Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Dissaprove-Mail Fraud?

Ok, so this is messed up. I got a handwritten letter in the mail addressed to myself and my husband by name. I didn't recognize the name or return address, but it came from someone with a Reno address.

Inside was an earnest note on loose leaf binder paper encouraging me to consider this person's offer to come to my home, for free, to study the bible with me. Hmmm.

Regular readers of this space will understand that this is not considered a valid reason to invade my privacy. Bible-thumping Apocalypse Cheerleaders give me the willies worse than just about anything else. All I could think was: how did these people get my name and address? Is this the beginning of a disturbing trend? And generally What the Fuck?????!!?!?!?!?

Is this considered mail fraud somehow? I have never filled out any kind of card inviting people to preach to me via mail. How did my name come up? We have an unlisted phone number, so it is unlikely we are in the phone book. Bizarre. I don't approve.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Year End Review-2008

In the spirit of year-end recaps that everyone else does this time of year, I figured I would recap the insights I had this year. 2008 generally kicked my ass, but it was also a year filled with blessings. I am looking forward to what 2009 brings.

Links are to what I think are my best posts for each month:

January: Our culture needs a god for transitions and big changes, as the Romans had Janus.

Feburary: Counting one's blessings may help redefine my definition of Success.

March: The world is a poorer place without Art.

April: Sometimes we need to make room in our lives for the Mystical.

May: I remind myself that I am trying ti be a better person and a good mother to Little A.

June: I am constantly in awe of the beauty of Nature.

July: Sometimes the exact words for how I am feeling have already been spoken.

August: Some things bear Repeating.

September: You cant get what you want unless you know what it is. Manifest it.

October: There is a lot to be learned from Animals.

November: Remember, but Absolve.

December: Whether the state recognizes it or not, I am a mom.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Well Played, Palo Alto

Image Credit: pork buns at the Three Seasons restaurant, Palo Alto

It is really strange that I have not been to Palo Alto for years, and this year I have gone to visit people there twice. I went to Gunn High School for Freshman and part of Sophomore year before moving back to Ohio. Then when I came back in 1987 I hung out with Audrey up there and dated a guy named Paul. Paul and his friends went to Paly (Palo Alto High School) a few years ahead of me. Many of my most beloved friends to this day were from that social group. Paul and I broke up after not very long, but I kept the friends, like any smart person would.

If I were a superhero, making fulfilling and lasting friendships would be my superpower. That might not seem as impressive as being bulletproof or stronger than a locomotive, but I would argue that it is a power that is useful more often. And being around my friends does make me feel pretty invincible.

Palo Alto isn't quite as I remember in some ways. It is certainly more populated with money than I remember. But then again, I was just some punk kid roaming around its streets with my punk boyfriend the last time I spent any appreciable time there. Seeing it as an adult is a little bit different. People that still live there tell me it just isn't the same. It certainly is well-manicured.

Seeing my friends is always a major treat, and I braved driving snow in the Sierras both ways to make this recent trip. I had to chain up my car and everything, which is a bit of a pain in the ass. It was totally worth it to gather together and laugh and have cocktails. I was on a lychee kick and had a couple of lychee martinis. That put the Christmas cheer in my cheeks for sure.

Of course, going to a dinner party in Palo Alto meant running into Paul, and as Fate would have it I ended up sitting across the table from him and his wife and son. It was a little awkward, but tacitly amusing. I don't think either one of us was expressley comfortable with the seating arrangements, but we got on amiably enough.

I stayed with my friend Ben while I was down there, which was much more genial than staying at a hotel, especially because he didn't mind me tinkering around in his kitchen. That is probably because he is a bachelor and relishes having a home-cooked meal or two. We had a good time, especially considering we are both sensitive people who tire of the crowd scene at roughly the same rate. When not partying, I had time to sleep in and read a book and generally relax.

I made some memories that are going to carry me through the next semester, I hope. The only thing I dislike about being in school full time is the fact that I have to turn down social invitations. School doesn't start again until January 26th, so I should be able to have some small measure of fun prior to that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Poetry-Sol Invictus

Light returning, eternal, many-faced,
Many-named orb, turning and warming.
Chase chill from weary bones;
Rise up from virgin loins and rule.

Wise men come, and fools alike
Pay pilgrimage to your pauper's cradle
Embalm you, anoint you, enrich you,
Raise you up with Benedictions.

Praise you with no understanding of you
In hymns and fevered whispered prayers.
In you we invest Peace On Earth
And Goodwill Toward Men.

We are made from stardust, all.
Hydrogen lifts us to stardust again.
Souls scattered, we intermingle
Gods and men of common clay.

Violent in delicate equipoise
Exploding and collapsing, turning lead to gold,
And energy to matter, matter to energy.
Ensoul the quickening Holy Womb.

Inside the nucleus of resting ova
Supernova in potentialis
Each child a God in its own way
Down to mitochondrial DNA.

Sol Invictus, spiraling in
Find this spiritual Lazarus a home.
Resurrect in blastocyst form
Inspire Icarus in reckless flight.

(c) Stacie Ferrante

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Back to Work

During the winter break from school I am obliged to work back at my old desk job. It is a small price to pay for my generous scholarship, but going back to the cube farm after four and a half months of semi-autonomy was pretty jarring.

The truth is that when I am in school, there is a sort of built in feedback system. I mean sure, there are tests and homework, but there are GRADES. Sometimes good, sometimes not so much, but at least someone is paying attention to how I am doing and giving me feedback to improve.

Going back to work, where I am reminded by my boss what a cog in the great machine I am was a real letdown yesterday. She didn't ask me how my semester was or even really welcome me back, but immediately went into the old song and dance about how our department was shortstaffed and outgunned. Nothing has changed here. I am doing a bit better today because I am back in the groove more, but yesterday dragged on and on.

I sound like a big baby here, but after getting such nice compliments from my professors and academic advisors, I felt like a snowflake: a unique and beautiful thing that is learning new things with grace. Yesterday I melted into a little puddle with the rest of the drips. It was a yucky feeling.

All this coming on the heels of my spectacular birthday cocktail party and dinner is a bit hard to swallow. I know it is just my bruised ego. But I am reinventing myself, or at least doing some major career refurbishing, so this feels like a step back, although admittedly a temporary one.

Yeah, at least I have a job to complain about. I need to be more grateful, and I really am. I will be even more grateful when school starts again. For about a minute. Then the stress of that will be a culture shock to me again.

I like school, though. I miss it already. And I will be glad to see my new friends there again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nursing School-First Semester Recap

I survived my first semester of Nursing School! Yay me!

I have a HUGE binder full of notes already! WOW!

What did I learn the last 4 months? Here's a tongue in cheek recap:
  • If you go to the hospital and you have to have a Foley Catheter put in, don't be surprised if the Student Nurse assigned to your care is all excited to "try this on a live person"!
  • In the world of Nursing School, getting a 90% is a B. Why? That is so mean.
  • If you are in the hospital and have to choose between having a Foley Catheter inserted in your urethra or a Nasogastric tube up your nose, pick the catheter, hands-down. Don't ask why. Just trust me.
  • There are things that make young people sick that cause dementia symptoms in older adults. Why would a urinary tract infection cause dementia? Who the hell knows, but if your elder becomes suddenly confused, that might be one cause.
  • To be able to do the things that nurses do that involve bodily fluids and may be unpleasant aspects of the job, nurses have seriously twisted senses of humor. More proof that I have picked the right profession.
  • I am already making what I hope will be lifelong friendships. There is no joke there. I just really have a lot of affection for almost all of the people I go to school with. Getting through a tough program like this is as bonding as sharing a foxhole. Only with more pee.
Thanks to all my supportive friends and family for putting up with me in full stress-mode the last few weeks.

School starts again on January 26th.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Disapprove-Office Holiday Party Edition

Oh man! There isn't enough free Bordeaux in the world to make me happy about being at a party with card-trick magicians, clowns, stilt-walkers, and MIMES!!!!

Ok, so Tony's company holiday party wasn't that bad, even though it did in fact contain all of the above objectionable performers. As corporate parties go, it was pretty cool, in fact, even if I did go a bit overboard on the quiche. Tony works with some pretty nice people, and I had a highly entertaining conversation with Juan's feisty Dominican wife. She's from New York and is just abrasive enough to be totally adorable and interesting to me.

But I found myself actually changing course when walking across the room a few times so I wouldn't have a run-in with the mime and the stilt-walking guy. I actually almost broke into a horror movie "running in high heels" moment to avoid that stilt guy. He creeped me out for some reason, and after my third cocktail, usually I am pretty friendly with everyone.

I am not a big fan of card and rope trick magicians, and this party had a number of them roaming about to entertain us. I am in agreement with my friend Ted, who believes that magic tricks are just fancy lies with silk handkerchiefs up the sleeves. I am such an honest person that I don't appreciate lies of any kind, least of all for my amusement.

I know, I know. What is the harm in an innocent little card trick? No, man. Fuck that. You gotta draw the line somewhere. Otherwise, the terrorists win. And by terrorists, I mean mimes.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dream-Here, You Take This!

I had another variation on the "sudden baby" dream last night. I sorta dislike that dream because it is mostly an indicator of stress, kind of a parenting "in the weeds" dream.

I dreamed that a car pulled up in front of my house and an African American woman got out and was shouting for me to come out. She was well dressed but disheveled. When I went outside, she opened the door to the backseat of the car and pulled out a very tiny baby girl. She thrust it at me and said. "Here, you take this. I can't handle it right now." While I stood stunned cradling the little one in my arms, she got back in the car and sped off. I didn't even know the baby's name.

The baby had medium-mocha skin that was very dry, and frowzy, unkempt hair. She had only the clothing and diaper she was wearing. She felt a little cold to me, but she wasn't crying.

I was, to say the least, unprepared. We had no formula, no diapers, no clothes for one that small. The crib was disassembled in the garage as it is now. I think we were also broke, so just throwing money at the problem wasn't going to work.

I got out my purple sari from Bali that Kari gave me years ago and made a sort of makeshift sling to carry the baby against my body. She rooted around at my breast because she was hungry, and I felt a pang of sadness that I had no milk for her.

The last thing in the dream was me trying to turn our car seat to be rear-facing. Anyone who has ever installed a car seat knows what a pain they can be to get right. It was really frustrating, and I was still trying to figure out how to feed and clothe this baby.

I woke up feeling all groggy and out of it. I also reminded myself that if Little A gets reunited with her bio family, there are literally hundreds of children in Washoe County alone that could use my mothering care. I don't know if I have the wherewithal to deal with "the system" that much, but Little A is certainly not my last chance to be a mother if she should have to leave. The court system is just so, how shall I say, messed up. And this process has so wounded Tony and I that I just don't know if we could go on. It is too heartbreaking.

I hate having that dream where I have a new baby that I am unprepared for thrust upon me. I have had that dream more times than I can count. When I wake up, I always wonder who that baby is. I also wonder why I would long to be a mother all my life, only to have achieving that so damn hard.

But I found a kernel of strength last night after having a protracted cry. I AM Little A's mother. Just ask her. No matter what happens, she will always be my daughter. She has changed me for life, altered me down to the bones.

I know this is far from over and far from resolved. We have a long way to go. When she moved in with us, it was projected that we would finalize an adoption of her this month. Now, everything is hanging on a trial that is set for April, and the outcome is far from certain.

Little A's birthstone is Aquamarine. I am going to buy myself an aquamarine ring and wear it on my middle finger. I may not have any rights, but I am a mom. It's my thing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Public Service Announcement-War Movies

Photo credit: From the movie "Flags of Our Fathers"

It is official. I never need to see another war movie. At first I was going to say that I am fed up to the gills with movies that touch on the Vietnam War. But when I thought about it some more, I think all war. Yup. I'm cooked on war movies in general.

It isn't that the violence bothers me per se, but I think it is fair to say that I never want to see "Saving Private Ryan" ever again. That movie upset me. I just think that there are so many films that do it poorly. And I just crave more original stories than those that seem to come out of that genre.

I don't have a specific thing that set me off about this, and I guess I am not really that mad, but I just threw up my hands when I saw that the movie "Across the Universe" veered in that direction. I just didn't get that movie. The music was cool (who doesn't love the Beatles?), but I was just annoyed with the story that they wound around it.


So, that's it. I'm over the whole Vietnam Era. Yup.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008



At the Red Gate I descended
I descended through the Red Gate.
My ear opened to the great below
I abandoned my temples in the upper world.

At the Red Gate I relinquished my crown.
To pass the door this was required.
Taken from me my crown of horns,
Symbol of my holy reign.

In queenship my holy womb did ache.
Expelled the planted seeds upon the earth
And fallow did the furrows lie
Whilst in the Red Gate I remained.


At the Orange Gate I descended
I descended through the Orange Gate.
Further in and spiraling down
With naked head I touched the door.

At the Orange gate I gave small lapis beads.
From my queenly neck they took them.
To pass the door to the great below
No adornment for my holy neck.

In sorrow did the faithful starve
As the storehouse started to empty.
No bread in the roaring ovens.
No bread for my priestesses' table.


At the Yellow Gate I descended
I descended through the Yellow Gate.
In golden glow I proceeded
With naked neck I pressed it open.

At the Yellow Gate my double strand
From my breast the beads I gave.
Relinquished without reason save this:
"The ways of the underworld are perfect."

In my descent the farmers lament,
Tear at their hair in fear and grief.
Though they long for my embrace
They must wait for my return.


At the Green Gate I descended
I descended through the Green Gate.
My double strand beads left behind
I moved toward the heart of the dead.

My breastplate called "come, man, come"
Was removed and pulled from my grasp
But the ways of the underworld are perfect
They may not be questioned.

In lust, men lay with their wives
But they would long in vain for sons,
And daughters denied, their hearts wept
For Inanna to return.


At the Blue Gate I descended
I descended through the Blue Gate.
Breasts exposed, with heavy heart
I could hear the endless voices.

The gold ring at my holy wrist
Was cast away from me.
With my ear cast to the great below
I heard the lamentations of the dead.

This far in, the living world
Cried out unheard as I focused below.
With each gate I passed under
Their hold on me grew fainter.

Indigo & Violet

At the Indigo Gate I descended
I descended through the Indigo Gate.
With naked hands, empty fingers
I felt the first taste of fear.

My final raiment as I entered in,
My royal robe was removed.
I was judged as a mortal woman
The eye of death fastened to my skin.

She who goes to the Dark City Stays there.
But compassion for my tormentor spared me.
From my wrathful sister I was delivered
And given the food and water of life.


I returned to the Upper World
At my temples my priestesses dressed like beggars
In single soiled garments, they wailed
They threw themselves at my feet.

But Dumuzi, who danced upon my knee
Did not move from his jeweled throne.
In grief I cast him to the Great Below
Where they gashed him with axes of stone.

His cries for Justice were heard.
His tears allowed his escape.
Demons who accept neither food nor drink
Could not hold his snakelike limbs.


Through many Gates I descended
I descended through many Gates.
And I returned to timbrels and dances,
Though I lost my cherished love.

I regained my royal robe,
My beads of lapis lazuli,
My golden ring, my horned crown,
My breastplate called "come, man, come"

Now half the year my heart laments
Though gifts aplenty I give to man.
Lost innocence for the wisdom gained.
Lost kisses for what I now understand.

(c) Stacie Ferrante

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Poetry-Goddess of Love and War

I drive the tempest before me
Chaos swirls in my wake
But in the eye of the wailing winds
I tremble sometimes and long for calm.

Always so happy making trouble
And loving fiercely, each in turn
Laying my hands on those who linger
But guarding my heart with poison words.

With a knowing smile and curving hips
I'll draw you close to examine you
Testing with my tongue as soft as a moth
For chinks in your armor that could undo you.

No one stays my equal for long
As I drive myself like a weary sled dog.
No one can get me to rest and dream
So they wave goodbye to my sorrow shaken back.

I will pause for gentle love;
Strong as earth and fierce as fire.
Sweep me into arms brave enough to hold me
Unbuckle my chariot and let the lions free.

I'll always need a heroic friend,
A place for my gaze other than the horizon.
I'll entreat you in the morning to remain
To soothe me into soft repose once more.

Withstand me as I wash over you
Give me an unbreachable fortress
And I'll lean my back against yours
And make my stand against the world.

Someday they'll tire of their trebuchets,
Leave the misty mountain to its mysteries
And you and I shall toast and boast,
And decide for ourselves what to conquer next.

(c) Stacie Ferrante