SNOOTY™ — Ministerial Muses 8.6.17

Posted August 6th, 2017 by anna and filed in Manatee County, FL, Ministerial Muses
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The following is reprinted from Goddess Talking™ in the July 2003 issue of Let the Spirit Guide You!


Snooty™ deferred parenting until later in life. It wasn’t his choice. He was born into an alien world and separated from his own kind from the age of one. His friend Sally tells me he displays all the necessary signs of virility, but by the time his subjects were able to build him an environment large enough for a pool-mate, it was illegal to breed manatees in captivity. Those close to him mourn the loss of his genes to the species.

No one knew his mother was pregnant when she was captured and brought to the old Miami Aquarium. On July 21, 1948 (yes, a Cancer), his was the first officially recorded birth of a manatee in captivity. Soon afterwards, in 1949, he came to Bradenton to help the city with its DeSoto Celebration. Known as “Baby Snoots” then, he quickly won hearts and was invited to stay (fortunately with a name change). It is a love affair that continues. I’ve always told friends from out of town, that when Snooty dies the people of Bradenton will burn the city charter, board up the windows, and move on. Truthfully, I suspect that, when the time comes, he will find a way to help us through his death as successfully as he has welcomed us into his life.

Surrounded by admirers, his every need met by a loving staff, he could have lived a life of wealthy indulgence. He hasn’t. Nobody accepts their responsibilities as conscientiously as Snooty. Over the course of his 55 years in public service, 24 of them as the official Manatee County mascot, he has personally greeted more than a million people. Always a teacher, he is now a recognized part of the Manatee County School System. With the help of his staff, he answers letters from school children all over the country. Concerned about his own kind in the wild (there are less than 3000 manatees left in Florida), he volunteered for hearing tests at Mote Marine Laboratory. He has even managed to turn his annual Birthday Bash into a Wildlife Awareness Festival.

It was February 1998 when Snooty received his first young, pool-mate, Newton. Newton had been injured in the wild and suffered ongoing health problems. In August of 1998 Newton lost his battle to recover. The people
of Bradenton grieved openly, huddled together in supermarket aisles, parking lots and gas stations. But Snooty had proven himself as a foster dad.

His next protégé was Mo, a healthy, but orphaned, youngster. When he was old enough, Mo was successfully released into the wild. (He has since been struck twice by boaters and is currently recovering at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.)

Not long after Mo’s release, Palma Sola arrived at The Parker Manatee Aquarium to receive the benefits of Snooty’s expertise and helping flipper. Palma Sola was successfully released into the wild on February 13th of this year. At last report, he was doing well. (You can track his progress at www. WILDTRACKS.org.)

As I write this, Snooty and his staff are looking after DeSoto Park, a year-old manatee who was injured by the boater who killed his mother. Snooty is effortlessly helping DeSoto Park learn what he needs to know to survive in a world which Snooty has never known.

Snooty’s gifts to his human populace still, however, surpass his gifts to his own species. His mere presence is healing to us. People often come to discuss their problems with him. Some just watch him twist and loop through the water as a meditation to relieve stress.

Okay! It’s possible I’ve been projecting a little. But don’t dismiss me until you go and look into Snooty’s eyes for yourself. If you’ve ever known sadness, your will see it there. If you’ve ever known compassion, you will see it there. If you’ve ever aspired to learn the Wisdom of the Ages, you will wish that he could speak to you. And then, you’ll see him grin.

Snooty Sensei — Ministerial Muses 7.25.2017

Posted July 25th, 2017 by anna and filed in Manatee County, FL, Ministerial Muses
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I first met Snooty after my father died in 1985. I started spending 5-10 days every few months in Bradenton, in what had been my grandparents’ retirement home, helping my mother with its maintenance. I sought out things to do in the community and quickly discovered Snooty and his entourage. I began telling friends that when Snooty died, Bradenton would roll up the sidewalks and burn the city charter. There would be no reason to go on. It rolled easily off my tongue because there was something immortal about Snooty. It didn’t seem possible that he would ever be gone. Yet here we are. (I wrote about Snooty and his special ministry awhile back in Let the Spirit Guide You!™ I’ll hunt for that and try and get it posted here soon.)

Sensei is a title (my Japanese friends tell me) that honors teachers. For me, Snooty was first and foremost a teacher. The fact that he never communicated in human language makes his teachings all the more powerful. Florida has made an art form out of tourist attractions. Snooty helped spawned a plethora of bigger and better Manatee exhibits across the state, but still Snooty kept attracting more and more people to his humble home. Being in his presence could be transcendent if you were paying attention. Let those who have ears to hear, understand. I am just beginning to understand what Snooty was trying to teach me.

When I started reading about Kabbalah back in the 90’s, I was stumped by the common interpretation of Moses and the journey to the Promised Land. He told God he would lead his tribe through the desert to their new home. Despite legendary challenges he accomplished that, but because he lost his temper once, and struck a rock with his walking stick out of anger at God, he was not allowed to enter the new land with the people. He died just outside of it. I struggled with the apparent injustice of that for a long time. Eventually I came to my own interpretation of the story (no disrespect for Jewish heritage intended). I now believe … that after dragging his people through the desert, listening to their complaints, being told he was useless, being told that a bargain with the devil would be better, the Land of Milk and Honey finally came into view. He pointed to it and said, “You see. You see. There it is.” As they rushed off to their new home, he sat down on a rock, looked up to the heavens, and said quietly, “I did what I promised. Can I come home now?”

I believe … even if it involved human error, mechanical failure, or sabotage … that after hosting the most spectacular birthday party of his spectacular life, Snooty let the angels take him home. He passed the torch. Each one of us, whose life was touched by Snooty, now carries a spark from that torch out into the world. May we honor him by remembering compassion and a gentle touch.

God speed Snooty Sensei.
As my friend Miho would say … We appreciate you.

Ministerial Muses—6.2.2017—e-Diary Book Expo

Posted June 2nd, 2017 by anna and filed in Ministerial Muses
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I’ll admit that I wasn’t looking forward to the crowds at Book Expo when I headed out yesterday morning. However, shortly after I arrived, I turned a corner and saw a familiar face. My friend Monique from New World Library.

She wasn’t supposed to be there but there was a last minute scheduling change. She’s always really busy at these things but we had time for a bear hug and a few personal update sentences.

After that my mood was considerably better. I picked up a lot of newly printed catalogs and a few advance review copies, as I made my way up and down every aisle making sure I didn’t miss anything or anybody.

It was about 2:30 when I got to Red Wheel Weiser. I had made an appointment to see Bonni at 4:30. It turned out that the 4:30 invite was actually for a cupcake and champagne party at the booth to celebrate their 60th anniversary. I had a lively and informative conversation about upcoming product lines with Debra. (RWW starts distributing a terrific line of card decks in July. There’ll be lots of them on TarotWise.com.)

After going through all the catalogs with Debra, I took a break to relax and check email, then I headed back to RWW. Bonni is vegan and she found a bakery that makes vegan red devil cupcakes. They looked fabulous and tasted even better.

Darrell kept the bubbly flowing …

… And Bonni was at her multi-tasking best, personally serving the cupcakes while she seriously talked books.

I’d forgotten how much fun the Mind/Body/Spirit publishing people are. It was good to be reminded.

Ministerial Muses—6.1.17—eDiary Book Expo

Posted June 1st, 2017 by anna and filed in Ministerial Muses
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After a very productive meeting with my advisors at #GersteinFisher on Tuesday, I had another great burger dinner with friends at the Old Town Bar (see post from 4.2.17). I’m still reorganizing from moving my primary office from New York to Bradenton, FL. I don’t know how I would be getting through this without these very supportive friends. They let me know that I am truly blessed.

Yesterday, it was back to work full time. I picked up my press badge for #BookExpo and began to plan my exhibitor visits for today and tomorrow. Now I’m headed off to the Javits Center to face the crowds and a long day. I’m focusing on getting to see the familiar faces I only get to see during the Expo. It’s amazing how fond of people you can get via email.

Ministerial Muses—5.30.17—e-Diary Book Expo

Posted May 30th, 2017 by anna and filed in Ministerial Muses
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I’m finally getting back to blogging after months of stress and chaos. I wish I was updating you about the Goddess Garden. I will be spending more time in the FLorida center from now on, but I had to interrupt my reorganization of the space down there to come to New York for Book Expo at the Javits this week.

I was looking forward to spending months redoing the house in Florida, setting up a primary office, as well as getting the Garden shaped up. Yet, here I am back in the hustle and bustle I’ve come to dread, dealing with traffic and unpleasant mass transportation to get to appointments.

Fortunately, I had arranged to take several friends to brunch yesterday to thank them for their help in packing up the office here in New York. It was so good to see them again and to be able to relax and catch up. Life really is about people. I’m going to use that as my mantra for the rest of the week.

Ministerial Muses—4.2.17

Posted April 2nd, 2017 by anna and filed in Ministerial Muses
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I loved New York when I moved here in 1969. I loved the noise. I loved the grimy subways. I loved the “always openness”. Because it put me next door to art of all kinds and to super-driven, intellectual people. I was normal in New York. Something I had never been before.

Now I am packing up to move out of town. It’s an adjustment that’s taken some work. But I’ve been unhappy living here for almost a decade now. The city has changed. Development has brought crowded streets and stressed out people bumping into each other. The creative underbelly that made the city unique has all but disappeared. Commercial success and box-office draw trump creativity and emerging artists. I have begun to feel that my tribe has packed up and moved elsewhere.

As I prepare to leave, I have begun to seek out city experiences that still have meaning. This past week my friend MIHO and I went to the Old Town Bar for an old-fashioned cheeseburger and fries. I hadn’t been there for years but I found it just as I left it last — high-end neighborhood bar food in a cozy-casual environment.

There used to be really good neighborhood bars all over town. Gathering places for the locals with good food and good draft beer. Gradually they have been replaced by gourmet bistros with fancy touches and a pre-determined table turnover schedule. Dining out has become a play and the customer serves as audience for their dinner. No more the local drinking holes that inspired Cheers … except at the Old Town Bar on 18th Street (and OOTOYA which I wrote about a few weeks ago).

I have a few weeks left. My search for the old New York continues. I will let you know what I discover.

Ministerial Muses—3.19.17

Posted March 19th, 2017 by anna and filed in Ministerial Muses
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I spent last evening with good friends at a wonderful Japanese restaurant in Chelsea, OOTOYA!

The two friends I was with had told me that they loved to eat in this restaurant because it made them feel like they were eating in a restaurant in Japan. I was very happy to have been invited to share this special experience with them.

One of the first things that I noticed was a feeling of connectedness in the modern, but cozy space. Despite the fact that throughout the evening at least 30% of the dinners were non-Japanese, there was always a sense of a shared experience and not the feeling of isolated dinners that is common in most New York restaurants.

Next came the food, traditional Japanese fare served as is the custom in Japan. I asked my friends to order for me. We know each other really well and I knew they understood my likes and dislikes.

Each of our meals arrived on a large wooden tray. We all began with a savory custard topped with a drizzle of smoked fish sauce (their favorite appetizers and now mine as well). There was a small dish of lightly fermented vegetables and a bowl of the best miso soup I have ever had. Then it was time to deal with the large bowl that was the main event. Mine was deep-fried pork in a rich miso sauce which was still boiling when it arrived at the table. The bowl also contained an egg and a slightly-steamed floret of broccoli, and as I discovered as I ate, a bit of sweet cabbage on the bottom. I ate it all without embarrassment and then put some of the rice that was provided on the side into the sauce which was left in the bowl and ate it with chop sticks, savoring every grain.

We ordered a dessert bento box to share (after a discussion about the fact that traditional bento boxes are lunch boxes). The green tea ice cream was the unanimous favorite.

As we prepared to leave, I said: “Thank you so much! Now I know how to order something besides teriyaki when I go to a Japanese restaurant”. It was followed by a discussion of the glories of a really good cheeseburger and French fries.

A properly shared meal is a vanishing ritual no matter what country one is from. I was privileged to have shared last night’s meal with friends who value the experience as much as I do.

Ministerial Muses—3.12.17

Posted March 12th, 2017 by anna and filed in Garden e-Diary, Ministerial Muses, The Faerie Encounters™
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When she next returned to Florida, it was settled. She had a signed contract to sell her apartment up north. She had lived there for over forty years and the final decision was wrenching despite the fact that she had been contemplating the move with increasing intensity for years.

There was no doubt in her mind that the best years of her life lay before her in Florida with the fey. The inhabitants of the Goddess Garden had been making that clear for a long time. Still, she was a Taurus and forty years in one place was a long time. Just the thought of clearing out the apartment was overwhelming. She used working in the yard to shift her focus from fear to balance.

Because of the leaks in the roof, there were now several pieces of furniture that were water damaged. She officially began the next leg of her journey by deciding to burn them in the fire pit with the yard trash instead of trying to repair them. After several nights of putting pieces of those items into flames born of palm fronds and bouganvillea branches, she realized that the items had come from her childhood home after her mother’s death. She was surfacing remnants of unprocessed grief as end tables from her parents’ living room went up in smoke.

“I need relief from the stress up north,” she thought. “I don’t need more emotional overload.”

“You’re clearing the way for your new start. The more space you make, the more blessings will come to you.”

She accepted the wisdom wearily and tried to disappear into the dancing flames before her. The faeries were pleased but not talking.

A few days before she was scheduled to fly back north and dismantle that chapter of her life, there was a full moon in Leo with a lunar eclipse. She lit the fire pit and positioned her chair to face east, awaiting the rising white globe. It had been cloudy the past few evenings and the bright circle had played peek-a-boo with her as it rose. Tonight the clouds were dissipating and she said Thank You as the orb ascended the darkening sky.

A storm had blown through and the wind still churned the trees in the yard. The large oak in front of her began to sparkle as the rising moon gleamed off the shiny, dancing leaves. She thought of the ancient oracles that spoke to people through the rustling of leaves and listened carefully. She sensed a growing serenity but heard no words.

As the moon achieved dominance in the black sky before her, she noticed that it’s light was dancing in the palm tree at the edge of the patio. As the fronds blew in the wind, the sparkling white exploded off of them like fireworks. Then the energy seemed to concentrate in the center of the palm. She knew she was being called. She returned her attention to the dancing flames before her. She placed her awareness in the center of the fire pit and allowed the rising heat to carry her upward. Suddenly she was dancing on the top of the palm tree as the sparkling fronds waved around her. Next her attention was directed to the starry sky above the sparkling palm tree — and then she was gone.

When she finally returned to the patio, she brought no conscious thoughts with her but she understood that she had been initiated into her new life. Everything was different but nothing had changed.

As she sat listening for instructions and explanations, a quiet male energy appeared on the other side of the fire pit. He seemed glad to be there but uncertain about what was happening. She offered him the chair which had appeared next to her and he made his way around the fire pit and sat down. She held out her hand for him to take but he didn’t respond.

“He’s out of body from the physical plane and not used to traveling in the astral realm in this lifetime,” was the thought that came to her. Still she couldn’t help but wonder if he really wanted to be there. The faeries laughed quietly together as the thought went through her head. She returned her attention to the dancing flames as he sat, somewhat disconnected, beside her. She tried to get him to watch the living magic before them and he seemed to respond as exhaustion settled over her.

She watched the flames die down to barely glowing embers and then she went inside to make some dinner and get ready for bed. What had been started that night was the beginning of a lengthy new chapter in her physical plane life. But she was too tired to think about that. Before she could begin her new life in the Goddess Garden she had to write the final chapter of her old life.

(Excerpted from The Faerie Encounters™ © 2017 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks)

Garden e-Diary—2.19.17

Posted February 19th, 2017 by anna and filed in "Real. Authentic. Florida.", Garden e-Diary, Manatee County, FL, Mid-Town Manatee?
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It’s been a long time since I updated you about the Goddess Garden and its surrounding plant beds. My life has been complicated for awhile  and the Garden e-Diary is one of the things that fell by the wayside. I’m in the process of reorganizing now and trying to get back on track with some of the things I have neglected.

The bougainvillea I planted in the center of the front bed is thriving and blooming happily. The oleander that I divided and replanted in the hexagonal beds on either side of the bougainvillea is doing well also.

In addition to being winter, we’ve had mostly dry conditions in Bradenton for the past few months. Some of my plants are struggling BUT, of course, the weeds are proliferating. The Mango Bed at the west end of the front bed is a good example. I weeded it throughly before I left town on Thanksgiving. It was overgrown again when I returned.

I managed to make time to weed it again before I left town, carefully pulling weeds around the ornamental peanut vines that are meant to be ground cover. The peanut vine has thinned considerable with the drought conditions, but is spreading at the same time. I’m hoping for it to really take over this next growing season. I also trimmed the tips off the little mango tree to encourage it to bush rather than sprawl. I added additional mulch in between the plants I’m trying to encourage (after I took the photo below).

I got the weeds back under basic control before I left town. I will be spending more time at the Florida center this spring and hope to really get things shaped up. I will keep you posted!

Ministerial Muses—2.12.17

Posted February 12th, 2017 by anna and filed in "Real. Authentic. Florida.", Manatee County, FL, Ministerial Muses
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Yesterday’s fundraising sale at Herbie Rose’s studio in the Village of the Arts was a HUGE success!

Volunteers helped water colorist Graciela Giles, Herbie’s wife, get an incredible amount of Herbie’s paintings hung. Local restaurants provided food — and people turned out in droves all day to help support this Manatee mentor in his later years.

Herbie laid the foundation for the growth of creativity here in Bradentnon. We see the manifestation of his vision in the Village of the Arts and the soon-to-begin playful expansion of the South Florida Museum.

I attended the event with Jo Ellen Gorris, owner of one of the original 13 Village studios (Clay in the Garden). She told me that she watched Herbie’s painting show on PBS years ago.

As Bradenton works to put itself on the map as a city of the future, it’s nice to know that we aren’t forgetting the people who have brought us this far.