Sunday, May 31, 2009

Been A While

I still can't believe it's been more than a year since Fox and I last went riding. We got a late reservation this time, the latest we've ever been out. We got there early for our 1600 scheduled ride, but the group was fourteen people so it took time to get us all set. I believe this was also the largest group we've ridden with. There were only two guides and I think they could have used a third in the middle of the column. We had to stop a few times to let the straggler and rear guide catch up.

I rode Mango, an amazingly light-colored chestnut mare. Her mane and tail were that bright fiery red color like Renée O'Connor's hair. Mango was a fitting name. She was a mellow enough horse, but she really hated walking in the mud. She would walk next to the trail (you know, where the trees are) to avoid walking in the mud.

Fox rode Dancer, a lovely cream-colored horse with a black patch on her face and intense blue eyes. Dance was good at following Mango, and didn't seem to mind so much when Mango broke the line and picked her own way around the mud.

There were more than a few people who seemed to claim to have more riding experience than they did. Either that, or more than one horse in the column who didn't like the mud!

We've been to this stable three times previously, but this was the first time we went through water. We crossed the stream and then spent a good time walking back through the stream. It was a hot day, and the last ride of the day so the horses were tired, so I bet the walk through the water was nice. Mango didn't seem to mind the water where she hated the mud. Dancer pranced through it, splashing my back as she went.

I had so much fun yesterday and I'm so glad we got the chance to ride. I think my roommates are up for going too, so hopefully it won't be so long between rides again.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

That's Not Fair

Fox and I are going riding this afternoon. This will be my sixth ride, his eighth. The thing that isn't fair is that it's been more than a year since we last rode.

I'm glad I affirmed that, of all the things we could be doing, I really wanted to ride today! That's just too long!

Friday, May 29, 2009

If I Only Had a Brain

I support nuclear power. It's usually very safe, it's usually very clean. Sure, there's that tiny bit of a really big problem when something goes wrong, and the waste it produces needs to go somewhere, but otherwise, it's one of the most efficient and safest ways of generating valuable power.

There is a nuclear power station in Maryland, not fifty miles from my parents' house. It's innovative, it's advanced. It was the first facility to be granted an extension on their operation license since the disaster at Three Mile Island in '79.

Apparently some genius in the company that owns the plant at Calvert Cliffs decided to make use of the vast, secured, forested land that is part of the grounds of the facility by opening - wait for it - a firing range. Firing. As in guns. With bullets. WTF with me in 3... 2... WTF?!?!?!?!

The Washington Post reported yesterday that five bullets were shot in the direction of the plant, which each hit a few buildings and someone's car. The article said that people "usually shoot away from the plant" but for some reason someone was...pointing the wrong way? Wait, what??

Granted, it would take a lot of bullets traveling through quite a few obstacles to be a problem for the reactors, but come on! What idiot thought that would be a good idea?! Seriously, just the potential for "oops" should be enough to make anyone with two neurons to rub together in their grey matter think it was a bad idea.

People. Really.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A New Blog

Like I need another.

I'm finding myself in a very difficult situation, dear blog readers. I've started a new blog for it. It's enough that it must go in its own place, to help catalogue this leg of my life journey. And I need it to be separate from here.

It's been on my mind a lot lately, and I feel there is no outlet other than this.

I tell you about it with one request if you should go to look at it, and you must remember this always and in your dealings with all people: Please don't judge me by the actions of my friends.

I will do the same.

http://shackledlife.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nostalgia

In my bedroom at my parents' house (and if I were there, I'd be holding it now) is a small blue plastic bookmark with an owl on it. It's one of the kind that is like a money clip, meant to clip a section of pages. I don't think I ever actually used it as a bookmark, but it was a treasure. I found it in a Cracker Jack box.

Who remembers with me when Cracker Jack prizes were neat or fun little toys? I mean, I like baseball as much as the next fan of a perpetually losing team (I shouldn't say that, there was a game-winning grand slam on Sunday, after all), and I understand that baseball and Cracker Jacks are forever entwined, but I remember when Cracker Jack prizes were good.

Now, they're pieces of paper. Sure, there were pieces of paper before (baseball cards, anyone?), but there were also durable, plastic toys that could actually serve a fun purpose. I still have that bookmark, more than twenty years later, it was the best Cracker Jack prize I ever got. Now, I get a glossy piece of paper with a team logo on it. Whoop-de-friggin-do.

I lament that they stopped putting plastic rings in Cracker Jack boxes long before I ever found one. Even now, every now and then, I'll buy a three-pack of Cracker Jacks and hope they've gone back to actually putting toys in the boxes like they used to. They haven't. The Cracker Jack, while still yummy, has lost the magic that many urban legends are built upon. Children today will never know the joy of opening that little package and finding something wonderful, like a blue plastic bookmark with an owl on it. Or a plastic ring. And they won't understand the pop culture references that haven't died down even though such things are no such things anymore. Sad times.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Early

I left work early because I'm still feeling crappy. I had a nice nap, some meaty dinner, a glass of cough-syrup flavored brandy and some unicorn fart tequila.

I better sleep well tonight.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial

I live my life the way I want to because there are people whose names I will never know and who don't know mine who work, and die, to give me that right. It is a debt I could never repay.

With thoughts, I bless them.

With love, I keep them.

With living, I honor them.

To all who serve, have served, or will serve, like my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather: be bold, be true, be blessed. Know you have my love.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Too Much

I met my mother for brunch this morning. We went to this lovely little place that looks like a hole in the wall but serves the best Irish food this side of the Atlantic. It was great, just as it always is. And more food in one sitting than I've had in the past three days.

I'm feeling amazingly better. There's still some fluid in my head that shouldn't be there, but I'm better. A stomach full of soda bread and shepherd's pie didn't quite help, though.

It's ok. I was all better after a two hour nap. We're going to kayak tomorrow. I'll take it easy. I promise.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Many Things

There are so many things going through my mind right now. I'm too sick to repeat them anywhere near concisely.

If I can get all my work done, I only have to be here until 12:30. I hope I can. I want to sleep.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's All About Sleep

I think I'm getting a cold. I can feel it in my throat, in my head. I think it has to do with the amount of sleep I have not gotten in the past week.

I hope this last hour of work goes by quickly. I will go home and go to bed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just Busy

Working on a birthday present for Monty. It won't be done in time for his birthday, but I know he'll appreciate it anyway.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Open for Business

I'm so excited, and I've been working so hard for months.

MY ETSY STORE IS OPEN!!

You can find me at http://fyrecreek.etsy.com, or check out the link to the right.

More items will be added soon. Right now, I just have to go to bed!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Assumptions

While I was visiting Monty on Saturday, his mother stopped by. She's an interesting individual to say the least. Through her visit, she mentioned that she and her husband wanted to see the new Star Trek movie and invited Monty's father-in-law to come along. I told them that I had seen it, and that if they liked the original Star Trek, the movie would not disappoint.

Monty's mom replied with a snitty, "the original was in the 1960's."

Um, yes, I know this. Just because I wasn't alive when they first aired doesn't mean that I didn't spend quality time with reruns.

I seem to often run into this problem with older people assuming I know nothing about things that are older than me. I remember standing in line at a store once singing along to Don McLean's American Pie that played over the store radio (this was before Madonna's crappy version, if you might think I knew it from that). At the end of the song, the older gentleman in line behind me said, "you're not old enough to know that song!" I smiled and told him my father raised me right.

Sure, there are some things that maybe a younger generation would not know. For example, Sunflyr and I had to explain what "Beta" was to Phoenix once (and why a Betta fish named Rewind was funny). Technology is one of those things that a younger person may not be exposed to. But, when we're talking about what is essentially permanent media (like an old TV show, movie, or song - especially in this Internet-age where you can find almost anything) there is no reason to assume that a younger person could never have been exposed to it. That's why most people know the theme to Gilligan's Island.

In the interest of diplomacy, I chose not to reply to Monty's mom's assumption. I was just a little bit insulted. I'm sure she took my silence to mean I was surprised that TNG was not the original Star Trek.

This is what happens when one assumes.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Skip Some Chores

I ended up staying over at Monty's, though I hadn't planned on it, because it was just too late by the time our last movie was done and heading out for my hour drive home would not have been wise.

The first order of the day when I got home was a nap! I had quite a lot to do, but the laundry is all that really got done as far as my housework. That's ok, vacuuming and the other things can happen tomorrow.

I did manage to finish editing all of the product photos I took the other day. That took a while! They're not perfect (as in perfectly uniform in size) but I'm sure they'll showcase my critters well enough. The next batch of photos will be a little better.

With this part done, that means that I'll be able to open shop this week. Exciting!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Stamina

I was out with friends until the wee hours of this morning. That translates to being awake for twenty-three hours. It's been a long time since I've done anything near that. That also equated to four hours of sleep. Oy!

But, I'll be off in a few minutes to visit Monty. We have many movies in the plan for the day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dreams of Waves

I was in a bungalow, the single large room had no roof but what extended a good ten feet from the surrounding pentagonal walls. Phoenix and Sunflyr were there, and our friend Crimson. I'm not sure why Crimson made his way into my dream, but it was him. In a long black skirt. He owned the bungalow. Dream knowledge told me his wife was at work.

In the center of the room was a mound of earth in a spiral design like the Glastonbury Tor. Great roots were tangled about it and the source of them was in the middle: a thick tree that towered into the sky. We walked the spiral of the hill. At one point, I did not go higher, because the earth looked unstable and I thought it would collapse and I would damage it. Still, we were high enough that we could see over the roof to the beach that was just a few feet away. The waves gently crashed. We went to bed for the night, under the protection of the roof part of the home.

I awoke to the loud sounds of crashing waves. Out the window, I could see Sunflyr standing on the beach as the waves broke just before him on the sand. The sunrise sky was a deep blue color with glowing orange and red clouds. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen. Crimson was standing on the mound, watching the waves. The water crashed loudly against the wall behind me, splashing the windows. Phoenix smiled and said "it's not supposed to do that."

I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of the waves, loud in my ears, and found sleep again.

There's a funny part to this. My alarm clock wakes me with nature sounds; the sound of a summer night, a babbling brook, ocean waves, a cascading waterfall, or a gathering storm. I change the sound every night when I turn the alarm on, so I'm not waking to the same sounds two days in a row. I've written the soothing sounds of my alarm into my dreams before. At the end of this dream, when my dreamself was going back to sleep, I woke up. The sound of the ocean was still in my mind, as clear as if I had spent hours on a windy shore. The alarm was not going off, I had woken up before it was set to do so. I let the sound from the dream lull me back to sleep, thinking it would be funny if the ocean was my alarm for the day and hoping I would wake up anyway if it was. It wasn't, it was the summer night sounds. And I heard the sounds of a thunderstorm coming from my roommates' room. There were no ocean sounds to be heard. But I heard them.

As clear as if I had spent hours on a windy shore.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bike to Work Day Tomorrow

I really wanted to do this. I wanted to meet up with a group of coworkers and learn the bike route that they take, because they start very close to my home. I was looking forward to this when I moved and learned where they started. Alas, it is not to be this year.

For one, I still haven't picked up my bike from my parents' garage (and I need a few more accessories before attempting the 10-ish mile ride). Lack of bike notwithstanding, the other reason is that I'm not allowed to take any PTO right now because I'm filling in for someone who is not here. This means that I couldn't bike with the group because I need to be in the office at 0700, and they were planning to get here at 0800. I couldn't get permission to come in late tomorrow.

Fiddles!

But, the gent who coordinates said he would ride in with me one day so I can learn the route, and then I might start riding to work regularly in the spring and summer, when it's light enough outside to be leaving before 0600. Doesn't that sound like fun?!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What is Responsibility?

I was doing some light research today on a healing technique that I heard about years ago. I'm not here to go into this method, but to contemplate this information paraphrased from Dr Ihaleakala Hew Len: Joe Vitale writes, "total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life - simply because it is in your life - is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world is your creation."

While this is a huge concept to grasp, it is relatively simple. My faith reminds me that my thoughts manifest my reality. In one sense, if I am angry, I feel it not just in my mind, but in my body. If I don't want my body to feel the tight fists, gritted teeth, narrow eyes, and nerves shaking, I need to not be angry. No one makes me angry, you see, that is my own response. No one tells me how I feel, I react. You may say I can't control what someone does to me, but the truth is that only I can. That's my responsibility and no one controls it but me. Nothing outside makes me think or do or say.

If I am responsible for my life, it includes all of my life. My job is a part of my life, as is my home, my cat, my roommate, my parents. While it is true that the people in my life are responsible for themselves, I too am responsible for them, because I control my life.

You may have heard people say that we are caretakers of our planet. We are, it is our responsibility as it is a part of each and every one of our respective lives.

I do have responsibility to every thing in my life. I can see how I am responsible for every thing in my life too. This is to a point, of course. My responsibility does not give me the right to impose upon the free will of another. In fact, not doing that is part of my responsibility. If I am caretaker to everything in my life, I can only control my thoughts, feelings, and actions towards them. This is where my thoughts manifest. If they manifest anger towards someone, anger is what they will be. Some anger is necessary, I am only human, but holding on to it is not. It's important to allow it to pass as it should, and manifest love in its place.

That is my responsibility.

I must admit that work got too busy for me to think on this as deeply as I want. I'll ponder more as I go.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Working

I took a ton of pictures of all my current inventory except malas today. I'm exhausted! And I still need to go through those 178 images and edit. Fun fun. That might be tomorrow....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trekkin Across the Universe

My mother and I went to see the new Star Trek movie on Saturday. I knew very little about it, so wasn't sure what to expect. That was probably best.

There was not a single dull moment. There were parts that made the audience collectively laugh (especially when characters said some catch phrases we have grown to know and love) and sit wide-eyed and silently gasping at what was going on. I love films that make the audience react.

The music was great, but don't expect the familiar notes of the theme song until the end. I think every new actor playing a character that we all knew did a superb job. It felt like they stayed true to what fans were expecting of them, while still showing different sides. It was wonderful.

If you're a Star Trek fan, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Moms Moms Everywhere

Happy Mother's Day, to all moms, godmoms, dog and kitty moms, moms-to-be, and moms who wish to be.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Beltane 2009 Part II

While I only got to stay for half of the time of Fertile Ground Gathering because of family obligations, it was still a magickal experience. The wonderful setting of Prince William State Forest is transformed into a special place between worlds. You feel that when you enter.

I must admit that I suffered from yucky heat exhaustion on the opening day of FGG, despite my best efforts to drink lots of water. The weather was deceptive; it felt cool, especially when the thunderstorms came through, but was still quite warm and we worked hard to get everything set up. After being unable to eat even bread, my roommate took me home to sleep in the cool softness of my own bed. I must admit that my bed had never felt as soft and inviting as it did that night.

Friday morning was very different. I had recovered well from the previous day and returned to FGG with energy and appetite. My morning tarot class went very well. I did not participate in the opening ritual, but observed and lent my energy from across the field so I could stay on the radio in case someone needed something. I did get the opportunity to participate in the Object Alchemy workshop presented by the proprietors of Fairy Woodland, and I'm beyond happy that I did. It was an experience like no other.

After a late massage from one gifted healer and a little time around the bonfire, it was time to head home. It truly felt like I was leaving a place where I belonged. The witches, Druids, Shamans, and Healers danced and drummed in the night and kept the energy going for the rest of the weekend. It's amazing to reflect on how this group of people, from far and wide and on different points of different paths, could so effortlessly create a truly sacred space where they can dance, teach, learn, and just be. It was safety. It was peace. It was joy. It was fellowship.

I hope it is not too soon to look forward to next year.

The Full Elf Moon

It's fitting in more ways than one that I spent this Esbat at Fertile Ground Gathering. Sure, we were celebrating Beltane a week late (the mundane world known as "park availability" got in the way, it will next year too) but we had some incredibly wonderful guests, including the unbelievably special John and Bridget from Fairy Woodland. Their presence, wisdom, and teachings were the most fitting for this Esbat than any other reason.

The Elf Moon is a time to communicate with the Fey. Many of them travel around the time of Beltane, and you can see them moving across the ley if you know where and how to look. One of John and Bridget's workshops taught us how to make a window for that purpose. Participants came away with their window and some special sand collected from a variety of places that provided the foundation of our windows, as it is the foundation of life. Two days prior, John gave me a stone that he had found on his walk. It appears to be quartz or calcite or a mixing of both and has been in my pocket since. I can't even begin to repeat the stories I'm hearing.

I learned much from them. Much about noticing the world. I always thought I was rather good at that, but it's truly amazing the things I've missed.

The order of the day did not have room for a ritual and no particular spells were needed. Instead, I spent the day (among my duties to Fertile Ground Gathering staff and patrons) listening, letting the Fey speak to me, hearing their songs as they calmed my fears and helped me open my eyes as my mind and heart were already opened. I left an offering of sweet fondant before retiring for the night.

I hope this Esbat found all of you, gentle readers, happy and willing to listen when the Fey have something to tell you.

And Then Home

There are still two more days to the festival but, because it's Mother's Day weekend and because my aunt is visiting from Utah, I could not commit to the entire weekend. Today and tomorrow need to be spent with family.

Mom and I were planning on kayaking, but the forecast is calling for rain. We'll probably see Star Trek instead.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Deceptive

In the heat of the afternoon, a handful of us scrambled to pitch shade canopies. The slight breeze made it feel somewhat cool, but I developed a headache by lunchtime. Come dinner, with the smell of food making me nauseous and not being able to hold down three or four bites of bread, Phoenix made me take a nap while occasionally nursing a mug of Gatorade.

I still felt sick by the evening, so she took me home where I could clean up in a tick-free shower and rest in the cool comfort of my own bed after eating a bland bowl of grits.

I've suffered from heat exhaustion before, but it had never been as bad as it was yesterday. I thought I had been drinking enough, but I guess not. I must say, my bed has never been so comfortable.

It's time to head back. I'll be sure to keep my water even closer. I am feeling much better, and quite well-rested. Though, it would have been nice to get a few more hours of sleep!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

In a Few Hours

We have until 1500 or so to get everything set up. This will be a busy weekend!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Let the Busy Begin

I'm working a few days at a festival this weekend. Today will be spent with major festival prep: site checking, supply gathering, van loading. Major prep!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fun Times

It's not only Cinco de Mayo, it's National Cartoonist's Day! Huzzah!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

I Finished

Yay! I finished what I was making! Expect pictures eventually.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Beltane 2009 part 1

The happiest of Happy Beltanes to you!

I must admit that I planned nothing for this Sabbat, as I will be celebrating next weekend at Fertile Ground Gathering. I've found that sometimes things present themselves.

Beltane is a fire festival and a major fertility festival. It is the other day, next to Samhain, where the veil between the worlds of the living and the spirits is thinnest. It is said that the Fae travel on this day, many looking for new residences. It is a good time for any kind of divination. With the veil being thin, insights from the spirit realm come through more clear.

A few months ago, I found an amazing artist who makes the most wondrous fairy houses I've ever seen. I ordered one a week ago, and - wouldn't you know? - it arrived yesterday morning!

In celebration of Beltane and the travels of the Fae, I did a simple meditation and welcoming ritual. I placed my new house away from the cats, cast my circle and set an offering of milk and honey. I've been collecting things: a tiny snail shell, a few quartz pieces, and a crystal point to put in my house as gifts for the fairies, so I placed them inside as well. I sat before the house and meditated welcoming the Fae to stay as long as they will.

It was a perfect way to celebrate Beltane and welcome the blessings of the fairies into my home, where they've always been welcome, but now they have a cozy, cat-safe place to stay.

And Sew And Sew

I'm busy making something. Wish me luck, I have a deadline!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Fabric Fabric Everywhere

I know I've been saying my shop will open soon™ for a few months. I was hoping March, then I needed some supplies. I was hoping April, then I needed some more information for something. I am now hoping May, and likely when the last of my supplies comes in, I’ll be all set. Soon, I say again, soon!!

However, today I did a little bit of purchasing of things I have no idea what I'm going to do with them. It's mostly fabric, I'm getting half a yard of a print with mushrooms and pigs (how perfect is that?!), some mushrooms on ribbon, and I even found a full yard of gnome print fabric. I'm so excited!

The crazy thing is, since I really started diving in to piles of my little crocheted critters, they've just consumed everything. Things with gnomes and mushrooms and pigs catch my eye everywhere. And when I find them, I have to have them. I think Moon had a similar experience with her bunnies. What a strange world!

So, now, I've got some boxes that need to get here, a few things to make, and good pictures to take. I'm as almost ready as almost ready can be!