Saturday, May 31, 2008

Nothing For It

I got done everything I could possibly get done yesterday. I wanted more, but it will do. I'm just about to head out the door to pick up the van. Moving is exciting!

Depending on how timing goes, We're going to load up here, head over to Aunt Betty's and load up the things she wants to give me there, then go to IKEA and buy my bed and sofa, then make it to the condo. The plan it by noon or a little after. If it looks like that's not working, we can skip IKEA and go back after Roomie gets to the place. See, I have the keys, so no matter what, I have to beat her there!

After we drop off the truck, it's off to home where I'll add the dragons to the load in my car and come back for a nice long evening of building my bed/sofa/chair/cabinet/desk. Good think I've got my own toolbox!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Rushing

This is rush time. I have to get my oil changed this morning (I'm overdue, I know I'm bad), then it's pack pack PACK! I know I say I work well with deadlines, but this is not quite what I had in mind. I'm making myself feel fine, because I've got so much to do.

After mom gets home, we'll pack up the CR-V. I'll put some important things into my car after I get back from the mechanic. Busy busy!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Whole Lotta Not Fun

I went to work today, only because I'm going to be off for the next two business days for the move. I'm not so sick that I can't stay awake, but I am feeling thoroughly miserable and uncomfortable. And, I had to come out this way anyway because I have to pick up the keys!

I've been working slowly, but staying on top of things.

You know, everyone is an expert with touch-your-forehead diagnosis. I'm sitting at my desk shivering and people just move in to touch my head and tell me I'm burning up and need to go home. I'll concede that my body temperature was more elevated this morning than it was yesterday, but it's not a serious deal. It's certainly not like the last time I had strep throat when my fever was 105.8 and I spent the morning in the ER. I don't think that's what this is. It's just bad timing!

Really bad timing, because I've put other things on hold to move, and now packing to move gets put on hold too. This had better go away, because tomorrow cannot be spent lying in bed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Retrograde Again

Mercury went into retrograde in Gemini this past Sunday. Remember to be mindful of your communications during this time. It will be in retrograde through the middle of June. Now is a good time for inner contemplation and finishing projects that you have already begun rather than starting new ones.

In one coincidental act of timing, I signed a lease on a new place on Saturday, before the retrograde period (when they say is not a good time for signing contracts). I made a lot of compromises to get this far, and I'm not entirely happy about having to make them, but I am quite happy to be getting out of my current living situation. Moving in is scheduled for this weekend, but it's not exactly starting something new because the lease is already signed. How is that for timing luck?!

I hope you all fare well!

Permission

Didn't sleep. Yucky sick. Can't swallow. Went home.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Timing

I had a second cup of coffee this afternoon. Half way through it, I got sick. Rather, I felt symptoms of some cold or other manifesting as I was drinking my coffee. It hurts to swallow, my face, shoulders, back, and legs are sore like after the first time I went snowboarding, and my temperature is slightly elevated. Nothing will get packed today; I'm going to jump in the shower and go to bed. This better clear out by the weekend. I'm moving, damnit!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Set A Budget

That's what they say, but I wonder how many people actually do that.

I've been sleeping on a twin bed all my life, so it's time I graduate to something a little bigger. In celebration of my impending move, mom and I went to IKEA to buy a bed, and a desk, and maybe a couch, and possibly a chair or two. I did find a desk and a chair and a lamp and a mattress, but the bed and couch will have to wait for a bigger vehicle. That just means that we'll load up the little moving van at the house, drive to the IKEA, with the capable Monty behind the wheel, so I can buy the bed and couch, and then head over to the new place. Hopefully, they will still have what I want.

We also hit up Target for some sheets and towels and a cabinet that I put together that mom doesn't want to part with. Shopping is exhausting! Just like packing, which is moving along so much slower than I really want it to.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Yuck Mud

With all the rain we've had lately, the shores were very muddy. Fox, Fae, mom, and I put in at Selby's Landing around 1230 or so. It was a little later than we generally like to get started, but today was the perfect, non-humid, day to get out. We paddled Mattaponi Creek and were out there a full two hours before we took a break. Whew!

At the end of the navigable part of the creek is an extensive beaver dam. Sometimes, when it's been particularly rainy, water will spill over the dam in little falls here and there. Another paddler tipped us off (or, at least, tipped mom off) that there was a breach in the dam. Instead of little waterfalls, we had gushing rapids!



Comparatively speaking, of course. It was hard to paddle where the water gushed, and it was a fun ride on the current to the mouth of this tiny little side creek. There was a lot of excitement in those first two hours of paddle.

We stopped on the bridge for snacks, watched some idiot who didn't read or speak English drive the wrong way on the one-way road, and vowed to put the number for the park office in our cell phones so we can call if that happens again. (As it turned out, Fox had the number and I thought he did, but he didn't check when we needed it.)

It took another hour or so to get back to the dock. When we got there, there were more people who didn't read or speak English all over the landing. They were fishing from the pier (against park regulations on weekends and holidays) and from the beach where we had to come in. A handful of these people were there when we put in, and they had a grill, a park no-no, standing by. We couldn't see the grill when we came back, so I was looking for it. I found it, in the trees where casual hikers or park rangers just making a sweep wouldn't see it. Maybe they could read English and just chose to ignore the rules and put the fire in the trees so they wouldn't get caught. I can overlook quite a lot if it's not really bothering me. We've seen people with grills before. But, they put themselves and everyone else who uses the park or lives nearby at risk, as well as the vegetation and wildlife, by moving that grill into the trees. I called the park office (I had the number on a flyer in the car), and the man sounded quite glad that I had reported that. While we were loading, they sent someone in an official truck to order the grill out of the trees, and prevent them from dumping the hot coals right there. The park official followed us out, hopefully they didn't just start the thing up again.

Sometimes people really piss me off.

After our wonderful paddle, we had a nice dinner at home on the back porch and then watched Muppet Treasure Island (newly acquired on DVD, so I can leave the tape with mom when I go). It was a great way to spend the day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Deed is Done

Unfortunately, it's only a deed of lease. But, hey! I signed my life away this afternoon and can officially start transporting my crap forty-five miles to the new place a week from today. Despite the fact that I've never done this before and don't know how I'm going to get through it, I am so excited to be moving.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to take Callie with me, but it is possible I can have Miss Luna with me. I really hope that works out (it's going to depend on how she takes to it, as it seems the landlord will be fine with one more cat, though we haven't asked yet). I've started to get used to having at least one of my girls with me. And Callie will be about to go on a senior diet if the doctor should deem it time to do so without having to worry about what the other cat eats. I'm hoping, even though I'll be gone, that Callie will improve by being the only cat in the house.

I'm very sorry I can't bring her too; I've never had a cat live as long as she. But, she's gotten messy in her old age and I just can't bring her into someone's property like that. I think dad will take the torch on this. Mom will be happy when she starts using the litter box again. Here's hoping!

I've got so much to do in a week. I don't think it's possible to get it all done!! GAH!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones 4

If you've heard that the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull doesn't have the charm, wit, or suspense that the first three films had, you have heard correct. It was predictable, had many not very exciting points, and didn't really fit into the established world of Indiana Jones. On it's own, it wasn't so bad, but when you compare it to the first three films in the franchise, you feel like George Lucas killed the golden goose just to see where the eggs came from (much like he did with the Star Wars prequels).

It was spectacular, taken as a movie in it's own right, right up until the big flying saucer lifted out of the ground and took off! WTF!!! I would have had a very different opinion of the film if it weren't for that.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Am Still Working

I have several projects I'm working on that have deadlines when I need them done. Then there's this pack-up-my-life-and-move thing getting in the way. I'm finding time here and there to work on my projects and equally so with packing. Everything is slow going.

We're supposed to sign on Saturday, at 1100. I'm kind of nervous about it. Not because I'm worried we won't get it or anything. You must understand, I've lived in the same house all my life. Moving out is daunting. And to top it all off, I'm way too old to be intimidated by that.

Virginia has some annoying laws. I have to get a new license and tags for my car and switch the title in thirty days. They also have annual safety inspections. The thing is, I'll likely move back to Maryland when my roomie goes to medical school (assuming that's not going to be local to our place). Then, I'll have to go through it all again. Annoying.

I really have my heart set on taking Miss Luna with me now. I know Callie can't come, but I think she'll be happier with no other cats around. I don't know if I'll be able to have Miss Luna. I'm really hoping that works out.

I got rid of half of my shoes today. You must know, for a female, that's quite a feat! What do I need so many shoes for anyway? I still have too many, but they've been reduced by half. Go me!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Unnecessary Stress

I had to clean Vox and Naggy's home today. While I had the lid open, Vox made a leap for the plant, which was next to the tank, not inside. She nearly climbed out! Naggy looked like he was not using one of his back legs, and while I was trying to investigate, he scrambled up my hand, and nearly out!

I finished cleaning while shaking with fear that either of them would escape. In this house, escape means death. That has already been proven.

Thankfully, neither dragon got out, and Naggy did use his leg some. I'm still shaking! I did not need that stress!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Full Flower Moon

This moon was so named because flowers are usually abundant during this time. My area saw more flowers last month than this one; we have been getting a lot of rain.

I did something a little different for this esbat. All my tools are still packed away. I had to put the home I was looking at (and hitting snags to get) on hold, and began looking at places to rent with someone I met at the Beltane festival. We have turned in our applications and are waiting to hear if we're accepted. Here's hoping!

I had thought about a spell to move this process along, but I made many appeals to Hestia when I started my new home search and felt it was a better idea to let that work run its course. I've been making a lot of things lately, things with spiritual significance and things without, so I decided to make one of these things in ritual.

I gathered my supplies and cast my circle around my work area. I was certain I would not finish in one night, so I programmed my circle to be permeable. Beings that meant no harm to the happenings within would be allowed to enter and leave freely (this includes myself and my cats), and beings that do mean harm would be deterred. The circle would remain until the task is complete.

Then, it was time to begin. I had a general idea of what I wanted to do, but needed some inspiration to make it a reality. I meditated with the materials before me and started working with them when I felt that I was ready to do so.

As I had prepared, I had to stop before it was done (oh, how we hate life to get in the way!), and I feel the project is successfully taking shape. I left my circle intact, to maintain the energies within when I began, and will continue this evening. I'm sorry that I cannot yet tell you what it is that I am making, though I hope my desire to do it in ritual will be apparent when that time comes.

This is, at it's core, no different than when I make a charm bag, except it is a bit more elaborate; I'm rather surprised that I never before thought of doing it. I also learned something about my creative process; something that I think I've always known, just never really admitted to. That is, I don't use patterns and generally have little more than an (often vague) idea on which to build. I suppose many great ideas grow into wondrous things from a small beginning. I create best without a plan. That was an amusing thing to learn about me.

I hope all of you had a wonderful esbat.

APPROVED!!!

Approved, approved, approved!
Approved, approved, approved!
Approved, approved, approved, approved!
Approved, approved, approved!

Which really just means that I have permission to sign a piece of paper that states I will give someone X amount of money by certain dates for a year for the use of their space.

And, it means I won't be living with my parents for very much longer. And it means that I won't be spending so much precious money on gas. And it means that I won't be spending as many hours of my life sitting in a car on a road going nowhere. And it means that I made my goal.

That's the news we like to hear!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Don't Ask Me

I've got nothing for you today. I'm too tired. Pat says I'm not going to be sleeping until I've been a couple weeks in the new place, and we don't even know if we were approved yet.

Sleeeeeeepieeeeeeee........

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Good With Deadlines

I'm good with deadlines. Great, actually. I work best when I have a deadline, in fact.

I feel like I'm never going to be ready. I have too much crap.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Working

Roomie and I turned in our paperwork and deposit. She wants to move in by the end of the month. I have a mere two weeks to get my crap in order.

Thankfully, it's not like I'm leaving an apartment and have to take everything with me. I can leave some things here for a while. I just need to make sure the essentials are with me.

I've also been downsizing. I told LDS she can have some of my Star Wars LEGO and Dot's daughter is still getting a bunch of my Barbie things. I even plan to downsize my substantial collection of dolls, but I'll be totally honest and say I don't know how well that plan will work out. The truth is, dolls make me happy. Sometimes, I'm such a girl. Part of it is artistic inspiration for my own dolls. And a good bit of my doll collection are dolls that will eventually become something unique. Most of those will probably stay here for a while.

I've had to cancel plans we everyone to get going on this. That's just the way it works sometimes. I wish I could take the next two weeks off of work, but it's just not that simple. Hopefully, I'll be far enough along next week that I can still kayak on Memorial Day. We'll see!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Have to Comment

Dear Margo answered a letter that appeared in her column on Yahoo! today. The letter was someone misreading a previous answer that she is wrong for encouraging parents to lie to their children about the existence of Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, et al. First of all, I remember that letter and the belief of such beings was never part of the question.

I used to be one of those people. I used to say I would never teach my children to believe in those beings. I don't remember being devastated about finding out that Santa was really mom and dad; I think it was something that I just realized I knew. I was talking to Monty about this some time ago, and he told me a story that made me think.

He agreed about Santa, he was one of those kids who was crushed to find out it was all a fluke, but he had proof that there was a Tooth Fairy. His father passed away when he was young. One time, while Monty was staying with his father, he lost a tooth. His father told him to put it under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy and he did, knowing full well that his father had terrible palsy and his hands never stopped violently shaking. Monty was sure, and even expecting, that he would wake up when his dad tried to put something under his pillow because he could not stop from shaking. In the morning, Monty woke to find money and no tooth, and that he did not wake up in the night. Maybe there was some ethereal being making the switch, or maybe his dad was able to still his hands to please his son when it really mattered. There's something magical at work there.

Some time after Monty told me his tale, the question again came up, I think on an online forum. Someone was talking about how she does teach her children about Santa and the Tooth Fairy, et al. and she did that because it taught them to believe in magic. It teaches children to know there are unseen forces in the world who help them and do things for them. If nothing else, it teaches them how to have faith. Even if the illusion is broken down the way, if done right, no harm is done. Do you stop watching the trick just because you know how the magician does it? Some people might, but I still like to be entertained by it.

I've changed my opinion about the those beings. I don't have any children to teach, but if it did, they would know them. They would be exposed to the magic of the Tooth Fairy, and told to have faith in Santa Clause. I would want them to believe in magic.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fullness

So, it looks like Roomie and I have five places to look at today. We were able to narrow down the thirty-nine properties that the realtor sent to a list of seven, and two of those are no longer available. I did remember my camera. I don't know when I'm going to eat dinner, though!

I've promised to work overtime, but certainly not on the weekends. Maybe someday that won't be so impossible.

I have a lot of projects going on right now. I'm currently working on a crocheted dragon to be my fire elemental; it just made more sense to me than trying to make a salamander-type creature. However, this little guy is proving quite challenging, so I have a feeling I won't make too many of them, which may mean I'll have to revisit what makes a good fire elemental. It's definitely not a simple pattern like the gnomes. As it is, he's been placed on the back burner for other things I need to get out of the way. Some of the things I'm working on that I'm not yet going to tell you about are new and I'm quite excited about them. One of the joys about new crafts is finding the history behind them too. As you might imagine, I've been in research mode for a while, and I so love to research.

One of the projects I will mention is a baby blanket for LDS. I think I forgot to tell you that she asked me to be her child's godmother. You know that old cliché: always a bridesmaid, never a bride? Well, first of all, that never applies to me because I'm not even bridesmaid material, let alone bride material, but I have a new one. Always a godmother, never a mother! But it's ok. I'll be perfectly honest that I tend to find myself quite jealous of my friends who become parents, which leads me to not liking their babies very much, but I'm not feeling that way about LDS and her parasitic bundle of joy (her adjective, not mine!). I do wish she would stop being so negative about everything, though. I gave her something today that I hope will help with that.

So much to do! And I won't be able to touch any of my projects today. I'm not upset about it, just saying!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Short Dilemma

I have a Q-Link pendant that I bought more than two years ago and have worn every day since. It's supposed to balance your personal energy, in part by disbursing the electromagnetic waves that run through your body every day in this world of computers and cell phones. It's look is distinctive, some of the pendants almost have a steam punk flair. There are skeptics, and there are people who swear by what it does for them. I must have been getting some benefit if I wore the thing for two years.

I bought mine from an authorized seller on e-Bay. At the time, it was the simplest (and most affordable) model. They made others: black, titanium, sterling silver, and even gold. I went with the snazzy white one, though I love silver and would have bought that. I wasn't so sure about the device to spend that kind of money! The seller recently offered limited edition sterling silver Q-Links at nearly half the price. I jumped at the chance to upgrade to the silver one I had wanted, and this one has a nifty Om symbol on it.

Now that I have my new Q-Link, I'm feeling a little nostalgic about the old one. I've worn it for two years, after all. I've charged it with Reiki. I've adjusted it to show when it worked with any given outfit, and to hide when it didn't. The only times I haven't worn it was while coloring my hair (and then, it wasn't that far away from me). It's nothing crazy; I don't think I'm going to drop dead if I take this off. Really, I want it to get some use still. It seems a sad end to just put it in my jewelry box because I have a new shiny one. That might be the way it has to be. But, I've asked the manufacturer and the authorized dealer if they have any ideas/suggestions/recommendations for my old Q-Link. We'll see.

I know it's a silly thing, but this pendant became a constant; it was always with me. Whether it works or not is not the point!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Because You Know You Want to Know

It is very likely that I'll be moving to Northern Virginia in a month or so. I met a young lady on my camping weekend who suddenly found herself in need of a new place to live and a new roommate. I don't even know how it came up, but she asked if I was willing, and anyone who knows me knows that I'm ready to be out of here.

She's an EMT and I think is studying further in the medical field. She currently lives a bit northwest of me. We decided that we can find a midpoint to where she needs to be everyday and where I need to be in NoVA. On the recommendation of some friends, she consulted with a realtor, who sent us some options and we're going to try to look at them later this week.

We're both about the same income-wise or, at least, in what we're willing to spend on rent. She has two cats and I have two cats; that should be interesting. We also think we can work something out so that when the mobile opportunity opens back up, I'll be able to take it. (I'm not holding my breath there, the sales lady didn't give me an eta the last time we talked.) Sure, I was hoping to avoid needing a roommate, actually I was hoping to avoid needing to rent, altogether, but it’s just not possible to do that and stay in this area where most of the things and people I love are.

Pat is exceptionally excited because I'll be closer to him and we can hang out more. I'm happy that I'll be closer to work, and not living with my parents, and living with someone who I think I will get along with famously, and not living with my parents. Did I mention that I'm happy about not living with my parents? Don't get me wrong, I'm ever so grateful for what they've done for me, but I'm starving for some clean air. Pat mentioned just the other day how extremely detached I've been lately. And he's right. The fact that the mobile didn't work out for me sent me into some of the lowest moments I've ever been in. Even now, I'm thoroughly resisting the urge to turn this into a "why do things never work out for me?" rant. Though I very well could bore you for hours with those thoughts.

This is a much-needed opportunity, and I need it to work out. I can't take another life failure. Stop there, I said I wasn't going in that direction. And I need it to work out. I need to be out on my own, to live a little, to express that I am an adult and no longer mommy and daddy's little girl, or the shield they use between each other. I still know it won't be perfect, but I see many great things happening when I leave here: living with a new friend who is on a similar spiritual wavelength as I, being closer to other friends and the opportunities that will come with that, and being further away from my parents will make my time with them more special. I'm tired of feeling like I'm sixteen and have to clear everything I do with mom and dad. It's time.

If nothing else, it's time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Smiles

I was still in bed when mom went to church this morning. As soon as she left, I jumped up (maybe not literally) got myself together and sat among a pile of yarn. In the past, I've ran out to the store to get some flowers on Mother's Day. Yes, it's last minute, but I wouldn't be able to surprise her otherwise. This morning, while I was lying in bed before she left, inspiration for an alternative to my usual quick run to the store struck.

I surly don't have a picture yet, but I crocheted mom a smiling flower with blue petals and a yellow center. I put a pin back on it, stuck it on a floral stick, and found a vase. When mom got home, she put her smiling flower on the mantle.

Mom did express some regret that she couldn't really do what she wanted today. Fox and Fae had offered "whatever she wanted to do" today, but we were stuck cooking dinner to take to my grandmother's. I know mom was frustrated with a) having to cook and b) going to my grandmother's where she always gets stuck cleaning too. My aunt and I were able to help a little (it's hard in my grandmother's small kitchen).

There was one point when my grandmother asked my mother to do something, and I could tell she was really annoyed at having been asked where my uncle, who was right in front of the thing, was not asked to do it. My grandmother relies on her eldest more than anyone and it's hard for mom not to feel overburdened with it. Hopefully, grandmom will continue to entertain the assisted living idea and relieve some of that stress. She needs more help than she admits to needing, and we just can't do it all for her.

Mom took off work for the next two days. I hope she finds some time in there to rest. She needs it. She deserves it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Better About It

Mom and I made the trek to see Aunt Betty today.

We had both expected her to be rather feeble, but she was spry and energetic as ever. She told us she had been ordered to not use her left arm (but mentioned in a sneaky tone that she does anyway) and is only a little frustrated that she can't yet put weight on her hip.

Her daughter had taken her dog to New Mexico, something we were all worried about, and we learned she made the trip just fine. Aunt Betty will be moving when she's back on her feet. We'll all be sorry to see her go, but it is for the best.

We might be getting my grandmother to entertain the idea of moving out. Her home was burglarized on Monday when she and my aunt were at a doctor's office. My grandmother has been very lucky for all the years she's lived there and never had a problem. She did get an alarm system several years ago, but it went off in the middle of the night and she stopped using it. She had a new system put in yesterday. Hopefully this one is less sensitive and she'll actually use it. I must say that I'm thankful that my aunt didn't just take the car and go somewhere because then my grandmother would have been home when they broke in. When one thing passes, something else happens.

I'm taking mom to see Iron Man. How's that for Mother's Day?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Unexpected Things

I bought some puppets on Etsy and expected them to arrive by yesterday or today. Sure enough, there they were yesterday. They're wonderful, and someday I'll have pictures. What I didn't expect was another package from a friend who lives far away.

In the nondescript envelope was an awesome pair of earrings and a truly unique matching necklace. Surprises are always so nice! Thank you, dear one.

I finished another garden gnome with a different style of hair and hat. At first, I wasn't too fond of it, but now I think it works pretty well. I'll get pictures soon. I'm hoping to finish the other two elementals before I take more pictures, though. I'm waiting for some new eyes, and I'm confident they will arrive today (or possibly tomorrow). My eye supplier is usually very quick to get orders in the mail, and she's actually not that far from me. I don't think I mentioned, this seller had a whole set of those soft crochet hooks like the one I bought a week ago. They're fabulous! And have really saved my hands.

Oh, to be home with my yarn.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Water Prompt

Between my neighborhood and the next, there is a creek. As children, we would go down there to play. Sometimes we would cut through yards, sometimes we didn't have to. The area right at the bottom of our street was the best. There was a pebbly beach and a great tree growing just to the right of it. The water was slowly eating away at the underside of this tree that created an overhang. Sometimes, we would jump from this height onto the pebbly beach on the other side of the creek. Just near that was a rounded knoll. We dug a fire pit into the earth there; thankfully, it never got out of hand.

If we followed the creek east, against its flow, we would eventually come to a deep pool at the base of a huge metal and spider-infested tunnel under the highway. The creek on the other side of this tunnel felt cleaner, the shores more grassy and soft. We explored very little of this side. Following downstream to the west took us past some bees making their home in the clay. We would sometimes take the clay and make things out of it. I once made a crude bowl that was promptly destroyed by summer rain.

In the winter, the creek would freeze over and we could walk on the ice. Some parts were not very thick, and some could support us doing our best to break it. One time, one of us misjudged the ice and fell right through it. Thankfully, the creek was not very big and we were never far from either shore.

One spring, we followed the creek further west than we ever had before. The distance wasn't that far, but to a child, it was miles away. Our beloved play ground, our narrow, safe creek suddenly opened up into a vast lake. There were bigger minnows, taller hills, several beaver dams, and on occasion, a Great Blue Heron. Us kids dubbed this lake JABSSE, using the first initial of all of us who braved the distance and found it.

I sometimes miss those waters: filled with more pollutants than a child really cares about. I miss the serenity on the knoll by the fire pit where I first learned to meditate. I miss the excitement of finding new rocks on the pebbly beaches and seeing a Heron, spooked by my presence, taking flight. Where I could get away with walking as a child would be considered trespassing now. How very unfortunate.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I Nearly Forgot

But, I didn't forget! Really, it's not very exciting. I balanced my check book, paid some bills, and bought a doll I've been eyeing.

I don't have a picture yet, but I finished the first undine (water elemental), and she's really awesome. I'm working on another gnome right now, that I might finish tomorrow.

I also bought some supplies to make another set of prayer beads. Remember the little ones I made some time ago? I learned some tricks this past weekend, and I'm finding that the hemp cord I previously used isn't quite holding up. Two of the three I made have already broken in some way. So, I'll try again with my new knowledge. I also bought some books to help me out with history and all. Fun!

I wish I had time to just sit home and craft!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Of All I Could Say

I wish peace, hope, comfort, and relief to all the people of Myanmar as their tragedy continues to build.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ritual Festival

This weekend's Beltane gathering was wonderful. I've worked a number of festivals: some were completely entertainment (like a Renaissance festival), some were glorified craft fairs, but I had never previously been to a gathering like this, where the purpose was ritual, celebration, learning, and fellowship.

We had positively perfect weather, even though the forecast was for rain on Saturday night. The temperature was perfect, and it didn't rain at all. The park we were in had several campsites, each with a number of clusters of cabins and a dining hall, bonfire pit, and infirmary. We had one such site that had four cabin clusters. I stayed with three staff members (one is a current co-worker and another a former co-worker of mine) in the infirmary. We ended up being perfectly situated in the middle of most things and closest to the dining hall where they did most of their work. It was also great because we had our own bathroom!


This is the altar for the opening ritual on Saturday morning. We cast our sacred circle to encompass the entirety of the campsite, and made it permeable so friends could enter and exit at will. Directly after, we crowned the king and queen of the May. Saturday also included the maypole dance.




I don't have any pictures of the actual dance because I was a part of it. I think one of my roomies may have a few. We got turned around once or twice, but otherwise it was one of the best coordinated maypole dances I've seen. It wasn't perfect (I've actually never seen one executed perfectly, though in theory, it's quite a sight) but we weren't there to be perfect anyway. After the maypole had been wrapped, it was left standing all weekend so people could come and get fertility blessings from the maypole. A fertility blessing applies to anything that involves creation; it could have been for a craft, starting something new, or a new life.

After the maypole dance, we held our main ritual. This involved the joining of soil from the sacred spaces of the people gathered. I provided soil from where a maple tree that was sacred to me once stood. We then mixed it together, and each participant took a cup of it and a single sunflower seed.
My workshop was after dinner. I had about eight people and a poor bird that was trapped in the building. I forgot to check if it had gotten out; I hope it did. I had written an extensive lesson that I managed to leave at home, but I did have my outline. I think I was able to talk about almost everything I wanted to talk about. I do intend to write up this lesson, and it will eventually find its way to the Arcanum (it's something I've been needing to do anyway!). I think my little class went well, and I hope those who attended agreed.
Saturday night ended with a bonfire and drum circle. A few of us without drums, including myself, spent much of that time dancing around the fire. No wonder my legs are so tired today! In the infirmary, we got to bed around 0130, which wasn't so bad considering we had to get up early to start breakfast.
My only workshop on Sunday was a mala crafting class. Mala, meaning "garter," are prayer beads. I've made a few small sets in the past of my own design and method, so I was excited to take this workshop and hopefully learn something new. I was not disappointed. In fact, it was quite wonderful, and I hope to make some more sets with my new knowledge.


The one hour time slot this workshop was allotted proved to be too little. We ended up taking almost two hours. That's really because knotting between each bead takes time when you are a beginner, but we all wanted to do it. That's some of the skill that I was really hoping to pick up with the class. I've been wearing and getting to know my mala all day today. For me, it's a comfort to have them around. The very first strand I made broke. The second one recently lost a bead. I have another (I made three that first time) that I haven't used yet, that's how recently the second one lost a bead. The mala I made yesterday is twice as long as my first sets; they're traditionally one hundred and eight beads, but can be made any length that is a multiple of nine (you will usually find fifty-four, which is what I made yesterday, or twenty-seven, which is what I had previously made).
We concluded our weekend with another ritual where we opened the circle we had cast on Saturday. It was a truly fabulous weekend.
I took off of work today so I could finish cleaning up my gear and conclude my part of the ritual. The seed needed to be planted, and I took a portion of our ritual offering (instead of cakes and ale, we had berries and tea) to offer in my own sacred space. I chose the base of the massive oak tree in my back yard to leave the offering. I planted the sunflower in a place that will get sun. I hope it grows.




The theme of this festival was "plant a seed of unity," meant to draw groups, small covens, and solitaries into a larger group: not a coven, but a community. By mixing soil and planting actual seeds, we can take the energy of the gathering and bring it to points all over the region. I've been solitary for a while, but I've also been in covens before. It's refreshing to be reminded that, even though I practice my spirituality alone, I never really am.

I would like to take this blog moment to thank Shadow Grove, the Northern Virginia Pagan Network, and MoonFire for putting on this really wonderful Beltane celebration.

Covered in Ticks

I spent the weekend with some friends at Prince William Forest Park. There were cabins and a bonfire pit and trails through the woods.


Each day was filled with quite a bit of hiking; it was a rather large area and we hardly saw any of it. There was a little creek that probably looks very neat after a good rain.


We also found a river (and I was told there was a lake, but we didn't actually find it). Somewhere, there was a waterfall. We could hear it from the fork in the river, but there was no crossing on either side for us to try to get to it.


The weather was just perfect all weekend. They had been calling for some rain on Saturday night, but there was none. It was beautiful.

I found a total of four ticks on me, and I'm still a little bug paranoid. I admit, I'm always bug paranoid. My friends kept laughing at me because I would scream in terror whenever a bug touched me. I was ok if they were just around, or even on my clothes but, if they're on my skin, I have a problem with them. Only one tick made it to my flesh, and none of them had bitten. Though, I'm still checking for ticks. If I missed any, they should be rather obvious in the next day or two. They said I reminded them of that bit from Goonies, "I like the dark, I love the dark. But I hate nature. I HATE nature!" I like nature! Just not the bugs, specifically the bugs that touch me!

My legs are really tired today!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I'm Home

It was great, but I'm way too tired to talk about it now. Maybe tomorrow!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Gone

I'll be camping this weekend. I got everything together that I need (I hope!). I'll tell you all about it later!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Nothing to Say Today Either

Work was bad. I should be packing for a camping trip this weekend.

Happy Beltane!

I hope everyone had a wonderful sabbat (and happy Samhain to my Southern Hemisphere friends!). I must admit that I thoroughly did not. I received a call from my grandmother at 0200, who was in a panic and bleeding. The family mobilized, summoned an ambulance, and took her to the hospital where we waited. After about four hours, my father and I were sent home to rest with the plan of coming back later so my mother and uncle could then get some rest. The source of the problem, we all believed, was an estrogen supplement that must be administered vaginally. Why a nearly ninety year old woman needs estrogen, and why her doctor would prescribe that kind, is beyond me. She was sent home and is mostly better, though the only good the hospital really did was to give her a much-needed IV and tell her to see the prescribing doctor as soon as possible. Needless to say, spending mornings in the ER waiting room is not the most spiritually conducive environment.

All is not lost! Beltane is one of the most widely celebrated of sabbats, second to Samhain. It is the other day when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is most thin, and therefore a great time for communing with the faeries and for divination. As seems to be traditional in this day and age, since the holiday fell on a weekday, many people plan to do their major celebrating on the weekend. This plan ends up working out quite well for me, since a May Day ritual just wasn't going to happen on my own.

I will be attending a festival called Fertile Ground that is put on by a fairly local pagan fellowship. There are a few things they're doing that I don't exactly agree with (like encouraging the wearing of Renaissance festival-type clothing. I understand why they are doing this, and it's not required, but I don't prefer it. I shall have to go into detail about this at another time) but I know it will prove to be a fabulous weekend. There will be an opening ritual, a main ritual and maypole, and a nighttime drum circle on Saturday, a closing ritual on Sunday, and a decent amount of workshops, activities, and entertainment. I will be presenting an introduction to tarot workshop that I am rather excited about. My only regret here is that they gave me a time slot opposite another workshop I wanted to take.

In anticipation of my weekend, and because my Beltane day was so stressful, I did take a small bit of time to gather some of the things I will need. I have a set of Morris dancing bells that I often use in ritual. Unfortunately my first set of bells has gone missing (probably somewhere in my packing frenzy) and I needed to make some new ones. I stopped by the craft store and bought a pack of bells and some leather cord. Using scraps of leather that I had on hand, I strung my bells onto a strip of leather as a wide bracelet or anklet. I tied six silver bells (six has numerological significance to me) to a strip of grey leather with cords in spring colors of teal and rose. I was able to finish one last night, and I'll complete the other this evening. I actually like them better than my original bells, as they were made with a kit I purchased in a craft store and these are entirely my design.

I won't actually be performing a Morris dance; these bells are mostly for ritual use. It is said that we ring bells to keep the faeries away, as the fae are quite mischievous and we don't want them causing trouble as they wander about. Beltane is known as one of the major fertility festivals, but it is also one where the country dwellers would take time away from planting their fields simply to celebrate life and acts that create it. Whether you celebrated last night or are waiting for some more free time with the weekend, I hope you had a wondrous one.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I Don't Want to Talk About Today

It started at 0200 with a call from my grandmother that I never want to get again. Everything is as fine as it can be right now, but it did not make for a fun day.

How about some pictures instead? This first one is a fuzzy shot of the bear that Miss Luna cuddled up to and the second bear I made out of a sparkly mohair. Both of these were slightly altered patterns from one of my books. Each bear took about three hours to complete.



Next, we have a magpie. It's a kind of bird, if you don't know. It's not a penguin. I put of the really fuzzy side image so you can see this little bird has a bird-like tail that a penguin does not have. This was also from one of my books; while I know I followed the pattern right, my bird looks thoroughly unlike the one in the book. I like my magpie better. He was done in about two hours.

This kokeshi-style doll is one of my favorites. She took a lot of time, maybe five or six hours. She's also quite large compared to some of the other things I've done. This was from a pattern that I bought from a seller on Etsy. I added the bow in the back myself. It just didn't look right to have a Japanese style of doll without a properly tied obi. Part of what I was hoping to learn from this pattern was some hair tricks, which leads to...


...as promised, Happy Doctor Gnome (and today ended up being a good day to think well of doctors). She took me somewhere in the three to four hour ballpark to complete. Her little doctoress's cape is fastened with a wooden bead as a button and is removable. Hair tricks from the kokeshi doll easily translated to what I was trying to get with Happy Doctor Gnome. Unlike my first gnome, her head and body were made as one piece, so she should be a bit more sturdy (not that the first gnome was floppy or unstable, I just worry that I don't sew tight enough). I am extremely pleased with her.




And here is the latest five all neatly in a row. You can see the kokeshi doll is decently bigger than Happy Doctor Gnome. I used a smaller hook for that too! I'm currently working on another project from the same pattern designer who made the kokeshi doll pattern, and I have a ton of yarn waiting for me to get a move on undines and dragons and sylphs, too.




I had mentioned to some coworkers that all the crocheting I've been doing has been very hard on my hands. Particularly because the size of the hook is written right where it is most natural to grip them, causing quite a bit of rubbing that is compounded by all the tension I put on my yarn. I splurged today and bought a "soft touch" hook. The handle is made of soft plastic and it is a lot easier on my hands than the aluminum ones I've been using. I'm afraid wood or plastic will break under the strain of the yarn. Yes, I work with it that tight. I'll need to get a few more sizes with this new kind of hook. I don't have any pictures of them, but I also made some pretty stitch counters. Maybe next time.

It's been a long, annoying day on many levels. I hope everyone has a better tomorrow than what my today was. Sweet, soft yarn dreams!