Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Sights of Reston

I got home at a good-enough time to go hiking, but Phoenix was still in bed for about another hour. Instead of hiking, we spent the day resting. in the evening, we found Trader Joe's and got some groceries (and my magnetic personality attracted some strange old guy who thought I was an expert on cat food because I was wearing an American Humane Society member t-shirt), and then took a nice long walk. The last time we walked around the community, we went through a nearby park and some nice town homes. This time, we went in the other direction, where we knew there was a nature center. We did not get to the nature center building, but we did find their trail network. Along one of the chosen paths was a quartz vein. According to the information plaque, there are quite a few in the area. Both Phoenix and I wondered if that had something to do with why we liked it there so much. We also found that the trails lead right to the town home development that's adjacent to our condo complex. Easy access to trails! Huzzah!

Next time we walk that way, we're bringing cameras. I especially want some pictures of the huge boulders of quartz that are protruding from the ground. (Huge is relative, I've certainly seen bigger boulders, but I've never seen bigger chunks of quartz, not even at the Smithsonian.) We also made our way to one of the many lakes in the community by way of those trails. I hope we can go exploring back there again soon.

Tomorrow's plans to go hiking have changed. Han got in touch with me last minute to say the little group that went to King's Dominion last year would be going again tomorrow. While it meant cancelling plans with Phoenix, she was very encouraging about it. We'll get a chance to go hiking before her Idaho trip and break-in her new hiking boots later. Han is going to drive all the way out here to get me in the morning, so I better start packing up and get to bed!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

It Did Not Rain

All of you people who wanted to go to the Maryland Renaissance Festival today but did not because you were afraid of the rain really missed out. It was gorgeous! It didn't rain on us at all. It wasn't too hot and there was a nice breeze.

Beautiful weather should have translated to a great big turn-out, especially on a holiday weekend like this. But, all because the weather reports were calling for rain, and some areas did get rain, people didn't come. Nothing keeps crowds, and therefore sales, and therefore how much money I make, down like the threat of rain. I hope the rest of the weekend will make up for it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Prelude to a Weekend

Phoenix and I have been pretty good about working out every day, though we both worked so hard yesterday it's just not going to happen today. That's ok, the weekend proves to be busy.

I had a record boring day at work. No jobs for the project I've been working all month came in, and only a small handful of them could actually be completed. Very few of my regular jobs came in as well. When Adolf came by at 1400 to see how things were looking and how much more work I had to do, I said I'd been twiddling my thumbs for ten minutes. In truth, it was more like two hours. I got the all clear to leave then. I took a nice nap, and now I think it's time for dinner.

Tomorrow, I have work at the Faire. On Sunday, Phoenix and I plan to go hiking if I get home soon enough, or we'll do that on Monday.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Message to Fox

Thanks for the whistles, I really think they work!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blue Ridge

While driving back from work and a quick stop at the store, I noticed something. On a stretch of road that I only drive when I run by the store after work, there was one little place where the trees broke and the blue silhouette of the mountains was clearly visible. I suppose it's about conditions being just right: the day being clear and humidity down, but I'm very glad they were right today.

I love those mountains, their quiet stillness and peaks rounded with age. And I love how they make their presence known even in places where I think I'm too far away, or there is too much in the way, to see them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Waking in Shards

My very bad cat made a very big mess.

At just about 0300, Miss Luna decided she wanted me to be awake, so she tried to take the place of my alarm clock by knocking it off the night table. For about an hour and a half, I fought with her on this. At around 0430, I was wishing she would just lay down next to the dragons, like she usually did when she was hungry and wanted breakfast. I got my wish.

Now, I have a small electric light on that dresser. It's one of those candle-looking lamps that people put in their windows during Christmas time. Mine has a little shade on it. Miss Luna knocks this thing off all the time. Since I brought it, I've been telling myself that I need to tack it down because eventually she's going to knock it off the dresser and the bulb is going to break. When I picked it up last night, I didn't put the shade back on.

When Miss Luna jumped up, she knocked it off, as usual. It hit the bed just right, breaking the candle part clean off and shattering the light bulb all over me, who would otherwise have been sleeping soundly in bed. I grumbled, turned on a light, and started cleaning up. I was picking large and small bits of glass from the floor, my slippers, my shoes, the mattress, my pillow, my hair. I never knew a tiny little light bulb could break into so many annoying, taunting pieces of glass. There was no going back to bed, so I just got ready for work with intent to wash my sheets when I got home.

I've a few tiny cuts on my fingers and I think I spent the day with a little piece of glass or glass dust in my eye. You can squirm, I'll wait.

I just dowsed my eyeball with tons of stinging water and I hope that will do. In fact, I think I'll go do that again. At least I know enough not to rub.

That little black cat is a terror! But a cute and fuzzy terror. And I'll look for a much heavier lamp to put there.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I wish I had my hot water bottle, because I think it would help.

I didn't sleep very well last night, which made no sense because I was exhausted. My body just wouldn't settle down. Today, one of the muscles in my left thigh has been twitching like crazy. It's not painful, just funky, and it's been that way for a few hours. Maybe I should drink some water.

I've been spending much of the recent days at work filling myself with coffee. I've only had one cup today, and I'll have tea if I want more. That's got to be better for me.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Uncooperative Project

I woke up pretty late this morning (comparatively speaking), and threw some laundry in the wash, emptied the dishwasher, and went through my fabric. I have a tone of this gorgeous plush velvet, and that's inspired me to do another doll. The velvet reminds me of a nice warm cloak, so I want to do a winter doll (which will probably translate into all four seasons). Unfortunately, I only have black, green, and burgundy in this velvet; I really wish I had some blue. That would make it perfect.

In any event, I went through my fabric. I probably won't end up using the plush velvet at all, but I do have a nice white crushed velvet that will make a fine winter cloak too.

The base dolls that I've been able to find lately have all had this super-annoying glittery make-up. It's really really hard to get glitter paint off a doll and, while I was working, the black eyelashes smudged into one of the doll's eyes. That means the entire eye will have to come off. I tend to do partial repaints, that is, painting over the factory paint where I can because it makes the finished paint job much more symmetrical than if I did the whole thing free-hand. What's extra annoying about this is that the other eye did not get smudged with black and did not have to be completely removed. So, I have two options. I can re-paint the removed eye using the factory paint eye as a guide, then remove that and re-paint that one. Or, I can scrap the winter doll and turn this one into a pirate. Phoenix and one of my coworkers both suggested the latter.

I've done a complete re-paint before, on one of the dolls that I don't have pictures for yet, but I just don't prefer it. Maybe I'll give it a try and if it doesn't work, I'll go with the pirate idea. I've seen some people do truly horrible full re-paints on their dolls. I refuse to produce anything like that. Whatever ends up happening, it will work out just fine, even if plans have to change a bit.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tolls Again

While I thought I drank enough, and I'm sure I ate enough, I did not escape a little bit of heat exhaustion. Neither did Phoenix, but it hit her sooner and she recovered before the end of the day.

By the end of the day, I felt quite ill. We made a quick trip to the house, fed and shot the Callie-cat, de-corseted, downed an Excedrin; and then Phoenix drove us home, I just couldn't do it. We could have stayed at my parent's place, but if one of us had the energy to drive home, why not do it? It's always better to be in your own bed. While both places have a bed for me, I understand why Phoenix wanted to be home.

Halfway here, I started feeling better. Maybe it was the pill, or the rest, or the cool dark night. I'm actually working next week. I'll be sure to be more careful.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Overtime is taking its toll, and I knew it would. I'm too tired to work out today. I bought a couple more dolls for some projects I have planned, and I hope to get started on Sunday.

I didn't win The Dreamer fan art contest, but that's quite alright. It was really an excuse to answer my muse, and that inspiration has yet to die out.

Tomorrow, Phoenix and I will head to the first day of the Maryland Renaissance Festival. It should be fun, and maybe even not too hot.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Spirit Dolls

Well, here we are!

The thing I had made for Phoenix's birthday was a phoenix: a Spirit Doll.

Spirit Dolls come from Native American traditions; I've found most evidence of them in some Inuit ways. In the simplest form, they are dolls that embody some quality or ability that a person wants to bring into themselves. They can be made of any material, and are often decorated or stuffed with things that aid whatever quality or ability they represent.

The phoenix was the third spirit doll I have made, and I have plans for many more. Mine are made out of fabric, embellished with anything from yarn to feathers, and decorated with gemstones, crystals, certain wood. They are stuffed with herbs, leaves, and polyfil.

Check out the Spirit Dolls page in the Meet My Dolls section of my website to have a look at my Spirit Dolls. More will come! That's one of the things I've been doing with this overflow of creative energy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy and Not

TG's last day at OBC was today. I'm going to miss her terribly. She's been a coworker, and a coffee buddy, and a friend. It's not like I'll never see her, of course, she introduced me to snowboarding, after all, but I'm going to miss meeting for coffee every morning.

She'd going to work for a big phone company, and I'm really happy for her. She'll be making more money and doing a similar job, which she is already quite good at doing. I'm happy for her, it's a good move.

Dad and I took her out for an after work drink (as in, milkshake!). It was nice to get out, and let her know she'll be missed. I gave her a mala made with blue lace agate, howlite, and sodalite. She said people were commenting on it all day. I hope it offers her some calm as she starts her new position.

I'm going to miss her.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My New Friend

Happy Birthday, Phoenix!

You're the awesomest roommate ever!

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Inspiration

Before you ask: yes, I finished Phoenix's gift, and no, you can't see it yet.

Since I did that doll for the contest (which ended today, I don't know how long 'judging' will take), I've been wanting to do more dolls. Dolls like I used to do when I first started, that took almost a solid day to complete. I have some wonderful plush velvet stuff and I've been thinking of a warm winter cloak. Maybe it's too early to think winter. Maybe I should do the seasons in dolls. That might be neat. I need to do some base doll hunting.

On my drive home this afternoon, I passed a squirrel on the road. It was fully alive, rolling around in agony, and must have been utterly terrified. My heart broke, and I spent the rest of the drive praying for the poor creature's swift release from pain. An image came to mind then: I saw a handsome man and lovely lady sitting before an old oak tree with the squirrel climbing over them, chattering, and they were laughing. Somehow, I knew all would be well. As well as it could be.

A part of me wants to create that very peaceful place too.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Because I Have the Know

That title makes no sense, even to me.

I had to head home today, even though I would much rather have stayed in bed. Mom is getting some new flooring and needed me to clear out the Star Wars Lego, and has been begging me to do something with the elliptical machine. I wanted to take it apart so I can get it up the condo stairs, but we can't seem to find the instructions. But, we did find the tools!

I armed myself with my new camera and started on the right side. I removed a part, replaced the bolt (dad was impressed) and took a picture. Unscrew, rescrew, repeat. I was able to break the machine down to nice, car-sized pieces and the beautiful Phoenix was there to help me lug the thing (even in parts) up the stairs. I put it back together without the photo record at all. Yay! I've got my machine! I'm very happy about this.

Now, I think I'll flop on the bed and die or something. So tired still, and I so don't want to work tomorrow.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Tired isn't the right word. I slept until 1000ish and then got right to work on Phoenix's gift. I did some cleaning, and longed for a nap that I didn't take.

Phoenix and I went shopping! She wanted to go to the bookstore, and I bought her a pre-birthday dinner too. Then she looked at some clothes, and we came home for a little Wii action.

A gratifying lazy day. I'm still so tired, we didn't get in until around 0200 this morning.

The Sturgeon Moon

The name most commonly associated with this moon is the Sturgeon. This large, bony fish seems to be abundant during this time, and that is how the moon got this name. Some other tribes call it the Full Red Moon, for the red hue upon rising. There are also some harvest references as the Green Corn Moon or the Grain moon.

Once again, my roommate and I were unable to hold a re-dedicating charm bag ritual together. Instead, something came up that I had to work on.

An old and dear friend of mine has gotten in trouble with the law. He has not clearly confirmed or denied to me if he actually did what they are accusing him of doing. This is troubling, because the charges against him are horrendous and unforgivable, and he speaks as if conviction and imprisonment are certainties. While he has yet to be tried (and, I think formally charged) he is currently living with his in-laws under house arrest. And, apparently I am the only person other than those he must live with who has not cut him off since the trouble started. Even his wife only sees him when she brings the children by for a visit. If it turns out to be true, I'm honestly not sure if I will be the only person anymore. He asked me for some work on his behalf.

The spell I worked had several parts. I lit a white candle for peace. I then took a cord of natural cotton fiber in white and filled myself with my purpose and need. I tied a knot for my friend to bind his fears and frustration, and give him strength. I tied a knot for his family and the other people he cares about, that they may also be given the strength to do what is right in their hearts. I tied a knot for myself that I may continue to be the voice of reason that he needs and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable if it proves to be true. I tied a knot for the truth, whatever it may be. I tied a knot for the people who may have been hurt by him, in this matter and all others. I tied a knot for those who love him to help them remember why they do even in the face of this ordeal. I tied three knots for each of his children, to bring them calm and peace as they are hurting the most from this right now. I looped the cord and tied it together, to bind everyone in hope that justice will be served, whether it is for the good or ill of my friend. When the candle had burnt down, I buried the stub and the cord in the woods behind my complex, so the Great Mother can send those energies to their purpose.

I must trust that justice will win out, whatever the truth may be. All I can do is wish my friend has the strength and courage to face it, whether it is a crime he really committed, or picking up the pieces of his life when the ordeal has past. I must believe in justice.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Double Party

My roommate, hereafter called Phoenix, and don't ask me why I didn't just start that way, and one of our other friends have birthdays around now. The ministry that I've been working with is throwing them a party this evening. It should be fun! I haven't finished Phoenix's gift, but I've got something for our other friend. I'll see Phoenix on her actual birthday - because I live with her! - and it will be done by then.

This will be a late night, though. It always is when this group gets together.

Sunrising, I don't know when your actual birthday is, so


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Time for

Work, work, and work.

I knew this would be hard. It's hard. My paycheck will be worth it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

There and Gone

When I was at work, I knew exactly what I was going to write about today. Now that I'm here, I just can't remember it.

I've been busy working on a project all evening, so let's just say I'm in the crafty mood and not the blogging mood and leave it at that!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Switch Arms

I finally remembered the Wii, and my mother had found a Fit that she "gave" us (until I can find one to replace it, or she gets her own Wii). Roomie and I set it up Sunday night, and the Fit yesterday. It's fun! I need to bowl with my left arm every now and then, I think, though. I'm starting to feel a little uneven in soreness.

The week is busy. This is about all I have time for today!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Momentous Celebrating

In honor of the five and a half percent raise I got with my annual review at work, and in honor of being able to fit into my favorite pair of jeans again (deal with this occasion with me for a moment!), I bought a much needed new camera! Yesterday's pictures were taken with it. I love it. And it's green, one of my favorite colors!

So, here are some kitties for your delight.

Miss Luna, on my bed next to the TV cow.

Dréa looking into my room. What's that in the corner?

Roscoe under the chair, wondering when his mamma is getting home.

And sweet little Callie, who is so much smaller than she used to be, anxiously watching my dad prepare her evening meal.

I love my new camera!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stuck Between a Rock and a Rock and a Rock

Fox, Fae, mom, dad, and I did something new. We put in at one landing and went all the way south to the next landing. Because of very sore hands, I used my foot pedals most of the way. At the end, there was a lot of swamp grass that we had to paddle through. It was not easy, and it was very funny!

We stopped for lunch at a little marsh that we couldn't get to because of the rocks. It was a little hard to avoid the (very slow) current of the river either, so we all just wedged ourselves against the shore, trees, each other, and rock to take our little break. As my title suggests, there was one point where I had a rock at my bow, one at my stern, and one to starboard. I'm not quite sure how I did that!

I'm pretty sore. That was a bit more than a three hour paddle with no standing up. I hope we can do it again. Maybe when the swamp grass isn't going to eat us!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Quick Run

Roomie is at home (Philly) this weekend so I have to stay close to home to feed the cats. Today involved a run to Annapolis to get my Renaissance Festival employee pass, and I finally remembered to bring the Wii from the house (and my clay and my soap, that I've been wanting). Mom and I hit Trader Joe's while I was there

I got home today, took a shower, put my crap away, started some laundry, ate dinner, and cleaned the kitchen. And here we are!

I was planning on spending all day tomorrow working on a birthday present I'm making for a dear friend, but my parents have a dilemma that I think I will have to help them with. See, they're going kayaking tomorrow, but I'm the one with the rack on the car. Dad wanted to perform surgery to transfer the rack from my car to his because he didn't order the fit kit a week ago like he should have. We measured mom's CRV and found it is not big enough for her kayak (and she doesn't really want a river-wet kayak in her nice clean truck). The solution? That's right, head home again so I can join them kayaking.

We're planning on putting in at Queen Anne, where we often go, and following the river all the way south to Hill's Bridge. This appears to be about six miles on the river. (For the record, Mattaponi Creek, that we love to paddle so much, is about a four mile paddle to the end and back.) We'll be going downriver, though, and leave a car at Hills Bridge to shuttle us back. Should be fun!

Maybe I can do a little work on my project before I call it a night.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Almost Anticipated

Last night's lecture was, well, interesting. The lady had a spiritual epiphany a couple years ago and now wonders the world as a gypsy, teaching what she has discovered to groups and clients. She had quite a few good points, and quite a few loopy points. I'm glad I made the decision to go, even though it was during the week when I normally don't risk it.

Risk staying up past my bedtime and things turning into a really hard day at work, that is.

I've been a lot better about that since moving closer to work.

I love this group of wonderful, caring people at the ministry. They listen to each other, the talk about things that bother them, and they gather to celebrate everything from a holiday to a birthday to a new job. My roommate is a member of this group as well. It was at one of their functions in May that we met. For some reason, it doesn't strike me as odd that we ended up renting a place together in less than a month of that meeting.

In any event, I am not well enough acquainted with this group to know that any time we gather means hours into the night being together in fellowship. Yesterday was no different. While I had hoped it would not be so late, I'm not surprised it was. Ask me how late. I'll tell you: I got in bed around 0100 or so. The alarm goes off at 0515. The Miss Luna alarm went off at 0248, 0300, 0323, 0351, and 0435. I won't be putting much overtime in today.

Still, I don't regret going to the lecture, and I don't regret spending the rest of the evening with my friends.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Today is Busy

I've been visiting a local ministry and they are having a speaker come and talk to the group tonight. Should be interesting. Unfortunately, I'm out of work that I could be doing, and I have to wait until 1700 when a coworker (the one who brought me to this group) gets off. We're going to have dinner then head down to the place. Sound like fun? Thought so!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Not Unexpected

All work and mucho overtime make for late nights of dancing. But, we need to dance tonight, because we have something to do in Manassas tomorrow and won't get a chance.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Dancing Queen

It's been a long time since I've done any kind of dancing. It's also been a long time since my roommate did any kind of dancing. We're going to take a belly dancing class at the local community center. Let the fun begin!

We did one of my belly dancing work outs this evening. It was fun and, naturally, good exercise.

I totally have the best roommate ever. And she says that about me. So, who is better? Maybe that makes us even.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Long Haul

I've been recruited to help another group for the month of August. Because of the nature of my job, this amounts to whatever overtime I need to get the work done. I simply can't be taken away from my regular stuff. It's going to kick my tail, but hellloooooo Overtime!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Lazy Sunday

Well, not entirely so. I did clean the kitchen and vacuum. But, I got home in the wee hours of the morning and slept pretty late too. I started making something that will end up being a gift for someone, and I have only a couple weeks to complete it. I"ll get it done! Excepting starting a project (creative juices still on overdrive) and a little bit of home cleaning, that's all I did today. And now, I'm going to bed!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Plans Change

Because of the rain, and there has been lots of it all day, our fun camping party had to be cancelled. We're still going to head down there for dinner and probably a night of board games, but tent parties and bonfires are out. Bummer.

But, while my bread was baking and after we made deviled eggs, I did a little bit of updating to my website and pictures of my dolls are back up. Go and have a look, I slaved all day over them!

Happy Lughnasadh

Many people get hung up on this Old Irish word. Modern Irish spells it Lúnasa, and that is how to pronounce it. It's not as complex as it seems when you know.

This is a festival of the god Lugh, my patron deity, as an honor to his foster-mother Tailtiu.

Some Christians celebrate lammas, or loaf mas, on this day. This is a reference to the first autumnal harvest, the grain harvest. Grains from the fields are harvested and stored for the coming winter. It is a festival of bounty and of preparation.

Once again, the ministry that put on the Beltane festival attempted to hold a ritual. Just like the attempt at the Litha, the weather had other plans. We feasted inside as the rain and thunder roared outside and then chatted and told stories into the night. Even without a ritual, I think it is perfectly wonderful to spend a sabbat in fellowhip.

Because this is a feast day of my patron god, however, I did light a candle to his honor, and Tailtiu's honor, when I returned home in the wee hours of the morning.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Done and Done

I spent all evening putting the finishing touches on my project. I'm done! It was a solid twenty four hours of work, but it turned out great. Tomorrow while my bread is baking, I'll take some pictures and hopefully I'll get my submission in on Sunday.

Tomorrow is going to be busy. After the food is cooked, Roomie and I are going to spend the weekend with friends camping. Fun!