Expat and I ended up chatting about Kitchen Kaboodle and I shared the story about slicing my middle finger on a steak knife while pitting an avocado a few years back. So the way I see it, informative blogging and sharing may prevent unnecessary trips the the emergency department for stitches!
The four-year ritual is upon me, renewal of my Minnesota state driver’s license. I turn a whopping 56 in February (but don’t feel, or act, a day over… well– it’s all relative, I suppose :-)).
As I suited up (long underwear, scarves, double mittens) and went to jam my foot in my right insulated boot, I felt something I had not noticed yesterday. A round, red, sparkly cat toy! Bagheera’s favorite! Long-lost, apparently since the boots were worn last winter. Looking for him, I could see he was already dead to the world, buried under a quilt. Play-time would have to wait.
The birth certificate
This year I go to the DMV armed with my birth certificate. At some point I became “Chris Louise…” on my license. The dreaded nickname– ‘Chris’; the name that causes airport security to look me over thrice because it does not match the name on the ticket; the name to which Chris Alfieri ( a BOY) and I both responded when the teacher called upon us (to our mutual horror) in the 3rd grade.
The woman at the DMV was lovely, my name is now amended and Bagheera is, once again, in possession of the fave toy. My boot fits better, too.
It is already old news. Minnesota, and much of the upper Midwest, is really in the deep freeze. With the backyard thermometer reading -20 (Fahrenheit), I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to visit The North Pole – restaurant, that is, in Newport, MN, a few miles outside of St. Paul.
Mary North and her husband David (pharmacist/ owner of the attached drugstore) are proud to be the third generation of Norths to operate the family business– in the present location since 1952. Once a general pharmacy with soda fountain for patrons, the restaurant business became an entity in its own right in 1958. The North’s son Brian serves as Manager, while daughter Tricia is a pharmacist, working with her dad.
The North Pole is a community hub; a place for regulars to meet and enjoy a home-cooked meal. Mary knows many by name– and the frequency with which they visit.
This morning, budding novelist, Dawn Plessel, was having breakfast with her husband and son. “I often come here to work on my book…it is half-way done!”
My friend Holly, who was with me, shared that places like The North Pole are central to the life of small towns and communities. Growing up in the rural Midwest, she recalled a café that was the heartbeat of her hometown. “Everybody watched out for each other…”
My first post on WordPress was October 18, 2012. It didn’t get views, but the second was the first of many photo challenges and introduced me to many of you!
Since that time I have tried many themes and ideas, sticking primarily with the notion of developing skills in photography. The cats, Dylan and Bagheera, have been a huge support, and have graciously agreed to photo-ops on numerous occasions. Despite their best efforts, they have not been able to help mama land a job that buys the veterinary prescription food and will pay for the upcoming dental visit (anesthesia and all that…)
So, with their encouragement, I am adopting more of a ‘magazine-style’ blog in which I will test my writing muscle– and get a bit ‘testy’ now and again. Photography is still a huge interest and the boys will no doubt appear in all their sweet glory.
So on we go– boldly in to 2014 with a new look and lots of ideas for stories and photo-ops. Thank you all for continuing on the journey…
Do the avatars we choose suggest something about us? What if someone interprets an avatar as a negative symbol; in this case a cat’s eye? I just changed my avatar in solidarity with someone who was asked to change theirs…
(You will recognize the model from a post I did on Feline Rescue. With the exception of a bad rap during the middle ages, cats are generally revered.)
Indeed, according to Egyptian mythology, the cat owes its eyes’ shimmering phosphorescence to the sun-god Ra, who entrusted to it the sun’s brilliant luster, to be guarded and diligently transported by it throughout the night – so that our planet would never be entirely without light, and as a promise that the sun would itself return every morning.
As an emblem of the moon, which is traditionally portrayed in many mythologies worldwide as feminine in comparison with the masculine sun, it was inevitable that the cat too would become a symbol of femininity and associated with a number of important female deities. Most familiar of these is Bast, Egypt’s golden-eyed cat-headed goddess of the moon (again) and fertility, via whom the cat has also become linked symbolically to childbirth.
Indeed, ‘Ru’, which is the Egyptian hieroglyph representing birth, was based upon the shape of a cat’s eye, and when placed upon the Tau cross, representing time, yielded the famous ankh – symbol of life and immortality. This later became synonymous with Venus, the Roman goddess of love, thereby reinforcing the cat’s link with femininity and fertility.
Similarly, Venus’s Norse counterpart, the goddess Freya, not only symbolizing love and passion but also ruling the dark, mysterious kingdom of the night, rode through the sky in a chariot drawn by a team of cats (originally lynxes). And in Hindu mythology, Shasti, goddess of childbirth, is borne aloft not upon a horse or elephant, but upon a cat instead.
When one reaches a certain age, some of us like to test the boundaries. For me it meant leaving a structured environment to reacquaint myself with activities about which I felt passion as a teenager and twenty-something: photography and writing.
It is now nearly a year since I took the leap and I have stumbled upon an Internship posting; one that melds my old skill set with my passion. Ahhh… What do I do to navigate the question of age? There are programs for career changers- adult internships, but those are a rarity. Is it OK to elbow in on the other opportunities? It is challenging to fit oneself back in- especially into tight spaces where there are too many bodies with so much talent. Who am I? Will it work out this time? I know I will keep exploring!
When I logged on this morning, a neat little message popped up informing me that it was a year ago today that I launched my blog, West Seventh Freelance. Many thanks to all of you who have made the year spectacular!
“You are receiving an award –- either one that already exists, or a new one created just for you. What would the award be, why are you being honored, and what would you say in your acceptance speech?”
Acceptance Speech for “MOST AWED BY YOUR PRESENCE IN MY LIFE” Award
Dear 195 WordPress Writers, Photographers, Adventurers, Cat Aficionados, Kayakers, World Citizens, Air Stream Travelers, Poets, Movie Buffs, Mannequins who are really people, Minnesotans, and you know who you are..,
All of you, who drop by and sign on, thrill me with the beauty and poignancy of your photography and words. You lead me to new places and new people through your posts, and portals to places like EyeEm and Flickr.
I do my best to keep up with your activities; I worry when I don’t see you around (or blame those poor folks at WordPress for dropping you out of my feed..)
Each person who clicks on ‘follow this blog’ led to this moment. I am honored, and humbled. I would like to thank my cats, Dylan and Bagheera, for their unflagging support, and to all the cats in the blogosphere who kept us going when we first started out.