12 Minutes


Copyright  c  1988

R. Glenn Booker

All rights reserved

The following is an attempt to describe a special encounter with the Great Lady that I experienced on October 30, 1986.  I realize that much of what I experienced cannot be described adequately in words, but I hope the images I saw and felt may be helpful to others; either by way of recognizing similar events you have seen, or to inspire you to seek Her out.

I had started studying with a San Diego-based pseudo-Gardnerian coven six weeks before this event.  My studies had already included learning a technique to open one’s aura (which I am afraid I can’t share – you know Gardnerians…), and the daily use of morning and evening “prayers,” dedicated to the Lord and Lady, respectively, to help build a close relationship with them.  I also had used the evening prayer time occasionally to work on memorizing some of the blessings used for the Full Moon and Great Rite rituals.

I was living in a run-down 28-year-old, 40-foot-long travel trailer, which I had recently moved with a great deal of tribulation, since the pickup I was using could barely move such a beast.  I was an aerospace engineer in the Mojave Desert, single, and age 23.  My religious upbringing was generic Protestant (Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, whatever’s handy).  Before this event, I was intrigued by, but still unsure of, the existence of a Goddess.

The day of October 30 was a good one for me.  I had accomplished a lot of little tasks that I had been meaning to get out of the way; tidying up my home, getting letters written, and so on.  And just for the record, I was under the influence of no drugs stronger than caffeine.  Though it was slightly after midnight before I started getting ready for bed, I felt good and my mind was free from immediate concern.  I sat nude on my bed, facing West, my left leg folded under the right.  I paused for a moment to gather my thoughts and center myself.  I opened my aura slowly, making sure I felt each part of me respond to the ritual before moving on.  Then I started the evening prayer, which goes like this:

Glory be to Thee, Goddess of Light

Let Thy Light shine forth

To Illuminate my Darkness

(already I started to feel a wave of presence flow down my body.  I knew something unusual was happening, and recognized the wave as being similar to that I had felt second-hand when someone nearby was doing an Invocation.  I decided to flow with it and keep going uninterrupted.)

Grant unto me the Aid of my Higher Self,

That I may Realize the Throne of Thy glory

The Center of the Universe

Of Light, and Life

I paused, noting that my breathing had slowed to a deep, methodical pace.  My heart pounded in a slow rhythm, reverently staying out of the way of what was going on so my attention could be elsewhere.  I was clearly in a light trance.

I was drawn, almost forced, by the Presence into reciting the Great Rite blessing for the wine.  With a shift of emphasis on “this cup,” the relevance of the blessing becomes obvious.  It goes like this:

Isis, Isis, Holiest of the Holy

Perpetual Comfort of Mankind

Isis Athene, Isis Hathor, Isis Nut

Isis Sothis, Isis Sati

Natural Mother of all things

Mistress of all the Elements

Great Lady, God Mother

Accept this Self I offer thee

Fill this Cup with thy manifested Love !

My trance state had intensified all through the wine blessing; I breathed partially through my mouth to keep enough oxygen supply coming in.  I felt my degree of concentration increasing to levels I had never experienced before.  My body seemed rigid because any voluntary movement would have required far more energy than I could spare.  I was briefly terrified to realize that I had completely lost control of the situation, and utterly vulnerable to Someone I never (?) met before.  I was focused on the Presence, waiting to see what She would do.  (I deduced it must be Her, in light of the blessing prayer as well as the tone of the whole evening.)

I looked upward a little bit and saw an intense white light flooding around me.  As I got accustomed to its strength, I first realized that the amount of energy I was being mentally exposed to was just as much as I could handle.  Any more would have been painful or simply overwhelming.  I saw eventually that the light seemed to come from a point source, not very far away.  Then the purpose of this demonstration hit me:  what better way to demonstrate extraordinary power than to show someone exactly as much as they can comprehend, then point out that it only required a tiny fraction of what you can do!

I pondered this a few seconds, then the demonstration continued.

My eyes wandered around the room, with me still in the trance state as before.  I focused on a small section of wall, which I knew to consist of a thin layer of plywood covered by many old layers of wallpaper.  My eyes (point of view) started to dispassionately look through the wallpaper to the plywood, which I pictured to be full of decade-old dust.  Not a pretty sight by most standards.  Then it was as if a nonverbal voice was starting to argue with me; she was insisting that the wall was a delightful and dear object.  I looked through her eyes and saw the same wall but felt child-like joy at the pretty patterns in the wood grain.  She was proud of the wall for the humble task it had done so well.  I returned to my engineer self and argued that it was just a musty piece of of plywood, with certain mechanical properties and so on.  She returned and repeated her points, looking on the wall with pride and affection.  I felt silly trying to argue with her, since much of her argument came from her heart; mine came from Mechanics of Composite Materials.  I soon concluded that it was pointless to continue, but thanked her for her perspective.

After a brief rest, my point of view shifted to as if I were sitting in the living room, facing West and a little South, out of the trailer.  Outside it looked like daytime, and I looked around the trailer park.  A small bird (a sparrow, perhaps) flew by slowly, almost in slow motion.  I suddenly felt boundaries between things start dissolving; that is to say, everything still had its own distinct physical boundaries but they seemed to become less important, more receptive to interaction between them.  My heartbeat became more intense, and the air around me seemed to become more in tune with my pulse; I could feel the air respond to my heart.  And the walls of the trailer started beating in tune with my heart, too.  The flapping of the bird’s wings left ripples that flowed through the air, through the walls, to my heart.  And my pulsing heart responded with its own rhythm being transmitted through the air and wall to the bird, a tiny movement of the bird could be seen with each beat of my heart.  A young tree, not too far away, seemed now to have its own very slow but brave beat; and its beat added to the chorus.  The air, the walls, the bird, the tree, and me formed a continuous symphony as we all communicated to each other though the patterns of our respective lives. Then I realized that we really are All One, even if we don’t recognize it all the time.  This interaction goes on all the time, and this was the first time I could experience it in a meaningful way.

And within this symphony I saw through Her eyes.  I felt Her quietly savoring the interaction before Her.  She looked in turn at the cast of this play with genuine Love and affection.  I felt Her own rhythm quietly supporting each of them, without bias or preference.  I felt Her Love expressed as tension, for She saw each going its own way, choosing its own path; She did not want harm to come to any of them, yet realized the importance of allowing each its own path.  The Love She felt had to be tempered by allowing free will, and this produced the tension.  A knot formed in my stomach as I felt the interplay between these forces.  I realized that the intensity of the experience was because each of us in the cast of the play is Her child.  She and the One are the same.  All fear of death melted away as I realized that I am always in the arms of the Mother.

I “returned” to my body again for a brief respite.  Soon I noticed the temp-erature in the room seemed to rise a fair bit (10 or 20 degrees).  The air around me started to become thicker and almost sticky in consistency, like I was trying to breath a fluid.  Surprisingly, I felt no panic at all, as though this were normal.  The warm air started to press against my body evenly and lightly from all sides.  I looked down a my left arm, half expecting to be covered in warm goo.  There was none.  I felt a new pulsing sensation in the background, slower than my pulse, deep and very comforting.  My mind raced, trying to put together the pieces of this experience, when my head lowered and it finally hit me.  I was in a womb !!!  Soon, sadly, the sensations left me.

This seemed to be becoming a tour of the Goddess!  I wondered briefly if what I was experiencing was related to an Aspect.  (An Aspect in the sense I am using it is the ritual invocation of a Deity, generally for oracular purposes in the case of a Full Moon ritual.)  Accordingly, I tried to move my lips to see if She had anything to say verbally.  I could barely nudge any movement at all, not to mention speak.  I dismissed this as a futile effort, especially since there was noone around to hear me if I spoke, anyway.

I thought over my 15-year involvement with Christianity, and felt profusely apologetic for not acknowledging Her before!  I kept waiting for Her to chastize me or curse at me for ignoring Her for so long.  She never did.  As far as I could tell, She was just extremely glad that I had called Her again, and was having a great time giving me this “tour.”  Her main message seemed to be “Welcome Back!”

I wondered briefly why She was doing this for me.  I soon realized that She was just answering my prayer !  (Be careful what you ask for…)

My perspective shifted to as if I were suspended in the middle of the air, several feet off the ground and a hundred feet or so from the trailer, looking at it.  Soon my trailer and pickup (parked in front of the trailer) and a huge hemisphere of earth under both of them – at least 50 feet across – seemed to be marked off with a thin line of white light.  Then the hemisphere of earth and my home underwent a subtle change.  It seemed that they were lifted up a tiny bit to mark them off, and then were left teetering on the head of a pin.  A shiver went very slowly down my back as I realized that they were on the brink of being spun around like a top.  Or of being tossed in the air.  Or of being flipped over like a pancake.  Or disappearing entirely.  I saw everything I had worked for and taken to be so hard to handle being treated like it could be a toy.  At first I was rather surprized by this attitude in light of the previous experience.  Then I realized that this was to show a shift in perspective.  The message was that there is immense power available to transform things – even things that we may consider insurmountable by our modest standards.  Anything is possible.

I returned to my body again.  My body started feeling stuffed in the sense of another being taking up part of every cell of my being.  It was as if someone slowy “beamed” into the same space as my body.  My arms felt full and heavy as this sensation finished filling me up.  Oddly enough, when the process was complete, I started feeling very light.  As though I were made of air.  I looked around me in the bedroom, and felt the boundaries between me and the air become less important again.   I thought about this in contrast to my schooling in engineering, which broke things down into distinct catagories so it can be analyzed properly.  This beam is loaded elastically.  This air flow is inviscid, subsonic, and 2-dimensional.  This computer is digital – absence or presence of a signal is all that matters to it.  Again I felt the Oneness from before; me and the air and the trailer and the earth are one, breathing together.

And with that thought, She slowly left.

I realized that She had gone.  My mind was still racing to try making sense of what had happened and to remember it all.  I slowly laid back on the bed.  I summoned the strength to lift my head and look at the clock on my nightstand.  The entire experience had taken twelve minutes.

A letter to yourself 20 years ago

A letter to yourself 20 years ago



Thank gods we finally got time travel to work! You’re … I mean we’re … whatever … you’re on a great track, I want to help steer you to even better possibilities.

You’re turning 30, and you think that means you need to start being responsible and settle down.  That’s a great idea, IF you wait for the right lady to do it with.  Set your standards higher than you think you deserve!  Yes, you might have to wait longer to find the right partner, but it will be far better than settling for ‘good enough.’  Trust me!

Your mind has been a great tool to get you where you are.  And yes, it will continue to be a wonderful asset, and make it possible for you to be superficially successful and not starve to death in a gutter somewhere.  That’s great, that’s awesome, and you should be rightfully be proud of developing that gift.

I want you to focus more attention on areas you’ve ignored – your body and other people.

I know it’s hard to focus on your body.  Thirty inches of scars have left their mark in many ways.  You did what you had to in the moment to survive that, and that’s a critical first step.  Now, as you discover massage therapy and other kinds of bodywork, keep exploring ways to wake up your body.  It’s okay.  It’s safe now, you don’t have to hold onto the ideas of the past.

Try to imagine:  if you didn’t see yourself as a cripple, what worlds would that open up?  What would you do?  Be patient, and don’t give up.  You’ve had three decades to set up patterns of movement, they won’t change overnight.  But they can change in ways you literally never imagined possible.

But don’t leave it at that level.  Explore your body.  Literally!  Play with every inch of you, stay in the moment, and see how it feels.  What does it like?  Soft or sharp?  Gentle or firm?  Is it happy or grumpy or horny or just starved for attention?  Honor the parts that are still scared, they are trapped in the past.  They will come around when they’re ready.  Meanwhile, make a private orgy if you can’t find a better offer.  Throw down some old sheets and use way too much massage oil!  And yes, explore all the naughty bits too.  It’s your body, you have every right to enjoy every aspect of it.  You know in your head it’s all good and sacred, it’s just hard to override all those years of programming.

Challenge yourself to play with new possibilities.  Sports?  You really liked tennis and swimming, maybe those can become public ways to explore how your newly rediscovered body responds and what it can do.

Armed with this new knowledge of your Self, take the next step and brave going out into the world.  Yes, I want you to be social.  No, I’m not crazy!  I know you’re a hermit by habit, but you crave more connection to others, even if you aren’t really sure how to get there.  Ok, maybe you spent too much time in books instead of going to prom or flirting with the cute flute player down the street.  So your greatest challenge might be overcoming your own fears and getting out of the house.  Sure, you don’t understand people and social interaction.  Physics and math are a heck of a lot more straightforward. Yes, you’ll get shot down a lot.  It’s ok, you’re not the Red Baron.  But remember after the awkward initial stages, the sheer joy of a simple happy fuck.  Feeling her pulse pound from inside her.  Savoring the blend of pheromones under the bottom edge of her breasts.  Watching her back arch as the wave overtakes her.  Kissing her sweaty brow while you’re both still out of breath.

I dare you to keep pushing for more than you think you’re allowed to ask for.  Keep working your mind, explore your body, and venture out into the world.  All you have to lose is your limitations.

Power Animal Dance

2/16/12 – Power Animal Dance at PSG

It was the late 80’s, at a Pagan gathering in Wisconsin in June.  Three hundred leftover hippies, Dead Heads, and rebellious or curious young adults, in a gently rolling campground normally occupied by other extreme radicals such as … Boy Scout troops.  Pagans learn from any tradition too slow to run away fast enough, and we were blessed with some genuine Native American souls at this particular gathering.  They organized a power animal dance for one evening.  The idea is to let your power animal (or kindred spirit) take over your body for a little while, to learn from each other and exchange perspectives.

That night was a little cold, with more than hints of rain possible.  I really wanted to participate in the dance, but the weather was icky and I didn’t want to be very active physically.  So I got a bright idea! I decided my power animal for the evening … was a tree.  Ok, I have to admit I had never heard of a plant being a power animal before, but everything’s part of nature, therefore is part of the divine, so why not?  I had a brown poncho, so that would double as rain protection and vaguely look like a tree trunk.  This could work!

So I put on the poncho and started walking to the ritual space.  But being a tree, I walked slower than I Ever. Have. Before.  Each step became a new investigation of my feet, slowly shifting my weight from one part of each foot to the next until it could take my full weight.  This took forever, so naturally I was one of the last people to get in line for the dance.  As I approached the ritual space, the ground shook gently, rhythmically from powerful drumming, and for quite a while I couldn’t tell what was up ahead.  When I got close enough, I saw that people were being squeezed one at a time between two of the drummers.  Birth.  A human birth canal had been created, between the driving heartbeat of the drums.  And so I was delivered into the sacred space.

I walked slowly to one side of the space, and planted myself (ahem) with a good view.  Around me people were jumping and growling and leaping and interacting with each other in their animal forms.  But as a tree, I couldn’t make a sound.  Or move.  Some approached me, sniffed about, then went on their way.  I was surprised to realize that, as a tree, I had become supremely vulnerable. No defenses, no running away.  Exposed to anything that could walk up to me and do anything they wished. And as interesting as my neighbors were, there were none of my kind present in the dance.  A twinge of loneliness pulsed through me.

I observed the dance for a while longer, and then heard a strange and unfamiliar sound from the middle of the space.  It repeated, or maybe continued, and only then I realized it was English.  I had drifted into the dance so far I couldn’t understand language for a while.  And as our common bond of language was reinstated, I realized and felt a connection to all the critters dancing around me.  We. Are. One.  The enormousness of that utterly simple statement came crashing in around me.  I slowly eased myself to the ground, waves of sobbing, my body convulsing with the relief of no longer being alone.

After a while, a couple of people came to check on me.  One asked, “Are you alright?”  I nodded slowly and thought ‘Oh yes, like never before.’

Sex and Gender Studies

Sex and Gender Studies


What am I?  [this is the audience participation section]

Some find the world a lot more black and white than I do.  Take sex, for instance.  [now I have your attention!]  Over here (far stage R) we have Male.  So with our XY chromosomes we get a host of gender identity expectations.  Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails.  Republican politicians feel very comfortable here.  They join clubs that exclude cooty-filled women, smoke big phallic cigars, pass laws to tell women what medical procedures they must have, and generally pretend to be masters of the universe.  Here we find most male athletes, full of testosterone and bulging muscles, ready to rip each others’ heads off for … no apparent reason.

And over here (far stage L) we have Female.  Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what the XX chromosomes produce.  Well, as long as they aren’t the ‘Real Housewives’ of anyplace.  Otherwise to be feminine is to be soft, loving, nurturing, barefoot, pregnant.  Look at every traditionally female job, and it’s an exercise in being professionally subservient – school teacher, librarian, secretary, nun, nurse.

So this world pretended to work well for the June Cleaver era of families.  Everybody has their assigned role.  Everyone follows along, or they’re quickly ostracized and sent to live with distant relatives.

And who is in between the two sexes?  Nobody!  There’s no such thing.  Look at our forms to this day.  Check off Male or Female radio buttons.  No other options.  Period.  We love our black and white world.  Good and Evil.  Male and Female.  Believer versus heathen.

I grew up in the shadow of this world.  Got to junior high, and finally had my very first choice for an elective class in school.  Wood shop (run R), or home ec (run L).  I was with my dad, there was clearly no choice here.  Shop is for boys, home ec is for girls.   Duh, that’s a no brainer.  Don’t get me wrong, shop was a lot of fun.  I just also wanted to take home ec, because sewing and cooking seemed really interesting, but that wasn’t really an option, was it?

As I continued to grow up, I was confused by ‘normal male behavior.’  My high school classmates claimed to get an erection upon just seeing a beautiful girl.  I found girls lovely and wanted to enjoy their bodies too, but my body didn’t respond that … rudely.  Were my friends lying, or was I just weird?

I heard gym coaches talking about the virtues of extreme exercise, like how admirable it was to run until you puked.  I wondered to myself “am I weird for thinking that’s just staggeringly stupid?”  I saw wrestlers and football players and boxers and found myself unable to imagine having the drive to behave as those sports require.

As I started dating (at the tender age of 18) I discovered that my lack of macho was a real serious issue.  Women seem to want a macho asshole to treat them like garbage, in spite of fervent protests to the contrary.  I can’t pretend to do that.  I especially don’t do ‘macho.’  Women see that as a massive unforgivable character flaw.  As I became sexually active, I quickly realized that I can’t just fuck.  No matter how much my mind wants to, my body won’t cooperate, with all the painful embarrassing episodes that produces.  “No honey, it’s not you.”  I have to make love.  I have to have some kind of emotional connection to my partner.  That has to be the foundation, at least until I get comfortable enough with someone to eventually be able to fuck their brains out.  Lovingly.

Years later, while married, our relationship started to deteriorate, so naturally I was blamed for it.  I went off to a doctor to see if there was something medically wrong, or if I was just getting sick of my wife.  One test result said I had low testosterone levels, and the doc said they were typical of a 15-year-old, not a grown adult.  They gave it a fancy name of course, ‘primary hypogonadism.’

As I started to research this strange affliction, I discovered there was a whole world of people between Male and Female.  Intersexed, they call it.  Compared to many, my situation was easy to manage.  When many intersexed people are born, the doctor doesn’t announce “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl”, instead they whisk the baby off and discuss it in hushed tones as they figure out what to call it, and how to “fix” it.  This was however precious little consolation to me in my immediate situation, which continued downhill.

So I tried every medical solution under the sun.  Viagra, Cialis, yup, tried them.  BTW, they work by opening your blood vessels, so don’t take extra in the hopes it’ll work better.  Because they open ALL your blood vessels, and you get a massive headache and low blood pressure.  Sexy.  Tried testosterone creams, those are fun.  Let’s crank up your hormone levels like you’ve literally never seen before.  What is this, second puberty??  I even tried one weird drug that gives you an erection, but the catch is you have to inject it directly in the shaft of your penis.  Now doesn’t that sound romantic?

I knew the problem was mostly psychological, not medical, but I went along with trying the host of treatments to pretend the answer lay among them somewhere.  It didn’t.

As I went to other doctors, some disagreed with the initial diagnosis.  Apparently the ‘normal’ level of testosterone in a man is a huge range, so whether someone is ‘low’ or not is largely a matter of conjecture.  Great, thanks guys.  So helpful.

So am I intersexed?  Maybe.  Does it really matter?  I am me.

Mr. D

Mr. D

I was a quiet kid.  Too afraid of my ex-Special Forces father to risk getting in ANY kind of trouble.  Would have been voted ‘most likely to be invisible,’ if there were such a category. So naturally my circle of friends had a very small radius.

A Sunday school teacher took kindly to me. His name was John Dickinsheets.  Funny name, huh?  We called him ‘Mr. D’ for short.  He was really old, probably in his 60’s or so, and I knew he had children in their late 20’s, plus grandkids, the whole nine yards.  Not sure what happened to his wife, she was never part of the picture.

He invited me over to his home near our church, and introduced me to coin collecting.  He gave me a bunch of coins over time, and taught me how to look them up in the big book of world coins.  I put them in little slide protectors, the same size as 35 mm slides from ancient cameras like my dad had.  I soon got a metal slide case for my increasingly valuable collection.  Many a weekend afternoon was spent with Mr. D poring over coins.  We took breaks from the coins once in a while, and I found our breaks really confusing.

Sometimes we’d go into the bedroom and he’d pull down my pants and underwear, and have me lie back on the bed.  He’d kiss me all over my hips, which seemed very grateful for the attention, but also equally confused.  After he kissed me like that for a while, I’d get dressed again and we’d go back to the coins like nothing had happened.

Sometimes he’d kiss me, and it wasn’t like a kiss from Mom or Dad.  He used his tongue a lot, and it was really thick and bumpy, like he was part frog.  He tasted like old people smell, I thought.  It took a while for me to get used to the whole tongue kissing concept, I never heard of such a thing much less did it.  It seemed to make him happy though, so I figured I had better get good at it.  My first girlfriend was very grateful for my having received this bit of instruction.

Sometimes we’d be sitting at the kitchen table with the coins, and he’d put my hand down the front of his pants.  It felt hot and humid in there, and his penis was really big and very hard.  I didn’t really have any idea what to do, but just holding it seemed to make him really happy.

So Mr. D had some unusual hobbies in addition to coin collecting.  I had no idea what was going on.  It seemed odd, but no one warned little boys about Sunday school teachers in those days.  Maybe girls got warned about a ‘funny Uncle’ – but boys?  Nope.  My slightly older brother had also been coin collecting with Mr. D, and while we never really discussed what happened, we both knew something was fishy.  Eventually we went over together, in a guess to keep the weirdness down, but I still recall getting pulled aside in the bedroom for some awkward tongue kissing even when my brother was in the other room.

We finally stopped going to Mr. D’s altogether, and later moved away.  As a test, many years later, I referred to a new friend whose name started with D as ‘Mr. D’ in front of my brother, and he shot me a look that could kill at twenty paces.  He had been there too.  And he’ll probably never forget either.

I was 11.


2/29/12 – Marilyn

At first glance you’d be much more likely to assume Marilyn was someone’s Grandma, ready to bring a tray of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven.  Fairly tall, maybe 5’8″ or so, she had gentle round curves that make you think she’d give the warmest hugs you could imagine.  In her arms, the boogie man couldn’t get near you.  Only when close to her could you pick up her scent, a delicate blend of simply clean plus a hint of floral perfume.  She clearly knew what worked for her, and didn’t have to be overbearing or obnoxious to make her point.

She was in her 50’s, with wispy thin white hair that she tried to corral into a perm, with limited results.  Her voice matched her body – soft and calm and gentle. She spoke slowly, with the confidence and maturity of her years behind her.

She told me of her first event with the Church of All Worlds.  Someone was hosting a hot tub party; not exactly a rare event in Northern California.  Being new to the area, and this being the days before GPS, she got lost and was quite late.

Getting to the party, she found everyone was in the back yard in a large homemade hot tub.  An oval tub with slightly rusted galvanized steel walls, it was probably designed for eight people, and currently held at least twelve happy naked souls already.  Ever polite and gracious, Marilyn assumed out loud that there was no room for her large frame, but the partiers would have none of that.  They insisted there was plenty of room for her – in the middle of the tub.

Quietly and modestly, she disrobed, and after a brief flurry of activity, she stepped between a couple of people and eased herself into the middle of the tub, half standing and half lying across several people’s legs and laps.  The commotion settled down, and a pause of quiet emerged.  With a hint of pleasant surprise and a gleam in her eye, she quietly stated “Well, someone’s foot has found the right spot, but at the moment I’m not sure if I’m straight or gay!”

Bumper stickers

2/19/12 – bumper stickers

My first vehicle was a beige full size pickup (1985 Chevy, to be more exact).  I soon had a few bumper stickers on it, including “Ankh If You Love Isis” (because we need more Egyptian puns, and Isis is wonderful) and one for the California Association of Midwives, of which I was a supporter and student member.

Being on a full size pickup, I had to stop often for gas, and two of them were memorable because of those bumper stickers.  Once I was minding my own business at the gas station, and a young lady approached me and said she was a photography student at nearby Cal State Northridge, and she wanted to take a picture of my bumper stickers.  Naturally I consented.  Then she walked up to me and asked what they meant!  After giggling to myself, I patiently explained the pun (Honk if you love suchandsuch), and she wandered off.

The other time another young lady asked about the midwifery bumper sticker.  She asked if my wife was a midwife.  I said no, I wasn’t married.  She asked if my ex-wife was a midwife.  I said no.  She paused, and asked if my sister was a midwife.  I said no, and wondered how many iterations it would take before she found the right answer.  As the poor thing stood there completely perplexed, I finally decided to be kind and told her *I* was a student midwife, the bumper sticker was mine.  I heard her paradigm shift without a clutch, and she walked off more than somewhat confused.


2/18/12 – Convocation

I’ve been taking dance classes for a little over six years now, and that’s produced some odd situations.  As faculty I’m expected to show up for Convocation in the Fall, which is a formal party to start the new school year.  We welcome new faculty, and a handful of students show up, and the other students are just glad some daytime classes cancelled.  Last year the problem I had was my ballet class was right after Convocation.  So I dressed in layers – tights and leotard, then slacks and a polo shirt, and finally my official academic robe over all that.  As cruel fate would have it, last October was very warm, and Convocation is held in the Main building, which isn’t air conditioned.  Uh oh.  I usually don’t even wear two layers, much less two topped by heavy velvet.

So as we processed into the auditorium, I could tell this was going to be a toasty event.  And Convocation dragged on for two plus hours.  A small river started flowing down my spine.  I struggled to keep from passing out, and pretend to be paying attention to the speakers.  It finally droned to an end, quite a few minutes late, and me quietly panicking over how late I was going to be for class and how I’d have to sit and watch class instead of participating.  I scurried across the street to the dance studio, tossed off my shoes, and padded into the studio still robed.  That got some delicious double takes!  I looked frantically to the instructor to see if I could still take class, and she invited me to join them.  My heart leaped for joy.

I went into the locker room, draped my robe over a cleaning bucket, shed my formalwear, and grabbed my ballet shoes.  I found a place at the barre, slipped on my shoes, and joined the class as though nothing unusual had happened.  As class progressed, I felt a chill ripple through me, and realized only then that my dancewear was completely soaked with sweat.  I was freezing from all the evaporation.  But it didn’t matter.  I was allowed to dance another day.

Shark Dreams

2/17/12 – Shark Dreams

I was really little, maybe 5 or 6 years old when it first happened, living in Nebraska.  A dream.  We were living in a little suburban home, with a grassy back yard sloping away from the house.  In my dream I was walking away from home in the back yard, and tried to cross a long metal grating like you’d see over a sewer in the street or maybe a drain cover in a gas station parking lot.  Somehow I stumbled and fell through the grating, and found myself in deep water, apparently in the ocean.  A great white shark saw me and mistook me for dinner.  The shark opened its huge mouth to eat me in one bite, and I clearly remember panicking and trying to defend myself by holding my arms out to keep from being eaten.  My left hand went up, and the right hand down.  I watched my right hand reach out to block the shark’s enormous jaw, and it flashed through my mind that I was about to hold the shark’s jaw open by pressing against its teeth with my bare hand, and what a completely painful and silly idea that was.  The dream ended abruptly before I made contact with the shark.

The odd part?  I had exactly the same dream at least three times as a child.  As it repeated, I was lucid enough to know it was a dream, and recognize that it was a repeat of the same dream.  And still it unfolded exactly the same every time.

Around that same time, another shark dream occurred, but this one only once.  I was swimming in the ocean, and suddenly found myself in much deeper water.  Somehow I was ten or twenty feet underwater, without any pesky problems like breathing.  A hammerhead shark approached me, eying me curiously.  He got closer, and I heard him say something I couldn’t understand his words.  I asked him to repeat it, and leaned my head closer to him, his head now only a foot or two from mine.  He did repeat it, but I still couldn’t understand.  The dream ended without resolving what the shark was trying to tell me.


2/14/12 – Bathtime

My freshman year of High School, I went through a long round of surgeries to try to “fix” my left leg.  You see, I was defective at the factory, and in the hopes of becoming ‘normal’ I consented to repeated attempts to get my legs the same length.  Didn’t work, but god knows they tried.  Over and over again.  My left femur was surgically broken, for the third time in my life, and recovery took forever after a deep infection left me in the hospital on antibiotics for three weeks.  I finally came home with a new contraption on my left thigh, a set of nine surgical steel pins connected by metal clamps and rods that made me look like Frankenstein’s cousin.  A Hoffman apparatus, I was told it was called.  I’m guessing Dr. Hoffman was closely related to the Marquis deSade.

So after coming home, normal activities like bathing became a bizarre challenge.  Depending on who was home at the moment, I’d have to get two people to help me ease into a bathtub, one supporting me under my shoulders, and one lifting my errant leg for me and trying not to cause massive pain while lowering it into the water.

I distinctly recall when my slightly older brother got the latter duty.  Every time he was careful not to look at me, as if he were somehow in danger of catching a birth defect.  And his breathing became really weird.  He would hold his breath for a long time, and exhale through his mouth, all the while studiously avoiding any sign of interaction with me. As if he were thinking “It’s okay, I’m just here to act like a crane and help move this inanimate object, so I’m going to distance myself from the situation as much as possible.”

I guess I can’t blame him though, I’d be weirded out too if I had to help a sibling with basic self care, especially at that age.  But still, the memory remains.