lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 ...that went down the drain? THIS drain?

a snapped lead pipe on a dusty floor.

Magic works, people. Magic WORKS.


I think, at least, I reversed the spell soon enough that it won't cost us the full amount that I had written on the paper, but holy hell.

So, what happened? Well, Mason went to take his bath last night. A wash cloth fell behind the tub. He couldn't reach it, so he thought, "I'll shift the tub a little." The other pipes going into the tub are clearly flexible, so he didn't even consider the 110 year old lead pipe connecting the tub to the drain pipe. SNAP! And a, "Ummmm.... mom? Ima?"

He feels terrible, but we all talked about THAT SPELL, so no one is blaming him. Or me, for that matter. We're all pretty cranky with Llwellyn's spell proof reader, but you know... the truth is, if it snapped that easily, it was bound to happen. My reversal of the spell may have saved us from the "what if" of had Mason not noticed until it was time to drain his bath.  That might have cost us a new pipe, a new bathroom floor, and, as this is our second story bathroom, a new kitchen ceiling as well.

As we say here in Minnesota: Could be worse.

Today I was supposed to meet my friend Anna D. at the Science Museum, but that will be postponed until Friday, as I have to ADUT today and secure a plumber.  Fun times!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
The Lap of Love folks have their own memorial page for pets and so I decided to add Ms. Ball. If you'd like to see a bit more about how Ball got her name and came to us, there's a short bit of a story about her under the "about" tab: You are welcome to leave a "candle" there, if you like. (It all appears to be free.)

But, there's no need to make a special effort. I have very much appreciated all the comments left here for her and in support of our family during this horrible time.

In other news, because life goes on, I've decided to take on a rather unusual project for the next year. One of my Solstice gifts was Llewellyn's Witches' Spell-a-Day Almanac. Even though I'm getting a late start, I thought I would attempt to do each daily spell for the rest of the year. I will report on them here, probably a bit like I did with Ms. Ball's update, under a cut, in case my pagan practices aren't terribly interesting to you. But, nearly every year I vow to be "more witchy" and this seemed like a fun project to undertake. Plus, I have long followed the Tarot for Yourself practice of figuring out my personal "year" card, and, by chance, this year I have Temperance.

Aquarian Deck:Temperance

Which, according to Greer (my Tarot book author) means when applied to the year: "Developing health and haling practices, testing and trying out your beliefs and philosophy, creative combinations." (emphasis mine.) Seems like a good year, then, to try something like this.

I should probably put out there, before I begin this, that I'm very much aware that Llewellyn is in the BUSINESS of magic, and so, I will likely be critiquing some of these spells based on how much their ingredients might cost a newbie who might think they need the exact oils, herbs, soaps, etc., and will be offering cheaper alternatives (or practices that involve buying NOTHING.) I have, myself, been practicing witchcraft since the early 1990s, so I will be taking a lot of these spells with the proverbial grain of salt. If there are ones that I feel are ill-advised I will post about why I think so and see if the previous years' almanacs have alternatives that might work better.

But, even so, there's no harm in trying a project like this. I think it will be a fun away to be more mindful in my practice.Test out my beliefs, think about my philosophy. These are good things.

Spell-a-Day Project (Jan. 6) )

Spell-a-Day Project (Jan. 7) )
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 Do you ever have mornings where one dumb thing sets you off?  

Today, I was a big jerk to my family because, as we were getting ready to leave for the day, I could NOT find the bag that I keep all my pen pal correspondence stuff in. Normally, I wouldn't even be looking for it at 6:45 am, but I had to take Shawn to a dermatology appointment and the idea of sitting in the waiting room staring at the walls annoyed me no end. I thought that if I could at least write a letter or something, it wouldn't feel like wasted time.  I have a book I could read, but I couldn't find that either, because... well, probably because last night I gave away one of my lucky coins to the "good neighbors" that stole my pen at Wyrdsmiths last night, but that's another story which I will get to momentarily.

Suffice to say, I was a grouch-bag about my bag the entire way into to school.  As it happened we arrived to the appointment early enough that Shawn told me that I might as well do some of the errands I was annoyed at not being able to get a jump on, and I even had enough time to go back home and find the stupid bag. 

I got back just as Shawn was finishing, so did I get to write that letter? No.  In fact, when I got home and went to take the bag out of the back seat in order to move it somewhere safe in doors, I managed to spill the contents onto the icy street... possibly ruining all the unused stationary.

Yeah, after that I decided I needed to appease some gods, so the first thing I did was post a cat picture to the internet:

And, so, I posted this with the tag line: "Because everyone needs a cat in a basket today." Now, if I saw someone's picture of their cat doing something cute, I would totally write "Wow!" or "Adorable!" or "Kitty!" in the comments.  It seems kind of a natural response to me.  My friends, apparently, don't think that way. My first comment was a joking tease that maybe bird people don't need a cat in a basket, the second was another tease (a little rougher) with some kind of joke about today, when I could really use a basket! What am I to do with all the stuff that needs a basket?  The last comment so far is, "That cat looks pissed."

I mean, I'm getting happy hearts and likes and whatnot, but literally no one can say anything nice about my cat.

So, those are my friends.

When I could use some cheering up and thought to myself, "Hey, I'll post a nice cat picture so people can tell me how great my cat looks and I can feel better about today," I get a bunch of not terribly funny jokes and "That cat looks pissed."

So I'm going to change my luck again. Back to the bit where I gave up one of my lucky coins to the f-a-i-r-i-e.  Yesterday night, at Wyrdsmiths, I put my pen somewhere and could NOT for the life of me find it again.  I joked that it was stolen by the fairy, but it was weird. Completely gone, it seemed.  Naomi said, "To bad you don't have anything shiny to trade." But I always do, I keep 5 coins in that little, otherwise useless pocket in my jeans. It's something some Feng Shui book told me to do once.  I never worry about losing them because I figure that when I do, I just need to grab another coin and "change my luck." So, I left a coin out on the table. The instant I did, Naomi said, "Oh! I see it!" I had, APPARENTLY, stuck it in the collar of my shirt.

I took the coin back, which might have been my mistake.  I'll have to give them one as I leave today, so make it clear we're square.

lydamorehouse: (ichigo hot)
 For those of you who don't know, my family is Pagan. We're not always the most observant of pagans and we do also do some Christmas-y things around this time of year.  But we do make an effort on Yule/Winter Solstice, the shortest day/longest night of the year.  

We've had a Yule Log for years.  Shawn and a friend of hers "liberated" (aka stole) a perfect-sized birch log from Eloise Butler Wildflower Preserve.  Another friend of ours drilled three holes in it for candles.  Every year, we pull it out of storage and I decorate it from pine boughs either scavenged from our tree or from the leftovers at the Y's Men's tree sale (they usually have a bundle we can take for free.)  

On Yule, once the sun goes down, we do a very simple ritual of singing a few songs (including Fa-la-la-la-la because it mentions Yuletide) and a lighting of the candles. We normally open a few presents on Solstice under this light--and that of the tree. Traditionally, we try to give the more meaningful, less expensive, non-commercial gifts on Yule, but that doesn't always work out either. This year I gave Shawn her SUPER expensive hair product, for instance, which is neither non-commercial, nor cheap.  :-)

Then, once the excitement of all that dies down, Mason and I brave the cold and take one of the candles outside and light a fire in the chiminea.  We have a cast iron chiminea in the back yard, and I collect firewood all year for Yule. Last year, we stayed out so long, I actually RAN OUT of kindling.  This year our toes got chilly, but we hung out watching the flames and thinking about life, the universe, and everything for an hour--maybe a little longer.  Once we felt sufficiently "bonfired," we relit the candle from the chiminea, banked the flames, and came back inside.

We then transfer the flame to a fire-safe glass that we can leave unattended (though we keep it where we can keep an eye on it, in our bedroom) for it to burn all night, symbolically keeping the light going in the darkness. We have this really lovely stained-glass chalice type thing that, when light shines through it, looks a bit like a multi-faceted sun in yellows and light greens. I often use it whenever we do Solar rituals, in fact. 

Sometimes, one of us (usually Mason, since he's such a night owl) volunteers to keep vigil for the return of the sun by staying up all night and officially greeting the sun.  This year, Mason passed out watching Haikyu! (a volleyball anime) with me in the TV room.  So, I tucked him in, shut off the lights, and went to bed.  I'd put a 10-hour votive in the little stained-glass thingy so I wasn't surprised it was still going when I went to bed around midnight.

It was still going in the morning.

In fact, somehow, it stayed lit until the next nightfall, almost 24 hours.

My theory is that somehow, I placed the votive exactly on top of an old wick. There was old wax in the chalice thingie, but I thought that the previous candle was completely spent.  I'm guessing not.   What was especially neat to me was how STRONG the sunlight was the day after the day after Solstice.  It was almost like the sun really did absorb all of our Yule energy.  :-)  Of course we didn't really do that, but it was magical, none-the less.

But... spiritually and metaphorically, I think the world needed more light after give how dark and... awful (politically) 2017 has been. I hope that our small ritual gave the world what it needs to get through, and, in fact, it is my hope that our Yuletide miracle extends to you and your family.  If you have been in darkness, let our light shine through. 
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I took Mason to the May Day celebration in Powderhorn Park yesterday. For those of you not from around here (or who have never experienced it), this event is going to sound stranger than fiction.

For the last thirty-six years, a puppet theatre troupe based in Minneapolis called In the Heart of the Beast puts on a free parade and performance on the Sunday closest to May 1, which is probably best described as a modern, progressive version of a morality play. Usually, it's an expansion on a classicly pagan idea -- something (greed, corporate interests, war, poverty, or, as in this year's theme, our "baggage") mortally wounds the Goddess/the Tree of Life, who must be tended by the forest creatures (as well as a change of heart in "The People," this year their baggage transformed into the tiger of activism) and then is reborn. She is played, at first, by an average-sized woman, but when she is reborn she is a huge puppet. Her skirt is the May pole.

Another reoccuring event every year is the passage of the sun across the lake. (Powderhorn Park's centerpiece is a circular lake with an island in the center of it. The lake is big, but not so large that you can't walk around it in, say, a half hour or so.) Many years, as it was this year, the weather is typical of Minnesota in spring -- gray. But, every year, the sun comes out an shines on this pageant. It's one of those moments that, if I wrote about it in a novel, you would ASSUME I made it up.

In fact, people kind of wait for it. The sun hit the shore and you could almost sense everyone on the hill (there were easily tens of thousands of us) holding their breath. The sun broke from the clouds and everyone, well, in keeping with the tiger theme this year, ROARED. It was incredible. (I have a few more pictures up at Wyrdsmiths' page.)

Mason, for his part, found the whole thing kind of boring. I blame myself. I've only attended May Day a few times in all the years I've lived in these towns, and I never remember the schedule. Even though I looked it up on the Interwebs, I still didn't quite realize that the parade would last until three and the pageant wouldn't get underway until 3:30. (Some people go for the parade, some for the performance. I've always been a fan of the performance...) So, I got Mason there early, like 11:30 am. We ate a lot of the fair food and checked out all the boothes and whatnot, but, even though we stationed ourselves near the end of the parade, he wasn't that into it. So he spent a lot of the day singing the "I'm bored" song. I made him hang out until after the performance, and I'm not sure he thought it was so awesome after all that time hanging out.

On Saturday, Beltane proper, I initiated Mason in the tradition of May baskets. I asked this question on Facebook, but I'll also ask you: how many of you (not including those raised in a pagan household) had the tradition of May baskets? They're usually handmade baskets filled with flowers and other goodies that you hang on people's doorknobs or leave on their doorstep in the early hours of May 1. We had the tradition of ringing the doorbell and dashing off, unless you set them out (as I often remember doing) before, say, 8:00 am. I find it baffling how many people DID this. It, like Halloween, is one of those traditions whose pagan roots are undeniable. In fact, when you think about it, it's the opposite of what you do on Halloween (which is its opposite on the Pagan solar calendar). You get up early and you give something AWAY. On Halloween, you go out after dark and ask for treats.

Anyway, Mason had a blast with the running away part. He had some fun putting together the baskets themselves:

But he ADORED sneaking up to our friends' houses, placing the baskets, and scurrying away.

After all that, it's hard to go back to real life. Like, I need to buy a lawnmower today and a bunch of other mundane things that I don't really want to do.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
A lot has happened in the last few days. I chaperoned an all-day field trip to the “big” Minnesota Zoo, got Mason’s veggie garden ready for planting, and attended another Kids and Kin event at Sacred Paths.

Moving backwards through time, yesterday, was the zoo trip. It was fairly stressful. The way the teacher decided to handle the field trip was to assign each parent/chaperone a small group of four kids and told us to run free. I can’t imagine a better way, but this meant that all the responsibility for what we did, when, and where was down to me. Luckily, I know the zoo very well, having spent a lot of time there with Mason in the past. I asked my group (three boys and one girl) what they wanted to see on the bus ride out: Sharks! Wolverines! Monkeys!

I’d also decided on the way out that since there were only five of us total, I’d treat my group to a ride on the monorail. I figured that by the end of the day what I’d really want was a chance to sit down and not have to keep an eye on all four of them (since once the tram doors closed, they were stuck in one place.) Man, was I right! Plus, that way they got to see the animals without having to walk any further.

So, besides the monorail, we also saw the sharks (we went there first), Russia’s Grizzly coast (the leopard was the most cooperative, pacing back and forth right in front of the viewing glass), played in the new play ground “Woodland Wonderland”, had lunch with the rest of the class, and then did the Minnesota trail (where I gave each kid a punch sheet and told them it was a scavenger hunt to see if they could collect all the stamps,) and then, after the train ride, I thought we might have time to get out to the farm to see the farm babies – but they got distracted by the playground and I figured I’d just let them play until it was time to go to the bus.

I’m glad I gave us extra time, because I almost lost the girl – who, for reasons all her own, decided to run ahead and find the bus herself. She turned a corner and we completely lost sight of her. Worse, it was at an intersection of the "Woodland Wonderland" play area, the Grizzly Coast, AND the way back toward the aquarium. I thought, "This is it. I've officially lost a child. Parent FAIL!"

Luckily, we were close to a playground and I saw her heading back to it. We managed to even make it back to the bus on time and without further incident. All I can say is I was very, very lucky. Next time, I'm chaining those kids to me with adamanium!!

So I did nothing the rest of the day. What little energy I had left had been sucked out of me by the adrenalin rush of nearly losing track of one of my charges, and the squealy-ness of the bus ride home. We ordered a pizza and I played a few video games with Mason, tried to read a chapter or two (but my eyes kept crossing), and collapsed into a heap.

On Monday, I decided that I'd skip working out to work in the garden. There's a LOT to do in our yard. While I can't grow grass to save my soul, every seed that falls from the neighboring trees sprout and grow in inappropriate places like under the fence, next to the house, in the garden... you name it. If I don't want a tree there, it grows. HUGE. So I spent a lot of the morning ripping out junk trees with the new clippers I bought over the weekend at Menards. And, then, because that's a never ending job, I took a break to write. The sun called to me after an hour of writing, and so out I went to tackle the area that's become Mason's garden.

Mason, as I've mentioned before, somehow inherited my maternal grandmother's ability to throw seeds on the ground and have them sprout. Genetic osmosis, perhaps, but whatever it is, last year we dug up this little square of yard -- he stepped on a few seeds and we suddenly had a garden bursting with carrots, peas, corn and sunflowers. If I had planted it, we would have gotten nothing, as the birds would have eaten the seeds or some other disaster or blight would have killed anything that struggled up through the weeds.

Anyway, this year I decided it needed more definition. I had bought some bricks to edge the garden last year, but I wasn't happy with the way I had them arranged. So I did a bit of landscaping with the bricks and two of the pots we have for herbs -- rosemary and lavendar and set them in an artful arrangement. Now it looks great and is just waiting for Mason to work his magic.

Speaking of magic, we went to another Kids and Kin on Sunday. This one was even less formal than the last. It was an Earth Day celebration, which involved a walk over to a nearby park with the intention of picking up trash. We did that, although mostly Mason picked dandilions, violets, and pinecones. There wasn't a lot of trash, actually. I did find an abandoned fisbee. The "ritual" half consisted of play on the playground, which Mason opted out of. Not the most organized of the events, so far, but it's still a place where Mason can talk about the goddess and not have to explain what he means. That's something for now. Plus, next time is going to be Beltane/May Day, and we even have an extra meeting because Kids and Kin are in charge of making centerpieces for Sacred Path's Beltane pancake breakfast or something (I'm so not a part of this community, I have no idea. But, hey, I'm getting more involved!)

I feel like a lot more happened, but that's basically everything I can remember. I'm going to try to be more regular, but with the sun calling to me and gardening to do.....
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Actually, I don't have much to say. It's hot as hell here, in the 90s, and the neighborhood is filled with its usual sounds: kids sassing each other, someone using a chainsaw, car doors slamming, etc. The air is hot and opressive. I really want to drink a cold Coke, but I've been trying to stay away from them, especially while I'm on my hiatus from the gym while Mason is still out of school.

I wrote very little in the past few days. I have no one to blame but myself. Instead, Mason and I goofed off a lot. Today, I even broke out the sprinkler for him to run through. There was much giggling and squealing (man, that boy loves to squeal. It's an awesome sound, too.)

On the fish obsession front, Typhoid Mary yet lives. She'll probably spend the rest of her natural life in the 5 gallon tank, just to deny me the pleasure of a new, clean tank. Ah well. I can't wish her ill, not really. She's healthy looking... like a horse. I'm almost fooled into thinking she could use some tank mates, but I'm not going to fall for that one again. I'm on to you, Mary!

The downstairs guys have been spoiled, however. I've been changing 10% of their water every day (except when we're away on vacation.) They've never been zippier. The plants are growing like weeds. Joe must be seven or eight inches by now. It's hard to imagine that when we bought him he was a thirteen cent feeder fish no bigger than an inch or two. He's lasted a long time. I've been tempted to see if I can find out when we bought him (I know I blogged about it on this list.) I can't remember how many years ago it was... one? Two? Or has it already been three?

All mamamals are happy and accounted for. The gerbils have totally adopted the Morton salt container I gave them as a second home. Now they build their nests inside the back of it, instead of in the little wooden house we bought for the express purpose of nesting. The cats, particularly Ms. Ball, still go wild for them. We move them out of Mason's room every night because they're most active at dusk and dawn, and that's usually when he's trying to sleep. The second they're on the floor in the TV room, Inky and Ball have to inspect their "mice." Inky usually sits on top of their cage, while Ms. Ball bats at the sides. Sometimes Deliah will flop her fat belly on the floor in front of their aquarium and make half-hearted attempts to nab them whist lying on her head. (If I could get a video of her lazy hunter routine, I'd post it. It's fairly hillarious.) Ms. Piggy has never shown an iota of interest in the rodents. I can almost hear her: "Sorry? Why should I care? Do they bring me food? I should think not."

The boy mammal is enjoying not being in school. After Memorial Day, however, it's back to the old routine. I'm ready, myself. If the weather had been more decent, I would have taken him hiking today. But we felt sluggish. We tried to go to the Minnesota Historical Society (which Shawn can get us into for free) but it was jam packed with school kids who were all bigger (and more foul-mouthed!) than Mason. We ended up leaving in dispair of ever getting a turn in the grain mill or on the falling bed.

Ah well. The sprinkler was fun at any rate.

The bigger mammal (Shawn) is ready for the weekend to start. Work, with Pawlenty's maddening line item mayhem, has been a bit stressful.

Anyway, I'm chatting with some witches on another page. I should focus on them! See ya!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
So, all these years, I've been referring to my favorite coffee shop as Cafe Amore, well guess what? It's not called that at all. It's Amore Coffee. How stupid do I feel? I think I've even put them in my acknowledgements in SEVERAL books wrong. Luckily, I still have the page proofs for DEAD IF I DO and I just fixed it.


In other news, I'm writing. The impending change of the calander kicked my butt into high geer. Luckily, I'm also finding time to get other things done, like drawing, etc. So there will be more tarot cards for those of you who are following that thread.

Oh, and I totally believe in magic and writing. Check out the freakish coincidence that happened to me this morning.

Yeah, I think that's all I know for now. More later.

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