Went to market. Bought milk and bread.
Got orryn gloves at $1 store. Went to farmers market,
3 stalls with cold people standing in the snow.
Apples, cider, raw honey, and spelt for us.
To the farm market,I got firewood and cheese.
Took orryn to a fabulous warehouse filled with amazing train dioramas.
It was really fun, so many many tiny scenes and trains
Running every which way. I'd like to read some books about
Miniatures. Watch toccata for toy trains. He had a lot
Of fun shoveling coal into the engine in their
Play space train. Got to see Santa, too, down a twisty
Corridor in another part of the warehouse--fake snow falling
On fake trees with twinkling lights and life size
fake stuffed reindeer standing in a manager, and mrs Claus
Gave him a cookie, and he sat in santa's lap a bit hesitantly.
We had dinner at a taco place in north side, potato tacos
That had baby corn and black eyed peas in them, really good,
And horchata hot cocoa. Then a party at a friend's new house; they
Have a cat they adopted from the wild that orryn spied and went crazy
For, he really wanted to give it pets but the cat is a bit shy
And kept its distance. Tick tock.
The neighbor's dogs certainly killed her & they just don't want to
Say so. Not like it's their fault, they do have a really high fence
On their yard, with a tarp at the bottom to keep the small dog in, so
Who knows how she would have even got in there... She told me
Her husband found Polly in the woods behind their house which
Is right next to our yard where the playset is, and
That there weren't signs of trauma... But a dog would shake
A cat if it could get one and not really be interested in eating it
Like a coyote or whatever. So that sucks. I wish she hadn't gone
Outside but we got lazy and she was a sneaky cat, too. When the weather
Was better she'd just sit in the sun in the leaves and sleep. we weren't
Going to let her out anymore since it's so cold now but she slipped out.
I'm going to look up pictures of her on my flickr when I am in my computer
In the office Monday. :(
Poly verse ran out the door the day before thanksgiving and we've been looking for her since then; there are some feral cats that live in cat boxes in the woods by the common area across the street and a neighbor thought she might be over there, and I looked but didn't see her. We put up signs and sent an email to the neighborhood listserv, Facebook mom's group, etc. anyhow, this morning a neighbor emailed me saying her husband had found her dead in the woods near their house last weekend, and for sure it is her since she has pink and & blue nail caps on and the cat he found had that. I don't know if she was mangled or what, I am waiting for them to write me back. so sad! Orryn really misses her and keeps going to her food and looking outside and saying kitty? Kitty?
We got her from the animal shelter near the bay in providence in 2004, before New Year's Eve. She was probably about a year old then. She'd been turned in by someone who had found her hiding out in their garage. She was pregnant and thus had 5 kittens in late January 2005. She moved with us from providence to Denver, then from Denver to the cabin the mountains, then to ohio where she rests. I am sad she won't go to california with us. She was the most social, sweet cat, and so pretty, and loved orryn to pester her.
Anyhow, the neighbor said no trauma which made me wonder for awhile if she had been sick and just died or whatever, but then I looked the neighbor up on Facebook and she lives right next to us and has like 4 dogs... Also a really high fence with a tarp at the bottom to keep the chihuahua in, but two bigger labradoodles and a couple other dogs too, I wonder if maybe they got to poly somehow. Ugh.
Excuse the absence, things got hella crazy right after my birthday and just like every year, Thanksgiving creeps up fast and hard! This year we decided to road trip to Portland to spend it with our long time friends, Stephen & Carolin and their nugget, Mila.
We took off Wednesday afternoon and the drive up was relatively uneventful save for Reza deciding to puke her guts out in the middle of the mountains. JOY! Luckily I was prepared with bags, wipes and extra clothes. We still had to stop, clean up and strip the girl in 30 degree weather. Never a dull moment! I still feel bad about leaving the bag on the side of the road but there was no way we were driving for another 5 hours with a bag of vomit in the car. Limits yo, we have them.
Thanksgiving Day was very chill. The girls got along famously despite the 3 year age difference. It always makes gatherings easier when you’re not having to play referee to bickering children.
Carolin and I spent most of the time in the kitchen, my presence more on an assistant level. Save for the turkey that Stephen buttered up, everything else was non-traditional. My favorite being this bacon & brussel sprout slaw which was hella good. A small view of Carolin’s kitchen…
I did pick up a pie cause it isn’t Thanksgiving without some PIE. None of that gross marshmallow sauce malarkey.
I spent most of my time away from posting save for some photo sharing on Instagram. I know a handful of rad people in Portland and as much as I would have loved to see/meet everyone, this trip was very limited in time and was about these particular friends. With that in mind my phone was hidden most of the day other than to call some family. We only had one day where we were all together so I wanted to make the most of it.
Of course there is no going to Portland without bringing back some kind of goodness in the form of socks and coffee.
Like many of us that are addicted to awesome foot coverings, we paid a small (cough) visit to the Sock Dreams store. I know they have an online shop but trust me, it is not the same. The store has much more and you get to touch.
It is next to impossible to go there without dropping some cash, no, really. And now I got a husband and kid that are on my funky sock tip, some damage was done. But hey, like I always say, “it all starts with the feet”. I picked up more of these word socks cause the ones I got 2+ years ago are warm, still stay up and are hella comfy. Besides, how can you pass up 666 socks? I can’t.
One thing that Portland does and does really well is coffee. I have no idea how people there even go to Starbucks when there is so much independent awesome to caffeinate with. Well other than the fact a lot of them probably have a drive thru. In any event Carolin took me to her favorite joint called Heart and bestowed me with a bag of one of their roasts. I also brought home another bag from Oblique Roasters since Whole Foods had a section of all the local offerings. Good stuff. For the record, I don’t watch Portlandia and the only reason I got this one was cause it was sent to me by my friend Tanner and I liked it a lot.
Carolin and I took our respective nuggets out on Black Friday for some lunch and movies. As much as we didn’t plan on it, we had time to kill and ended up at the mall. It was across the street from the theater. We took the girls to see Frozen which was cute but something lacked and I can’t quite peg it. No, it was the music. It felt more like a Broadway Musical than a Disney movie… which is funny cause I said that not knowing one of the princesses was voiced by Idina Menzel, most known for her portrayal of Elphaba in Wicked. Still worth seeing though and the nuggets loved it.
As usual I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have. Caught in the moment! I did get ONE photo with my german beech though, even if it just a phone photo.
Yesterday was the big drive home. We made a short pit stop in Eugene (hippies!!) to see Josh’s brother, Jake. We squeezed in a game of Apples to Apples over coffee and then we were on our way home. The drive home was a little longer cause not only were there a lot of piss stops but Oregnonians do not know how to use a two lane highway to save their lives. A lot of clusterfuckers in the fast lane to say the very least… and most of them were driving Subarus. HA! Stay cliche!
The cool part about the drive home is we got to see what we missed on the way up due to the time of day. The drive through Oregon is absolutely gorgeous. Green, lush, enchanted. As we made way into CA, we managed to stop for more peeing and photo taking of Mount Shasta, at the peak of dusk when the skies are gorgeous shades of pink, purple and blue.
Road tripping with Josh and Reza was awesome. She did really well, he drove the entire time and there were many juvenile jokes at the expense of road signs like “long load”, “hooker” and the town “Weed”. Always a good time with my triangle.
There was a lot of sharing on Facebook and otherwise over the things one was thankful for. I remind the ones I love who they are, what they mean to me, I pick up when you’re down, I compliment and not just when you need it, I value what I have and try to be humble. Humility, gratitude and honesty: those are three qualities I try to embody. I would like to think that I am a person that lives their life with gratitude and not just on one day but every day.
I hope your holiday was awesome, I know mine was.
In the early 90s I was finally accurately diagnosed by a psychiatrist with depression, and went on medication for it. It's really hard to describe how it feels when the constant depression, anxiety, and fear lifts. It took me a while to realize that the feelings I had felt throughout childhood and even into adulthood - worthlessness, meaninglessness, shame over nothing, anxiety over things I had not done - were manifestations of a disease and not a reflection of a spiritual state of uncleanness. When they were gone, I knew for the first time that they were biological.
After that realization I could approach spirituality with a clear head. Not out of fear or anxiety or depression or the constant worry that I had done something wrong. I could approach it with the understanding that the depression was a disorder that manifested itself that way. It had nothing to do with my relationship with the Divine.
As a result, I could understand the ups and downs of my own emotional states and look past that into the reality of the Divine. If I had an ecstasy, I knew that it would be real, and I knew that when it passed I would not feel alienated or like I had sinned any more. That freedom gave me the ability to experience balanced emotions and to gain emotional intelligence.
I didn't stop feeling emotions, and I didn't stop having ecstatic spiritual experiences, but I also was able for the first time to gain insight and depth into who and what I was becoming, without fear, anxiety, guilt or sin. I knew what my emotions were and I was able to handle them, and I could tell when the depression was talking and when things were genuine.
So that's why I say an emotion-based relationship to spirituality is not something that is sustainable in the long term. We all have experiences of great power and joy, but what happens after? In Christian teaching they talk about "mountaintop experiences," referring to when Jesus took his disciples up to a mountain and became transfigured before them. He took on his divine aspect and spoke with Moses and Elijah. Immediately after that Jesus descended from the mountain only to be faced with the exorcism of a demon-possessed boy.
Emotions come and go, they ebb and flow. The reality of the spiritual life, of our relationship with the Divine, goes deeper than passing emotions. It goes to another level, a great secret in the old wild sense, where we are able to say with the Priest in the Gnostic Mass:
O secret of secrets that art hidden in the being of all that lives, not Thee do we adore, for that which adoreth is also Thou. Thou art That, and That am I.
I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life; yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death. I am alone; there is no God where I am.
In this is the great mystery.
We called and they said most likely this one model, about 900
Square feet. I dunno how we will cram all our junk in there. I will
Have to foist some things onto my parents and sell more than I really
Wanted to. Ugh. They are supposed to tell us next week, so at least
I will have a better idea of how to sort things out. We are going to miss
This big house and the lovely, quiet yard. Hopefully we will find a good place
There, tho. It isn't my fantasy of living in an old farm house, haha,
But it might also be nice to be in a house that isn't all old and crappy.
I mean, professors etc can buy houses there, in the professor-land
Housing development. It's less $$ than the rest of the area, which is upwards
Of 500k. I need a job, or another baby and another book.
I like whittling down our stuff in some ways, but I also have quite a bit of quite
Good crap that I really can't countenance disposing of. Like really old and brittle dresses,
A huge canvas trunk of them, I cannot get rid of them really? I can't wear them either,
At least not with writhing toddler. My books I have already pared down. Braxton and orryn
Also have their own host of books. I have much crafting supplies, and all
Sorts of kitchen implements. I saved everything from orryn being a baby. I have like
8 coats, braxton thinks it's too many, especially as we are moving to ca, but
They are really nice coats and I can't just give them away, I'd need to consider it
And try to eBay them or something. Plus it does get cold there, he thinks it's going to be all
Warm, but it does get cold and damp feeling. Sometimes I miss things we got rid of when
We moved from other locations. Like my card catalogue I bought from the providence
Public library, that was my favorite piece of furniture ever. The begonia I had providence.
I dunno, I guess most of of furniture in the past was crap and it's only lately that we've had
Decent furniture (mostly inherited). Books and board games are a problem. Excess baby
Stuff is a problem. Baby stuff there isn't really room for in an apartment but which I refuse
To Get rid of... The trike and the jogging stroller and whatever.
Kind of excited about us having decent beds for once, tho. at least I can shove some stuff
Under the beds. And trying to get orryn to sleep at least for the first part of the night in his
Big kid bed. He has been using the potty lately, FYI.
We had a lovely thanksgiving with Danish fiends. It's so nice to lay
Out the table with all the fiesta ware and the tablecloth I made, and
Napkins. Very satisfying home-body ness. I'd like to make some placements,
That's on my ever growing list of things to do one day.
This is not confined to Paganism. Recently, in the world of Thelema, a number of people got excited by the idea that Jay Z might be a secret member of the OTO. Of course, theoretically, everyone involved in OTO is a secret member, but you know how that goes. Anyhow, there was a big bunch of excitement over that. Then Peaches Geldof (who, if you are as unaware as I am, is Bob Geldof's daughter, which may help you know who she is, but only if you remember Live Aid and/or the Boomtown Rats, which most people probably don't) was seen with a Thelemic tattoo and OMG! She is one of US! The twitter was twittering and the facebook was facebooking and there we were.
Now Thelema is supposed to be SRS BZNS and supposedly immune to the allure of Stars because, after all, "Every man and every woman is a Star." But a little bit of celebrity never seemed to hurt. And of course celebrities have a perfect right to initiation in whatever tradition that they choose, because as humans who are, hopefully, in pursuit of Enlightenment, or engaged in the Great Work, they are absolutely entitled to pursue their spiritual path.
But personally, the ascendancy of the aforesaid Pagan Blogger (we started with him way up there at the top, remember?) was not something I was able to rejoice with, because he never could seem to commit to anything, quite honestly. I have friends who assure me that he was "sincere," but sincerity does not substitute for commitment.
The one thing I can say about this blogger's writing was that he had feels, a lot of them. There is a sort of "Cult of the Internet Kitten Spirituality" going on now, especially centered around the Pagan Blogosphere, where people write astounding numbers of words that basically amount to, "I went to (insert Event here), and now I HAZ FEELS!"
I don't pull the age card all that often, but I have been at this Pagan business since 1987, OK? And before that I was, indeed, a born-again Christian, and even a born-again-spirit-filled-tongues-speakin
If you base your thoughts about your spirituality on whether you feel holy, or right, or blessed all the time, you are going to end up in a not-good place, and I know this from experience. There are going to be times when practicing your spirituality will be difficult. It will be tough. It will not feel good. It will make you angry. If you are following a spiritual path, you will find yourself at a point where you're ready to say, "Fuck all this shit and the eight-legged horse it rode in on," - and yet you get up and do it anyway. If you never find yourself there, you are not following a spiritual path. You're just kidding yourself. Or to be more kind, you're just experimenting.
Ex-Pagan Blogman was experimenting. He was trying Paganism out. That's OK, I am not razzing him for that. What I am concerned about is that he was quickly elevated to the point of being a Pagan Expert, when he actually did not, and does not, have the depth of study that would qualify him as an example of a knowledgeable Pagan.
Mind you, he didn't present himself as that. He was elevated to that position by a load of people on the Pagan Blogosphere for reasons that are completely unknown to me - probably having to do with the fact that he is, by all accounts, A Nice Guy. Who had FEELS.
Now, because the Paganosphere elevated Ex-Pagan Blogman to this position, we now have a guy who is featured on the cover of a Major Pagan Magazine who is not a Pagan.
And he is being interviewed in that magazine about a faith that he no longer believes in.
And for some unbelievable reason, the magazine went ahead and gave him the cover and published the interview anyway, even though it was well known by the time the magazine came out that Ex-Pagan Blogman was now an Ex-Pagan.
And now we also have a story in the New York Times about how Ex-Pagan Blogman has returned to his former faith, with lots of subtle gloating therein by the NYT writer.
1) We have GOT TO STOP ELEVATING PEOPLE to positions of authority they ARE NOT READY FOR. We have GOT TO STOP MAKING CELEBRITIES, and we have GOT TO STOP WORSHIPING CELEBRITIES. We live in a society that is sick to its soul with the cult of celebrity for celebrity's sake. There are too many people who are completely untalented, stupid, and swinish who have their names and faces in every media, every day, for no reason whatsoever - except they are celebrities. Do we, as Pagans, Wiccans, Thelemites, Occultists, whatever - do we really, really want to go down that path?
Because that's how Christianity got Pat Robertson and Oral Roberts. That's how they got the Joel Osteens, the Reverend TD Jakes', the Jerry Falwells and the Jim and Tammy Bakkers that infest their religion now. Unqualified people elevated to positions of authority they were not ready for and made into spokespeople and celebrities for their religion. That is precisely how and why Christianity is plagued with these people who somehow have license to drool stupidity all over the airwaves. Do we want to go down that path?
2) We have got to start talking about commitment. I don't see anything wrong with changing your path. I do see something wrong with an inability to commit to a path, which is yet another endemic American sickness that is starting to infect Paganism. Dilettantism is the practice of having breadth but not depth. It's why the words "eclectic" and "ecumenical" are starting to become synonymous with "uncommitted," and "dabbling."
Someone who is committed to a spiritual path is someone who is going to put a hell of a lot of work into it. And I don't mean reading a bunch of fucking books. I am not the first or the last person to complain about Book Pagans who think that because they read a Book, or maybe (gasp) TWO WHOLE BOOKS, on witchcraft, that they are now qualified to set up shop because after all the book says that all you have to do to be a witch is say you're a witch.
Being on a spiritual path means that you are going to stay up late at night thinking over a lot of heavy stuff sometimes. That sometimes you are going to have a spiritual crisis and wonder who the hell you are and what you are doing, and yet you are going to get up the next day and continue working on the thing you are working on regardless of your doubts. That you, like the rabbis in the concentration camp, are going to put God on trial and convict Him of forgetting his people, and then adjourn the trial for morning prayers.
We like to say that Paganism is fun, and there are a lot of people who emphasize the Smurfy elements of Paganism, and yes, Pagans do dance around trees, naked, singing "Fa, la la, la la la, la la la, la la la!" And there is nothing wrong with that.
But any real spiritual path also involves sacrifice and sweating blood, fighting ourselves, doing things we don't want to do, facing up to the fact that we are ignorant and lazy sometimes and fall far short of our goals. And then we stand up and go back to work toward Attainment.
What I'm saying (in my exhausted state, not much sleep) is that we need to start looking harder at who we pay attention to, and why we are paying attention to them, and whether or not we are personally committed to the Great Work. I am not ashamed of saying that, and I don't think it's corny. We are here to do the Great Work. We are here for Attainment, and we are striving toward Enlightenment and Godhood.
I have nothing against Ex-Pagan Blogman. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Go worship Jesus, Jesus was way cool, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUrqaJZH-0
What I do have a problem with is a Pagan culture that elevated someone to a position of prominence and notoriety based on the fact that he was a celebrity. Now the Pagan Blogosphere who did this has egg on its collective face because, OOPS, our superstar Pagan is not Pagan any more, and yes, he's on the cover of our new magazine, and oh yes, there's a New York Times story about it.
That's not Ex-Pagan Blogman's fault.
That is OUR fault, because modern Paganism is too unwise and too starstruck, and we care more about FEELS! than commitment.
That is a problem.
This feeling comes on me unexpectedly and has since I was a child. It is definitely not as frequent as it was when I was a child, and it is not as severe; thankfully it passes. I know what to do to make it pass. I occupy myself with work of some sort, whether it's at home or at work, and make myself busy, and eventually it does pass. But it takes a while. And when I have one of these episodes I feel haunted by it afterwards, it colors whatever else I do for the rest of the day.
Right now I would like to go home and go under the bed if I could, just disappear until I felt human again. I can't do that; I have a group to run and many, many responsibilities at home and at work. It's probably best for me if I do occupy myself, if I do have tasks that I can make myself engage in. But I would rather not be here. I hope this passes soon.