Monday, August 26, 2013

The original Safety Pin Cafe

Whistling and playing in the original Safety Pin Cafe
The three 'Ole Moons of Kaulana Mahina begin tonight, a good time to catch my breath and relax between the activity of one season ending (summer) and the next coming up. We are harvesting berries, beans and greens from the gardens and enjoy the company of my son (back from France)*, and our 'aina mates MK and Eileen. The project of transforming and producing the storytelling event of The Safety Pin Cafe is well underway. I have a deadline: just a bit over a month from now. Exciting, and if I'm not remembering to soften the ground of my being, I flip-out and then need to tether again. Whistling and playing ukulele yesterday morning helped a lot.

'Ole Moons are a time for rest, reflection and weeding. I need this.  It's a tough week, Satori says. You?

 * Merci Laurence for the wonderful new camera!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Smells of the season

He puko 'a kani 'aina.
A coral reef that grows into an island.
A person beginning in a small way gains steadily
until he becomes firmly established.
-'Olelo No'eau

The smell of apples bubbled in the big stainless pan, cinnamon added just the spice to concoct a smell of harvest. After three years, each year Pete learned a bit more about pruning the apple trees to allow a truly abundant crop of green and crispy apples. We still don't know their names, but it doesn't stop them from being quite delicious. The pan-full of cut and barely peeled apples have cooked down to a thick chunky mass, already tucked into freezer bags we'll eat them soon, and then later in the winter when the limbs and stems of the orchard are bare and bone-like against the cold times. 

An absolutely riotous wall of orange nasturtiums fill in my corner garden. A picture would say it, but, since we have no camera. The words substitute. Living in the eco-system of tall Evergreens, the growing season is late here. Where our neighbors with lots of sun have long ago harvested their beans ours are yet to come. But oh what a comedy of nature we do get to enjoy as the fertile beds and the late summer rains pump their mana into the seeds I planted in May. Along with those giant nasturtiums the happy trails of Scarlet Runner Bean flowers repeat the glow of orange hiding the wire fence, climbing up and beyond the red alder branches and tumble onto poles of bamboo I have installed to catch them. A trellis of palm-sized green leaves and clusters of scarlet flowers are a haven for the hummingbirds. I watch a tiny hummer eat to her heart's content, and then rest on the tip of the branch. I'm not sure, but though nasturtiums are less fragrant than some of the flowers that turn me on my head with their smell, nasturtiums must also be pollen-rich (why else the hummingbirds). My sinuses fill and my ear is plugged for days on end. But. That is what can happen.

Alongside the keyboard my work of writing and creating medicine cards from The Safety Pin Cafe tests my ability to adapt my capacity to use software. The art of making something is still the most joyous of activities, so I persist, and relish in the new season of learning and tinkering; pinning this with that. A riot of growth is still possible, and prevalent in autumn. I love that. Content in my progress, glad to be.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Big Fat Moon in Aquarius: balancing the dramatic Leo Sun, Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It’s a great day to ruminate on your part in the bigger picture and where you fit in. It’s a great topic of conversation and a time when you can truly benefit from the perspective of others, and they from yours - Satori, on The Full Moon in Aquarius

Midday on a Hoku Moon(good time for fishing) by the Hawaiian Moon and Tuesday by the calendar hanging on the frig. Satori's description for today rang true for me yesterday when Pete and I returned from our meeting to discuss the grand opening of the medicine story, and the place called "The Safety Pin Cafe." We were gathering to discuss the scheduling dilemma of having two very different events happening at the same time. My ancient brain was fired up and the worry warts were multiplying: old habits of a highly sensitive Scorpio learning to progress into the Age of Aquarius. (What? That just means I've an opportunity to see the bigger good through the eyes and heart of an Aquarius, and not a Scorpio. A tall order, but that's what a Progression is all about.) All week long I practiced walking the talk: 12 Steps (one at a time), 9 Tools of the Makua O'o. I prepared and took pieces and parts of The Cafe along to introduce the idea and the story, and brought the first recipes of the signature "dish" along to share.

"We cross borders without regard, ignorant or arrogant of the protocol native to the transitional spaces that take us from this place to that place. Traditions remembered and practiced would maintain and pass along the right things to do, at the right time, and in the right frame of mind. Have we all become wanderers with passports unstamped with the memory of teachings from the Ancestors and Nature? There are rituals to remember and common magic to induce respect for the beings and places that share this planet. Funny how Nature and Those-Who-Watch time the magic and adjustments for setting things right." - Introduction from "The Safety Pin Cafe"

Satori's advice was precious and keen. A mutually agreeable outcome came to the table and everyone munched happily on the cinnamon toast:)  "It’s a great day to ruminate on your part in the bigger picture and where you fit in."

How goes your Hoku Moon?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sense of place

 An Everett residential sandwich
 A driveway on Whidbey Island
On the road from Bend, Oregon bound for Everett, Washington
 In a field in Bend, Oregon
Any place: Pete and Jots together

In the woods of Langley ... spreading out and rooting
On the Ledge in the woods of Kitsap Peninsula
Beginning Year three in the woods of Langley, Washington
Short on spoons and words today, so instead a random photo journey of places and spaces we have been to get where we are.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Saturn the late bloomer

"Making a decision to go in one direction or the other allows you to focus your energy and your effort. This gives you a clear advantage over someone
who doesn’t know what they are going to do…or when! - Elsa P.

Today and all night is 'Ole Pau on the Hawaiian Moon Calendar, the fourth of four rest and reflect times before the Full Moon in Aquarius squares the Flashy Leo Sun. I began the morning with my walk across the orchard to let the chickens out from their coops. The two black hens and three no-longer chicks are always ready to go and hungry. The black hens are the matriarchs, the old timers who rule the roost, especially Henny who is the one constant layer of eggs. She doesn't make it easy on the young ones and bosses them around like most bullies. Does she realize the chicks are nearly a head bigger than she? Probably, but that still doesn't (yet) turn the tide as far as power goes.We don't interfere with their farmyard politics; but notice the maneuverings and just make sure all five of them get fed and no one is beat up. We have a responsibility to the birds who we have domesticated by caging them.

Later in the morning I checked in with the skywatchers and found Elsa's post, "The Great Thing About Commitment.". The snip of a quote above from Elsa comes from this post. I commented on that thread and wrote:

"...We’ve moved a lot during the diaspora years. That wears and tears. We have committed to each other. And now, illness is less of a focus and rooting is the brand. I have a North Node in Taurus, I’m seeking home and security.With recovering health I’m looking at how to serve, tapping into Saturn’s transit through my 10th House Sun(Public Reputation) in Scorpio. Yesterday I received information to challenge my smooth sailing with a public event in the making. Your post today makes it clear to me: it’s my commitment that’s important. With that, the challenge is not insurmountable it’s a Saturn hurdle and I did sign on for this race."

Saturn and Scorpio are prominent in my natal astrological chart: Saturn conjuncts Mars and Pluto.That conjunction squares my Sun and Mercury in Scorpio. I've learned that deep and long-term hurdles is the life I signed up to live. The tools of makua o'o require a lifetime of use, and astrology helps to sustain me during the deep dips and the soaring highs. So as the 'Ole Moons give me time to reflect I dug this up from Ray Grasse. His insight is a new version of understand Saturn and I especially like his clarity in these descriptions:

Simply put, this is the struggle for courage. Some of us remember the ads from our childhood comics about the 99-pound weakling who gets sand kicked in his face by the bully at the beach, but goes on to become a body-building marvel who can stand up to anybody. That’s not a bad depiction of the Saturn–Mars dynamic. As a result of feeling insecure about their assertiveness or physical strength, these individuals often wind up working that much harder to develop their muscles, figuratively or literally, and can become surprisingly powerful in the process.

" Saturn–Pluto
One might well call this aspect the struggle to overcome. Pluto is similar to Mars — both are concerned with sexuality, raw power, and matters of control — but with a subtle difference: Pluto’s power is more covert and subterranean in expression, so whereas Mars might be likened to a stick of dynamite, Pluto is more like a coiled-up serpent. That compressed quality gives Pluto even more power than Mars — for either good or ill.
Add Saturn to that mix, and it’s like clamping down on that Plutonian serpent, tightening that already compressed energy — making the potentials for constructive or destructive manifestations that much stronger. For these individuals, the presence of Pluto–Saturn in their lives can often feel as though they’re being forced to contend with titanic challenges, which is hugely frustrating. But with that struggle can emerge a degree of willpower that seems almost superhuman at times. These people can move mountains, if they put their mind to it.

This one might be called the struggle to communicate. I know of no better story to illustrate this combination than the life of legendary Greek orator Demosthenes. According to Plutarch, Demosthenes experienced great difficulty speaking publicly while young, because of both a speech impediment and breathing difficulties, which caused him to talk in staggered, clipped sentences. But in classic late-bloomer style, he tackled this problem by working on his diction and projection, using such unorthodox means as speaking with stones in his mouth and shouting into the surf. The end result was that he became what some regarded as history’s greatest orator. One doesn’t get much more Saturn–Mercury than that!

Because of their slow and deliberate way of pondering problems, perhaps, they can mistake their own slowness for stupidity — and occasionally, others do, too. Albert Einstein also had Mercury conjunct Saturn and was thought to be "retarded" as a child. We all know how that one turned out.

As a way to compensate for that sense of inadequacy, these individuals can work hard to bootstrap their way up into intellectual respectability, often through self-education and extensive reading. 
I call this connection the struggle to shine. The Sun in the horoscope symbolizes our essential identity and the impulse to express that character before the world. When Saturn becomes involved with the Sun, it produces a more strenuous effort in forging our public or professional identity and gaining respect for that creative light. We may feel blocked in this effort, as though we are standing in the shadow of others, be that a prominent or powerful parent, more successful peers or co-workers, or even an intimidating boss.
The silver lining here is that this sense of frustration compels us to work that much harder to "prove" ourselves and step out from behind those long shadows toward greater respect. Remember, there’s almost always a strong element of compensation involved with Saturn: Whatever it touches can be where we feel somehow inadequate or even inferior, and we are prompted to struggle even harder to make up for it. Finally, after much constructive effort, individuals with this aspect finally step out from those shadows and into the spotlight, to be honored for who they really are."

Every moon reflects something and as Aunty Pua Kanaka'ole Kanahele reminds me, "when translating, all definitions must be considered." I study extensively and apply what comes, time and again. Whew. Tired, yet? Yup.

Are you a late bloomer? Where is Saturn in your chart?

**The photo is that of Helennium, a flower that blooms late in the fall.**

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Teach the children well

Pete woke me with a kiss to say he was on his way to the garden. Can there be a better way to wake! On his way out the vardo door he paused, "Isn't it just the greatest summer." It is indeed a very fine summer here in the Pacific Northwest. Rooting as we are, these two quirky not-so-young folk are having the time of our lives. Looking and listening to the old Crosby, Stills and Nash lyrics, reflecting during the 'Ole Moon I clicked on the sidebar to the right --NA PO MAHINA -- weeks of the Hawaiian Moon) and found a beautiful reminder. The children are doing well. The places we have known, one of our favorite places we have known, Waimanalo, O'ahu is teaching children, teaching parents.

CHECK this link for "We are Waimanalo" to get a smiling, good time. Ahhhh...

Turn that ship around! On an 'Ole Moon?

" Mercury in Leo quinunxes Pluto and trines Uranus. The narrative of your story is bound to change over the course of this Pluto-Uranus square. But it takes a while for a big boat to turn around. Perception has to shift before your storyline can change. Can you see it shifting yet? Do you sense the changes in how you see yourself? Be creative under this influence. This is the perfect time to express yourself in a new way, maybe show a side of yourself that is shocking in its fresh and soulful quality. You’re writing the newest edition of you, and it’s okay, even encouraged, to share some spoilers." -Satori
It's an 'Ole Moon during Saturn in Scorpio Season. Translation? It's a time when deep shifting is going on but it takes a while for a big boat to turn around.  An 'Ole Moon in the Hawaiian Moon Calendar is a rest and reflect time. No new projects, good time for weeding, and repairing nets for fishing another time. The big boat metaphor Satori uses in the astrology over on ElsaElsa is perfect for me as I paddle my canoe, yet again, in the deep water of new territory. The voices of fear launch the anchors, "Throw that out there, slow her down!" they yell. "Ain't she supposed to be disabled by some disease?" The old edition of my story has me listening and heeding those dissidents. In the newest edition of me I notice I'm allowing the undertow of habit lure me like the sirens on the rocks. But, as I'm the writer of my fresh and soulful newest story I keep turning the canoe.

Saturn in Scorpio Season is a slow one but it's purposeful and deep. I need to remind myself of this. I am Scorpio and I feel. Slow and deep. The process of writing and designing a creative expression like the medicine story The Safety Pin Cafe is not easy: it's a big ship, a large canoe crossing an ocean of culture(s). Ten months ago the story began to feed itself to me; I wrote it down. Slowly, the medicine of story worked with me. I wrote it down and shared it. It was early Saturn in Scorpio ... just getting the feel for what this could mean. One month ago I fashioned a place for that medicine story to have a bigger audience (I have Scorpio in the 10th and 11th Houses-Public Affiliations.) One week ago our local public radio station contacted me to do an interview on internet-live radio about The Safety Pin Cafe. The host was very interested in my practice of Makua O'o. We talked for an hour. It's now a podcast available on-line. In six weeks I'm scheduled to present the opening of The Safety Pin Cafe, live and "in person" as a storytelling venue.

Is that a slow turn of a big ship? The 'Ole Moons give me the rest time to make sure of my direction and my commitment to my new edition of me. Writing this down in the early hours of 'Ole here I use the tools of the makua o'o and notice how I feel. I ask for clarity and wait for the rhythm of my heart and pray for the patience to not force the next beat. Ask for the reminders of muscle and cultural memory that says, "You are a seasoned traveler, a storyteller who has done this before. Sure and humble, level-headed, you know you have help feel it in your whole body. Wait, it is the time for waiting. Turn the canoe slowing to avoid huli (capsizing)."

Is there a new version of you in the making?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Common heroics: using the energy of a Grand Cardinal Cross

"[The Grand Cardinal Cross]... While this is a recipe for emotional upset and family (Moon, Cancer) strife (Mars), it’s also a good day to surprise (Uranus) the collective (Pluto) by pulling off a heroic feat." - ElsaElsa today
We're back home after a short outing to one of our favorite farmer's market. The weather is shifting a bit from the weeks of rain-free July the vardo steps were wet from an overnight rain. The wild huckleberries are showing up green and hard like pellets, but the promise of ripeness starts to shine through after a shower.

I was up very early this morning, tweaked by the emotional upset contributed by the astrology of the universe's sky. There are things I can do: I turn to the tools of the makua o'o and notice what's happening inside and out; listen with my whole body and; ask for clarity. Timing is really out of my hands as I attend to what I can do, and what I can think. With no one awake but me and my cat we spent the early hours comforting each other. The purr of a cat is direct medicine! Licking my hand also helps.Within a couple hours the emotional upset had flowed out and into the universe, into the earth, out into the air. I did some writing and freed up space for something new ... strife was averted internally.

After breakfast Pete and I worked together on a home improvement project that needs to be in place before the winter rains come and park here in the woods. We are replacing the golf umbrellas over the vardo porch. Sweet as they have been for three years, the sun and rain have worn them down and something else is needed. Pete has extended the copper-piped frame we use to protect us from the weather. Two years ago we found an unused roll of 10 year old outdoor canvas. I use it for projects in our tiny home spaces. This year I'm figuring out how to sew and tether the canvas into an awning.
With help from the fantastically helpful and knowledgeable lady-at-the-sewing store I think I have what I need to take the next steps.

In a way this is the Uranus (surprising) stuff that makes our life as tiny home folks exciting and satisfying. We use stuff we have and apply the magic that made The Safety Pin Cafe ... and pin solutions together. When we took a break and showed up at the South Whidbey Tilth Farmer's Market there were neighbors to chat with, new neighbors to meet; connections to be made and pins to link one person's need with another person's skill. The first year (four summers ago) on Whidbey Island this farmer's market was the place I could safely be: chemical and pesticide free with people who seemed to care, authentically! Now I can offer new people the support and hand-holding assurance that yes ... there's someone here who can help. The whole morning was one of common heroics.

Tomorrow the four days and nights of the 'Ole Moons give us time to reflect and review, weed and repair, maintain what's working and recoup from whatever, and whatnot.

And you?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Serve it up

"Although the skills aren't hard to learn, finding the happiness and finding the satisfaction and finding fulfillment in continuously serving somebody else something good to eat, is what makes a really good restaurant."
I have a thing for kitchens, cooking and service. LINK to the story 
at The Safety Pin Cafe. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Pete and I caught the 4:30 afternoon ferry and drove to Seattle to be with the city: picnicking and sitting with families who want to hope for a world without war, and without another Hiroshima explosion. We got to Greenlake, the popular Seattle park where the Northwesterners love to come, especially in the summer but really, they love it year round. The inviting temperatures had girls in bikinis and buffed bodies of all colors strutting their stuff. Families pitched covers to stay for the day. We spread a blanket on the ground not far from the stage set-up for the evenings gathering, and stretched out. Babies in diapers were bounced in time to the music of the Quichua Mashis, music of the Andes. Dogs barked at each other, children ran and played, a couple tables of information were set up. I picked up one piece of literature a comic book written by a survior of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. "I SAW IT The Atomic bombing of Hiroshima .. a survivor's true story" by Keiji Nakazawa. I'm not sure I can read the story, but I took it.

Twelve years ago I visited Hiroshima on August 6th and carried a 1,000 cranes to add to the many other thousands cranes. It changed my life, I've not forgotten. I remember the many floating lanterns in the river in Hiroshima. Since then Pete and I have been to other O Bon Celebrations, and watched the lanterns for the dead floating in the bay in Waialua on the north shore of O'ahu. Last night, we were in the city to be reminded on what humankind is capable of ... the grand and glorious, and the cataclysmic horror that comes from imagining something into being. I chose the calligraphy that stroked the black lines of ink into the word DREAM. It starts there where anything is possible. What comes from the dream to take on 'flesh' is choice and application of will.

Last night thousands came to carry and float a lit candle. The ceremony "Toro Nagashi" the lantern floating ceremony is performed annually.  Here is how it is described from the program given to us last night:

The Meaning of the Toro Nagashi

The lantern floating ceremony performed annually at this event is an adaptation of an ancient Japanese Buddist ritual, the Toro Nagashi, in which lanterns representing the souls of the dead are floated out to sea and prayers are offered that the souls may rest in peace. The ceremony is reenacted each year at this time, in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and in many cities throughout the world, in remembrance of the victims of the atomic bombings. In Seattle, the lanterns have come to represent not only those victims but also those who have died in violent conflict anywhere, and have become symbols of our individual commitment to making a more peaceful world ..."

Thanks for the heads-up JT.


Monday, August 5, 2013

The Safety Pin Cafe on radio

Annie Zeller Horton has invited me to talk with her about my medicine story The Safety Pin Cafe on WhidbeyAIR, Whidbey Island's all internet public radio station. The program airs this afternoon(PDT), Monday, August 5, 2013 at 1PM-2PM. What an exciting opportunity! LISTEN IN. This could be a lot of fun!

I'm a little nervous about the interview but excited, too. If you miss the live broadcast the program is available on podcast.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

New Moon in Leo, Tuesday, August 6, 2013 ... 'grounded creativty'

Pete and I were talking things over earlier this morning. Our cat was recouping from a boundary dispute with the neighboring feline and not at her morning best. I was still sleepy from the night, but I'd been across the orchard to let the chickens out and already having my first dose of astrology with Elsa P. Even before oatmeal, I check the sky with my internet astrology pair, Elsa Panizzon and 'Satori'.

"Every day, she's at it," Pete said in between spoonfuls of oatmeal. "For years!"
"Yup, for eleven years," I said remembering the first time I found ElsaElsa when we lived in the basement kitchenette in South Seattle. That was in 2008. What a time it was. I count that first discover of ElsaElsa as a safety pin of great importance. We were dazed and amazed by the changes brought on by illness and choices we made; and would need to sort out what we could (and can't) do about choices others made that affect us. That was five years ago, and a zillions decisions and experiences later. We have finished the process of building the vardo pictured below and still ... I am often amazed at 'what next' means.

I am in the midst of a creative project now that has been (it seems) a life-time in the making. The Safety Pin Cafe is a mythic memoir, mine. The story is written and the beat of the storytelling journey is out there keeping the rhythm going even while I am not quite sure how it will conclude. Slower than I'd like, I am teaching myself to format the story into a book. Learning new software and applying it is tedious stuff. I just keep at it. Some days less energy is available to me; I recoup like GJots our kitty. Astrology keeps me posted to the energy that is available, or angles that might assist or hinder. I pay attention. The New Moon in Leo coming soon is energy worth embracing. Elsa writes about the Leo New Moon,

"...Uranus will trine the Sun and Moon in Leo, blending independence with originality and creativity. Hard to complain about that!
Quirky will be in. Purple, red and gold in combination.

Here are some key phrases to keep in mind:
  • Free your heart
  • Daring creativity
  • Shiny innovation
  • Surprising talent"

    The New Moon in Leo will be in my 7th House of Relationships, and within a degree of my Pluto's position when I was born. The potential for deep and meaningful relationships will be highlighted. I'm excited in a positive way with that Leo New Moon coming up. The work of 'grounded creativity' is what I can feel today. I'm meeting with someone new on Monday, August 5th, the afternoon prior to that Leo New Moon. Annie Zeller Horton co-hosts an internet radio program on WhidbeyAIR  called "Isle of the Art." She's invited me to join her and talk about The Safety Pin Cafe from 1PM-2PM, on Monday, August 5, 2013.  Listen in, it ought to be a lot of fun!

  •  "Free your heart" ... Leo is all about heart. I've been feeling for the freedom to my dear old Leo heart with tinctures of this and that.
  • "Daring creativity" ... The Safety Pin Cafe journey has involved a daring to include people I have not met to join me in reading a quirky story about aging and changing face. The process is ...
  • "Shiny innovation" ... not exactly understandable to all, but perhaps it is just right for those who do straddle the borderlands and wish for a cozy place to reckon their backbones to a new center.
  • "Surprising talent" ... that might apply by some standard. I find it surprising myself to discover what does work today.
    Where will the Leo New Moon be in your chart? What independence and creativity will combine in your life?