It seems like an eternity ago, but it was just Monday past when daughters Heir and Spare, and artist Seitou went on a crawl through the New Jersey suburbs looking for over-the-top lawn displays. Some that we visited are "old standards" -- folks that have been doing this for years. And some have evolved over time from modest to lavish, as folks keep the old and add the new. Heir and Seitou opted to stay in the car while Spare and I prowled the exhibits. Spare and I weren't trespassing. One dude who does a Crazy Christmas House sits on his porch dressed like Santa Claus, dispensing candy canes. (I'd have pictures, but the faeries hid Spare's camera ... again.) Another one has a collection box for leukemia research. Now that's magic! Put your obsession to use for a good cause!
Seitou made an odd suggestion during the Crawl. She thought we ought to go to Snobville's most posh neighborhood, locale of the 4mil-and-up houses. It has been my experience that these kinds of people do not fill their yards with plastic snowmen and vinyl bubbles with penguins dancing in snow to cheesy holiday carols. However, when we got to Lane Of Success, we discovered a mansion with huge trees in the front yard, and from the trees hung glowing balls of light in many colors. Seitou did not know this would be there, which made it all the more special. We discovered a faerie world in high-end Snobville! (We did not prowl this property, but instead ogled it from the street. No use courting a release of the hounds.)
The very next evening, Heir and I went to Pizza and Poetry in Camden. Those of you who have visited TGAB for years will recall our ongoing friendship with the Monkey Man. He runs Pizza and Poetry. On this occasion he was wearing a multi-colored top hat with a sunflower growing out of the top of it. His monkey spent half of last year at the spa (ungrateful wretch worried the Monkey Man sick). But monkey is back with man now, so all is well. We read Emily Dickinson and haiku. (Haiku is big in Camden, that's where Nick Vergilio lived.) I actually had something of my own to read this time -- from the peerless Six Word Blog!
Wine flowed freely. We re-enacted the Twelve Days of Christmas. Leave it to the Monkey Man to get a stodgy Rutgers professor to flap his wings like a partridge.
Christmas morning at dawn I worked an empowerment spell for someone. If I don't recall it in years to come, it won't matter. Just making note of it.
For Christmas The Spare gave me a Witch's calendar with all the phases of the moon on it and all sorts of astrological information that I will find extremely useful. It's a beautiful calendar. Heir gave me dragon's blood incense and a lilac-scented candle. They know me! They really know me! Mr. Johnson signed me up for a reasonably-priced gym that has a pool. So now I can regain my strength without over-taxing my legs doing weight-bearing exercises.
I watched "It's a Wonderful Life." The part that always chokes me up is when the angel points out to poor old George Bailey that because he wasn't there to save his brother, his brother died as a kid. And because his brother died as a kid, his brother didn't live to become an Air Force pilot who saved the lives of 150 soldiers. All those soldiers died. See, that's how I think magick works. A series of insignificant events, having no foreseeable consequences, work together to become a miracle.
Friday Mr. Johnson's second family came to visit. (His dad divorced, remarried, and had three children by the second wife.) This family has a brand-new baby ... and we all know there's nothing more fabulous than that! Lucky kid too, to be born into a family full of urban professionals with good educations and level heads.
Today we are driving to Croton-on-Hudson, New York to see Mr. Johnson's first family. This is the kind of trek that makes me wish I was a buzzard -- three hours of New Jersey Turnpike and related roads that run way too close to Manhattan. It would be so much easier to spread one's wings and fly there! But I also have some fabulous nieces and nephews from this family, so it will be great to see them. (I've got to run out and get them some candy. Hooray for the post-Xmas sales!) We are spending the night in Croton, also a plus. The Hudson Valley is beautiful. I would love to see more of it.
Saved the best for last. My sister sent me a beautiful Pan faerie pin that she bought at a celebrated Wiccan shop in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. I have seen a sea change in Sis since she discovered the tiny faerie in her spare bedroom. Her outlook is definitely broadening and becoming more flexible! Planning to go see her this coming spring. Will take Spare to Shepherd University, which I think would be a good college for Spare.
When I get back from Croton I have a new gym membership, a few writing assignments, and a full-time (sans benefits) job at the Vo-Tech. Oh yeah. And I turn 50 in 2009, so I'll definitely want to see some fireworks on New Year's Eve.
This has been navel gazing by Anne Johnson. Thank the bored deities -- and you -- for the patronage!