July 2010

Some cool stuff about owl symbology I found online:
* “The Wise Old Owl has all the kn’owl’edge, you are on the ‘edge’ of discovery and recovery.”
* It is a major Illuminati mascot, and appears in Free Mason symbology, including in a little hidden corner of your U.S. dollar bill.
* Many cultures associate owls with the bringing, warning, or symbol of death. (Of course, death to me is not the end; it is stepping through the veil to connect me from this side to the Other Side, i.e. Home.)
* In Greek mythology, Athena (goddess of wisdom, the Arts, and skills, and as a result, owls also became symbols of teaching and of institutions of learning) transforms into an owl. Athena frequently had her companion Owl on her shoulder, which revealed unseen truths to her. Owl had the ability to light up Athena’s blind side, enabling her to speak the whole truth, as opposed to only a half truth.
* As a totem animal, owls represent deception, clairvoyance, insight (often referred to as “the Night Eagle”). “Owl is at home in the night. It has great awareness of all that is around it at all times. It has predator vision, which means it sees clearly what it looks at. It has great intuition: it is the totem of psychics and clairvoyants. It has the courage to follow its instincts. Owl’s medicine includes seeing behind masks, silent and swift movement, keen sight, messenger of secrets and omens, shape-shifting, link between the dark, unseen world and the world of light, comfort with shadow self, moon power, freedom.”
* “The Ainu in Japan trust the Owl because it gives them notice of evil approaching. They revere the Owl, and believe it mediates between the Gods and men.”
* The White Goddess website says “The Owl, symbol of the Goddess, represents perfect wisdom. Owls have the ability to see in the dark and fly noiselessly through the skies. They bring messages through dreams. The Owl is the bird of mystical wisdom and ancient knowledge of the powers of the moon. With wide-open, all-seeing eyes, Owl looks upon reality without distortion and acknowledges it, yet is aware that with ancient magical and spiritual knowledge, he or she can make changes.”

Now that I have more background, this owl thing connects many dots through my life and points to a consistent path. I’ve always known of my connection with the moon (earliest memory of attraction here: at a jewelry store under the age of 6, instant love with a tiny silver ring of a crescent moon with a star, which was purchased and sized down for my little finger; ever since then I associated myself with that kind of thing) and my body’s biological response to the moon phases, the 3 goddesses (hence my immediate attraction to the Celtic Trinity knot upon my discovery of it almost 10 years ago), my current belief systems. Just too much to say here.

I have a male neighbor who I always had the sense was kinda, um, chauvinistic. For example, he talked to Mr. W in front of me many times without acknowledging me or looking at me, and when other (male) neighbors stopped by while we were all together talking, he’d introduce Mr. W but not me. It was a long time before he’d even thought to ask my name.

Anyway, on Monday evening after Mr. W retrieved our trash bins from the sidewalk, he went in the house into the restroom as I walked out the front door, as we were on our way to meet Claudio to get our whitewater rafting photo DVDs. This neighbor, whom I’ll refer to as A., came walking up across our front lawn smelling of the fat half-smoked cigar in his hand. “Is your better half here? I want to speak to him,” he said not unpleasantly as I ignored the “better half” comment. I answered that he’s inside in the restroom. A. pulled back a little and looked hard at me. “Really,” he said skeptically. “I JUST saw him out here pulling in the trash cans. How can he be in the restroom?”
“He was in the restroom when I just walked by him to come out here,” I answered lightly. Like I was HIDING my husband? A. started yelling Mr. W’s name from our front porch toward the house, and adding, “MARINE! I WANT TO TALK TO YOU, SIR!”
I said I don’t think Mr. W could hear him from inside the bathroom. I had even left the front door open about 1/3 of the way so as not to appear to close communication between the two.
A. kept going anyway. “I WANT TO INVITE YOU TO A MAN’S OUTING!”
I looked inside at the silent empty living room, again said that Mr. W’s likely not able to hear him from inside the restroom. A. finally relented, “Probably not,” then mentioned that he knows we do things on weekends and asked what we’d been doing. I said pleasantly that we had just come back from whitewater rafting this past weekend, and are attending a friend’s wedding this coming weekend.
When Mr. W eventually walked out, the neighbor asked him in front of me, “What are you doing August 21st?” Mr. W doesn’t keep track of schedules, obligations, events, birthdays of his relatives, etc., and had always deferred to the planner I kept in my purse. So now, Mr. W chuckled incredulously at the random date thrown at him by this neighbor and looked to me and said he didn’t know.
The neighbor A. said without ever turning to look at me, “I’m not asking what SHE says you’re doing, I’m asking YOU. What do YOU have planned for August 21?” I bit my tongue, and thought I’d just watch this play out.
Mr. W answered between chuckles that he doesn’t know what he’s doing day to day, doesn’t remember what he did even the night before, and that I’m his “secretary” and I keep track of events and what’s going on.
A. invited him to his house for a 5pm BBQ for that day, named a bunch of people who were gonna be there, some neighbors, some former army friends, some guys in some military position I didn’t catch “and you KNOW these guys took care of you in the service,” jabbing his finger in the air toward Mr. W in an attempt to guilt him into attendance. Emphasized this is a man’s event.
Mr. W was just nodding along, but making his way gradually to the car.
A. said repeatedly he wants to see Mr. W there and he wants to introduce Mr. W to these people, and then after dinner guys who play poker will play poker and the rest of them will “shoot the shit” into the night. I know my husband doesn’t want to meet a bunch of chauvinistic strangers and shoot shit; he’s not particularly interested in socializing with other people as it is, and now he’s gonna have to do it alone. Mr. W looked to me in a quick sideglance, and in a lull of conversation, I still managed to say pleasantly, “And if you drink, you only need to walk a few houses back home so that’ll be easy.” Mr. W said noncommitally that he’s not sure if we’re doing anything that weekend. A. insisted that Mr. W attend his BBQ, and added that if Mr. W doesn’t show up, then they’ll all know he’s “pussywhipped.” I’m not sure if Mr. W responded with something else noncommital or if A. just kept going, because I was too busy forcing my lips closed. A. continued, “Cuz some guys are, you know. They’re pussywhipped and they can’t leave their women behind. So leave your woman behind and be with men for a night. Don’t be pussywhipped.”
We were all walking away from our front porch toward the driveway where Mr. W’s car was parked; A. had his back turned to me the entire time, and I can deal with being invisible and I’m not particularly a feminist, but in this instance was irritated and offended.
As Mr. W walked to the driver’s side of the car and A. started to walk down our driveway to leave, I said, “That is NOT COOL how you put that. I don’t know why you have to say something like that.”
A. said, walking away, “Cuz you know some guys won’t go to something like that, that’s when you know they’re pussywhipped. If we don’t see you there, [Mr. W], we’ll all know you’re one of those guys.”
I called over my shoulder, back to A., “No, some people are just BUSY.”
He said dismissively without turning, “I know, I know, you guys are busy” as he walked off.

WTF. If A. could just leave it on the peaceful note of, “If you’re free, come by, we’d love to see you,” it’s fine and drama-free. But putting it like THAT to make it a challenge on me and insult, it was such an asshole thing to do. Was it really necessary to “call out” Mr. W? There was no indication that I wore the pants in the relationship, or that I would have a problem with this stupid outing. If A. thought he was pre-empting a control battle, did he actually think that creating conflict between a couple was going to HELP a guy get out of the house? He’d get farther by being nice so that the wife would be comfortable letting her husband go hang out with him, assuming that there actually were a tug-of-war of power between a couple to begin with. Now why the hell would a possessive wife (which his rhetoric seems designed to combat) be okay with the way he put that? It’s just causing conflict.

In the car, Mr. W said he didn’t care to spend an evening choking on cigar smoke with this odd neighbor, and he also doesn’t play poker, and asked me to “come up with something for that weekend” so that he’d have a legitimate reason to not attend. I’m thinking Mr. W should make an appearance to shut the neighbor up and leave early, and then he’d never have to go to another thing by this guy again.

I talked to the Universe through Rebecca again last nite, after being dropped off with Ann, going to the grocery store with her and buying jello, then coming home to make 2 boxes’ worth of lime and strawberry jello shots for whitewater rafting. Rebecca did confirm that the owl references and appearances means SOMEthing, but told me to do the research myself and let her know. She suggested it could mean something nocturnal (one or two owl references recently was people calling me a night owl, to which I reply, “Who? Whooooo?!”), and/or that my animal guide is an owl. I didn’t know I could have an animal guide. That’s pretty cool. Thinking back to the earliest specific owl thing (not counting seeing them on TV in zoos or animal books), I remember in junior high art class, we were randomly given photos of animals to draw, and I was given a photo of a beautiful barn owl sitting atop a roof with a dead mouse in its beak. That pencil drawing is still one of my best. I still have it somewhere, I think. BTW, I’ve always said that my Dodo’s face looks like that of an owl.

The second thing I asked… I said that I try to be in tune with the lessons and signs my guides or the Other Side impart on me, but was wondering whether there’s something they want to tell me that I’m missing. While Rebecca closed her eyes to receive the message, I felt the fairly familiar presence of a male guide over my right shoulder, left arm or wing wrapped around my shoulders from behind in a sort of side hug. This time I felt tremendous warmth in the area, too, along with an almost overwhelming feeling of love projected on me, so seeing Rebecca’s serene smile as her eyes were closed, I totally expected the messages from the Other Side to be, “We love her! She’s great! She’s doing wonderfully! She gets our signs!” That was not the message. I don’t remember Rebecca’s words for some reason altho I remember things about other people, so I’ll just give the gist.
* The main thing They are concerned about with me is that altho I know the path I’m supposed to walk and I know what the end destination is supposed to be, I let others take me off the path and distract me with their opinions and objections. This confused me because I thought my life was pretty well in order, so I asked Rebecca, “Is this referring to life in general, or…?” She said she’d ask and give me better specifics. While she had her eyes closed asking, I ran through the pillars of my life. My marriage is on track; there’s a baby coming at some point according to past readings, so that seems to be going the right direction. My friends and social life are doing well, no complaints. And then the one thing that nudges me every so often, which thing I feel so guilty about that I usually push it away so that I don’t have to think about it… I’d always said this was supposed to be a 3-year job while I figured out what else I wanted to do. My education and earlier goals were geared toward writing, so once I stayed on past 3 years, I comforted myself saying that the job will provide stable income and benefits for my writing, but I haven’t written much. And also recently, Mr. W and others have noted my abilities in counseling people and having some odd gift for making even strangers comfortable that they’ll want to unload their troubles and secrets on me for advice. Mr. W asked why I don’t go into psychotherapy. I told him it was because I didn’t want to deal with truly crazy people but if I were being honest with myself, I don’t want to go back to school for a degree to do it (altho Dentist Andy had suggested exactly that back when I was still an undergrad, saying, “And you’ll be Dr. [my last name],” which sounded good to me).
* Opening her eyes, Rebecca answered me that this refers to my career. Bingo. She repeated that I know what it is I’m meant for and drawn toward, but that I let myself get deterred from my path there by others. I nodded along listening, and she told me that when people are handed a gift from God, to take that gift and use it is serving the highest good (*pointing up to the heavens*). When we ignore our gift, God’s kind of like, “Hey, what about what I gave you?!” We should feel a natural pull toward gift-related things, activities, careers, etc. She said resisting being where I’m going to be anyway is like going down a river in a strong current and trying to clutch onto rocks and shrubs I’m passing — in the end I’m still going to be downriver, but fighting it just makes it harder and more painful in the meantime. It reminded me of what my dad always said to me when I was younger: “You can be mad and complain all you want about having to do the dishes, but you’re going to be doing the dishes anyway, so you may as well just not be upset and go enjoy the water and do the dishes.” My dad is very zen, by the way. So anyway, Rebecca advises me to do whatever it takes to get to the goal and stop getting sidestepped — even if it means going back to school. And out of nowhere, she said, “You’re not too old to do this and start on a different career path,” which is something I was thinking. She relayed her personal experience of being in police dispatch for years and ignoring the nudges that point to that it’s the wrong line of work, until she had to get kicked in the butt by God giving her a near-stroke, and her doctor forbidding her to return to that job. She then found this path which is more fulfilling. “When I was a kid I never thought, ‘I wanna be a psychic when I grow up!’ But I’ve done this for 20 years now and I get to help people and I love it.”
* She said that I’m very smart, and I know what to do, and people are drawn to come to me for advice because I’m grounded and give them a calming influence. But that I don’t do that when it comes to my own life, my own problems. (Ann said from behind me, “YES!” because she had only last week lectured me on this point.) Rebecca acknowledged that I’m much better adjusted this week than I was last week when I saw her, and that it was nice to see me more at peace now. However, when I go into chaos over the issues in my personal situation, the people who see me as guidance get thrown. She says they’re like, “How can she get like this? NOW where do I turn for help and advice?” I could feel indignance and vindication coming from Ann behind me. Heh.
* Regarding the stuff that throws me into chaos, Rebecca assured me as an aside that I’ll get through this stuff, I have “a lot of support.” I took that to mean Other Side support, but even on this side, I know I have tons more support and love than the source of the chaos has. She said the recent references to this little dichotomy of mine is a message for me to work on this.

[Aside: As I am writing this post, Rebecca responded to a message I’d written her thanking her for “bringing your special touch of spirituality into our week.” She wrote back, “Thank You, Cindy. A person can only ‘receive’ my spirituality if he or she is open-minded and willing to trust me enough to allow a connection. Thank you for allowing me to connect with you and for sharing some moments of your journey with me. It is my greatest delight to do this work and I appreciate every moment of it! Love and Blessings to you.”]

I had wanted to be good with food and gymming for these last 2 weeks before this:

Cuz, you know, it involves hanging out around people in a swimsuit. I know fat’s supposed to float and all, and if I fall overboard onto a rock, extra padding would probably save my life. However, right now my vanity screams louder than my survival instincts. So I returned to the gym after being “off” since our early May Tahiti vacation. I beefed up my nutrition (ironically, without consuming beef) with a tablespoon of chia seeds in hot water every morning. I felt energetic and my workouts and runs were pretty decent…until last Wednesday when due to circumstances beyond my control, I missed my first day of exercise because I missed Pilates. And then Friday, our trial ran late into lunch and the attorneys were ordered to return earlier, so I didn’t have enough time to go to the gym. Saturday, I was busy cleaning house (yes, Mr. W was busy, too) in preparation for Eddie & Michelle coming over to talk over some wedding planning stuff, and for a visit from Mr. W’s Rocker Bro, his visiting teenage daughter, and my father-in-law, all driving in from Vegas for the weekend. So no working out over the weekend.

We ate healthily when Eddie and Michelle were here, having grilled salmon, raw broccoli salad, and some light dishes Michelle’s aunt made and had them bring over for us. Sunday was a different story — I got some exercise kayaking at the lake with everyone, and in chasing after the ball in “a volleyball game,” Mr. W and myself versus Rocker Bro and his daughter. But lunch before that was pizza at Oggi’s (I had 2 slices of an “everything” pizza and 1 slice of greasy pepperoni, overstuffed with carbs), and dinner after that was Hooter’s. Turned out I only managed to grab 5 wings before they were all gone, so at least I didn’t eat too much of that bad stuff. HOWEVER, I ate most of the plate of fried pickles we ordered. [Two interesting asides from Hooters — 1) Mr. W used a birthday free entree coupon emailed to him, and because of that, three Hooter’s girls called the restaurant’s attention to him, announced he was having “another 18th birthday,” and sang and danced around him after placing him on a stool away from our table. Happy Birthday song? No! It was an active song to the tune of “Hokey Pokey” but what they were sticking in and shaking all about were not right feet and right hands, they were right wing, left leg, name tag, and finally the entire Hooters girl. Mr. W’s daughter got it all on video, and we got 2 photos which they printed out and gave us in a Hooters border. 2) Some dorky looking, dressed-down white guy in a hat came in and sat at a corner table in the bar by himself, and a dark-suited man with a coiled communications earpiece over his right ear stood at his back, looking suspiciously up and down and around the room and restaurant the whole time. Everyone at our table tried to guess who the man was to warrant this bodyguard, and they were naming possible celebrity statuses. I said he was a foreign ambassador or dignitary. Guess who was right? The bodyguard is foreign royalty CIA. We thought they would’ve been more inconspicuous if the bodyguard didn’t look so freaking paranoid. I started getting scared that this guy, who apparently the guard thinks is always a potential target in danger, was too close to me and I was gonna get caught up in crossfire in this li’l smalltown Hooters. Why he would put his bodyguard through this just to eat some wings at an isolated Hooters location is beyond me.]

I was still hungry after dinner, but I intended to be good. Unfortunately, Mr. W had no such intention. He drove us directly to Yogurtland. My conscience shut off and I made myself a coil of coffee froyo, topped with a coil of cookies and creme froyo, and for the first time ever, topped all of that with Kit Kat bits, Heath Bar bits, carob chips, and I think there was another chocolate bar in there somewhere. I would’ve justified that by telling myself I had such a tiny dinner I earned the calories, but I didn’t have a chance to defend my dessert. The moment I sat down on an outdoors couch to eat this, the container flipped out of my hand and landed face-down on the public cushion, which wasn’t that clean to begin with. All its contents poured out of the cup. I was pissed for the wasted food, but threw it all away and took the hint…

Today at lunch, I went to the gym and worked my chest and triceps till I shook. Thanks, Universe. You’re no fun.

I had a long conversation with Ann when she drove me home last nite in her car in front of my house, where Mr. W came out to check on us and Ann’s chihuahua Max who was hanging out on my lap decided to make it loudly known throughout the neighborhood how unwelcome Mr. W’s advance to the car was. In this conversation, she mentioned that she’d told Claudio she was surprised he drove all this way out just for this. Seeing clairvoyants was not Claudio’s “thing” and he did not come equipped with anything to ask her. Reportedly, Claudio had answered that he really only came to this “for her,” gesturing at me, presumably acknowledging that we hadn’t had the opportunity to hang out or communicate recently like we used to (I say “used to” as if we had a history extending beyond a year, heh). I was touched that he would do that for me, drive 200 miles round-trip for a few hours at an event that he wouldn’t normally attend on his own. That got me thinking about friends and friendship. I think I am the type of friend I’ve always been, but I was always hurt and offended in elementary school and high school because my crappy friends then would take whatever I gave them in the interests of friendship, but it wouldn’t even occur to them to reciprocate. I was asked to and expected to go out of my way for them, which I did even when not asked, but given the opportunity, these friends didn’t do the same for me, with very few exceptions. I remember being hurt by this as young as age 6, and high school was a long lesson in distancing myself from people, not expecting anything of them. However, even my brand new friends now seem to appreciate me and reciprocate. I hear a lot about how I’m a great friend, but I think they’re great friends; they’re the types of friends I missed badly in my childhood. I don’t know whether it’s that like-minded people drift together when we’re old enough to know the difference, or whether people mature and become the types of friends they should’ve been all along, but I love the family of friends I have around me now. For the most part, the garbage has been thrown out, and the gold kept.

When we were up in Napa Valley a couple of weekends ago, Mr. W and I had wandered into a small shop that sold metaphysical items, trinkets from peaceful religions, various energy stones, etc. I had been looking for black tourmaline for years (for protection) but could never find one I could put on a pendant or somehow get on my solar plexis, which is where it needs to be. This shop had a large hunk of natural black tourmaline, but it really worked better as a paperweight. The salesgirl said apologetically that they rarely get a black tourmaline pendant in, and when they do, it sells out almost immediately. I guess a lot of people need protection out there. I left empty-handed, but Mr. W bought a Coexist bumper sticker that he’d always admired on other cars.

About a week ago, Mr. W and I decided to go to San Juan Capistrano after work to watch the movie Eclipse. Since we were there well before showtime, we explored the cute little train town. He pointed out another little metaphysical store, and I excitedly went in. Not only did this shop carry small pieces of black tourmaline, but tons of other loose stones, many of which I’d never heard of, and they also sold wire coils that you would pop the stone in to turn the stone into a pendant. I happily selected my piece of black tourmaline. And then I walked by another stone. I can’t recall what it is, but it’s irridescently speckled with browns and blacks and its use is ideal for acting like a mirror to reflect back negative energy someone puts to you so that whatever they send your way goes exactly back to them. I spent quite a bit of time trying to find the right stone, altho I had my piece of black tourmaline picked out right away. None of the brown stones felt right, like they’re too small or the wrong shape to fit right in the coil, and none of them jumped out at me or “felt” right in my hand. I didn’t connect with any of them. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I usually know when something is “mine” the way people pick pets at a pound. It’s how I knew both houses I own are “mine.” Mr. W read the powers of this stone and sort of scoffed at me, saying something like, “You don’t need that! What do you need THAT for? When’s the last time you felt attacked, like YEARS ago?” I felt instantly indignant because I was considering this stone for the exact same reason I wanted the black tourmaline, and he was well aware of my long-time search for black tourmaline. It felt to me like it was okay with him if I protect myself, as long as I don’t hurt the person attacking me, which given who the person is, brings up a not-new issue between us. It was my ego that pushed me to buy that second stone. With Mr. W at the other side of the store when I paid for the stones, I felt enough doubt to ask the salesperson’s advice on karmic backlash from a stone with passive-aggressive powers. Before I could formulate a question, however, Mr. W came by the register and I instead picked out two leather ropes to put the stone amulets on.

I didn’t wear the stones or even take them out of the bag, until yesterday morning. Until then, I’d thought about them and wondered why I’d bothered getting them if I didn’t feel the need to have them on or around me, but that was about it. After I dressed for work yesterday, however, I reached into the bag and put the brown reflection stone onto the brown leather cord. It took me awhile to even figure out how the clasp unscrewed. Then I was unable to screw it on behind my neck. It screwed together easily enough in front of me, but I couldn’t get it to go on when it was being worn. I finally gave up and hung it up with other necklaces on my jewelry case, and went to work. After work, I was sitting in the car in the front parking lot texting Ann, and saw out of the corner of my eye the torso and hips of someone walking by. Normally I wouldn’t care, but this time my brain scrambled madly to attach an identity to the torso. Was it a coworker? No, this torso was too thick (heavyset) to be the torso of the coworker I was thinking of. I turned and looked out the back window just as the torso turned and looked straight at me. It was THE reason I needed the protection, whom I hadn’t seen for MONTHS. I understood my battle that morning with the stone. My intuition and ego said I would need it, but my higher self or maybe my guides were against a stone that would retaliate negativity.

Luckily, I had plans to visit our clairvoyant Rebecca in the evening. Mr. W dropped me off at Ann’s after work, where Claudio drove all the way out from San Diego to meet with us, and Ann drove the three of us to Seal Beach to the coffee house where Rebecca was hosting another informal workshop. As we got there early, we stopped around the corner at a bar and Claudio treated us to some drinks — margarita for him, mai tai for me, Gibson martini (dirty) for Ann. Claudio had never heard of a Gibson and asked what that was, and cringed when she got to the part about the onion. As Ann and I finished our drinks, Claudio had a Patron Silver shot. If drinks were I.D. badges, our drinks would say that Claudio’s Mexican, I’ve got island vacation on the brain, and Ann is too sophisticated to hang with either of us. She may have been too sophisticated for the bartender, too, who made her a Gimlet and then got confused when she asked why he was putting lime juice in her vodka martini. Then we were off to the coffee shop to meet up with Maggie, grab coffee, and see Rebecca. I got a round of coffee for these friends, as I’d promised on this very blog. 🙂

The only question I asked of Rebecca this time was about my internal conflict about the second stone. She said that a stone is not essential for protection except to the extent that I wanted it for comfort, but that the most powerful protection is prayer and God’s light, which I could access through visualizations and meditations. She said it was wonderful of me that despite psychic attacks (I specifically refrained from using that term because I didn’t want to freak out the newbies there, but of course Rebecca knew exactly what I was talking about without my having to get much into it), I did not want to send negativity back to my attacker(s). She said that the guilt I felt is an unnecessary human convention and is not real in the spiritual realm, but that karma is real. If I felt uncomfortable or “wrong” about reflecting back to my attacker, then return the stone or give it away; there were other things I could do for protection that did not involve contributing to negative energy. She suggested visualization of surrounding myself in a white or gold light (which I’d utilized before), and even to visualize the attacker encapsulated in a white bubble or sphere of light. The purpose of the shield is so that only positive energy can permeate my seal and enter to my aura, and it’d keep negative energy out for the universe to utilize as reformed energy for whatever it needed. She used the metaphor of a dog pooping onto grass. It’s gross and we don’t want to deal with it, but the earth will absorb it and turn it into fertilizer and next thing we know, pretty flowers grow because of it. As for the attacker’s bubble, the purpose is so that only positive energy will escape from her and come out to touch others, and negative energy stays inside with her to force her to deal with it and resolve her own issues within herself and between her and God, and not dumped on others around her (I certainly have heard enough testimonials from many others to know she craps on everyone). Rebecca suggested another meditation, which I also really liked. She said to picture my earth self and the attacker’s earth self, then to picture our spirtual light selves floating up and out of our earth bodies. See the spiritual umbilical chord connecting me to her, and visualize cutting that. What’s mine comes back to me, what’s hers goes back to her, and we’re still connected to the godsource above us, but we are no longer associated with each other. My only concern is that I am not actively seeking her out so I have no problem not connecting with her (and I’ve already cut my connections wherever possible), but she has shown herself to actively seek out people around me, even my family. Rebecca said to visualize these family members in a protective light bubble, too. Her suggestions put me a lot more at ease and flow better with my energy.

On the drive back to Ann’s, the three of us chatted about other stuff going on in our lives. One touched a sensitive button I only briefly tried to dodge, and with encouragement from Ann, I spewed some venom. Later when it was just me and Ann by ourselves, Ann said that in this short amount of time, I have become one of the best friends she’s ever had and that she truly believes I’m a good person, especially given the sage advice I’d give people and my own take on living and life, but that when she occasionally sees such anger from me, she’s always taken aback and confused by the level of it because she doesn’t understand how that kind of emotion could be consistent with the person she knows me otherwise to be. I understood that, there’s always been an Earth Cindy subject to human ego, hurt, jealousy, stubbornness, in opposition to a more evolved Spiritual Cindy who watches Earth Cindy’s tantrums but is silenced by the volume of Earth Cindy’s passions. Because Spiritual Cindy is a big-picture pacifist who believes it will all be all right and could SEE that it will all be all right, she indulges and lets Earth Cindy have her little fits here and there. Not that I explained this juxtaposed existence to Ann. But it is Spiritual Cindy who gives all the advice, in case Ann’s reading this now. Spiritual Cindy’s the one who tells people to not bloody their own hands in the wasted effort of revenge, but to let karma take care of things like it is meant to imminently. Time and energy should be spent untying one’s own knots and not in trying to tie someone else’s knots.

My enemies are lucky to have me. =P

I’m getting a LOT of feedback, opinions, attempts at persuasion, warnings, all attempting to discourage me from my decision to not use an epidural during childbirth. This advice comes from friends who are mothers and a couple are even nurses with delivery room experience, so I believe them and I know they absolutely know what they’re talking about, and the warnings are given in love and concern for me. However, my refusal to consider an epidural is also made in love and concern — for my unborn, as yet nonexistent-on-this-plane kid. Studies show that the IQs of children born without the use of an epidural are higher than those of kids whose mothers used the drug, and the natural newborns are more responsive during the Moro Reflex Test given upon birth, whereas epidural babies act kinda doped up. I don’t know for a fact that these studies are 100% conclusive or that there is a guaranteed correlation or causation relationship, but if there’s a chance I can give my child an edge in life by just suffering through some pain at childbirth, I can not imagine not doing it. My experienced friends tell me that they greatly appreciated their epidurals and didn’t know how people could go through childbirth without it. I had responded that there are mothers through time who worked on the fields or farms until their water broke, they went aside to push out their kid, and they returned to whatever they were doing as soon as the kid was bathed and fed. But that’s not the life I’m subject to, they reason with me, I don’t have to go through that because I’m in a position where modern medicine and painkillers are available to me. I don’t fault their logic, but I’m all the more determined to do this the way I’d intended. I realize I’m the ignorant one here, but if that ignorance and lack of experience is gonna carry me through, I’m gonna hold on to that ignorance until my own experience forces the light of knowledge on me. But here’s what I know…I know I will be fine. I know it will be pain beyond my wildest imagination, but it will be over soon, and I will know for the rest of my life that I did everything within my control to give this child what I could from the moment of birth, no matter the pain to me. What’s some screaming at childbirth compared to the rest of his/her life?

Besides, I could hold this over the kid’s head when (s)he acts up.

We’re picking a jury for a month-long civil trial. I just watched “Flags of Our Fathers” so that when we swear in our jury and begin our trial, I could follow better. I’m not one to handle violence well, and although the war violence depicted in this movie was on the subtle side and nowhere near the red fountainous phantasms in “Kill Bill” or “Ninja Assassin” (the latter of which some friends wanted to watch after my July 4th shindig — photos forthcoming [of the shindig, not the gross movie] — and I spent much of the time memorizing the way our ceiling looked as these friends made sounds of horror and disgust every 20 seconds), I’m still left perturbed. So I need to do this light post to settle my stomach.

The evening of Friday June 18th, Mr. W and I drove up to Northern California for Eddie & Michelle’s Calistoga wedding ceremony. We left at 3:30p hoping to get to Sunnyvale around 10:30p to visit with college roommie Diana and stay overnight. We didn’t get out of Los Angeles in time and hit nasty rush hour traffic, so we didn’t actually arrive in NorCal until almost midnight, having made one stop for gas along the way (I drove as Mr. W napped). After arriving, we did our usual — we all chatted in Diana’s living room for awhile and then Mr. W and Diana’s fiance Eric went to bed, and Diana and I stayed up and chatted some more until past 3 in the morning. Then we went to bed only because we’d planned to hit up their local Farmer’s Market first thing Saturday. On Saturday, Mr. W woke up early as normal, I got up soon after and since Diana and Eric were still sleeping, Mr. W and I went to the Farmer’s Market. I bought a string of colored pearls and matching earrings to go with my dress. Diana and Eric soon biked over and met us, and then we all went out for brunch at a nice restaurant on Santana Row. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but here’s a picture of me and Diana there.

I know, the drinks look yummy, but the martini in front of me is actually staged. It belongs to Mr. W; I wasn’t drinking. After brunch, Diana and I went to her bridal boutique for her final decision on her bridal gown. Her friends Caroline and Melanie met us there. (Mr. W hung out at a nearby Starbucks.) Diana tried on the 3 dresses she’d narrowed it down to. All 3 have the same simple A-line silhouette that she’d already decided she looked best in. The first had stitchwork and lines in a chevron that drew attention to the smallness of her waist and was very flattering, and when she walked out of the dressing room I had to hold back tears. I knew this wasn’t her favorite, but I couldn’t imagine how another dress could top how beautiful she looked in that one. She popped back into the dressing room and came out in her favorite, dress #2. If I didn’t cry seeing this, it was only because I was in shock that she found a dress that topped dress #1. Dress #2’s design had embellishments and embroidery around the ribs but left the top and bottom simple, and not only was the dress itself impressive, but it seemed taylored to showcase Diana’s figure. SHE looked beautiful in Dress #2. I wish I could post a photo I took on my cell, but her fiance Eric may read this and he’s not allowed to see the dress (which makes me really wish I had photos of the other 2 dresses so that I could post them). Dress #3 was gorgeous and had a jeweled bodice and jeweled skirt and intricate beadwork everywhere, but it was way fancier than Diana would normally be, and certainly not as simple as the wedding she was now planning. It also took the attention off Diana and focused it on all the bling. She finalized her pick for #2, said, “Yay, that was easy,” made the transaction, and was done.

Mr. W and I left from there to Napa Valley for Eddie and Michelle’s pre-wedding dinner at Cole’s Chophouse. We got there early and explored the quaint small town, did a little winetasting at a local bar, and walked to the restaurant to meet the couple and the other guests. Here’s the couple of the weekend at the restaurant:

After dinner, Mr. W drove through miles of dark windy forest roads (much to his aggravation) and checked in at our hotel in Santa Rosa, The Fountaingrove Inn. I liked the place and the restaurant where we had 2 mornings of breakfast. Loved the zen of the lobby. The next morning (Sunday), we drove to Calistoga’s Hans Fahden Vineyards for the wedding. What a gorgeous location! I took a lot of photos, but I’ll hold off posting them without the couple’s permission. 🙂 The ceremony was short, sweet, fun, pretty, and they even incorporated some wine drinking into the symbolism. When in Rome…
After the ceremony and a dessert reception with delicious dulce de leche cake, we all left the vineyard and met up in town for lunch. As it was father’s day, I made sure to call my dad and wish him a happy daddy’s day after I ordered. Cuz I’m thoughtful like that. =) Of course, this is the first year I recall doing that. I’d even forgotten to wish Mr. W a happy father’s day that morning as we were in a rush trying to eat and get ready to go to the wedding. His kids didn’t forget to text him, tho. Most of the wedding guests left to fly or drive home after this lunch, but we had reserved our hotel until Monday, knowing we couldn’t drive back in time after the festivities and get enough rest before having to go to work, so the four of us hung out and had dessert and coffee in town.

The above photo convinced me that 1.) I need to go back to the gym, and 2.) I need a haircut and new style. Just for fun, I’m gonna post something Michelle recently emailed me…a photo when the 4 of us hung out for dinner at a boutique hotel in Newport Beach the evening after their official wedding at our courthouse in February, cuz they’re sort of identical situations.

We said our goodbyes to Eddie and Michelle after that as they were driving to San Francisco later that evening. We went back to the hotel and went to bed early.
Monday, Mr. W and I went back to Calistoga. We couldn’t leave the city without doing the 2 most touristy things there. The first is the hot springs mineral mud bath. We booked a combination thing for couples at Golden Haven.

For a set price, we were first immersed in our own tubs of mud enriched with the local natural hot springs water (“hot” is an understatement; the guy had to dump ice cubes over the spot where my feet were so that I could manage to submerge them)…

…and then we rinsed the mud off in a large shower area that was in our private mud room. Of course these showers used the hot mineral spring water. Next we got to soak in a mineral spa at the other side of the same private room. Lastly, we were taken to a massage room where we were wrapped in blankets to help the body have a slow cool-down. I fell asleep there.

The 2nd thing we couldn’t leave Calistoga without doing is, of course, wine tasting at a vineyard. We weren’t big wine people, so some other wedding peeps recommended we visit Sterling Vineyards.

For a reasonable price, we were put in an aerial tram…

…and taken up into the mountain where the factory (are wine places called factories?) is located, and we get a self-guided tour of the place, learn about how wine is made…

…and get 5 samples of wines at areas throughout the tour. It beats just sitting at a counter and drinking a bunch of red stuff.

What a picturesque area! This is the view from the terrace of the building.

We did end up buying a pack of wine, which we didn’t expect we’d do…but of course it was the sweet pack with all the dessert wines and stuff. Haha! It was a great first visit for both of us to Calistoga and Napa.

OH. I need to add that all photos except for the two “foursome” photos were taken with my new LG Ally cell phone. Pretty decent, huh?

I owled it again last nite. I guess I had too much tea at my parent’s house Monday evening after dinner. My dad serves up tea traditional Chinese style, and while chatting, you have no idea how much caffeine you’re sucking down when it comes in a one-ounce cup that constantly gets refilled. So I was awake till 5a, altho I went to bed before 2a.

One of the things swirling around my head while I was trying to get unconscious was a memory from back in ’95. It was my freshman year at UCLA. I didn’t have a car in college (cars were mostly unnecessary; we walked everywhere cuz parking’s too expensive and hard to find. My legs were awesome in college), so when I’d go home on weekends, either my mom would come pick me up after work on Friday or I’d hitch a ride from a friend going that way. I was sorta seeing (long story) an OC boy, and one weekend he offered to come by, visit, pick me up, and take me back for the weekend.

I realized when he got there Friday night that he hadn’t told his parents that he was staying over. I realized this because he borrowed my phone to call his mom fairly late that night. The conversation went something like this:
“Hey mom. Did I wake you up? …Oh, well don’t wait up, I’m not coming home tonight…. Because! I’m out! …I’m with Ryan…[I could hear his mom’s voice through the phone at this point, altho I couldn’t understand what she was saying. This is how I know he was cutting her off.] I had some beer, so I’m not gonna drive. Look, do you want me to get in my car and get pulled over on a DUI? Is that what you want? … Or do you want me to crash into someone get killed? …Well okay, then! No! I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ll see you tomorrow!! BYE!!” He hung up on apparently an upset mother.

What blew me away listening to this is…
1.) We were not drinking. He did not have any beer.
2.) He LIED to his mom about drinking and about who he was with in order to stay over.
3.) I was 18 and he was 19. I certainly didn’t drink, knowing I’m underage. Did he?! Was this acceptable or normal to his parents that he would go out drinking with a buddy when he was underage?
4.) Lying about underage drinking is BETTER of an option for him than to tell his mom he’s hanging with a girl? Really???

At the time I figured it was just a white boy thing. I better not get a phone call like this one day.

I have all these events to blog about, but this topic is faster, easier, and more immediate.

Last week (June 28), I noticed on a social networking site that I’m involved in that my elementary-school age nephew (Mr. W’s brother’s son) had changed his profile picture. The new photo was just him making a goofy face at the camera. He had labeled the face on the picture as himself, and then labeled his brown T-shirt “Mr. Owl.” Upon closer inspection, I recognized the owl as the owl in the Tootsie Pop commercials of the my childhood. On the T-shirt was even written “Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take?” So the following conversation ensued with regard to that photo.
Me: “Boy: Mr. Turtle, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Turtle: I never made it without biting. Let’s ask Mr. Owl.
Boy: Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Mr. Owl: Let’s find out. A-one…*lick*…a-two-hoooo…*lick*…a-three. *CrUnCh* Three.”
Ryan: “haha”
Ryan: “=DDDD
nice shirt right =DD”
Ryan: “the front of my hat looks so awesome but i look stupid with forward hats, which yah…”
Ryan: “imma take a picture of my hat, and show and upload it
(the front) wow i just have a convo with myself…”
Me: “…and it was very entertaining to watch you talk to yourself.”
Ryan: “HA HA….”

And then, 2 days later (June 30), Ann and Claudio were involved in an online conversation about my then-upcoming July 4th BBQ.
Ann: for the record, i think u suck bc ur not coming.
Claudio: I know, I know. I am a horrible human being. 🙁
Ann: nah. i wouldn’t go that far 🙂
Claudio: 🙂
Cindy: how do you do an eyeroll in a smiley?
Claudio: &_&
Cindy: o.O
Claudio: ?_? [ascii picture of indignant-looking eyeballs]
Cindy: Geek.
Claudio: ??? [ascii picture of large round eyes with a dot in the center of each, meant to look bespectacled, but I thought it looked like an owl especially given that the nose was an ascii symbol of something with a downward droop that looked beaklike]
Cindy: Mr. Owl. How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Claudio: Let’s find out. One! Tahoooo. Thrrreeee.
Claudio: *crunch*
Claudio: Thrrrrreee.
Cindy: How many licks DOES it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? *sadly* The world may never know.
Claudio: ?_? [ascii picture of big tearful eyes]
Cindy: argh. I can’t out-Ascii you.
Claudio: \m/ *.* \m/

(I thought the Ascii face Claudio made above looked like an owl. Hopefully all the ascii comes across on this post.) I need to note that Claudio and Ryan do not know each other, so they did not see each others’ conversations on this site.

And then waaaay earlier today (past midnight), I announced on the site that my plan for the night was to medicate my cat (Dodo’s getting eyedrops and antibiotic liquid meds), get ready for bed, and them come downstairs and fall asleep to the TV. My UCLA friend Ansen (who does not know Claudio or Ryan) commented, and this followed.
Ansen: um. its almost 2am fellow owl.
Cindy (just now): You know what’s funny? We just came back from visiting at my parents’ house, and my mom was all, “We have a gift for you!” It was a little pendant of an owl. I was like, “Huh? Why would she get me an owl?” Now it all makes sense!
Brigitte (Gym Trainee): She knows you better than you think. Yeah Cindy’s mom!
Cindy: she’s weird like that.
Ansen: hoot hoot. how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?
Cindy: OMG. This is the 3rd [social networking site] reference to that commercial I’ve had in a week. And you guys are all not friends. I think the universe is talking to me.
Ansen: dunno what to say? i go on tangents alot. all this talk of owls and my sweet tooth remembers the old commericial ;p haha
Cindy: actually, all 3 references began with an owl. the 1st was actually THE Mr. Owl on my nephew’s shirt on his new profile pic. the 2nd was an ascii picture my friend Claudio put up in convo with me [on here]. And third is you! Hmm.. what do owls mean?

What DOES it all mean? Ah-let’s find out. A-one…a-two-hooooo…three.