Friday, December 30, 2016

Birthdays, Traditions, and Gifts

When I was little my grandmother had this tradition that I always loved.  Whenever any of us kids had a birthday there would always be a stack of presents wrapped in newspaper comics...that were not for the birthday child.  Long before the idea of goodie bags, she kept drawer stocked with coloring books, crayons, and trinkets specifically so that everyone would have something to unwrap.  So that every child had a reason to feel excited and special.

Today is my birthday.  For various reasons it is generally not ever a day I'm super thrilled with.  And this close to the end of the year, I could easily get bogged down in how hard the last twelve months have been.  But I have to acknowledge the good.  That just in my life, all of this pain, angst, and worry has been tempered with weird quirks of fate, random luck, and the generosity of strangers.  I feel a need to continue the tradition of my grandmothers and give back in whatever little ways I can.

So, today I'd like to give you something.  From now until noon eastern time tomorrow you can get any one of my patterns for free with code "birthdayblahs".  And I hope that in some way, this will brighten your day a bit.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Stress, Side Projects, and Solstices

Today isn't what I expected, but that's not exactly anything unusual.  I'd hoped to share an exciting new recipe, but life and the plague sort of shoved me to the wayside.  And even though things did not work out how I'd planned, I still want to share something new.

For quite some time I've wished for a place to speak about both the complexity and simplicity of modern spirituality and paganism.  Somewhere focused but inclusive, somewhere just a bit less froofroo than the average.

After talking it over for months in a sort of hypothetical sense ("...someone should start something that...") my dear friend Sparrow and I decided to just jump in.  And thus you have the extremely abbreviated origins of Witchery Wednesday.

Please check it out, I hope you can find something to enlighten or entertain.   And on that note, I wish you a Blessed Yule and Happy Hibernal Solstice.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

This is Not a Political Post

This is not about candidates or issues.  It's not about changing your mind or swaying your opinion, as the time for that has well and truly come and gone.  This IS a post about storytelling, spirituality, and fear.

My mother was a poll worker for many years.  She did it because it was interesting work, because she genuinely enjoyed talking to all of the different people, and frankly, because we could always use the extra cash.  She would come home tired--they were very long days--but content, and with a fair amount of folksy news and amusing stories to tell.  And even in controversial election years it seemed to be a genuinely enjoyable experience.

That is not this year.

As we have all watched the increasing ugliness, unrest and aggression, I have said that you could not pay me to go near a polling place on election day this year (and as a matter of fact I made a point to cast my vote by absentee ballot a couple of weeks ago).  But over the past week or so it has really hit home what I am saying by my refusal to vote in person.

I have been thinking more and more of the various firehouses, churches, and schools where my mother has worked and where we have cast our ballots.  Thinking about all of the decent people she has worked with, that like her, volunteered to do a job out of patriotism, interest, or need.  These places, these people, will take the brunt of whatever happens today.

And I......I don't have a good feeling about it.  I'm worried, not about the election outcome right now, but the more immediate concern about all of these raised tensions, clashing beliefs, and the powder-keg potential for violence.

I've darkly joked about treating today as though it were some horrible cross between the day after Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, with all the angst and cons of both days.  I've talked about holing up at home with tea and a couch full of snuggly blankets, watching the fallout through the cold glow of the internet.  But I know many--most--do not have that luxury.

I'm not deluding myself into thinking that I can have any sort of impact on the actual election, this country, or the world in general.  But I can lay out my rocks.  I can light my candles. I can mix my herbs.  And I can try to assuage my own worry by a sending of thoughts, prayers, and hopes.

So, for those poll workers who are doing their jobs, for the kids trying to learn in one of the many polling places, and for all those people who are just trying to go about their day today, I wish for you light and love, peace and protection, and the safety of home no matter where you are.

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Treatise on Abandoned Things

I've always been drawn to items seemingly forgotten, left behind.  Old houses empty of all but ghosts, fallen trees, cemeteries left to crumble at their leisure.  Scraps of paper with a quote that feels profound, or just one fascinating word waiting to dance across your tongue.

I love the idea of leaving random things for someone else to find, or to be the person that happens upon a strange keepsake.  I keep a jar specifically for collecting the feathers that visitors to my backyard leave behind, and my house would not be complete without the numerous rocks and sticks that have found their way into my possession.

Stories on things other people have stumbled into have always fascinated me.  Whether you’ve found an actual family heirloom, just a spangley rock and lovely patch of moss, or even one odd skein of handspun yarn that has too little yardage for anything productive, but is treasured nonetheless.  Whatever it is, I’m interested in hearing about it.

Found objects being what they are, it always amuses me how people will talk of "finding Jesus" (the phrasing, not the sentiment) and I will absolutely jump in with how I once found Ra* in the walmart parking lot.

I'm definitely a "find-a-penny-pick-it-up" sort of person, though I do not know about what luck might follow.  I've never been afraid of a found object**, so I can't understand why I've been so intimidated by something so simple as an abandoned blog.

A while back when I got to the end of my latest paper journal I made the conscious decision to not begin another.  In some ways that was freeing, because it had gotten to the point where it was obligation rather than a facilitator of growth (after all, there are only so many times you can re-hash the same frustrating situation without driving yourself insane).

But I've come around to the idea that, maybe, that was the wrong choice.  I keep thinking I don't say anything--here, in person, on my fb page--because I don't have anything TO say.  And in some ways that is true.

But I still have all these words tumbling around in my mind.

I've written so many posts here over the past my head.  So many things I did and didn't want to say.  I don't know where to, or if I should, start.

I still don't know where I want to go with this blog.  I never have.  But I think it's time for it to stop being an Abandoned Thing.  Time for me to notice that glint and glimmer, to dust off the shiny, and pick it up.

*True story.  Granted, it was almost assuredly the letters somehow removed from a Dodge Ram, but it was really sunny that day, sooo.....

**Though I do very much use my own intuition and common sense over whether or not it is right to pocket the item in question.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This is not the traditional sort of New Year’s Eve post.

It also serves as a sad sort of finish to a more stressful than average year, and I am sorry for that.  But I can’t deny that in some ways it seems fitting.
As I’ve touched on before, my maternal grandmother was a huge influence in my life.  Be it gardening, crafting, cooking, or anything creative, she had a hand in.  Her aesthetic has shaped many of my interests and much of my life as a whole.
And I miss that.  I miss her.  Whether it’s a new project idea, or just when the first flowers bloom in spring, I want to talk to her about it.  Always.
Grief is a strange thing, and her absence is like a weird ache that I’ve sort of gotten used to, a hole that I carefully skirt around.  I keep wondering, aren’t these the things that are supposed to get better with time?  It’s been bothering me more…I want to say lately, but I think it’s been this whole year and I’m just now realizing it.
I was musing over my birthday the other day, and yeah, I know “age is just a number” blah blah blah.  But for a multitude of reasons this number is not one I am happy with.  Maybe without further explanation that seems shallow.  Maybe explanation wouldn’t help either.  I don’t know, it’s just how I feel.
The point is, I couldn’t figure out why the two things seemed connected.  They’ll always have a bit of a link—with my birthday being yesterday and the anniversary of her death today—but it’s been that way for years now and it was never that significant.  Then it finally dawned on me.  My number?  It isn’t a “special” one this year.  But it is significant when you do the right math.
Because this year?
She’s been gone more than half my life.
And I can’t even fathom that.  I don’t understand it.  It seems really impossible, and more painful than ever, and I just don’t know what to do with this realization.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gift Confusion and Belated Yuletide Wishes

My mother’s gift giving habits are a little…odd.  Not necessarily in a bad way, but still.  She tends to be completely stumped on what to get for everyone and comes up with some interesting solutions.  Case in point:  Last year for Yule I received nothing from her but Hello Kitty stuff.  And I couldn’t help but laugh about that because beyond the fact that she still occasionally refers to me as “the baby” of the family, it seems that she apparently also thinks I am five.

This year she gave me a Hello Kitty dog toy.  I don't have a dog.  Now I don't know what to think.
Anyway, here’s hoping you all had a wonderful Yule, a happy Hibernal Solstice, and/or a very merry winter holiday of your choosing.

Friday, October 31, 2014

In which few things turn out the way I expect.

Yeah, about that…

Beyond being one of the basic facts of life, the unexpected has definitely gone a long way toward being the theme for this year.  So, I suppose I should not have been surprised when fate (and a wasp; long story) cancelled my Halloween plans.
Today was to be a short trek across the autumnal decorated countryside, followed by a much anticipated and very much needed visit with friends.  Instead, it has become a quiet day hobbling around at home, windows full of gloom, dreary skies, and a threat of snow.  I can’t say that I am happy about this development, but I am working my way towards content.
Though the air is too cold and damp to carry the essence of crisp fall leaves, the scent of yeasty bread dough and pumpkin roasting in my kitchen sort of make up for it.  I am rounding out the day working with some lovely fiber, maybe a bit of sewing, and then snuggling up in a spooky blanket with my e-reader.
All in all, the day has not been anywhere near as festive as I’d wanted, but it has been good nonetheless.  Here’s hoping your day is/was fun, entertaining, or at the very least, peaceful.
Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain everyone!