Friday, March 28, 2008



It's been a while since I posted, but I'm still here. I've been busy working on my first ever round robin art project - an altered book that I need to mail out by April 1. I've posted some scans on my art blog and hope to post some more this evening or tomorrow.

But I haven't forgotten that I was challenged to do some memes a while ago (okay, QUITE a while ago). Both Mary from "Across the Pond" and KJ from "eye-dyllic" challenged me to post a photo and write a six-word biography to go with it. I couldn't find one of the photos I wanted to use, so I went with two others (two taggers equals two photos).

The first "autobiography" is self explanatory to any woman over the age of 40! Oh, for the days when I was slim, had no dark shadows under my eyes, and no turkey neck!

The second one might be a bit more enigmatic. "One is no less a blessing" is a retort to a question I've been asked for over 20 years: "You only have the ONE child?", or "Why didn't you have more children?"

My first answer might be to say, "None of your beeswax!" But I'm not as rude as Daniel Day-Lewis, who told a reporter "None of your ------ business" after a harmless question during the post-Academy Awards Q&As.

So, I usually answered, "I was pregnant five times and was able to carry only one child full term. It wasn't my choice." If I had to have "JUST" one, I couldn't have picked a better kid. It was true when she was a child, and it's true today as she nears the end of grad school. Dan and I have been truly blessed by our ONE child.

(P. S. I am also irked when the hostess asks "Just one?" when I'm dining alone. I usually retort, "One is enough", or "One is plenty!")

This meme was very fun. I thought it would be difficult but I could have done many "Mini Bios". I am not going to challenge anyone but would love to see what you come up with.

I was also asked by Noni (Mary Anne) of "Peacock Blue" to list six non-important things/habits/quirks about myself. I've already done the five random/weird things about me several times before so I hope I can think of six new ones.

1. I love Russell Stover raspberry whip eggs with dark chocolate. They are only sold at Easter and they take them off the shelves right after Easter. I know - I've checked at a number of stores this week.) I am jonesing for one right now.

2. I was working for Pan Am when I got married (no, not as a stewardess) and my husband and I flew to Greece for our honeymoon at a deep, deep discount.

3. I hated my green/hazel eyes when I was young. I thought blue eyes were the prettiest. I told my friends I had had blue eyes until I got the measles and this made them change color. (I think this fib came from the fact that when I had the measles I was kept in a dark room because it was believed measles could "settle in the eyes".)

4. When I had the measles, I was given two dolls. One had a red dress with white polka dots and one had a white dress with red polka dots. I called them my "measle dolls" because of the occasion and because of the "spots" on their dresses.

5. The smell of citronella mosquito candles makes me sick to my stomach. So does most incense. I could never be a real hippie because of that! I recently found some "Pure and Natural" incense from Target that doesn't make me sick so I often burn it when I am on the computer (but not when Dan is home).

The smell of eucalyptus and potpourri makes my daughter sick. I used to take her shopping with me to home decor/gift shops. One step inside the door and she could detect it: "Ewww, potpourri." Now that she seldom makes it back to North Dakota, I can have potpourri out most of the year.

6. Since my husband used to love to order escargot in restaurants (back when we had money), I bought an escargot kit and invited another couple over for a gourmet dinner with escargot as the appetizer course. Everyone got food poisoning but me. You think I'm crazy enough to eat snails?

Thursday, March 20, 2008



For those of us in the Central Time Zone, the vernal equinox occurred in the wee hours this morning, at 12:58 a.m. I never knew that today was such an important day! I've always known about the vernal - or spring - equinox, when days and nights are of equal length. But I didn't know about the sacredness of the vernal equinox and its place in the wheel of the year until I started exploring the Celtic World.

I discovered that the vernal equinox was a holy time of transition for the Ancient Celts, who called it Alban Eiler, Light of the Earth (or Alban Eilir to the Druids). This rare balance in nature made these days a powerful time for the Magic of the Ancient Druids. It's a time of renewal and new growth, when the natural world is re-born. On this day when the earth tilts on its axis away from winter, the God of Light conquers the God of Darkness.

But the Celts weren't the only ones who held this day in reverence. It was celebrated long before them, by the Megalithic people who lived in Britain before the arrival of the Celts, the Romans and the Saxons. Ancient Greeks, Ancient Romans, Ancient Mayans all celebrated the equinox, as did Native Americans. Ancient Persians called it NawRaz, their New Year's Day. The Ancient Germans called it Ostara, after the Germanic fertility goddess. To the Ancient Saxons this day was called Eostre.

You can see that the word closely resembles the word Easter, a Christian holiday that became extremely intertwined with the pagan spring celebrations. The Legend of Eostre tells how this goddess found an injured bird. To save its life, she transformed it into a hare. But the transformation was not a complete one. The bird took the appearance of a hare, but retained the ability to lay eggs. The hare would lay these eggs and leave them as gifts for Eostre. Other names for the vernal equinox are White Spring and Bird Festival.

For some, it is the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. "The old and accepted folk name for the vernal equinox was Lady Day," writes Mike Nichols at However, Wiccans have appropriated this name for their celebrations of the equinox. "Christians sometimes insist that the title is in honor of Mary and her Annunciation," says Nichols, "But Pagans smile knowingly."

I am not a witch or Wiccan. However, I see no harm in observing some of the ancient pagan rituals associated with the equinox. Egg decorating, egg rolling and egg gathering are three such rituals, but to me those are best left to Easter.

It is said that on the spring equinox, the sun dances with the water at sunrise. Neopagans gather at lakes or ponds at dawn to see this occurrence in warmer climes, but that's not very fun to do in North Dakota in March!

Some things that a Northerner could do would be to tie colored ribbons or strips of fabric to a tree chosen to represent the Tree of Life, plant a pot of grass seed, buy spring-flowering plants, force lilac or forsythia branches indoors. Every culture that celebrated the equinox considered it a time for feasting, and I celebrate that!


Here in North Dakota, the trees and flowers have no buds, the grasses are not green, the birds are not yet laying their eggs. It's too early for riotous spring festivals. But we can observe the equinox in quiet ways too. Since this is the day when daylight and dark are equally balanced, we can use this day to examine the balance or lack thereof in our own lives. We can spring houseclean, either literally, by decluttering, or figuratively, by cleaning our psyches.

Today is a day to seek equilibrium, to re-balance our energies. It's a time for new hope, new beginnings, new relationships, a time to make life changes if we so desire. And also for me, time to see if I can find some pussy willows to bring home.

NOTE: I first published this last March 20. Added this year:

Have you wondered why Easter is so early this year? In fact, do you wonder how the date for Easter is determined, and why it jumps all over the spring calendar?

It's simple. The date for Easter is calculated to be the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. The equinox is today, the full moon is tomorrow, and hence Sunday is Easter. This Easter falls on the second earliest date that Easter can ever be observed. It has not been this early since 1913, and the next time Easter falls on March 23 will be in 2160.

It is supposed to snow later today, and snow showers are forecast for tomorrow and Saturday as well, so there will be no Easter parades, wearing of Easter bonnets, egg rolling or egg hunts in Bismarck this weekend!

For all of you who are in the same (cold) boat I am regarding crummy Easter weather, take comfort in this: Those of us alive today will never again see Easter fall this early. We won't be around in 2160, nor on March 22, 2285, when Easter will fall on absolute earliest date it can ever be held.

Some of us might still be around to see the latest possible Easter date, April 25, in 2038.

But cheer up, it's only 3 years until Easter happens on the second latest possible date, on April 24, 2011! Start planning your Easter parade finery now!

Sunday, March 16, 2008



NOTE: I wrote this post on Saturday, March 17, 2007. Since no one was reading my blog back then, I thought I would reprint it this year.

This is only the second St. Patrick's Day that I've known I am of Irish descent. Before then, I didn't know who my birth father was. After being contacted by a second cousin who found me out of the blue, it turns out I am a Cody through my paternal grandmother. I have a great-great-grandmother named Bridget Cody. How Irish is that? I might even be distantly related to famed American frontiersman Buffalo Bill Cody. (My Cody family genealogist cousin is still working on that one.)

I have mixed feelings about this, being rather bitter that I missed out on celebrating my Irish heritage from childhood on, as I was able celebrate my Scottish and especially, Norwegian heritages. I have always FELT Irish, if that makes any sense. When I was a kid I even fibbed about being Irish on St. Patrick's Day. For years after I grew up, I wore an "Irish At Heart" pin. When I was researching the Scottish Munro clan, I discovered that the Munros may have come from Ireland. "There's the connection! I am validated!", I thought. Now that I know without a doubt that I am one quarter Irish, I feel that I should celebrate the day in some way.

However, I didn't wish to drink green beer, wear a stupid plastic green hat, and go around spouting "Sure and Begorrah” and "Erin Go Bragh.” Neither my husband nor I are into corned beef and cabbage. There are no Irish parades in this primarily German city. Thanks to my Irish-by-marriage niece Lisa Kelly, who has sent me St. Patrick’s Day boxes for years, I have a large collection of Irish decorations. However, I didn't put them up this year. (Lisa is incredible. Only she would think to send me a pair of her daughter's Irish dance shoes. Such a personal and authentic touch to add to an Irish vignette!)

I don't like the images of Irish people as drunks and Paddys. I don't like silly little leprechauns and pots o’gold. I'm not good at blarney and hopefully I'm not too maudlin.I did wear green today, even though I was seen by only two other people, who were working overtime like me. I also pinned on my four Irish pins: a shamrock, two claddaghs and an Irish angel holding a shamrock (all four are small, so I pin them on in a diamond pattern to make a bigger impact).

After work I brought out my collection of vintage St. Patrick's Day postcards to peruse. They are part of my collection of holiday cards from the Golden Age of Postcards from the turn of the century to the 1930s. I am lucky to have some Ellen Clapsaddle cards, as they are highly valued.

But what else could I do? I searched some websites about St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and came up with only one that spoke to me. If I lived in a large city, I would have leaped at the first suggestion: to attend a play by an Irish playwright, like John Millington Synge. However, the next suggestion was appealing: have a glass of Irish whiskey, sit by a fire, and read some good Irish stories, poetry and ballads.

Thanks to Lisa, I have just the book: "Ireland in Poetry", edited by Charles Sullivan. It's a collection of poems by Irish poets, dating from the Celts to modern-day writers. They are accompanied by a selection of drawings, paintings, sculptures and photographs by Irish artists.
William Butler Yeats once wrote,"Wherever green is worn, a terrible beauty is born." Ireland's troubled history is full of terrible beauty and terrible tragedy. What is admirable about this book, the jacket says, is that it covers both sides - that of the green (the Republic of Ireland) and the orange (Northern Ireland), the Catholics and the Prods (Protestants).
I don't have any Irish whiskey, and probably wouldn't like it if I did, but I am going to have a glass - or two at the most - of Black Velvet, a nice Canadian whiskey. Better than a couple of pitchers of green beer any day, and a much better way to spend a St. Patrick's Day evening. I will read my book, sip my whiskey and raise my glass and say Slainte! (rather than the Skoal that I was brought up to say). I will toast all the Codys I have never met, and never will.
And I will save my celebrating for a true Celtic holiday like Alban Eiler, Beltane or Samhain. Meanwhile, for all of you, an Irish poem with which I was already familiar (see below), and this greeting: “Beannachtai La Fheile Padraig Duit” (In Gaelic: Blessings of Saint Patrick's Day.)




I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, and a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all aglimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of linnet's wings
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939

Fredrick Burton

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I mentioned several posts ago that The Dave Clark Five was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this past Monday. That same day, Canadian poet/songwriter/performer Leonard Cohen was also inducted. Although I don't agree that Cohen should be in that particular hall of fame, he should be in some hall of fame, somewhere, for his haunting lyrics. Perhaps the Modern Poets Hall of Fame?
One of my favorites of his poem/songs is "Suzanne." I have read several bloggers who identify strongly with the song. I did as well. I wanted to be Suzanne. I thought I WAS Suzanne.
Reading the lyrics now, I see that Cohen actually used very few words to describe Suzanne. But with those words, I can conjure up this Bohemian, artistic, half woman half child. I can imagine her eccentric but pretty clothing, watch her choreographing her dances, and be with her as she whiles away the evenings with her compatriots in funky little cafes. I can visualize her quaint place by the river, with its houseplants, several cats, beaded curtains, fabrics draped on furniture and scarves draped over lamp shades.
I wanted to be a girl like Suzanne. I still do.
Did you know there was an actual Suzanne? Her name was Suzanne Verdal. She really did have a place by the river in Montreal in the early 1960s, and she really did feed Cohen tea and oranges. She was the muse of dozens of poets in Montreal's beat scene, but Cohen was the one who immortalized her.
She recalls, "I went and was very much interested in the waterfront. The St. Lawrence River held a particular poetry and beauty to me and (I) decided to live there . . . Leonard heard about this place I was living, with crooked floors and a poetic view of the river, and he came to visit me many times. We had tea together many times and mandarin oranges."
She says she and Cohen were never lovers in the physical sense, but they did have a deep spiritual union.
I took the above quotations from The Story of Suzanne, an interview she gave to BBC radio. You can read the entire interview here:
At the end of the interview, Suzanne was asked what the song meant to her now. Her reply:
"There’s a little bit of a bittersweet feeling to it that I retain. I guess I miss the simpler times that we lived and shared. I don’t mean to be maudlin about it, but we’ve kind of gone our different ways and lost touch and some of my most beloved friends have departed from this planet into the other spheres. And there’s sometimes a very real homesickness for Montreal and that wonderful time."

(Interviewer) Saunders: "So it almost has become a symbol of your youth, if you like?"
Suzanne: "Oh absolutely, and for many of us, I hold dear this time, very much so."
I, too, hold those days very dear. And perhaps that is why this song means as much to me now as it did then.
By Leonard Cohen

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.

Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind.
I am not really a fan of Leonard Cohen's singing. I actually prefer listening to his beautiful poetry performed by other artists. The most beautiful song, ever, in my opinion, is "Hallelujah" as performed by Jeff Buckley on Buckley's CD "Grace".
Another CD that I listen over and over again to is a Cohen tribute: "Tower of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen." On this, "Suzanne" is performed by Peter Gabriel. Other artists who interpret Cohen's songs on this CD include Tori Amos, Suzanne Vega, Don Henley, Sting and The Chieftains, Trisha Yearwood, Bono, Elton John and Willie Nelson ("Bird on a Wire").

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Me, tonight, at supper:
"I swear, Dan, if you don't get the back yard seeded with grass this spring, I am going to move out and you and the dogs can live here in this house with all this mud."
His response: "It does need to be done."
Does that sound like a promise to you???
And don't any of you look at me with those earnest, pleading faces.


(Photo from the web)

It was 64 degrees F. in Bismarck yesterday, breaking a record for March 10 that had stood since 1900!

It was a day for almost all the snow to melt away, for the dogs to drag in tons of mud, for the geese to fly north, for me to buy a bunch of sunny yellow tulips and to just stand and bask in the sun and the warm wind.

Last night on the news the meteorologist said this wind came flowing down the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and across Montana to reach us. As a prairie girl, I've known about these chinook winds since childhood, but I didn't know a lot about them.

I did some research on chinooks yesterday, and here's some of what I found:

Chinooks are more accurately called Föhn winds by meteorologists and climatologists. They are called chinooks throughout most of western North America, especially in the Rocky Mountain region. Montana in particular has a significant amount of chinook winds.

These winds happen worldwide, wherever big air flows meet mountain ranges. In North America, warm air from the Pacific is one reason why chinooks make thermometer readings soar. Having lost their moisture on the windward side of the mountains, these winds gain even more warmth by a process called compressional heating, as the now dry air descends the leeward side of the mountains.

The term chinook came from the Chinook Indians living along the lower Columbia River west of the Rockies. Metis and French voyageurs of the fur companies brought the term (pronounced "shinook") from the mountains to the prairies.

Winds of this type are called "snow-eaters" for their ability to make snow melt or sublimate rapidly.

A strong Chinook can make foot-deep snow almost vanish in one day. Chinook winds have been observed to raise winter temperatures by as much as 70 degrees for a few hours or days. The greatest recorded temperature change in 24 hours occurred on January 15, 1972, in Loma, Montana. The temperature rose from -48°C (-54 F) to 9°C (49°F), a 103 degree F difference.

The world's fastest recorded rise in temperature occurred in Spearfish, SD. At 7:30 am on January 22, 1943, the temperature there was -4 °F (-20 °C). A chinook kicked in, and two minutes later the temperature was 45 °F (7 °C) above zero. The 49 degree (27 °C) rise in two minutes set a world record that is still on the books. By 9:00 am, the temperature had risen to 54 °F (12 °C). Suddenly, the chinook died down and the temperature tumbled back to -4 °F. The 58 degree drop took only 27 minutes.

There are two especially famous Canadian chinook folk tales:

* A man rode his horse to church, only to find just the steeple sticking out of the snow. So, he tied his horse to the steeple with the other horses, and went down the snow tunnel to attend services. When everybody emerged from the church, they found that a chinook had melted all of the snow, and their horses were now all dangling from the church steeple.

* A man was riding his sleigh to town when a chinook overcame him. He kept pace with the wind, and while the horses were running belly deep in snow, the sleigh rails were running in mud up to the buckboard. The cow that was tied behind was kicking up dust.

In some places, chinook or Fohn winds have strange effects on people. "These warm, dry winds have sometimes adversely affected human behavior,” the editors of the textbook, Meteorology Today wrote. “During periods of chinook winds some people feel irritable and depressed and others become ill. The exact reason for this phenomenon is not clearly understood.”

It is said that chinook winds can lead to sleeplessness, and also cause a sharp increase in the number of migraine headaches suffered by the locals and are often called "chinook headaches". At least one study conducted by the department of clinical neurosciences at the University of Calgary (Alberta) supports that belief. (Calgary also has a high incidence of chinooks, which may have prompted their study at UC.)

These winds are often associated in popular mythology with mental disturbances and illnesses, including psychosis. A study by the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München found that suicide and accidents increased by 10 percent during Föhn winds in Central Europe. The cause of Föhnkrankheit (English: Föhn-sickness), however, remains to be proven.

(Photo taken by Surrealplaces)
One of the most striking features of the chinook is the chinook arch, which is a band of stationary stratus clouds caused by air rippling over the mountains due to orographic lifting (when an air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation as it moves over rising terrain). Below the arch is a band of clear sky.

To those unfamiliar with the chinook arch, it may look like a threatening storm cloud at times, but they rarely produce rain or snow. However, they can create stunning sunrises and sunsets, in colors of yellows, oranges, reds and pinks.

Though they weren't as nearly as colorful as those in the above photo, I saw chinook arches while driving westward to work several morning in February. Although those were mild winter days, the spike in temperatures certainly wasn't as dramatic as it was yesterday.

Maybe the winds behind those chinook arches were the cause of my recent strange moods. I love the term "Fohnkrankheit". It's got the word cranky in it, and I certainly was cranky! But yesterday, all I felt was light, happy and hopeful. In any event, I'll take a chinook wind over an Alberta clipper any day!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


(Click on pictures to enlarge and read text.
Pages are meant to viewed read side by side.)

"Just Julie", my art and poetry blog is now open. If you wish, please check it out at

I'm not an artist, but I have an overwhelming need and desire to cut, paste and color. I thought that by opening a blog, I would be inspired to create even more pieces, as I am in a real slump right now. (Apologies to those of you who have seen these pieces before. I hope to add more soon, especially as I have started my first-ever altered book.)
There isn't any poetry on the blog yet, though I have some to ready to add. I'm actually more intimidated to show my poetry. This doesn't make sense, because I am a writer, not an artist. (In my mind, an artist is someone who can draw.) But perhaps that's precisely why I'm not afraid to show my "art". I have only one direction to go with it, and that's upward.
Critiques (constructive criticism only) welcome!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I've been feeling more than a bit odd lately. Could it be because it is the dark of the moon, if my reckoning of the lunar cycle is correct?

Searching for explanations for my dark mood, I read "Dark of the Moon" on It says that "The Dark of the Moon is traditionally the last three days of the Lunar cycle, immediately preceding the New Moon, and the time when the night sky is notably absent the presence of the Moon." Since the new moon is March 7, this would now logically be the dark of the moon, right?

The dark of the moon has never had an effect on me before, as far as I can tell. Except for the full moons, I have never followed the phases of the moon, or ascribed meanings to them. However, since I've been reading blogs I note that many bloggers are closely attuned to all the moon's phases, and even have moon phase clocks on their sidebars.

"Dark of the Moon" continues: “Most of us do not realize we all have many dark phase times in our lives, and that these are naturally occurring periods in any life cycle. We fail to understand that endings are the precursors to new beginnings; thus when our life rhythms move us into and through these dark phases, we are ignorant of what is actually happening.”

Perhaps, this month, I am NOT ignorant of what is actually happening, because there has been a real dark event in my life that parallels the dark phase of the moon. Certainly, it has brought an abrupt ending, and it is a precursor to a scary, unknown new beginning.

I am no stranger to depression. I was diagnosed with clinical depression years ago, and am successfully medicated for it. I could attribute this present feeling to situational depression, which I experienced last year about this time. But depression for me is usually characterized by a feeling of not being able to get out of bed, of utter inertia.

Right now I am experiencing other feelings I usually don't have: I am anxious, restless, unable to concentrate. I pick up a book, then set it aside. I begin a project and then drop it. I start to read blogs, and abruptly quit. I feel jittery. My brain feels fuzzy and muzzy.

I am grouchy and irritable with my husband, behaviors I seldom exhibit. My dogs' constant need to go out and come in, and the endless mud they drag in, make me crazy. When the phone rings I nearly jump out of my skin. As I told one friend, "I have one nerve left and everything's getting on it."

I can't sleep. Day or night, I can't stop my thoughts from roiling. All day last Monday, I walked around with a crushing, impending sense of doom - which proved to be right on the mark.

This is not me. I certainly do not like these feelings and am reaching for any explanation I can find. Perhaps I am stir crazy, or have cabin fever, for winter is back in full force again as yet ANOTHER Alberta Clipper sweeps down upon us this afternoon.

Or does an answer lie in these words?: "(During the dark phase) there is less energy available for outer activities and meeting the expectations of others, because the purpose of the dark phase is for focusing on the inner dimensions of our bodies and minds. If we can learn to attune ourselves to the natural rhythms of ebb and flow in our lives, we can use the intrinsic function of the dark times for healing and renewal. When we resist this inward motion in our psyche, then anxiety, stress, and fear are more likely to take hold of our emotions.”

Anxiety, stress, fear? Yes, they have taken hold of my emotions. But I can't afford to not "resist the inward motion" of my psyche. That's all well and good for people who don't have to earn a living, but that's not me.

I think I am wrong in associating the dark moon with a time of dark moods. Rather, to paraphrase the above-mentioned website, it appears to be a time of retreat, of healing, renewal, and of dreaming of the future rather than one of fear and the unknown. It's a time of mystery, wisdom and healing power, a fallow time preceding outbursts of creativity and growth.

But who's going to pay the rent while I'm on retreat?

"Dark of the Moon" continues: “The earliest peoples understood that the power of life lay in the darkness of the moon."

I'm a modern person and the modern part of my soul tells me that there can be no fallow period. My checkbook balance and my husband would say that too. But the ancient part of my soul tells me I'd better MAKE the time. I'm going to go now and explore how to mine this fallow ground.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


The delightful images in this post come from a children's book called "Spring is Here", copyright 1948. I picked it up yesterday at a re-sale shop. It is in almost perfect shape and has dozens and dozens of illustrations of apple blossoms, pussy willows, robins, lambs and other spring-related things to get me through the rest of the winter.

March came in like a lamb yesterday, with temperatures in the 50s F. and southerly winds. Today is a bit more lionish, with the winds having picked up quite a bit of speed overnight. They are tossing the tree branches around as I write, and they would certainly blow the little girl's umbrella inside out!

I have never been happier to say goodbye to a month as I was when I put February behind me. It was the worst month I can ever recall as far as bad things happening to me. The unfortunate events began on February 1 with my car accident and ended with my car dying a few days ago, of a malady that had nothing to do with the accident.

They say it's an ill wind that blows no good, so I hope today's winds bring me some luck in March. But I will certainly watch out for the Ides of March.

At least it's not the first weekend of March 1966, when a now infamous North Dakota blizzard brought 50 inches of snow and 100 mile per hour winds to all but a small corner of the state. I happened to live in that northwest corner so don't remember it like my husband and thousands of other people do.

All of us in North Dakota are hoping for a scenario like the picture below. It is very, very dry here and we could use some moisture. However, we are all willing to wait until mid-April or later when the precipitation will more likely be rain than snow.


My new book blog, "Julie's Bookshelf" is now open. You'll find the link at the top right side of this blog. There's only one entry so far. I thought if I opened it now, I will be motivated to read more books and add more posts.

I am also going to be opening my poetry and art blog, "Just Julie," in a few days. It, too, will have only a few entries in the beginning. As with the book blog, I'm hoping it will motivate me to create more artwork and write more poetry.