Archive for the ‘Categorically Speaking’ Category

The Whale Shaman.

“Whalebone and love.” The mother of the sea spoke softly to herself as she cast her handful of pebbles, bones, and wishes. She tossed the handful of pebbles and bones gently pulling her hands away quickly letting the cascading pebbles and bones fall on the patterns incised in the wet sandy beach. The tide was rising and would soon put an end to their game.

“No! My turn.” Croaked the winds. “Two stones and chaos.” He said in a mischiefs tone.  Winds hands wove wildly in the above his head rattling the runes of destiny. He blew into his cupped hands invoking an ageless gamblers habit.  His hands spreading like birdwings tossing the odd assortment of  bones and pebbles skyward. His hand faring only a little better, one stone falling inside the delicately carved circle in the sand, the other landing on the line marking the circumference of the circle with the spine of the whale vertebrae over shadowing the pebble. Not a safe omen. “Once more, for luck.” urged the mother of the sea to her lover the ageless winds of change. “They will need it” was his reply.

With those words Moshup awoke from his troubling dream. I must be ready for the golden wave, the tipping point, an event that like an untethered boat riding the cresting waves of change. It is free, and has no chosen outcome, like his dream, nature takes a gamble with the great world mother throwing great whalebone dice in their game. Calling out the proposed outcomes as they play, naming the changes in midair. Relying on the answers found in the falling dice. Ageless wind was right. This is not a good omen.

This is the intro to my next story that takes place off of the island of Noepe, now known as Martha’s Vinyard.


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Mother, I have lost my fear
my sense of awe
the inner connectedness of you.

Once, I knew who I was
my center held
I knew I was your child.

Now, in this long summer
my inner spark has diminished
and I long for the warmth of your embrace.

According to Wikipedia, Lughnasadgh is an Irish festival to honor the death of Tailtiu, mother of the hero/god Lugh whose soul was so pure that he shown with celestial light. Being a good Texas girl, this time of year always makes me a little depleted from the heat. I often decide to start new things, gain a sense of direction. This year not so much. That longing for a new path is there. But this time I don’t have the sense of direction. I feel I’ve been plowing with a dull blade, leaving parched crooked rows in my wake. If I were to imagine those rows of exposed earth. They’d be parched brown in an endless field of thirsty yellow grassland. I am alone and the plow is heavy. It all seems useless. I hear myself say. “Only a fool keeps doing the same thing over and over without success. Yet there is no place to go, nothing else to do. No shade trees to cool off under and little water in my canteen. I see a wandering single cloud that passes bringing a brief cooling shade. The feeble breeze seems less parched by the summer sun. It gives me a moment to reconnect with the land, the plow beneath my hands and my reason for preparing the land for what is yet to come.
Plowing now is less a problem. Although, I have no seeds in the barn for late planting, and nothing would grow if I did. I imagine Pumpkins in the spring, and rows of corn, beans and squash all planted in concert to bring back nutrients to the soil, to my soil, to my life. Back into the circle of life.

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When under stress most people tend to look for divine inspiration as Americans, Jesus gets the call. Today I wanted to channel the archetypical patents of Ganesh the dancing remover of obstacles the god of mediators and saint of issues that present a need for difficult  decisions. A god of complexity and the complex choices  that our complex lives require.

So I watched a little Bollywood and created a poster for Ganesh.

Best advice; leave it there to dissolve in the path, knowing that the divine changer of paths is doing his quantum-level best to change the outcome.

“ To carry home with us the same problems, fears and worries would be to take back the offering we have given the Deity to dissolve.” Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami


Dancing god Ganesh

Shloka to Lord Ganesha from the root scripture of all denominations of Sanatana Dharma, the Vedas.

Aum shuklambaradharam vishnum
Shashivarnam chaturbhujam
Prasanna vadanam dhyayet
Sarva vighnopa shantaye

Aum, attired in white and all-pervading,
O moon-hued, four-shouldered One
with smiling face so pleasing,
upon You we meditate
for removing all obstacles.

Names of Lord Ganesha, Ganapati Ganesha names starting with Alphabet A
Akhurath = One who has Mouse as His Charioteer
Alampata = Ever Eternal Lord
Amit = Incomparable Lord
Anantachidrupamayam = Infinite and Consciousness Personified
Avaneesh = Lord of the whole World
Avighna = Remover of Obstacles
Ganesha names starting with Alphabet B
Balaganapati = Beloved and Lovable Child
Bhalchandra = Moon-Crested Lord
Bheema = Huge and Gigantic
Bhupati = Lord of the Gods
Bhuvanpati = God of the Gods
Buddhinath = God of Wisdom
Buddhipriya = Knowledge
Buddhividhata = God of Knowledge
Ganesha names starting with Alphabet C

Chaturbhuj = One who has Four Arms

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet D

Devadeva = Lord of All Lords
Devantakanashakarin = Destroyer of Evils and Asuras
Devavrata = One who accepts all Penances
Devendrashika = Protector of All Gods
Dharmik = One who gives Charity
Dhoomravarna = Smoke-Hued Lord
Durja = Invincible Lord
Dvaimatura = One who has two Mothers

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet E

Ekaakshara = He of the Single Syllable
Ekadanta = Single-Tusked Lord
Ekadrishta = Single-Tusked Lord
Eshanputra = Lord Shiva’s Son

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet G

Gadadhara = One who has The Mace as His Weapon
Gajakarna = One who has Eyes like an Elephant
Gajanana = Elephant-Faced Lord
Gajananeti = Elephant-Faced Lord
Gajavakra = Trunk of The Elephant
Gajavaktra = One who has Mouth like an Elephant
Ganadhakshya = Lord of All Ganas (Gods)
Ganadhyakshina = Leader of All The Celestial Bodies
Ganapati = Lord of All Ganas (Gods)
Gaurisuta = The Son of Gauri (Parvati)
Gunina = One who is The Master of All Virtues

And there the prayer for peace…

Peace Invocation

A Prayer for Peace and Clarity
intoned to begin and end teaching sessions,
meetings and other group activities.
Krishna Yajur Veda, Taittiriya Upanishad2.1.1

Aum saha nAvavatu,
saha nau bhunaktu,
saha vIryam karavavahai,
tejasvinAv adhItamastu,
ma vidvishAvahai,
Aum shantih, shantih, shantih.

Aum, may He protect us. May He be pleased with us.
May we work together with vigor. May our studies
illumine us. May we have no contention or hostility
between us. Aum, peace, peace, peace.


Ganesha names starting with Alphabet H
Haridra = One who is Golden Coloured
Heramba = Mother’s Beloved Son
Ganesha names starting with Alphabet K
Kapila = Yellowish-Brown Coloured
Kaveesha = Master of Poets
Krti = Lord of Music
Kripalu = Merciful Lord
Krishapingaksha = Yellowish-Brown Eyed
Kshamakaram = The Place of Forgiveness
Kshipra = One who is easy to Appease
Ganesha names starting with Alphabet L
Lambakarna = Large-Eared Lord
Lambodara = The Huge Bellied Lord
Ganesha names starting with Alphabet M

Mahabala = Enormously Strong Lord
Mahaganapati = Omnipotent and Supreme Lord
Maheshwaram = Lord of The Universe
Mangalamurti = All Auspicious Lord
Manomay = Winner of Hearts
Mrityuanjaya = Conqueror of Death
Mundakarama = Abode of Happiness
Muktidaya = Bestower of Eternal Bliss
Musikvahana = One who has mouse as charioteer

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet

Nadapratithishta = One who Appreciates and Loves Music
Namasthetu = Vanquisher of All Evils & Vices & Sins
Nandana = Lord Shiva’s Son
Nideeshwaram = Giver of Wealth and Treasures

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet O

Omkara = One who has the Form Of

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet P

Pitambara = One who has Yellow-Colored Body
Pramoda = Lord of All Abodes
Prathameshwara = First Among All
Purush = The Omnipotent Personality

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet R

Rakta = One who has Red-Colored Body
Rudrapriya = Beloved Of Lord Shiva

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet S

Sarvadevatman = Acceptor of All Celestial Offerings
Sarvasiddhanta = Bestower of Skills and Wisdom
Sarvatman = Protector of The Universe
Shambhavi = The Son of Parvati
Shashivarnam = One who has a Moon like Complexion
Shoorpakarna = Large-Eared Lord
Shuban = All Auspicious Lord
Shubhagunakanan = One who is The Master of All Virtues
Shweta = One who is as Pure as the White Color
Siddhidhata = Bestower of Success & Accomplishments
Siddhipriya = Bestower of Wishes and Boons
Siddhivinayaka = Bestower of Success
Skandapurvaja = Elder Brother of Skand (Lord Kartik)
Sumukha = Auspicious Face
Sureshwaram = Lord of All Lords
Swaroop = Lover of Beauty

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet T

Tarun = Ageless

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet U

Uddanda = Nemesis of Evils and Vices
Umaputra = The Son of Goddess Uma (Parvati)

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet V

Vakratunda = Curved Trunk Lord
Varaganapati = Bestower of Boons
Varaprada = Granter of Wishes and Boons
Varadavinayaka = Bestower of Success
Veeraganapati = Heroic Lord
Vidyavaridhi = God of Wisdom
Vighnahara = Remover of Obstacles
Vignaharta = Demolisher of Obstacles
Vighnaraja = Lord of All Hindrances
Vighnarajendra = Lord of All Obstacles
Vighnavinashanaya = Destroyer of All Obstacles & Impediments
Vigneshwara = Lord of All Obstacles
Vikat = Huge and Gigantic
Vinayaka = Lord of All
Vishwamukha = Master of The Universe
Vishwaraja = King of The World

Ganesha names starting with Alphabet Y

Yagnakaya = Acceptor of All Sacred & Sacrficial Offerings
Yashaskaram = Bestower of Fame and Fortune
Yashvasin = Beloved and Ever Popular Lord
Yogadhipa = The Lord of Meditation

Also see 108 Names of Lord Ganesha, Shri Ganesha Ashtottara Shatanaamavali


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I have felt all my life…. that life was a ripe succulent peach
Just out of my reach, just one limb away.
Just a few summer crinkled leaves away.

Achievable by leaning just…that much farther….
I’ll be careful I say.  While I test my footing  and balance myself.
I even think far enough to wrap my other are around the black brittle trunk.

In accordance with my life…..either the peach ripens Falling….while I make my assent….
or mom calls me to supper… or far too often the limb beneath me breaks.

Wind Stone peaches…that grow in central Texas; although they are hearty and
drought resistant.

(god knows they need to be)

They were always small and withered, or pecked into and ruined
by the time I caught up with one of them.

Now there were persimmons on a  tree in the hollow,
well watered by a drainage flu.

They were sour enough to make your eyes water.

They always seemed to ripen without incidence…..
On the tree in the musty forested hollow.

So as a child I tried to accustom myself to their bitter,
yet abundant presence in my life.

Telling myself that they were as genteel tasting as the majestic Clings of Georgia,
to an eight year old on any hot summer evening…. along the 33rd parallel.

I even half believed it….. Sometimes.

Peach trees In Texas are not tall ……and where I grew up….They’re stunted,
their roots can’t grow too deep in the Eagle ford shale beneath our house on Chalk Hill.

Poor things grew brittle, blackened and withered from the alkaline soil.

Like those pitiful trees trying to bare fruit under the lands’ impossible

I think sometimes…. I am caught by the same starvation.

Unable to grow beyond the Chalk Hill of my situation.


05/03/96 10:08 AM Dallas, TX.

at the home of childhood friend Evelyn Ann Frazer.

my Dearest ‘Evey Sue.’

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A slight tinkling sound filled the air followed by the familiar whack of  the narrow wet broom. A sound heard and felt all to frequently  by the blonde blue eyed six year old. “Now cross yourself and pray to St. Hermis to protect you.” Old  Momma Aggie’s voice was emphatic. She was always emphatic when it came to learning to steal.
The old woman snatched the purse from the folds of the wire dress makers mannequin deftly without so much as  one chime of the silver bells Elesabette feared.  Her gnarled hand  opened like a claw revealing the small draw string purse and it’s contents. She had gutted the purse like a carrion bird in one swift move. She was a Gypsy.
“Old Dolly” was dressed as a society lady today. Although, it could be dressed as solider or farmer or anyone except another gypsy. You could get your finger cut off for stealing from the Family.

Agraphene kissed the relic she held in her hand.  The purse frayed from centuries of use. It had belonged to five generations of Gypsy grandmothers.

The velvet bag was only  five and a half inches tall and only a palms width across. Purple,  blue and  clear glass beads made a long fringe down the sides and bottom. Beads were stitched in a harlequin pattern across the face of the faded reddish-purple bag. Each  lozenge had a tiny silver bell at its center. Each stitch, bead and bell held symbolic meaning for the  gypsy band. It told of the trek across southern Europe. It held the fantastic tales of  the voyage to America. The history of a thousand council fires, of births, deaths. It held the soul of the tribe.  Momma  Aggie wrapped the purse in a  yellow silk scarf and thrust it in to the folds of her blouse.
“We should have sold you to that nurse in San Antonio for 300 dollars.” she barked at the child. “You are a danger to the Family.”  Old Momma aggies’ worst insult.

Elseabetta  had known for a long time how important the family  is.  It was all she had known since her mother Julianna had died trying to help  Roman steal  chickens  four years ago. Julianna  She was told, was clumsy, as were all gauchos”  and foolish. She had  screamed  and rushed the old farmer outside of San Marcus. Her mother: Not understanding the age old  dance between Gypsies and  farmers, had died needlessly.  Her father Roman, Prince and one day king of their gypsy  tribe, had gone against all custom to marry her.

“I didn’t mean to kill her, honest. I was just going to scare ya’ll off ma’ land. Hell, I didn’t even think it waz loaded.” The surprised  and dazed farmer said as he realized what he had done. Each Party  involved  went numb for a while. Then as reality began to sink  in. “She was my wife.”  was all that  Roman could say to the farmer.

The council of elders and the farmer  took only thirty minutes to decide Julianna’s fate as a corpse. Their decision, to bury her in an abandoned well.  She was not Family, so Agraphena  and the other wives  could cross them selves and  by doing so Cross out any Malefic  luck that accompanied  not adhering to custom of holding a wake.  They hastily dressed her in  a  fuchsia polyester print dress  and a yellow wool shawl  placed pennies over her life less eyes and lowered her into the well.

Roman’s depression lasted three days. Until, the tears of  his tiny daughter rinsed away his selfish feelings of  heart break.  He vowed someday her life would be better than the one he had offered her mother.

They broke camp at dusk and were well passed Austin city limits heading north  before  midnight.  Realdo Joseph was sure they were safe.   Julianna’s death was not the first time in his seventy three years on the road with the family he had   had witnessed  senseless tragedy. Experience told him the farmer would not talk as long as the body was safely hidden  in his deserted well.

The old Gypsy King was fond of the  young blond ethnology student Julianna. She reminded him  of  his youth  and  brought out the best in his son Roman  Joseph.  But, she had crazy ideas.  dangerous ideas  like his  first wife did.  Elesabetta Joseph taught the children  of the family to read. She had spent five years of her youth in a reformatory for petty theft and prostitution.  She wasn’t  a prostitute. She would lure men from bars with her charm  and  deliver them into the hands of  her uncles and cousins waiting outside to club the foolish gauchos and relive them of their wallets.

Reading. Well, the world was changing. Elesebetta Joseph was right. Reading was good for the family. It allowed them to  understand the changing world around them.  He found himself stealing  magazines from the groceries for their son  Roman. Once he even visited the library at UTA. He  had never believed his wife. So many books. What did people have to say that they needed so many books?  He stole  the  “Aradia  Gospel  of the Witches”  it was the only thing listed on Gypsies in the Card Catalogue said the librarian. The scowl on his face deepened as his wife read it to him. He cursed  and tossed the book into their camp fire. “Pigs filth!” he exclaimed as he watched it burn. The leaves of paper curling backward beneath the flames  like the passage of time.

“Perhaps gypsies in Italy are different papa.” said the young Roman Joseph.
“We are the first people” replied Joseph, “Never forget that we are the first people! Even before the Bible. Even before Moses.”
“Realdo!” cried his wife crossing herself  “do not blaspheme. It is bad luck.”
“You women are crazy!” he replied. His beloved  ‘Betta  had not been crazy.  She had understood  the Gauchos and their crazy ways; Building roads and fences that limited life’s possibilities. Once his tribe had been over hundred  strong just three years ago there had been fifty, now only thirty five remained.  “Every body wants a television.” “Betta had argued. “Joseph the world of the Traveling Gypsy is gone forever.” “Gypsies are god’s chosen” he had replied.

Two months later  his wife  ‘Betta died from pneumonia.  The doctor in Jonesbourgh had refused to treat her. There was the matter of his daughter. She had come to ‘Betta for the ‘Cure’ for pregnancy.  The infusion of herbs  Elesebetta Joseph had caused the baby to be still born. Angela, the old Doctors  daughter was too afraid to tell her father she had misscarried and had almost died of infection and complications.  In the harsh world of the Family these things are  common. His Black eyes looked forward into the familiar night, Her cloak of darkness beckoning them to the safety of the road.

The DALLAS TIMES HERALD posted the usual warnings “THE GYPSIES ARE BACK IN TOWN” as they had for  years. The city would batten down like a village beset by  Vissagoths. I remember the Gypsies traveling through  Texas during the 1960’s. My memories of them  sent my imagination soaring. How did they live I wondered? How many of the stories I’d heard as a child were true?

Gypsy Town materialized each year like a mist one summer morning and  then dissolved. They  would camp under the VIA DUCT in painted wagons. We could see their campfires from the Trinity bridge. There they lived dancing, telling fortunes, selling charms and potions and of course STEALING anything from bicycles to children.. Well, that’s my mother said. We had to look the other way if they passed us on the street. But, I wouldn’t look away. Braving the pinching all good mothers gave disobedient children. I saw colorful people with a strong since of pride. There was a mystery about them as heavy as the sent of  the cedar wood fires they made in their river bottom summer home. They don’t travel the roads here in painted wagons any more.  Many have acclimated to the life of the city. I’m sure many have not. How many still keep to the road; who knows? Why does the Gypsy travel the roads? Because he must.

Who: Fictional band of gypsies, traveling through south Texas.
What :An intro. to their lives exploring a few  beliefs and the impact of those beliefs on the world around them.
Where: Texas
When: circa 1968 ad
Why: it could be informative.
How: a narrative

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The scene opens, a white woman in her late 50’s, (recently jobless for any number of reasons, be they downsizing, husband has lost his job after X number of years) is in an interview with a 30ish social worker at the local state run, job center in Massachusetts. (Scratch that make that any job workforce center) But for truths sake, the story takes place in Boston MA.

and it goes like this:
“Look Jane, the truth of the matter is you’re considered early retirement risk, and well you have your husband’s (income, SSI, pension etc..) and you’re almost eligible for early retirement.  Employers are looking for younger workers with families to support. I can’t say it isn’t Grey lining you (Ageism’s term for Red Lining older worker in the workplace) or that it is in anyway fair.”  Looking around the room, Jane sees the varying degrees of hopeful to desperation in the faces of the people in the waiting room, 60 – 80% of whom are women of a certain age. He seems to imply that Jane’s viability in the market place is a spent Uranium  fuel rod and like the toxic waste of a nuclear reactor, well there just no place to put it is there?


Table 1 ( http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.ma.htm)

The distorted picture of women in the workplace is found in articles like this one in USA TODAY, Women gain as men lose jobs, touting the out pacing of men in the jobs market place by women but does not include age demographic information or consideration of Baby Boomer women in the workforce. Those many invisible women of a certain Age. 

How are we to understand the full measure of  middle age women who have sacrificed in years in lower paying job, putting family first for a life time find any equity in the current job market when the mentality of the workplace dominated by testosterone, sexist theory and blatant Ageism. If the older woman worker is not tracked, their value to society explored and often neither tracked nor considered how can women begin to value themselves? It has been the entrepreneurship, flexibility and tenacity of this demographic that championed the strides for women in the 20th century a fact often overlooked and undocumented by the 21st century.

“Unemployment among men isn’t going to last forever,” says University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan. “People will move from construction and manufacturing to industries that are creating new jobs.” Mulligan expects the portion of jobs held by women to peak slightly above 50% this year, then drop below half when the economy recovers and more men find work.(USA Today)”

 Although the job numbers on paper seem to be easing up over the statistics 9.2 % in May 2010 down to 8.1%. However, Table 1 doesn’t accurately reflect the demographics of those who have or have not gotten jobs. Women over the age of 54 are not even tracked in the A10 Unemployment rates by age, sex, and marital status, seasonally adjusted  report (Table2) The true statistics of unemployment are written in faces of the women being marginalized by the job market in this economy. 

Table 2

Table 2

US Department of Labor. Quick Stats on Women Workers, 2009.  http://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/main.htm. http://www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/20lead2009.pdf
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Overview of BLS Statistics on Women Workers http://www.bls.gov/bls/cpswomendata.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS ). A-10. Unemployment rates by age, sex, and marital status, seasonally adjusted. www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea10.pdf
Cauchon, D  Women gain as men lose jobs. USA TODAY. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-09-02-womenwork_N.htm

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My life is like a chicken dance. You know the chicken in the cages they use to have at state fairs, I’m sure they are illegal now. A chicken, in a cage with a light, a feeding tray and a coin slot. You put in a quarter and the light comes on the chicken gyrates, bobbing and turning while flexing it’s wings a few times. The food door opens and a hand full of chicken feed rolls down into its’ feeding bowl. The chicken is happy and eats her corn pone. Then all is right with the chickens’ world.

I’ve been doing odd jobs to get by up here during the recession. Being over qualified, over educated and out of work for a year now; I’ve done some pretty odd jobs. This current one is grading tests from home. It’s a great gig. “Nice work when you can get it. ”

I wake up at 6:30- 7:00 am shower, put on business casual clothes, jeans and a comfortable shirt, earings and perfume. I am after all going to work. I sit in a comfey chair, in my cubical office cum pantry off the kitchen) and log in to my task.

Like that chicken, I wait for the light that lets me know the que is full of tests to be graded. Then I dance. Depending on the contract I make 6-20 cents per task. Don’t knock it I made eight hundred bucks last week at 6 cents a click. Hellofalotta clicks. But at the end of the day 800 bucks ain’t hay.

Only problem is the que is unstable. This week I’ve made maybe 200 bucks as the que is empty. No joy. I can imagine the pullet in a cage staring out at the inevitable audience of 8 year olds at the Texas State fair gathered around the row of chicken coops outside the farmers building thinking. Which one of you little rascals is going to wanna see me dance.

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