AWOL brain

So, yesterday, at the last minute, my eldest daughter explains that they are having a Christmas Party for her AJROTC group at her high school and she really-really-really-please-mom wanted to make cuppy cakes.

Being a moderate fan of the tiny little sneakable baked goods, I do the mommy mutter all the way to the store.  Bobble-head is in tote, squee-ing over the idea that she's baking for her friends.  She settles on lemony cuppy cakes, lemon and strawberry icing.  When we return home, she sets about destroying the kitchen.  

Standard Operating Procedure for a teenage kid with a sweet tooth.

Anyway, late into the night, the smell of warm lemon wafts through the house.  I start in on the whole be-a-responsible-adult-thing. "Now, darling, you realize you need to clean this mess before you go to bed, right?"

"Yes, mommy!"  

"All right.  I'm off."  And so I go to bed fitfully.  Stupid cold, stupid congestion.

I wake up to a catastrophe of epic proportions.  Shuffling down the hall and by the kitchen, I realize all the lights are off, save for the artificial glow of the white yule tree beaming at me good morning.

I tap on doors now, waking kids, who probably should have been awake at least half an hour before me.  When I reach my teenager's room, I call off into the darkness.

"You awake?"

"Am now."

"Good....because man, you're gonna be late."

Then I proceed to explain to her that when I say the dishes have to be done before she goes to bed, garsh-dern-it, they have to be done before she goes to bed.  I'm not mean, but I'm like, "Really?  Seriously?  What part of dishes-before-bed got lost in translation?"

With a groan, she sets about hurriedly doing all of her morning getting ready activities at top speed.  During this time, the trooper doesn't really complain, she just focuses at what she's doing while I take her younger sister to school.  It's only a few blocks away, and by the time I make it home, the teenager is now at the end of the driveway, balancing two plates of cupcakes on one arm and has a cake carrier full of cupcakes on the other (and a jacket over that arm, and a backpack filled to capacity slung on her back).

"Can you drop me off at the JROTC building and then take me back to the main building so I'm not too terribly late?  I have a test this morning."

"Crud, what do I look like?  Your mom or something?  A taxi?"

She giggles a bit and tries to figure out how to squeeze into the autobot, so I roll my eyes and take the cake carrier with a long-suffering look.

As we make our way to the giant hamster playscape that is her high school, it is not uncommon for cars to stop on the main thoroughfare and drop kids off, holding up all of those diligent parents which drop our kids off at the specifically designated drop-off lines.  A kid pops out of the car in front of us and shuffles along hurriedly.  My daughter rolls her eyes and mutters a name.

"That kid has no integrity whatsoever."

I personally thought that comment might be a little harsh.  I mean, he's a kid, and I'm just one of those fools that believes most people are basically good people.

"What makes you say that, dear?  What is the definition of integrity?"

"Integrity is doing the right thing, even if no one is watching," she recites, being that it's part of the creeds and definitions and what have you that she has to memorize for JROTC.

"Hmm.  Well, what makes you think he doesn't have any?"

"He's always late, mom.  He never dresses the way he's supposed to, never tucks in his shirt.  And never has his badge.  And he's really disrespectful to other officers."

I thought of this a moment.  "You know, when I was ya'll's age," (I think I died a little when I said that) I said slowly, "I did the right thing when no one was looking.  But I didn't care much...for rules.  Like tucking in your shirt and stuff.  Why should there be a rule for how I dress?"

"But mom, there are gangs."

"Well....maybe there are gangs because people don't like to be told every rules for every single detail of their lives.  Maybe if there were less rules, there might be less rule breakers."

Yeah, I was kind of surprised that came out of my mouth too, as she looked at me (as I looked at her, as I tried to drive 20 down the street and not hit kids).


So as she made her cuppy-cakes-like-drug-run drop-off, I thought about what I just said, and I thought about her responses.

My daughter wants to be a Marine.  To our family, and in regards to our friends, serving our country is an honorable thing.  We don't always necessarily agree with choices which are made, with war, but we do have a lot of respect for those that serve.  And while I applaud the idea that she is learning discipline, honor and courage, I also want to make sure that if she is going to follow along with the herd, that she is keenly aware of the exit gates conveniently located throughout the pen.  

As we grow older, our choices get distinctively and even more complex.  Add in the responsibility of guiding another person through the darkness with you, someone who depends on you (heck, I have two, and a partner in crime that is muddling along in the darkness with me), and it makes for a really insane run through the starless night.  Since 'perfect' isn't anyone on the horizon of my life or my person (Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if it had a  ghillie suit, bought itself a new identity, skipped down and was on the first boat to some uncharted island), I have a lot of those, "WTF ARE YOU THINKING?" moments.

This morning just happened to be one of those moments.


the media

I realize that in the past few years, and more importantly, the last few months, that I rarely watch TV.  And rarer still, the news.

Sometimes, I flip it on in the morning, just to see the weather reports.  But I realize that it probably has about a %40 accuracy rate, so generally, I just don't.

About the only TV I seem to watch now is Netflix through my PS3.  Reason being is that I can watch a story (sit-com, drama, series, etc.) without interruption.  Or I can see a movie that interests me (on occasion...you should ask my husband or my friends how hard it is to get me to go watch a movie with them).

But mainly, I really just hate the fact that there are so many reports on bias media.  And how the media doesn't really objectively report anything.  And all you really see on there is death, destruction, and murder.  Every now and then, they make a shallow attempt at showing something meaningful.  On occasion, someone does.  But really, it has come to the point that no news is good news.

There's a lot you don't see on TV.  That's what you have the internet for.  But it's hard to get people to report what FOX or CNN or any of those channels won't report.  Kind of makes me hate the whole thing all together.

So between the word I get from friends, some select internet sights, and NOAA, I'm pretty set.


Day of the Dead - post mortem?

I've had the unusual blessing of being able to witness various traditions when it comes to this time of year.  October is generally Harvest Moon, Wolf Moon, and the time is marked as the time when the 'veil between the worlds is the thinnest'.

I lost two people I loved about a year and a half ago, and I have always been an individual that prefers to deal with my own personal griefs in private.  So recently, this has become a very strong, personal thing for me.  

The Sumerians introduced me to Eereshkigal and Nergal, and the festival of Nattig.  Following the descent of Inanna was perhaps the first time I was ever able to really begin come to grips and understand death.  As the demons followed us in the darkness of the unknown(demons are neither good nor bad, they are spirits, unhuman creatures in Sumerian mythology), unseen and untouched, only heard.  It was an amazing experience.

The sum of the experiences for me of this 'end of the growing year', the time of the Dead, is learning the understanding that Death comes for us all, Death is no respector of persons, and whatever our struggles and challenges, it is all part of our natural course.  We should not have to fear death, we should have a healthy respect of it.  Death touches every aspect of our lives, and most of the time, we only see it when someone passes in such a way as they go to the grave.  There are a million deaths which touch us, that most do not consider.  The death of a way of life, the destruction of an idea, even the passing of a friendship.  We must take a moment to consider these deaths, mourn the passings in our own way, and then rebuild our lives and move on.

I've had a lot to mourn over the past few years.  I have had some very radical job changes, moved across the state, lost relationships, friendships that I had believed were steadfast, and dealt with the deaths of my siblings.  It's been a lot, and there are times that I have felt apathetic, and other times where I was so crazy-feeling that I lashed out at those close to me.  I hope that I have repaired things where I could, and where I couldn't, well, I hope the best for those I parted company with.  Maybe the death of one thing will lead to the birth of something new, or the rebirth of something old.

So as the cold of winter creeps across the land, laying waste to the green things....as the wild Hunt roams the darkness, know that in the deepest of the cold, the deepest winter...that somewhere in the darkness, is the spark of hope.  The tiny light.  The promise of the return of the sun.  The promise of life, even after death.


The Call of the Anonymous

If our culture was more focused on the arts and education, and the idea of compassion and civil action, maybe things wouldn't have gotten so far out of hand.  In a time where capitalism is priority and people are left to scrounge, there has been a long season of discontent.

About every few hundred years, it seems that governments have some sort of revolution.  In an age of 'civility' and so many interesting and quick ways to kill someone, the majority is kept 'in check' through fear and threat of death.  But in even a half-educated society, people are really kind of starting to get pissed off.

I find it amusing and strange, seeing these pictures flash across the internet - the satirical mask of a would-be conspirator, the image of a movie about revolution and change.  And yet, the reality of the matter is, that if the movement is truly as large and wide-ranging as it appears to be through the murkier parts of the internet, the prospects are frightening.

I really believe that we are on the threshold of a radical and profound change.  I know that I am an idealist - I get that a lot, but I believe the way we think about things is changing, or it should, and too many people realize that we are careening dangerously near the cliff of self-inflicted extinction.  It's rather much closer than most people believe, than the media is allowed to report, or the governments want us to know.  It is only through knowledge, environmental awareness, and compassion for our fellow man will we be able to survive.  Because that is truly what it is becoming - not a race (he who has the most when he dies wins), but a fight for survival of the human race.  It may not be my children who deal with it, nor theirs, but in the next few generations, our environmental impact with reach a critical mass which in which the 1% will not be able to hide.  Even now, with the genetically altered corn and the fact even the most jaded media (like TIME and PEOPLE) report that beloved stars/leaders/idols of our time die of cancer (about 80%), people are starting to get a clue-by-four to the head.  The evidence?  Look around.  People are swimming in trash.  Bees are disappearing.  Trees are being ripped out and replaced by concrete.

Something's got to give.  And soon. But knowing this, knowing that something is coming...well, hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

I wonder how many people will answer the call by Anonymous.  I wonder who will march on Nov. 5th?


September is over.

September is over, which brings forth cooler tidings and seasonal changes.  It's weird how I feel like it's been forever since I've been cold (the mornings here in Houston have been cool), but how it feels my sister and stepbrother disappeared not too long ago.

I thought that this month would be easier, being that my sister's birthday was last month, but it's not.  Not really.  I'll be 35 this month, and after April, I will have exceeded my sister's lifespan.  It's kind of a depressing thought, so frankly, I'm not really looking forward to my birthday.  I find it just easier to take it a day at time.

I have, however, decided in all these things, over the past few months, that I wanted to embrace my spirituality more fully.  A part of that came along in the decision to open the shop.  The decision stills scares the hell out of me, but it has always been something I've wanted to do.  And frankly, life's to short to wait around dreaming of things instead of doing  them.

I find myself among old friends again.  Moving forward through life is fine, but if you are moving just to move, you much resemble the card the Fool, with common sense nipping at your heels.  It's great to have new experiences and make new friends, but we are creatures of limited space and time, and we should not let our  past be forgotten.  I think that some people would say that circling back is some sort of pattern that needs to be broken.  I don't see it that way.  If we weren't meant to have cycles, there would be none.  And just because I have certain cycles, doesn't mean that others don't have different types of cycles.  The idea though is to spiral upwards, not just chase your tail.  As for my old friends....well, time and hardships can change a person, do they not? But the hope is that whatever was fundamental about them that brought you closer to them doesn't change.  That is, anyway, the hope.

The death season is upon us, and with death comes new beginnings.  I hope that they are the best to come.

nothing of importance

I know that my words here don't really do much for many.  It's okay.  It's an outlet for me to write, and it's a place for me to collect my thoughts.  Time and time again, I say these words are of the moment.  Pay them no mind.  Because a writer, any good writer, just writes simply for the sake of writing.  Sometimes very important things get put to paper (or electronic media), and other times, it is the act in and of itself that is the pleasure.  Recently, I've become aware of some ugly habits through others, and I have to say, sometimes I find them rather annoying.

There are a lot of things that I watch go on around me that I hope to never be caught at.  For instance, lying about my age.  I think it's flattering when someone thinks I am younger than I really am, and I find it rather stupid to be deceptive of your age.  It's a simple matter, and one that really does not wholly matter after you turn 21 - you'll find people who are more learned at 25 than a room full of forty-somethings, and vice versa. The only thing that is not illusionary about age is the fact that our health deteriorates (it just does it at different rates).  Besides...if you will lie about the little things, well, it remains that you will be more willing to lie about the bigger things too, doesn't it?  But....once a liar, always a liar.

Another annoying thing is when people 'comment' on an article for no other purpose than to put their name up on someone's writing.  As if the writing is validated by them giving one or two sentences about whether or not they agree with the article/work/piece/writing.  "I totally agree wholeheartedly with what you're saying."  But....where is the substance?  Where is...perhaps anything that might contribute to the work?  Or go against it? "I disagree.  I think it's stupid."  And?   Or...my favorite... TOTAL SPECULATION on the article itself.  Just.. "Oh, it might have happened this way....or that way...but who knows?"  Seriously?  No matter how educated a person might be (believe me, I've even seen some of this coming from someone with more than one degree), it never ceases to amaze me how stupid a response can be.

I think those two will do for today.  So please... think before you just spew some random bullshit out.  If you're not adding anything intelligent to the conversation, regardless if it is pro- or anti- the point, please say something intelligent or STFU.

Thank you.


going to local open circles, a word on etiquette

I'm sure that there's been hundreds of articles written on this, but I wanted to just point some stuff out because frankly, as the pagan community grows, we need to be more mindful of one another - some things you can't stress enough.  I love how the pagan community can come together, but there's a lot of things that just really get on my nerves.

The idea is that there is a certain etiquette you need to follow when you're attending public rituals.  Public rituals are generally hosted by groups who want to help build a stronger sense of community.  But these groups have their own beliefs, their own systems, and their own way of doing things.  You can, however, be a wonderful guest that hopefully gets invited back again and again.  Here are some simple things you can do.

Firstly, make sure your information is complete.  If you are going to a public ritual, whether it is hosted in a public place or private home, make sure you have the correct date, the correct time, a list of what you could and should bring (will there be a potluck fellowship afterwards?  Bring food?), how many people you're allowed to bring (they might want to know if your entire druid grove of 30 is planning to come out), parking (carpooling is best), indoor or outdoor, and get accurate directions (sometimes, different GPS systems or different online map systems will put you waaaayyy off the mark).  Also, if you can, try to RSVP - this helps the group get an idea of how many people will attend.  And... always ask if it's child-friendly. There is no reason to be pissed off and act a fool if you're bringing your kid to a Beltane ritual and they politely ask you to take your child home - because it IS a fertility ritual, and YOU forgot to ask. 

You have to remember, again, you're going into someone else's sacred space, into their tradition and beliefs - you're trying to be open-minded, but you have to be respectful of their beliefs and practices.  

Meet the criteria of the gathering - be prepared.  If you are told it's outside, bug spray might be a good idea.  If it's a night ritual, bring a flashlight.  If there's a meet-and-greet-potluck, bring something for a good amount of people (please...don't crap out and bring a damn bag of chips....if you're hard on cash, it's about 3  for cake mix and icing...there's stuff you can do on a budget.  Some people go all-out, which is cool, but you don't have to be that person...you just have to put a bit of effort into it if you have some advanced warning).  There are some things you should always try to bring - extra seating, a light or heavy jacket (depending on locale and weather), possibly a first aid kit, and maybe blankets (for warmth or for sitting on the ground).  

If you're wanting to go above and beyond to help the group you're visiting, you can bring things that are necessary to facilitate a large group,  such as paper towels, ice, disposable items (cups, plates, eating utensils), garbage bags, and I kid you not, toilet paper.  Would you be happy about buying the toilet paper for 30 people who are descending on your house?  All these items, most people don't think of, but let's face it, we are supposed to be a very tolerate, accepting group (of neo-pagans) and kindness towards others is something we should always be mindful of.  Trust me, having been part of a group that did large rituals, those things are very much appreciated.

Respect the differences. Perhaps the ritual wasn't what you expected.  In fact, perhaps your Egyptian leanings didn't fly well with the Celtic ritual.  Get over it.  Maybe the swag one lady was wearing looked more like a Halloween costume than High Priestess ritual robing.  Get over it.  They called the quarters differently, didn't use the proper elemental beings, and mispronounced the name of the God and Goddess as you know it.  Get over it.  Seriously.  You're a guest, and you should be appreciative someone had the courage to share their magics, bare their soul to the public in an effort to promote community unity.  If you can do better, put your money where your mouth is.  There's nothing more annoying than finishing a ritual and hearing someone talk shit about a 'flat ritual', or someone wasn't witchy/mysterious/serious enough, or that someone was dressed ridiculously or whatever.  Who the hell are you to judge?  And if you can do it better, do it.  But you don't have to show your ass by talking crap about your host and the people that just wanted to do something in the community.  If you don't like it, don't go.  If you're not into what they're into, fine, but you don't have to put someone down over their differences.

And finally, keep your bullshit to yourself.  Don't bring your drama to someone else's turf.  If you've got a bone to pick with someone who's part of another group, or you've got some internal conflict with another person in the organization, keep your mouth shut.  It's neither the time nor the place.  The gathering isn't about you, it isn't about them, get the hell over yourself - most people won't know, won't care, and just look at you as a distraction.  And frankly, if you really have that kind of a problem with someone who's at a public gathering - I promise you, the circle/nemeton/gathering that you're going to doesn't want the ugliness there.  No witch wars, no rivalries - stop the stupidity.  If you really can't stand someone, leave.  If you don't want to leave, don't stand in circle with them.  There's no reason you can't enjoy a celebration, even if you don't particularly like someone there.  Because, again, it's not about you.  It's not about them.  It's about the community.  Work for the greater good, will you?

If you can keep those four things in mind, you'll do good.  Have fun!


Yup, I'm only human - even I can forget something.  Even after all of this ranting, a great friend pointed out something that is one of the most important forms of etiquette that I should be punished for....

Don't forget to say thank you.  Putting together a large gathering is a tremendous amount of work, money and planning.  (And yes, I'm borderline spamming people, thanking them for letting us be there!...so I am KICKING myself for not adding this here the first time on my soap box....)  If they've got a 'donation' jar chillin', even if you don't have a ton of money to help, pitch a dollar in.  You can get a roll of toilet paper.  Or a roll of paper towels.  Or garbage bags.  You can get a lot of disposables from a dollar store.

It's nice when you do something so cool that people appreciate you enough to simply say, "Thank you."

(Thank you, Cathy S. for pointing that out to me. :)  )


Blackberry Circle - Mabon in Review

(If you're not really pagan or Wiccan, you might want to skip this post....this entry deals with visiting an open pagan ritual and A)you might not be into that kind of thing or B)you just might not 'get it'....paganism and Wicca are experiential and if you don't do it, sometimes explaining it is.....many conversations over many beers/coffee....)

So, as the Fates would have it, with the shop opening and the need for networking, some friends and I happened upon Blackberry Circle.

When you go blindly into a community gathering, you really never know what you're getting into.  I'm always up for meeting new people on the bright side, but on the other side, the crazy side, you have to worry about things like drama, showcase gurus, and a plethora of other weirdness.

I'm happy to say, this outing was not the case.

Now, the instructions were pretty good, but I am partial to my GPS.  Through the combination, we drove out to Conroe, which is a bit north from Houston.  The place was easy to find, frankly, when you have that kind of gathering at someone's personal home, really, all you have to do is look for the cars.  And there were quite a few cars.

The gathering was about 40ish people - this apparently wasn't a largely advertised circle (I found it through the C.O.G. website, because I was interested in it and it showed that this particular group was trying to get ...a charter, I think?).  But the friends I had bought were skittish, and we entered in a closely knit group.

I think that started to dissolve rather quickly.  The gracious host coven and their more familiar regulars paid attention to new faces - greeting, meeting, introducing.

(Now....I will not interject etiquette points on visiting circles...that's for another post.)

The circle in and of itself was not lead solely by a high priest or priestess.  Everyone in the host coven had their part, and kindly, we were greeted to come into the circle, which was physically marked by fencing and, you guessed it, blackberry bushes.  Both open, but closed, it was quite a large circle, roomy, and easily accommodating the large group of people.  

The ritual itself was stylized Wiccan - instead of an open nemeton, it was the closed sphere that those that practice Wicca are used to.  

On a personal note, I have a lot of respect for the kindly woman who both opened and closed the circle - one person to cover that many people and let it be felt, that was really cool. I can't help but crack a smile at the thought.  I'm not so gifted that I can see auras or do past life regression - I believe firmly I have a sensitivity (stronger than some, not as strong as others).  I remember being a kid and playing a silly game where you placed your hand on someone's head and hit it with your fist, 'cracking an egg'.  Then you would lightly wiggle your fingers and brush down their hair, and they could feel the sensation of  'egg trickling down their head'.  The feeling that sneaks up on you when you hear really great music and it gives you goosebumps?  That kind of feeling - knowing someone really was 'covering' 40-something people with the power of the people and their will.  Totally cool.

If you're into magic and do it frequently, you know about 'raising the power'.  Some people use chants, some people use a strict format, tapping into the power of the past usage of a rune or rhyme.  The approach of this group was amusing for me - instead, they tapped the power of laughter and happiness.

The words 'mirth and reverence' come to mind.  The gentleman leading the ritual stylized his narration, his pageantry if you will, in the flavor of a southern baptist preacher.  And he told the story of the Lord of Light and the Lord of Dark, and the Ladies of Light and Dark.  The retelling is an old one, some referring them to the Oak and Holly king, (funny enough, with the joyous, playful catcalls coming from the circle.  "Amen!" "Holly-lujah!" And other cracks abound).  But even in the play, the ancient story flooded the mind and filled the senses as the moon, both half light and half dark, hung over the proceedings.

Back to the mirth....as cakes and ales consisted of Moon Pies (both chocolate and, yup, vanilla) and RC Cola (with profuse apologies to those who were about to experience diabetic shock).  The ritual came to a close, and the entire time, it was upbeat, playful, and swirling.  Like a bunch of kids hopping into a summer pool party.

Feasting and fellowship followed, light by LED and glowy things.  The food was great (I don't know who made the roast beast, but the flavor was excellent), fruits, flesh, fresh breads - all sorts of wonderful things.  I met some nice people, and hopefully, it opens doors for building friendships and being a part of the greater Houston pagan community.  

Unfortunately, we had driven a ways, so we had to cut out early.  We giggled all the way to the car as choruses of well-wishes, safe-journeys, and goodbyes came clearly through the darkness.

Thanks for the great times!  Looking forward to Samhain!


hammering on the forge

An old dream, once dusty and darkened with age, was put upon the forge and fired again.  It light up, glowing and warm, and slowly, it is being hammered into shape.

Since I was very young, I wanted to create a metaphysical book store.

This dream started in a small shop called Gateways in Seabrook, Texas.  The shop was small when it started, opening in a small, unused church behind a Whataburger off of highway 146.

It was a beautiful little store.  It was filled with delightful smells, with crystals that were supposed to have power.  Millions of pieces of rainbow danced across surfaces of counters and floors, lit by big, bright windows and flung far and wide by leaded, cut crystals hanging from the ceiling.  Angels adorned shelves, along with books and boxes.  Meditation music played softly as jewelry glittered silently inside of glass cases.  This brilliant place was serene, and the the people behind the counters were kind and soft-spoken.

When I was younger, not quite a teen, this was a treat, to be able to go to this place.  This little bookstore was a place my stepmother used to take me, looking for heartfelt gifts.  The owner offered a Course in Miracles and other such new-age things.  This shop moved twice in its long career (as far as these stores go) and became a very strong presence in a spiritual community of alternative beliefs.  The owner passed away, then the shop was passed onto her daughter.  With her wife, she ran this shop that catered to the pagan community, eventually offering classes on herbs, on basic Wicca, past lives, and other various workshops.

Ever since I was 11, I dreamed of being able to do the same thing.  Being surrounded by wondrous, magical things and  catering to the pagan community.

A few weeks ago, this dream started becoming a reality.

My husband and I have talked a lot about the feasibility of opening a store.  It takes a lot of capital, and frankly, unless you're gifted with it through great credit or maybe someone passing (gods forbid), then it's hard to come up with that kind of money.  So, as a modest start, we've started a small booth inside a flea market in Houston.

The name of our booth, our 'store' is In Between.  We chose the name, because of it's multiple meanings - we are always in between one part of our lives and the next, and in ritual, we are in all worlds and between all worlds.  We are creatures in constant motion, between one lesson and the next.  We are neither here, nor there.

The idea has more evolved to being a spiritual gift and book store.  Path is irrelevant.  We are all on our own path, doing our own thing, hoping to be doing the right thing, and sometimes we have an adventure buddy or two with us.  Remember what I said about my stepmother wanting to give me a Christian blessing?  Doesn't matter.  A blessing in any faith is still a blessing.  So that has become our motto, if you will.

Blessings on your journey.

So...with hope, with fear, with anxiety and exhilaration, we bring to you In Between.  Follow along on Facebook if you'd like.  We are working to build a dream and we would love to share with your the wonderful things we find.  Some might seem scary, but our items will transverse faiths.  From Kali to Buddha, from sugar skulls to spirit houses, from Our Lady of Guadalupe to our Anubis plushie - we are trying to create a more spiritual, more rounded place. The greatest achievement we can make is helping someone find some solace in their spiritual journey.



This is a truth....about women.

I have a link for you, from the blog called UnWinona.  I think this is something I'd like to address.

I don't know whether or not the story is true for this particular individual, but I have seen this in action before in my youth.  Not as strongly violent as the situation the bloggess speaks of, but the fact that it occurs at all speaks volumes to me.

Perhaps there is a lot of people that really believe there is no 'war on woman'.  I am not writing this to convince you otherwise.  What I am writing this about, sharing this link, is the opportunity to be aware that this kind of thing is going on.  I found the blog after I found this, which started me thinking....:

My thoughts?


As a guy, thinking about this, I would be pissed as all Hell's get-out.

And I've seen this and dealt with it - the guys that for some reason, can't behave in a civilized manner.  If a woman acted in that manner, she'd be considered a psycho.  But really, what I can't fathom is that people stood by and watched this behavior without doing -anything-.  

In the narrative, the 'nice guy in the business suit' pretty much waits until there's no chance he won't get his ass handed to him by three guys.  I get that.  Where's security?  Where's a cell phone?

Hell, where is human decency?

So really, guys, when your buddies are actin' a fool - fuckin' set them straight.  Because the next chick they go off on might be your mom, your sister, your daughter, or your cousin.  


breathing life into old dreams

So the husband and I have agreed to start another venture.  I'm hoping the best for this, and going to do what I can to make an old dream reality.  So many dreams I had, others took and ran with.  That's okay.  They can have those dreams.  I've changed a lot since then.  But I kept a few for myself, which is cool.

Just makes me a fabulous person - so fab that people wanna be me!  At least, really, that's the only explanation I can come up with.

I don't know, I've never really planned out things.  Life comes to me at an adventure, and I'm very fortunate in the aspect that perhaps I've seemed aimless, but I've had so many wonderful adventures.  And now we're on a venture that I'm trying to get everyone on board with.  My self-titled adventure.

One of the best lessons I ever got was from an old boss of mine while I worked in retail.  I can't remember what we were talking about, but I know it was related to the store.  He just simply spoke these words:

"You have to buy into it."

That doesn't seem like a lot, but it is.  It's a whole lot.  Because failure and success doesn't necessarily mean doing good or doing bad, it means believing in what you're doing.  If you believe, you ride out the lows, scream madly and giggle on the highs, and if it pulls to a stop, you say flush-faced and eyes sparkling, "Man....what a ride."

It's been kinda fun.  I don't really answer to anyone.  My kids are at the fun age, which is homeroom and high school - to me, that was the most fun, extra curricular stuff.  My parents had a hard time being there - right now I can.  Not saying that having a child at this age is bad, I will raise a toast to you, but I don't envy the diaper-changing and car seats.  For those that have never experienced it, or have a deep affinity for constantly being around babies, it's kind of an awesome job.  But anyone that knows me also knows that this is the time that I've been waiting for.  Being able to really watch my little birds take flight.

Volunteering as a parent isn't an easy job.  Last Friday was the first football game at my eldest's high school. Friday Night Lights.  But when you've got a kid in the band, TRUST ME, it's all about the band.

I got there about 3:30, because at home games, they say that the kids don't really have time to go home, eat, come back, warm up, and hit the field.  At least, that's how it was for this first one.  So I show up early to help fee 315 kids.

One of the moms tells me, "When you're a Band mom, you don't have a kid in the band.  The band becomes your kids.  You have 315 kids."  Can't say that's not true.

I don't think I've sweat so much since I stopped going to the gym (which means, really, this could be a good thing).  We didn't get home until about 10:30.  I helped feed kids, chaperone kids, move instruments, RUN instruments, give potty breaks (that's a lot of potty breaks, I tell you), act as a bouncer, etc.  There's a LOT to be done.  But it's amazing.  It's wonderful.  And the parents who can take that kind of time to volunteer, that's totally frackin' awesome.  Because it's not just mommies, it's daddies too. Building, fabricating, moving instruments, feeding and herding.  Sometimes altering and mending.  And my daughter's daddy is really cool, because he's got a CDL with a commercial endorsement, which means he's a daddy that can drive the 16 wheelers.

So, this year is going to be full of pictures (which means, if you get to know me, you might see them on facebook) and busy as all heck.  Being home to do it all too is going to be awesome.

(And by the way.....we won 47-7.....it was a great first game, for the band AND for the football team.)



Living with Mom can be challenging.  Some days, it can be a down right pain.  But there are very precious moments that happen, and I wouldn't change them for anything.

My mother is 73.  She was one of five, and only completed four years of school.  So sometimes, explaining things is a real challenge.

But I love it.

She saw a clip of the rover Curiosity on TV and didn't understand what it was.  So, with the help of the internet and the Google Translator, I was able to show her what Mars was, and an article on the rover in Thai.

So then I go into explaining the solar system, and our position in it.  And where the the rover went.  And then the perspective of one star, our solar system, the galaxy, and how there were many, many galaxies.  I'm getting excited, because if you know me, you know that I get really excited when I get to share knowledge.  It makes me happy.  And Mom was really interested to know.

So I tell her that the name of the planet in English is Mars, and how he's a god of war.  I tell her that there's a lot of things like that, stars and such, that have stories, and that Americans don't really have that kind of history, so we borrow our stories from other cultures.  Mainly, what people know and teach deal with the Romans.

So she begins to tell me a story.  I'll make it a little more fluid, not everyone speaks the mothertongue.

"Once there was a monk, and the monk happened upon a very poor farmer and his wife early one morning.  The farmer had nothing, save for an old mule and a hen that had just hatched some chicks.  They scarcely had food for themselves, but they wanted to do something nice for the monk.  So they decided they would kill the mother hen.

The farmer's wife went to collect the hen, but when she tried, all the chicks ran up underneath the hen.  This made the farmer's wife feel bad, and she decided she would catch the chicken later on, when the chicks were not around.

The mother hen looked at her seven little chicks and took the eldest one aside.

"My dear daughter," she said.  "The farmer and his will will take me and cook me.  When you see the red blood flow, I want you to know that I am gone.  Please take care of your sisters as I would."

Later on, the farmer came and collected the hen.  He killed the chicken, and after his wife had stripped the feathers, she built a fire and put a pot of water on to boil.  When the water began to boil, she put the chicken carcass inside.  The chicks were so distraught, each and every one of the seven little chicks jumped into the fire to their deaths.  They would rather die all together than live without their mother.

Buddha, touched by the love of these chicks and their mother, turned them into stars."

And that is the story of Pleiades, the Thai folklore.  Or at least, as close as it was to the way my mother told the story.

It was beautiful, sad, and amazing, her storytelling.  I began to tell her the story of the seven sisters of the Roman mythology, then showed her on the map the time and distance.  It was amazing to me, that half a world away, there the symbolism showed.  I didn't go into archetypes and all that mess.  Just as simply as you can put it, it was a wonderful moment.  


echoes through time

People are like, "Let the past go - there's nothing you can do to change it anyway."

But frankly, there's some things in the past that just thinking about them, really damn well pisses me off.

I talk with all of my 'ex's.  Fortunately for me, not only to I have an understanding husband, I dated some really awesome guys.  However, no matter how carefully two people try to deal with a breakup, shit can happen.

One of the big things that pisses me off is that people I want to reconnect with from my past get some really messed-up, jaded views.  Let me give you the story.

A friend that I stopped talking to a while ago had a husband who was a complete asshole.  In fact, he was such an asshole in high school that I actually told him to his face, I didn't like him, he was a liar and a jerk, and I didn't want him to hang out around me or any of my friends.  So, of course, the next day, the POS person had their head in my friend's lap at lunch (just to spite me).

Well, over the years, he knocks her up, lies to his parents that he's married during this process, and finally marries the girl.  Which he physically, sexually, and verbally abuses for years.  I tried to convince her for years to leave this complete fuckface, but she doesn't.  Let's not mention that she has MORE kids by them, three kids, who get to listen to all the violence and see just how well a woman should be treated through their role model parents (one girl, two boys).

Just to give you an idea of how great this guy is, when their tax return came one year, he decided it was much more important for him to get a brand new, top-of-the-line computer than it was for his children to have beds (three children slept in one full sized bed).  One year in particular, where she left him for a few months, she lived with me.  When he wanted to get a vehicle and the money came, I asked him to get an automatic so I could teach his wife (21 at the time) how to drive.  I even suggested a place where he could get one fairly cheap that seemed to be in great condition.  The next day, he went out and bought a standard from the same place I suggested, a standard which cost more money than the automatic did.

I think you're getting the gist.

Well, when I was younger and crazier, I told the guy I was seeing I wanted to see other people (never goes well), and then I started dating someone else.  So, being my ex lived near this couple, this guy starts fabricating all these lies about how I ran around on him and cheated on him towards the end of our relationship (I guess because he's a cheating piece of shit, he has to pawn off his less desirable attributes onto other people).

Now, I think I can say with confidence that anyone who really knows me also knows I'm not built that way.  I think that I am a fairly decent person, and something like that would mar my integrity and my honor, two things I work really hard at.  But for the first few years of my marriage, here was this twatwaffle (new learned word), perched on my ex's shoulder, talking shit about me.

So...after a decade of hurt, anger, and loss, he contacts me.  I start talking to him, and he asks me about it. I tell him the same thing.  Basically in a nutshell, I never cheated and really, you need to consider your source.  And if you believe me capable of those kinds of things, maybe you never really knew me.  And I think at that point, he got it, but frankly, 10 years worth of stomping around, hate-filled and angry, that takes its toll on anyone. (But shush!  We're not talking about me, we talking about my ex...)

By and by, I think that things are 'okay' with my ex.  He doesn't want to shoot my husband in a dark alley anymore (that I know about) and will call me just to talk from time to time.  But...I think about it, and I get angry because I can't imagine all the damage it's done behind the scenes.  I think there were a lot of 'our' friends that 'sided with him' because they thought I was this evil, twisted ex in the relationship, when it wasn't that way at all.  Which, I don't really blame them for wanting to look out for my ex, he is a damn good guy....we just really did not see eye-to-eye at that point.  Closer to I don't think he could see things from my vantage point, and at that point, I had to move onward.  And when I moved into a more serious aspect of a relationship, I basically got whisked away, so where I would normally run around and put fires out and make adjustments, I physically moved away.

Maybe I lost a lot of friends during that time.  Maybe I didn't have a lot to begin with.  I know that I can't please everyone all the time by everything I do, and I don't expect to.  I know it shouldn't bother me, what other people think, but the reason I don't talk to my friend anymore is because of that worthless, pathetic excuse for a person - No, he will never change, I won't ever think better of him, and if he were to drop dead tomorrow, I still would believe it would make the world a better place for not having him in it.  But I suppose if they were really my friends...they'd have come to me and talked to me and asked me.....Who knows why people believe rumors?

That being said, he can continue to hate me till the end of days (because he does.  I've never actually done anything bad to him, but I call him out when he lies, which he hates, and I have encouraged his wife to leave him, which she has three times, including that once on my suggestion......which can tell you a lot about him, it's not just me.....because he's just a lying, cheating bastard....).  It doesn't change the person I am, just as he has never seemed to change.


Your habitat. It prolly sux.

We've here in Houston a year, and now we're working to dig out of years and years to accumulation at Mamacita's house.  She's off to Thailand in September, so it's a good time to really start in on it.  I'm going to  try to unfuck my habitat, you might think about it too.  There's lots of stuff, but the idea is doing a little at time.

We're trying to eliminate the crap we don't need and don't use, and frankly, that's a lot of crap.  Thankfully, we were able to sell our used medical equipment (from my deceased stepfather and my sister) to a charity that distributes them to others that need it.  That actually freed up more space than we figured.

My mother prefers rainwater to water her plants, so we're trying to restore a 500 gallon water tank to reduce the mosquito habitat she's unwittingly created.  This will be good too, because we will eliminate cluttered containers hanging out.

Anyway, any ideas, links, thoughts would be appreciated.


Basic human decency.

"Charlie Morgan just returned from a deployment in the Middle East and is now battling incurable stage four breast cancer. Should she not survive, her wife would be unable to access survivor benefits that she needs to take care of their five-year-old daughter. Watch our latest video & learn how DOMA harms military families: http://bit.ly/MorganVideo"

This kind of thing gets to me.  A lot.

You don't have to agree with these ladies' sexuality.  But there is something you SHOULD agree with.  And it's the freedom, no, the responsibility to treat one another with basic human decency.  With compassion, with love, and understanding.

The reason that this gets to me is that I come from a big family, and in that family, I have both a lesbian aunt and a gay uncle.  They are the most amazing people.  I love my family.  And their 'life partners' (frankly, I'd call them spouses, they've been together -forever-) are great.  I am lucky enough that my family can be accepting of them and their significant others.

But what happens if one of them passes away?

People bitch about the 'sanctity of marriage', but for the drama, craziness and complication of 'straight' marriages, frankly, it could happen with a lot of gay couples.  The world does not work differently, even if you are a little different.  People still have losses.  They have tragedies and they have accidents.  Death is no respector of persons.  

The difference is, if my husband dies, I get a huge chunk of change to make sure I can make that transition.  We've been married forever, so all his stuff 'r belongs to me'.  Not that I would know what to do with some of his junk, but I don't have to fight for it.

I've heard horror stories about gay couples though.

Imagine living with someone all your life, someone you loved dearly.  Building a life together, buying a home together, and having a white picket fence.  Your loved one dies, which is tragic because THIS PERSON was your life mate.  The one that you chose above all others.  That you would take a bullet for.

So you're grieving.  And then within a day or two, their family shows up on your doorstep. Mad as hell. 

Then they tell you that you have to leave.  Now.

All the stuff you bought together, well, your mate had the better credit, so it was bought in their name.  But now, even though it belonged to both of you, it's not yours anymore.  It belongs to the family.  Everything you worked so hard for, that you built a life together in love and beauty - torn apart, ripped up, stolen away from you and you're out on the street.

On top of the fact you just lost the love of your life.

Heart-breaking, isn't it?

But if you're straight, it doesn't generally happen that way.  Communal property, Common Law marriages.  Whatever.  But if you're gay and you never plan out your will or anything, guess what?  Your loved one can be shut out, shit on, and the rug pulled from under them.

How the hell is that fair?

You don't have to agree with a person's lifestyle.  But it is your responsibility to be compassionate, to care about the well-being of your fellow man, and to do as little damage to others as possible during your stay on this planet.

Stop being so damn judgmental.  For most religions that see homosexuality as a sin - frankly, it really isn't your job to judge them, is it?  That's for the Dude Upstairs Supreme - stop trying to take on Their responsibilities and deem yourself fit to judge other people's lifestyles.  That's between them and their Deity.  Just, in the meantime, be a decent human being and let people who love each other take care of one another.

It is one of the greatest things you can do with the least amount of effort.

unspoken stories

I was driving my daughter to school today (she's in an advanced program, and during the course of the summer, has been invited to study at NASA), and my keen powers of observation spotted a pair of pants in the middle of the road on the other side of the divider which runs between.

I started to giggle.

My eldest daughter, in the back with her friend, asked me what I was giggling about (because she knows her mama, and it's bound to be something she might find humorous).

"Well," I said, "someone left their pants in the middle of the road.  Who in the heck would take off their pants in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night?"

A few giggles tittered from the back seat.

"Mom, how do you know that?  I mean, it could have fallen out of someone's moving stuff!"

"I reckon," I mused (because, in the south, we 'reckon' a lot), "that someone took off their pants because if it had fallen from a box, there would be other clothes, right?"

"Hmm." More giggles.

"And if it had fallen outta luggage, there would STILL be other clothes, right?  I mean, I tape up boxes, and I latch luggage when I've got them in a trailer."

"Mom!"  Two teens, still giggling in the back.

"So....somebody must have been on drugs, or really, really drunk, and thought, GEE, IT'S TOO HOT TONIGHT!  I DON'T NEED THESE STINKIN' PANTS!....I figure if those pants could talk, they've have a pretty interesting story about how they got abandoned on a busy thoroughfare."

My daughter, between giggles, "Poor, poor pants."


The Witchery

Some people call it hokey, some people call it romantic, some people call it creepy.  But a lot of people just don't know how to take the spectacle that a metaphysical bookstore can entail.

I have been pagan for about twenty years, and one of the fun past times I have is looking for local stores (by local, I mean across my state) to purchase magical wares and goods.  I got to visit a great one this weekend.

This place is called The Witchery.  It is housed in an old, historical building built in 1914 which has been refurbished with salvaged historical apothecary furniture.Walking through the door gives you a sense of old-world style.  There is the main front room, with a long glass and wood counter, and mirrored backing left over from the days that the place was a soda fountain.  Opposite of that mirror, are two long shelving units which house books, tools, and the drawers of an apothecary, keeping herbs fresh and potent in the darkness.

Artwork adorns the walls, and curiosities line the glass cases, crystals, statuary and other oddities.  The staff is friendly, the place is quiet, and in the back, there are two green velvet-curtained alcoves which can be drawn closed for the personal readings the shop offers.

If you are are a serious scholar or just have a mild interest, this is a beautiful place to visit with a good, knowledgeable staff and a peaceful atmosphere.  For more information, go to The Witchery website.


Bear love.

So, I'm currently tracking The Oatmeal and a lawsuit some pretentious bastard put against Mr. Matt for plastering his webcomic stuff on the internet (Matt's) and then making money off it, and for Mr. Matt getting ticked off and asking him to take the shit down because he didn't want a freeloader using his artwork.


I really fell in love with the site, because someone a while back posted a story from Hyperbole and a Half (and yeah, I know I'm uneducated swine because the first time I saw the word, I had to look it up, pronounced it 'hyper-bole' and all that bullshit.  In my defense, A) At least I took the time to look it up, B) I can take that kind of correction from the husband.) and I found it falling into the same kind of humor my sick and twisted friends and I have.  If you get a moment, you might want to look into it.  Some great, funny stuff. And hey, he's raising money for a good cause!


Thanks to me? No, thanks to you....

So, I bought this shirt from Academy.  It's OD green (olive drab), and on the front, it reads, "Believe in Heroes."  It's a great shirt from The Wounded Warrior Project.

I was deet-dee-dee through Academy one day, and happened upon the shirt and the saying on the front caught my eye.  So I flip it across the back, and one warrior is carrying another.  I love this shirt.  It's a guy's shirt, and it's fairly large, but it's cool.  It's lightweight, feels nice, and it means something.  (If you read some posts back, I've decided that I want my consumerism to count for something....so from now on, if I purchase a shirt/clothes/jewelry at full price, I prefer to buy something that might make a difference somewhere else...)

Anyway, since I've bought this shirt, no kidding, I've had people come up and thank me for wearing/purchasing/supporting the troops.

I'm thinking to myself, "Seriously?  You're thanking me for wearing a shirt?"

So I tell them, 'Thank you'.  I tell them I have friends and family that have served, and although I don't really believe in some of (most of) the crap that the government does, that I do believe in the people that commit themselves to the armed forces and that I thank them for their civic service.  I know that they don't choose to go to war, I don't like war, but I know that they wanted to do something for themselves or for honor or for patriotism.  So I'm happy to do what little bit I can in whatever way I can.

I appreciate the fact someone noticed, but really, my thanks goes out to the soldiers, who do what I cannot.  Who idealistically fight for what they believe in, even if government doesn't always have their best interest in mind. For the young, because face it, most of those that command in the field average between 18-25.  We have some seasoned soldiers, true, but there are people out there fighting that can't even get a beer.  That should be deeply disturbing to people.  They won't even really be considered adults, but they're dying for our country.

Thank you, to those in service, to those that have served, and those who will serve.  Thank you.


Now, goys and birls, there are strange things that go on in our day-to-day world.  And, I kid you not, couponing is one of them.  I have to say, I am getting a rather morbid interest in this.

Now remember, I've worked on both sides of the fence of retail.  As a shopper, and as an associate of a large corporate evil chain delivering food, or various goods, or food AND various goods. I have seen women take HOURS at the registers counting coupons, checking dates, and perusing over their little folder as they pick through them, looking for what they want.


At least, that is what Evil Kathy does, sitting on my shoulder, casually hangng from my ear and screaming in a voice that sounds totally not unlike a fog horn (I think my brain borrowed the demonic sounding voice from the frontman of the band Green Jello...((yeah, if you can't remember the band, don't worry about it)) and it really, really grates on my brain).  So I watched the cashier as this horrid little thing bounced up and down on my right shoulder, giving me a crick, yelling at the evil woman, how she had to turn every coupon over to make sure it was the product, then to make sure it wasn't a fraud (how the FUCK do you tell a fake printed coupon from a home printed coupon, being most fakes ARE home printed coupons???) and only then did she scan it.  Those slips of paper probably got more action than a 40 year old virgin in a house of ill repute.

So, as I am carefully shopping my items, I pile the coupons that I am using in one spot.  I check, double-check, re-check, triple-check and do what I can to make sure that I read exactly what the coupon says and buy it as the coupon reads.  That way I don't waste peoples' time and or my own.

Anyway, I just needed to vent about the evil woman.  She gets paid either way, so a few coupons shouldn't matter.

One note for fun....

So, as I'm doing this 'trying to save money' thing with coupons and offers, I found this interesting company that makes condoms.  If you're artsy, they have a contest to design their condom wrappers.  It's kinda cool.  If you graded it like coffee, they'd be the Starbucks of Condoms. :)  Hip, trendy, cool.


What kind of cool designs can you come up with?


change ups....

Okay...lots of change-ups abound.

Firstly, they've moved me in the office.  So I'm at the front desk.  This doesn't bother me.  It helps me get some of these items organized that need to be organized, I get to sort what needs to be sorted, scan, copy, and my butt is parked right next to the printer.  Good thing - the front office doesn't swelter like the back corner office, I get to learn new jobs, and meet more people.  Bad things - well...we'll talk about that.

Now, I cannot say that when people look at me that it doesn't irritate me if they assume that I'm hispanic.  I don't have anything against hispanic people, the two ladies that I work with that are hispanic are totally frigging awesome.  But when people assume about me, they immediately begin speaking to me in spanish.

So politely, I generally say, "I'm sorry, I don't speak spanish."  Or I say, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand."  I say both phrases in english.  What pisses me off is when they continue to speak to me in spanish.  Or when I give them instructions in english, they perfectly understand me, but cannot even make the attempt to say 'Okay, thanks' or anything like that.


Yes, I don't speak more than one language.  No, I don't expect you to understand everything I am saying if english isn't your first language, but it would be nice if you at least made some sort of gesture or acknowledgement that you did, in fact, understand me.

Anyway, had to get that off my chest.

In other news, we are working on trying to be smarter with our shopping, save money, coupon, and generally get into better habits.  I am going to start keeping a talley of costs and things.  So here were the numbers from last week:

Coupon savings: $38.31
'Specialty card' and coupon savings total: S57.28 

So, for our first week out, our first real 'couponing session' and without a stockpile that usual extreme couponers have, I think that's pretty good.  Now, I don't see myself becoming an 'extreme couponer', but the fact we're saving some money makes me feel better.  I'm hoping that we get to a point that our 'savings' can be pulled out of the account anyway and then put towards maybe family vacation funds or stuff, but we will see.  Baby steps, kids.  Baby steps.

So any ideas from you guys would be SO appreciated.  (Aren't you happy I'm blogging again?)  Tips, tricks and things - totally.

Today is gonna be a good day, Tater....


Due to the Budget Savvy Diva's stuff and a cool friend of mine, I won a free pizza today from Dominos!  It kinda makes me feel cool.  SO...I'm gonna post the pics for you....

And....all for the mere cost...

Good luck to you in your bargain-hunting, but it was just my freebie of the day, so I wanted to gloat a little. :)


Freebies, zombies, and Asian food.....

Okay......here's something rather insane.  If you're a person that's into zombie movies, my family and I have been watching this movie called Wasting Away.  This is a really bizarre movie, because it's kind of a reverse zombie movie.  People are infected and don't know they're zombies.  It's on Netflix, but the title is Ahhh!  Zombies!

It's really kind of ridiculous.  I guess the 14 year old finds it funny.

Today, mom and I went to the Asia Market down in the Heights.  It's cool going there, because there's a ton of stuff most people don't see.  Whether it's at the 99 Ranch off of I-10, or down by Bellaire, getting to try new stuff is kind of fun.  A lot of people don't realize what they're missing.  I picked up stuff to make chicken curry, but we'll have to see what they decide to make tonight.  At least I got to the Farmer's Market.  Thought it was an interesting syrup.

Nothing much this Saturday.  But, from Saturday to Saturday, here's my freebies from the mail.  Cool, huh?

Real men wear pink - some even pink tutus....

I have to say, this is probably one of the coolest things I've seen in a while.

All artwork property of Bob Carey...hope he doesn't have a cow I'm promoting him on my blog....well...um, no pun intended.
This this is weird?  Hell, it's inspiring.

This guy, Bob Carey, is selling his books, his photography, no...his self-portraits....of him wearing a tutu.  And really, it's all for raising money to help fight breast cancer.  It's called The Tutu Project, and where it might seem really ridiculous to some people, it's one of the most loving, compassionate things I've seen in a while.  Maybe it's a tad bit silly, but that's okay.  Bob is getting out there for his wife, Linda, and his support for her during her fights against cancer, well....everyone could take a page from their book on the strength of love.  

As you know, I personally lost my sister to cancer last year, so to me, this is really, really amazing.  Yup, soon as I can, I'm getting a shirt I'll sport proudly.  Keep doin' your thing, Bob.  You are Legendary Epic.

And in your honor, my friend Trista even got Flash to show his support.  Which, might not seem like much, but really, we're loving the thing you do.


This is Flash, who owns T. Cook, which of course, took the picture.  I don't think she had tutus for her bunnies or chickens, or she probably would have dressed them too.


shameless plug

Okay, no one enjoys 'like'ing things on their Facebook because they get a lot of extra crap in their newsfeed that just clutters up everything.

So if you like inspiring quotes, I would really love you to add The Diane Kilsby Insurance Agency.  The reason is that often times, the words are uplifting.  And if you like freebies, right now, every month, they give away a gift card worth about $25 to different things.  This month is Best Buy.  Anyway, all you have to do is be over 18, live in the state of Texas, and 'like' the page.  I don't get how I can't get anyone to do this - I mean, it's free.  Yeah, they're gonna offer to quote you, but it's an insurance agency.  And really, looking over the stuff, you pay maybe a bit more, but this particular office has friendly people, explain stuff to you, and generally, Farmers seems to pay out more readily if you've got damage and things.

So, this shameless plug is to help promote a friendly business.  Thanks.  We will now return you to your regular programming.


Get behind a CAUSE.....

I've gotten a lot of flack from the whole Kony 2012 thing.  For a few days, I was nail-biting over it as it broke out across the internet and went viral, then I did some thinking.  Took me about three days, and I decided to order shirts and go Cover the Night.  It didn't really matter to me how the media made it out....I wanted to do something...

I can't control every person's integrity.  I can't control their honesty.  I can't control their actions.  But I can control mine.  I am never going to be able to account for the Relay for Life and where the money will go.  I can't account for if Invisible Children is spending money on overpriced salaries or if The Wounded Warrior Project is spending every dime on helping veterans.

But I can control me.  I can work on my individual integrity.  I can make my actions count.  They are small actions, but every mountain is built by even little stones.  Janetta makes quilts, Bob takes pictures, and I'm gonna make stuff.  And I'll see how far I get.  But the whole point is to do something, to try to make the difference.

Maybe we won't make the cover of People, but damnit, we're doing what we can.

What will you do?


...my saving grace....

So, I cornered my husband in the car recently, and we were talking about things we wanted to do and where we wanted to be in the next few years.  Because that involves money, we decided that we're going to try the whole couponing bit.

Now, if you've never done this before (like us), there are some pretty crazy extremes.  I have worked retail.  I've seen people come in with basketfuls of groceries, like $400 worth of groceries....then pay like $8 bucks at the register.  I kid you not.

So Wednesday, I'm gonna make a run to get some circulars (they break Wednesdays still, right?) for the local places, and we're going to just go week by week and see what we can save.  I'll keep you up to date here.  This really isn't a 'couponing' blog, but it's the crap that is ferreting around in my mind.  Saving money means we get to travel, getting to travel means meeting more witches and pagan folk.  So...it kinda ties in, in a round-about way.

But really, we'll see what happens.  Keep you posted.

However, this blog...I don't know if it's evolving, or changing, or both.  I'm using a program called Qik for imprompteau videos.  I've joined instagram.  I'm on Facebook, Twitter, and several other groups.  You'll find me by name, most of the time, or the user ID.  I don't know....but I guess this is becoming what my blogs always tend towards - a day in the life of me. Noting wrong with it...but I expected this blog to be witchier.


Bicycle Day 2012: The Shulgin Blotter Art Fundraiser

(Reposted verbatim) 

Today is a particularly special Bicycle Day anniversary, as it celebrates the accomplishments of two great psychedelic scientists: Albert Hofmann, the father of LSD, and Alexander (Sasha) Shulgin, discoverer of the therapeutic properties of MDMA and hundreds of novel psychoactive chemicals. 

It was 69 years ago today that Dr. Hofmann embarked upon the world's first intentional LSD trip, and his otherworldly bicycle ride from his laboratory to his house gave name to today's anniversary. LSD first started being distributed on blotter paper around thirty years after Dr. Hofmann's premier journey, and after a short time this gave rise to a specialised art form - decorated sheets of blotter paper. After some time, art lovers and psychonauts began to collect the unsaturated (inactive) artwork, and since then its popularity as an art form has blossomed.

This Bicycle Day marks the launch of the fifth and final round of auctions in the Sasha Shulgin Blotter Art Fundraiser. The remaining 10 of 58 sheets of rare blotter-art, signed by Sasha and Ann Shulgin, Stanislav Grof, Ralph Metzner, James Fadiman and Dennis McKenna, will be auctioned on eBay to raise money for the Shulgins' extensive medical care bills. 

In late 2010, Shulgin suffered a stroke. Although he is recovering, Ann and Sasha are struggling against a tide of medical and care bills. Sasha has spent his life doing basic research and giving his work away for free and although large sums of money are being made from the fruits of his labour, Sasha did not make much money. Funds raised from the auction of these limited artefacts of psychedelic history will help an elderly couple that together have transformed psychedelic science in a way that no fundraiser can ever repay.

These sheets, which are signed by some of the most brilliant and influential thinkers in the past 60 years of psychedelic science, have been estimated to have current values in excess of $750. These values are expected to rise substantially in the future. Yet, the sheets have been selling at well under half these values. Please, dig deep and consider bidding on these important items, either as a wise investment or as a kind donation.


Happy New Year!

Yes, it is the New Year.  The New Year in Thailand.  It is called SongKran.  Here's the Wiki on it:

"The Songkran festival (Thai: สงกรานต์, Khmer: សង្រ្កាន្ត; from the Sanskrit wordsaṃkrānti,[1] or literally "astrological passage") is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year's Day from 13 to 15 April. It coincides with the New Year of many calendars ofSouth and Southeast Asia.
The date of the festival was originally set by astrological calculation, but it is now fixed. If these days fall on a weekend, the missed days off are taken on the weekdays immediately following. Songkran falls in the hottest time of the year in Thailand, at the end of the dry season. Until 1888 the Thai New Year was the beginning of the year in Thailand; thereafter 1 April was used until 1940. 1 January is now the beginning of the year. The traditional Thai New Year has been a national holiday since then.
Songkran has traditionally been celebrated as the New Year for many centuries, and is believed to have been adapted from an Indian festival. It is now observed nationwide, even in the far south. However, the most famous Songkran celebrations are still in the northern city of Chiang Mai, where it continues for six days and even longer. It has also become a party for foreigners and an additional reason for many to visit Thailand for immersion in another culture."

This celebration entails a ceremonial blessing by sprinkling of water.  Over the years, it has evolved into almost prankish levels.  So if someone hits you with a water balloon or dumps an entire bucket of water on you and runs for cover, you'll know why.

"The most obvious celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water. Thais roam the streets with containers of water or water guns (sometimes mixed with mentholated talc), or post themselves at the side of roads with a garden hose and drench each other and passersby. This, however, was not always the main activity of this festival. Songkran was traditionally a time to visit and pay respects to elders, including family members, friends, neighbors, and monks.
Besides the throwing of water, people celebrating Songkran as a Buddhist festival may also go to a wat (Buddhist monastery) to pray and give food to monks. They may also cleanse Buddhaimages from household shrines as well as Buddha images at monasteries by gently pouring water mixed with a Thai fragrance (Thaiน้ำอบไทย) over them. It is believed that doing this will bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year. In many cities, such as Chiang Mai, the Buddha images from all of the city's important monasteries are paraded through the streets so that people can toss water at them, ritually 'bathing' the images, as they pass by on ornately decorated floats. In northern Thailand, people may carry handfuls of sand to their neighborhood monastery in order to recompense the dirt that they have carried away on their feet during the rest of the year. The sand is then sculpted into stupa-shaped piles and decorated with colorful flags.
Some people make New Year resolutions - to refrain from bad behavior, or to do good things. Songkran is a time for cleaning and renewal. Besides washing household Buddha images, many Thais also take this opportunity to give their home a thorough cleaning."

So if you never got to that New Year's resolution, go ahead and make it now.  :)  Better late than never.  

Happy SongKran!