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Hello to all who have followed This is the Thing over the last five years (and to those who have stumbled on this via searches and links.

This post is to let you know that I’ve moved/consolidated my two blogs — This is the Thing and Teh Portly Dyke, into one, and will now blog exclusively in one place — at my new space . . . .

Madwoman at Play|Teh Blog

There, you can find all the old posts from TiTT and Portly Dyke, plus all the old comments, and new stuff, too, like archives of my Madwoman At Play video shows.

If you’ve commented at this blog, you may have to make an initial comment at the new place that I can approve — once I’ve approved your first comment, subsequent comments should go through immediately.

Come on over and join me!  I’ve started the new blog on January 1, 2011 — 1/1/11, baby!

Comments will be closed at this blog starting 1/15/11 — you can find all old comments at the new blog, though.

I wrote this poem about my old friend Kevin Rues, who passed away this Spring.

Puer Aeternis

In Memory of Kevin Rues (11/21/1951 – 5/12/2010)

I don’t mean it

as some shrink would.

You would never fit

inside a pronouncement

of pathology.

I mean to speak as Ovid:

To praise your grasp

on your own unendingness.

You moved as Iacchus

in my life

piping me away

from drab midwestern ways

to ritual bonfires

sacred orgies

the brink

of my own continent.

Yet you always seemed

to be looking away

at something else.

“Just a little

out of grasp”

as Michael says….

which is, I suppose,

the nature of god-head.

You stand in my memory

in this statued pose:

weight on one leg

a hip curving gracefully away

the hands at rest.


In ivory

which I can imagine

you loving

or hating.

You surely went on.

Time must have touched

your laughing face


the lesson-plan

the light bill

the too-late call

from the too-young boyfriend

into folds around

those marble-bright eyes.

I know you went on.

I heard report

of your revels

from your own mouth

and later

from the mouths of others.

These, too,

are myths, though,

when all is said

and done.

You might have gone on.

Perhaps you became

your own Silenus

by the end

grew rounder

and grizzled

and taught your

soon-to-be-reborn self

how to trample the grape.

But I will never know.

The world must do

without you now.

But I have you

safely carved into

this figurine

which I can imagine

you loving

or hating.

Copyright 2010 Carol L. Steinel


Today, there’s a full solar eclipse (visible in the South Pacific).    All sources I’ve read say this is a big one, and that’s especially true for me (as a Gemini/Cancer cusp).

Since the Grand Cross that formed on the 26th, I’ve been feeling all the things the astrologers I read have said are normal for this period — finding all sorts of things that were hidden from me, digging out a lot of old stuff that I was unaware (or at least, not fully aware) of.

This eclipse is predicted to bring a time of new clarity and forward motion, and I must say, it couldn’t be more welcomed by me.  Since the month of June ended, I’ve been trying to figure out how I want to move forward — I was going to make a big announcement on July 1st, and WHAM!  — the site got hacked again.

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks getting all the security holes plugged, etc., but I’ve also taken time to reflect on the timing of all these hack-attacks.

It’s clear to me that they aren’t “personal” — in a way, they feel like some astrological thing themselves — each time they’ve occurred at the point where I had gotten the basic structure of the site re-built and was busy loading up all the old files in the old way. Old sound files, the library of past work, putting up pages that I’d never been fully satisfied with . . . . so that’s the message I’ve taken away from the experience; Time for a CHANGE.

Ah, but WHAT change?  That hasn’t been readily clear to me.  So today, I’m taking time for more meditation and reflection on precisely what I want to do next.

In the past, I nearly always had a strong sense of purpose — I knew what I was here to do on planet Earth, and that was extremely helpful at times — even when I wasn’t sure “how” I would do it, I knew “what” I was doing.  Recently, I’ve had the sense that my purpose has shifted, but I don’t know what’s next.

Hopefully, the huge astro-energy of today’s eclipse will help me break into that “what’s next?” — I hope you take the opportunity to harness this energy, too.

Big Saturday

Today, I’m doing sessions with a group of women who are coming over from Seattle.

Many times people have asked me “How can you do all those sessions in one day?  Isn’t it exhausting?”

In fact, I’ve found the complete opposite is true — I love these days of concentrated, one-after-the-other sessions.  It’s as if I really hit my stride with this kind of a day, and I love seeing the similarities and differences between sessions and the people that I’m working with.

At the end of a day like this, I have that deep, gratifying tiredness that isn’t fatigue — more like how your muscles feel when you’ve done something strenuous but fun in the fresh air — like cross-country skiing, or swimming.

So, for today, Seattle comes to Port Townsend, and Carruch comes to Carol, and who knows what will happen?  Yippee!

Hey! Hey! Watch my Show!

If you haven’t been watching my new ustream show, MadWoman at Play —  well — here’s your chance.  Click the small play button in the control bar at the bottom of the screen to watch the last recorded video, or the big button in the middle of the screen to jump to the recorded video page for the show, where you can see all the previous episodes.

I’ll be broadcasting live again on Sunday, June 20th at 5 pm Pacific, and that show will display RIGHT HERE IN THIS PAGE!  WoOt!

Free TV Show from Ustream

My Bedtime

In the past ten years or so, I’ve had a shifting relationship with sleep and the night.  I’ve written some about this — how much I relish the very, very late night/early morning energy when most everyone else is sleeping.

Recently, though, my entire bedtime routine has shifted.  There was no plan involved, and I do believe that the fact that the sun is now bright by 5 am (or earlier, if it’s very clear) has something to do with it, but I’ve been going to bed at like 9 or 10 pm the past few days.

It’s like living a different life, in some ways.  Today, it’s not even 9 am, and it feels as if the day’s been long already.  I like it, but it feels foreign to me somehow.

This is one of the things that I adore about being my own boss — yes, there are days when I have to be “up” for something, but I rarely (like, maybe once a year) set an alarm.  Alarm-setting, for me, is about as frequent as an airline trip — which is to say, VERY infrequent.

The first couple of days, I thought maybe I was just responding to some vigorous exercise and a sunburn, but the 10 pm bedtime seems to be sticking, at least for now.  Weird, huh?

Writings from a Bo-bo-head

When I wake up in the morning, I usually experience a state which, at our house, we call “Being Bo Bo”.  It’s that stupid-looking, sweet-feeling state of being between dreams and wakefulness.

I enjoy this state.  I’m in the tail end of it right now.  It requires tea and time — not much else.

I like its un-demandingness, and I’ve harvested enough self-knowledge to know that I want to make space for this state to exist in me each day, and to allow it to fade naturally on its own before I begin any activity to which I need to apply focus.

So it is that if I have anything scheduled in the mornings, I usually try to get up at least two hours before that scheduled thing is happening.

I wander around the house, scratching my head and sitting on the side porch if the weather permits.  I stare into space.  I chase down any tag-ends of dreams that have managed to surface from the long night’s journey.  Sometimes, I write.

This is a time when I’m open in some important way, and it’s often a time when I get what I call “downloads” — these are very dreamlike, and they are often not really in the form of words — I just have the sense that I’m receiving information at some level.  This information is often not intellectual at all — in fact, my mind can barely grasp it.

I like that, too.  My mind is a selfish brat sometimes — if it can’t hold onto some information under its own terms, its as if it doesn’t want any part of me to have it.

Currently, in terms of my month-long exploration, I’m experimenting with prolonging aspects of this bo-bo state into more and more of my activities — the show would be an example.  There, I’m trying to just stay present and accounted for, and allow what wants to come out to come out.  In Bo-Bo Time, I seem to do this quite easily.

That’s what I’m doing now, too.  So there are my Monday Morning Bo-Bo Thoughts.  I predict a fascinating week ahead.

Thoughts on MWaP

So, this evening, I’ll be presenting my sixth episode of MadWoman at Play, and I’ve been pondering the whole process.

It’s more difficult than I had imagined to do this show without an audience (or at least, something to respond to) in the room.  I remain committed to its unscripted nature, but I’m growing more aware with every show how much I thrive on a sense of response and exchange with others.  This is exactly the thing I’ve been wanting to know about myself.  Its’ not as if I had no consciousness of this aspect of my own being, but the depth of it, and the precise qualities of it are growing clearer to me with each episode.

I have moments when I think:  “Is it fair for me to experiment on an audience in this way?  Drag them into my discovery process?” — then I remember that they are free to “change the channel” at any moment, and leave their involvement to them.

Early yesterday morning, our friend Laura drove off for Santa Barbara.  We stood on the drive and waved her out of sight (a tradition in both my and my Beloved’s families).  Here, too, I am noticing what I experienced of her through her absence, as I have been with Open Circle and the Podcasts that we’ve been doing for years but have suspended for this month.

I’m reading Brenda Uelands “If You Want to Write” (on the recommendation of my Beloved), and it’s a perfect book for me at this time.  She advocates for writing only from the truth, which is a big theme for me this month — refining my connection and channeling of my own truth.

I wonder what will happen today?


My good friend Laura is in the process of moving back to Santa Barbara, and today, I helped her move “the big stuff” to her storage locker.

I actually think the process of what I’m doing personally right now is very similar — I’m going through the old internal boxes and sorting out what I want to keep enough to cart it with me, and what I’m ready to let go of.

I’m a chronic “But I might NEED that!” type of person.  According to my Beloved, this is probably part of where I fall on the Enneagram, as an “8” — or perhaps, it’s the influence of my Dust-Bowl Depression surviving mother, who always had that little bit of string or ribbon that was perfect for tying up this box — I suppose it doesn’t matter where it came from, really — suffice it to say that the “letting go” part of the process has never been that natural to me.

It doesn’t help that I’ve been proven completely “right” about keeping something “just in case” about a million and a half times.  When my Beloved asks me if we still have that thing that she was certain we should get rid of in the last garage sale, because she really needs just such a thing, and we DO still have it, because I got stubborn about it . . . . I try not to gloat.

On the other hand, there have been many times when she’s been proven utterly “right” as well — at those times, when I’m bitching about “Where did all this stuff come from?” because we have to move it, or I finally feel the relief of something that’s no longer just taking up space in the basement, she seems not to gloat, either.

Cleaning out the Internal Closet is, for me, just as dicey, but for today, I’m feeling much more willing to say:  “That thing?  It never worked.  I’m getting rid of it.

That Particular Feeling

When I first started this blog in 2005, I wrote about a particular sense of melancholy that would sometimes descend on me.

Tonight, it found me again.

An old acquaintance sent me a picture of myself at 22 today.

After the moments of internal commentary/entrained-critique subsided (“OMG, what a baby!”  “How pale!” “What was I thinking with that haircut?  Didn’t I know my forehead was enormous?”), I found myself searching that face for any sign of resonance to who I am today.

I was struck by how vulnerable that person looked, and how open.  I think that’s still true of me.  I think I’ve jettisoned the tendency to cover that vulnerability with the cockiness I see in this photograph.

Then, I thought back to the big ideas and dreams of that cocky little butch dyke 22-year-old, and for a moment, I felt completely inadequate to her view of the future.

Logically — rationally — I know that I’ve done a lot in my life.  Some people express amazement at the range of skills I’ve developed, the jobs I’ve held, and the various businesses I’ve created and maintained, but still . . . . I know, deep in my heart, that I haven’t really touched the edges of my potential . . . . or her dreams.

That’s what brought up the melancholy for me.  As usual, it was sweet and painful at the same time.

Then I opened my email inbox and read a communication from someone telling me how important what I’ve been doing in recent years has been for them.

It didn’t change the feeling that I had, but it added something — I realized that, while I haven’t really touched the edges of my potential, and I haven’t filled out the immensity of that 22-year-old’s dreams and visions, I’ve also done some things she never dreamed of.

I’m grateful to feel this sadness and to touch these places in me.  I didn’t know that this was what I was hoping for when I took the month away from the routine, and if I had known, I’m not sure I would have welcomed it, but I’m welcoming it now.

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