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28 October 2014

history is on display here (a morbid bit of poem)

is on display:
can you hear
the laughter?
Can you see
the fear?

will we 
eat again;
will the 
get prettier
this year?

and died
crawled through
the chinked
log walls
and ate
their fragile skin.

and worked
they're echoes
in the

This morbid bit of poetry was brought to you by the imaginary garden with real toads, thoughts of ghosts, and the following images (which I got from the aforementioned imaginary garden, so mentioning them is something of a double tap but whatevs).

The Hermit: 10/78 days of tarot

This dude reminds me of Gandalf or Merlin or Dumbledore, if Dumbledore were more of a wanderer.

... I kinda wanna be him.

Like, can I be that badass who clearly has his shit together, and can afford to go wandering off on whatever adventure he wants, no kids or lovers to say, 'hey, maybe that's not a responsible thing to do'?

Sigh. Maybe not.

Something to note: the cane he uses to support himself looks to be made from the same stuff he stands upon. Some of this stuff is useful as an engaged item, then, while some is useful only as something to step on.

The book says, perhaps obviously, that the hermit is someone who goes off on their own to find their own answers. The hermit tests each idea, uses those they can, and discards those that cannot be used. They hold their own light - possibly one of their own creation - and look out over civilization. This card indicates a lesson to be learned, and a time to follow your own guidance. (More information about the lesson itself might be revealed by other cards in the spread.)

I noticed, just now, that the hermit's vantage point is not so far that they loose sight of the city, but far enough that they are not part of the hustling crowd. This is not an escape; rather, it is a step outside the parameters, so to better see the inside. 

22 October 2014

So, uh, I made some changes

to the format here because I wanted something a little lighter, and I finally figured out what I've wanted to do all along. So here it is, almost as I envisioned it. More changes may occur, as I figure out more stuff. 

21 October 2014

Strength: 9/78 days of Tarot

I started the 78 days of tarot project almost exactly two years ago. I got as far as the 8th day before getting distracted by other things.

To be fair, I did not say I would do all 78 days in a row.

Here's day 9: card VIII, Strength.



Sometimes strength is staying calm.
Sometimes strength is fighting back.
Sometimes strength is gentleness.
Sometimes strength is violence.
Sometimes strength is forgiveness.
Sometimes strength is remembering.
Sometimes strength is gratitude.
Always, strength is courage.

In this image, I see all these things.
The woman is calm; she defies conventional 'wisdom' to hold the lion's paw; she is gentle; she is violent, as healing is painful, and there's -something- in her poise that seems to say she's capable of harm, perhaps harm is more normal for her than healing; she is forgiven this by the lion; the lion will remember, and perhaps she remembers the kindness of others in her act; the lion is grateful; she and the lion show courage where there is no basis for trust.

The fluid nature of strength is vital; we must remember this.

The book says: 
This card is about approaching one's inner monsters with compassion. The author compares this card to that of more traditional decks, in which the woman wrestles with a lion. The suggestion is that one's inner beast is better tamed with love and healing than with brute force; i.e., compassion is a more mighty strength than violence.

I've had a hard time writing about this card. It just felt so... obvious. Like, duh, of course being nice will get you farther than being mean. Then again, being too nice gets you trampled. So there's that. I've got this 'be nice' thing down so well that standing up for myself in any capacity is damned difficult. The kindness in strength isn't my challenge - its opposite is. It's all about balance.  

16 October 2014

The Howl Thief begins...

I'll start by telling you this:
The italicized part below is something I've posted before, with just the tiniest of changes right there at the very end. For the longest time, I had no idea where this story was going. Then Magaly's Blooming Howls inspired me, and I thought a little more about who these two characters were, and where they were going. I can finally see the path they have to tread, and though it's a longer one than I can scribe in a few nights, I'll share the beginning with you here...

Eggs scrambled with spinach and mushrooms, a little salt. Peaches, sliced. Cottage cheese.
Check, check, and check.
Naylee will give me that face, the one filled with sweet happiness. I turn off the stove and scrape the eggs onto a plate.
A couple forks from the drawer, and -
There she is. Radiant. Bouncing into the room.
“Jorg! Look what I made!” Naylee giggles and holds up a ridiculous… sea slug? “It’s a sweater, obviously,” she laughs, unable to even attempt a straight face. I’m grinning back at her, despite being completely confused. The knitted thing is huge, and orange, and when she holds it up that high it blocks my view of her. Still smiling, I let her hand it to me. It could be a sweater, if I had no arms. I’m helpless. Naylee’s smile quiets. “Don’t worry,” she coos, “you can put it with the rest.” Relieved, I toss it to the top of the kitchen cabinets, where a collection of ill-fated knitting projects is accumulating.
“I’ll get the hang of these things one of these days,” Naylee insists. “I don’t know about that orange though. That might be a trim-only sort of color. A little goes a long, long way, ya know. Oooo! Peaches! Hmmm, you must like me an awful lot.”
That’s my Naylee. Teeny Queen of Distraction. My heart thumps. I reach for her waist, and I like the way my hand wraps from one hip to the other.
“Come here.” It comes out of my throat as a growl.
“Oh, scary! You know sexual dimorphism in humanoids isn’t supposed to be this distinctive, Jorg.”
“Mmmm, I love when you talk dirty to me, Naylee.”
She’s giggling again and just like that, I’m taken. Again and again.
“Hey there big man,” Naylee bats her eyelashes, “are you gonna feed me first or what?”
I pull her close, so gently, and ask her, so softly, if she’s really that hungry. A kiss on her cheek, then her lips.
“Not really, no,” she whispers back.
“I need you,” I admit.
“Oh please,” she laughs.
I had meant it, but that’s okay. I smile and kiss her again and play along. “My princess, my love, you taste like joy.”
I’m rewarded with a new round of giggles and accusations of romantic delusions. She’s right. She always is, she just doesn’t know it yet. I pick her up and kiss her again.
“Oh, you got me!” she squeals and smirks, “whatcha gonna do with me now?”
I carry her across the kitchen and into her gardening room. There’s a couch there, under the big bay windows.
“Naylee, may I?” I whisper in her ear.
“Yes please,” she says.
I set her down and lay myself on the couch. I’m careful - no need to break any more furniture throwing my weight around. When I’m settled, I tug her hand. She straddles me, her knees at my hips, and leans down for more kisses. I catch her again in my arms and hold her as close as I dare. The air around us seems to heat as we kiss. She rubs her body against me, sending hisses of urgency up my spine. Distantly, I feel myself rumbling and I grow stronger against her warmth. I open my eyes to take in this whirlwind of a woman - sometimes I have to see to believe - and a flicker of movement comes from the open room to my left. Releasing Naylee with my left arm, I grasp her tighter with my right and catch the little fucker in my left hand. My grip dwarfs his fist, and I give it a shove, sending him back across the room. Still squeezing Naylee with my right arm, I pull her in closer to that side. She’s taking advantage of my turned head and trailing little kisses along the side of my neck.
“You really need to do something about that,” Naylee says between kisses.
“I know,” I grunt. A blond scrapper of a boy is taking aim for my head again. This time when I catch his fist, I squeeze. First the bones crack - a very satisfying sound - then they crumble, and the boy disintegrates. I sigh. Naylee trails her kisses back up to my face, and I hold her with both arms again. And I’m -
Waking up.

Jorg blinked. His eyes felt strained, as though he hadn’t been asleep for hours. The sun was streaming in, highlighting the empty space on Naylee’s side of the bed. She must have gone to work already. Jorg grumbled and got out of bed. Strange dreams had interrupted his sleep, and waking alone wasn’t comforting. Nevermind the several centuries he had spent alone before meeting Naylee; he’d had three years to get accustomed to having her around, and he never liked her absence.
A plastic crash came from the bathroom, followed quickly by a muffled “Sorry!” Not at work, then. She must have dropped something. He frowned. Hopefully she hadn’t dropped a plant pot. No, it couldn’t have been that, he decided. That would have sounded like ceramic breaking.
Naylee cracked the bathroom door and poked her head into the bedroom. “Sorry Jorg, did I wake you? I dropped my lotion. Slippery stuff.”
Jorg smiled, happy to see her round, cinnamon face peering back at him. “I was awake,” he said.
She smiled back, relieved. She was always so worried about him. It was endearing.
“Naylee,” he began, “do you know anything about dreams?”
A frown played on her lips. “Not really. I never got into all that stuff. Why?”
His brow creased. “I had that strange dream again last night. It felt,” he paused, casting about for the right word, “it felt too real, I guess.”
The frown settled more firmly on Naylee’s face as she considered this. This was the third time Jorg had woken with those bleary eyes and that worried mien. 
He described the dream, skipping over the embarrassing bits, but it wasn’t much different from the others he’d had. They all started out normal enough, but that blond boy, that worried him. The boy felt separate from the rest of the dream, as if he didn't belong there. As if the boy were not wholly part of the dream.
As he spoke, Naylee came to sit next to him on the bed. When he was done, she thought quietly for a moment.
“There’s a dream reader,” she said finally, “on my way to work. They have a shop just a few blocks from here. I go by it every day. It looks clean, reputable. Maybe you should stop in there today and ask about a reading.”
Jorg knew the place. He’d seen it too. It was at the edge of the Rev - The Reverie, officially - where all the Dreamers lived. It wasn’t visited much by anyone who wasn’t a dream witch. Witches of any type had always seemed a bit too clannish for him. The dream witches hated the green witches, who hated the fire witches, and so on. That whole attitude annoyed him. Then there was the general seediness of those dream shops. They tended to attract people Jorg wanted nothing to do with.
But, Naylee’s suggestion made sense. He had the impression this dream was something he shouldn’t ignore. Following his hunches had gotten him out of many a tight corner; no reason to stop now. He agreed to check out the shop before going to work. He had a light day planned, anyway. Plenty of time.

The sun was making an unusually intense appearance in the San Francisco sky when Jorg walked to the edge of the Rev. The Dreamer’s shop seemed huddled into the first floor of a decrepit brownstone. “Dream Reader is IN!” the sign blared, giving the only indication that life existed on the other side of the blacked out windows. Sighing, Jorg, pulled the door open and squeezed his bulk through it.
The tiny room held an aged upholstered chair in each corner facing the windowed wall. One of these chairs held a dog. A border collie, Jorg thought. The dog lifted its black-and-white head and peered at Jorg, seeming surprised. Then it stood and stretched its way to the floor, and trotted through a curtain-covered doorway in the back wall. Jorg stared after it, not sure what to do next.
Jorg had just decided to sit in the other chair when a reedy man burst through the curtained door, arms wide and jaw flapping.
“Welcome!” the man said. He brought his hands back to together and wrung them, eyeing Jorg and clearly unsure what had just crossed his threshold. Jorg felt his face pulling into a frown, and carefully brought himself back to neutral.
“I need a dream reading,” he said calmly.

12 October 2014

tarot solves writing blocks, for real

I've been working on the Jorg and Naylee story... except that everything I've written so far is background stuff. Important, yes, but the more background I write, the more I realize I have no idea where to take this next.

So I'm turning to my trusty tarot deck to tell me what happens next. The exercise goes like this: I do a reading for Jorg and Naylee's story, and whatever the cards say, I have to write. Then I expand on that and, voila: story!

Now let's see how this goes...

First, as I grabbed my cards, the animal oracle deck felt necessary - I realized that J & N are each related to some sort of animal. I drew two of these. Jorg is a frog; Naylee is an otter. I can totally see that, based on the descriptions of each that I wrote yesterday.

This has nothing to do with their colors. The Frog is a healer; it is compassionate because it has lived in two worlds, and understands both. It uses this wisdom to help others. The otter is playful and easily distracted, but capable of hyperfocus when it's time to work. Naylee can teach Jorg to play; Jorg can understands Naylee's distraction, and grounds her.

On to the tarot. The draw I'll use is one I came up with while I was working exclusively with my oracle deck. I used it to tell a story for people, about themselves. It works for fiction, too.

Not a great picture.

Here's the spread:
Knight of Wands, Devil (R), 10 of Pentacles (R)
2 of Swords (R), Ace of Pentacles, 3 of Wands
Ace of Cups (R), 7 of Pentacles (R), Lovers (R)
2 of Pentacles (R)

The beginning:
Knight/Wands - someone who dashes in on will alone; determination without reason
Devil - a problem of your own making
10/Pentacles - the summit of prosperity; a stable happiness

The journey:
2/Swords - a conflict, a catch-22; ignoring indecision, but tiring by holding out
Ace/Pentacles - a fleeting chance for prosperity
3/Wands - actively waiting; watching the next step coming

What the journey brings:
Ace/Cups - a chance for emotional growth
7/Pentacles - a pause in the progress, to assess achievement thus far
Lovers - satisfaction with a decision made

2/Pentacles - retaining balance with great difficulty

... And we're off!

True Story

Roll with me here -

flying off my little truck
scampering down the highway:
That tailgater swerves and backs off.


Oh look! Over there!
(Nothing to see here folks)
That cloud is crawling like smoke
under the San Jose Mountain
(is that the name? I can't recall) -
an underground cloud factory

letting off steam.

11 October 2014

Jorg and Naylee prepare for blooming howls

The last time I wrote about Jorg and Naylee, it was primarily to convey a dream I had into written words. I said very little about their appearances, because that wasn't a detail of the dream I had retained. So to prepare for their upcoming appearance at Magaly Guerrero's Crafting Blooming Howls party, I thought I should get an idea of what their appearances might actually be.  

So here you go, Jorg and Naylee, as I see them:  

Jorg has a fecund howl; it drips from the ceilings and vines across walls, laden with ghostly blooms. It makes him feel manly. Men should create, he says.

He has skin like sage and a frosting of evergreen fur, soft as silk, that gives him a faint glow in the right light. In any other light, that fur is nearly invisible.

His thick throat gives him a deep and resonate voice and he likes to sing to the gardens he sees. They always respond in kind.

Jorg thinks deliberately, generously, and thoroughly. He speaks slowly, weighing each word as it comes. He always means what he says.

He says his name with a soft /j/ and a hard /g/. 

Naylee is diminutive and forceful. She is more skilled at decomposition and reverse engineering than she is at creating. She is light-hearted and at ease; she is hope. She is easily distracted. 

Her skin is the color of Arizona adobe. Her eyes and short hair are the same shade of manzanita-brown. 

They are each something west of human, or perhaps in Jorg's case, east of human. 

Look for more of Jorg and Naylee on 17 October 2014, at the Crafting Blooming Howls gala.

around about here

Breathe in, breathe in,
tell me again -
why we're here

Breathe out, breathe out,
around about here
I'll find
something worth keeping.

Breathe deep, breathe shallow,
just don't get stuck -
these ruts are killer,
nothing healing.

Break hard, breathe harder,
it's all right now -
sweat makes the heart
beat strong.

This poem is brought to you by real toads, Donna the Buffalo's keen vision, and the memory of a lazy ex-lover. 

06 October 2014

building happiness

I have Major Depressive Disorder.
Some of you already knew that. It's not a secret.

When my medication works: It's as though that gray cloud that's hanging over me, is just hanging there. It does not shrink or lift, but it does not rain, either. The medication removes the immediacy, the weight, of Depression, but does nothing to fill that void with happiness, or with anything at all. The happiness I must work for.

That work involves building my home into a sanctuary, a place a feel a strong, healing connection with. I am an animist, and I feel strongly the flows of energy around me. All things have a spirit, an energy; this is the basis for my connection with my home, once it is built. This is also the way I heal best. Without my sanctuary - without a place I can go that is a safehaven, a shelter from all the hurt out there in the world - I am ungrounded. Being ungrounded unnerves me, and makes me unhappy. I learned this very recently.

When I moved into a new house at the end of August, I knew it would be tough. I did not know the move would send me into one of the most difficult depressive episodes I have experienced in recent memory. I figured out fairly soon (mid-move) that the episode was connected to the move. I thought it was just the change. The stress. The challenges. A normal reaction to a difficult time for anyone, but especially for someone with MDD (or other mental illnesses, I'm sure).

Perhaps a week ago, I had a particularly bad night. In the worst depths, I began writing down my thoughts. Understand that my thoughts when I'm in the grip of Depression are not reliable in the details, but they often reveal the underlying trigger(s) for that particular event. In this case, the thought that came out was clear: I miss my home, I wrote. I miss the safety, the sanctuary of my little house.

Just a few mornings ago, a conversation with Archer - my soulfriend - clarified my feelings for us both. I needed to feel the connection I'd had with my old house; I needed to build that connection with my new house. Without it, I feel like a stranger usurping the space within this building, intruding in the house's domain. So I will build a relationship with my new house.

This is the work of happiness.

It includes a list of things to do: hanging the rest of the pictures and art, organizing the bathroom drawers, sweep up the already-accumulating dog hair, et cetera.

It includes organizing my container garden in its new home.
A gift came from an unexpected new friend, just after our unexpected move. It was a wormwood plant, an herb sacred to Hel. It's thriving in the sunlit porch of this house. 

It also includes a ritual of bonding, in which I will introduce myself to the house-spirit, and entrust it with the protection of my self and my family. Together, the house-spirit and I will ward this space, while I weave my roots to its anchored beams. I will ground myself in this home, and create a sanctuary of it. Then, I will welcome my gods to join this bond: Sretya, who holds the luck of homes; Hel, who keeps truth and order in life and death; Bast, who brings joy to those who wait; and Odin, who guides the steps of wisdom-seekers. My altar will be built, and my guardians will be placed.

I will come home.

for the real toads on Open Link Monday: John Keats (and a grasshopper)

The prompt for this Open Link Monday finds inspiration from a poet born in October...

John Keats was born 31 October 1795 - a Samhain child, though they wouldn't have called him such.

The Poetry Foundation says this of Keats:

"Keats today is seen as one of the canniest readers, interpreters, questioners, of the "modern" poetic project [...] to create poetry in a world devoid of mythic grandeur, poetry that sought its wonder in the desires and sufferings of the human heart."

At times he seems particularly morbid, but at times I think I like his morbid moments best. 

These, for example:

On Death

Ode to a Nightingale

... but as it turns out, he had something of a sense of humor, too:

Give me women, wine and snuff
Until I cry out «hold, enough!»
You may do so sans objection
Till the day of resurrection;
For bless my beard they aye shall be
My beloved Trinity.

Apparently, that poem has been discounted by at least some critics as "not a serious attempt at poety," but I think that's no reason to dismiss a poem. They can't all be serious, because that would be ridiculously tedious.

That's my opinion; your perspective may vary.

I'll tell you this: Perspective is a bitch of a thing.


The grasses ceded their whispering afternoon song to the high strains of an unfamiliar wail. A child - perhaps a girl - in a paisley dress had wandered in their garden. The wail was not hers; her song was softer and warbling, and it sputtered beneath the alien sound. Her steps faltered, stilled by the shake rising from knees to lips.
A cloud darkened as it covered the sun, and the wail rose again, tuneless and unfeeling, closer this time to the child's toes.
The child turned and ran.
The grasses bent their heads to the conquering grasshopper.

Written for Open Link Monday, inspired by Keats and Perspective. 


A reasonably thorough version of John Keats' Bio:
Website with Keats' complete list of poetry (I think it's complete, anyway): 

05 October 2014

flash fiction 55: Lost Bones

The trees grew thick as thieves, racing to capture the light from the clouds. The bones stumbled, clacking along, alone. So far past flesh and shivered by the rising night, the bones careened across the root-strewn floor. A glance back revealed nothing but the crowding trees. Faster, they seemed to accuse, find the child!

~This post has been brought to you by the flash fiction 55 writing prompt at the imaginary garden with real toads, by the letter k for kink, and by a ravaged mind having a grand old time. You're welcome.

03 October 2014

caving in imaginary gardens with real toads

(untitled... for now)

Brave the wailing fires and a stony mouth,
I'm bigger on the inside;
Walk among my teeth, dripping
in a rush of life
through earthen arteries;
I am your forgotten womb.

I'm really getting into these writing prompts growing in the imaginary garden. They're striking quite the melody on my creative bones. This one, about a gigantic, wondrous cave in Vietnam, gave me something to chew on all day, as I saw it this morning right before I left for work. Tasty. 

I'm a bit lost on what to name it. I'd rather not go with the name of the cave that inspired it, because I think this could be representative of many caves all over the world, and I'd rather not narrow it unjustly. 

Crafting Blooming Howls with Magaly Guerrero

I first met Jorg and Naylee in a deam last June. In the dream, I was Jorg. I suppose that's beside the point.

So anyway.

No shit, there I was, neck-deep in smoothies and dishwater, when all the sudden -

...I don't know where that was going.

So. Anyway.

Magaly Guerrero over at Pagan Culture has this annual blog party in October, and it's awesome. You should totally check it out.

My contribution will probably be another chapter in the J&N story. I wasn't sure, at first, that I would be able to do that. I wasn't sure I knew where that story was going at all, or even whether or not there would be anything truly witchy or magicy about it.

My backup plan is to blog about my first Samhain as a dedicant of Hel, and my first Samhain without a coven. That's this year, by the way, not something that happened in the past. It's happening Right Now. Cool, huh?

As it turns out, I think I'll start work on the J&N story. I was at work today (in a cafe, making smoothies and washing dishes, but not both at the same time), thinking about writing. And thinking about J & N as characters. I really don't know much about them, but today I got some hints.

I'll be shaping Jorg's fecund howl long into the night, just the way he likes it.

02 October 2014

"Goddess Spirituality Teaches Social Justice" ... wait. What?

Any time I hear an absolutism it makes me cringe.

Nothing is absolute; all things in moderation.
The irony of those statements, I think, proves them.

So the headline "Goddess Spirituality Teaches Social Justice" really hurt my reflexes. I avoided reading it for two days hours minutes while it sat there at the top of my blog feed, taunting me with its ridiculousness. Then I succumbed.

I started the first paragraph prepared for some sort of explanation of the silly headline - and had to step back and skim the whole article. The author starts the article with the word "so."

As in, "so here's a bunch of examples of this idea I haven't explained, but obviously since I have these awesome examples (*ahem* anecdotes) that obviously indicate how right I am about this unelaborated idea, you have to agree with me. Because examples."

No, that's not an actual quote. I made it up. That's just how the article  made its first impression in my head.

Seemed a little pretentious, in my haughty opinion.

It all went downhill from there. The author rails against the patriarchy, claiming the world would be so much better if women were in power and the world focused on a female deity instead of a male deity (as if the WHOLE WORLD follows Abrahamic religions... ugh, don't even get me started), and if we just put women in power over men then everybody would be equal. Because that's logical.

It made me wonder where genderqueer and transgender folks exist in her world.

Don't get me wrong: I'm no anti-feminist. I think the post-modern feminist movement is doing great things. I also think putting men below women - as this author does - isn't equality. That's just flipping the power binary, without even acknowledging that almost nothing in human sociality is actually binary, and power structures are not an exception to that.

At some point, I realized that the article seems to be an excerpt - or rather, a collection of excerpts - from a book. I came to this realization because the image heading the article looks very much like a book cover. There's no text confirming this, but it's probably a fairly safe assumption. I'd rather think these paragraphs were taken out of context than believe the author really intended to begin, "So...," or that the author really thinks no explanation of the title is necessary. Because the explanation never comes in the article. I looked. Twice. And it was painful.

Bad writing is nearly as painful as bad logic. This was very, very painful.

I'm going to skip over all the really insulting crap - like the implication that if you're a woman who doesn't like having menses, you only feel that way because the patriarchy forces you to - and skip straight to the author's summary of their point. Mostly because it was the most coherent paragraph I found.

"In conclusion, I’ve touched briefly on but a few ideas showing how Sacred Feminine herstory, metaphor and  mythology might be reclaimed and reinterpreted to provide a roadmap toward a more sustainable future.  We have in the feminine images of divinity deities, archetypes and ideals to show us the way.  It is up to us if we want to move away from or temper the “authoritarian father” idealogy that shapes our religions and culture and instead heed the advice of the Great She and her Sacred Feminine liberation thealogy as our role model."

Right, because all our religions are masculine-monotheistic, and feminine-monotheistic is the only possible solution!

I'm so done.

Incidentally, I've enjoyed most of the posts I've found on
This one just happens to be irresponsible.

Seriously. Children could be reading this crap! This is modelling very bad writing! And logical fallacies being presented as truisms! That should be sacrilegious.

And to make it worse, I never even got to talk about whether or not Goddess-centric spiritualities could possibly teach social justice any more or less than any other religion, because the article had nothing coherent to discuss! So annoying.

I'm watching you, pagansquare. 

Damn, I got so irritated I forgot to include the link. Sorry about that. Here it is:

01 October 2014

October to the Trees

up on you -

You who thought
September pretties
could come alone,
without me on their heels.


Dance with me
- shake your leaves -
I'll bring them down

all fluttering
to the ground -

The carpet
to be mauled by
nimble toes
dancing to your
winter's death.

I got inspired by Magaly Guerrero, who got it from a lovely Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
I highly recommend seeking them out, if ever you lack inspiration.

And yes, October really did sneak up on me this year.
I really thought September was longer.
Wasn't it longer last year?