Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rough Day

I can't even begin to explain how very taxing my day was today. Well, it started in the morning, when a mishap made it necessary for me to drive home and change. Thankfully, I live close enough to do that now.

Other things happened throughout the morning which made me realize that it would have been a perfect day to stay in bed. Alas.

However, I did get to visit with the godsons today (oh, and their parents too). I can't believe that Gnome is almost a year old! And walking! And Jelly Bean is trying to stand. I got to play with Gnome while LDS took the other little one to get Sqwerl from the Metro. We played with some balls and some blocks and practiced petting the cat gently. I would have sang to him, but I couldn't think of anything (he liked the sound of me holding some notes, though). I would have read to him, but he wasn't interested. I would have told him a story, but he wasn't sitting still. It's all good. We got to play with things.

After dinner, Jelly Bean already in bed, Gnome sat with me a little in front of a DVD of Scooby-Doo. He was nodding off. It was cute!

That was a nice ending to a stressful day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Traveling News

A few people around the office heard the news reports of the kayaking fiasco. I got a lot of "was that you" questions, which prompted a lot of "to make a long story short" replies from me. You know, half the fun is in the telling of the story, and I just didn't have time amid cleaning out my inbox and prioritizing all the projects that got assigned to me in my absence.

I'm tired though. While my bed was heavenly, I didn't sleep very well, and I didn't even take the time to unpack and put things away. Maybe this evening or tomorrow.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Good To Be Home

After two weeks of sporadically sleeping in my own bed (with the others being my old bed at my parents house, a sleeping bag on a blow-up mattress, and a hotel bed), I am so glad to be home. I have a feeling it's going to take a while for my circadian rhythm to straighten itself out.

I knew those two weeks off of work would be crazy busy. This is the moment where people say they need a vacation from their vacation!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Book Fair

I might have written about the last time my mother and I came to visit my brother that there was a huge book fair (I'm too tired right now to look it up). This book fair happens often, and it's two big warehouses full of every kind of book you could think of and amazingly cheap prices.

I tried not to break the bank here, but it's hard! There were cookbooks, and craft books, and audio books, and several things I had to put back. Yay, books!

After that, we spent the afternoon and evening watching movies. I need to get to bed!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Hmm... my title is only a little less funny now that I've been living in Virginny for more than a year.

In any event, my parents and I made the 200 mile drive to visit my brother and Moon, way down in the bowels of the Shenandoah Valley. It's one of three trips we make every year, technically for Moon's birthday, which was a couple weeks ago.

My brother just had surgery to correct a hernia, so he's not doing much but sitting around. There is some talk of Moon taking us to a book fair tomorrow, though. We didn't explore what else may be happening. Even sitting around and watching movies with them is enough for me.

I'm sorry I don't get to see my brother and his wife more often. But, I love them both dearly, so even these few short weekends are good enough for me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Packing Up

I'm getting my last-minute stuff together and hoping I brought enough clothes to my parent's house last weekend.

Usually, I would go home from work with dad when we're going to visit my brother. This makes it easy since we can just come north from his place and drop me off at the office where I leave my car, instead of me driving all the way to the house with my parents and then back here. That won't work for this trip, because neither dad nor I are working today. So, I've got a friend who will take me to the Metro, which I'll be riding for a good two hours, and my parents will pick me up.

I just want to take as few things as possible on the Metro. I better get back to it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So Much To Do

I'm only home for today and tomorrow morning before it's off on another trip. This one is no big endeavor like last weekend, I'm going with my parents to visit my brother and sister-in-law.

Still, I have a lot to do today before I leave again!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back on Land

The 9th annual Patuxent River Sojourn was a blast!

Thursday was just a kick-off party, with dinner and a preliminary meeting before we did some drumming around the campfire and retired to our tents.

Friday was more adventure than anyone wanted, and much much less than what the media said it was. The river was flooded due to recent rains, much like the time we went out after a hurricane came through. Unknown to us at the time, the Brighton Dam about forty miles up river had been opened, surging the already swollen river. My completely non-scientific, based on memory and relativity, assessment is that the river rose a good eight feet by the end of the day. When we put in that morning, we were looking at about five feet more than normal. It would have been a great day on the water, but several factors were against us, the main one being that they wanted us all to stay as a group, which simply can't be done with some fifty paddlers and a narrow launch site. There's no way to wait on a fast moving and rising river. The call came in to secure our boats and abandon the river. We did, and reconvened at the 4-H center by the launch site to a gauntlet of EMTs and media. Leave it to the media to get in the way so much that a non-issue became the hot news of the day.

This is what one local station reported:
There are hardly any facts there (especially in the video version). Jim Bridges is not a spokesperson for the Riverkeepers, and no one was lost on the river for hours, or lost at all for that matter.

I was with one group of paddlers who secured our boats on the river as best we could and walked out. We were intercepted by the owner of the property we ended up on, who called the 4-H center, who sent a van and an ambulance to pick us up. By that time, there were helicopters in the air, making it near impossible for the safety boater among us to keep in contact with the others via radio. The ambulance was completely unnecessary, but the cameras were worse.

Here's what really happened: The dam was opened, causing much more water on that part of the river. It brought the waterline up so much that trees that should have been hanging overhead became obstacles. The sojourn leaders wanted to keep the group of fifty or so paddlers together, so they launched us bit by bit and told us to wait. The thing is, with the water rising and the current increasing, you just can't float and wait. Some people held on to trees, got turned to the side and got pushed over. Some people held on to trees that broke and pushed them over. Some people held on to trees and had their kayaks swept out from under them. Some people came to rescue those people hanging on to trees, got turned to the side and got pushed over. Everyone made it to shore. With so many separated from their boats, and the conditions of the current and rising waters, they stopped putting people in the river. We were ordered to tie off our boats as best we could and walk the half-mile or so back to the launch site. With unknown terrain on the side of the river, and fast expanding at that, some people could not walk out. They were rescued by boat and the empty kayaks were retrieved later.

We all regrouped at the 4-H center, ran the gauntlet of cameras and reporters, told EMTs that we were ok and gave our names, then had lunch, made a plan to recover abandoned boats, and started ferrying everyone to the day's camp ground at Mt Calvert, eight miles down the river. The day was punctuated with some bluegrass and contradancing.

Here is the word from the riverkeeper's official blog:

A few other articles and blog posts I found, filled with inacuracies, have people commenting by calling us all irresponsible paddlers. To those, I say: get the facts first. No one was ever lost, sojourn leaders were in contact with safety boaters on the river, and all people and boats were accounted for. The media turned it into a problem that really was not one. Everyone followed instructions, no one was injured, and we could have taken the river if a few things were done differently, but there were reasons for not doing it that way. I will hit anyone who doesn't know the real story and calls me an irresponsible paddler with my paddle.

Saturday morning had us spilt up into four groups and work on some restoration and education projects. I spent that time making a sign for a nature play area at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. At one point, the bit fell out of the drill and I picked it up, burning my fingers on the hot bit. It blistered instantly. I had never used one of those tools before and didn't realize the bit would get so hot. My bad, moving on. We got back with the group and had lunch, then split up into three groups for paddling the area. I went up the Western Branch, were we were supposed to have a tour of the water treatment facility, but they cancelled because we were delayed by the rain. It was still a nice paddle. Saturday ended with a sing along show by a group called the Bremen Town Musicians. They played folk songs that most people learned as children (The Fox, Oh! Susanna, and others) so we could all sing with them. It was unbelievably fun!

On Sunday, we paddled five miles or so to Mattaponi Creek, stopping at the rural life living history museums at the north end of Jug Bay. We did a night paddle on the creek, which was spectacular. I love that creek, it's my favorite place to paddle. Seeing, hearing, it at night was amazing. They launched us about a minute apart so we could essentially experience the creek by ourselves (which isn't safe, of course, so they did it in this very controlled way). My dad, who was just behind me though by quite a distance, and I saw two juvenile Barred Owls on our way down. On our way back, we met with the group who had walked to the bridge to try to call out some owls. They played a recording of the Barred Owl's call and at least six owls, two adults and four juveniles, responded. That moment was one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced in my life.

We set out on Monday, the hottest day of our trip, for another eight mile paddle (I say another, even though we never really made the first eight mile paddle that should have been Friday). Somehow, we missed the creek that was to take us to the lunch stop. By the time we realized it, it was about thirty minutes back up river, where our final stop of the trip was forty-five minutes down river. Sojourn leaders decided it would be best to fill everyone up with water, sunscreen, and snack bars and press on. A couple kids started to experience heat exhaustion and were pulled to the support boat, a motor boat that could carry tired paddlers and kayaks that was with us for the whole trip except Friday (the boat was too big for that part of the river). I saw two kids run out of water on the way and look like no one could do anything about it. I told the paddle leader we needed to stop and refresh everyone, and we did so. That really seemed to help, and several paddlers told me so after learning that I had called that brief break. Unfortunately, there is only so much that sunblock can to for my fair skin, and I ended up with painful burns on my feet, thighs and forearms.

All in all, it was a very fun trip. I hope to go again next year for the lower part of the river. Now, I want to curl up with some aloe and my fuzzy kitty and sleep! Pictures haven't been loaded yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Litha 2009

I did not have an opportunity to have any kind of ritual or celebration for this Sabbat. I was on a kayaking trip, but it turned into one of the most magickal experiences I've ever had.

The trip brought me to a part of the river with which I was very familiar. It is my favorite place to paddle, and there are many plants and creatures to see.

On the trip, I had an opportunity to paddle this creek at dusk. They launched us well apart from each other, so it seemed like we were on the water alone, but we weren't really alone because that is not safe. We were told not to use any lights and to refrain from talking.

I know this creek. I know its turns, its shortcuts, and its obstacles. Paddling in the growing darkness was no problem for me at all. I think the familiarity of the water made it that much more special for me, because I did not have to focus on where I was going, and what I needed to avoid hitting. Instead, I could listen to the sounds of the night, the sound of my paddle in the water was almost an affront to the gentle murmurs around me.

At one point, just before crossing under a bridge, I saw two juvenile Barred Owls. Some little bird was picking on them, and they flew over the creek, screeching at it. I had only seen an owl in the wild once before; I passed one sitting on the side of the road. This was two owls!

Passing under the bridge brought a chorus of night sounds, where before it had been very soft. I paddled as far as I could, to where navigable water ends at a vast beaver dam. There was a breach, which I knew from an earlier day paddle, and the water joined with the creatures singing their night songs.

On the way back, the paddlers gathered near the bridge. A group from the trip walked there to try to call out some owls. I had already seen two, I knew they were there. At the recorded sound of the Barred Owl's cry, those two young ones and four others hooted in agitated reply. 

It was a family, two adults and their brood of four. They stood in a tree, flapping their silent wings at us, then glided hauntingly across the creek one by one. They hooted there for a while before soaring back across the creek. It is so hard to even attempt to explain the majesty of these creatures, and how being in their presence caused me to weep with the beauty of it, of the night.

I can think of no better way to have spent this Sabbat.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Vacation Alert!

I'm on vacation! I have been since last Friday at 1500, really. Details.

Tomorrow, I will make a quick stop at the mechanic to take a look at what is causing the check engine light on my car to illuminate. Then it's pack and pack and pack!

On Thursday, dad and I will head to the kayak landing at Queen Anne. We kayak there a lot but this time, it will be a whole four days of kayaking, with camping in between. I'm so excited!

Since this is time spent on the water and camping, there will be no Internet and I will not risk my computer anyway. I'll see you when we get back!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Still More Cleaning

There are still two major points of cleaning that I didn't get done today. I'm heading out tomorrow to visit a friend and then the real fun begins. Hopefully, I can finish everything I need to do in the morning.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fun with VARF

Fox, Fae, and I visited my dad at the Virginia Renaissance Festival. We had a great time. Be sure to check out my craft blog for a unique perspective of the day.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Must Clean

I can't go on vacation and leave a dirty house, can I? Sure, I'll be back Monday, but I'll be leaving again and I have a lot to do. Onward!

Friday, June 12, 2009


This day. Dragging. 1500. That's all I need. 1500 needs to get here soon.

Oh, such a long day!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Storm

Lightening splits the angry sky
Clouds roar in response
Rain taps a heavy rhythm on the roof
Trees sway in the wind
A show of light and sound and motion
Brings the curtain down on another day

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

For Moon

Today is my beautiful, talented sister-in-law's birthday!

Happy Birthday, Moon!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

New Challenge

In February, I found a seller on Etsy who makes the most awesome fairy houses I have ever seen. Ever. I have three of her items: two houses and a throne that I am currently making a doll to sit upon.

I meant to ask her for a while about something, and finally got around to it yesterday. Each house has a very distinct smell. I'm usually pretty good at identifying scents, but the combination of notes within the houses is very complex and hard to break down and identify. However, I think I can do it.

I spent much of yesterday collaborating with the artist about her materials, the scents she notices in the houses, the possible things that could be causing it since none of it is deliberate. She said I was not the first one to comment on the smell. It is a pleasant aroma and that's why I'd like to try to duplicate it.

I went through my current stock of essential oils yesterday evening. I made a practice formula with what I had on-hand (the base notes are all wrong, but that's ok for this phase). The top and middle notes in my practice vial are very close. I have a list of oils to look for at the store and some I know I will have to order online somewhere.

This is already a fun project! I've made many personal fragrances before, but I've not previously tried to copy a scent. I hope this day moves by quickly, because I really want to get what I need at the store and mix more oils. To get this scent just right, it's going to take a lot of trials, but I'm already having fun doing it.

In other craft news, I'm up to my eyeballs in commissions right now!

Full Mirror Moon and Wishing Moon

I hope everyone had a fabulous Esbat!

This was called the Mirror Moon, it is a good time to focus on yourself and things within you that need changing or nurturing. It was also another Wishing Moon.

I feel I am in a near-constant state of personal reflection and growth, so I did not focus on that aspect of this Esbat. Perhaps, in a way, I did.

I have worked with the faerie realm since I was a child, before I even knew exactly what it was. Children have an intuitive knowledge about the world that most are taught to forget as they grow up. For a time, I did forget what I knew. When I came back to it, it was there as it always had been. When I remembered what I had been taught to forget, it was a revelation of my spiritual life.

I own two fairy houses, made by an unbelievable talented artist who captures the very essence of their realm in her work. The faerie plain exists at the same place as ours, but most people cannot see it. Children and animals can, and people with knowledge and open hearts can. The houses that this artist makes pull a piece of their realm into ours, like pulling a loop of thread through fabric. Their plain exists within those walls, and looking into a house is truly looking into their world.

This Esbat was spent in commune with the fae who dwell in my home, in the homes I have placed for them. One of them has been my companion for as long as I have the ability to remember. The other, I have yet to meet. That being will make him or herself known when they are ready. There are more than these two as well. It is comforting to know they can bring parts of their world into ours, I think.

Monday, June 08, 2009

In Need of Focus

Because I don't have it!

I just have to get through this week, then I'm off for two. The middle of those two weeks is a kayaking trip with a small group that will include my dad. I'm really looking forward to this trip.

Before that, I'll go with Fox and Fae to the VA Renaissance Festival, visit a friend, and get my car looked over. After the trip, I'll have a little bit of time to rest before driving with my parents to visit my brother and sister-in-law for the weekend.

It certainly won't be a restful two weeks, but it will be fun! I just have to get through this week. It's already proving not easy. Of course, Friday will be much worse!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Land of the Lost

I went home for brunch this weekend. It's the first brunch I've been to in some time. Afterwards, mom and I decided to go to the movies.

We would either see Land of the Lost or Night at the Museum. I decided on the first because I'm likely to buy the second even if I don't see it in theaters because the first Night at the Museum was quite good. I wasn't super excited about this Land of the Lost film (I'm really not fond of the lead actor), but I thought it might have some funny parts and so would be worth a look at least once.

It had some funny parts. More than half of them were revealed in the trailers. The best bits were the little Easter eggs of the original TV series, particularly when this film's version of Rick Marshall started singing the original theme song (and the lyrics applied to events in the film. I thought that was clever).

It wasn't anything to write home about. It's barely enough to blog about, and I probably wouldn't recommend anyone go see it unless they really had nothing better to do. Still, if you are a fan of the '70's TV show, you might find this new portrayal of Grumpy amusing, and the Sleestacks were as scary, if slow, as ever.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

I'm Syndicated!

I found myself on LiveJournal. I don't use LiveJournal for a reason that I won't go into. But, I'm there. See?

It took some digging to figure out how I got there. I'm pretty good with computers and the various systems used to keep in touch online, but I must say that I have no experience with feeds. I know they exist, and allow others to easily view content and updates, but that's about all I know. To the best of my understanding, someone who regularly uses LiveJournal decided it was easier to follow my Blogger updates by utilizing my feed.

I may not completely get it, but I will say: Neat! The only thing I don't quite like is that whoever is following from this feed is going to miss updates from my other blogs because the feed only syndicates posts, not all my links (which shows when blogs are updated, get it?). Of course, not everyone has an interest in all my blogs, but that's not the point!! Ah, well. It's still neat! It looks like it's been feeding since February, if I'm reading the info correct. It was chance that I found out about it at all.

Still, neat! I'm oddly giddy about this discovery. It makes me feel special! Thanks, LiveJournal readers who want to follow my updates even though I use a different venue!

Friday, June 05, 2009

I Am the Highness of Haiku

Monty said so!

A starship I ride
A tunic of scarlet worn
I perish quickly

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I Am a Contradiction

I hate math. I'm not very good at calculations and equations. I've had a staggering amount of terrible math teachers through the years. I generalize that I hate math.

I do enjoy working through ciphers and probability statistics, which I studied in the one good math class I ever had. Much of my faith practice is based on Hermeticism, which is the beginnings of Sacred Geometry and Alchemy. Look at that, more math! I also enjoy metaphysics, which deals quite a bit in mathematics in the exploration of abstract objects, Platonism, and other similar, mathy things. And then there is quantum mechanics and the myriad of mathy things that go in that system.

I'm not a great philosopher, or physicist, or scientist. I just enjoy these things, mostly as casual reading but also, in terms of Hermetics, as spiritual growth. But, I hate math.

Mathematics, the philosophy of it and certain elements like geometry, are all underlying currents of things that I quite enjoy learning about.

Maybe I should pay more attention to math before I loose myself in another thought experiment.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Four Hours

I feel like I should have something wise and insightful to say today. I still don't remember what I wanted to say yesterday, though I did at some point later in the day. It's gone again!

Phoenix's mother and cousin were visiting us for the night last night. Today, the three of them are driving to Kentucky to watch her brother graduate from basic training. This means that, instead of getting myself ready for bed, I was up chatting with them. When Sunflyr said it was midnight, I knew today would be a difficult day. See, I'm the only one of the five of us who had to go to work today! That amounted to about four hours of sleep.

I'm on my third cup of coffee.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Whatever I had thought to talk about today has gone right out of my mind.


I just don't remember.

Guess it wasn't important!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Rolling By

As of yesterday, Phoenix and I have been in our condo for one year.

I've only been on my own, as in not living with my parents for one year. It somehow feels like much longer than that. I wonder if that means I've grown much in the past year.

A lot of things have happened, and not necessarily things that have never happened before. It was just the first time I had to deal with them without my parents' constant presence. There were times when I was glad I was on my own to deal with what was going on, and there were times when I wished my parents were closer to help me. Still, I'm glad to have experienced all of those times.

One year. A year ago, everything was unknown. Every day was a step into something new, until I started getting the hang of it.

How often can you say that you know exactly where you were a year ago? I know where I was literally, where I was emotionally.

One year. Life moves forward.