What If There Were a Few Fairy Godfathers?

When I say fairy godmother, I immediately conjure up the image of Glinda, the good witch from the “Wizard of Oz.” I don’t know why. Maybe it is because she is the only good witch I have ever seen besides the cartoon character friend of Casper, Wendy. Glinda looks mystical and like she should have lots of powers with that sparkling crown and big magical wand. Which she apparently does have, but depending on your point of view she may not be so altruistic in her use of her magical powers(Check out this blog post for a very different POV on Glinda.)

The other day, I was working on a mixed media project, which in the end turned out to be a card. The day I created this mixed media base, it was a sort of freestyle event. I was not aiming for anything but instead, I was layering and working my way through scraps and ephemera to see what would happen. I ended up with a Fairy Godman. I really liked how he turned out. He was fun and whimsical.

This project got me thinking why is it we make wishes to godmothers, but not fairy godfathers? I know that there are Godfathers, but I don’t think they are of the fairy wish-granting type. Why were the fairies who granted wishes female generally and not men?

If you think about it men have generally been equated with power in our society. Up until these last few generations, men were the primary economic providers for many families and the ones most likely to have the money to grant wishes. Even today, men wield the most power, look at who runs and controls most businesses and politics. If someone was going to make things happen odds are it is a man.

Wishes are not things you just go out and buy, work to achieve, or otherwise make it happen. If wishes are defined as things that are a bit of a stretch, possibly seeming impossible, then the use of fairies seems a likely person to turn to for help with your wishes. Is this image of a fairy godmother because women have been portrayed and largely served the nurturing role in society? Are women the people who made us believe in the possibilities and encourage us in moments when we need it most? Have women had to historically work around barriers to make things happen? Having seen women in all these roles did that cause us to imagine a fairy godmother could help us with things that seem impossible?

It is a lot of strange reflections all based on what came out of an afternoon with some scraps of paper.

Mental Illness – my thoughts

After what happened in Uvalde, I was listening to a Senate committee hearing about possible changes in gun management in this country. I was angered by many things I heard but one I repeatedly heard was we need more mental health care. If they had had mental health care this would not have happened. What I heard in my mind over and over is that people who have mental health issues are one step away from being a criminal. The senators I heard speak have clearly shown the world they know nothing about mental health.

First and foremost I am not a mental health professional. I am a person who survived things that I would not wish on my worst enemy. I have sought and received mental health help. I had a very successful career and am blessed with a marriage of 42 years. Most of the time I have the skills I need to function well in the world. Occasionally, I am thrown seriously off. When this happens, I suddenly find that my skills for managing my anxiety aren’t working. Once in a while, I need what RangerSir calls a tuneup. It is then I go back and seek some professional help to help me get the boxes in my mind back in order so anxiety does not take over. I suspect that most of the people I have known and worked with had no idea of my struggles. I never shared this because of the stigma of mental illness. At no time did I become a criminal.

Mental health issues have a wide spectrum of causes, from situational, to chemical or how a person’s biology is wired. Every time we have a mass shooting I hear the statement we need more mental health access. Like mental illness and it alone if treated would have prevented the killings. This is a very narrow and singular view of the world. Nothing is that simple.

We need to develop a more robust system to treat mental health conditions regardless of a mass killing. We need access to treatment when we cannot afford to pay or our insurance leaves so much copay behind that we need to choose between housing, food, or health care. We need more trained mental health providers. We need affordable pharmaceutical options. This is an everyday struggle for millions. We need to talk about this daily until it is fixed not just each time there is a mass killing.

There are millions and millions of people in this country with little to no access to mental health care and support that somehow figure out how to manage their mental health situations and none of them would even consider shooting up a school or being harmful to others. There are people who live productive amazing lives every day and go home at night and pull out all their coping mechanisms to do it again tomorrow. No one knows of their struggles. There are people who live lives, most of us would never choose, living on the streets and under bridges. They do this because they often don’t have access to the short supply of mental health providers or the medications they need. Yet as destitute as their lives appear to us on the outside, they are managing their mental health somehow. Maybe it isn’t managed well, but it is managed on some level. There are an untold number of people functioning somewhere between these two extremes with mental health issues. We never know about it because there is such a terrible stigma associated with mental health. It is reinforced every time another mass shooting occurs and access is once again connected to a horrific crime.

It seems like those people with the power to help people get access to the services they need, always tie mental health to mass killings. Mass killers are given a mental illness diagnosis from an armchair by members of Congress. This connection continues to stigmatize mental health. It takes it from an illness to a criminal element. It is an insult to the millions of people who have mental health conditions.

Lack of mental health care access is criminal, but lack of mental health care does not make us criminals.

Same Stars, Different Sky

One of the hardest things about leaving Montana was knowing that it was likely I would never see another night sky like the one just outside my front door. Although I never could identify anything other than the big and little dipper I would spend hours watching the night sky. Just last night RangerSir came in and said “I just looked up and saw Orion in the sky.” He was so pleased and I think a little surprised.

Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels

The night sky where we lived in Montana was black, not dark blue or navy. Twilight lasted forever, but once it was dark, it was pitch dark. That black sky made the Milky Way stand out and was always easy to see. In a black sky, a person could understand why it was called the Milky Way with the long wide band of stars that created it. One of my favorite things to do was to get up in the middle of the night for every forecasted meteor storm or possible northern lights. I would set my alarm, so I could go outside at the peak hour and watch for meteors streaking across the sky. Even on nights when the forecasted storm was a bust, there were always a few meteors to be found in the night sky of Montana. Set against that black sky everything showed up. It was calming for my soul. It was one of those things that made a person realize how little you are in this universe.

We were aware of the impact of light pollution on star watching and we were sure once we left Montana we would not see many stars at all living near urban centers. What we have pleasantly discovered is there are still stars, but they are set against a blue night sky. The street lights and light coming from distant cities erases the faintest stars in the distance, but the biggest and the brightest still shine here.

When we walk Zip after the sun goes down we always take time to look at the moon and the stars. The stars in the sky remind us we are but a very small piece of the universe, but the very same universe as the rest of you. It is an amazing place and we are all here together. It may seem like it is all very different, but actually it on how we see it that makes it different. I hope the next time you are out at night you take a minute to stop and look up into the sky and see what show nature is giving you.

A Day of Gratitude and Thanks

Today I am taking a moment to publicly express my gratitude and thanks. So often I get caught up in life that I don’t appreciate what I am given.

I am thankful for my family. Though my family is not geographically fit, technology allows us to continue to stay close. I am probably closer to my brothers as an adult than we were as children, which is unusual for many. This summer I was able to renew connections to a few of my cousins. Cousins were a holiday connection growing up, but they have grown up to be some of the coolest human beings I know. I am thankful for my sister-in-law, because she is a dear part of my husband.

I am thankful for my friends who are like family. I am fortunate I have more friends than I can count on my hands and toes. This year I am missing the Thanksgiving dinner with my Montana family. I was given the honor of being included with that special family for the last 15 years. I am thankful for the friends I have made over the years who continue to work with me to keep our connections strong with calls, email, text, video chats, and snail mail. I am thankful for those few lifetime friends, who I have made, who no matter how long we go between connections when we do connect, it is like we just talked yesterday. They are sisters of my heart.

I am thankful for the home I have made with RangerSir. We are blessed with a roof over our heads, heat running water, and a full larder. Not only, do we not go to bed hungry, we are able to pick and choose what we will eat each day. There are many folks in this country who are not so fortunate. These are not just third-world problems. It is a problem for working families, the unemployed, people on fixed incomes, the homeless, and others I am not even aware of. I think that the homeless are sometimes the only ones thought of facing these challenges, but they are not. When I look at the percentage of kids in school systems qualifying for free meals it reminds me that many of the poor in this country hide behind closed doors that we don’t see. They appear on the outside just like us. So sometimes we fail to realize we are blessed when our neighbors appear to be in the same situation as us but are not.

I am in a safe, loving relationship. I know what the other looks like and I never ever forget it. Each moment with a spouse or partner who not only loves you, but respects you is priceless. No relationship lasts without lots of work. You both have to want and strive to support the other person in becoming all that they should be. You may not always see the same path to the end, but you both know and see the same endpoint. It is that single moral compass of life that will sustain your relationship.

I have my health. There have been some serious challenges in the road, but each time I have come out the other side. I am lucky because I feel I have adequate access to health care. I am thankful for the health I currently have and try to be a good steward of my body.

Today I will be joining my sister of the heart and her husband as she makes her first Thanksgiving dinner. I will be reflecting on all my blessings, some of which I touched on here. It is not all about food, football, or even the folks you gather with. It is a day of gratitude for your blessings. Some have many. Some have few. I hope you take a moment to reflect on yours as I will on mine. Wishing you peace, kindness, and a year with many blessings.

Life Continues to March Forward

Life just doesn’t move forward at a steady pace or in the way that you wish or plan for it to do so. I had imagined that by now I would be writing about being in my new home and unpacking. Finding things I missed. Rediscovering things I had forgotten about and a few things that I would wonder why I moved it. None of that is true. We have closed and moved into our new home, but are still living the “Craig’s List/Dorm” style.

We closed on our house here in NC at the end of October. It was a bit of a challenge because in all of our other moves and selling of homes once you left closing you were done. Here in North Carolina, you may have signed the contracts and exchanged money, but nothing is real until your deed is filed. So you leave closing and wait for the word your deed is filed to get your keys. For us, it was about 5 minutes to 5pm on a Friday. You can imagine how crazy it was for a person who likes things neat and tidy when it comes to finances to hand away money and not have what she paid for.

We initially elected to continue to stay at the apartment after closing since we were all set up there. The date our refrigerator, washer, and drier we had ordered six weeks ago was due to arrive the Wednesday after closing seemed like a good date to move to the house. That was two days before our furniture was due to arrive.

It did not work out that way. It was not long before the utilities and contractors wanting to complete punch list items were asking us to be at the house for them to complete their jobs. We in the end moved into the house three days before the appliance arrival date. We figured a few days of carryout and cooler lifestyle would be ok.

RangerSir looking at refrigerator #2. All is well. The delivery crew working was A1.

Our appliances arrived on schedule only to discover when they took off a perfectly good box my refrigerator had been thrown down a set of stairs. It was dented and broken in ways the box did not foretell. It went back and fortunately of the 11 refrigerators of that model that arrived the day before my delivery only 10 of them had been sold. I got the replacement a couple of days later. Once again it was a day full of disappointment but also so much thankfulness that I did not have to go six more weeks waiting for a refrigerator to arrive.

I love that look. It was really nice that there are only two people living on our street. He could park that big old van out there and unload all our jazz. The construction crews had to work around him, but honestly they jam the street some days with trades to I figured this one day they could work around me.

Our furniture did not follow the schedule either. It left Montana four days late. The truck broke down for several days and things were at a standstill in SD. Then the driver choose to sit out a day when there were high crosswinds on one leg of the route where semis were being blown over. Our belongings arrived completely intact. The driver and the local unloading crew were professionals and kind. They told us over and over how much they loved the one floor of our home. Our house was completely unloaded in four hours and now we are left with boxes upon boxes to open and clean and put away.

None of this is on the schedule I planned but honestly, we are moving forward and so all is good.

Why Aren’t We Searching for A Connection?

A card I recently made

I suspect the trolls will come out looking for me but oh well here goes. If we don’t speak up people assume that silence means we agree with them. Here goes…

I know this may appear to be Pollyanna or simple-minded but why in all this craziness are we constantly looking to be a life of us vs them? Don’t we have more in common than what separates us? Even if we have significant fundamental differences I still would argue we have more in common and most of that actually impacts on a daily, hourly and in minute by minute basis. I hate that we can look at our Christmas list and realize that there a few folks on the list that we are “dead” to because differences stirred up by people in distant lives on the internet, in cities far away, and people who don’t even exist. How did we get to the point that there is only one point of view?

RangerSir and I are ethically and morally exactly on the same page. Though there have been times the method to the end result was to each of us a very different path. We both wanted and believed in the same thing, but the policies to get there were divergently different. A couple of times so much so that we voted for different presidents. We did not agree on the method, but we could see another point of view. We could see how one another’s life story made them look at the means to the end through a different lense. It was all of this that has allowed our long marriage to endure, grow, and be so strong.

It is the same thing for some of our longest lasting friendships. We respect how they look at things. We value them enough to consider them friends and so why would we not listen and value their point of view when it is different than my own. I like to think I’ve grown, matured, and even changed when listening to another person.

I have written a previous post that brought out the trolls, and it wasn’t pleasant. It resulted in me taking it down for fear of becoming viral or altered and then viral. So in spite of the fear of how trolls can come out of the woodwork because of this post possibly aiming to treat me wickedly and prompt others to do so here it is my point of view. I think that this is worth saying. As a person, not as a group of people, but as a single person we have a lot in common and a lot to fight for together. I don’t expect everyone to agree. I expect you to have come decently to look and say I wonder what kind of life she has lived that would prompt her to look at the world through those glasses. Possibly reflect on your point of view. Then think about all the things that make us a like you never thought about before.

Thank you for giving me a few minutes of your time to read this post. I appreciate it and truly hope today is a good one for you.


In my last post I talked about arting. A person left a comment asking me about arting. This inspired me to talk about arting. Arting is being creative. Any type of creative activity is arting. There were lots of reasons for this tag I use and I am going to share with you my thought process. I hope you will give me a few minutes to share my thoughts on arting.

When I was a child I went to a school where we had an art teacher. All children had art activities twice a week from first grade through fifth grade. This is where my art instruction began and ended until adulthood. I consider myself lucky because thousands of people will never even get that much art opportunities in public school. I don’t remember much about those days, but I wasn’t left with the idea I was untapped potential. As a result I never felt I had creative ability or skill.

Oh the power of a child with a few crayons.

When I left home after high school, I moved to the city. I lived in a brownstone near the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA). Thursday nights were free nights. Perfect for a young person who was living on the economic edge in my first apartment working my first post college job. I was there every Thursday and got to know not only the permanent collections but also got the opportunity to see so many visiting collections. I was exposed to the fine arts. I got to see the Old Masters, Picasso, painters from the Hudson River School, traveling exhibits from other museums, sculptures, textiles, and so much more. It was here I began my art education. The exhibits were inspiring even if I could not imagine myself ever creating anything near such a talent level. As I got older, I found I could afford community education classes. I started to dabble in the arts because of the evenings I had spent at MIA.

When I took a class, the teachers considered to be the artists, and we were the students. The more classes I took I discovered that art was broken down into fine art and craft by most folks. People had personal criteria of what made art and who were the artists. This threw me for a loop. Who decides? What makes them the decider? I had seen traveling exhibits of historic art that included quilts at MIA, suddenly quilting was classified as craft no matter how intricate the work. Yet there were paintings that were great art that I never understood. Who decided Andy Warhol was a great artist? I found it fascinating and some pieces very interesting to look at, but never met my criteria for great art. Yet it was.

The rebel in me looked up the definition of art. I pull the most recent definition from the online dictionary for this post and it hasn’t changed much. Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. By this definition there is lots of art out there. Most of it is not great art, but it is art in its purest form. It was at that moment that some things changed for me.

I create art. I work in watercolor, paper and fabric for the most part. Most of my art is a creative output that brings some emotions with it for me. None of it would come close to qualifying as fine art. I am not comfortable saying I am an artist. When I create I refer to it as arting. It brings me joy to create. Sometimes I am happy with the output, more often I am looking at my work seeking to improve my technique, design or other facet of my work. Yet by definition is is art and I stick to that.

I work in a studio. My studio is where I keep my creative stuff and the stuff I use to create art. It has space for my stuff to be organized in a way that works with my creative/analytical brain. I surround myself with things from friends and family that make me smile, let me know I am loved, or that someone cared enough to share something with me. It is a haven of encouragement. It is where most of my completed work is at. I never refer to my room as a craft room. Two reasons. One, somehow we as a society view the results of crafts as something lesser or possibly more disposable. Anything created there could never be more a craft. I get to decide the personal value of what I create, not some outward definition. Two, I have never heard of the corner of a garage referred to as a craft room where a man putters in wood. It almost universally is called his workshop. I think of this as a gender stereotype I refuse to perpetuate. If it is a workshop, I get to have a studio.

So now you know about the word arting. Here is my second word that there was a request for further clarification. Racetrack Art. Almost every fine art class I have taken has had the students do warm up exercises. I have done them many times and wonder other than getting my supplies all out and ready to go and starting my creative juices running, what is the purpose? I can never remember looking at them and saying….yeah my contrast of light and dark is working, that green I mixed on my pallet is perfect, no the #8 round is not the right brush today…now let’s get going and make real art. I make cards using up paper scraps not thinking much about the design or what is working and what is not. It is an exercise of creativity that I don’t think much about before and almost never afterwards. All of this is racetrack art. Art you made, but when you were done, you moved on without thinking about what was the purpose, did I learn something, did it expose a shortcoming, did I finally master that problem…. Race track art is one and done. Something you make and let go of not to really think more about it. It is one of those things that can reinforce bad habits. It on the reverse it can help develop new positive things if you are a little more conscious and purposeful of what you are doing and use the exercise as such. Lots of classes I have taken recently talk about intuitive art. Most of the times for me it is a hot mess. Because I let something go and don’t consider color, texture, contrast or anything else. I assume my brain is right. It could be, but it could be lost and not right at all. If you haven’t learned the elements of the medium then I am not sure you should be marching to your own drum yet. Here is a place where I fully understand Picasso.

This may be too much information on arting and racetrack art. It may even be considered a rant, but I was asked a question. Here was my answer. In my eyes all you creatives are making art. Embrace the joy and emotions it provokes and march to your own drum.