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Jan. 9th, 2014 @ 02:18 pm Six weeks
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: River of Dreams- Billy Joel
It’s been six weeks since I almost died. Four weeks of my brain not working the same because it was fighting the infection in my leg. Six different antibiotics over three weeks. One week in the hospital where I was in three rooms, had two beds, saw at least twenty doctors and only had one bad caregiving experience. It’s been four weeks since I puked in the shower from the pain. I’ve had countless doses of five types of pain medication. I’ve missed four weeks of work - three of them without pay. Filled out dozens of forms. I haven’t received a bill yet. I did get a huge foam cushion to elevate my leg and a huge bottle of thick unscented lotion. Lots of skin has peeled off.
The amazing part was that I stayed in my body though out my illness. Present, noticing what was happening. Feeling everything from the inside. I was close to the veil a couple of times. The threshold to death. But it was inside me rather than outside where I’ve experienced it before. It was strange to feel death inside me but it wasn’t scary. Scary is knowing that I’m more vulnerable to reinfections. That cuts, scrapes, and blisters are now causes for alarm. My life and body have changed again and I’m grateful for it all.
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Jan. 2nd, 2014 @ 01:52 pm Good Bye 2013
Current Location: front desk
Current Mood: boredbored
Current Music: office being packed up
Here's the highlights mostly in chronological order.

Started with critique group
Wrote book proposal
Got several poems accepted for FPS2 book
Blood sugar controlled
Was bumped down from supervisor position
Tossed out BB rough draft
Started writing memoir
Brigid book release in Chicago
Performed at Disability Pride festival for payment
Hubby went through 2 temporary jobs
Summer writing retreat
Had 4 workshops at NWMF
Officiated my first wedding
Supported a friend through the aftermath of being raped
Started a new photo project
Hubby was in ER and hospital a couple of times for chest pain
Cancelled cable and home phone
Chapbook was Quarter Finalist
Excommunicated from national organization
Ordained as a Priestess of Her Being
Girlfriend moved in to our apartment
Figured out how to structure BB
Hubby started full time job for the first time in a year
Laid off from FPRC
Went to Abundia
Started new job at OCPD
Had cellulitis spent a week in the hospital and 3 weeks at home recovering
Ended the year writing, swimming, reading, and resting

This was a full year. I knew I was going to focus on writing and not travel as much but I didn’t know that our financial situation would get as bad as it did, cutting out most of the things that I really did want to do. I’m hoping for a calmer and easier 2014.
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Oct. 21st, 2013 @ 04:43 pm Decade Done
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Safety Dance
I've had a job for the last 10 years at an ophthalmology research lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For most of those years it's been a fast paced, intense, fun, and productive place to work. But lately it's become very slow and boring. Around a year ago there was a 25% staff layoff and we were told that we have two years to bring the business back to being profitable. We have a new chancellor and they have decided that we weren't turning around fast enough so the entire organization is being dissolved.

I am a classified employee (a state worker) so even though the union isn't active (thanks Scotty) HR is still following those procedures. Which means that I am being transferred to a new department. I do not get a choice in this if I want to keep my benefits and employment. Luckily the place I'm being transferred sounds like it will be a mostly good fit for me. I have negotiated 2 weeks to clean up this office then I start over there.

I'm scared. And excited. And sad. The reading center is a mass of anxiety and stress as everyone looks for a new job and tries to cope with feelings.
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May. 8th, 2013 @ 10:39 am Pursue it to the ends
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Eye of the Tiger
I'm playing with prose poetry or flash essay or something here.


As Americans, we have the right to pursue happiness. Chase that flitting, delicate butterfly easily blown to ground. Happiness is a white lace dress, beautiful but neither practical nor durable. Easily torn and stained. As time goes on, happy becomes yellow and crumbles and often the memory is brighter than the experience.

While pleasure is sensuous desire sought by those unafraid of sin. She is a jeweled, dark burgundy, velvet gown with a dangerous side slit exposing flashes of flesh. Pleasure is physical satisfaction and is sometimes cruel and base as nature. It’s a really good shit when you need it or the burn of ginger in a dark chocolate cake. Watching karma kick someone’s ass or the house of cards fall after you told them to use glue.

Joy is what I seek. The laughter through tears emotion. It’s doing good for someone for no reason and doing good for yourself at the same time. Joy is the old, fat goddess lifting her skirt above her waist and doing a bawdy dance to make the sun goddess come out of the cave. Joy doesn’t care if she is laughed at, life is to be lived and the sun must shine.
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May. 1st, 2013 @ 02:33 pm Book Release Day!
I'm very excited to have a poem included in this anthology. It's one of last things Patricia Monaghan finished before her passing. There is a book launch in Chicago on May 11th.

Available May 1, 2013:
Brigit: Sun of Womanhood
an anthology edited by Patricia Monaghan
and Michael McDermott
Brigit: Sun of Womanhood offers a holistic picture of Brigit from her beginnings as a Celtic Goddess to her role as a Christian saint. The contributors to this anthology hail from all parts of the globe—including Ireland, Scotland, the United States and Canada—reflecting the widespread influence of Brigit. Readers will be transformed by this inspiring collection.

This newest anthology from Goddess Ink is edited by Michael McDermott and Patricia Monaghan and features writers from Ireland, Scotland, Canada and the US including Carol Christ, Sr. Rita Minehan, M. Macha Nightmare, Dolores Whelan, Joan McBreen, Matthew Geden, and many others.
Advance Praise for Brigit: Sun of Womanhood

Bright: Sun of Womanhood is an encyclopedic compendium of various aspects of the female spirit. Rather than being a daunting read, it is a delight from beginning to end. There is something for everyone - male and female alike - within these pages, from the casual reader who is simply looking for light entertainment to the empathetic scholar seeking to broaden an already wide base of esoteric knowledge. The authors wisely have laid down no dictum of beliefs. There is no dogma; no hard and fast perimeter. The book is as transparent and full of joy as the spirit it celebrates, yet it also offers a serious, thought-provoking journey that will leave no pilgrim unmoved. –Morgan Llywelyn author of Lion of Ireland and Druids.

This anthology is a deeply intelligent, wise, and alluring immersion into the living presence of Brigit, a creation of ritual space that is both ancient and immediate. ---Charlene Spretnak author of Lost Goddesses of Early Greece

This wonderful collection of essays, poems, reflections, mediations and scholarship brilliantly captures the complexity, richness, and fertility of Brigit’s traditions. For many disenfranchised by male separatist religions, Brigit’s traditions allow us to hear ourselves think, and to hear each other into speech in thealogical mode. This volume will further spread Brigit’s cloak around the world, wrapping her followers in the comfort of her compassion, and inspiring them to weave their own cloaks, nurturing them as they protecting our vulnerable planet, Earth. –Mary Condren author of The Serpent and the Goddess: Women, Religion and Power in Celtic Ireland and a forthcoming major study on Brigit, the Cailleach or Wise Woman of Ancient Ireland.

Brigit, Sun of Womanhood, edited by Michael McDermott and Patricia Monaghan, is a comprehensive and compelling collection of fiction, poetry, essays and photographs that celebrate Brigit in all Her many manifestations as ancient Goddess, legendary Catholic abbess and saint, and modern-day archetype of the divine female. The stories shared in this anthology will delight and inform, whether or not one’s ethnicity is rooted in Celtic traditions. Like the color-drenched prisms of a finely crafted kaleidoscope, this book opens the reader’s eyes and heart to the magical, multi-faceted aspects of this Goddess’s legacy and the potent medicine She offers. Informative and entertaining, this anthology serves up a soul-quenching helping of milk and fire, poetry and ritual that’s sure to satisfy contemporary seekers. ---Mary Saracino co-editor of She Is Everywhere! Volume 3: An Anthology of Writings in Womanist/Feminist Spirituality (iUniverse 2012) and the author of the novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006). For more information visit: www.marysaracino.com.

Articles and poems included in this anthology:

Brigit, Sacred Virginity, and the Elements of Perpetual Energy --by Miriam Robbins Dexter
Brigit’s Litany --by Barbara Flaherty
The Great Bear Mother: A Journey with Brigit to the Ancient Dawn of Imbolc --by Jude Lally
Invocation to Brigit --by Ruth Barrett
In Search of Crios Bríde --by Barbara Callan
Magdalen Rising (excerpt) --by Elizabeth Cunningham
Forging --by Eileen Rosensteel
The Search for Bride’s Well --by Cheryl Straffon
Forging Finer Metal --by Barbara Ardinger
Brighde of the Isles --by Jill Smith
Goddess of Smiths --by Mael Brigde
Bride in Scotland --by Stuart McHardy
The First Keening --by Valerie Freseman
Brigit’s Runes in Sweden: The Völva and the Sun--by Kirsten Brunsgaard Clausen
Saint Bridget’s Day --by Matthew Geden
Bridget and Kildare --by Sr. Rita Minihan
Poem for Saint Bridget’s Day --by Joan McBreen
Growing up with Brigit --by Emily Stix
Brigid of Ireland, A Historical Novel (excerpt) --by Cindy Thomson
Bridget’s Mantle --by Bee Smith
Got Milk?: The Food Miracles of Saint Bridget of Kildare--by Kerry Noonan
Reworking of an 11th Century Irish Prayer to Brigit --by Erin Johnson
Brigit: Cailleach and Midwife to a New World --by Dolores Whelan
Dawn at Brigit’s Well --by Patricia Monaghan
The Feast Day of Saint Bridget and Other Stories--by Carol Christ
A Garden for Brigit --by Jenny Beale
My Blood Song --by Szmeralda Shanel
Take Back the Hammer --by Slippery Elm
The Hem of Her Cloak: How Modern Brigit Worship Spread into the Southern Highlands of Appalachia --by H. Byron Ballard
Fa La La --by Allison Stone
Sacred Tattooing: A Dedication to Brigit --by Phoenix Lefae
Brigit’s Light: A Break from Rain --by Kersten Christianson
Inspiration and invocation: Creating a ritual with Brigit --by Betz King
The Story of Brigit: A Conversation --by Ita Roddy
Bridey: From Personal to Global --by Aline O’Brien (M. Macha NightMare)
Brigit --by Annie Finch
Fire Will Make It Whole --by Sabina Magliocco
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Apr. 1st, 2013 @ 03:14 pm Mama Bear
Current Mood: melancholymelancholy
I think I should have learned this lesson a while ago but I keep doing it. Exposing my precious baby ideas to the wild world too soon. I have a creative idea and am so excited about the possibilities that I want to talk about it and revel in all the ways it could come into being and not even thinking I expose it to people who club that baby to death with logic and reason until it's flatter than a crepe and I don't want to do anything creative ever again. I have a couple people in my life who are really good at working with me when those ideas are cocky teenagers and need some sense and structure but should never be around the babies.

In other news hubby still has no job. It's been a long time to try to get by on my salary and his unemployment.

It's spring and I need something new.
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Mar. 8th, 2013 @ 02:42 pm Book progress- reset
Current Mood: Excited
Current Music: Rockafeller Skank
Had critique group last night look over my book proposal. Have I mentioned that this group is wonderful? I'm learning so much about my own writing, receiving and giving feedback.

So I've been working on the book focusing on telling the stories of the fat ladies and putting them in context of American society as it has changed in the last 150 years. I've been so frustrated because I'm not an academic; I don't have the theoretical language or concepts down. Somehow I was convinced that I had to use that framework in order to be taken seriously or appear smart enough. The group has been telling me over and over that I should be talking more about myself, telling my story. I thought it was because they are all working on memoirs and I have a bias against memoir so I've been ignoring them. When it was really about protecting myself from exposure and playing small.

Even though in the proposal, I say that this book is unique because it's a book about freaks written by a freak. Well after being gently told/kicked in the butt again, this morning I got it. This book needs to be about me, my life as a fat lady. Trying to understand and deal with my experiences through the frame of learning about the historical fat ladies. This is my story as much as it is the historical ladies. I'm going to dump most of the academic focus and talk about it from my perspective. I need to play to my strength as a fat woman living my life big and bold, being a freak. I'm so excited and scared out of my mind. It will mean taking down the walls about being impartial (safely hidden) and also letting go of wanting to be seen as smart/educated by using big theoretical language. I am the expert on my own experiences and one of my experiences is being a public, professional fat lady.

Wheeee off to revamp all the things!
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Feb. 26th, 2013 @ 01:53 pm Book proposal
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Current Music: Stormy Weather Lena Horne
After the initial rush of putting together the many pieces that I had already started on, the book proposal has taken a turn towards the slooooooow pace of one grain of sand at a time. But if I want to submit it to my writing group for feedback this month I need to get it together by Thursday.

I was planning on taking it to the local writing convention where they bring in several agents to hear proposals. But after trying to register and looking at the prices, I think I'm going to have to pass. They didn't put the fact that they are charging $15 for 8 mins of agent time anywhere on the website. Plus it's around $300 without staying at the hotel. I'm pissed cause I was really looking forward to it but now it feels like it's for people with more money than common sense. Phooey!

The really bad thing is that it was acting as my deadline for getting this proposal together. So I will keep the deadline and forget the conference. Nods
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Feb. 21st, 2013 @ 03:04 pm Ch-ch-ch-changes
Current Mood: moodymoody
Current Music: Kisses Sweeter than Wine
My body is changing. I feel out of control. And angry. And proud then really ashamed of being proud.
Because of various factors like starting on insulin, swimming regularly, money being tight, and so on. I've lost weight and built muscles. My clothes are hanging on me which is the only indicator of my weight that I see regularly. I only get on the scale at the dr. My underwear falls off as I walk regularly. I feel better because the movement I am doing is making me feel better physically and emotionally.

But there is this shrill voice that is all "see! See! this is what you needed to do! Lose the weight! Join Weight Watchers! Measure, count, obsess! You can totally do it!"
And the sane voice in my head is all "Shut the hell up! This is normal and weight will fluctuate with the changes in activity and medication. Pay attention to the feeling not the numbers. Dieting is a tool of the patriarchy."
And the pissy voice says "Whatever! I can't afford new clothes and I'm sick of my underwear around my damn knees."

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Jan. 10th, 2013 @ 02:36 pm New critic group
Current Music: Carole King Smackwater Jack
Tonight is the first meeting of a non-fiction/memoir critic group. I'm really nervous. There is 5-6 of us and we are meeting twice a month. It's going to be a challenge to keep production high for me. But I need to get at least a rough draft ready for April. The women in the group are really sweet and we all participate in a Buddhist style writing class so feedback is based on compassionate listening. It shouldn't be a blood bath like my previous group experience. But what I'm worried most about is that I will be the hardest criticizer. Oh well, I just hope this works.
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