

Shadowfax Is Gone

When our dear Raven moved into Maitri Hospice care, he needed people to adopt his pets. Two of them were his familiars, black cats named Shadowfax and Lilith Nightmare. He wanted his little kitties to stay together. They came to live with us in February or March of 1996.

At the time we adopted them we tried to get as much info about them from Raven as we could. He said Lilith was 5 and Shadow was 10. Neither seemed that old. We do know that they were adult cats, probably at least 3 or 4 years old. It also quickly became clear to us when they came into heat for the first time with us that they were the lesbians Raven said they were. However, our circumstances and our conscience dictated that they be spayed, after which they took no sexual interest in one another. They occasionally licked each other’s nose, more frequently harassed each other, particularly around mealtimes.

We sometimes call Lilith our little Sicilian cat for her muscular build and short glossy hair. She likes to roll in the dust and sleep in the sunshine. She’s the mascot of our condo complex, greeting everyone who comes up the driveway with a croaking sort of sound, wreathing their legs and soliciting attention.

Shadow, OTOH, was an elfin cat, with very fine, long, fluffy fur, very delicate of build, light, relaxed, a real lap cat who generally preferred male laps but would happily drape herself across a female if one sat down. Much shyer than Lilith, she preferred to stay closer to home and shade more than sun, indoors or outdoors depending on where her humans were, especially Corby.

Sometime over the years Lilith’s eye was damaged, in a fight, we think. Her left eye is dead now yet she seems generally comfortable. She’s too old to have it surgically removed, not to mention the cost. There may come a time when we’ll need to give her some pain medication as the eye gets worse. In the meantime, she’s a happy geriatric cat.

Not so with Shadow. She developed tumors on her teats. We monitored them and took her to the vet periodically for his opinion. They were not going to go away. He said they’d probably eventually grow into her organs and kill her, but again, she was old and somewhat frail so surgery was not an option. During the last few months we treated her with expensive oral antibiotics to retard the rotting of her flesh (and accompanying disgusting smell of rotting flesh). The antibiotics didn’t work so well after a while; we used a stronger one. We bathed her tumors in pau d’arco tea in hopes that would help retard their growth, or at least keep her relatively clean.

When I was away at Dandelion Gathering she took off and didn’t return for a few days. Corby had assumed she’d gone off to die. Then about three nights later she returned and curled up in the flower bed outside our kitchen window, but didn’t want to come in. She ate a bite or two of chicken out of Corby’s hand, and she purred for a few seconds when petted. She seemed generally responsive but very weak. Her breathing was labored. She disappeared in the morning and returned in the evening for a few more days.

During these last two weeks we phoned several house-call vets, emergency vet clinics, and her regular doctor inquiring about euthanasia. Even to take her into emergency the price we were given was $185. We kept in touch with the doctors but never made a firm appointment. We were conflicted, since she seemed to be passing in a manner of her own choice.

Then one evening she came indoors. I kept her indoors so we could monitor her better, even though she seemed to want to leave. She managed to get upstairs and rest under our bed for a few more days. She didn’t come out. She purred a bit when we reached under to talk with her and pet her. She got skinnier and skinnier and her coat lost its lustre. This Tuesday evening she came downstairs and wanted out. We let her. She’d walk a few feet and then lie down breathing hard. She managed to get herself down the steep, shady, leaf-strewn hillside where there was no human traffic and settle herself under some boards. Corby followed her. He went down to see how she was a couple of times that night and again in the morning.

On Wednesday we took her to the Marin Humane Society -- wonderful people! She resisted, the poor sweet thing, but she was so weak and so miserable we thought it best to give her deliverance. With her last little bit of energy, she bit on the lip the woman who’d been whispering in her ear to soothe and comfort her as she went.

She was a sweet, dear kitty, loving and much loved in return. Our lives were enriched by having her live with us these past ten years. We’ll miss her. In love may she return again.