Sunday, November 30, 2008

Some Things to Do

While Phoenix has been sicker than sick, I've been filling myself with vitamins and herbs and water to avoid getting what she had. Yesterday, I felt awful after coming home from shopping and had a slight fever. A nap, water, some more suppliments, and a brand-new (bought years ago, actually, but never opened) Neti-pot will kick this thing.

As a result, I slept until almost noon today. Then I played some game, finished a project and worked on another while watching Shrek 2, then played some more game. I am feeling better, and the steps we've taken to keep the heat in our home are actually working. That should help too.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Out All Day

I could have had another Thanksgiving dinner with friends, but Pat and I had made plans to go shopping. Part of it was going to Costco where I don't yet have a membership. The last time we made plans, I had to cancel, and I was getting things I needed so I didn't have dinner with my friends to keep this outing we had planned weeks ago.

Most of my purchases were all about warmth in this cold and drafty condo. I got an oil-filled heater, some air deflectors for our vents, plastic insulation for the windows, and a warm, plush blanket for my bed. The other thing I needed was a printer, having abandoned my old and obsolete Lexmark for a nice Energy Star HP model. We found a great sale on the printer.

I think I might be getting a cold, so I made use of my new blanket and took a nice three hour nap. Now, it's time to play with the printer!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Got Nothing

I'm thankful that I have my family and that I don't live with them.

I had a boring day at work. Boooorrrrring. It made me amazingly exhausted. I definitely need to go to bed.

Tomorrow, Pat and I are going shopping. It's really for things I need; a space heater, a printer, and a few things. We're hoping to find some good prices.

Good night!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a day to remember the blessings in your life. What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wrench in Plans

But in a good way!

I've been ordered to leave at 1130 today. It messes with my expected plan of working until 1400 and then going straight to my parents' house. But, now I can go home, make some banana bread, do some cleaning and still point myself towards their place around 1400. It's the best kind of wrench in any plan.

Of course, it's all related to OBC's cutting money corners wherever they can. We are expected to work 4.5 hours and get 3.5 holiday pay hours on the day before a holiday. Any additional hours worked past that 4.5 is basically extra money that the company has to pay. They've made sure that no one works extra where they don't absolutely have to. Lucky me!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To Go or Not to Go

Actually, that's not the question at all. The question is when.

I'll be heading home (it's so wonderful to be able to say that!) for Thanksgiving. Even at this late hour, I haven't decided if I'll leave tomorrow after work or Thursday morning. Assuming I'll get off of work at 1400 or so, I won't really be in the midst of traffic. And then I'll be able to wake up to the house filled with the smell of roasting turkey. And, I won't be doing so much driving in one day, because I have to come back on Thursday night so I can be at work on Friday.

I can't think of nearly as many benefits if I were to leave Thursday morning. Then again, I could leave here pretty early. No, I still think tomorrow is best. I can even pile up a bunch of food for Miss Luna. She'll be alright for two feedings without me.

I guess that means I should pack my overnight bag!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not Easier

Have you ever wondered why people will sooner type @ as opposed to "at"? Personally, I think "at" is a lot easier to type. It's just two left-hand letters. However, to get the @ symbol, in proper QWERTY touch-typing, you hold the right shift, then find 2 with the left hand (admittedly, even some of the best touch-typists have to look to find numbers).

I see this all the time at work. Someone will submit a merchant, usually some kind of homeowners association, like "the Condos at Lakeside" and they'll use @ instead of "at". I just don't get it. It's not a form of computer shorthand like u for you or 4 for for or thx for thanks, because shorthand, by definition, is supposed to be a faster form of writing because many things are substituted or abbreviated. I don't think something that takes longer to type than the original serves the purpose of shorthand, so I can't seem to figure out what purpose it serves at all.

Maybe it's a sign that these people are not touch-typists. If you're busy hunting and pecking, any combination is going to be difficult. I will concede that there seem to be precious few touch-typists in the world, or at least of my acquaintances. Even people (like my dad) who use QWERTY keyboards for work and fun are lacking in typing skills. It's funny when one of the IT guys at OBC has to work on my computer. The letters are rubbed off of most of the keys on my keyboard. They ask me every time if I want a new one, I reply with "why? I don't need to see them to know what they are." (I won't even get into how crazy they are about my left-handed mouse.)

The only place where @ belongs is in an e-mail address. It still doesn't count as shorthand.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Better Than Yesterday

Unlike yesterday, where what I made did not turn out as I had wanted, the thing I made for my roommate was just perfect. I can't show you, because she'll see it! But I was able to improve my pattern, and work out a few kinks I've run into before. Yay!

I have another project in the works, but I know the recipient reads my blog, so all of you will just have to wait until after the season is over for that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It Didn't Quite Work

I've been working on an amigurumi based on a game item. While it came out just fine when I finished it today, I'm not happy with it. It could be better. I think I need to do that one in clay if I'm going to stick with the idea. I was working on that yarn piece all day, it's a little disappointing that it didn't work out the way my mental image painted it. (I had to change a few things because what I wanted to do ended up being too problematic.)

I had something in mind to make for Phoenix, and whenever I sit down to make it, I forget what it is! It's related to my garden gnomes. Now that I've written it, I hope I'll remember so I can start working on it tomorrow.

I still have two commission pieces to finish, but one of them may have to be on hold. He wants it for his young daughter, and I'm a little concerned it won't hold up to rough play. I think that means I need to do some testing!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Not Today

I'm tired. I've been staying up late. Too tired to tell you about my day. Finished some projects, started another. That will do. No plans for this weekend, and I couldn't be happier about it. Good night, gentle blog readers.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Flurries

Still nothing to write home about (or take pictures of!). It has amazed almost everyone at how suddenly it started feeling like winter. I like it though: the crisp air, the softly falling crystals of ice. Phoenix and I are hoping we'll get at least one good snow. There's no place to practice my snowboarding around here, though.

I have a small space heater in my bathroom. There are no vents in there, you see, so it gets quite cold, especially in the morning. So I have a little heater to warm the little room. Phoenix wakes up a little bit later than I do, and I don't want to bother her during those last few minutes of sleep. I asked if the heater was too loud when I turned it on in the mornings and she told me, "the heater doesn't turn me on." I used to think that roflmao was just a figure of speech. My roommate and I discovered it can be quite literal.

One more day of work to endure before a blissful, plan-less weekend that is sure to involve lots of crafting!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shake Rattle and Roll

Just spent some time crocheting to the wonderful entertainment of Clue, the movie.

My mother hates it. I've always enjoyed it. I'm also unbeatable at the board game (so far). I have a strategy, you see. And I know it so well that I know how to prevent other players from using it against me. Yes, there's strategy in Clue. No, I won't share it with you!

I did some preliminary work for the Etsy shop that I will be opening up at some point. LDS is going to help me with some of the practical things. My job right now is to finish my commissions (yes, there is now more than one in the works) and then stock, stock, stock! I've got a list of what I want available, it's just a matter of making them. And it probably won't be until after the holidays. I know, I'm missing out on prime selling season, but with the current things people have asked me to make for them, the things I plan to make for people on my own gift list, and then building up some stock so I have something to list for sale, I don't think it will happen until the rush is over.

Remember the thing I made the other day that took a crazy four hours to finish? I've learned that it's going to take four hours and I just need to accept that. It's alright. It just means I won't be cranking them out much, lest my hands get crampy and my skin gets yarn-dry.

I was supposed to finish the scarf and socks, wasn't I? I've started two things before doing that. I'll finish the scarf right now!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Snowing!

First snow! First snow! First snow!

It's not going to stick or pile up or anything, but it's pretty just the same!

I Had Something Else to Say

But I've sure forgotten it! It was whatever I was actually going to write yesterday before I found that myspace page. (You know it's going to drive me crazy until I get a reply!)

Phoenix asked me to teach her to crochet. She was away last week for a business trip and managed to catch herself a yucky bronchitis. Still, on Friday night, I dug up some maroon yarn and taught her the basics. Sick as she was, I'm impressed at how well she did for the first time. At first, she was going to make a scarf, but dropped a few stitches and so just has an irregular rectangular piece of crocheted fabric. My very first scarf was like that, so I keep telling her she did fine for the first time (and a few minutes of instruction during plague infestation).

I almost finished the scarf I had been working on. As it turns out, it's going to be super long and I only needed one skein of yarn. I might work up the second one with a smaller hook, or even loom it. I did have an additional bit of inspiration yesterday that I'm going to have to work on.

See, I took the hand made pledge. I am proud to support artists and crafters, and to be one of those myself. Gifts will be handmade, and if I can't make it, I will find someone who can (hello Esty!). And I know a lot of you have been wondering when I plan to start selling. Soon, my beauties! One of the (annoying) little quarks I picked up from my days as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant is this oft-repeated gem, "you can't sell from an empty wagon." Sure, I'll be open for commissions, but I want some stock first. Phoenix and I have great plans. Oh, we are also working on a mala commission right now. See, it starts before we get the shop up and running!

I think I've rambled enough for today. We went to Whole Foods yesterday for some vitamins and pumpkin soup ingredients and came home with cinnamon brooms. The condo smelled divine this morning. I'm looking forward to going home to that as well.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I'm talking about my friend, Kaliis Smith (you may remember my blog post about her here). It was strange how I got to this point.

I knew she lived in Northampton and has been there for a while. Every now and then, I would Google her name and come up with little bits here and there, but never any way to reach her. I got a call from a merchant today, and somehow we mentioned people with usual and unusual names and how hard it is to find them, particularly the Smiths like the customer in question on this call. This, naturally, made me think of my friend, so I Googled her again. It's been about eight months or so since my last search.

To my breath-holding amazement, I found an article from July that was an interview with a band that she is in, located in Northampton. That article, praise whoever wrote it up and down, pointed music-eager readers to the band's MySpace page. And MySpace, as any who has it may know, has some way of getting in touch with other users. Now, all I have to do is hijack a friend who has a MySpace account (and I think Turtle will help me out here) and put my contact information in their court.

I'm beside myself with excitement. I think it's literal here: I'm shaking anyway! In my years of searching, I've never been as close to actually reaching her as I am right now. If I can't get Turtle to help out, I know Phoenix will. I really really really want to go home so I can start this ball rolling!

Don't worry, I'm drinking decaf today!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Two Down

Last week, I brought all my yarn home from my parent's house. I have half-finished projects, never started projects, and skeins that have no specific project at all. I also have new projects. This season is a great time for yarn projects. And, I'm glad I have so much yarn because it's really getting expensive!

I finished two projects today. One was new, and a part of a set, so I'm not ready to tell you about it yet. The other was a muff. I got this idea when I started loom knitting, and my incomplete muff sat on the loom for probably a year or more. I finished it today, and it's nice and cozy, and I feel accomplished. Yay!

Let's see...other incomplete projects are a couple scarves, an afghan, a shrug, and a pair of socks. I think I'll tackle one of the scarves first, then the socks. That sounds like a good way to go. I'll free up my yarn for other things in no time!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Waiting for Coffee

This morning, I leaned on the dining room window sill, gazing into the tiny patch of trees there while my coffee was brewing. It looked grey and dull and gloomy. Every now and then, a sharp wind would come through and scatter dead brown leaves to the ground. It looked like winter.

But, there was movement on the thicket floor, and it wasn't leaves. It was a huge red fox, with a bushy, white-tipped tail and black ears. He was prowling about the place, likely searching for food. Though I tried, I could not capture him with my camera. The condo was just a little high up, and most of him was the exact color of the dead leaves he padded through.

When he had gone out of sight, I wished him as safe and happy a winter as winter can be, and hoped out loud that he stayed away from the road.

Even in this densely human-populated planned community, there are many trees and many little forests and parks. It is comforting beyond words that nature reminds me of her presence even here.

Friday, November 14, 2008


It's foggy, gloomy, and not very pleasant out.

It's either a good day to stay home and do nothing, or to be at work because you're not missing anything. It's both, and there isn't a consensus on what is better (though most of us would rather take the stay at home route).

The paradox of bad weather.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Take it When it Comes

My plan for the day was to play some of my game, do some laundry, play some more game, and maybe crochet a thing or two. I did, kind of.

The ministry does a gift exchange during holiday time. Since I'll be involved, I needed to come up with something. I had an idea, that could be made a couple of ways. I decided to crochet my idea, and the inspiration and urge to do so hit just after lunch. What I didn't realize is that it would take more than four hours to complete. This puzzles me. It's not a big, elaborate piece, but there was no pattern and it took a little work. I'm thinking of ways I can improve the pattern if I do it again, but it's done. I know it's early and everything, but that's just one more thing I don't have to add to my vast to-do list of projects. When I visited my parents on Sunday and Monday, I also brought home all of my yarn, projects not yet started, and things that need to be finished. Why buy more (expensive) yarn when I have a ton of things to work on already?

I actually wanted to spend a little bit more time with my game, but creating is much more satisfying than gaming any day. Since it's a gift for an unknown recipient, pictures will have to come very later.

Another Full Moon

I hope all of you had a bright and mostly warm esbat. The days are getting shorter and the weather is definitely getting colder.

I didn't have anything special planned in advance for this esbat, but something did present itself. The local pagan ministry I've been working with, Shadow Grove, holds celebrations for every sabbat. In the past, I'm told, Yule was a community event at a local Universalist church, not a private ritual at the Grove House. They've decided to bring Yule back to the Grove, but otherwise keep their traditions intact. Part of those traditions is a gift exchange, as many groups do. This group wants the gifts we exchange to be something hand-made. I'm all for that, I fill much of my free time creating things. Seeing as how Yule hasn't happened yet, I'm not going to say what it is I made. I will say that it's fitting, considering the item's ultimate purpose, that inspiration struck me on this esbat.

I gathered my supplies before my altar and cast my circle. Then, I got to making, focusing on what I wanted it to represent as it took shape in my hands. This tiny trinket took four hours to complete, which actually surprised me quite a bit. But, it was made in ritual and filled with my intent and I know it will be a special gift to whomever receives it. I concluded my ritual and left it sitting on my altar, where it will remain until it finally gets wrapped up for our Yule celebration.

I must say, I really enjoy it when things line up just right.

Oh, and keep your eyes on the sky! The Leonids are coming, and should be at their peak in just a few days.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back to the

Well, I'm not sure what best to call it at this point. One of my coworkers calls it the loony bin sometimes, and it could be the grind, or the hellhole, or even the place where I work that allows me to pay my rent. Anyway, back there for a day.

I need to stop taking time extended out of the office, because it seems like every time I do, they make some ridiculous change to the PTO policy. After the last one (cutting down carryover hours from eighty to forty), they decided that, for this year only, we can't carry over any hours of PTO. To prevent people from rushing to take another five or so days off before the end of the year, they've decided to pay those hours back to us next year. It's a little complex when you first look at it, but basically, if you had twenty hours to carry over, you would lose it all, but get twenty six extra hours (basically, those hours with interest) next year, to be spread out over the course of the year. In this example, you'd get an extra hour of PTO every paycheck. For the people who are planning vacations or time off early in the year (for which they would need those carry over hours) they are allowing us to go two weeks in the hole. Basically, we can take eighty hours of vacation before we've accrued that many hours and just "pay it back" as we accrue it. It's kind of an underhanded way of cutting costs, but it's much better than laying off more people. And, with patience, we will come out with a little extra in hours.

And, after this news, I'm off another day. I'm not going to rescind any of the days I've already taken in light of this new temporary policy change, mostly because I've already set plans for them. Things on the PTO front are annoying, but they'll work out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Strong Until Taps

When accompanying Turtle to the funeral service of her beloved grandfather, I was reminded of the time she and my mother and I went to see Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. There was a key part in the film that brought Turtle to extreme tears. It was important to her, as the filmmaker had intended. And I knew she needed my strength at that moment. I think it helped that I recognized what it meant to her, even if it did not move me the same way. Yesterday was much like that.

I admit, it's hard to keep my own composure when strong emotions are around me (and sometimes, not so strong emotions too). I knew it would be a challenge to do so, and it was. I spent much of the time blocking the flood of sadness, especially when Turtle's aunt spoke through intense tears about the love she had for her father-in-law. Turtle had prepared me, and I knew it was coming, that she would be ok until she heard Taps. That would be a test for me too.

Her grandfather served in the Korean War. Both of my grandfathers were in the service; my father's father served in World War II, his father was in World War I. Taps is a special piece of music, and I knew I'd have a hard time at that part as well.

I think part of it is the power of music to break through barriers. The twenty-four notes of Taps has a culture behind it; it's a symbol that brings with it a certain meaning to those who have been taught what it means. A few tears escaped my eyes when the bugle sounded, with my best friend sobbing into my shoulder. It wouldn't have been right to deny what I felt at that moment, even though earlier I shut it all out. I think my friend needed me to be strong for her and to support her, but I think she needed me to feel too.

I don't regret going with her for one bit.

After that, we ran by my place to check on the cats, then she drove me to her place just outside of Richmond. It's pretty nice: a townhome with two bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms and a quaint little garden. I'm a little concerned with how she keeps her home (or doesn't, as the case may be) and need to talk to her about that soon. We had fresh hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast, had to do a quick run at her work where we also had lunch, then spent the rest of the afternoon at the Virginia Science Museum. That place was great, with lots of hands-on things to play with. The 2-litre soda bottle rocket was a particular favorite. We're going to visit the new(ish) Air and Space Museum that's out my way when she visits me in December.

It turned out to be a fabulous, albeit not restful, weekend after all.

Oh, and the regular mechanic replaced the oxygen sensors and said the things the other place wanted to do were crazy when they knew what the problem was. The owner, who always jokes with me, was grinning as he said one of his other customers asked him why there was a car with Virginia plates in his lot (when I could just as easily take my car to some place more local). He said he had to tell her it was because I knew he wouldn't try to rip me off. He also said to check with him if other things go wrong, because he might know an honest place where I can take it to avoid going through this again. Or, just continue to get the major work done with him, because I know he wouldn't try to rip me off. They even helped me with the cost a bit. Wasn't that great?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Up and Moving

I'm taking the car to the mechanic this morning. I don't think I talked about what happened at the new place. They put the car on the diagnostic thingy, told me the code that came up was related to the Oxygen sensors, but said they wanted to do $500 worth of other work to "rule out" the Oxygen sensors. HELLO?? I'm not a silly girl who doesn't know what's going on with my car! My family has owned seven Saturns among five people. We know what it means when the "service engine soon" light comes on, it's always been the same issue. I'm still getting more than thirty miles to the gallon (and that's not highway driving anymore) so why in the world would my ten-year old car need a power steering flush and an induction service when the code says it's the Oxygen sensors?? I'm not authorizing a thousand dollars worth of work when only five hundred is needed.

So, the car is going to the tried and true place where we've taken our cars for decades and I know they're not going to dick me around. Then Turtle will pick me up and we'll head over to the funeral home.

I've got the wrong position on this, I know. I wasn't happy that Turtle insisted on keeping our plans rather than rescheduling when we were talking about it on Thursday, but I've come to a different understanding. It's not that I don't much care for going to funerals, or that I didn't actually know the person being honored, or that Turtle and I haven't spent any time together for about two years and a funeral isn't the best place to start catching up. What's really going on is that my friend needs my support. And I'm going to be there.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


I'm off to see the folks. Even if I weren't meeting Turtle on Monday, I was planning on going home for a bit. I'm taking my car to the old mechanic on Monday, and I really miss my Callie-cat.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

And Sometimes it Works Right Away

I had no problem getting the camera to load this morning, so here it is! The one I know a number of you have been waiting for! This year's Halloween costume, the airship captain! Yaaaayyy!! Or something....

You can't see the stripy tights or boots in this shot. I'll see if anyone had more of a full image.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Good Enough

So far, I slept until 1100, cleaned the kitchen, did a load of laundry, took out the trash and recycling, got what I needed at Trader Joe's, ate lunch in front of an episode of Family Guy, and here I am. I have a batch of pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven and one more on the stove. Sounds like not so bad, right?

I managed to get almost four cups of pumpkin seeds from our big carving party a couple weeks ago. I did a few yesterday to try out the recipe (it's not complicated, just boil, simmer, and roast). They're really good! And so much better than the crap you can get in the store.

If I can get my computer to load from my digital camera (the program it came with is all kinds of crap), I'll be happy.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Busy Ahead

I'll be off until next Wednesday. What I would really love to do is sit around, play some games, finish some projects, and take lots of naps. It won't be that way. It started out with Turtle and I making some tentative plans to get together. That's still going to hold up, but not in the best way I think it could.

First, there's tomorrow, which is probably going to be the most restful day of the five. I only need to run to the grocery store. Saturday, the ministry is having a festival planning party. I'll be making drunken meatballs in the morning. Sunday, I'll head to my parents' at some point and spend the evening with them. There might be some resting in Sunday as well. Monday, I need to take my car to the mechanic to fix what the other mechanic didn't fix and then I'll meet up with Turtle, and join her for her grandfather's funeral. After that and picking up my car, it's back to my place to check on the cats, then down to her place and she'll bring me home sometime Tuesday night. Whew!

I'm exhausted just typing about it!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes I Have That Knowledge

No, not the secret to life itself (who knows what movie inspired that?), I have a funnel cake recipe!

Phoenix and I had to run to the store for a few missed essentials, then we stopped by a fast food place because we both wanted to save our cooking energy for funnel cakes! They're just like what you get at the county fair; doughy, sugary, fried, yummy goodness.

After that we spent some time doing some major computer adjusting. The short of it is that the modem and router needed to be moved to my computer because her computer was moving to the other side of the room on her spiffy new desk. She has a wireless adapter so we don't have to run cables all over the place.

Ack, sounds like the wireless isn't working over there. I'd better see what we can do about that!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Hope You Voted Today

Having changed my registration for my new precinct since I moved, this voting experience was a pain and a half.

But I did, and I learned that early in the morning is not the way to go here.

I hope you voted! It is your right! It is your duty!

Monday, November 03, 2008


I feel like fifty-thousand things happened this weekend! And each one of them was a great moment to have spent. Now, I'm quite tired. Even making a meal and grocery list isn't quite happening right now. Maybe I can get a nap today. But I do need food.

Fox, remind me to give you a name on my other account so you won't be shocked if I say hello. It was great to see you on yesterday. I had to start a new character to get used to playing again because it had been so long. You may want to do that too.

Nap time yet?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Help Me Welcome

My third godson, Alexander! As several worked so hard to ensure, he and mom and doing wonderfully!

May the world bestow many blessings on this new life!

Caught on Camera

I think I need to get a YouTube account so I can have a way of posting this video of the trebuchet in action (I'll try to load the pictures later today, or possibly tomorrow). Oh, my stars, it was frikkin awesome! Some of the pumpkins were whole, some were carved and rotting, some were large, some were little and we flung them into the trees with glee, waiting for that distinct thud as they hit the forest floor.

There were two pumpkins that had been carved like the Death Star. The smaller of the two got blasted with the potato gun, but we didn't actually hit it. The whizzz from the projectile potato knocked it off the deck. It was recovered and met its proper end with pumpkin baseball. I've never seen so much blessed squash destruction!

After the death of many pumpkins by potato, metal bat, or trebuchet, we gathered for another late-night bonfire. This one lasted only until 0000 or so.

Hey, Fox! We need to practice with the fire steel. I got it to spark, but not to light the bonfire.

Today is massive cleaning day. I haven't done laundry in quite a while and I'm out of clean clothes! Tonight, Phoenix, her boyfriend, and I are heading back to the ministry for dinner with the proprietors. That should be nice.

Oh, and I almost forgot! My third godson, Alexander, was born yesterday evening. Mom was sleeping when LDS called me an hour after the event, but was doing alright. Happy happy!

And guess what? This is my one-thousandth post! Wow!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

It Was As I Said

Funner than fifty things that are fun, even! We were around the bonfire until 0100. We would have been there longer if we had decided to camp. What a great way to spend an evening!

We're off to pumpkin games in just a few!

Happy Samhain, Happy New Year

Samhain is one of the most important holidays in the witch's calendar. It marks the third and final harvest, where livestock is slaughtered and meat prepared for the long dark winter months. It is one of two times when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thinnest. Rituals often include messages to loved ones who have gone before, or ancestors unknown, or even a dumb supper. This also makes it a great time for divination. The fae folk are on the move with other incorporeal creatures that walk the Earth on this night. It is also regarded by many as the new year. The old year ends and begins on this day, and many people include things they want to leave behind and thinks they wish to gain during rituals. It marks the symbolic death of the god in the shortening of daylight hours, until he is born again at Yule. I call this period the Dark of the Sun, as the yearly cycle of the sun reflects the monthly cycle of the moon.

This has always been a very special holiday for me. The autumn is my favorite time of year, this holiday occurs during the month of my birth, and the magick of the world feels stronger than ever. This also makes the very first ritual I was able to share with a local ministry I have been working with since I went to their festival at Beltane. I was excited at being able to join them in ritual, and not the slightest bit nervous.

The evening started with preparations. There was paper to write a message to love ones who had passed on to be burned in the ritual bonfire. We made wooden and fabric poppets to represent something we wanted to be rid of, or something we wanted to take with us into the year. I made one of each.

The group of sixteen participants (and one to stand outside the circle as a protector - I need to research this concept, in fifteen years of my own practice, I have never heard of such a position) walked gaily to the ritual circle and then quietly prepared ourselves as we were cleansed one by one. During the course of the ritual, each person was given the opportunity to throw their message and/or their poppet into the flame and say a few words about it or not as they saw fit. My poppet was a representation of the many things that happened to me this year that I needed to leave behind me. This was mostly low points that I had given far more energy to than they needed. My letter was to my maternal grandfather, Poppop. About three years ago, he sent me a message, a loud and clear message, and I finally got the chance to tell him I had received it. He passed on when I was very young, and I think the time we would have shared was taken from us. My other poppet is to remind me of my own strength, and it will stay on my altar until next Samhain.

After everyone sent their messages or gave to the fire what needed to be left behind, we did something very special. It was four years ago Samhain that the sacred space of this place was dedicated. In their attempts to gain non-profit status with the government, they are becoming much more public and the space needs more protection than ever. We raised energy and cast a vast shield around the property, to protect it, those who dwell there, and those who come and go in perfect love and trust. It was beautiful.

When the ritual ended, we moved to another bonfire and told crazy stories into the night.

I am happy that my first ritual with this group, my chosen family, was so special. I am pleased to have been welcomed into their circle, and I know we can all learn and grow from each other.