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Today my tradition celebrates Beltane. Daystar would argue that today marks the beginning of summer. Since it hailed last night and was nearly freezing cold, I’m not sure I can agree. Dragonsgrail has returned from her most recent journey to the Underworld and I am looking forward to working with both of the them once again.

The seasons are changing, turning ever onward, and I feel the land’s energy awakening. It should be a long summer/growing season to make up for the late cold.

Back in January I wondered aloud if I was stuck in a rut or genuinely taking advantage of the season to be quiet.

Krishanna replied:

I think in general terms, many pagans are control freaks and try to control their lives rather than accepting life on life’s terms sometimes. There is a certain magic inherent in life, I think, and if you are too busy trying to manifest or force events to happen the way you want them to play out, you miss seeing the magic and miss allowing it to work. XO~ Krishanna

I’ve been ruminating on her words ever since.

In looking back at the patterns in my life, whenever I ‘forced’ a situation – however that came about – the end result was not great. It wasn’t always catastrophic, but I can’t think of a time when it went well. I am, I have come to discover, very impatient for the stuff I want to see happen. So I tend to try and hurry things along and that is when what I am doing becomes CONTROL, not manifestation.

I’m not talking about survival spellwork here, the spells many of us have done because the situation was desperate and we needed more than a little help to get back into balance, or at least a place of security. I’m talking about the conscious manifestation of dreams and desires – the things we want that depend a great deal on others. Like making a major purchase, or retiring from the work force.

Back in January I was feeling frustrated and trapped. In another few weeks I was in sunny Mexico, reading a trilogy of books a friend had just recommended to me. I used the energy from that to reach out to a career coach to talk about the negative messages I was hearing and how to deal with them. In talking with her I realized that the negative feedback wasn’t as awful as I had first thought, and my ego got a good stroking. (It needs it, now and again.) That led to more energy and confidence overall, and one day an idea for a new book came to me.

All I had to do was wait just a bit longer.

Lupabitch replied:

I think if you can sufficiently hide the doo in the wetlands so nobody complains, that would be the best option. Otherwise, if you have to use a bag, get a small garbage can with a tight lid and keep it outdoors. Empty the little bag into it, and toss the whole thing weekly–that will at least help cut down on plastic to an extent.

and ysabetwordsmith as well:

First, go study the field. Do birds or bunnies nest there? Is there any water in it at any time of the year, and if so, does the water contain fish or amphibians? Are there any plants or animals that might be disturbed by people or pets? Do other people let their pets eliminate there? Traffic is more likely to prove harmful than waste, considering that wetland animals have to eliminate also. But a lot of dogs in one small space will quickly turn it into a giant outhouse, which is the point of scooping in the first place. > My sweetie has started taking the puppy to the wetlands and letting her eliminate in there as an alternative to using a doggy-do bag. Also look for other alternatives. Plastic is pretty bad. There are biodegradable scooper bags: http://www.pethealthandnutritioncenter.com/shopscript/index.php?productID=398 An even better idea would be to compost the pet waste; a group of people cooperating can share the cost and labor, making this much more practical than plastic bags. Here are some resources:

http://www.uaf.edu/coop-ext/compost/dogs.html http://dogs.suite101.com/article.cfm/what_to_do_with_doggy_poo http://www.composters.com/vermiculture-worms/pet-poo-converter_53_4.php

Birds do nest there, and so do rabbits. I once saw a possum run by, but I suspect it was heading from non-developed area to non-developed area in an attempt to get to the nature preserve nearby. (I say that because it has never reappeared and the habitat is much to small to keep it fed). Other dogs do not seem to eliminate in there.

No standing water, even in the wet season (winter), although the ground can get pretty soggy. Sadly, no composting allowed — nor do I have anything more than a back porch on which to do said composting. But it is the future choice (along with that backyard — I plan to train her to do her ‘big business’ in one specific area) with a pooper scooper to pick it up and dump it in the compost — me that is, not her 🙂

Two people isn’t a large response, but the hideous nature of plastic is starting to seriously outweigh the problems associated with her eliminating in the wetlands. I do think I’ll see if the HOA will switch the current brand of doggy do bags to biodegrable ones. That would be the best overall positive change.

We have a puppy, and unlike my pervious fur friends (cats), she needs to eliminate in the great outdoors, about 3x a day. To cut down on waste (literally) our housing complex provides doggy-do bags — dark plastic — which is great, as we don’t get plastic bags from the grocery store.

Right next to our house is a small patch of ‘wetlands.’ Wetlands is in quotes because its treated a lot like the other landscaping here — it abuts a schoolyard field that is planted and fertilized to some degree, weeds are mown down 3-4x a year, it gets rain run off from the streets . . . As far as I can tell a developer got a tax break for calling a 50×25 patch a wetlands.

J. has started taking the puppy to the wetlands and letting her eliminate in there as an alternative to using a doggy-do bag.

My dilemmna: Which is better — eliminating 2-3x a day in a wetlands or using 2-3 plastic bags that will never degrade?

Note: I don’t have a backyard of my own to use — thats the longer term goal (appox 5 years) that will settle this problem organically.

I’m hoping to gather some opinions about this — and asked a few friends for advice as well. What do you think?

The week before last, the weather was gorgeous: warm (70*) and just right for gardening. Which was perfect as my Gardener’s Supply order had just arrived. Yes, I know, ordering planters is an egregious waste of energy (they came from Vermont, about as far away as possible) but I literally could not find what I wanted/needed at any of the supply places around here — big box and independent both. These are recycled plastic, 16 inches deep and UV treated to keep their color. They are sturdy enough to hold the vines I want to grow to shade to front porch and pretty enough that I enjoy looking at them. As with many ‘green’ decisions, I had to balance competing priorities. Here’s what the porch looks like now:

What you see here are mainly the two jasmine plants. There are also two Clematis vines (purple flowers they will have) on either side of the jasmine on the right. Around the base I planted Allyssium already in bloom, and the fragrance is exquisite. Here’s a closer look at the two blue pots. The top one is filled with various plants from last year — flowering ivy, allyssium (can you tell that I like it?) and dianthus (which should have hot purple flowers this summer). The one on the floor has one of my two foxglove plants.

J. planted a rose bush for me. The two pots flanking it are the seemingly indestructible stargazer lilies. I say that because he planted them in 2006 and all he does is water them. I’m looking forward to the rose bush developing and blooming. Right now it’s pretty gloomy over in that corner.

Our back porch is cleaner (or at least, tidier) than it has been all winter. But it too is pretty low on plant life. I’m hoping to plant lavender and allyssium in containers and place them under the window onto the porch. The smell should really imbue the workout/craft/guest room.

My friend got his gift, and loved it (yay!). Here’s some pics so you can admire my handiwork.

The Knitting Bag — note the groovy handles.

Knitting Bag

A close up of the fabric (it’s sturdy, natural fabric — a woven cotton I think). Upholstery weight and doubled so it should hold up to years of being stuffed with projects.

Finally, a close up of the interior pocket. It runs the length of the side, and should hold needles very well.

For now, I have to keep the actual item a secret, but I just finished making technocowboy‘s birthday gift. The actual birthday was about a month ago, but the inspiration didn’t come until then, and it took me time to find the materials and work out the actual process of making it.

Which is how i basically do all of my crafts. Somehow I never seem to want to create something that has a ‘recipe’ or set of specific directions (except cooking). I’ll use a set of directions as a template (like this one one — a pleated silk purse), but then I’ll change it. Yes, even before I created one to try out. And I’m a self-taught sewer, so even though I have a sewing machine I have to spend a lot of time figuring out how things go together before I start — of it looks like crap (I’ve learned) because I didn’t think it through. I’ve ruined a number of otherwise amazing projects by not spending enough time thinking about them before I start making them.

It’s a curse, more than a gift. If I don’t make more of one thing at a time, I basically have to re-invent the wheel if I want to make another at some point in the future. Every time I think “I should keep notes, or take pictures.” But once I start I get so caught up in it that I don’t want to stop to document what I am doing.

As for this most recent project — I’ll post pictures once USPS delivers it to him.

is finally here. Two weeks ago we had snow, last weekend it was sleet and hail. Today I awoke to sunshine, and the realization that the heater hadn’t turned on once last night.

So today I am gardening. I have several new planters that I am installing on the front porch. After a run to the nursery, I’ll be adding dirt, then planting jasmine and clematis. There should be enough sun to make them happy, and I want a shaded porch during the summer. Lavender and allysium seeds will go into various pots to make this year’s garden, and more allysium seeds will be sprinkled at the roots of the vines (clematis doesn’t like to have too much light at its base) for ground cover as well as to provide some interest while the vines settle and start growing. And the foxglove I tried to plant next to my rose bush made it through the winter, but it wants a big pot to settle into — the ground is too hard and full of clay for it to be really happy.

I have a number of houseplants that want re-potting and some cuttings that want to find a new home. The hardest part here is that I’m not quite sure I have enough space for them to live inside the home. It may be time to give some away to friends.

What a great way to get into spring.

J. will be planting a series of window boxes along the railing on our back deck. He knows exactly what he wants to plant there, but can’t tell me the name of the flower. (I think its geraniums, but it might be marigolds.) He’s also going to try planting a rose bush for me to go along with the lilies that are doing just fine and starting to grow once again. (I point this pout because we’ve never dug up the bulbs or split them or anything. They just got planted and grow, bloom, then die only to regrow the next spring.)

Hmmm. I wonder if we have enough pots?

Another concept that came up at dinner is that of material possessions. There gets to be a point when owning more doesn’t make sense. I’ve always been a fan of quality over quantity, and function as more important than quality (sadly, but economically sometimes necessary). Even so, as I get older I’m finding that I want to own fewer possessions, and they all must be beautiful. And functional (of course). For now that still means that I need to buy some ‘important’ pieces of furniture – ‘real’ bookshelves for one, a better designed desk for another. I still think I have too much furniture in the bedroom . . . but I can’t eliminate it all at once.

If someone gave me several million dollars (yes, the old game) what would I do? I’d spend it on intellectual things, not material, for the most part. Yes, I’d move – but not to a ‘showpiece’ house, or even one substantially bigger than what I own now. I like the size of my house, I just want one that isn’t connected to another house, has a mudroom for the dog, and a ‘proper’ guestroom. That’s all. The biggest change? The new house will have a garden, serious land in fact. I don’t want to see a neighbor (and yet still have high-speed internet access). But that won’t cost me millions. The rest of the money will be invested, and I’ll go pursuing knowledge. I’d take courses because they sound interesting. Learn French *in* France; cooking in Italy, tour the Greek Islands on a private boat (not mine, but a locals) with long stops to see what each island offers. A private guided tour of the Louvre, the British Musuem, the Victoria Albert . . . there’s a year right there.

Big dream item: I’d open a pagan publishing house to produce unique books for the community. Authors would be paid $10k (or somesuch) flat fee, and the books would be printed on high-quality paper, with lots of illustrations. If I made my production costs back, I’d start paying the author a serious royalty. As a writer who’s never made money (on widely praised books) I feel the pain of not making money from one’s blood, sweat, and tears. If I were seriously wealthy, I wouldn’t care if this business never made money. It would be one of the ways I would service, and support, my community.

So, my dreams of wealth are all about improving myself, and making a contribution to my community. So typical of this six-time Virgo with all those planets in the first house.

Day 2 of the conference, and nice memories of my visit here with my father. At dinner last night (at the always exquisite gem of Matyson) I found myself reflecting on the fact that my family spends a great deal of its time together focusing on meals. We’re not quite so bad as to be talking about dinner while eating lunch, but we do gather around meals, and so meal time (and location) is very important. Food centers us, locates us, and binds us (in positive ways). We all like food, and we’ve tended to bring new people to the family who also enjoy food. So it is a part of our visiting one another; our celebrations shared. Perhaps this comes from the divorce so early on – we quickly found ourselves spending time with our extended family only at the holidays. Holidays, of course, means meals shared . . . and so the pattern was created. (So clear, in retrospect.)

This is not a terrible pattern to manifest, although I can see how it might lead to horrid problems (eating disorders and the like) if the family dynamics are overly warped. (Let’s be clear, shall we? My family, including me, is crazy (aren’t all families crazy?). But we’re working on communicating with one another and healing the wounds of childhood. Not actively, we’re not in therapy, but we are having conversations through the years, and have been since I was in college. That’s about 20 years for those of you who keep count.)

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