My binge story (Degrassi)

So… I’ve been trying to figure out how I want this to go. If I want to do every episode, every few episodes, or new topics as they come to me.
But, if I’m being completely honest here, I stopped taking notes somewhere in season 2 and I’m now onto the middle of season 3 because it’s too much fun to just continue to play the episodes instead of having to write about them. But… because I want to keep this in some type of order, I’m going to refer back to the notes I kept and start from there. Sound good? Alright.

So. I think I left off at season 2, episode 3. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
This was the episode where Emma finds out that her mom is dating Snake and she tells Manny about it. The first thing I commented on was the fact that Emma wanted Manny to be quiet about it, but she told her in the hallway where everyone was standing!
You know… sometimes I don’t get why Manny and Emma are friends. I feel like they have each other’s backs sometimes, but not all the time. If Manny has a different opinion than Emma, who cares? Emma is all for feminism, but she doesn’t think that Manny should have her own thoughts. Except, where I’m at in season 3, Manny has started wearing really slutty clothes to get guys’ attention. Which is sad to see because she’s beautiful anyway. If Emma was a real friend, she’d say something like, “you don’t need to wear slutty clothes to get guys to like you because you are a great person and you’re already beautiful.” Or something like that. Emma, try building your best friend up when she’s feeling insecure instead of calling her names like a little bitch.

Anyways, back to the episode. So… Emma and Manny sneak into the 9th grade dance only to find out that Craig liked Manny instead of Emma, so Emma goes home and finds her mom and Snake making out. She gets all bent out of shape about it until we find out that Emma just doesn’t want to lose her mom. I think she comes around, though, when she sees how happy Snake makes her.
I think it’s very typical of teenagers to feel this way. They get used to how something is and then when things change they freak out. A lot of people tend to outgrow this and welcome change as they get older but some people never do. Let’s hope that Emma can be a little less stubborn about things as time goes on.

Whatever it takes

So… I have been in love with Degrassi since I first saw it in 2003. 13 years later and I’m still watching it over and over again. This time around, though, I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject. Anyone is free to chime in with whatever they feel like saying, too. I don’t mind.

So… I started in Season 1 and I have a few things to comment on. First and foremost, that guy Emma met on the Internet in the 1st episode. How come such a dramatic thing happens to her and absolutely no one talks about it for the rest of the entire series? Growing up in the late 90s where I was her age and everyone I met online was so exciting. In fact, throughout my high school life, my only “serious” relationships were with people I had met online. I actually fell behind on a lot of homework and real life because my life was the Internet. But I didn’t go as far as meeting any of these people. I know that lots of bad things can happen when preditors find someone to prey on, but with Emma I feel like… where was the counseling? Where was the “I know he’s bad but I miss the kid I was talking to for 8 months” thing?  It’s like, episode 1: drama. Episode 2: fine.

And let’s not get me started on Paige. Season 1 Paige was a huge, gigantic bitch. “Wow, the guy I’m into likes my friend Terri, so let’s get her really drunk and sick and then nobody actually talk about how you could have poisoned me. Kthanxbye.” And then Terri feels like no guy will ever like her until Rick shows up, but I don’t think that’s until season 2 or 3.

Now what about Sean? Yes, he’s had a rough childhood and he’s trying to be normal. Jimmy acts like a complete asshat towards him and then doesn’t understand why Sean gets sick of it and wants to beat his ass. Yes, it probably wasn’t the most constructive thing in the world to do, but omg Jimmy just shut the fuck up already!! Sean gets it, he has to repeat the 7th grade. He doesn’t need your constant, underhanded reminders that he messed up in his life. Especially since you spend all your time suffocating your girlfriend. I get it… she cares about you, but being around 24/7 at that age can get old real quick.

The rest of the stories are pretty standard… body issues, crushes, etc, until the last episode when Ashley takes a tab of E and calls everyone out on their bullshit. Here is where Paige is a huge bitch once again. 
You know… it’s not like I’ve ever taken any drugs before in my life. I’ve barely gotten drunk, I’ve never smoked anything, never experimented. So I can’t say that she portrayed that particular drug perfectly. But I will say this. If I mess up one time in my life and say things to people WHEN I WAS HIGH and they judge me for it and shut me out, then fuck all those people. Was it stupid of me to do it? Yes. Will I do it again? Probably not but maybe one day in the future when I’m around people I trust, but definitely not until I’m at least out of high school. Are any of you people perfect? No. So… I made a mistake. I chose to put something in my body that was bad for me. But what did all of you do? Instead of seeing if I was okay or talking to me, you made up your mind that I was trash and threw me out. So, thanks for that but I’d rather be alone my whole life than suck up to people who have already written me off.

I started season 2 yesterday, where Craig’s dad hits him. You can tell he’s trying to deal with it but he feels so conflicted between wanting to stay with his dad and wanting to get as far away from it as possible. He wants to tell people but doesn’t know who he can trust. It’s very sad.

I’m not sure if I’m going to write after every episode or every few episodes. Maybe I’ll keep a notebook by me so when something happens that bugs me, I can write about it.

What do you think? Does anyone even care? I’ll keep writing regardless, just because i love this show so much. Well, what it used to be, anyway. If anyone wants to join in, please do! 

(Please keep in mind that this is my journal so there might be other stuff in here besides Degrassi stuff. If that’s okay with you, then yay!!)

Daisy Lu Summer

On A Magnificent Monday (day 12)

It is storming like crazy today.  I woke up not only to the sound of thunder, but to a huge crash of lightning that left my retinas stinging for quite a while as well. Summer thunderstorms are my absolute favorite, at least for up here.  I know that down south during this time of year they have hurricanes, which can be devastating.  I would take the coldest winters up here any day than be stuck in a nightmare of a hurricane.  It’s a little after noon right now but I’ve been sleeping on and off since about 6am so it feels like I’ve had an entire day already even though I have yet to get out of bed.
The deciding factor is ultimately my growling stomach.  As much as I would love to snuggle back into my bed, my stomach is pleading with me to please feed it something so that it doesn’t have to eat itself and I don’t end up starving myself.  I watch the storm rage on outside for a few more minutes, until I can’t take it anymore and finally roll myself out of bed, slip into my robe and slippers, and migrate down the hall and down the stairs to the kitchen.  I feel like my dad should be up here making coffee and talking excitedly about whatever project he’s working on, but all I hear is the rain pelting down the roof and the thunder shaking the pots and pans from all the way outside.  I look out the front window and see that his car was safely parked in the driveway so at least I know he’s at home and not out driving somewhere in this mess.  I root around in the cabinets looking for some coffee and pick out my favorite flavor, “chocolate cherry.”  After pouring in the exact measurements that I want for exactly 4 cups (in case my dad wants some as well) and pressing the “on” button, I sit down in my favorite seat around the kitchen table and stare out onto the patio, watching the rain continue to fall. 
One of the things I love most about this house’s kitchen isn’t the state of the art appliances or the fancy table and chairs set my parents bought at an art gallery in Sister Bay a few years ago.  The table itself looks like something out of the Lord of the Rings movies, with a 3D forest-y landscape meticulously painted on it and legs that have woodburned leaves and ivy growing out of it.  The chairs are all high backs and painted to look like tree stumps with cushions that resemble lily pads.  Although this was incredibly cool and it added to the cozy atmosphere of the rest of the house, my all-time favorite thing about it was being able to look outside and see all the wildlife in the entire backyard. 
Back when my mom was still alive, she insisted on getting as many bird feeders as she possibly could because she was obsessed with feeding the birds.  She did her research and studied what kinds of birds ate what, and taught me how to mix the seeds and how to fill each of the feeders and how often to do so.  After she passed, my dad got rid of over half of them and refused to buy any more seeds.  For a while the birds strongly protested, chirping wildly and even resorting to diving headfirst into the sliding glass doors, sometimes breaking their fragile little necks in the process.  After an entire year of picking up dead birds and burying them I begged my dad to please get some food so we could please end the madness.  He scoffed at that, at first saying that they’ll get the hint eventually and leave.  Later on he admittedly could no longer deal with my brokenhearted face asking night after night to get some more bird seed.  It finally broke his heart enough after a while that he gave in and started buying them again.

We started slowly, at first only going to the feed store a couple of times a month and rationing out the seeds.  The birds were so happy that at first they didn’t know what to do with themselves, but thankfully stopped crashing into the glass after a while.  After a little while of this, my dad started going to the feed store alone and buying more feeders, even graduating to some bird houses.  When he brought home a bird house that would accommodate a moderate family of birds, he asked me where he should put it.  I was stunned at first, but once the shock wore off, we walked around the backyard together, seeing where the safest place to put the house would be.  We decided on a branch that was on a maple tree near the back of the property that was obscured from view by branches and leaves surrounding it.  It took a few seasons for the birds to find it, but by this year’s springing, we got our very first family of robins.  My dad was so stoked by this discovery that he picked up a bunch more houses, and now we have a whole bunch of them scattered around the backyard in the same general location.  Since then we’ve gotten to watch as the parent birds make their nests inside the houses, and we watch in giddy anticipation for the arrival of the babies to hatch. 
This year I’d like to raise caterpillars, but I’m not quite sure how to go about it.  We have so many birds in the backyard now that every time we do get bugs on the leaves, they’re all picked clean.  But you never know, I might get lucky one of these days.  The coffee pot finally stop brewing and the mesmerizing aroma of chocolate and cherries fills the room.  My dad finally emerges from the basement, as if on cue.
He looks as if he hasn’t slept for a few days, which to me means that he’s been busy working.  He asks me what I want for breakfast and I tell him my standard rainy day answer, “cherry-stuffed french toast, please.”  He gets to getting all the ingredients together and we talk about the weather, debating on when the rain is going to finally let up.  He seems to think it’ll let up enough to allow us to hit the beach in time to scope out the sunset.  I seem to think it’ll go strong at least until tomorrow morning. We decide to bet on it, loser has to wash dishes.  We shake on it and I go back to sipping my coffee as I split my attention between watching the storm outside and my dad making breakfast, the mouthwatering smells mixing together makes my stomach growl even louder.  I lose myself in a daydream to help pass the time.
~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~
After breakfast is over, I had decided not to let the birds starve, so I put on my raincoat and golashes and spent at least 10 minutes trying and failing miserably to fill some of the bird feeders.  I ended up just tossing handfuls in the grass before heading in to dry off.  I went back upstairs to my room and changed into some dry clothes, picked up a book and started reading.  I must have dozed off, because the next thing I knew it was 2 hours later and completely dark in my room as my eyes struggled to open and regain focus.  I guess the storm had lulled me to sleep so quickly that I didn’t even have time to process what has happening.  I can’t remember if I had any dreams, though, or what they were if I had any.
The rain was still coming down steady, so I just got out of bed and migrated my way over to the closet, where I normally go when it’s raining out.  My dad pokes his head in my room and asks me if I want to help him with the dishes, considering it’s still coming down like crazy.  It’s 4pm and the sky is almost black.  I just shake my head and remind him that a “deal is a deal” before going back to organizing my closet, which is something I tend to save for when I have nothing better to do.  Being out here in the country, our WiFi is already shoddy at best, but when it storms like this, absolutely NOTHING works.  I could see it bothering someone who was used to always having fast Internet, especially in the city, but up here everyone is so used to it being slow that we rarely if ever rely on it.  Even my dad, who makes YouTube videos for a living, can work with or without the internet connection.  He just uses the time he’s offline to do all the editing and waits until it’s back and the weather is decent enough to upload everything.  He and my mom were both huge on teaching me not to rely on things that could be taken away from me at any given moment, so I can adjust to just about any technology-based annoyances that come my way. 
So, back to the issue at hand: my closet.  It’s not really all that bad, being a big enough closet to fit all of my worldly possessions, and then some.  I need to stop bringing in things I can’t use, like thrift shop clothes that I had to buy without trying on first.  I have this horrible habit of going to my favorite thrift shop in town and buying clothes that I like, regardless if they fit right or not.  So, I must now make the executive decision to decide what stays and what goes.  I’m not sure why this is such a hard thing for me to do.  I fill up at least 3 garbage bags before calling it a night. 

*Before I go for the night, though, I feel like there’s something written in this entry that I feel the need to further explain.  Not to get you, the reader, to see me in a certain light, but for my own peace of mind.  Okay… here it is…
I do know that there is some logic behind trying on clothes before buying them.  For the record, I do try and see if the clothing I pick is at least a little bit close enough to my size.  I try not to go for the ones that aren’t exactly my size, but sometimes there’s a cool design or pattern that I love too much not to buy it.  But… this is why I don’t.  For one, it’s time consuming and I’d rather just find what I’m going to find and leave than go through the trouble of trying everything on.  Okay… this next reason is kind of embarrassing, and I’m still debating on whether or not I’m actually going to admit this, but I feel like it’s one of those things that need to be said.  Okay… here I go (and yes, I know that this could be considered stalling, but only because even as I write this I’m starting to get a creepy-crawly sort of feeling).
I can’t exactly prove this, but I’m at least 92% sure that there’s something fishy about the mirrors in the fitting rooms.  I always feel like somebody’s watching me.  It’s not one of the people that work there being perverted or anything.  I know the rooms are being monitored for security purposes but nobody abuses them.  I’m fully okay with that, plus there’s a sign on all of the doors explaining this.  It’s just…
Whenever I step into the fitting rooms, I always tend to feel as if there are eyes on me.  I stare into the mirror for as long as I can and at times I swear it’s not even my face staring back at me.  I mean, it’s similar enough to me to where if I wasn’t paying close enough attention, it wouldn’t be an issue.  But, there have been times when I’ve blinked or smiled and the face looking back at me doesn’t even attempt to mimic me.  It’s not anywhere near the rest of the store, just the fitting rooms.  When it first happened to me, I tried to tell someone about it, and the unreadable expression on the clerk’s face told me that it wasn’t the first time he’s heard of something like that (and also a flicker of something else that told me that if I knew what was good for me, I’d shut up about it and stop asking questions).  After that, I haven’t set foot in the fitting room ever since, but I still come to the shop often enough that someone will make a comment about my purchases, asking me which ones I intend on keeping this time.  It’s a running joke, and I know the employees secretly find my behavior amusing, but I don’t even care.  I’d rather just get what I’m going to get and get out of there than get creeped out every time I want to try on some clothes.  I finish packing up the rejects and tie off the last bag of the night.  It’s been a very long time since I cleaned anything out of here and as I put the last bag with the others, I count 5 in total and I’ve barely even made a dent.  I think I need help.

I’m about to fall onto my bed still in my clothes and pass out on top of the covers when my eyes fall on the amethyst geode in the corner again.  I don’t really want to, but I find myself walking over to it and sitting down in front of it.  How does something this huge move all on its own?  I am completely puzzled as I scan the floor boards around it, where I found that box.  It makes me wonder if there are any other spots in the house, not necessarily secret holding secret boxes but places in or around the house that are tied to my mom and her witchy self.  and if there are, it makes me wonder if I’ve already found any of them and just never connected the dots.  It makes me want to go through the house again, this time with my eyes wide open, and see what I can find.  But not right now.
I try and move the giant amethyst geode back to where it was before, but of course it’s way too heavy and doesn’t budge even a little bit.  Instead, the very instant I put my hands on it, something incredibly strange ends up happening instead.
~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~   

I’m transported to some mysterious location and I’m sitting crossed-legged with what seems to be an extremely cushy mat underneath my butt and I can clearly hear waves crashing to the shore in the distance.  Although I can distinctly hear them, I have yet to actually see them and I can feel carpeting underneath me so at least I know I’m inside some place.  I can’t see very well as the only light in the entire place seems to be some lit candles, none of which are even remotely close to me.  The room we were standing in seemed to be similar to my bedroom, only there were some things about it that were completely different.  It seemed as if the owners of the house before us used the room I sleep in now as a ritual room, and instead of my bed it had 2 large couches for people to sit on near the wall where my bed was and on the same wall as the deck was now, except it wasn’t there.  Instead of the windows and sliding glass doors leading out to the patio there was another wall.  There were paintings on all of the walls, in frames that looked like they were as old as the Book of Shadows was.  I had never seen any of these paintings in real life, with beautifully drawn out landscapes and portraits I recognized as some of the women standing before me. 
There was a dresser on the wall opposite the couches that had candles and statues on top of it that I recognized as an altar.  I didn’t have to take a closer look to be able to see that some of the things on that altar would be in the box my mom left for me.  There was even the same tarot deck in the middle of the room, 3 of its cards flipped over face up for me to look at if I was brave enough to.  It made me have the feeling of wanting to preserve these treasures even more so now that I knew exactly where they had come from when I got back home.  At least I knew that I didn’t have far to travel; I merely just had to open my eyes and regain consciousness.

I’m about to at least attempt to figure out where in the heck I am, when I hear a woman’s voice say, “Oh good, she’s finally here,” followed by the strike of matches being lit as the rest of the candles simultaneously light up.  I can finally see around me thanks to the glow of the candles everyone is holding.  There’s 12 of us, 13 including the woman in the middle.  I recognize them all as the women I’ve been seeing lately in my dreams, and I can feel my heart start to quicken as I painstakingly scan the room for one woman in particular.  I can hear my heart pounding in my ears as I find a familiar face among the others, holding up her candle and smiling at me.
But before I can run to her and throw my arms around her, the woman in the middle of the circle stands up and walks slowly around the circle, addressing all of us.  As she comes around to me I recognize her immediately.  There’s no pictures of her in my waking life to give me any indication of who she was, but I don’t even need it.  It’s unmistakable: she has my face, the same charcoal gray eyes, even my hair.  In fact, all of these women have scarily similar features not only to each other, but to me.  It’s like I’m looking at different generations of older and wiser versions of my mother.
The woman from the middle of the circle smiles at me knowingly and holds out her hand to me, indicating that I should reach for it.  I grab her hand and she pulls me into the middle of the circle with her.  A hush forms over the crowd and all conversation screeches to a halt as she patiently yet sternly clears her throat.

“Everyone, this is the newest member of our clan.  She came to us through her mother, Athena, who was the last to join us in the spirit world a couple of years ago.  We welcome this newcomer with open arms as she discovers the secrets of her true identity.” 
Before she finally lets me go to be reunited with my mother, she puts her arms around me and whispers something into my ear that I’ll never forget.  “You are our greatest hope.  We have been expecting you for a long time, someone who was born in a time when she couldn’t be legally stoned to death or burned at the stake for being exactly who you are now, and who you always were.  Whatever magick is budding inside of you has been inside of you all along.  Whatever lessons you learn and bring to light shall be protected and nurtured by everyone you see here.  Just call on us if you ever need help and we will be there.  Welcome.” 
I took what she said to me to heart as I looked around the room to scan the faces of all the women who had come before me.  These women were my lineage, the very blood that ran through my veins.  Some of the women were looking at me in pure wonderment and others were more skeptical of me, and rightfully so.  I didn’t blame any of them; after all, these women had been prosecuted their entire lives, maybe even killed for who they were.  I was glad to be living in a time and place where witches were at least a little bit more accepted, at least everyone now has a lot more rights as human beings than they used to, so nobody could just point at me, accuse me of being a witch, and burn me at the stake for it.  And yet, even though there was that one upside, I still wasn’t sure if this was something I was ever going to share with anyone else. At least I could finally put a name to the faces I had seen in my dreams, and even if they didn’t feel the same connection to me right now, I felt more of a connection than I had to anything in a while.  And at least I wouldn’t be alone in this anymore.  I might have to dream in order to come here, but at least it’s better than the alternative, which would be trying to explain this to one of my friends.  I know my friends love me, but I don’t think this is a part of me they would understand.  And the best part of all of it is that I get to see my mom.  That fact alone made my heart swell with happiness.
My mom was the first one of the women to greet me.  She didn’t look like she had when I last had seen her; her skin sullen and her eyes cloudy.  I refused to remember her that way, so as she opened her eyes for me to fall into, I vowed to keep this version of her committed to my memory.  I breathed in her familiar scent, suddenly struck with the urge to stay right here in this dream forever and never again resurface to the conscious state of living for fear of being without her.
She gave me a look that suggested that she knew exactly where my mind was, and asked me about my dad.  I knew instinctively that that question was her way of giving me an answer to my unspoken question, and that I was still very much needed and had a deliberate purpose on the other side.  I couldn’t leave my dad all alone, not after he had already lost so much already.  I couldn’t spend my entire life dreaming, not only because of that fact but because if I left, my bloodline would abruptly end.  I was the only survivor in this line, until the day my own daughter would be born.  As more of the women in the clan finally warmed up to me and came over to me to embrace me, I could tell that I had a lot more work to do. 
These women were counting on me to learn all of my lessons and write them down so I could pass them down to my kids, and so on and so on.  All the violations made on these women; all the betrayals, the hunting, the burning, drowning, shunning, and everything else that was wrong HAD to be made right.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish it, but my new friends assured me that I already had all the support I needed.  I just had to ask for help and everything else would be taken care of.  I just had to trust that everything I would possibly need was already set in motion.  It was my job to recognize it.  I was warned that someone I was extremely close to would betray me, but that no matter what happened because of that, I was safe.  That part scared me a little, but I didn’t have too much time to think about it.
With all of this new information, I was told that my first step would be trying to find a job in which I would learn the most and fit right in with the community so I wouldn’t be known as the town “freak.”  At least from that aspect I knew I could probably find work in the “psychic/witch” field rather easily, especially now that i’m not in too much danger of being killed because of it, being that it was more socially acceptable to be a “psychic” nowadays.  They were especially popular in the tourist places around here, and I found myself being skeptical of all of the ones I had spoken to.  I told my mother this and she assured me that there was someone I was meant to meet and work for that was the real thing and she would be an important piece of keeping me safe in my waking life.  The one thing I had a problem with was people blaming their “spirit guides” for the bad advice they would give to people.  My mother said that those people wouldn’t be in business for long and I was still not to be discouraged by those types of people.  At least I knew that if my spirit guides told me anything I needed to pass on to someone, it would be true.  I have 13 of them now.   I was also told that a plan for all of this to happen was already being hatched, and that I would literally stumble into the place I needed to be.
I put on my bravest face as I felt the space between the waking world and sleeping world grow shorter.  I hugged my mom one last time, and breathed her in as much as I could until my eyes opened to the morning light pouring in through my window and into my room.  I was surprised to learned that I was still in my closet, clutching the amethyst with a strength that made my arms ache once I realized it.  I had to force myself to let go of it, which was surprisingly way more difficult than I would have imagined.  An even bigger surprise was how refreshed I had felt upon waking up with no visible kinks in my neck from sleeping on the floor all night with no pillow.  Today was a brand new day and I started it with the possibilities of whatever was to lay ahead for me.  I was ready.

On A Surprisingly Satisfying Sunday (day 11)

The leatherbound cover of the centuries-old book felt heavy in my hands.  It was obvious that this book hadn’t been opened or even touched in a very long time.  In addition to the many smells the book had acquired over the years, from sandalwood and patchouli mixed with slight mildew and dust of the ancient bindings to the aromas of all the rituals and spellwork it had participated in, it gave off a lonely feeling.  It was as if the book had felt abandoned from not being discovered until now.
I had some trouble believing that my mom had even brought it into the house herself, much less used it in the time that I was born.  A part of me felt instantly repulsed by it, as if the leather was hiding razorblades somewhere in its surface and was waiting for the right time to punish me for touching it.  It slowly washed over me and was gone after I realized it must have had some type of protection spell bound to it to protect it from getting into the wrong hands.  As soon as that idea came into my brain it dawned on me that up until this point in my life I had never even heard of a protection “spell” or any other kind of witchy thing.  And I hadn’t even opened the book up yet!  All of these new phrases suddenly poured into my mind and settled there, as if they had been there all along and I was just NOW noticing.  I forged ahead.
I took a deep breath and carefully opened the book to a random page somewhere in the middle.  “How to Astral Project,” the headline read.  My mind was suddenly ablaze, filled with all of the places in the world I could potentially travel to, even all the people I could see in my dreams if I picked a place we could both get to.

The journal itself was handmade by the very first witch in my bloodline.  I could just tell by the binding that it couldn’t have come from a store–and besides, if I was 11th generation witch, how did people even sell their wares way back when?  They were all made by hand from people who spent their lives in their trade.  I could see from the inside cover that the book itself was branded with my mother’s maiden name, “Born.”  The pages themselves were all written in different handwritings, each carrying a signia of how people during that time wrote.  DIfferent instruments were used–from the very first calligraphy plume to more modern pens, some in crayon, marker, and whatever else they could get their hands on. This was all visible to me because these women were in my blood, but I caught a glimpse of what it would look like to someone else.  To the outside world, it looked harmless enough to sit on my bedside table or bookshelf in plain view without going noticed.  The leather binding, although ancient, shimmered with renewed life once I picked it up and started looking inside it.  The only thing I could see myself worrying about were the actual pages, which crumbled at the slightest touch.  I felt a sudden incredible urge to attempt to restore this book somehow, taking extra care not to rip any pages as I continued to flip through them.  The information was almost too unreal, as every witch who had had this book made it her own until it was ready to be passed down to the next generation, then that witch would get to write her own notes, as well as comment in the margins of the pages that came before.
I felt an immediate connection to these women, and the flashback of my dream came into my mind, stronger than before.  I flipped back a couple of pages to the first entry I had found and instantly felt the gears in my brain click.  It wasn’t just my mother and myself dancing around the fire.  The other women came into my mind, first just as shapes all with matching pearly white dresses that had short sleeves and fell at their feet.  The more I held this book in my hand, the more I could clearly use what they had looked like.  They were all the authors of this book, including the woman who had made it herself out of leather, handmade paper, and a needle and thread.  I knew instinctively that if I had opened the book towards the end, I would have seen my mother’s handwriting.  I was tempted, but I just couldn’t make myself go there.  At least not right at this historical moment.  Just reading her journal was a little bit too much for me.  I told myself that maybe I’d be ready a little later on.  I promised myself that I’d at least try to be ready sooner rather than later.  I didn’t want too much time to go by without giving this special book the attention it truly deserved.  And then something even more strange happened.
As soon as I made that tiny little promise, I swear the book actually started glowing.  I’m not sure if that’s what happened, but as I held it in my hands I could feel it getting warmer, as if it was going to burst into flame.  It didn’t, though.  It just kept glowing until it didn’t look old anymore.  In fact, it looked like another regular journal.  I opened the book up again and saw that someone had left me some blank pages with lines on them, although I couldn’t quite figure out how they got in there.  The book might have been centuries old, but the binding looked to be as strong as the day it was made.  Where could the extra pages have come from??  I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I set it aside anyhow until I knew for sure.  I particularly liked that I could just leave it out in the open and nobody would even think of going through it.  Although, I tucked it away on my bookshelf anyhow, just because the last thing I wanted was for it to get ruined because I accidentally spilled coffee or something all over it.  I spent the whole rest of the day doing chores while really obsessing over what in the world I could possibly put in there.  Needless to say, the rest of the day was an uneventful as ever, between meticulously scrubbing down every surface I could find and wracking my brain for something to put in the book.  Before I knew it, I was power washing the deck floors and still couldn’t come up with anything.  I finally calmed down enough to decide that I’d at least wait until I was inspired to write something down, so it wouldn’t feel forced and I wouldn’t waste any paper.  By the time the entire house was spotless from top to bottom, and I was finally finished cleaning, the sun was completely gone and the moon hung in the sky like a giant glowing orb.  I changed into my bathing suit, a black one piece with a lavender and white yin yang symbol on it, grabbed an oversized beach towel, and climbed into the hot tub.

There is a lot to love about this house.  It’s big without being cold, spacious while still remaining cozy, and I can still see my mother in the plants in the garden and the pieces of the structure of the house that managed to stay after all of my dad’s purges, including the crystal grids I managed to find in all four corners of the house, hidden in the actual brick.  THe only way someone can tell what they’re looking at is if they caught the glint of sparkle the crystals give when the morning sun reaches them.  Out of all the little discoveries I’m constantly making about this house, my current favorite thing about it (besides the hot tub, of course), would be the windows.  First and foremost, they are big enough to see everything surrounding the house.  My mom was big on wanting us all to see the “big picture,” not wanting us to be robbed of anything the land our house was built on had to offer.  No matter where a person sat in any spot on the 2nd and 3rd floors, they could always count on getting a breathtaking view of the dark blue of the bay, the local wildlife in their various stages of socializing and surviving, and anything else that was happening outside.  It was better than anything that might be even remotely interesting on tv, without the annoyance of commercials and ladies in their 50s with plastic faces.  Who needed the Food Network when you had birds fighting over the suet feeder, reality dating shows when there was mating season, and the same four episodes of some shitty outdated sitcom when you had the constantly-changing chronicles of the skunks, raccoons, and deer all either fighting for territory or working together, depending on the time of year and how scarce food was?
The swimming pool and hot tub were smack dab in the middle of the backyard, which was nearly 2 acres of land surrounded by trees instead of a fence that a lot of people in the neighborhood hand.  My mom didn’t mind the neighbors using the pool, and felt that people would respect it more if they didn’t have to sneak in to use it.  But nearly everyone in the neighborhood either already had their own pool or just swam in the beach on those gorgeous summer days.  Every once in awhile, though, I would surprise a neighbor who had decided to take a moonlit dip.
Tonight, however, there was nobody around for miles around, and I got to take advantage of having the place all to myself.  I set the temperature of the hot tub to a toasty 95 degrees, and while it was starting up, jumped into the attached kidney-shaped pool cannonball style, splashing around in the cold water that still felt great in the balmy summer air.  It didn’t take very long at all to get used to it, and before long I was stretched out in a T shape, floating on my back looking up at the gorgeous night sky.  I continued breathing gently as I stared up at it, trying to make out as many constellations as I possibly could.  I could always spot the big and little dippers, with their handles sticking out like someone had just hung them there to dry after washing them.  I could recognize a few others, and turned it into a game to see how many I could make up on my own.  I did this during the day, too, with clouds.  It often drove my friends nuts with my constant pointing up to the sky and asking, “did you see that bunny?”  Sighing, one of them would almost always answer back with a snarky comment, like the following: “Nope, nobody saw that bunny you are imagining you’re seeing right now.  Now stop looking up and pay attention to where you’re going so you don’t crash head first into that tree.”  After a while I stopped asking, and just turned it into a game I played just for myself. 
Out in the country, the stars are so much more visible than in the city.  I don’t have very much experience with cities, but just from visiting my grandparents who are in Chicago I could tell the difference.  For one, the sky in the city is pink.  PINK!!!  What in the hell is that about?  And the noise.  I can maybe hear the crickets chirping outside, along with cars honking and backfiring, sirens blasting and people screaming at 3am. Sure, you get your regular nature noises up here as well, mixed in with the neighbors on one side having really angry sex and the neighbors on the other side either partying or fighting all night. It’s not like that part is all that much different, no matter where you live.  But at least up here in Door County I’m tucked away in a little neighborhood here and I do have neighbors, but we’re all on acres of land so we have some room to breathe.  The sky here is as black as it can be with patches of light sewn in.  In the city, you could only see the stars on an extremely clear night.  But here… it’s as if the smog and pollution haven’t found our address.  I could stay in this hot tub all night looking up at the stars and the insects would be my only company.
I shall wait a little while longer to pay my cloud game.  Even though it’s dark outside and the stars are out, there’s still some clouds I’d like to get rid of.  The sky itself is gorgeous enough at 12am, but as it gets later out, it changes drastically.  The stars appear to be closer to the Earth, as if they were so close that if I reached my hand out to them, I could grab a handful of them.  As 3am approaches it appears as if Gaia herself is holding a bowl over the night sky with holes punched in the bottom of it.  This is my absolute FAVORITE time because I can really let my imagination run wild and free.  I check my phone and see that it’s only a little after 1am, and debate on whether or not I should stay up.  I’m still exhausted from not really sleeping the past couple of nights, and I don’t really want to sit in the water for 2 more hours.  I decide to compromise and set the time for another half hour.  The bubbles all gather in the middle of the tub as the jets swirl all the water around.  I sit back and rest my head on the deck floor as I stare up lazily.  Before I know it, I’m in a trance.  I keep my eyes relaxed, as if they’re not really looking for anything in particular.  I let them settle where they want to, and I start making up scenes in my head. 
At first, there’s a meadow.  The breeze is blowing, there’s dandelions and butterflies flitting around everywhere.  A tiny hand reaches for mind and I’m so startled at the contact that the scene changes completely.  THe stars are now tall buildings and I’m walking down the street, admiring the structures.  The stars reflect in the glass and I go deeper into the trance as I can make all sorts of details out about this city.  I can even hear jazz music playing in the background.  I start walking towards it, finally coming across a man with a jacket and gloves on, playing the shit out of a tenor saxophone.  A crowd gathers around him and they all clap as he finishes his last note.  He winks at me, and again the scene has changed.  The stars have all somehow recreated the scene from my dream from the previous night, except where there was a fire and 12 women standing around it, they’ve been outlined in stardust.  The vision takes my breath away as I watch my mother take my starry hand.
The contact of it is so entirely vivid and real that I snap out of it completely.  The jets in the hot tub have all since stopped running, the bubbles have all disappeared and the only noise I am able to hear now are the crickets chirping, the frogs mating and various other night creatures.  I look up again in disbelief, only to see that the sky is once again just the sky.  I finally call it a night as I get out of the hot tub, find my towel and dry off before heading back to the house.  “Well,” I think to myself, “at least now I know what my first contribution to the Book of Shadows will be.”

~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~   
By the time I get inside, it’s already after 2am.  It’ll be August pretty soon and I honestly have no idea how I’m going to wake up at 6am everyday to get to school on time, which starts at 7:40am.  It sounds like I’ll have a bunch of time to get ready, especially if I’m waking up in advance, but it’s barely enough time to get much of anything done.  And I can’t just go back to sleep because I’ll end up fighting with myself to wake up and have to scramble to get ready at the last minute, which I hate doing but what usually ends up happening anyways.  I’m so glad that this is my last year before college.  It’s not even like the school is all that far from me, anyway.  I’m just not a morning person in the slightest.  Especially if I keep this summer pattern up of drifting off to sleep somewhere between 3:30am and 4am most nights.  I just get this huge bout of inspiration at about 2am that keeps me writing until my eyelids can’t stay up anymore.  Most nights I wake up with my pen still in my hand. 
Regardless, I’m still not anywhere near as exhausted as I feel I should be right now.  I feel electric, as if my body has somehow been plugged into the wall, at least long enough for me to write what I need to write.  It’s as if my body knows that I need to get all of this out before it can shut down enough for me to finally go to sleep.  But before that happens, I need to get out of my bathing suit and into some comfy clothes before grabbing the Book of Shadows and crawling into bed. 
It may look new, but it is still so old that I feel like maybe I shouldn’t write in it, even though I know that I’m supposed to be writing in it.  That’s why it was given to me.  It’s in my hands now and my mom wouldn’t have let me find it and entrust me with it if she didn’t think I was responsible enough for it.  It’s a feeling I hold tightly onto when I finally find a blank page to write on.  It’s right after my mom’s last entry, but I can’t bear to look at it right now.  I’m not ready to know what my mom’s last thoughts in this book were just yet.  Regardless of that, I have a project to work on.  I find a pen in a cup of pens that I keep on my night stand and make sure it works before attempting to write on the almost-too delicate paper.  To my amazement, this section appears to look brand-spanking-new, almost as if it was meant just for me, which is kind of impossible, considering the book itself was obviously made quite a few centuries ago, and I couldn’t imagine where the new pages could have come from.  I didn’t think it had very much room for anything new, but maybe that was simply because I could see it in its organic form.  Either the first witch who made this knew exactly how many pages to put in, or they’re brand new.  EIther of which I’m too exhausted to really wrap my head around right now.
Before I can get too distracted in trying to figure it out, I chalk it up to the book being magic so I really shouldn’t be too surprised at the fact that it can add pages all on its own.  This conclusion satisfies me for the moment and I start to brainstorm about what the perfect title for my first entry should be.  It’s not too long before a really cool one pops into my brain.  I write in bold, confident black ink at the top of the first black page I find:
“Scrying in the Sky.”  Perfect.

Ingredients for Scrying in the Sky:
First, one has to find the section in here on scrying if there is one, which I’m sure there is somewhere inside the vast recesses of this massive book.  A little background on the subject will be extremely helpful with the entire process in general.  (I don’t add that I’m extremely tired and am too lazy to actually take the time to look through it right now, but I’ll do that later.)
Once acquainted with what scrying actually is (which I finally found on page 73.  The definition here is “to foretell the future using a crystal ball or other reflective object or surface), bring a towel or blanket to lie on.  Since we’re doing this outside, make sure to bring something to snuggle up in too if it’s cool out.  Lay down in the darkest spot you can find that feels safe to you so you’re not in danger of being eaten alive by spiders or bears or something.  The spot also has to be clear of trees blocking your view. 
Decide on a time of night that works best for you; however, the later, the better.  2-3am is ideal. 
Now, here comes the fun part: once you are all situated, clear your mind or at least think calming, resting thoughts as you go into a meditative state.  However you get to that place of relaxation and meditation is fine, as long as you still feel completely safe.  Once you feel up for starting, simply look up at the sky, but try not to focus too much on it.  Look at it in a sort of sideways way, like you’re looking in a mirror not to look at yourself, but to see if there’s anyone behind you.  Your eyes need to be relaxed and will adjust accordingly.  The stars might dance for you, or they might stand perfectly still.  In time, and with a bit of practice, you can use this to see anything the stars want to show you.  You might also be able to manipulate the starts to look like pictures that you want to see, but that’s a little different.  I think the term would be called “cloud bursting,” which is something different than this.  Maybe that’ll be my next entry. 
The last thing you want to do before finishing up for the night is writing down what you see or drawing pictures if that works better for you.  Depending on how tired you are by this time, either just write some keywords you can focus on in the morning or a little sentence before going to sleep.  And that’s it!

My first contribution to the Book of Shadows was short, but it felt like it was a good starting place.  A feeling passed over me like I should have been scared to write in the book lest I mess things up royally but I think that was just my feelings of insecurity coming out and I dismissed them quickly as a new feeling of complete peace came over me, a happy and giddy feeling mixed together like I had just kissed someone I had always wanted to kiss and I was anxious to do it again. 
Before I closed the book up and snuggled myself into bed, I took some time to study my handwriting.  I was left handed so normally my handwriting was a flurry of too many half-assed thoughts mixed with smudges from my pinky finger (the left handed curse), but there was none of that happening in the book.  It seemed like it was almost my handwriting, or at least a more mature version of what it might evolve into in the future.  It was very clean and tidy, but I was happy to see that it still had my flourishes on all the squiggly letters.  I almost flipped back a few pages, knowing that my mom had been the last one to write her final thoughts in this book, but I still couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I did, however, open up to the very beginning where some of the pages looked the most aged.  It was quite difficult for me to decipher some of the words, as if the very first owner (and quite possibly maker) of the book had some extremely tightly-wound handwriting.  I’m sure the first few women to write their contributions in here had to use plumes as pens weren’t yet invented, so they had to be extremely pristine with what they wrote.  The ink was starting to go in sports and it validated my first instincts to get this book into better shape.  “Alright, book,” I said out loud as if it could hear me, and maybe it could, “I’m going to made a deal with you.”  I fought back the sensation to scold myself for talking to it.  It sounded like a silly thing to say, but I really felt as if it was alive and was fully capable of understanding me, as well as answering back to me in its own way.  As the book waited for me to say something else, I got the eerie feeling as if it was actually looking at me like my mom used to when she waited for me to continue onto my point.  I carried on.
“I want to keep you in my family for as long as I can, but I can’t do that if I’m always afraid I’m going to break you.  So, if you would let me, I will transcribe every word on these pages and make you like new.”  I at first had the thought that the proposition of me fixing up the book would make me feel better about having it, but I immediately got the feeling that that’s not what either of us really wanted.  “Well,” I started again.  “Maybe we could compromise.  I can’t really get to know you if I can’t read you, so will you at least make it easier for me to read?  And maybe make the pages a little less fragile?  I really don’t want to break you by accidentally ripping your pages out.”  This made me feel a little bit better, and the book hummed at me as the entire first page turned from something akin to what I would have found in my grandmother’s basement to a diary of mine from last year.  I breathed a sigh of relief as I could finally scan the pages and not have to squint my eyes to see the words and attempt to even remotely understand them.  Even though the idea of transcribing what I could now fully read and understand was on the pages still swam in my head, I calmed down considerably after I saw for myself the transformation that the book had so flawlessly went through just now.  Obviously, it had gone through 11 entire generations of witches in my family, and it had survived them all with every single page still completely in tact.  The only thing the book really needed was someone to care enough about it to look after it, pick it up and write in it.  It was still amazing to me how it could fit so much witchy knowledge inside of it… it didn’t need anything extra at all.  When a new witch in the line picked it up, it adjusted itself completely to that witch’s tastes and needs.  I had fully underestimated it.  But as I set it down beside me on my night stand, I promised that for as long as I lived, I would always take care of it and treat it as a part of the family, writing in it as often as I possibly could.  I was still new to this “witch” thing, so I really had no idea what I could contribute to it that wasn’t already there, but it made me think of how many things I go through in a day that normal people either don’t notice or don’t think about too much to ever think of as “strange.” 
I fell asleep still thinking about anything anyone had ever said about me or to me that was remotely “witchy,” something that went beyond a stroke of luck or that had happened simply because I wished it into being.  I could tell that this was the beginning of a huge adventure for me, and for once I was ready to tackle it.  Not just for my mom and me, who it felt great to be in a project with again, but to every woman in my family who had to hide her power.  My heart broke for those women, but I also vowed that I wouldn’t stifle my power away.  My last conscious thought was me thinking about all the women who had shown up in my dreams lately, and I couldn’t wait to learn all the lessons they all had to teach me.

I didn’t open my eyes again until a huge roll of thunder shook my bed and woke me up.

On a Stately Saturday (day 10)

Hello, Queen of the Fae,
I hope your day yesterday was as thrilling as mine was.  We got to Founder’s Square in the middle of the afternoon, and I have to say I’m really glad that my dad knows nearly all of the business owners because we ended up getting to park in a spot reserved for the employees.  We could have just walked–it is only a little over a mile from our house to the place with all the shops–but my dad wanted us to take a ferry ride to Washington Island after we get all our shopping done.  I found a really beautiful light cotton maxi dress and E bought some really gorgeous geode earrings at Vagabond Imports.  The square is filled with clothing stores meant for tourists and they must have all come on the same day because every store was packed to the gills.  I know Door County relies heavily on tourist traffic but oh my goodness, this year it seems to be worse than ever.
We did manage to get our food ordered ahead of time from White Gull Inn, and we took our meals to go as we piled into my dad’s car and were soon driving away from all the mayhem.  We hit almost no traffic as we made our way down the highway.
For those of who you don’t know..Door County has 2 major highways.  42 and 57.  That’s pretty much it.  From the main square in downtown Fish Creek, it’s a straight shot down 42.  That turns into highway 57.  You follow that all the way to where the road ends, and there you wait for a ferry to come pick you up.  I love it because it makes me feel closer to my mom.  Even on the days when the winds are high and the waves are choppy, I stick my body out over the side as far as it’ll go without falling in.  It drives everybody nuts and even the captain gives me a dirty look but I don’t care.  I don’t do it to drive everybody nuts.  I think I must have been a mermaid in a past life, or maybe one of my witchy ancestors were, because when I’m on that boat looking down at the water, I swear I can feel myself going into a trance.  Now that I’m learning more about my heritage, I’m going to see if anything about this sort of thing comes up.  The only problem is, I’m not exactly sure of what I’m looking for.

So, after  the ferry we finally got to Washington Island.  Another fun thing about this ferry is that you can bring your car with if you want to.  There’s a parking lot if you want to leave your car, but we always take ours with us.  I was drifting off to sleep between the waves, the driving and my self-inflicted food coma, made possible by the cherry-stuffed french toast and homemade hash browns.  I made myself comfy in the backseat, drifting off to the sounds of E chirping away excitedly.  I must have dozes off completely, because before I knew it, the car had come to a complete stop.  Actually, by the time I had opened my eyes, I was the only person left in the car and the scenery had changed from water and clouds to trees and grass.  I stretched, found my flip flops hiding underneath the front seat and slid them on my feet before hopping out of the car.  My dad was trying to skip rocks across the water, but E was totally kicking his ass.  I wish I could say that he was faking to make her feel better, but he’d never been too good at it.  Still, I had to admire his effort.  I saw from the rocks that we were at Schoolhouse Beach.
Instead of a regular beach with sand that most people are used to, this beach, named Schoolhouse Beach from a log schoolhouse built there in the year 1850, is made up of limestone rocks that are completely smooth.  A person can get fined for removing these rocks, because there used to be way more than there are now.  It’s almost heartbreaking how many rocks have been stolen from there.  There isn’t, however, any law that says you can’t throw them in the water surrounding it.  Some people would find it difficult to walk on if they weren’t used to walking on rocks, but I love it because to me it’s free reflexology.  I’m almost tempted to take another nap, but the water is refreshingly cool and you can see clearly through to the bottom, which instead of sand and silt is more smooth limestone rocks.  I wade out as far as I can, careful not to get my shorts wet because I stupidly didn’t bring my swimsuit.  E stops skipping rocks and comes over by me and stands beside me.  We stand there staring at the water for a bit, not really saying anything until she tells me that she’s so thankful to have my dad and me in her life.  She can’t help how she feels about J, but she has to admire how devoted he is to treating us all like we’re his special ladies.  It’s unusual but none of us have to worry about who we’re going to games with, who is taking us to the dance, or who we’re going to call at 3am because we can’t sleep.  I tell her he’s the perfect boyfriend for all of us and at least we’re not constantly bitching about some asshole playing ping-pong with our hearts and lady parts.  It’s nice to have a guy around that we can all count on.  She said that’s exactly what she loves about him and she doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to find anyone else like him ever in the world.  I said she shouldn’t worry about it so much, there has to be at least 1 more guy in this world who is at least 70% of that.  That made her smile a little bit. 

After the beach we all climbed back in the car and made our way back to the ferry.  A couple of hours later (factoring in a stop at my all-time favorite restaurant, JJ’s/La Puerta’s, I’m finally back in the comfort of my room.  And that was the rest of yesterday.

Now, onto today…
I woke up from an extremely strange dream.  All I can really remember was that I was standing in a structure that was open and looked to be a huge jungle gym.  There was sand underneath my feet and at least 3 levels of cinder blocks all around.  I’m guessing that those were places people could sit.  There was no one around now, except for a group of women.  There was a fire pit in the middle of the structure, and a huge log burning.  I could see the women standing around me through the light of the flames.  I didn’t understand what was happening until I felt a hand take mine.  I jumped at first by the sudden contact, until I turned my head to the right and saw my mom.  I nearly jumped out of my skin!  I couldn’t believe it–she was young and healthy, with her sparkling gray eyes and her smile that lit up her entire face.  She didn’t look sallow and starved as she had in the last few months of her life, but as I had never seen her.  Without thinking, I threw my arms around her and hugged her.  I didn’t want to let go, but after a while and she loosened her embrace on me and whispered in my ear, “it’s time.”  And then my stupid alarm clock woke me up.  The funny thing is, even though I knew it was just a dream, a part of me wants to believe that I really did see her.  It just felt that real to me.  I hope that it won’t take too long for me to find her in my dreams again, and also that I’ll soon find out what exactly it’s time for.

Which brings me to my next point.  Do you remember a few entries ago when I was about to explain this 2nd book I found in that box I found of my mom’s and then I got distracted?  Well, I guess someone really wanted me to look at it because it was on my night stand when I woke up and I do NOT remember putting it there.  I’m still baffled by whoever moved that amethyst far enough to catch my attention and got me to see what was underneath it.  I never would have even thought to look underneath something that huge and my dad would have needed at least 3 of his buddies to help move it, and maybe a dolly to get it out of here.  Despite all of that, though, I’m not getting any creepy uneasy feelings or like someone is watching me like a person would get if a place was “haunted.”  I still feel an incredible peace surrounding me.  I think I’m just going to take it slow and open up to a random page and see how I feel.  I’ll write a little bit later.

~a good while later~

So, I wish I could give a black and white detailed account of what in the heck just happened to me, but I’m going to have to give you a bit of atmosphere to even attempt to scratch at the surface of what I discovered.  It’s not bad, though… in fact, I feel a lot better now than I did before.  The more I peel back at the layers of mystery surrounding my mom and her life, the more I get to know who she really was as a person, the more proud I am to be her daughter.  It does make me a little sad, though, that she’s not around to tell me all of these things in person.  No matter where my life takes me, I know she’ll show up in my dreams, but it’s not the same.  She’s still not here.
But… onto the story of the Book of Shadows.  This is my best account of what I just went through.  Take it as you will.

On A Foretelling Friday (day 9)

Hello, journal!
Have you decided what you’d like to be called yet?  I’m still stumped.  I like the name “Titania.”  It’s from Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titania, or Mab, is the queen of all the fae and keeps the order of the old ways.  To me she is strong and very traditional, but not in a bad way.  She just wants her people to have what is rightfully theirs.  And so… journal, since you are helping me along on my own journey of self discovery, I shall call you TItania so you can help keep me on the right track.
There.  Now that THAT’S settled… I did not wake up on the beach when I opened my eyes again.  Somehow I got back in my own bed and underneath my covers.  I have absolutely no memory of how it happened, but I can see my mom’s quilt folded up on the back of my desk chair and Lucky is on the foot of my bed, so at least I don’t have to panic.  Although, E isn’t here anymore.  For a second I can feel my heart jump, but then I hear her talking to someone.  At first I think she’s on the phone but then I hear a deeper voice answer her.  It’s my dad.  They’re on my deck, sipping coffee and talking about boys when I sigh and finally bed out of bed, grab my fluffy terry cloth robe and join them.
“Hello, pumpkin,” my dad says to me with an easy smile.  I ask what time it is and he says, “3pm,” without each glancing down to his own phone, which is sitting next to his coffee cup on top of my favorite table, which my mom made from an old door she found that had washed up on the shore when I was 7.  She and my dad spent a couple of weeks sanding it down and let me help paint it.  I mainly just doodled on it in different places with a thin-tipped paint brush, but my mom put a special glaze over it so I didn’t have to worry about it washing away.  I didn’t find out until much later that my mom had painted a pentacle on the back side, along with some words or symbols in a different language.  To this day I have no idea what it means, but maybe I will one day.  Which makes one think about that other book I found in the bottom of that box I found, which I haven’t even opened yet.  I begin to open my mouth to ask how I got back into bed when my dad motions for me to sit next to him.  I make my way over to where he is, on my favorite beat up old couch that I’ve had in that same spot since I was 10 years old.  My dad got it for me at a flea market and it was the 2nd piece of furniture to take up a permanent residence on my deck.  I sit down and look across the table at E, who is sitting on her preferred seat, a swivelling deck chair that has blue cushions with seagulls on them.  We got it from our “let’s try and be normal by having furniture that’s made specifically for decks even though we’re not getting rid of what’s already here” phase.  I look over at E with a sense of something I’m not really sure of, and she greets me with a calm smile.  She looks so much better than she did yesterday.  I wait for any mention of what in the heck I was doing by myself at the beach, but instead E and my dad are talking excitedly about something I secretly wished for since my mom went.  Okay, let me explain this as best as I can…
My parents used to be known as the “cool” parents.  Not because they let us kids get away with anything like trying pot, drinking or smoking cigarettes, which nobody was really into anyway, but because they talked to us like we were people, instead of doing the “because I said so” thing without really explaining anything bit.  Whenever one of my friends or myself had a question about something serious, my parents would answer them and me as best and as honestly as they could.  It didn’t make them very popular with the other parents, but even popular kids who had never so much as said “boo” to me since kindergarten would ring the bell at 1am with a serious issue.  My mom would put the kettle on and make some decaf tea or hot chocolate and my dad would listen as the most stoic guy in my high school would sob over losing his girlfriend.  It didn’t help my popularity status very much, after all–there were still reputations to protect–but every so often I’d get a wink in passing in the hall or a thank-you note discretely stuffed into my locker.  And the help didn’t stop there.  When my mom first started getting sick, all the kids she had helped who had already graduated would come to our house to help out.  As she got worse, some would stay to make sure I didn’t fall behind in school.  I think the only reason why I didn’t fail out was because of this one blond haired girl my mom had helped our who had a miscarriage when she was 16 years old.  She said she wouldn’t have gotten through that time alone, and she was too ashamed to tell her parents that she was even pregnant.  She even came to stay with us after my mom passed, along with 10 others that helped feed us, make sure everything was taken care of financially, and held me when I woke up screaming in the middle of the night.
After a while they went back to their own lives, and my dad holed himself up in his studio and stopped taking their phone calls.  After about 6 months, the calls slowed down to a trickle, followed by radio silence, and people would just show up to see for themselves that we were still alive and how we were doing.  My dad would hardly acknowledge their presence and I’d have to look into their disheartened faces and apologize for him being that way.  It was like all of these people finding their childhood hero’s house and expecting this person they built up in their minds, only to find out that it was all smoke and mirrors.  But like me, they all knew who he could be, and a lot of them still keep in touch with me.  It gives us some common ground in knowing that this man isn’t his grief and one day he’ll come around.  And on the days I forget that, I head over to Facebook and someone is always there to chat with me and bring me back down to earth.  I am always reminded that this is temporary, and eve though he lost someone, he still has me and he loves me.  No matter what, I’m still his daughter.
So, to see him cheering my friend up like this, actually being a part of the conversation and wanting to be around his daughter and her friend again, makes my heart melt a tiny bit and one of my walls to come down, or at least crack a little bit.  I hate to say that I even built up walls, but when it’s the only thing keeping my heart from breaking by the one person who I never thought would do so, it’s a hell of a lot easier than getting crushed on the days I don’t even get a hello.  I can see the light in his eyes are back, and it makes me beyond thankful.  I’d go anywhere with those eyes, the ones sparkling with life.
Apparently, we are doing some serious “cheer-up therapy” today.  My mom is treating us both to lunch at the White Gull Inn and then taking us to the Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park.  I can’t wait.  I’m going to go for now so I can get washed up and ready, but I’ll let you guys know how it went.


On A Terrific Tuesday (day 8)

So, after all that explaining I did yesterday, I realized that I never explained what happened while I was busy explaining all of my friends to you lovely people.  But… today I have a little time to catch up, so before I have to start getting ready for the beach, I’m going to write in here.  So basically, here’s what happened.  I responded back to E after about an hour or so (I was writing and didn’t want to stop until I had finished everything that I wanted to say) and we texted for a little while.  She basically apologized to me after she thought about what I had said, but only AFTER she practically threw herself at J and he turned her down, again.  At that point I felt like this was something we needed to talk about in person, so we met up at our spot on the beach.  It was kind of crappy outside, so we were the only people there.  I brought a blanket and some snacks and we picked a spot to sit and watched the waves came in while I waited for her to get there.  Once she found me and sat down next to me on the blanket, she apologized again for being an idiot and I just told her that he is always going to turn us down because he cares about all of us.  Even though she nodded her head at that, I could tell it wasn’t what she wanted to hear.  I feel bad that I can’t just give her what she wants, much less tell her the truth about what exactly I know.  She’s a good person, but all of us know that she’s been seriously in love with (or obsessed with is more like it) J since our sandbox days.  Although we all get our little crushes on him, she’s the only one that gets this devastated about it.  If it were just some random guy that was doing this to her I’d tell her to just forget about him, but I can 100% see why he set these rules up.  One reason is because she would want something serious right away and he’s a 17 year old boy.  Yes, he’s of course thought about her like “that,” but he knows just from knowing her that she would want ALL his time.  She’s not possessive, but she loves him so much that she wouldn’t be satisfied with whatever time he would be able to give her.  Even if it were 100%, it wouldn’t be enough.  Damn… maybe she is a little possessive.  Oops.  I could see my own witchy confession sending her over the edge and she would go overboard to the point where our friendship wouldn’t survive it.  Actually, that’s another thing.  He’s admitted to me before that whenever she bugs him as to why they’re not together yet, he puts her through 3 tests to see how she would be in a relationship.  It sounds like kind of a dick move, and if it were anyone else admitting this I’d be immediately turned off, but I can see why he does it.  She’s the type of person that you can’t just be honest with because she lives in her own little world apart from the rest of the world.  If he just told her how he really felt, she wouldn’t take it very well.  So, he’s come up with a system that allows her to get sick of him all on her own.  I feel like he really wishes he could just be honest with her, but I understand it.  I do the same thing.  She just doesn’t take too kindly with not getting what she wants.  So… with that being said, this is what he’s told me he does with her just to validate his feelings of not liking her “that way”.  And the way she describes these little “dates” they go on, I can say with complete honesty that it sounds like they’re not really meant for each other.  She seems to be better with that than when I straight up tell her he’s not going to change his mind.  It’s kinda sad that it has to be this way but I guess with some people it can’t be helped.  But… for anyone who is curious about this, this is what he does. 
The first test is lunch.  He asks her if she’ll have lunch with him and then orders the most ridiculous thing on the menu to see if she’ll order the same exact thing.  If she orders the exact same thing that he does, he will make a note that she did it because she thought that’s what he wanted her to do.  Sometimes he’ll ask for food he knows she hates, like a tuna fish sandwich with sauerkraut and ice cream with anchovies in it.  If she’s really trying to impress him, she’ll not only order it, but eat it with a straight face.  Once they’re done, he makes her pay for her own disgusting meal and then takes her straight home.  On a side note, it’s amazing to me how many times she’s fallen for that trick.  You’d think she’d get sick of eating really gross things, but I guess not.   If she ever just made a face and ordered what she wanted, he’d go on to phase 2.  This has never happened, but he has watched with horror on multiple occasions as she would order the rarest steak the restaurant could legally offer, and eat every bite of it.  He knew she was a devout vegan.  When he’d ask her how it was, she would smile as if he had just asked her to go have sex with him in his truck outside in the parking lot.
Through crocodile tears she confessed to do this as if it were a mortal sin, and made me promise to every god and goddess I could think of that I wouldn’t tell anyone else in the group that this happened.  A part of me wanted to smack J for making E like this, but I have to give him props for not being an even bigger jerk.  Someone else would take everything she has and bleed her dry, but he won’t.  I wish I could explain this to her, but I know from experience that she won’t hear me.  What I can do for her that she will never know about is say a little prayer that she will find someone who will be everything that she wants, yes, but more importantly, what she NEEDS.  I can’t heal her broken heart for her, but I can sit with her on this beach and wrap my arms around her and let her cry her little eyes out.  Then, I can make it all seem as if I’m just playing with the sand absentmindedly, but what I’m really doing is mixing her tears that soaked up my shirt with the sand and praying to all of my witchy ancestors, including my mom who I know is listening, to look after E and help her heart heal so she can move on from J and open herself up to who is waiting for her.
After she is finally finished pouring her heart out, we walk along the shoreline for a while, finding a celebrating different shells.  After we can’t possibly fit any more on our persons, we go back to my house.  We spend the rest of the night talking to like times and my dad even orders pizza for us and tells E that she’s a beautiful person and not to worry about J.  Just a few days ago I was happy for the break, even welcoming the silence, but now she and I don’t want the night to end.  The chatter finally slows down as the sky turns from a midnight blue to a soft charcoal gray.  I hear E’s rhythmic breathing sounds as she finally passes out, and I quietly get out of bed and grab the beach blanket.  Lucky wags his tail and I put my finger to my lips as if he could understand the universal sign for “shh.”  He seems to, though, as he waits to shake off his sleepiness until we get outside and quietly close the front door.
The sun is just coming up as we sit down on the blanket, which has been passed down from woman to woman in our family.  It’s a quilt made of altar cloths, each square sewn on by hand.  I watch the sun rise over the horizon, the water changing from a deep navy to the color of my eyes–my mom’s as well–to a shimmery blue.
My fingers glide gently over the stitches, from pristine and perfect to lopsided and everything in between until my fingers stop over the familiar fibers of my mom’s altar cloth.  I was there when she picked it out at our favorite shop in Fish Creek called Vagabond Imports. There were a bunch of different fabrics and patterns to choose from, and when I couldn’t pick, my mom told me to close my eyes and hold out my hands. She guided them to all of the fabrics, and my hand stopped at a soft cotton piece that felt like silk underneath my palm. I didn’t want to let go of it, so when my mom told me I had to so she could pay for it, I felt myself having to hold back tears. Immediately I stopped myself, berating myself for being so childish. When I finally opened my eyes to see what it looked like, I was amazed by how beautiful it was. It was blue like the sky had just been a second ago, with fairies embroidered on it in different hues of shimmery gold thread. I thought the blanket was gone forever until I found it tucked away in the linen closet. I guess my dad forgot to add it to his collection of throw away stuff. But I think that he either forgot it was there or it didn’t remind him of anything enough to warrant him throwing it out. Or maybe he didn’t even know it was in there. That could be a viable option, it’s not like he ever really used the linen closet. At least not the one on my floor.
Regardless, I hugged it in my arms and breathed in the smell of my mom, which was a unique blend of Irish Spring soap that was my dad’s that she always used, Lotus incense and lemongrass essential oils. I ran my fingers over the childlike stitches, almost being able to picture her states of health from when she started to when she finished. It was at this point that my body decided it was time for sleep whether I liked it or not. I found a shady spot underneath a huge dugout made of the fallen down roots of a hundred year old tree, and snuggled myself into Lucky’s warm and soft fur. But that’s not where I was when I woke up a couple of hours later.