I’ve had an absolutely horrible few weeks. I’ve been self-medicating with carbs and candy. Gaining back some the of the weight I’ve lost.
Why, you ask? Here is a bit of back-story. ALL my relatives on my mom’s side of the family died of cancer of one sort or the other. Except for her brother who cigar smoked his way into COPD. My brother and sister died of different cancers. My remaining brother has dealt with Melanoma. Successfully, I might add ! 🙂
I’ve always been hyper-aware of the possibility/probability for myself to have cancer of one type or the other and that it will take my life in the most painful and drawn-out way. All this because of my hereditary tendency to not being able to fight it off.
Three weeks ago, my gynecologist told me the persistent itching on my vulva that I had been experiencing for some months was a symptom of vulvar cancer…but that it could be any number of things. She then motioned her nurse over and showed her the white area.
I resisted looking online until the 7th. I went to the American Cancer Society’s website and checked it out. http://www.cancer.org/
It seems there are several different types of cancer that can affect that area. The major symptom being the prolonged itching, and the other the white area. One of the types is a skin cancer that is very curable. (Except for my MOTHER, who died from metastasized skin cancer!).
The other types are more of a problem. It all depends on the ‘staging’ of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. Staging the cancer relies on so many different variables, including removing ‘sentinel’ lymph nodes, that it doesn’t apply to ‘Stage one’ or ‘Stage four’, I have to shake my head. I didn’t understand it all. I went to the 5 year survival tables and discovered it ranked from 86% to 16%, depending, on the staging at diagnosis.
Then, I really freaked. I knew I would.
So, the biopsy was done on Thursday last week. She found three other dark spot that she removed ‘in case they’re melanoma’. Melanoma…it’s a baddie.
I should get the results tomorrow or Friday. If it’s positive and not just pre-cancerous, I have to go through several other invasive procedures, up to and including removing ‘sentinel’ lymph nodes, to get the final staging results.
The treatments go all the way from (pre-cancerous) applying a special ‘sloughing’ chemotherapy cream, to cutting it out, including about a half inch border of healthy skin, to removing a lip, or two and possibly the clitoris. More drastic measures, if staged as metastasized, include taking the affected lymph nodes, (which will probably result in cellulitis in the affected legs), the vagina, the ureters and possibly bladder, and the colon. It all depends on where and how far it has spread.
My gynecologist keeps telling me (with a bit of a worried look on her face…of course, this could be my paranoia that I’m seeing the worried-ness) that she’s pretty sure it’s ‘just’ precancerous.
KH TROUBLE ON RESERVE – APRIL (?) (J) “Trouble on Reserve” is a short story that comes preloaded in an app for iTunes called Sony Reader. Others have said it will be available in the Mass Market Paperback of Ever After due out later this month.
15/F#12 THE UNDEAD POOL RELEASE DATE FEB 25, 2014 – JULY
*** F#10.1 INTO THE WOODS: TALES FROM THE HOLLOWS AND BEYOND – HOLLOWS STORY COLLECTION – ANTHOLOGY INDEX
First, I’d like to thank Lori for all the hard work she has done hosting the Bead Soup Blog. Lori, I know you have had to surmount a lot of problems in your life, but HEY, GIRL! you’ve succeeded! By doing so, you have set a wonderful example to the rest of us to not give up, even in our darkest days, and soldier on. My hat’s off to you. Hugs and Love!!
I’ve had a lot of fun with the Bead Soup Blog 2013. From dreaming and creating OOK jewelry from the stash I received to learning how to take pictures. I need to get a better camera, but I’m sure you’ll forgive a novice jewelry photographer…LOL
I sent a smorgasbord of items to Diana, my partner. In this hot mess, you’ll see chain, SP head pins, various semi-precious stones, amber bi-cones, amber beads and amber Swarovski crystals, a lovely little SP leaf clasp and even a couple of beads I made myself from Kato polyclay.
I didn’t want her to get bored…LOL
I was so excited when I opened my package from my partner, Diana Gonzolez. She sent it in a lovely little box that she had decorated with Washi tape.
Here’s what I got.
Look at those two mermaid focals. I made two separate necklaces from them. And those sparkly beads! Wow! What beautiful colors. You’ll be seeing them all over the place. Quartz is one of my favorite stones to work with, and whaddayaknow, quartz roundels Yippee! The brown speckled heishi and the matching seed beads were a challenge. I think they added interest to the pieces where I worked them in. I haven’t used the plastic drops yet, but I’m sure inspiration will hit any day now. The two tiny Day of the Dead beads (posed to the north of the crystal roundels made their way into my wild and crazy bracelet. More on that later! Let’s get to the goodies!
I am learning metal-smithing and just adore forging different things. Links, chains, beads, focals…the list is endless. Pretty soon, I’m going to brace myself and tackle soldering! LOL It was quite a rush when I annealed my first copper piece as I was working on it. Forming a ball on the end of an earring finding was cool, too. Pickling, throwing stuff into a tumbler with some metal shot and seeing it come out all bright, de-burred and strong is quite satisfying.
THIS is the first item I made from my cache.
I used one of the mermaid focals and some of the AB beads and blue beads she sent. I thought of the sea and its waves and tides. I thought of the Voudon loa (goddess), Yemaya-Mother of the Sea. Her colors are blue and white. I made a few links that symbolize the wave motion and some more in the spiral to symbolize the eternal movement of the sea. A clasp to close it with and viola! I called it good.
The Second Necklace
Along the same lines, but on a more delicate scale, the second necklace is more ‘sparkly’ with a wider variety of beads and shinier copper.
The THIRD necklace
For my birthday, my partner gave me a lovely silver and black opal dragonfly. I didn’t have a chain to put it on; I wanted to make something and incorporate the dragonfly in a way that kept the pendant from moving around on the chain. I used some of Maria’s AB beads to make the stalk the dragonfly was resting on, jump rings to add more interest, and silver chain. I think it turned out rather well.
My funky bracelet
What to do next…hmmm…I have some memory wire. I’ve never worked with memory wire. Off that bridge I jumped! Seven loops of wire, curl the end, thread on some of her beads and throw in some of my own. See the little Day of the Dead beads? Fiddle around, back and forth, and I decided I wanted some movement. I threw on some crimp covers (since I hadn’t included crimps originally), and mashed them flat. Then, using my crimp pliers and a special set of crimp pliers that turn crimps into beads, I fixed them on the wire so they didn’t move. Now, my sections of beads moved freely on the wire. Yippee! I like sections of the shiny silver wire showing through.
The next day, I had a dinner to attend. I wore this bracelet and the first necklace I made as a trial run. I got lots of good comments on both, but the beads on the bracelet decided to follow the law of gravity and slid to the lowest point, under my wrist. Sigh. The bare wires didn’t look so good now. So, back to the studio (the half of my bedroom dedicated to jewelry work…LOL) I went. I threw on about twenty more crimp covers, effectively making smaller sections with fewer beads in each to slide around. NOW, I have the movement I want, and the beads are all visible all the time. YAY
This has been fun, and I haven’t even used all the supplies Maria sent me! Look for more pics in the future. Maybe by then I will have honed my photography skills, too.
Visit Maria’s blog to see what she has done with all the fun things I sent her.
I wish I could find more black lava crescents. All the necklaces I made with the Dark Goddess theme flew out of my booth. I’ve been looking into getting some manufactured, but I have to find a way to finance the ‘buy’ of a large lot. The puffed rounds are available. I’ve also looked into creating my own beads through digging my own clay and pit-firing it. Trouble with that is, the black rubs off. I’ll try poly-clay next.
Boy, did I have fun with this one. I just got in some spikes that were much larger than I thought they would be. So, I just pulled out a bunch of beads from my stash, a multi-strand barrel clasp, some tiger-tail wire and ‘zoned-out’, thinking of Abby from NCIS (my fav character on that show). Although a bit of a challenge to wear, it was a lot of fun and sold quickly.
My family seems to agree that a great use for Facebook is public grieving.
Yesterday was the second anniversary of my nephew’s death from a massive coronary. He was 39 and left behind a lovely wife who he adored, and four children. He was a good man. An ex-Marine, Corrections Officer, Volunteer Firefighter, and a Christian very involved in his Church and Community. He was the kind of Christian I look up to. I wish we had more pagans like him.
Early in the morning, the posts started coming. Favorite pictures. Odes to his wonderfulness. Last moments shared. Puddles of pain, gallons of grief.
By 10 am, I was a basketcase. I huddled in my room, in my bed, howling with grief. I ate an entire bag of Halloween candy. My blood sugar reading shot up to over 400. I didn’t care.
Sandy came in, and poked at me until I agreed to go out with her.
Then, that afternoon, my niece posted a picture of her mother’s flowers. The second anniversary of Janell’s death. That undid me again.
I don’t dare go to their Facebook pages. The family and friends tend to use them as shrines, and leave offerings of love and prayers of poignant wishes. It is rather like the candles and flowers left at a memorial site in the cities…only this is in zeros and ones that never seem to fade away.
Today was better. I constructed elemental altars in the circle in our backyard. I even started my first ‘pit-firing’.
All the little bits and pieces of greenware are tucked into their soon to be fiery nest of cedar chips.
Cedar chips and aluminum foil. Simple, simple, simple.
A nice wide spliced aluminum foil tarp for the burning bed of cedar chips.
Lit in three spots for even burning. I had no idea it would burn so FAST! QUICK! Throw on the foil!
Next time, I’ll remember ‘Foil First Fire Second”. Phew….four layers of foil later (fire burns through foil…fast!) and a couple of little scorch marks, the fire is smoldering nicely. With a couple of partially burned logs on top in case the wind whips up a bit, we’re all set for the night. I’m excited to see what I drag out tomorrow.
I was taking Vic to her way-to-early doctor appointment. The sun was stabbing my eyes, so I pulled down the visor. There is a mirror on the visor. I know why they put mirrors on visors. They’re called vanity mirrors. I’m not vain, at least, I like to tell myself that. But there, in the glaring light of the morning sun, in the nasty little vanity mirror, on my CHIN hung two clusters of HAIR. Not the nice, soft beautiful gray of my tresses, NOOOOOoooo. Stiff, BLACK, disgusting stuff!
How did this happen!?!?!? No, not the biological issues. I’ve been plucking that hair for years. In fact, I have a handy dandy Epi gadget. I just click the switch, run it across my chin and whirr…whirr…whirrrrr…they’re all gone. Plucked nice and neat until the next time. My question to myself refers to ‘How Did I LET This Happen?’. …now that I’m thinking of it, BRB…
…ahhhh, much better.
I am guessing I still have my vanities, after all.
Well, onto the PLANNED subject of my very first blog post!
I am Crone. I walk the spirals of the triplicities.
Wow, that sounded deep! COL
In all actuality, I am simply walking this time continuum as best I can. Labeling myself helps me anchor myself TO this time continuum, and provides a shorthand way of identifying myself, my intentions, my potentials, my needs and my gifts to the community at large.
Women (and men) have come to me with questions about labeling themselves in the Maiden-Mother-Crone (Youth-Warrior-Sage for men) tradition many Pagans are using now. These labels are stuck to us via the Rites of Passage ritual. There are all sorts of RoP rituals. They are as varied as ‘Bops on the Head’ from our personal god or goddess to elaborate, staged public rituals involving many, many people and much planning.
No matter the type of RoP used, the decision to accept a certain label is one that is extremely personal and one that deserves a lot of thought, meditation and even counseling.
One attractive, vibrant woman told me a story of other people’s expectations that she SHOULD label herself ‘Crone’ based solely on her chronological age. Pressured to ‘become’ something she didn’t feel she was lead to a lot of confusion, anger and bitterness.
Another beautiful young woman told me that she had been a mother, biologically, for three years, but she still wanted to be a ‘Maiden.’ She didn’t feel like she was a Mother.
Then, again, there is the question of the ‘Trans-gendered’ individuals who want to honor that part of themselves that they feel they ARE, not based on the physical body they may wear in this incarnation.
It is my opinion, and long held belief, that only YOU know what label is right for you. Only YOU know the responsibilities you are willing to accept. Only YOU know how your body is aging. Only YOU know if you are willing to take the next step into a new role in this life, or if you want to publicly affirm a role you have long held.
A lot of people ask, “How will I know?”
I remember I asked my mother the same question when I was about six or so. One day, whilst sitting on the porcelain throne, the thought occurred to me that I might have a baby while sitting there and accidentally flush it down the toilet. That worried me, a lot! That worried me so much that I yelled for my mommy to come in an tell me how I would know if I was having a baby. (Now, you have to understand, we were a farm family and that my mother, while a lovely, intelligent woman, had a HUGE PROBLEM talking about anything that had to do with ‘the PRIVATES’.) She told me, ‘Chickens know when they’re laying eggs.’ I puzzled that over for a little bit and figured that I would probably cackle when I had a baby. I still checked the toilet every time before I flushed, though. Just in case.
Now, knowing WHEN to accept a label denoting that you have moved from one phase of life to the next isn’t simple. It isn’t as if one day we are “THIS” and we never revert to the feelings, activities, wants, needs or desires of “THAT”. Nope, just doesn’t happen that way. Just as on your birthday, you aren’t truly another YEAR older, you are simply another DAY older. You have taken another step on the time continuum. But the INNER YOU hasn’t changed all that much.
Basing the label on life events, such as a young girls first period making her a Maiden or a woman’s first successful delivery making her a Mother is simplistic, at best, in today’s society. We certainly don’t use the same measures today as were used 50 years ago, let alone anything similar to those in a past more distant. Calling a woman a Crone just because she no longer bleeds is confusing. Personally, I had all the plumbing removed when I was 40. I sure didn’t feel like I was a Crone. I felt liberated from pain and misery. I felt like rejoicing and celebrating that the “Candy Store” would now be open 24/7. I sure didn’t feel ‘Crone-like.’ That came later.
Some people think that once they become a Mother, they can’t act the Maiden again. That is so not true. Being a Crone doesn’t keep me from feeling like a Maiden at different times and in different ways. I will NEVER not feel like a Mother. Being a Crone does not mean you stop being all you were before. It is adding nuances and layers. It is adding understanding of the human spirit and wisdom to see and know. It is celebrating life, nurturing the living, honoring those gone from our lives and looking fearlessly to our own future adventures.
If you are interested or feel pulled toward having a certain label stuck on you, that is all well and good. Seek advice. Go to the high muckety-muck in your tradition, or at least a good friend, and see what the ‘qualifications’ are. Some trads get real persnickity about how to determine if you qualify for a certain label. Others don’t. Look deeply inside yourself…aka, meditate. Make lists of what YOU think qualities of the different phases are, then compare them to your life. THEN, compare them to the wider world. Talk it out with someone you trust who knows what the bleep you’re talking about. Respect the process and don’t try to rush it. Then, one day, magically, you’ll KNOW. It is time.
Phew, there I go getting all wordy and giddy again. COL But it is true. One day you will know. I know. I am content. I am Crone.