Tuesday, December 27, 2011


"If you don't risk anything, you risk more." - Erica Jong (I had to Google her name. She's another author of sorts)

So, what does this mean to me? Quite honestly, it makes me think of how Autumn was brought into the world. It goes something like this:
So, Aaron and I had been married for a while, and we had long since determined that we wanted to have a child together. Certainly, Darren and Michael are joys to have in our lives, but we wanted to have just one kid we wouldn't have to share with anyone. Save for the grandparents. And aunts. And uncles. And friends... Anyway, we were both working jobs with crappy schedules and even crappier pay. There were a few, shall we call, riskier months in this timeline, and lo and behold, I found out I was to have a baby in about eight months time.

Truth be told, I simply froke out. I was working at Younkers at the time, and made the mistake of calling the Sheboygan Clinic's lab for my test results from the phone at my cash register. Thank gods the store was pretty slow that day. After the massive breakdown in the lunch room, my manager sent me home for the day. Aaron was sleeping, as he had worked a third shift the night before, and I woke him with the news. He was much more cheerful about it all than I was, though he did his damnest to hide it, given my tearful response.

From there, we both changed jobs, making a schedule where one of us would always be home, therefore not paying for daycare. Neither of us knew if we were going to make enough to make ends meet, and Aaron's job was a temp job that he wasn't very happy in from the word 'go'. But we did it. To this day, we are still making it work.

We frequently say that had we "planned" having our one child, we would have thought ourselves into a corner, and she'd probably still not be here. As Autumn approaches her fourth birthday (EEK!) I can't imagine life any other way.

We took a risk not using birth control for a time. And that's a biggie that has gotten many into, shall we say, trouble. But really, we take smaller risks each day. We drive cars, cross busy streets, drop off kids at daycare, the list goes on. We also allow people into our lives, risking judgement, heartbreak, disappointment, and downright hatred.

So do you really risk more by not taking risks? SURE! I mean, if you're perfectly OK with monotony, boredom, loneliness and predictability, you may disagree. You simply risk missing out. On what? Well, get out there and find out! Don't expect the love of your life to bump into you, or that winning Powerball ticket to be lying on the ground. But maybe you'll find a restaraunt that you never noticed in town, or you'll clear your head enought to remember that one grocery item you forgot to write down. Each risk, each choice, is a small gift. Sometimes it works the way you want, other times not so much. But don't worry. Tomorrow will come soon enough. Don't rush it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

I'm feeling a little salty...

Random topic for today: 10 things I'm pessimistic about.

There is a good reason for this one. I work damn hard to keep a 'glass is half full' mentality. Some days are tougher than others, but I'm frequently in the room stating "it's all good," even when I just got a 56% on a quiz...not that that's happened recently. But I suppose it's healthy to purge your pessimistic thoughts every now and again. Here goes:

1. There are some people in this world who simply will not wake up and change for the better. I've just seen it too many times where people live in a "woe is me" life, and deep down they fucking love it. They love the attention and the "there, there's" they get, so to the point where they have to make up or dig up decades old problems to keep it coming. I'm sorry, but they will die still behaving this way.

2. I don't think I'm ever going to lose the weight I want to. I lose it in spurts, but something in me just doesn't have the willpower to stick to any one plan. There is nothing wrong with me pathologically speaking. I'm just overweight, but I'm just healthy enough to not get diabetes, high blood pressure, high colesterol, etc. Unless something like that happens, I will likely be overweight my whole life. It's just the way it is.

3. Environmentally speaking, the world needs to work harder at taking care of what we have, on a massive level. I don't think I'll see that in this lifetime. That saddens me. I'm blessed to be surrounded by people of a like mind as myself, but I still feel we are in a minority.

4. I doubt I'll ever get to see Europe in my lifetime. Touring the UK and other bits of the continent are definitely things on my bucket list. In reality, I just don't see it happening unless we win the lottery.

5. I want to learn to play guitar. OK, I technically know how to play a few things. But I would hardly call it something worthwhile. Especially since I've owned one for nearly a decade. I just don't see myself getting better than I am now.

6. In school, I'm learning about all these great holistic remedies, natural foods and simply better substances to be putting your body. I simply will never be able to get on such a granola level to make these things my whole life.

7. I will never be able to keep my car clean.

8. Human flaws on massive levels will never go away: The desire to go to war, greed, selfishness.

9. Humanity will never be truly equal. Whether it be categorized by race, gender, sexual preference, religion, anything. There will always be someone who looks down on you for one or more of those reasons, without speaking one word to you. I just don't get it.

10. This is kind of a biggie. So many people see me as someone who works hard for my friends, community and family. Always giving, etc. I'm a lot more selfish and lazy than you think. Yes, we all have human flaws, but I frequently feel like a fraud.

Maybe tomorrow will be the things I'm optimistic about. But that wouldn't be very random, would it?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Something New: Day 1

So, I've decided I need to find a different outlet for killing time when I'm avoiding homework, studying, cranky children, etc. Facebook, while fun, just ain't cutting it anymore. So, I'm randomly going around finding random topics to write about for just such a person as myself. I'm hoping to use this on a regular basis (whatever that means.) Allons-y!
Write a 20-line rhyming poem about something that really annoys you.

You have lost your right, don't you see?
And that right should not go to me.
But you've made up your mind,
To walk around blind,
A martyr you think you will be.

But others, they're quick to your game,
You think they are to blame.
And the children now suffer,
You think you're they're mother
My dear, it is only a name.

You prat on about doing your best,
Though the time you will not invest.
While we do your job
Even though we feel robbed,
They need a safe home to get rest.

Rest assured, we are far, far from done
And I bet you feel you have won.
We will continue to work
'Til the kids are put first
Silly girl, we've only just begun.

Not gonna lie, that one felt good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My letter to B3

Dear Gentlemen from B3,

Firstly, I commend you for figuring out my tattoo. I figured I'd start on a positive note. However...

I just wanted to know that I used to be like you. I used to not believe, but know that I was on the right path. I willingly participated in church activities, traveled around the country on mission trips, spreading the "Good Word." I even volunteered as a teacher for Vacation Bible School, despite having to watch Vegie Tales' "Shack, Rack and Benny" five times in a week. And it made me feel great!

But I had questions...

You see, I grew up in a very conservative town. And for most of my youth, I was OK with it. But I realized I had a brain, and it could, indeed, be used to create my own thoughts. So I used those thoughts to ask questions. But no one had answers. At least, no one had answers that made sense. My eyes opened to a world of hypocracy, hatred, and judgement. Why was is it our job to make sure everyone embraced this philosophy? That couldn't be right!

But my hometown wouldn't hear it. And it nearly killed me. You needn't know exactly how.

I learned that this one-book dogma wasn't the only way. I found a way that embraced peace and equality. Everyone had a right to find their own bliss, so long as "Ye Harm None." And by everyone, it meant literally everyone; gay, straight, Democrat, Republican, Christian or "other". This path has brought me peace, and introduced me to a community that loves me for me, including my husband. I agree that we should "do unto others", not kill, not steal and so on. I agree that children should obey their parents. However, we parents aren't always perfect. Heck, I even waited until after marriage to have a child. And I am dedicated to said marriage. Just. Like. You.

So, you came in today. I find it ironic that you came in on a Sunday. You won't cook or clean today, but it's OK for us heathens to do the work for you. But I digress. I observed you saying grace, and I waited to bring out your last pizza. I heard you speak of the church, and I kept quiet, continuing to serve your table with a genuine smile. When I complimented your children's behavior, I did so because as a parent, I appreciate a little pat on the back for a job well done. I figured I'd pass one on to you. I wished to share a moment as a fellow parent, not to open the door for a lecture. I tried to give credit to parents who have the time and patience to raise well-behaved children, but you had already set sights on your primary objective. I tried to tell you that I, too, have amazing children, but you wouldn't so much as let me finish that sentance.

While you said Grace and spoke of your church, I granted you the respect all people deserve. I did not inturrupt your prayer nor declare my feelings against the church. All I request in return is for the respect to be handed back, not a fake "Million Dollar" bill. Instead, I was judged, and reminded a time that gave me great pain. You have the right to worship as you choose, but you do NOT have the right to dig up painful memories. You do NOT have the right to create discomfort in my workplace. And you do NOT have the right to look at four words permanantly inked on my forearm and assume what kind of person I am. It took me a decade to find solid footing, and I will NOT let it quake because of the likes of you!

By the way, that $12 tip you gave was spent at a coffee shop owned by a lesbian couple, one of which is Pagan.

To my Christian friends who may have been upset by anything written above, just know that this is not directed at you. If we be friends, then we have accepted each others differences and coexist in peace, which is all I have ever asked of the world. It's a shame that the Christians I associate myself with get misrepresented by the men I wrote to in this letter. Blessings to you all.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Magick in the Mundane: My Story of a Hero Called Bronwen

Sunday night, I passed out on the love seat watching DVR'ed shows with my husband, as I frequently do. I was woken up to a sobbing husband at the computer, about six feet away, with the words, "Andrea! It's Bronwen!" Jumping up to the computer, I saw Aaron had his Facebook account on the screen, and on Bronwen Forbes' wall one of the two status' showing read, "Bronwen is dead." Twenty minutes later, a second status was posted explaining that my dear friend and long-distance mentor had passed away about an hour ago from a heart attack induced by the chemo she had been receiving to treat breast cancer.

Anger. Downright anger is the first thing I could feel through the tears. As my husband and I embraced, all I could do is cry out, "This is bullshit!" and "This is NOT how this was supposed to happen!" What the fuck kind of a world do we live in where the very thing that was meant to help you is what cuts your thread too short? It would have almost felt better if the cancer would have just taken over and the doctors would work to make her last months more comfortable. Almost. At least there would be a chance at a proper goodbye.

We chatted last week via Facebook. I finally had the chance to tell her that the Pagan discussion group I am heavily involved with had been using the events we coordinate to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Bronwen is a published author, and we wanted to sell her books at our events as well, so I went to her asking for the best channel to make this happen. I also let her know that I was finally putting together my application to attend massage therapy school. Having been a recent student in Wisconsin herself, I probed her for help on the financial aid side of the process. The closing of our conversation went like this; "I think about you guys often, and miss you SO MUCH! Maybe next year when I'm better I can come up for the event -- you're only about 6 hours away. p.s. I think you will make an awesome massage therapist. Our local cancer support center offers free massages to people in treatment."

I begrudged myself for a while, frustrated that our last conversation was pretty much about money. I was quickly corrected in realizing that the conversation was really about transformation and taking on a new chapter in my life. "Find the magick in the mundane," I was told. I now agree.

'Hero' was never really a word I thought to use to describe Bronwen. There is a long list of adjectives out there, not the least of which would be wise, witty and caring. We both share a love of writing, though I don't spend nearly enough time showing it. We love dogs, though I wish I had more time for the one I have. We both love to teach, though I'm working on learning more that I eventually can share with others. And we both take extreme pride in our families. She was basically where I could be if I started to use my time more wisely.

There are plenty of women out there with these qualities, I'm sure, but what makes her my hero? It was despite the fact that she knew so much and that she had been so much further down the path than many of the people she knew, she never acted like it. Bronwen never once laughed at how little I knew about some of the topics "Good Little Pagans" should know. She never belittled me for my immature stints, despite being nearly my mother's age, nor did she criticize me for how I handled various personal situations, even if she didn't wholly agree. In fact, she helped me learn to just shut up and follow my gut. She had faith in me, which gave me confidence.

The Thursday night before her passing, it was the night of our bi-weekly discussion group; ESP (the Eclectic Sheboygan Pagans). We basically had a divination show-and-tell, where everyone brought their favorite divination tools, from Tarot cards to pendulums to runes. One woman in the group had brought her pendulum, with a cloth to be laid below on the table. The cloth had Magic 8 Ball-style answers like "Yes" on the left and right, "No" at the top and bottom, and varying things like "Rephrase Question" at the corners. The point of the cloth was to let the pendulum swing in whichever direction to answer your questions.

I started with questions regarding my potential options for massage therapy school. Throughout the session, the pendulum shook in very odd ways. You could clearly see her hand was very steady, and she gave her arm extra support with the opposite hand. Eventually, the woman doing the reading said she felt someone standing behind her. It was a warm feminine presence. My first instinct was to start asking if it was one of a small handful of women who have passed that I was close to. Each option was met with a "No". Another person in the group observing said, "Maybe it's someone who's not dead." Instantly, I blurted, "Bronwen, are you sleeping?!" Yes. The pendulum changed from an up/down motion to left/right.

At that point the woman doing the reading needed to put her hand down. She said that she felt a hand touching her right shoulder, and you could physically feel that side was warmer than the left. That night, while discussing the experience with Aaron, I explained that it was very cool and all, but divination is far from an absolute. Maybe it was Bronwen, maybe it wasn't. You may be reading this, thinking it's all a lot of hooey. I have no intention of changing your mind. But I'm going to follow the advice of a wise woman. Shut up and follow my gut. It was her.

I actually wanted to send her a Facebook message to see what her Thursday night felt like. I never got to it. To say I don't regret that fact would be a total lie. I haven't wasted much energy on this regret, but it's there.

The handful of friends in Wisconsin who had the honor of knowing Bronwen have been coping in their own way. My anger has finally waned, so I've moved on to being productive in my mourning. As I previously mentioned, she loved to write and teach, so during an unemployed phase around the time of her leaving Wisconsin, she wrote a series of essays for the popular Pagan website The Witches' Voice. I found that you can search for essays by author, and am working on compiling them into a booklet, not only for memorial purposes, but for my own education. There was some good stuff in there, and it would be a damn shame to let that knowledge go to waste. I found great joy in the fact that chronologically speaking, the first essay was of one of my favorite early-learning tales, involving nearly burning the house down.

I have every intention of following through on my plans to sell Bronwen's books at our events, as well as raise funds for breast cancer research. I am honored by the fact that Bronwen's last book, 'The Small-Town Pagan's Survival Guide: How to Thrive in Any Community' (set to be released in June) may have snippets of an interview with me in it. I had heard about the plans to write this book while she lived in Wisconsin, and she asked me to do an over-the-phone interview after moving to Missouri. Even if I'm not in there, it's an honor to know that she had something to learn from me. I have a few other things up my sleeve to keep Bronwen's memory alive, and they will come eventually.

There are few people in this world I strive to be like, namely my father and grandmother. They both have qualities I admire and try to remember on a daily basis. However, Bronwen is a person I see myself striving to be like as completely as possible...without getting to creepy about it. I can see her modestly lowering her head with honor and thanks. And chuckling through a tear or two about the "creepy" comment. She gave the best bear hugs. Ever. And I am grateful, blessed and honored to have been part of her life.
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Might as well

Hi, my name is Andrea Covey, and it's been six months since my last blog post.

I really don't know why I don't write more often. And I damn well have no excuse for not writing while somehow on the computer. I mean, I spend enough time sitting in this computer chair that I don't know why I haven't invested in a new, more comfortable chair...but I digress.

I can't say life sucks. It doesn't...usually. I have amazing friends and an incredible family who's always got our back. But in the past months we have struggled how to handle custody of my stepsons, as they are being tossed around like a hackey sack at the whims of a "woe is me" martyr of a mother, full with child, when she can't afford the first two. That's the short, short, short version. A dear friend who moved from Wisconsin just over a year ago is battling breast cancer, another dear friend recently moved out of state, also for job reasons, a third is in the midst of a family hailstorm involving a mentally unstable sister and three children being held in Mexico, and the political climate in the state of Wisconsin is a down right disaster. None of these things can I control with a push of a button, and it's maddening.

I don't have control issues. At least, I'm pretty sure I don't. But I'm also of the mindset that if you don't get off of your duff and do something about the problems around you, you have no right to complain. Of course, I have no control over friends moving away, and I do not hold the cure to Cancer. I cannot speed up the process of the Mexican government, nor can I bitch slap some sense into Scott Walker, though many of my good friends would like to have a go at it.

Which leaves the situation with the boys. I could write a novel depicting in great detail what this school year has been like for Darren, Michael, Aaron and myself. I won't. Let's just say that Jim Morrison was right. "The time to hesitate is through."

Believe it or not, some good has come of the last few months. Autumn continues to grow and thrive, three-year-old attitude and all. ESP - The Eclectic Sheboygan Pagans - has found a new home for meetings which is proving to be a much-needed change. I'm just on the verge of getting my shit together so I may go back to school in August to be a masssage therapist, though it's an intimidating concept. I have also been dedicated into Her Cauldron coven, and I am loving every minute of it. The women in the coven are amazing, one of which is my half-sister by blood, but we're all sisters as far as we're concerned.

I love my life, and I really strive to remind myself of that fact on a daily basis. I constantly remind myself that other people's problems belong to them, and no one else. I am not to take them on as my own. Though if they need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to scream at, or even just a cup of coffee delivered because they're in pain from a spill on the ice, I'm right there. It's what I do. It's one of my many purposes in life, and I'll be damned if I let anyone or anything get in the way of that purpose. I am a Mother, Wife, Sister and a Friend. I've earned these titles, they were not just handed over, and I will continue to honor the privilage of these titles, by any means neccessary.