becca and me

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“Which were you?
The princess
The brain.
The jock.
The basketcase.
The rebel.”

Rebecca and I went to see the Breakfast Club last night.  I like how she really got into the movie.  Then she actually had nice, intelligent commentary about the film.

Tim, Elise and I took a trip to the Apple Hill region last year.  Lots of different apples, cider, and fritters to make us all sick, if we weren’t careful.  50 years ago a few of the local farms, orchards, got together to promote tourism in their area.  They have grown, and the line of cars can stretch for miles.  Its so worth it though.  I always learn so many new things.  Like how many different varieties of pumpkins, and squash are being grown now.  🙂

I’m grateful that we went as early as we did, this year.  And on a Sunday rather than a Saturday.  I can only imagine how much more crowded it would have been. 

Pumpkins!!! Although we were there for the apples, and all that can be done with them... I was surprised to learn so much about pumpkins.   Ahhhhhhh

Pumpkins!!!
Although we were there for the apples, and all that can be done with them… I was surprised to learn so much about pumpkins.
Ahhhhhhh

The scenery though is just breath taking.  I love the way it all looks.  I was surprised at how warm it got though.  Even being up in the mountains, although Tim kept reminding me that we were only in the hills.  LoL

The scenery though is just breath taking. I love the way it all looks. I was surprised at how warm it got though. Even being up in the mountains, although Tim kept reminding me that we were only in the hills. LoL

These were growing right on the side of the highway.  Interchanged with roses.  The winerys all seem to grow some sort of flowers at the ends of their rows of grapevines.   Tim says that they, along with the shiney bits of streamers, are to attract the bees.  To get them to have a bit of "Fun" ;) in their vines.

These were growing right on the side of the highway. Interchanged with roses. The winerys all seem to grow some sort of flowers at the ends of their rows of grapevines.
Tim says that they, along with the shiney bits of streamers, are to attract the bees. To get them to have a bit of “Fun” 😉 in their vines.

Another Day trip - another Wine tasting.  We can't take a day trip in NorCal without a stop at a local winery.  It would just not do.  LoL This one though was not all that great.  We had a better time with the vinegar tastings at the Fudge Factory.

Another Day trip – another Wine tasting. We can’t take a day trip in NorCal without a stop at a local winery. It would just not do. LoL This one though was not all that great.
We had a better time with the vinegar tastings at the Fudge Factory.

We had a Blast!

We had a Blast!

So today I took a day trip with Tim. Just the two (2) of us. Elise really wasn’t up for going out. She has seemed more tired lately. I understand that need to just retreat into her shell, and hibernate. I get that way sometimes too. Other than taking trips to the store, or running errands, she is attached to Tim. She rarely has the house to herself, and gets to just vegetate.

So after being reassured by her, and Tim, that she was okay. That she really didn’t feel left out, in some regards. And that for her, she understood that I wasn’t upset at her not joining us. That I didn’t feel short-changed, that she didn’t want to come along. We headed off for a day trip adventure in the Foothills.

Tim had planned a route for us. 😀 We headed up, along the interstate 80, turning off onto SR49, into the foothills. More like mountains if you ask me. LoL We went up 1,000 feet above sea level. That’s pretty far up, for me. Especially considering that I’m the one doing the driving. And the roads along mountain, (okay hills) are not just straight lines. They are curvy things, that go back and forth. Hugging the side of the mountain.

We drove up to Auburn (not the SEC school 😉 ) and took a little tour of the town, before heading out on the winding road, that is SR49. I saw a winery, advertising, the way that they do, with a sign about hours, now open, etc. I missed the turn of course, so I made a U-Turn. Tim wasn’t sure that they would be open, but I said, let’s give it a shot. Who knows. It could be some undiscovered gem. It was.

Hart 2 Hart was one of those great little wineries. Complete with tasting room. Things for sale, which Elise would have loved. They had facilities that made it easy for Tim and I to get around. The patroness was very accommodating. We were having a lovely tasting of some interesting grapes that I don’t normally see in FL.

Then an RV of people came in. There was a group, traveling around for the day, complete with a couple of children. All, but 1, of the adults, doing some tastings. Having a good time. Then of course, did what tourists do… wanted something for free. 🙂 The elder of ladies stated, in that ‘I can’t believe this’ voice: “What do you mean there is a $5.00 tasting fee? We were just here a couple of months (meaning: a year) ago, I never had to pay before.”

Please note: That more and more wineries are going with such a fee. This particular place went beyond what is normally served, by not only giving you back your $5.00 towards any purchase; BUT also a snacking plate, with meats / cheeses / crackers / nuts. Heck, even the small wine shop, that I love to shop at, has a Tasting Fee, when they do their monthly tastings. That they, also return to you, against any purchase.

I have to hand it to the owners. They did the right thing. He kindly explained to the complaining woman, that unfortunately they were getting large groups of people in limos, (* He did good not to mention their RV *) who were coming in and just drinking for free. They were losing money, because they were ‘tasting’ more than they were selling. This offered to keep their wines at a lower fee, instead of having to increase the prices to cover such a loss.

We found a new grape that I like a great deal: Voignier. (*check spelling*). It’s very much like the Sauv Blanc that I like, with the citrus finish. So that bottle, along with a red blend, that I actually enjoyed, are coming to me later this week. Knowing that I am not a great big red drinker, to find one that I enjoy, I think make Tim’s day. He’s a big Merlot fan. I’m trying to expand my palate.

We had good time, then drove along the curvy road, and went to the place that Tim had destined would be our destination. Gold Hill Winery. Recent winners of the California State Faire. Which gave them a write-up in the local papers. Which is why Tim picked it for our adventure. Another winner, despite the crowds. I think half of the bay area had also picked this winery, for their destination. Probably because of the newspaper article.

The male half of their staff was great, the female, must have been having a bad day. (shrug) Noticing that we were unable to come inside to sample the mustards, he brought us our own sampling plate. She on the other hand, questioned me, as to the type of wine I had just sampled, when I asked for my next one. There was little room inside, so we were forced to stay out on the balcony. The noise level was deafening, in their room.

Despite the crowds, and overly stressed patroness, we sat upon their balcony and enjoyed the scenery of rows of grapes, on vines. The beautiful day. The wine. Although Tim enjoyed a local brewed beer. A treat for him. It was nice to just sit in quiet enjoyment of the day.

For Elise, she said that it was her greatest blessing. She didn’t have to worry about Tim; because she knew that I would take good care of him.

Another 4th of July – another cold day in Sacramento. LoL

It’s so funny, that people here think that it’s hot. And it is over 100*. But it feels chilly to me. The temps are only in the 80’s and 90’s at home, but it’s hotter there.

Elise and I did a great job today with our teamwork. We managed to get Tim dialyzed and still cooked up Macaroni salad and Potatoe salad. As well, as breakfast and some communications with people in the world, via email accounts. We rock!

Boogie and her entourage showed up around 7pm, just in time for our Shrimp and Chicken kabobs. Elise and I had fun with a countertop of veggies and skewers. Tim did his best to not laugh at us too much.

Colin, the master of fireworks gave us a spectacular show. I was part of the pre-show entertainment, by throwing on long pants, under my dress; and Tim’s large jacket. Hello… it was dropping down below 70*!

The piece de resistance – The Birthday Cake that Elise got for the occasion.

Love my friends' sense of humor.  And it was lemon... which is sooo yummy with the fresh raspberries.

Love my friends’ sense of humor. And it was lemon… which is sooo yummy with the fresh raspberries.

I love these new traditions that we are creating. My Western Family. *sigh*

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Two (2) of my beautiful daughters. So today was one of those rare days when the stars just aligned. Timing of things just happened in the way that it needed too. Rebecca, Bronwyn and I managed to make a day of shopping fun. Yes, the dreaded “S” word. I shopped. In more than one place even.

We started out with breakfast at Lisa’s. Which is always a good way to start the day. Especially one that has shopping in it. LoL

I know that the girls may not have noticed it, but I found that the best part of the day, was spending time together. Happily. Sharing. Communicating. Oh the things that we shared and talked about. That is what really sets my heart all aflame. *sigh*

Normally, I would have plotted and planned out such a day. I would have worried about the I just flowed from moment to moment and it was a beautiful flow.

For the 2nd and 3rd things I wanted – I combined them into 1. I got my ride and my dinner. I am so thankful for Wolf for being such a nice guy. Most guys, when they have to cancel, they simply walk away and you don’t hear from them for months! When Wolf had to cancel on Wednesday, which really totally upset me at the time, he rescheduled right away. I agreed to Friday, but inside wasn’t going to hold my breath.

Well Wolf was not like the other boys – he really showed up!

It was after he got off from work, and so we didn’t get to leave until after the sun went down. He warned me to bundle up, but I was ahead of him. I had my silkie long johns on under my jeans. I wore my wool socks, as 1 of the 2 pairs of socks. I had my wool sweater, along with my wind breaker, on. The only part of my body that got cold were my fingers. I had my gloves on, and one hand tucked into the pocket of his jacket, at a time. (*he is a large man, so I could only reach one side or the other*)

We rode out to New Symerna Beach, like we had before; but he took a different route. Which was fine, although I think I could have enjoyed the views more, if it had been light out still. I did enjoy the night sky and the fact that Wolf would point out the scenery when he wasn’t keeping us safe on the road.

We had planned on having dinner, then heading up the coast, to Bike Week, in Daytona. We never got past dinner. By the time we got there, we were both frozen to the bone. The restaurant had a great big open fire pit. Wolf made sure that we got to sit right next to it. He was old fashioned and helped me take my jackets off. Then even let me sit on the same side of the booth as him, so that we could both sit next to the fire.

We talked and ate, and enjoyed the fire until they were closing up. We watched them put chairs up, and start cleaning up the restaurant. That’s when we realized that we would have to do what we had both been avoiding. Going back outside! Its not like the air was getting any warmer as the hours passed by. So we eventually got up, paid the bill (*which he insisted upon*), bundled up, and got back on the Green-Eyed Lady.

I may not have gotten to bed until nearly 2am last night – but I am so grateful for the way that the Universe not only reminded me of things, but that it kept its promises afterwards.

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WoW!

Go to this website… Paralounge Drum Gathering and you will find out where I’ve been for the last 30 hours.

Yep, and I took the kids too! 😀

I first heard about Paralounge from my friend, Carlos, while we were chatting during one of our bike rides. It sounded like something that any number of my sisters, would have gone too. I didn’t think much of it. I heard it again, from him; and Turtle, when they were both here back in July, at my home. They, along with Turtle’s husband, Lowell, were all chatting wildly about it. Carlos trying to convince me that I should go; and even bring the kids. Turtle was backing him up.

So I did a little research. I found them on FaceBook. I saw that several of my sisters, had ‘liked’ the group’s page. That was encouraging. I followed a link to their website, and read up more about it. Seeing several photographs of people just like me. Kids included.

But having fallen for this in the past: A group claiming to be “Family Oriented” but really not. Claiming that they include kids in their program; but really its a couple of couples, with babies Which just ends up with me being more tired and stressed out, trying to keep my children from becoming a distraction to the other people at the group-function. While also trying to keep them engaged in the basics of the adventure.

So in part of my ‘research’ I spoke to more of my sisters. Gypsy. Sonne. Turtle again. And tried to get a hold of Elena, but she seems to be MIA these days. I wanted to confirm my suspicions that this was not truly a Child-Friendly event, no matter what Carlos claimed. They all told me that he was right, and that my kids would end up having a great time; although none of them would be going to this October’s Paralounge Gathering (held twice a year) due to a conflict with the SE Women’s Herbal Conference (held just once a year). So I wouldn’t know anyone actually going; other than Carlos.

That in its self was a weird thing for me. I know Carlos, but I don’t “KNOW” Carlos. We have hung out a few times; riding his motorcycle; meeting his brother; being set up as a couple at a dinner party; meeting a couple of my sisters; and he helped me out once with something I couldn’t do for myself. He is also good at speaking his mind, and is a strong person within himself. He is secure enough that he has actually called me out about something in my own life; and that really threw me for a loop. He’s a good guy. Yet, he is a grey area, that I’m not sure how to define; not that I need too. I just know that he was excited to learn that I would be going; and bringing my kids.

Despite all of this, I still sent an email, inquiring if there were still tickets available. And that I had some questions as well. I also called the phone number, on the website, and left a voice mail message. I just wanted to be thorough. I spoke to Cherie, who was great about my questions. Really making me feel good about asking them. So we went.

I had the kids pack up Friday night. And be ready to leave at 6:00 am, since we still had to go to the store for snacks. I was only going to feed them a hot dinner last night, and a good breakfast. Otherwise, it was snacks if they got hungry. Wal~Mart at 6:30 in the morning, with 4 kids, hyped up on adrenaline, is a horrid thing. (js)

We actually made it to the gate, right when they were opening. I had told Cherie, that I was going to try and make it first thing, Saturday morning. She was happy to see me. Even pointing me to a place, off from the other cars, where I could park my car, and tent camp right next to my car. Away from the Big Drum Circle, that would be going alllll night. But close to the other families; who were all camped around the playground; and near the lake line. She even comped me Daphne’s ticket, saving me $50.00. I was so grateful for that. I needed it too; cause the kids were great; and I wanted to treat them for their good behavior.

The kids picked out a spot right under a large Cypress tree, with plenty of room for all of us, under its boughs. With everyone working together, we were able to get it all done in record time. So we went to the Morning Yoga, lake side. 🙂

The girls were amazing! They got mats, and sat up right in front. They listened to their bodies, so they didn’t try to out-do each other. They really got into the stretching and breathing. I was so proud of them. We all got a good stretching, wake-up, hour; in the glory of the new day. I felt great.

Russell was upset. He didn’t want to do yoga. He didn’t want to go and make new friends. Even when another woman came over and offered to walk him to where her son was playing on the playground. I appreciated her help; even though he was happy to sit on the bench and just pout. It was the last time he pouted all weekend. After that – he was off. New friends. I rarely saw him, unless he wanted to go swimming. The organizers had a rule that there be no kids near the water, without an adult to supervise them. Otherwise, most of the time he was content to just run around with the other boys his age. I’d often find him in the most unusual places.

Russell and the other little warriors, all diving off the floating docks, after fish.

Russell and the other little warriors, all diving off the floating docks, after fish.

The girls ran off to explore the Gathering, taking Russell with them; while I joined in a Learn to play the Drum class. That’s where I ran into people that I actually knew! Sarah, the midwife who helped to catch Rebecca and then monitored Daphne’s pregnancy, was there. It was amazing! We haven’t seen each other in years. It made me feel so much better to actually know at least 1 person.

The Drum class was great. Jana, the teacher from Drum Magic, Drum Magic… was so full of energy, that I felt high afterwards. I saw Carlos there, and he had a great big hug for me. So happy that I made it. But more about him later. ((shakes head)) I’ve done my fair share of beating upon a drum before. I mean I have been to a few Sister Circles. lol But this was so nice to be able to be part of the group, and have my rhythm matching the others in the circle.

I didn’t even seem to mind it too much, when Sarah pulled me up with her, when Jana called for all the Paralounge Virgins to the centre of the circle. So that others there, who were old hacks, could help out us virgins; and make our 1st experience a great one. I have to admit that it was a bit embarrassing to be up there moving my hips, and being called a virgin, at the same time. It was all in jest, and fun; but made me very self-conscious. Especially, since my own midwife was up there shaking her hips right along side of my own; and we both knew I wasn’t a freaking virgin. 😉

The girls came in to tell me about a lady creating henna. At just $10.00 per art piece, I felt it was worth it. So I sent them off with $40.00; yes, RJ wanted one too; and went back to the drumming. They each came to me, one by one, to show off their henna tattoos. All 3 girls managed to get the same thing… in the same spot. LoL They felt beautiful, and to me that is all that matters.

I sent this photo to Barry, warning him to BE NICE.  That they felt pretty, and he should freaking honor that, instead of getting his panties all in a wad.

I sent this photo to Barry, warning him to BE NICE. That they felt pretty, and he should freaking honor that, instead of getting his panties all in a wad.

My lil Warrior, with his arrow feathers.  :)

My lil Warrior, with his arrow feathers. 🙂

I loved how they were being exploratory, and so I stayed for the next class; Belly Dancing. 🙂 Again, amazing instructor, who just gave us basics. And taught us in a way that nobody was singled out. None left out. Every woman there, made to feel like her body was the perfect shape for dancing. Simply watching the teacher, move and shake her butt and hip; at easily 250 pounds; with amazing grace, poise, and sexuality, made it so much easier to believe that we were all “Pretty”.

I learned that belly dancing, is as old as ancient Greeks, with their clay pots, on their hips and balanced on their heads. I learned that some Indian moves, are a simple as passing out a cup of tea, with your pinkies held out. And that all Gypsy women, would wear their coin belts, because in a matriarchal society, a woman wanted to show-off her wealth, along side of her beauty to get a good man; who would work hard, to help her out. I already knew that the art of moving the belly for dancing, was really from original forms for child birthing. That women would dance around the birthing woman, and encourage her by showing her how to move her hips; to shake the baby down. That they would undulate around the woman, in a circle, hypnotizing her to a state of relaxation; allowing her body to do its thing.

At this point, I had completed three class; and needed a break. So I headed over to the tents, found Russell, giving the girls a break until dinner; to go and do their thing. Rebecca actually retreated to her tent, to study her Spanish. Daphne and Bronwyn went out and explored more of the Kiwanis Retreat area. I put on my bikini, and sarong; and let Russell swim. I ate a snack, and met another wonderful woman, named Vicky. Who had traveled here all the way from Tampa. It was her first time as well.

She works in catering, in a hotel; so there was a lot that we had in common. While she had never been married, she admired me coming with my children. We talked for about 2 hours, while I rotated my chair to get sun on different parts of my body. She actually didn’t even own a car; but that being in Tampa, afforded her the lifestyle that having a bike is all that she needs. So she had rented a car for 2 day. It was a bargain, considering the cost of $20.00 a day; compared to the $500.00 a month; for something that she didn’t use every day. After we were both good and hot, we split up and agreed to keep watching for each other throughout the day.

It was like that everywhere I went. I met a person, and had a meaningful exchange with them; would part, and then eventually meet them again, at some other point in the gathering. Russell wanted to participate in the Children’s Drum Class. He wanted the t-shirt. So I took him to Jana’s class; where she shoooed all of us parents away. Saying: “Go away. Go get a break. They’re mine for the next hour.” I went in search of the girls, and came across Astarte, the henna artist. 🙂

I approached her tent, and upon entering, told her how much I appreciated what she did for my children. She remembered them well. I asked her to bless me with her art. She was surprised I think, about my attitude. I talked to her briefly about my previous henna experience, and Barry’s reaction to it, all of those years ago. How I really wanted to have another one done. What I was hoping for. And after agreeing upon a price for the work; sat back, closed my eyes, and let her loose. I meditated while she performed her craft. I didn’t see it until she was done with it.

I know that I will need to do a whole journal entry on this.  There is so much to tell about it, that a few lines here wouldn't do it justice.

I know that I will need to do a whole journal entry on this. There is so much to tell about it, that a few lines here wouldn’t do it justice.

I spent time at the edge of Astarte’s tent, letting the sun bake my henna in. Enjoying the things I was finding in her strokes; and the story that they told. Then moved on to a massage tent. Where people were giving massages, for ‘Love donations’. I had a nice man, named Clint, work on my right ankle and foot. After explaining what had happened, and so forth; he really went to work on it. Stretching the muscles out in my calves as well as my foot. So much so that when he was done, I could stand up, walk around, and it was like my brace wasn’t even there. He said to come back today and see him, if after dancing around the Drum Circle all night caused it pain. It did, but I am fine. Simply grateful for the work that he had already done.

I sat down in a tee-pee like structure, with a man, who never gave his name. He had been camping for a while; and had a simple guitar with him. A mat and a few books. He advertised palm readings, and stories, and songs. He asked me what I wanted to hear; and I replied: “Whatever you are called to tell me about.” He smiled, a wicked sort of smile, and told me a “true” story about a Daoist monk, who had to learn a lesson on lust; so that he might become fully enlightened; and thus pass out of this world, and into the next. LoL

Several other people joined in the structure, as he told his story. Even Rebecca, and Bronwyn; at one point. He told the story, then sang a song. And even recited poetry, that sounded familiar; but I can’t place it. I was taking chances all day. Coming into contact with people that I wouldn’t have done before. Mainly because Barry wouldn’t have even come to something like Paralounge, let alone talked to anyone. Or encouraged me too.

It was getting late, and I had already told them all to meet me on the playground at 5, so that after I picked up Russell, we could eat dinner. There was a vendor there selling hot food. Only one; so he had a corner on the market, but wasn’t over charging in my opinion. He had several hot dishes to choose from, including some vegan. 🙂 We sat down together as a family; and shared our stories of the day. Each of the girls anxious to show me what they picked out, to spend their money on. Then Bronwyn and Daphne wandered off; while I took some time to show Russell where I would be that night.

I knew that Rebecca would be taking care of him once I went to the All Night Drum Circle. But I also knew that it would be dark, and Russell was now so comfortable with the Gathering, that he would go off with his friends, and we would spend the night tracking him down. Or at least trying too. So I had him help me gather a chair, his drum, and blanket; and we walked over to the drum circle, from the tent. Then I sat there, and had him go back to the tent, to fetch several items. Not that I needed them, but I wanted him to have practice, going back and forth; in the light, so that he wouldn’t get lost in the dark. I had a couple of people ask me why I was sitting there so early. I explained what I was doing, and they all thought that I was really thinking outside the box. It just seemed normal to me.

It was 6:15, and time for him to meet up with his teacher. The children, not only got a tshirt, but were to perform for the grown-ups. This was in my Top 5 Favorite Things from the event. Watching Russell pounding out on his drum, along side of other kids. 🙂 Sigh

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I let him go to find his friends at 7:00. They were making s’mores and said that he was welcome to join them. I didn’t know that there would be fire-pits available, so I hadn’t thought to bring anything like that. I thanked them for their generosity, and reminded Russell to mind his manners. I let him know where I would be, and that there was a concert in the main hall, that I wanted to hear. I found Daphne and Bronwyn learning to African Dance, on my way there; and it was so great to see them taking part in things that they didn’t already know about. During the concert, they joined me, and then together got up on the dance floor and showed off what they had learned. Being each other’s partner, they danced for several songs in a row. Latin songs, that Rebecca said she could pick out some of the words too, from Spanish class. She was so happy. I was happy just watching my kids having fun.

While we didn’t win any of the instruments in their drawing; I was happy to see the generous nature of all of the vendors. The community of the people there. Even running into Carlos, who said that he had been looking for me all day, didn’t ruin my mood. Nor having him comment on Russell, who came over to see me. “Hey this is your son? I was helping him and his friend earlier today with their trinket selling. It really surprised me when he pulled up my shirt to stare at my tats.”

There was another concert to be performed, but I needed some quiet; from all of the loudness. So I headed out to the Drum Circle early, to sit by the fire. Did a little of my own praying, sending out sage to clear the air. Then sent up my prayers for various things with some tobacco. Rebecca and Russell joined me. Settling in for some drumming. Other families started coming too. And a woman I’ve never met before, and seemed quite cold to me in the places I had seen her; began to sing to the drum. Songs that I sing in Sister Circle!! How freaking cool is that!?!?!? Although she did not appreciate my joining along with her. Oh well.

Then the other drummers came. They began to play. I watched Russell just falling asleep to the sounds of the drums. Rebecca become mesmerized by the fire. And within 30 minutes, she decided to take him to bed. She carried him, in a way that I find hard to do now. She is much stronger than me. Then she came back for his things, and left me with his drum to play. Actually its Barry’s drum. He loaned it to Russell, when RJ asked him to borrow it. We actually lost track of it during the night; and there was a small search for it this morning. But it was found, and packed up along side our other things, in the trunk.

I drummed. Even if it was just a small down beat to the baseline. I drummed and joined in. When my hands were tired and aching, or my body couldn’t sit still any more, I got up and danced. Just letting my body enjoy the vibrations of the drums, bouncing off of it. Feeling the rhythms coming out of the instruments, and letting my feet move and my hips sway. Its so easy to get lost in the music. To feel emotions bubbling up and expressing themselves though your head, your arms, your hands, your hips, torso, and shoulders. To feel your legs, as they bend and rotate your body around in a circle, or back and forth; weaving the pattern around the area. To feel the fire heating up your skin, your blood, your emotions. Then just letting your body express all of it. Out over the drummers. Out onto the crowd. Out onto the land. Out into the sky. Out into the Universe.

There really is no stopping of a song, and the beginning of another one, in a drum circle. The beat simply changes from one rhythm to another. Constantly evolving, and the dancers moving their bodies to the changes. It just goes on, and on, and on, and on. Around the circle, is usually a path for dancers to exit the circle, especially if they do not have a chair right in front. I did, thankfully. This way I could sit down and drum, when my ankle or hip hurt. Or I just needed a breather. I even had a 2nd one next to me, that Russell was supposed to have used, but didn’t. This circle had 2. I was in the west, the paths were in the north and south of the circle. During one particular path around the circle, I needed to sit down. I could feel it. But I had just past my chair, and couldn’t just move backwards; so I left using the north path. And ran smack dab into Carlos, which is another journal entry.

I danced and drummed all through the night till things got a little too weird for me. I crawled into my tent around 4, but didn’t sleep. I actually am going to bed EARLY tonight. I ended up with a good hot shower this morning though. Since I was literally the first one up in the area. It was a long one too. I felt rested, in an eerie way; and once the kids got up, we headed over for a hot breakfast. The food was good for camp food. Fresh made, to order. And I like helping out another person, by supporting them in their craft. Like Astarte’s henna, or the boy’s massages. Its something that they only get to do on weekends, a passion, that they would love to make a full-time career out of but don’t. Astarte is a pre-school teacher; and the boys, are fresh out of the Army.

They close the Gathering with a Prayer Drumming Circle. Its like a church – but sooooo not! Its spiritual in a way that Sister Circle is. Or the Sweat Lodge is. With an opening in the middle, and a guy leading the ceremony; the group prays over anyone who is willing to sit in the middle. There was quite the group of people, and when they called for dancers to raise the energy, around the group; sending it out into the world, and blessing it down upon the people, there was not a big path to take. I know. I felt the call to be one of those dancers.

The kids were great about helping me to clean up the tents, and pack the car. They were great about even picking up all of the trash on the ground. I spoke with several people this morning, who all complimented me on my mothering skills. How well behaved, and courteous my children were. I thanked them all. They don’t know how much that meant to me. I was able to even meet a few new people, and exchange numbers with them. The people that Carlos was camping with, Jeanie and Norman, with their kids; live right here in Mt. Dora. Their daughter, Hannah, even attends school with Rebecca and Daphne. I think seeing one of their own classmates at Paralounge helped my own girls, feel more comfortable about the Gathering.

In the end, the kids had decided to take one more trip around the grounds, and I took Russell swimming, before saying our good-byes to people that we knew. Promising to come back again in the spring. Oh yeah… there’s another one; and we are going!