The rock on my ring finger.


Chuck Palahniuk is one of my all time favourite Story Tellers. As a song writer I find his choruses comforting, his stripped down sentences alarming, vivid, frank, and brutal. Yesterday I saw this:  Story of the pixies it inspired me to tell you a story.

The rock on my ring finger.

In Johannesburg, August is when you have had about as much as you can take of bare trees. Yellow grass. Dust. Cold mornings. You are very ready for the winter to end. It was August. We set off (by car) for Cape Town.

A business trip, both for the business, as well as personal business. Michael and I had the task of packing up, and sorting out, all of his possessions. Some to bring back to Joburg, others to go into storage in Tulbagh…what I’m getting at is this was no holiday. Add to this the fact that my mother’s health had just taken that left turn on the downward spiral. I became defensive. Sad. Lost, and more than a little nervous.

We had two days to pack up his whole house {Michael’s life so to speak : Hundreds of books, art, furniture, (copious)musical equipment, and the kitchen – everything he left behind to come and be with me 1393 kilometers [866 miles] away}, and commute, an hour each way, in to Cape Town at odd intervals for actual business meetings.

One of these drives in to town was very tense, and silent. I was hurt (as I’ve said it is easy for me to feel this way and withdraw) who knows why?

After the meeting, Michael suggested we drive back by the scenic route. An attempt to shake off, with a little help from Mother Nature, the dark heaviness that had pulled itself tightly around me. As we drove through unfamiliar neighbourhoods we started to play one of the car games we love. We pretend we are buying property, and every house is on the market. This was working wonderfully. By the time we pulled up in Kalk Bay I was a changed woman. I had been to the Brass Bell once before and was excited to have the opportunity to go again. This time with Michael, who had never been.

We parked on Main street just outside a place called Oh So Boho and I felt a familiar magnetic pull…we had reached the haven of retail therapy.

We got a great, private, table at the Brass Bell and watched the sea, the fishing boats, and the seagulls. I started to breathe again. So did Michael (a big sigh of relief).

I felt certain that I would find a perfect gem stone ring at the store we had seen. I had been wanting a gem stone ring for many months by this time, but on the highveld they are surprisingly difficult to come by. As I let my mind conjure up images of the kind of ring I hoped to find, I again felt a certainty that the ring would cost me no more than R200.00. I excused myself from the table, excited and distracted, made my way to the nearest ATM to withdraw the money for my ring. Michael meanwhile was relieved by the lift in my mood, much lifted himself by the ocean view, and the breeze blowing in off the water.

When I returned to the table, he said that he felt that I should have some mad money to spend on myself, and proceeded to produce R200.00 and hand it to me. I found the synchronicity too strange not to mention. My mind rushed ahead to the silver rings throughout our entire meal (I cannot even remember what I ate).

I must have looked at every tray, every.single.ring. in their not small collection. Ummmming and Ahhhhhhing – drawing every moment of exquisite pleasure from trying ring after beautiful ring hunting for a perfect fit. Michael browsed lanterns, Llama wool socks, animal shaped felt coin purses, rugs, leather goods, dresses(!!!) and eventually started to follow me around. He asked if I had seen the rings in the corner. Huh? No! MOAR rings! There it was!

A silver ring, with heart’s (vomit. I know) and  a large faceted almost pink Amethyst (at this time I was still fully in the throws of that PINK phase I spoke about in Wouldn’t you like to know). It slipped on to my left hand ring finger. Perfect fit. At that moment it dawned on me that this was my engagement ring (!) I started to tremble. I took the ring to the owner of the shop. It had no tag, and therefore no price (few of the rings were under R200.00, none of the ones I liked). My heart was in my mouth, all iron and salt, forcing my tongue away from my palate.

She looked hard at the ring. Took out her catalogue and a calculator. There was scanning of pages, and pressing of buttons. A moment of confusion. More pressing of buttons. She smiled. That will be one hundred and eighty rand she said holding it up to me.

Blood rushed back into my extremities. I took the ring in tingling fingers, placed it on my left hand and held them both out toward Michael. I think he somehow already knew that we were shopping for my engagement ring. He smiled – Do you like it? he asked. I nodded (mouth still full of heart).

I took the mad money from my pocket. Paid for the ring and wondered out of the shop in shock, and too late for an Ice Café ice cream (the Ice Café on Main street is a must must must if you are a fan of the cold creamy stuff of sticky finger happiness).

We drove back to Tulbagh in the dusk light and a different kind of silence . The car overpowered by a thick rose scent (I had purchased a little bottle in one of the other shops in Kalk Bay and had a slight roseoil spill in the clumsy process of removing the stopper from the bottle). I stared at the rock on my ring finger breathing rose fumes, engulfed by a sea of pinkness, high on love.

with love (from a heart that knows how teeth feel)



Paper anniversary

Let me come clean. The paper flower fetish was born out of a search for some sort of paper “gift” for our first wedding anniversary, six days away…

I have been thinking and rethinking what paper means to me. That line of thinking took me into investigating every piece of paper that exists between us (from receipts to our wedding certificate). I am so glad I took the time last year to write out our wedding vows. I didn’t want those very important words to become a vague memory, and as I re-read them today the gift of paper is made real in my heart. <warm glow>

Here are the vows I took: (with deep and loving gratitude to Neale Donald Walsch)

“I Nicole ask you Michael to be my partner, my lover, my friend, and my husband…I announce my intention to give you my deepest friendship and love…not only when your moments are high, but when you are low. Not only when you remember clearly who you are, but when you forget…not only when you are acting with love, but when you are not…I further announce that I will seek aways to see the light of Divinity within you…and seek always to share the light of Divinity within me…even and especially in whatever moments of darkness may come…It is my intention to be with you in a holy partnership of the soul…that we may do our works together sharing all that is good within us with all whose lives we touch. With this ring…I thee wed…I take now the ring you give to me and place it on my hand that all may see and know of my love for you.”

with love from my happily married heart


vows and my peacock feather arrangement

dead data in my daughter

My husband and I have completely different opinions about keeping data…He is the guy who has backups of his backups (he once “lost” an almost complete book he was writing, I don’t think he ever recovered), I on the other hand had my first data misadventure yesterday.

I recently “cleaned up” my MacBook, clearing the photos, videos and music to a memory stick/flash drive . Jasmine fished my stationery out of my laptop bag. She chewed a big hole into the side of the denim case, spilling the contents on the lawn. She splintered my orange and brown pens, the little USB plug for my mouse (now useless) and turned the memory stick into bits of bent metal and shards of plastic (it took a while before I figured out just what it was). The price of owning a Bullterrier (but that is a whole other blog post).

I don’t even remember everything that was on that memory stick, and a small part of me wishes I had made a backup of my backup… Then I remember what I know. Nothing can be “yours” so nothing can be “lost”. The photos and videos were made of experiences I had, meaning, I have actual memories that nothing but death or dementia can erase from my being…the music…ah well…music comes, and it goes.

What surprised even me, was my calm response. My daughter was on the look out for the melt down/rage episode, her shoulders tense, eyes fixed on my face as I picked little bits of plastic and metal off the lawn. Afterward, confused, she asked me why I didn’t care about what had just happened. I took a deep breath, and thought about the horrible implications of her question as I exhaled. Have I taught my daughter that anger is how we express that we care?  I told her I did care, but, I guess that the grounding of prayer and self blessing, speaking up for myself when my feelings get hurt, and the commitment to reducing the levels of violence in my life are starting to pay dividends.

As a result of not overreacting to the dog doing what dogs do I have serenity, and the energy to make more videos and music, all the while collecting the inevitable image gallery that goes along with having an 8MP camera almost always at hand (thank you apple). Moreover, I think it’s time to clear away the things I have not used (despite my best intentions), to make space for the new… (I’m convinced my circadian rhythms are set for the Northern Hemisphere – I am about to start Spring cleaning?!)

I acknowledge and accept the challenge of modeling better behavior for my daughter . (Thank you broken memory stick, and the week that led me to see the change that is taking place in me!)

with love from a determined heart x






This month of blog posts has given me insight into the level of engagement possible, and the costs and rewards for getting into the writing trenches. I have to admit to being guilty of adding to the noise, because I cannot still my thinking.

After a mad week and an emotionally charged weekend, I am feeling shattered and in need of retreat to my cave to lick my mental and emotional wounds.  All I can do is perform a self blessing, and grant myself rest. This is the only kind of love I believe that there is.

Here is the outline for a self blessing  (we do this when in need, which is more important than moon phase or day of the week) Adapted from pg 378/379 of the Wicca Bible by Ann-Marie Gallagher (

You will need:

1 white candle

Salt crystals

Frankincense/Neroli/Bergamot Anointing oil (use virgin olive oil in a pinch)

Skyclad (that’s witchy for Naked)

Cast the circle,

Starting in the East, welcome the element of Air, then Fire (North), Water (West) and finally  Earth (South)

At the centre welcome Spirit:

“In the Centre, at the margins and in all the spaces in between, element of Spirit guide and protect me.”

Sprinkle the Salt on the floor in front of you and step onto it

“Earth beneath my feet offer me sanctuary from the cares of the world”

Light the candle and step back from it.

With the oil anoint your feet, knees, sex, breast, lips

“Blessed be my feet that they may walk the sacred path…

Blessed be my knees that they may never kneel in fear…

Blessed be my womb (phallus) without which we would not be…

Blessed be my breast and the strong heart within…

Blessed be my lips that they may speak Her will”

Step into the light of the candle,

“I step into the light of the Goddess, into Her arms, and into Her protection

where light is my sheild, and an embrace my armour,

She walks in my foot steps, She is above, and below me, to the East and West

Before, and behind me

Within and around me”

Close your eyes and focus on the warmth coming from the candle – stay there as long as your need directs.

Blessed Be

with pagan love x


am i invisible?

I get hurt (feelings) very easily.

I know this, I look out for my tendency toward self pity.

I was about to plaster on my happy face this morning – but the hurt in my chest just won’t let me.

Here goes my attempt to get this off my chest.

I told two friends yesterday that I needed to talk, and asked if they would let me know when they had time for me to call. Neither person has let me know that it’s ok to call, that they have time to hear me…nothing…

I just want a semi-objective witness/sounding board, not a solution.

How do you have meaningful friendships without giving people the power to hurt you?

from a heart in recoil