Update about blog

Summertime in Black Mountain

My other blogs: Alchemy of Clay
Three Family Trees...the Swasey, Booth and Rogers families, now being published every other day or so...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


A great book came my way a few years ago, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer.  It was a translation of poetry and hymns from ancient times.  They had been written in clay, and re-written, and those original texts were found with enough repetition and they were obviously intact enough to be accurately  translated into modern languages.

When I learned originally about cuneiform tablets, (in the 50s or 60s) I was told they all were just inventory of goods, so many skeins of wool, or bottles of oil.  Weren't you also?  Well, many apparently were written about something much more important to people.  The things that they believed in, and worshiped.

So rather than say these are stories that are myths...let's give respect to the people who wrote them, who lived with them, and who worshiped a goddesses named Inanna.  When you look at an entire civilization you must consider that the spiritual life of these people has as much credence as the one that we now live with, and we must not erase the inherent validity of it as the religion of that civilization.

It existed 2000 years before the Christian era, and many hundreds of years before the Judaic stories were compiled into a text that a lot of people follow in their religion today. And the religion of Inanna was written in clay by those who worshiped her, 4000 years ago.

This translation, and interpretation by a story teller, was published by Harper & Row in 1983.  Samuel Kramer is a Sumerian scholar who had a long history of working with texts and finding correct English translations. Diane Wolkstein met him in her search for a easily told story about a goddess in 1979, and they decided to work together producing this text of stories that are understandable in English.  They also added some great art from actual Sumerian cylinder seals and terracotta sculptures.

Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth

See the queen's wings, and her bare feet resting on 2 rams, her hairstyle and perhaps even earrings.  On the cover of the book are many more symbols that belonged to Inanna.

There are extensive notes following the actual text...as well as photographs of some of the original tablets from which the translations were taken.  Of course international politics played a hand in the production of the book, which hampered the work of the authors.   This all is documented in the section following the actual text of the hymns and stories.

But the wonder of stories show best as a queen's life, from how she achieved power, how she chose her mate, and how she dealt with death.  These stories are a foundation for many other events with goddesses; for instance going into the underworld and dealing with her sister is a direct antecedent of the Greek story of Persephone and Demeter many centuries later.  The poetry is amazingly beautiful, having rhythm that has lived through its repetition and simplicity.  Agricultural images are timeless in telling how people and animals and plants live together.

I recently had to bring out this book when reading (for the first time) Merlin Stone's Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood, A Treasury of Goddess and Heroine Lore from Around the World.  That's because Stone left Inanna pretty much out of her book, published in 1979.  She mentions that Ishtar may have similar roots to Inanna, but it is Ishtar's story that Stone includes in her book, published those 4 years earlier.  I enjoy that Stone is giving a thumbnail description of so many goddesses, and am learning many things.  I hope they are still somewhat accurate.

And this brings me to the very active goddess studies that are happening these days, in 2012.  Scholars are updating the histories all the time.  I admit I'm not a scholar, but I make some efforts to learn.  If you know better than what I'm writing here, just let me know!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy walked lightly here

There is such a sigh of appreciation.

There is also still a bit of apprehension.

Perhaps the other shoe may drop tonight.  The weather might be cold enough for all this wet to freeze.  The ongoing snow might eventually stick.

But weather will take its own course.  I see on the news that it was much heavier footed elsewhere.

I am still aware that the elec. might go out and leave us very cold and with minimal food preparation avenues.  The camp stove and bottled gas will work fine.  I hope the blankets will keep me and the kitties warm enough.

And since freezers don't work once elec. stops, I've taken out a pound of frozen salmon and cooked it today.  It will be good to eat now, whether cookable or not.

There are gallons of water to drink.  And I bought 12 days worth of cat food.  I know I have such a minimal impact from the storm, that it's almost not worth mentioning.  Like saying, I brushed my teeth this morning.  There are many many people who are having a rough time.  I send them energy that might give comfort and ease and hope that their lives will return to normal soon.

I haven't read a book for weeks.  I was working this afternoon on a new sculpture in clay, and can't seem to get that interested in it.  I put in 15 minute spurts.   But I think I need a book.  Time to pull out one of my old favorites.

Plant shelter

My buddy Tim came over and made this great shelter for my plants.  it was too dark when he was done to take pictures.  I lie.  We were too busy fixing food for dinner to even think of taking pictures.  And after we ate, it really was too dark!

So here are some pics of it...and I have my fingers crossed that it will make it with wind gusts which Sandy has forecast to bring our way.  It's only 34 and almost noon on Mon...and I just posted the tree trimmers, so this won't get posted till tomorrow (which is when you're getting to read it, or later, I guess).

Walking up to my front door, there's this huge plastic box.

Already the wind gets under its skirts and billows around.

And you'll notice the light that's wired so I can heat up the little unit when it's cold at night.  I'll probably turn it on this afternoon, at the rate the temp is dropping.  The big chrysanthemum is either cold hardy or will die since it's so big.  I may cover it with plastic though.  Maybe I'll do some pruning and slip the fuchsia inside the box, since it might come back in the spring.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tree trimmers

I'm sitting here drinking a nice cuppa Chai tea (decaf kind) with honey, when a tree trimming truck rumbled up the street, parked so as not to block my driveway, but the little limb-eating thing (a trailer) is right by my mailbox.

I sauntered outside, covertly to pour the water out of the birdbath cause it's already 34 degrees here at 10 a.m...and the guys in full climbing regalia walk over and say hi, how're you today.  They were expected.  Oh, I didn't recognize Andy who I'd met last week under his goggles, ear muffs and hard hat, not to mention that belt with a thousand thingies hanging from it, and a climbing rig around his legs.  They were here to trim the Cherry tree where it overhangs the neighbor's garage roof.

I had my camera out in no time.

I refrained from saying how much I'd rather look at the tree than my neighbor's roof, as the chain saw took major limbs down.

Andy went up with the chain saw first.

Then switched to using the hand saw.  His partner kept carrying the limbs into a pile, or used the extension cutter to pull smaller branches out.

Luckily Andy didn't have to deal with the expected 40 mph wind gusts from storm expected soon from Sandy.  There were some stiff breezes that made the tree branches move a bit, but nothing spectacular.

There goes a lot of the cherry tree to the chipper.

And Andy just keeps cutting.

For the rest of the story...go to my other blog here

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Two in a row

Another good day today.
Saturday may have started a bit early for me, the sun wasn't yet turning the sky grey when I crawled out from under my lovely covers.
Had to get to the Tailgate Market for the last of our sales as Mud buddies for this summer.

Then I stopped by the Black Mountain Center for the Arts studio to see how clay work was progressing.  I worked a bit on some recent pots.

I was chagrined that the studio manager ranted about the clean-up job yesterday when I was volunteering to take care of studio.  Our potters left wheels turned on.  They didn't clean under their wheels as bits of clay had dripped.  Yep, I was in charge of these cads.  I appologized.  Life will continue and we will be more diligent.  Well, I will try to be.

Then I visited a friend who has an outdoor pottery shop...right on Cherry Street.  I sat on his wonderful balcony area and watched the Black Mountain Pets and Halloween Parade.  It was cute...dogs, kids, grownups acting like kids.  It lasted 7 minutes.

Then, after taking a nap, a friend came over and helped set up shelves with a plastic covering, to be the home and shelter for my plants outside on the porch this winter.  There will be a way to put a light inside the little greenhouse to also heat it when it's particularly cold out. 

Then I cooked up some great fresh shrimp with garlic, some brown and wild rice, and a simple green salad with tomato and avocado and Balsamic vinegar.  No time to take pictures, we enjoyed the eating instead.

This was a mostly grey day, so these pictures are a couple of days old.  They are the last I'll be posting of this beautiful color.  The forecast is that Hurricane Sandy will be bringing winds and rain.  Trees will look a lot more like they're wrapped for winter soon.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A really good day

Just having so much of a good day today.
I've started doing what I want to do sometimes.
And saying what I want to say sometimes.  And laughing a lot.
I actually have an exercise when I get out of the shower now.  Just laugh.  Belly laugh for one full minute.  It's fun.

Today the Folk Art Center was busy with people from everywhere...Swiss visitors, from Myrtle Beach, Hendersonville...I didn't check everyone.

 I was told last Fri they had over 2000 visitors.  This morning were less than a hundred...I think the gallery would be very uncomfortable with a lot of people.  Of course lots of people just were shopping downstairs in the store full of crafts.

The weather people are warning of great storms starting tomorrow night.  I'm glad that they will hold off till after the Tailgate Market.  It's our last chance to sell pots until mid-November.

I spent two hours at the pottery studio, then I voted. Then I went to the grocery store...and it wasn't mobbed by panic (like people preparing for a storm.)  That was nice.

Now I'm eating a cookie, and fixing a pizza.  Life has been really good today.  You need to know how grateful I am to have a great day.

Dawn's early light

I don't have dogs...I don't wake and go for walks at dawn.  I have cats who insist I get out of bed and open the can and put it in their bowls.  If they had thumbs they wouldn't need me at all.

So today I did something rather irregular for me.  I fed them and made my first cup of coffee at 7:30.  A. M. that is.  Before the sun came into the windows.  The sky was pearly grey, no colors, so probably no clouds.

Now, at 8:12, the sun is just coming over the treetops, and guess where it hits first, at this post autumnal equinox season?  My computer screen!

It is tilted till I can't read the screen with my wonderful new glasses.  I finally give up and use the laptop screen, which I can at least position lots of different directions as I play tag with sunbeams.  What a lovely problem to have.  I'm delighted, though slightly blind from the shine off of various surfaces.

Thanks for sunshine.  The light by which we all live.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Two roads diverged

in an autumn woods, to paraphrase Frost in another season.

I was definitely following his advice however, drawn to the un-gravelled one, with just a few tracks.

Unfortunately it had a severe barrier saying it was private property.

I didn't want to choke every time a vehicle roared down the gravel road, so I chose a little path, with markers in blue, I wonder which trail it was.

I didn't go far today.

My optician called just as I pulled off the Blue Ridge Parkway saying my new lenses were ready.

I was so excited about getting new eyes.  I'll be able to edit photos better.  I'll be able to see what I'm stepping on.  Oh goodie goodie.  So I turned around rather than going higher.  Another day would have to do to go to the peaks and vistas.  The sun may be bright, but the far off peaks are shrouded in haze.  Must be something besides our usual humidity, because it feels delightfully dry.

I did pick up my glasses.  I can see!  What a lovely thing, thanks to Ben Franklin for thinking up bi-focals.  And thanks to cell phones so I could receive the call away from everywhere.  Our technological life is not half bad...as long as you can afford it.  When I went to pick up my prescriptions I found I'm now in the dire straits (for the next 2-1/2 months) of the DREAD DONUT HOLE of Medicare.  My drugs did explode in cost.  What kind of plan is this dumb thing?  I will just stop taking some of them, or reduce the doses.  I sure won't try to get them, which means I'm playing with my life.  But where is a Social Security check supposed to come up with that kind of money?  I'm using my emergency fund to get glasses, by gosh.

But the vision is priceless.  So this may be a bit of a rant, but at least I can see what I'm talking about.  I may be writhing on the ground from various ailments...ok, I'm kidding.  I'll take whatever is life sustaining.  I'll only skip the ones that are life-comforting...if that's really a difference in drugs.  I think so, possibly. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Daily Om advice to myself

When we treat ourselves and our bodies as we would a trusted and loyal companion, we keep our energy free from negative thoughts that would complicate our journey. Our bodies are not our enemies, and we are not fighting a battle. Instead, we are investing our love and attention into the care and support of a beautiful creation—our selves.

We can be more like trees opening our crown to the Universe and rooting down deep with our feet into mother earth.

Our actions shape our lives, but what we don't take action on can be just as powerful.

Quotes from different days of Daily Om...and other inspirational sources...I get at least one a day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ah, breathe in that air

The freshest mountain air around.  Warm sunshine with cool mountain breezes.

Yes, this is the same area where I took the pic for my header...also driving just under the I-40 overpass on NC Hwy 9, leading into Black Mountain. You can see the leaves are more sparse by now.

But now the maple at the bank is in full blush.

Trees by the Presbyterian Church have passed their prime, but they weren't as glorious as they have sometimes been.

Going on up Montreat Rd (NC Hwy 9) there are some brilliant colors still.

A new fence, and an old one with pretty red bushes behind it.  I think there are also Halloween decorations on that fence.

 My little UU church, and you can see someone walking over to it...I'm thinking Evelyn probably.

My front door and the cherry tree next to it, where leaves have some yellow tint.  It's not as beautiful as other years, either.  Wonder why.  All the rain we had?  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wishing fishing

Cleaned out the fish tank today...it had such algae on the side nobody but the cat could see the fish, mainly from looking up from the bottom.  (I can't crawl beneath the tank to enjoy the fish that way however).

Angel fish and calico looking eye to eye...both probably blinded by the flash.  I know I was.  But notice you can see through the glass.  (I should also wipe down the outside, cause now I can see the little remaining dried specks from the last wipe down.  What's windex?)\

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The red oaks

My friend Pat wanted me to take a picture of this particular tree's bright red leaves.

It is indeed bright and beautiful!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fallen leaves

At today's Tailgate Market, somebody said, let's make a pile of leaves...

And one mom had a great rake which really really helped...

Is it big enough, do you think?
Shall we try it?  (Notice one little lad who isn't quite sure yet)

Let's try throwing them up in the air!

Where's our reluctant lad now?

He's back after trying under the leaves to see what is happening...