“I’ve learned there are three things you don’t discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.”

~ Linus Van Pelt

Do you have a Great Pumpkin? Is there something in your life that means a great deal to you but that you keep under wraps? Have you let the secret out to someone and had an unfortunate outcome?

I have a few things about me that when I share them with others, result in silent, polite head nodding or a series of questions that imply: I think you are a bit crazy so I need to know if I should leave you alone with my kids.

What happens next? Sometimes nothing. Sometimes a shift in a relationship dynamic. Sometimes exploitation. Sometimes a new alliance.

To sit out in a pumpkin patch, alone, based on the idea that something you cannot prove or explain will happen at some point, is faith or it is foolishness, or it is both. That’s the thing about Great Pumpkins. You kind of know and feel somewhat foolish for believing, but you keep the faith all the same. It just feels better that way.

Still, I tend to keep my Great Pumpkins to myself. I’ve learned the hard way. Ever since I admitted a crush on the class dork in second grade and was mocked on the playground after school, I’ve learned to keep my deepest wishes, desires and practices to myself.

Great Pumpkin theories are shared on a need-to-know basis.

I’m not always happy with this arrangement.

Some of you out there are so open with your lives. Whether it’s a health issue, an impending divorce, a hurt from the past, an addiction or weird obsession, or just stupid daily stuff, you put it out there. This is the stuff of life to which I’m drawn. Raw. Real. Honest.

Blogs about perfect people and their perfectly sculpted and staged lives bore me on good days and gut me on bad days.

Blogs about real things keep me coming back for more. Just today I read three moving posts: a woman fighting for her life, overcoming one emotional trauma at a time; a woman revealing that she and her husband have separated; a woman breaking silence about the domestic violence in her home.

Not all is gloom and doom in the blogosphere. I also enjoy reading about those of you who are doing well but share your life in a way that endears me to you, makes me want to meet you some day over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.

Sometimes I think I know more about the bloggers I read, and they know more about me, than the people I know in real life.

And that is a pumpkin of a different color.

I'm wondering

as I read the news:

— how my husband would feel if I started working as a dominatrix to supplement the family income. I hear the demand is high right now and the pay isn’t bad. Seems like there are more opportunities in freelance fetish than freelance writing.


— if it’s more than just the economy. People aren’t spending their money because every food product and household item out there is either defective, tainted or programmed to explode when exposed to heat or light.

— if communal living will rise in popularity. So many families I care about are on the brink of crisis, foreclosure, repossession, utility shut-off. Families that two years ago were living large. They cannot find work. Any work. Not even Target. How would it be with two or three famlies under one roof? The upside is shared child care, food, and financial resources. Downside: too many people, boundaries and other unintended consequences.

— if we all could collectively raise our consciousness to envision and believe in an economic turnaround, a brighter future, a new course of action —could it happen? Could we get a majority to do this? Is cynicism too powerful a force to deflate? Could Americans today make the huge sacrifices our grandparents and great-grandparents made? Could we have another Greatest Generation?

Just wondering.

Setting sail


As I descend the stone steps leading away from the nondescript red building with the Tibetan prayer flags flying over the front porch, I notice for the first time that my feet are cold and that my legs are a bit numb.

But I am abundantly aware of the state of my spirit. My inner being is so light it soars above the snow-covered landscape and cuts straight through the airy clouds to the sun. My head is buzzing. I liken it to a runner’s high. This feeling. It stayed with me all day.

How could this be? My internal weather has leaned toward dark and stormy for months. My inner self a heavy thing dragging on the pavement. In one hour the storms, the weight dissipated. Later that evening, I attempt to recreate the experience at home. Again. Amazing energy flow and calm. I am on to something here.

After an on-again, off-again meditation practice that I abandoned right around the time I became a mother of two, and a missed opportunity to visit a Buddhist Temple in China, I finally summoned the courage to attend a service in Detroit.

I went in with no expectations and more than a little bit of anxiety (of the unknown) but my nerves calmed almost immediately after entry into this peaceful environment.

Even though I had no idea how to conduct myself in this setting, I felt welcome and serene. It’s not often that I get an undisturbed hour to myself.

By the time the service was over, I had a strong feeling that I had found a new spiritual home, one in which I could begin my journey toward healing my inner self and giving wings to a new outer life.

Make it or break it

A lot of people labeled 2008 as their worst year ever. I can’t say the same.

It was a continuation of 2007, good or bad. Both years had me at home with my daughters, outside of the working world. It was a period of adjustment. I had hoped to discover a whole new world, uncover a new way of life. I was going to embrace my domesticity with open, willing arms. Oh, and along the way I was supposed to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

But life just got in the way of all those lofty goals. People died. Friendships fell apart. Big chunks of our household income were lost. The economy really tanked. On the upside, I made new friends, tackled a lot of unfinished business around my home, managed  to do a bit of traveling, and began my super secret affair with the Internets.

But the honeymoon is over. Reality has hit home and hard. I need to roll up my sleeves and find a way to bring in some money. I need to do all this from home or fairly close to home. These past two weeks have been a whirl of scouting out preschools and digging through boxes of my past work, trying to devise a plan. Trying not to panic.

Which  leads me to an epiphany I had this week: This year is either going to make me or break me. I am on the edge. I need to shore up inner strength and set aside my pride, my insecurity and whatever the hell else is gnawing at me and just get moving. I need faith, direction and a few guiding principles.

At least once a month, if not more, I am going to push myself outside of my comfort zone to do something to shake things up and wake me up. I have a plan for this weekend that I hope to share soon.