Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Seems like forever...

Seems like forever since I have written anything, here or anywhere else. That's what happens, I guess, when I get stuck with 4 days in a row of work, closing the store. I get stuff DONE in the morning then it's time to go to work and when I come home after a night on my feet I am dead. All I want to do is take decongestant (I have been having nighttime congestion that kept me awake most of the first night of the 4-day work session and that set it all off on the wrong foot, mainly the TIRED one.

Next night I downed a kids decongestant, tylenol for my aching body and a short drink and slept great. But that doesn't make up for lost sleep.

Also the first night or so, I happened into the master bath (you know the one... on the west end of the trailer, facing the prevailing winds...) during a major wind storm and noticed the inside panes of the windows around the tub (a set of three tall and thin, non-opening windows set up like a bay window) literally flexing and bowing as the wind pounded outside and the breezes whistled around me inside. Finally, a light bulb went off in my brain and I guessed that at least a large part of why that room always feels so darn cold was (TA DA!!) the wind blowing in from outside around those windows (and the others as well... but they are less easy to fix... and as I found out later, blowing in through the not-really-sealed joints in the pre-papered wallboard as well.) On one of my 4 workdays I didn't have to be in until 4, so I made a flying trip into the city to get more caulking and a replacement for my caulk gun (which, of course, went missing exactly when I needed it... after it had been kicking around for months, being used for a little bit here and there). That night when I came home I put caulk around the window frames (outside, where they join to the wall) as well as around the glass where it meets the frame. I use the term "meets" loosely, as most of these joints had a good 3/16 inch gap to fill! I did not do anything like a "good" job, but since the whole room is slated to be redone, I am nt worried.

Actually the entire house needs to be re-sheetrocked, have new "real" windows, and likely more insulation. Eventually...

But for now, I have filled the worst of the leaks and am looking at some touch-up likely in the near future and it does seem less like going on an arctic expedition when I go in to feed the kitties or -- Gods help me, get up in the middle of the night, crawling out from in a warm bed, under a blanket of kitties -- to pee. BRRRR!

And then today, my first day off in a bit, I had to get going early to accompany K to what was supposed to have been a counseling appt 45 min away -- but turned out to be mixed signals. Not fun when you close the store the night before... but the rest of the day was a bit more productive as we finally managed to make the trek to Remy's in Dexter (a discount/odd lots type store that we had heard of, but not yet visited.) I had been told they had good prices on snowshoes and have been needing a MODERN pair (as the free ones I got a bit ago are great to look at but have been repaired -- I suspect not too well -- and I was worried about using them at my current weight. We found the store -- it is much nicer, cleaner and better organized than the other local institution of that type, but the prices were not quite as low as we had been lead to believe. Nevertheless I got the shoes and K found diabetic socks for a VERY good price, so it was a good trip.

The rest of the day was mostly spent getting us set up to finally be fully and completely almost legal Mainers. That is to say, now that K finally got his drivers license here, he was ready to get the vehicles insured and licensed and inspected in Maine. Which we have done... sort of. Yes we have insurance. And yes, we have plates BUT the gals in the town office suggested that if we made our registration effective Friday, they could give us renewals in 2010, which is what we opted to do. So for tomorrow, when I go to work, the car will be in an odd grey area. Not that I am worried at all... It still has its NC plates but were I to get stopped, I would have to show ME insurance... And there is a new place here in town that does inspections but they are new and just certified and don't have their stickers yet, so that will need to wait for next week.

Not that that is all a big issue for the truck -- which will now be sporting FARM plates -- as it won't be going anywhere until the driveway is clear enough of ice for me to get to the tire store. After I get it started...

Also picked up to holiday packages from my kids... this is photo year it seems.. as I got a neat framed montage of grandkid photos from my youngest and this from my eldest. You can be sure it will be hung just as it is... a most creative solution... and a new frame will be found for the photo when it arrives.

We got an inch or so of snow today and likely a bit more tomorrow. I will most likely break in the new snowshoes taking the kitty litter scrapings to the back field to scatter them on Thursday, which I DO have off.

My new years eve plans are pretty much as they always are -- make sure the house is clean (I'll just have to sweep and mop and do whatever dishes) and go to bed. After working in a store that sells wine, beer and the hard stuff until 9 on the eve, I doubt I'll be fit for much else.

Am thinking about Enchiladas for dinner on Thurs, changing the calendars and maybe starting to assemble a rack I have designed to hold my (interior) hex paints.

Despite the downturn in the economy and various other frustrations and traumas along the way 2008 has proven to have been a pretty good year. I'll have to look back and stuff I wrote this time last year, but looking back at the moment highlights include:
  • getting laid off, which was a good thing because then
  • I got unemployment which made it possible to
  • move to Maine earlier than I thought and even though the first one ... and the second one... ad nauseum... petered out we
  • bought a home on
  • a few rural acres and
  • I found work (several times) (several ways) and
  • the hex business is growing and
  • the design business refuses to die
  • about 2 acres are tilled and some berries planted and
  • plans are in the works for more planting and
  • I have an official farm truck
  • the space in which the sacred grove will be planted has been found and agreed to by the Gods (just today... a crow... another story)
  • the Gods continue to lead me on the Volva path
  • K is getting decent health care and
  • I am excited to see what the next turn of the wheel will bring.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Turning a corner

I am feeling like I am turning a corner and things are much more as they should be... compared to how I was feeling a few days ago.

Yeah I am still "behind" in work and projects... but something has changed though I am not quite sure what. Perhaps, though, it has to do with having -- finally -- got the mistletoe that I used to make protection charms this time of year and having got some deployed yesterday afternoon to the four corners of our land and the entrance to it.

The tale of the mistletoe is a strange one.. I have been using it since I lived in TX many years ago and found some -- the first "real" mistletoe I had ever met -- growing in the poor excuse for a back yard at the apartment I shared with friends. I was able to buy it when living in the NC mountains -- the real stuff not the kind you find at the checkout counter at the discount stores for Christmas -- and found it growing on trees on the NC coast (though high up and I ended up buying or trading for it most years.) I had hoped to get some sprigs from my most reliable supplier when I was down there the first of the month, but we did not connect.

So, when I got back home I got on the 'net, did a search and ordered... only to have it come as dried shreddings in well-stuffed plastic bags. GRRR... shoulda read better, I guess, but it never occurred to me anyone would use it dried! Anyway that went back before Christmas and I am hoping for a refund, as the package was only barely opened and the contents (bags) not even touched.

But that left me mistletoe-less... so back on the net I went and found a source that would ship what I wanted, second day or overnight... so I ordered (second day, which was high enough shipping! LOL) and it arrived Christmas eve and I was able to make my charms yesterday (thankfully I do observe Yule as a "tide" rather than a day, which allows for the flexability to deal with these sorts of "oh s##t" moments!) and take the ones to the perimeter, Working as I went.. .in more ways than one.

You see, I did not manage to connect with a good pair of waterproof, high traction boots for slogging though the winter during our shopping before Christmas. And I am out of spray waterproofing for the Ugg-clones that I have so both pair had got wet and were not yet dry... but deploying the charms was something I HAD to do, so I borrowed K's SIZE 13 boots and off I went. Boots were great... feet stayed warm and dry and they are the sort I am looking for ... but walking as bigfoot is a challenge even on open ground. I was glad I had my "nordic walking poles" (aka ski poles skimmed from a "free" pile along the roadside during the summer) to help me balance and give me something to push against to clamber through the knee-deep drifts which still exist despite the rain, wind and higher temps.

I still must hang the charms for the doors, inside, today.
and clean/organize the office
complete cleaning of the living room (organizing is done)
work on the hanging-fire projects
begin plotting and planning the garden (including learning about row covers, seed-starting times for here, checking with the building inspector about permits for greenhouses and/or greenhouse additions to house or garage) but I have ordered catalogues from Johnnys and from Fedco . Even though I will likely order from both online, I like to have the physical catalogues in front of me, so I can sit at my leisure, away from the computer, to plot, plan and compare... I will also look at Burpee as they have a few things that I want to try and have not seen anywhere else. And I don't feel totally left out, as I did get the Jung catalog this week.

But despite the fact that there is almost as much to do as there was a couple of days ago, I FEEL different about it now, kinda like I have passed through the worst of the darkness and am once again working with the slowly gathering light.

Blessings to all.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

















The view out the back door about 3:30 this afternoon... I used fill flash and that allowed it to show some of the falling snow!


















Can't tell it's falling in this shot, which was the first one I took. We are predicted for up to 18" overnight and blizzard/white out conditions.

I don't have to be at work until 4 tomorrow afternoon, we have been out to breakfast this morning and stopped by the store, so we are well supplied. Here in Maine it's not "bread and milk" but "milk and Allen's (coffee brandy)" that gets the pre-storm run. We already had Allen's on the shelf (it makes a killer version of a Brandy Alexander!) but in a nod to my hurricane party tradition of beer and chocolate, I got a six-pack of hard cider and yes chocolate. Also some veggies and stuff like tea that we really did need. LOL

I am thoroughly enjoying this and am glad it started a couple of hours early (prediction was for start at 3) so I had some time during the day to enjoy watching the snowfall.

Words of Wisdom December 21

Enjoy the gift of loving connections with those around you.

The word of the day is joy.

------------

Wishing you all wonderful Yule blessings and a prosperous and abundant turn of the wheel.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nor'easter coming!

We didn't get much snow to speak of yesterday or overnight, but I am reading that a nor'easter is supposed to be bringing more as a Yule present tomorrow night. I hope so. Love the white stuff!!

I do have to work Monday, but the last storm day I worked was crazy-busy and that is good. Everyone was in a good humor because we WERE open, and could make them hot sandwiches and pizza when their electric was out. Most folks here have some sort of back up heat, if they use electric for their heating or have an oil furnace with a fan that doesn't run when the power is off... but many still have electric stoves/ovens instead of propane. At the store, our grill is electric but even if the electric goes off we can still make pizza and stuff like that as the oven is gas.

I was expecting Christmas off (they are closed) but expected to work Wed evening... instead I get three days in a row the end of the week. Not my favorite.. makes my legs and feet hurt.. but we will cope. I had intended to offer to work Christmas Eve in trade for someone who has little ones, but the way the schedule is set up, it just won't work.

I got the emergency order of hex signs done and K took them to the PO yesterday afternoon, a day ahead of schedule, so hopefully we made one very happy customer. And he was able to get his license done yesterday morning as well. While he was gone doing that -- and getting my glasses repaired -- his doc's office called to say that they had faxed the appropriate signed paper to the capital so hopefully his permanent one will come in the mail in a couple of weeks. We like the doc, and her assistant is excellent.. just the front desk receptionist who needs to have an attitude adjustment.

The day is dawning overcast, grey and white. The dog has been out and I need to check the chili, as I left the crock pot open and on high overnight, hoping it would cook down a bit (didn't mean to leave it overnight!, just for a bit...) and with the Gods blessings it will be a good day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Trying to get into the spirit

Sigh...

We have snow. It covers the fields and as of yesterday still lay on the branches, both green and brown.

The cards and gifts are all sent. The locally grown, organic turkey that I helped harvest some time back is thawing in the fridge and several packs of locally grown cranberries are quietly awaiting their fate from the depths of the deep freeze.

The tree has been up for weeks, happily lit and decorated and is plugged in each night to greet me when I drive up fro work.

And I am very much looking forward to tomorrow at 4, when I get off for the weekend. Yule eve... I think I'll try to complete the Words of Wisdom book that has got put on the back burner and then try to spend the day not doing much. But likely won't be able to , as I have not had the chance to do my pre-Yule organizing and the place is a disaster, with packing materials all about, and recycleables needing taking to the center. Sigh... well remembering that it is a TIDE and and not a day... I expect I will do some organizing and haul recycles -- maybe even on the weekend, if not on Monday and I will hope beyond hope that the local dump will be open on Wend morning before Christmas as I likely can't get that stuff carried off Saturday after work. Maybe I can get K to take it when he gets back from posting the hex signs Sat. AM... the dump is only open W, R and Sat and while we only have to go every few months, it is time.. and I don't want to get caught in the after-Christmas chaos.

I am still miffed at having "lost" the entirety of a "day off" yesterday, with only one of my necessary errands having been attended to. Yea, it WAS a K-go-to-Doctor day, though this time his appt was not at 8 but mid-morning. That allowed at least a bit of mental time in the morning. He has been putting off -- for at least 3 months if not longer, since we got here in March -- getting his drivers license, etc. here in Maine. One reason or another... yeah it is a pain in the arse, what with him being diabetic and and all.. but still. GRRRR.. Anyway, he finally decided to do it, downloaded ever possible form from the state website and took them to the doc for completion. Unfortunately she was under the assumption that only ONE needed to be done and that was the one for the placard so when we finally got to the DMV, he did not have the one he needed for his license. THEN it turned out that NC had suspended it but the folks here couldn't tell why... so after going back to the Doctors office (another hour+ of driving, to give them the second form, which will maybe be completed when the doc is next in, on TUES and maybe not... I have got to complain about the lack of customer service skills shown (repeatedly) by the receptionist!!)) and then returning from there to call NC, it seems that apparently they had sent out a "justify your keeping your license" form as they do periodically for diabetics and it was not forwarded, so they figured he was being uncooperative. At least when they learned the story via the phone, they rescinded the revocation and he should be able to at least BEGIN the procedure today. And remember to dog the docs office to fax the damn paper to the state on Tues...

But because of these follies we didn't get my bifocals taken by an optical shop to have the earpieces reattached (short version of long story, I was getting a loose screw and asked K to repair as I often do. Seems this pair is spring-loaded and he couldn't, but now both ear pieces are OFF the specs... ) OR get K's meds at Sams (insulin is high priority, and others will be needed soon... Nor did I get to stop at the grocer for some additional peppers for the Chili I was going to put in the drock pot... so I am crossing my fingers that he can get at least some of this done and get back by 12:30 so I can go to work.

Artie the truck is on strike, likely due to the cold and old battery and just plain being old, period... but even if I could get him started I likely couldn't get out the drive as I didn't get the tires replaced and they need it, with this snowfall.

Well, enough whining... time to get a bite of breakfast, maybe start baking bread so I will have some for stuffing for the fowl and see about that chili with what peppers are at hand. I know I have a few sweet dices in the freezer and some small red ones dry in the cupboard.

Hey, at least it is WHITE out!! Woo Hoo!! and they say perhaps another inch tonight.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday musings


A while back, my eldest made an interesting post on her private blog about Christmas and Yule and the holidays in general. She was talking about how she was tired of taking flak for "keeping secular christmas" and her annoyance with professed Christians who see no problem with keeping a secular Samhain (Halloween) but don't like the shoe on the other foot... and about how her personal spiritual beliefs -- and the keeping of Yule -- are very, very private.

I have been kinda thinking about that all as I have been struggling -- not sure why -- to get what I think of as the "outgoing" part of my holiday preparations completed.. that is the cards, gifts...stuff that I send or give out. Now, as I remember my daughter characterizing the secular holidays, she included "overspending" in there somewhere, but the commercial aspects have always been relatively minimal for me. Oh, I do buy stuff... citron and nuts, flour and sugar, eggs and milk for the holiday baking and over the course of the year, lots of stuff ot make things with, but the "having to buy for" has always been a minor part for me. And this year I have not got into the baking at all, not sure why... but I did do many more cards than I had expected and they have now all been sent and the gifts to my kids and grands are on their way and I feel ... finally .. calm and relieved. I feel like I can start on the most important part, for my... that which happens here, around the hearth and at home.

A lot of this is internal stuff of course, in keeping with the nature of the season of darkness and inward-turning, of looking back, taking note, planning for the coming seasons.

I have a lot of picking up and organizing to do, some cleaning, some writing. There are projects still incomplete and others not yet started, but they will be done in this season of contemplation.

And maybe the snow will fall tomorrow (after the winds melted the last bit) and it will once again begin to feel right as well.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Working...

This getting old sucks. I was so stiff and sore yesterday at work that I could barely move, and when work entails standing for 8 hours, making pizza like there is no tomorrow and then climbing, reaching, lifting and pulling to get products onto the cooler shelves (beer is HEAVY in the quantities they seem to drink it here! LOL) it is truly, well, WORK.

However I do enjoy working in the store, and especially so yesterday. Many parts of the local communities were out of power for protracted periods, the schools were closed and the roads treacherous (especially mid-day when I had to go to work). We only lost power at the store for a bit, and even then could continue to make pizza, as that oven is propane-powered. But it was really obvious how much of a service a small local store is to the community, as we were very busy all day with folks coming in for milk and bread (yes, the usual storm fare, LOL) but also lunch stuff, take-out meals (for many without power, their option for a hot meal) and gas or kerosene for generators and auxiliary heaters. And though the stores were open in Bangor (about 20 minutes away to the closest one, on a good roads day) I think most folk opted to stay closer to home.

But that meant that I was so beat by the time I got home, that I did not have the energy to do a moon ritual last night. I did greet the bright, full moon as I laid down to sleep (the clouds had passed and the moonlight was very bright on the white and icy landscape) and again this morning, as she was setting as I let the dog out for her pit stop. But I will do a bit more this morning, after I change the altar over to a more wintry setting.

I still have cards to complete and mail and the gifts must be wrapped and posted as well, but I with my work schedule having got messed up from my trip, that will happen first of the week. I close again tonight and (thankfully) though I work daytime hours on Sunday, don't have to start until 9. Then I do not work until Wednesday, which should give me enough time to get the stuff wrapped and sent and the chaos cleaned up a bit.

I am most happy at having got the Craft room -- FINALLY -- mostly under control. Though I had been using it pretty much from the time we moved in, I had not really made much progress on putting stuff away. There is still organizing to be done, but at least now there is more than just a narrow path from one end of the already narrow room to the other, and space on my work table there to, well, work. And with the little heater I have set up in there now (My Buddy propane heater, hooked up to a grill tank) I can be as warm and comfy as need be. Yes, the addition has a heater vent, but like the bedroom and master bath, only warm (not hot) air flows out. What is now the Craft room used to be the bedroom for the previous owner's young daughter and I cannot imagine little Rosa spending much time playing in her room this time of year!

I am enjoying the "first year in a new place" cycle, learning a lot, getting a feel for the cycles, making plans for changes and upgrades starting next year. One thing I have set in my mind... Samhain will be the "put the outside to bed" deadline. We did not get all the mowing quite done this year (some of the lawn went un-tended, as did the front "fenceline".) There again, that can be an ongoing project for the year as well, instead of playing catch up and not even being able to start until the cooler temps of fall, on account of K's over heating. And along with getting the Yule stuff out, I need to make sure I am on seed catalog mailing lists, as I have not yet got a single one!

Friday, December 12, 2008

White!

What a different season this winter is trying to be from the one we entered last year March 1.

We have had, now, several snowfalls, but none have stayed yet. Instead they get washed away by the rain, or at least they have in the past. Today, the rain is freezing and falling as sleet on top of the snow... there have been some cancellations, I hear and much talk about being careful on the roads. I am thankful that my work is only 3 miles away, knowing that we will be open no matter what. I was told that even when the power goes out after dark, we stay open as the grill runs on propane and the staff is expected to cook by flashlight. The other employees found that strange, but it makes sense to me, as we can supply those for whom electricity is their cooking fuel.

I have been hard at work getting cards made and ready to go; the first batch is almost complete and ready to send and hopefully this morning I will get the second batch ready to complete. This is a pretty drawn out process, as I am first using a carved potato to stamp an abstract snow-covered tree and while the paint is still fresh, adding clear glitter. Once I get the trees stamped on them all, I go back with a brush and add add a glittery white "swoosh" (no resemblance to the logo mark of the sneaker company) under the tree. The final touch on the front of the card is to drag out my stiff brush to add a little Elmers glue loosely around the top of the tree to affix glitter with a golden tone as a glow or aurora behind the tree.

Since all this is being done on a dark blue card, the insides are printed on white paper (at least here I get to use the computer!) just a bit smaller than the card, and once the two parts are properly folded, I use a darning needle and glittery cord sewn through and tied along the spine to hold them together.

They are numbered, signed and dated on the back in a metallic ink and stuffed into envelopes. I was originally not able to get as many envelopes as cards when I bought my first stock at Staples some months ago, and my card list has grown as well, so I am making additional cards -- and envelopes as needed -- from dark blue construction paper.

On another note, it is strange sitting here being able to look out the top part of the window at the sky but not see through the bottom to look at the ground and the horses next door. The entire world seems to be covered with ice -- the sleet and freezing rain that was predicted -- and it seems to have blown from all directions. When I went to take a photo out the back door (north facing) the door was covered in a layer of ice and I now have a damp spot on my nightclothes where the door knob rested as I held the door open with my rear while taking the shot. The office windows face to the east and the screens are totally encrusted as well.

We have had several power hits this morning; the UPS beep now and then, keeping the computers running, and the lights have dimmed. I have laid up a bit of water in pots in case the power goes out and we loose the pump for a spell.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Home

I've come home. Come from home as well, as the lesson learned from this recent away mission is "Home is where they hold you in their hearts."

Doesn't matter if you have roots there, or a hat rack, or anything else at all...

I've not always been much of a "people person" and most of the places I have lived, even for a protracted period, there were few if any people-ties to the the place. Most often there had been one or maybe two with whom I connected for a time but then moved on, as did I. Usually it was the PLACE that spoke to me, as it was Down East NC where I first got there.

But then I met the folks, in a place where "they say" the folks don't much take to newcomers... those "from off" as they say. But over and over I heard it said that I was the kind of "dingbatter" (another local term for those from elsewhere) they needed more of. Honestly I appreciated the compliment, as I try to appreciate the uniqueness of each place I have lived, refrain from the "where I come from..." comments and from trying to make that place just like everywhere else. But I didn't realize the depth or .. not sure what the word is I want... of the connection to the people until this weekend, when I was "welcomed home" with open arms and more heartfelt hugs that I have had in a long time.

It felt a little strange, as I don't normally go back to places I have lived. Only once have I been back to the town where I was born and raised for 16 years, and that was about 5 yrs ago... but driving down east, visiting folks and doing business almost felt like I had never left. My hands still knew every bend in the road that winds through the marshes from North River to Davis Shore and off to Harksers Island. My role as the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center paparazza seems to be as expected at the event as the Sweet Puppies (sweetened hush puppies dredged in powdered sugar) and scallop fritters and the "rack of the eye" skiff that the local fellows build each year over the course of the festival, to be auctioned off as a Museum fundraiser.

And yet, I am glad to be back, for my roots are here. I put myself to sleep each night doing a walk around the perimeter of Hearthfire Hill in my mind -- North and East and South and West. And I discovered that while I loved BEING there, I totally detest GETTING there. I no longer enjoy long road trips and flying has lost its appeal as well. Perhaps being on small commuter planes was part of it and perhaps the level to which air travel has sunk contributed. I know I am jolly sick and tired of schlepping my laptop and carpet bag up and down stairs and across the tarmac -- and too darn OLD for all those stairs and heavy stuff to boot. I don't sleep well when I am away and didn't manage to eat right either nor did I drink sufficient water.

But I am home -- where my roots are home -- again and there is snow on the ground, a tree in the living room, lights to go up outside tomorrow if the wind will cooperate and numerous projects awaiting my attention. But tonight a soaking bath, and my own bed are calling.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's going around

A couple of my kids have done this... so here's my version

Where is your phone? most likely on K's desk, or on the nearby chair (it's got a cord, and is powered by Vonage...)

Your hair color? grey, blonde and ??

Your mother? deceased

Your father? ditto

Your favorite thing? that's a hard one, but I would have to say my home (especially the land!)

Your dream last night? I did have one, but don't remember much about it now. I was doing something...

Your dream/goal? to turn my 4 acres into something productive... where the land helps pay for itself by making food and making stuff I can make things with.

Your hobby? I think my kids may have gotten "the hobby of having hobbies" from me... I do so many things...

Room you're in? hotel in Morehead City NC

Your fear? losing my home

Where do you want to be in six years? in corinth, ME digging in the earth.

Where were you last night? Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center, Harkers Island NC at their preview event for Waterfowl Weekend.

One of your wish list items? an orchard

What you're not? tired

The last thing you did? took photos of the Museum events

Your TV? not plugged in. K got a bigger one, so he can see it better and it isn't even on much.

Your pets? 9 cats, a dog and a fish that came with the house that is half dead from the cold

Your computer? which one?

Your mood? melancholy

Missing someone? yes. K and the critters.

Your car? is a truck and it is sitting outside the garage as it's side is still storing STUFF

Something you're not wearing? bra

Your summer? was wonderful! there were constant breezes and we never even thought about installing the AC

Love someone? yep

Your favorite color? blue

When was the last time you laughed? today

Last time you cried? today

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

TREE!








































One of my daughters posted tree pix on her blog and asked the rest of us to do the same, so -- since I finally got the last of the garland on tonight (had to buy more...) here it is, with and without flash. This is a "natural" tree, not grown at a christmas tree farm but rather harvested from my friend, Robin's farm. For me, a Yule tree is not a decorating statement, as in decor, but rather a ritual form... a spell, if you will, that strengthens connections with positive parts or the past and reaches forth into the future, as the wheel turns through the bottom side of the year, with thanks for blessings received and hoped/worked for into the future.


An interesting side note: all of the guys I have been privileged to know -- every single one of them -- has had some kind of "issues" with this holiday season, and it has mostly gone on around them, regardless. K is no exception (this being one of the few ways in which he resembles, in my mind, a "typical guy.) Over the past few years he has commented on how different the holidays are with me, in that I don't pressure/insist that he help and then berate him for having done it all wrong! No, instead I have allowed him to assist as he feels like, and as we work together, have never found anything he did "wrong." I am not sure there is a "wrong" when it comes to holiday decor, for that matter! He just said that he feels like he should, in the future, help with the tree, but was unsure if he would "know how." I referred him to my belief, above, re: holiday decorating and assured him there is no wrong way to decorate a tree and that I look forward to his helping spin the web next year.


That being said, I want to share close ups of some of the ornaments on the tree, with their importance to me.

This is one of several Santa-stars made by the kids at church when they were youngsters. There are two of these angels, from about the same period, the older kids work.
From 1991... dirt poor, not with the family, just beginning my Pagan walk, the magic of the season called me nevertheless. I was living in a tiny cabin in the woods so finding a tree was no problem. Decorations had to be made though for money was more than tight. On one trip to town, on a wet and snowy day, I spotted a large sheet of heavy green foil laying in the street. Pulled over, grabbed it, and turned the undamaged parts into these spirals, for the turning of the wheel of the year. Several still remain and hang on the tree every year.

The egg, above, is another example of decorations from that period. There were food stamps but not much money. Blown eggs make nice ornaments and an entire carton, some with airbrush designs, still survive.


The original tree of this period was unlighted as I was living beyond the power lines, could not afford battery powered lights and was unwilling to risk candles.

Like I said, there were food stamps... and for a few bucks, an assortment of nuts, painted in metalic colors and hung from embroidery floss with Elmers glue were pressed into service representing abundance. Here is a Brazil nut (one of the few good uses for one, in my opinion! Here is a hazel nut hanging next to one of the first "boughten" ornaments I acquired when I was living in Spokane, WA, working and going to school. There was a little $$ to spare and for a couple of years, the "celestial" motif was popular -- a boon to the tree-decorating Pagan! I collected an assortment of sun, moon and star decorations of which this transparent plastic sun was one.
An image of abundance, and of the Lady as well... several bunches of grapes hang on the tree. Another sun, a tiny, lightweight puffy one that is easy to hang on the wild harvested trees I prefer.

Before I moved to town, I made tiny crescent moons out of bits of aluminum foil, and the tinsel garland on the was made from several continuous thin strips cut from bags of Lays Salt& Vinegar potato chips. The inner side of the bag is silver and the printed outside lost all coherance when no more than 3/8" wide.

Celebrating the return of the sun calls for a solar tree topper. I am not sure what this "sun disk" was supposed to have been, but it came from JoAnn Fabrics during the same period as all the other celestial ornaments. A bit of duct tape makes sure it stays at the top of the tree.
A moon from the "celestial period."
When I moved to the coast of NC, where commercial fishing was one of the main occupations, I learned to enjoy a slew of new fishes and commorated my new knowledge by making ornaments from brown paper cutouts, painted with acrylic, glued and stuffed with bits of batting and sprinkled with appropriate color glitter for the scales. I made a set for several friends and kept one. This is a spot. This fishing trawler from 2002 Waterfowl Weekend at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum reminds me of that period, the local industry, some very good friends and clients and a wonderful old salt, James Allen Rose who produces these ornaments for the Museum each year.

The wise old owl is the ornament K selected on our trip to the craft store today. When you pull the acorn on the strung below him, he flaps his wings! He's pretty heavy, so hangs back in the tree on a stout branch.
One of two Moravian Stars. K loves this form and I happened to find the two of them on sale this year!
Another new one for this year, Dragonfly, one of the creatures I work with, symbolizing change. And so we finally come to the end. I hope you have enjoyed this guided tour of our Yule tree!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Going to be a strange week...

this is going to be an "interesting" week and if you don't see much of me, this will be why.
  • I work this afternoon until 8, then on Mon and Wed 4-9 (closing).
  • there is a semi-naked tree in the living room that needs dressing
  • hexes to paint
  • leaving Thurs for NC -- plane depart at 6 AM from Portland, a couple of hours or more away. Put this together with Wed. schedule... grrr
  • Fri - Sun working in NC, meeting clients, photographing a 3-day event
  • Plus, of course, all the usual chores.
I am hoping K is feeling well enough to drive me to the airport and pick me up, as I HATE long drives these days and if he doesn't feel up to it, he will insist that I take the Subaru, leaving him with the manual trans old truck which, if he is not feeling good, he cannot drive, therefore stranding him.

I also have not yet got the illustrations done for the kids book, nor all the layout on the Words of Wisdom book, though I am making progress on that.

so I suppose I better sign off here and get on with it, eh?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Buy Nothing Day

Well, gee.... the commercial chaos begins and I am thankful that my store doesn't carry "consumer goods." I will have to go to town today -- Bangor, after I get off at 4 -- because I didn't get my paycheck (which was written Tues) until Wed, when I worked a late shift, and need to do the bank and post office run.

Normally I support the concept of "Buy Nothing Day" and aim for a "buy nothing Christmas" -- instead focusing on small home made gifts, as I have for years. Heck, from Thanksgiving to after the first of the new year, I pretty much only set foot in the grocery store, the gas station and if necessary, the drug store... not necessarily as a political act but as one of self-preservation! LOL And I will add, into those as little as possible... It can seriously help the budget, too.

So in that context I will still be on the usual track, though I will likely stop at the grocery store today as well as the credit union.

I know the retailers and producers are all hurting, everyone is hurting in some ways, but I was never convinced that our slide toward the throw-away world was the right one and still am not. And I will continue on my current path to live as lightly as in practical.

In touching a bit on the theme of yesterday, one of the things I am thankful for is the blessing of a job close to home. My current "commute" is 3.3 miles, and I live in the country, folks! And I am thankful for good friends -- both online and off -- like the ones with whom we had Thanksgiving supper yesterday... Our hosts and their family, other friends as well, and us... all sitting around the table behaving very much as if we truly were one big, somewhat dysfunctional family! LOL Truly, it is wonderful to be with folks who don't feel compelled to keep their masks -- their "company faces" on, where we can all relax and be ourselves and still get invited back again.

And I am thankful to be here in Maine, looking at going to NC for a long weekend next week, instead of being in NC and having just returned from a far-too-short weeks vacation in Maine. I am thankful that K is able to see the doctors and they are working to try to get to the root of all that ails him and thankful that -- once he sets his mind around the idea that he CAN see a dentist (he is covered for it...) -- he will be able to. do so. I am thankful for the many useful things we have -- may they live long and prosper! -- especially the Subaru, so suited for this climate (so said, as I need new tires on my truck and had to seriously rock it after work Wed to get out of the mudhole I had parked in).

I am thankful that my kids have each other, out west, and strong sister bonds, that they and the babies and families are mostly healthy and those who aren't, are at least improving. And there is much much more, but I have things to do today and therefore must get on track for the day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

End of the drying season

It seems that -- although they got dry -- the frozen stiff wash blowing in the "high wind warning" quality winds, were too much for the "clothes tree". This is the second of the single pole units with 4 metal arms and lines running around in a square pattern that has died under my use.

The bad part is that the ground is frozen and though it is supposed to get above freezing for a couple of days, and stay above over one night, I do not think it will thaw the ground sufficiently to plant the other poles, even if I had the concrete to put them in with. I will likely buy a bag of the stuff on my shopping trip tomorrow in hopes, but knowing that I have to fit the hole digging and cement mixing/pouring in around work, I am not holding my breath. At least I have the inside drying rack and can get another if I must (I learned this past spring that those things blow over in the least breeze, so putting them out is not an option) but I am determined to use the electric dryer only for emergencies and for clothes that must be de-haired. The best way I have found to remove the vast quantities of cat (mostly) and dog hair is a trip through the dryer with a dryer sheet included. I hate dryer sheets, as a rule, but it does help to get rid of more hair.

I have an odd list for the shopping this week. The cupboards are getting thin, as it's been a longer month, I think, and I want to get started on the holiday baking Thanksgiving day, since we are eating with friends and I do not need to do the major part of the meal, so I will make sure that I have the stuff needed for the rolls and pies that I will take for Thanksgiving and enough honey and molasses and spices for the Lebkuchen cookies (they get included in the holiday shipping boxes) and do the rest of the major shopping after the first of the month, as usual.

But we discovered the tree stand's bolts are missing, so I need "tree screws" and I am determined to fix the bedroom closet door so that the cats cannot breech the door and climb on/tear down/SHED all over my work clothes, so I have added a "door hook" and then there is the cement of course, in addition to peanut butter, Splenda, shortening and K's meds.

As it has gotten to winter and the garage is neither insulated nor heated (yet) he has brought inside the sawhorses, boards and stain, and I found a dropcloth, so I will be applying the stain to the boards today and likely tomorrow we will be framing in the office window. Then I can finish the wood and once it dries, we can afix the heat-shrink plastic.

We do need to figure how to keep the water pipe to one of the sinks the the master/cat bathroom running though. That sink only had hot water, as the cold had frozen previously and been shut off on account of a leak. Night before last I noted when I got a drink in the middle of the night, and in the early morning, that it was giving warning signals, but it never occurred to me that it would freeze after sunup, but it did. Being plastic pipe, heating it with the hair dryer did nothing. I am not sure where the thing froze, but I am seriously considering trying to add on a foot or so to that end of the trailer next year. It would eliminate the bay window that surrounds the non-working spa tub, but as the added foot would be "dead space" used only to help insulate, we could still have a window on that end, and hopefully it would help stop the freezing. The winds are constant here, it seems and out of the west of course, and it does suck the heat from that end.

Eventually there will be windbreak trees, but the will take a few years to get started. If I put in freestanding greenhouses, I am thinking of putting them to the west, too, hoping that they can temporarly help break the incessant wind, though I am not sure how practical that option will be.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Freeze drying laundry and other thoughts

Well, it starts in earnest now, my new working schedule. I got my next week hours yesterday, and it seems that mostly I will be at the store from noon to 8 pm, which does not mean I am closing. They seem to close at 9 this time of year, at least. I work that shift today and then again tomorrow and Wed, but on Fri I am there during the day (9-4) as that is the day they get most of their deliveries.

This beats the heck outa 3-11, which used to be my favorite shift when I was younger. Here and now, though I get up at or before dawn and starting at noon still allows me to have a productive day before work. And work will become more routine as the weeks wear on.

Today I have worked a bit troubleshooting a client's online store front, and hung out two loads of wash. We are predicted to have wet or snowy weather for the forseeable future, starting tomorrow, so I decided to see if clothes will freeze-dry in Maine like they used to in CO. I don't remember the constant wind, though, on the western slope (though it did blow a lot there, too) and it was doing a number on the wet wash, freezing things in the first load before I could even get them on the line! I am thinking that we will likely install the clotheslines (two metal poles with plastic line -- that I would like to replace) that were left with the place but not installed next spring in a more sunny location. I guessed wrong as to how much sun at the current clothe tree's location, which is shaded by the garage much of the day now. I have told K to bring the stuff in before dark tonight and to plan on laying it over the inside drying rack no matter what. It will be a full rack with the two loads, but as his nerves do not allow him to be able to tell the difference between something that is wet and something that is only cold, it's the best deal. I will feel them when I get home and adjust as need be.

Got the tree out of the car and the car cleaned out, and found the stand but unfortunately the bolts for the tree stand are missing... I am sure they are in a pill bottle, labeled and put in one of the two small boxes into which we put loose hardware eons ago when we were packing to move, but I have no idea where that might be at present. New bolts can be bought, on Tues most likely when I am planning a quick trip into town.

On that shopping list are: ribbons and possibly other decor for the wreaths (our small one is shown at left), graham crackers and sugar-free chocolate pudding mix as requested in addition to the apple and pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, and a post office and bank run as usual.

I am hopefully not going to be writing much about working at the store, as I am intending that this will not be a major focus of my life. It is something that must be done, but in all honestly is the least of all the things I do. But at present, it is a bit more of a focus than I would like it to be, as I try to adjust my schedule. It doesn't work for me to eat late at night and having to be at work by noon kinda puts a kink into the "dinner at noon" option, so I am going to see about eating two meals instead of three at least this time of the year when dawn comes late. I get a sandwich off the menu at work, pop and chips for free but I also don't want to add that much pop and chips to my dient so... I dunno... I will likely see to take leftovers on the evening hour days, and hopefully have enough of them in the house that K can find something to eat as well.

I am going to post pics of yesterday's snowfall... K took these while I was gone.
My gargoyle and sign on the porch

And this is looking out the office window, to the east.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wreath Day, part 2

I got a later start than intended by half an hour... K needed something and then I got halfway down the driveway and had to come back for my wreath forms. Headed out under the just lightening skies, with a brisk wind and barely visible bits of snow blowing and swirling in the road.

As I got to Bangor, there was a bit more snow visible and when I left the interstate to head into the area where my friend lives, the farther I drove the more snow I found. Before I reached Washington county I was in line following the snowplow, though there was only about 2" on the ground, giving the Subaru no problem. One by one we each passed the plow and when I crossed the county line, came onto already plowed road.

I met Robin's husband's truck just leaving their road as I turned onto it. His tracks were the only ones through the snow, and then mine heading in. He had called her on his cell and she was expecting me when I drove into their drive. After a potty call, coffee and conversation we headed into the woods to "tip" trees. Gathering greens for the wreaths is actually fun, even if the ground is snowy and the snow obscures all manner of stuff upon which you must tread. Next time I will take one of my walking sticks I think. It will make this crone a lot more sure-footed.

We broke off bits of branch, gathered into the gunny sacks we were toting and while we worked, kept eyes peeled for a good Christmas tree to come back for later.

Robin's wreath forms were very different from the ones I had -- one old one that has seen many seasons and two newly bought from JoAnnes. Mine had three circles of wire, shaped into a not-quite-flat form; hers (bought in bulk from a professional wreath supply company) were a single strand of wire, slightly wavy around the circle. Hers made it easy to make double sided wreaths; mine was designed for one sided ones.

I learned that professional wreath makers do not afix each individual branch to the form, like I had been doing. Instead, they wind the end of wire, from a largish spool, onto the form and then gather several layers of brush together, lay them on the form and wind the stem end tightly to the form with several winds of wire. The next "hand" of brush is assembled likewise and wired on, spaced to cover the previous wiring, with a continuous wire wrap. It goes amazingly quickly, which is how folk can afford to sell home made wreaths for $7-10, as the signs along side the road were saying.

In no time at all I had completed my two small and one large wreath. I was planning to stop and look for ribbon on the way home but in the end, put that off until my next trip to town on Tues.

We went back into the woods after lunch with my old saw to find the tree we had spotted for me to cut, and Robin dragged it back to the car for me. I was lucky in that we cut one that was able to be -- very carefully -- pulled, pushed and dragged into the Subaru, AFTER I had laid down the seats and gently bent the top around by the passenger seat window. The butt end was in the opposite corner of the back, but it fit.

I stopped and gifted another friend, who had hoped to go with me today, but was unable to, with one of the small wreaths and on Tuesday, after I have added a bow and possibly other decorations I will ship the large one to the Museum in NC where I will be attending their Waterfowl Weekend (with Christmas theme decorations) Dec 5-7, a gift from "up east" to "down east."

Wreath Day!

In about half an hour I will head out, into the darkness, heading ENE to visit my friend Robin. She is hosting a bunch of our friends tomorrow for a wreath making party, but since I got my new job and have to work, she has kindly consented to let me come up a day early. She also said that we may cut a tree for the holidays as well, from her land.

"They" are predicting snow here and there, though I see no sign of it here... but I am taking camera and AWD Subaru on this adventure, just in case.

Will be back later with pix of the results of my efforts and likely of the day as well.

Now, time to find clothes and get dressed to go out into the cold and dark.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

back among the living

I started my new part time job at the corner store yesterday. They call it a convenience store but for those of you not familiar with what that means in Maine, let me describe the place.

Bigger than a breadbox, but not much. but yes, it is a bit larger than the typical 7-11 (which there are none of in Maine, by the way) but not quite as large, physically, as what I remember as the neighborhood grocery store, from the old days (you know.. the 50s? LOL)

They have a fresh meat market and a meat cutter who comes in 2 or 3 times a week, grind their own 90/10 and 80/20 ground beef, a small grocery section, some refrigerated and frozen groceries, lots of snack foods, candy, ice cream, drinks -- including beer, wine and a good selection of the hard stuff -- pet food, animal feed, savings for animal bedding, nuts, bolts and the like, a bit of fishing gear, (and this is NOT a complete list) and made-on-premesis, to go foods including burgers, pizza, hot dogs, sub sandwiches, "baskets" (chicken nuggets, fish, etc.). Plus the sell gas, diesel, kerosene and exchange propane tanks. Oh, and I can't forget the lottery and smokes...

Whew.

Oh, and this being Maine, they tag deer, bear, turkey... for the fish and game folks. Learned how to do that yesterday, among other things.

Lots to learn, not hard work, just standing a lot. I bent my knees and circled my ankles fairly often and though I was hurting and hobbling when I got home, I feel ok now.

... after a hot bath, a glass of wine and (on account of the congestion still bigging me) a nighttime cold cap... which put me out cold at 9 last night.

Today I am going to try to put out the mailbox, if I can get one more coat of paint to dry on the bottom of the board that secures it and this afternoon am going to clean under rabbit hutches for a lady in a nearby town, to manure more of the garden. And hopefully work on the Words of Wisdom book a bit, I am almost halfway through and it has been going faster as I get into the groove.
...........................
Oh, and an aside to my daughter, who posted on her blog about Getting Things Done and how she is amazed at how much I get done -- and how much I did even with youngsters "under foot" as she remembers back... On those times when I had an ultra-clingy 2 YO... every one of you were 2 and sick more than once, y'know .... I didn't get much done. It was the time in between you really are remembering... and truly more kids are easier in that regard and just one, typically, as they can entertain themselves or at least distract each other for a bit now and again. I did not have a kid with extended needs, 24/7. I am amazed by YOUR resiliance, Amy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Returning to the Blogosphere

It's official. The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum yearbook is in the can. Even the prepress operator at the printer's shop has told me to "take a rest." LOL

It is a marathon but honestly has been taking less time -- and producing less stress on my end at least -- every year since 2001, when I started.

I hadn't a lot in mind for today, beyond that and beginning to shovel out after the marathon. These times remind me of finals week when I was working full time and going to school full time at the same time. NOTHING got done. Oh, I did get a couple of loads of wash hung out yesterday. I have gotten programmed already that the first "good drying day" after a protracted rainy period I do laundry, dovetailing with everything else. But I hadn't got it in yesterday, so I waited for the frost to depart from it and in it came, dry as need by. So they are sitting waiting to be folded and put away.

Also got the dishes caught up which wasn't as bad a chore as I had expected. K had talked about cutting the wood for the framing we are adding around the inside of the windows to allow us to install the shrink plastic, but we discovered we had got the wrong size boards on the last trip, so instead he suggested that we carry off the old red couch that came with the place. We did cut the board to go under the mailbox to afix it to the post, which I need to paint then we can install.

He was already hurting and figured to do it now, as it wouldn't likely make him hurt MORE and save a not-hurting day for other stuff, so we pushed it into the truck and off we went. Salvation Army is the only place around that takes used furniture and -- after going over it with a fine tooth comb -- the accepted it. We picked up some more boards (the right size this time) and I stopped at JoAnnes for wreath forms. Then K offered to take us out to eat at Texas Roadhouse for steak so we did, and the dishes are all still clean. Woo hoo!!

It will give me a hand up on getting started with the work at the store / work at home / housework trip.

I also had been wanting to try to get a decent fix, with a reference point, for the north star so as to begin to determine real north in the back field for my working space and happened to remember when I stepped outside a few minutes ago to dump the kitty box. After quite a long period of cloudy or overcast night skies, it is clear tonight. (portends the beginning of real winter weather, I think, as the forecast for the rest of the week shows highs running around freezing +/- only a couple of degrees F.) Anyway, a rough reference is one of the dog yard fence posts, as I lean against the west side of the Craft room door. Hopefully, when I take the cat box scoopings out tomorrow morning I can find a more distant reference, in the far woods. I will then, at my leisure later in the week, start at the post, point at the marker point in the woods and begin walking toward it until I am in the vicinity of what will be the center of my grove. and then I will keep pointing and facing the same direction while I side-step to the west until I reach grove center, where I can pick a new reference point in the woods (it will change due to parallax and it is much closer to me than the north star is) and put down a rock to mark that direction.

Other than that, I am in the post-project brain-mush funk state. Not much good for higher mathmatics or other deep thought, but functional if no one asks too much of me.

I am likely going to veg in front of the TV this evening, foliding clothes, and maybe having a glass of wine in hopes of falling sleepy early. I do not have to be at the store for my training to being until 9, so at least I don't have to transition to another early morning job.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Full moon day

This was the view that greeted me this morning when I opened the door of the craft room to let Brandi out in the brisk foredawn morning.... Fulla's moon, a few hours past peak full, setting in the north northwest. Thanking the Powers That Be on this day for the bringing to fullness, with the full moon, of my new moon working for abundance, in the guize of a job.

I have heard over and over how hard/impossible it is to get a job -- any job -- in Maine and especially in the rural areas, if you aren't kin with roots back several generations. Well, perhaps things are changing. My new boss was apparently repeatedly disappointed by the lack of work ethic in the last few youngsers he hired. Not I don't know that they are old Maine family kids, mind you... but I do know he hired me and I sure don't even know folks here, let along be kin to them.

And this was the view out our office window yesterday. The sun popped out from under a cloud layer just before setting, bathing these bare trees to the East, and the neighbors horses, in the colors of autumn once again.

Earlier in the day, while we were working to repair a split in the plumbing near the new pressure tank, we got peppered (or many it should be salted) by a flurry of these "fairy snowballs" -- or that is what they made me think of. Out in Colorado, where I was hanging with some cross country skiers, I believe they called it "corn snow."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I must be feeling better...

Yes, I am tired and yes I am a bit stiff and sore. But today I have DONE STUFF to account for that all.

I have:
  • Had an interview and got a mostly-nights-and-weekends, just-a-job in the little store down the street. It is what they call a "convenience store" here in Maine, but it is not much like a 7-11. For one, they MAKE hamburgers and pizza and sell them to go, they have a real meat counter, and grind their own ground beef. And they have some groceries -- a little better selection than "the Sev" (of which there are none in the entire state) -- and sell booze (not just beer and wine but the hard stuff too) and smokes and gas and diesel and kerosene and lottery tickets like a convenience store. And I am not making minimum wage either. Start training next week. I think I had the job before I got there... it was a strange interview punctuated with the boss' horror stories of the lack of work ethic in the young folks he had recently tried hiring...
  • brought in the two loads of wash I had hung out yesterday, and hung out two more (one is in, not quite dry, the rugs are still out)
  • washed and dryer-dried ALL the bedding but the wool blanket, including the extra flannel sheet set that did not get done last week. Dryer on account of being able to put in a dryer sheet and it DE-HAIRS it all.
  • de-haired all the floors (mega-vacuumed all the carpets, sucked up hair from the hard surface floors and mopped same)
  • washed dishes
  • completed installation of the fencing around the dog-yard
  • played with dog in her yard. She can be LOOSE in there...took her a few minutes to figure out that she was not on her long leash
  • went to the store for more flour tortillas for supper
I have yet to: put away clothes, hang the slightly damp ones over the drying rack, make the bed, make supper, work on any of the books, or make cookies that I am hungry for...

But I will...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Museum book crunch time

You won't see much of me for the next week or so... It is "crunch time" for the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum yearbook, and then follows promotion of their Waterfowl Weekend event.

This 64 page book (think corporate annual report) is put together each year by the Director and me with community business ads in the back (about 20 pages... this is what we have been working on up until now and it is finally finished and ready to go to press...) and the remainder of the book which we are working on now, is about what they have done over the year (write ups and photos) as well as a list of members and contributors in various categories.

I had been told, when I moved, that this project would no longer fall to me, though I was to continue working on their web sites and email promotions. However, apparently they changed their minds. It will be different -- working totally electronically. Though in the past at least 90 % was done via email and phone, there was always at least one or two visits by the director to the studio -- often in the wee hours -- when we would meet in our robes and fuzzy slippers to trade hard copies, look over edits etc.

It will be strange not answering the door at 3 AM, or having the national park superintendent (still in his ranger uniform) dropping a pile of edits in my hand, having gotten drafted by the Director (the park headquarters and museum are next door to one another) as a messenger, when she found he was heading my way.

See y'all on the other side!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Quiet day

I am hoping for a quiet and productive day today, after a day of running yesterday. Got K to the doc, where we were told that -- despite his heavy chest feelings, pain and shortness of breath the stress test showed nothing amiss with the heart. I supposed that is a good thing, but there are still the disturbing symptoms to explain. K feels they will find something -- eventually -- likely almost by accident and it will not be anything the expect. I dunno...

I did have a good session with my client and have a bunch of new pictures of his camp, which is for sale, to add to his web site, with mouseover script to bring up larger images to view. Started on that last night, getting some of the other images swapped out as he had wished and need to complete that bit today. Also need to get back on track with editing my book of Words of Wisdom and do some painting, all of which have got left behind.

The weather forecast shows nothing but rain (90% now, down to a low of 20% by mid week) in the forseeable future, so it should be condusive to working inside. However, I still have lots of green matter than CAN be raked and applied to the garden, as long as the snow has not yet covered the earth. I am planning to try to do a bit of that each day when I can find a bit of time that is it not actively raining, presuming I can get the pickup -- which needs new tires -- over to pick up the load. There is still a bit of mulching that can be done on the berry bushes, but that is nearly done... the rest of the green stuff will go to the garden proper I think.

Then there is the matter of the newly sprouted fall lettuces; I want to try to set up a bit of a cold frame over some and pot others into the house as an experiment...

My cold or whatever "bug" it is that has been mommicking me seems to be abating some; after my client meeting yesterday, I stopped at the grocers on the way home and seemed to have my usual level of energy.. walking quickly through the parking lot and the store as I normally do. However by evening I was less than perky and this morning, feel congested again and less energetic than typical. More ecenacea tea for me... and DO remember the vitamins today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Socked in

We have FOG. It looks and feels like there should be a warm front somewhere, but the weather map does not agree. In any case, I can barely see the horses in the next field and when I put the dog out, could not see the house across the road.

I am still not feeling totally well. I guess the herbs and vitamin C will continue, though if it dries out enough I do hope to get out to rake some more clippings, finish the dog yard (I finally picked up a few more posts and a bit more fencing) and such, in the predicted 60 degree temps.

I had a question from reader OldCrow61 about my mention of the Handmaidens Grove so I will digress a bit and talk more about spiritual stuff than I usually do in this forum.

For the last few years, I have been called to walk with and learn from and of some of the Northern tradition Gods and Goddesses, most notably Frigga and her 12 handmaidens, the Goddesses Syn, Fulla, Gna, Var, Lofn, Eir, Sjofn, Hlin, Saga, Gefion, Snotra and Vor. You can learn more about them, and this path, from my friend and fellow-traveler D. Kate Dooley who has written the book, The Spindle Hearth and who more or less chairs a Yahoo group of those of like mind, Spindle and Broom.

Each of us walks our walk with the Ladies a little differently... hears their voices in different ways. For my part, around a year ago, they pretty much called me out and told me that I was to be the Volva of the North. Now, I had never heard of the term before... though through the mists as I sat in the sauna at my gym after my morning exercise, I often had seen and heard strange rituals and the voices of what I took to be possibly Lapland shamans... strange stuff.

Anyway, this was all tied in with my study of the Runes, receiving the daily Words of Wisdom and lots of other stuff, part of which pushed hard to fuel my already existing desire to move north, to Maine in particular, and to buy a bit of land. It was there (here) that I was told I would practice this addition to my path.

Studying a bit, I learned that apparently the Volvas were wise women, seers, who traveled about from place to place and served their people. Now, I was specifically told to be planted, as it were, and to offer the Wisdom and Sight to "the larger community"... specifically not to just fellow travelers. Actually it came across a bit stronger than that, more that while those who followed my tradition would hear and listen, my words would be aimed outward, elsewhere...

Anyway, back to the Grove... It is to be the anchor post for my working here, on tree for each of the ladies. Frigga's Birch already stands near the entrance to the land... Now there is little written about a tree correspondance for each of the Ladies so as I learn about trees, and think about Them, They are revealing what variety each will have to anchor and mark her spot around the circle. The back field in which the Grove will be planted, will likely be planted to trees to the North at least...various sorts, as a windbreak as well. I am thinking the south part of the field may go to grain. I am still working out what tree goes with whom; some will be likely the tradtional sacred trees (and of those, the varieties that do not end up associated with a Handmaiden will be planted somewhere, as I can find them) and some likely not. I know for sure at this point that Hlin wants Holly and I am leaning toward apple or willow for Eir... I have seen that there will be a pine, and an oak... Eventually there will be a stone, suitable for sitting on, near each of the trees, inside the circle. I think there will be a stone circle for the Needfire in the center, but that is not yet clear. And it will be to this place where I come each Friday, at some point, to commune with Frigga on her day.

And now, the muse has left and deposited me back firmly in mundane 2008, on a foggy morning in West Corinth, where the oatmeal calls from the cupboard and I wonder whether I will find the time and energy to make apple pies today or simply apple crisp, whether I will get the clippings raked and K will get the new garden cart assembled (THAT is a tale all its own... the parts do not fit together well), how many more pages I will get laid out for the Words of Wisdom book, whether or not I will get to the hex signs that need painting and the illustrations for the Moose book as well... and still there is client work -- essential as is brings needed cash -- a calling.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Under the Weather

Actually the REAL weather is not bad... it is overcast, but we are on a warming trend and the wind which was so brisk and cold yesterday and more so the day before has abated.

However ever since I got in from completing the insulation and crack-stuffing under the craft room, I have been feeling rather more under the weather than I like. I had first tried to attribute it to having got soap in both of my eyes, as I rinsed my hair under the shower rather than in the tub as I usually do -- making sure to get all the residual fiberglas off. But even after my eyes stopped being irritated from that and time enough had passed that I should no longer be sneezing from the stirred up dust, I have remained puffy-eyed, congested and achey. Not really SICK but not feeling well and energetic either. Damn. I hate this.

Spent a fun time yesterday visiting with my friend Farmer Robin and her step mom (a resident of Corinth), though, and did a good bit of work on the Museum book ad section. Still too many ads hanging fire and no content yet...

I need to get invoices out, some to post and most to email or fax, today so that they postal ones can be carried to town when we go in for K's eye exam. Post office and bank runs, of course and I think I was not feeling well even Saturday when we went shopping, as there are several things that were on the list that I overlooked and several more that are needed and were not even listed, so I will pick them up today, I hope. A few groceries and the hardware store list that we just plain didn't do, as K was not feeling well. I will have to make a bit of an out-of-the-way trip to the orchard to get more local applies today though.

I did get out around the property this morning though. I had scooped the cat boxes and had droppings to spread on the back field, and it was warm enough, so I did the walkaround that I would like ot make a habit, at least one circuit each morning. Three times around should equal close to a mile, if I want to exercise and/or take the dog. But this morning I went alone and on the way back in (I walk out the back door, North to the boundary then around sunwise, and back to the house) I was keeping senses open for the land to help me locate the center of the Handmaiden Grove I am planning to plant. And I believe it has... there is a rock (I do not know if it is simply a small on on the surface or a larger one showing just a bit) near, but not quite on one of the higher places in the gently rolling land. I stood there a bit facing north, then circled round, then paced off radius in each of the cardinal direcitons. Then I walked to the nearly highest point -- slightly to the west -- but was returned to my original rock point. We will see... I will check it out again when I next walk.

A-CHOO! HONK!!

yuck.

Glad I did remember to buy the Kleenex that was on the list.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November dawns

It is the month of NaNoWriMo, of Thanksgiving and the earth in final preparation for its winter's rest.

This is a beautiful late fall day: cold and windy, dry, sunny. Most of the varied color on the trees has gone, but an amazing variety of shades of brown and a bit of yellow -- and yes, still some green -- remain. I love the stands of birches. They have dropped all but the topmost leaves and stand like phalanxes of upturned paintbrushes, dipped in shades of yellow and ocre against the sky.

There is still much to do, of course. I do not know if I will get all the mowings raked, but those that lie where they were cut will fertilize that ground, in time. And it does all need it. I do need to re-stack the compost, complete the insulation of my craft room floor and the pressure tank under the trailer. Those things will have to wait until tomorrow, as sunset is coming and we only just returned from our monthly "big shopping" trip to town. Did not even complete all the errands as K was feeling poorly to start and went from bad to worse. He will need to go in on Tues for an eye exam, so I will ride along then and pick up the additional window-framing lumber, more stain and a mailbox flag.

However I do have a lot of food and sundries to put away, including 10 pounds of ground beef to patty up and freeze and stuff brought in from the garage to find places for as well. I am glad that I finally found the ends for my oversize drawing compass. Using a string, pencil and a nail is decided the hard way to inscribe the designs on the larger exterior hex blanks, which was what I was doing yesterday. I knew I had packed it... but apparently it was one of the last things and it went into a box that was pretty much random.

But, as a result of that -- and a bit of judicious rearranging to get the lawn tractor into the "storage" side of the garage... TA DA! The Subaru is in the garage!! Yes, it is nose up against the sawhorses and the box they are holding which contains my Christmas present from Kevin... yes I know about it, we picked it out together yesterday... it is the largest of the 3 sizes of open metal mesh garden carts, with a handle that works for human pulling as well as to be towed by the lawn machine.

It will be good to have the car enclosed, as most of these mornings now there is frost on the windshield.

On another thread...

Several of my friends are doing NaNoWriMo. I tried it last year but November is NOT a good month in general for me to try to do anything else big and organized. Instead, I am trying to complete the illustrations for my moose book for the Grands and the editing of my "365 Days of Wisdom" book based on the past year of Words of Wisdom. And the Museum projects of course...

Well the laundry (yes, I am hanging out wash in the late afternoon in late fall) is ready to go out, another load to be washed and maybe the rugs as well. Tomorrow should be a sunny day as well, and breesy, brisk and dry... so they will dry, just not today.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

and blessed Samhain to all. May there be much chocolate in your cauldrons and may the tricksters be benign.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's PINK! It's FLUFFY! It does not FIGHT BREAST CANCER!

DISCLAIMER: No disrespect intended to either breast cancer survivors or those who have lost loved ones to the disease.

This blog is NOT my rant about causes (most of which are good ones that I support) that have nevertheless abducted and still hold hostage -- as their trademark -- otherwise perfectly good motifs and colors that used to either be neutral or have other well known meanings.

What is is about is my work today, after having listened to -- and taken to heart -- the Words of Wisdom for the day. Normally I receive this message (which I share on other forums including my hex web site) as part of my morning meditations, but the Gods got a head start today, as it was in my mind as I awakened. To wit: Look well to the protection of your hearth from the coming winter storms. The word of the day is foresight.

K was not up to helping to complete the insulation on the pressure tank and I was not willing to attempt to de-skirt the trailer to work on that, so I decided that I would attack the issue of the missing and sagging insulation under the Craft room. That I could (and actually should) do solo, as it involved -- you got it -- the pink fluffy stuff of the title. Unfortunately when I got the rolls of fiberglas I neglected to measure and misjudged the distance between joists, so I had two rolls of 16" wide when I needed 24". Since the most cost effective product was the 3.5" stuff, I needed two layers anyway, so I set about cutting 24" strips and making two, offset layers along the one section that contained no insulation at all. Took longer, but it's done.

Then there were sections where insulation existed but was either on the ground or hanging from one side. Unfortunately it was all a bit damp, so re-stapleing was done with care and in some places could not be done at all. I had figured to reinforce the backing with our old friend, duct tape, but the backing was too dirty and/or damp... but never the less duct tape to the rescue, as I stapled it up from joist to joist, every 6-8 inches, as a strap to support the old insulation.

Got one entire roll used up, but there are still 2 sections to go... but when the stapler jammed and I knew it was after sundown, I took that as a good time to quit, strip in the laundry room, throw the contaminated clothes in the wash (fiberglas and mud, loverly combination!) and me in the bath.

Earlier in the day I had done an around-town run, taking the redeemables, the trash and the recycles to their respective depositories, visiting the post office to mail a document and check on the rules for mailbox posts, and getting eggs. With the "...Season of the Hex" event coming day after tomorrow, I wanted to get my old "hex signs for sale" signs up, and our mailbox post was looking like an appropriate place. However, the current post is split and rocking and we wanted to recycle our old Vision drop box (with the addition of a flag) as it is BIG. We havd had a post laying around for a while, so having learned the post box rules I decided I would start digging the hole. Surprisingly I got it done in jig time, despite having to dig out a huge flat rock at the very end, when I discovered that what I thought was just the right height was 1/2" too tall. I wil add the signs tomorrow and the mailbox as soon as we have cleaned off the "Vision drop box only, no postal mail" sign and added the flag.


Whew! Late supper, of course... but it will be simple fare tonight and tomorrow we will be off to the hospital for a good part of the day, I suspect, as it is the first day of K's stress test.

Monday, October 27, 2008

White Morning!

No, it's not snow... we are socked in with heavy fog. At dawn it was so thick I could not have told if the horses next door were in their barn or pasture. now, I can see several standing around the large round bale, which has been set up much closer to their barn than previously, and I can -- dimly through the fog -- see another standing at the far back of their field.

A friend was thinking of coming for a visit this week, I hope she did not try for today, as the place is not that easy to find in clear weather and broad daylight!

I am 95% done with the garage, though I had told K that there would be room to park the riding mower on the storage side and the way I have it arranged, there is not... so there will likely be some more shuffleing at some time in the future. I will consult with him about that, as he had wanted his boxes and totes all stacked together -- which I have done -- but I do not want to box them in so he cannot go through them. There is much in there -- in my opinion -- that he will soon be ready to either let go of or will come into the house.

However that will wait for another day, I think, as I am feeling a little yukky and with the fog, it seems a day to stay inside. I need to make cookies to have on hand for the studio open house on Friday ("autumn leaf cookies" that I cut out from sugar cookie dough, multicolored... they are fun to make and look really cool and chocolate dough for acorns, I frost the "tops" and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles too.) so getting them done today sounds like a good plan. I have had one response to my press releases, asking for high resolution pictures, so that is a good sign that someone might show up.

I also have work to do for clients, and can busy myself with that while the cookie dough does its mandatory time in the fridge.

It looks like the computer is back and (mostly) running. I found one more program this morning that was missing its .exe file... and got it reloaded. K pulled an all-nighter working on the machine and is now crashed out.

Other projects on the list for "soon" include:
  • doing the raking
  • re-stacking the "haystack" compost pile, as the one end of it blew over in the high winds of the most recent storm
  • organizing the office (which has never really been totally set up) so I can put away the stuff in the "office box" that got brought in when I went looking for the software disks K needed
  • organizing the Craft room
  • finding places for the boxes of fabric that I brought in as well
  • finding places to sit or hang the remaining pieces of art
And of course I still must complete the illustrations for the Yule moose book for the Grands and finish layout on the Words of Wisdom book... that won't be 50,000 words, but it might make a good quasi-NaNoWriMo project...

Ahhh.. the coffee pot calls and it is time to get dressed (finally) and attack the day.

Readers...