Tag Archives: all about me

Lammas 2017 – Gonna Get My Girl Body Back (This is a Work in Progress)

You know what I’m doing for Lammas this year? I’m shaving my goddamn legs. That’s what.
My morning wasn’t great. Like: French Toast for breakfast is pretty swell, but doing it because you are SICK-SICK-SICK of fried eggs and toast, but that’s all you have? Less great. CREATIVE, maybe, but not great. Adding lemon curd definitely helped, mind you. 😉
 
Still.
 
Ms Sugar has a new post up about Lammas and creating rituals/rites/ceremonies that don’t focus on (a) adding extra heat to the kitchen, or (b) sacrificial dudes of the sun and grain. She’s using Juliet Capulet as a template here and… okay, this is a baby-girl who offed herself OVER A BOY inside of a week of turning 14. So the call be selective about Teenager Experiences is probably a wise one. >.> None the less, I get (I think) where she’s going with this.
 
So I shaved my legs. I put Wild Heart oil blend (made by a bath-stuff-supplies crafty vendor years ago, I don’t even remember who… sorry) because of the name, and because the licorice scent (anise essential oil, along with perum balsam and I don’t remember what the third bit is) of it makes me think of the anise hyssop I’ve been rubbing my fingers against, every chance I get, around town.
 
Last night, my wife, her girlfriend, and I went to Kontinuum – a sound-and-lights show set in an incomplete subway tunnel, down town. It reminded me a lot of the Rave Stuff that the CU architecture students used to do, back when that was still legal. The scafolding was for artistic purposes only (as in: will support light fixtures and speakers and screens NOT human bodies), but… Let’s just say I would LOVE the opportunity to go dancing in a club with support structures – gogo cages, fixed (pin in, so no rotation) stripper poles, barres, that kind of thing – so that me and my fucked back and knees could really get wild.
Ideally a Tea Dance (Like 2pm to 7pm) in the kind of place where the windows are all super blacked-out, so that the day-light can’t get in, possibly with a tunnel to make your way through – perhaps with beaded curtains or tactile not-exactly-obstacles – to help get people into the “we’re in a different world now” head space. Like: First we brunch then we dance (and possibly fuck-in-the-bathroom) then we sushi and cocktails, and then we fuck some more.
 
That would be great (good thing it’s Pride Month around here…)
 
So. For those of you who don’t know, the title of this post (other than the Lammas 2017 part) is also the title of an essay by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna Samarasinha (one of my favourite poets, and femme auntie extraordinaire). What does this have to do with Lammas?
Fuck all (well… wait for it…), except that I’ve been feeling gross and awful for ages, and I want to feel better!
So.
I’ve been glamour-boarding, in the name of reminding myself what I like and what I want to look like (and also to generate Ideas for this autumn’s Harvest) and it’s equal parts burlesque/pin-up, tribal fusion, JuneCleaver/JoanHolloway, leather/fetish/gothic stuff, pics of Lagertha/Valkyrie, and women with horns/feathers/claws. So… I haven’t changed.
Which is good to know.
But also: I miss having red hair.
I stopped dying it over a year ago. For… Reasons… >.>
Basically, I thought “Why am I dumping chemicals on my head if it’s not making me beautiful?” (yes, you read that right…)
And then I thought “If Laura Jane can be this beautiful, without dying her hair, and we have the same colouring… Maybe?”
…So I stopped dying it.
And now I miss it. I imagine ME, glamourous (you can define that as fascinating or powerful or sensual, because they all apply), and my hair’s the colour of old claret.
 
Ms Sugar talks about the Red Ladies. The goddess who handle sex, money, power, whoring, and sensuality. At least, my sunshine Lady certainly covers all those bases and her colour is RED (even if mine isn’t – in spite of the above “I miss having red hair” situation). And today is one of her feast days. So why the hell not, right?
Right.

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Mid-July: In Which Everything Goes To Hell – A “Productive Home” Post

So! Erica, over at NWedible, is doing a Productive Home Weekly Report thing, and has invited people to chime in with their own productivity reports.
I’m… not totally fussed about tracking productivity. It feels a bit like giving myself a performance review. BUT, if I think of it as an opportunity to brag about the awesome-fun-cool stuff I’ve been doing/planting/harvesting/cooking/baking/canning/fermenting/etc chez moi that I’m really excited about… it gets a whole lot easier.
So here we go.
 
IN THE GARDEN there has been some planting, a tiny bit of harvesting, and a little bit of… building?
 
I rescued three cucumber plants and a zucchini from Certain Death in a neglected loblaws garden center… about a week ago. I transplanted them, plus one of my pre-existing but too-heavily-shaded-by-beans-and-radishes cucumbers and a couple of my probably-pumpkin plants to:
A new in-ground bed that I put together by piling up bolted mustard stems, overlaying them with some newspaper, and then emptying a bag of soil on top of everything.
They seem to be… mostly not dying? Which is sort of what I was going for. One of the (very small…) cucumbers is flowering, as is the probably-a-pumpkin (you can see both below). The zucchini occasionally tosses out a male blossom as well. I’m hoping that, by August, they will be blooming with the lady-flowers and starting to hint at bearing fruit.
 

Cucumber plants plus something that is probably a pumpkin, but might be a zucchini.  You can also see the bottom of the trellis I put up over the weekend.  We'll see if it holds and/or if anything manages to climb it.

Cucumber plants plus something that is probably a pumpkin, but might be a zucchini. You can also see the bottom of the trellis I put up over the weekend. We’ll see if it holds and/or if anything manages to climb it.


 
So there’s that.
 
I’ve given my daikon-radish “fence” a major haircut, so that the beans and eggplants and everyone else in that bed can actually get some light. This is less of thing for the Ground Cherries, which can handle a bit of shade (though my particular plant is probably getting too much from the tomatoes to produce much fruit. We’ll figure it out).
My jalapeno has three little peppers starting on it.
My eggplants have, between the two of them, three fruits developing.
My yellow bell pepper is… Let’s say I’m not holding my breath on that one…
But my tomatoes!
It’s been magnificently rainy this summer, and kind of on the cool side, so pretty much everything is moving slowly. I’m used to getting my first ripe cherry tomatoes, oh, about two weeks ago, and as of now, they’re all still green.
Which is fine. They’ll get there. Even if I’m bringing them indoors in October and letting them ripen next to an apple in the kitchen.
And look! This is my first year growing beefsteak tomatoes! I have… ANY! 😀
 
Beefsteak tomatoes, at the slightly-yellowish-green phase of edging towards ripening.

Beefsteak tomatoes, at the slightly-yellowish-green phase of edging towards ripening.


 
I’m pretty sure I’ve got at least one roma tomato, too, and the Big Tomatoes are in the ground, rather than the raised beds, so they’ve actually got enough root depth and aren’t getting themselves sick with blossom-end-rot and what-not. Hurrah! 😀 (Not that I’m counting my tomatoes before they’re ripe, or anything, but I’m hopeful, y’know?)
 
In further squash news: Danger Squirrel and company have eaten most, possibly all, of the waldham butternut and golden-zucchini seeds I planted, many months ago. But this bruiser that came up in the compost heap is, I’m fairly confident, a Fairy Tale Pumpkin:
 
Fairly confident that this is a Fairy Tale Pumpkin growing out of my compost heap, as squash are wont to do.

Fairly confident that this is a Fairy Tale Pumpkin growing out of my compost heap, as squash are wont to do.


 
Fairy Tale pumpkins are great, in that they are HUGE, and they finish ripening off the vine (like: harvest it when it’s dark green, streaked faintly with orange, at Samhain, but don’t cut it open until the rind is a milk-chocolate brown, around Imbolg). BUT they are not so great on flavour. Like ponca butternut (an ancestor of waldham butternut) and any zucchini you’ve ever left too long on the vine, a lot of their size is water. So they’re not great for things like pie or baked veggie side dishes where the squash flavour is something you care about. But they’re excellent for adding to braises and stews where the extra liquid will be soaked up by barley (for example) and the otherwise mild pumpkin flavour will be augmented by whatever else you’re cooking with it.
 
In other news!
My raspberry bush is FRUITING!!!
My raspberry bush is fruiting!

My raspberry bush is fruiting!


 
The friends who gave it to me warned me that it hadn’t fruited in all the years it had been in their yard. I said I was willing to give it a shot, as they wondered if being near other raspberries – like the ones in the alley behind my house – might encourage it to fruit.
That wasn’t what did it.
What did it was a big heap of bone meal dumped around the roots of the plant. Turns out, there was fruit (ish… proto-fruit) all along, it just needed some phosphorus and calcium to help the fruit develop into something that could actually ripen. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!
😀
 
So I harvested a couple of raspberries from my own canes today. Hopefully more will follow.
Beyond that, I haven’t been harvesting a whole lot. There have been garlic scapes, the occasional bit of chard, a heap of snow peas(!!!) and the last of the radishes. Oh. And a sprig of mint for hibiscus iced tea. But that’s been it. I think there will need to be a kale salad in my near-future, though, as the Cavalo Nero is getting bigger, and could do with a trim.
 
IN THE KITCHEN there has been… not a huge amount of activity, honestly. And a bunch of stuff that didn’t work.
I tried to make a sour dough starter. Which started beautifully, but died very quickly, in spite of regular feeding. I think I must have been doing it wrong. (That said, if I can make a chef from scratch every time…? That wouldn’t be the end of the world…)
 
I wound up making “by any means neccessary” bread, using 1 tsp dry yeast + a cup of kefir and… you guys, it’s not good. Like, “it makes great toast” levels of not good. It looks beautiful, and smells awesome, but it tastes like, well, like a fermented milk product (which is not what I look for in a sandwich-canvas) and tends to get soggy REALLY easily.
 
Speaking of fermented milk products… my kefir got fruit flies. In the worst way. I had to toss the entire batch, plus about 1/4 of the actual grains, because I wasn’t able to separate them from the corpses of fruit flies gone to their fermented-dairy graves.
On the plus side, the grains I was able to save are still alive and kicking and making kefir, so I can keep churning out coffee cake and scones until the heat turns up in these parts. So there’s that.
 
The Ex is coming by in two weeks to collect all the stuff they’ve been storing in our basement (among other places), so my wife and I have been moving some things around. Our antique kitchen table is now The Bird Stand (it looks good there, and it means it’s not blocking the washer and dryer… not that the washer and dryer are hooked up or anything… >.>) and we are sorting out where to store all the bird food and bird toys and such-like. It’s a work in progress.
 
Which… So is the rest of the main floor. I know this section is about what’s going on “in the kitchen”, but our front room (when we moved in, it was – briefly – my wife’s workshop, and it’s been a never-quite-defined half-storage room ever since she got her own shop) is currently the staging area for both The Ex’s stuff and a bunch of items we’re holding for a friend who’s getting divorced and will need help with furniture and other stuff when the time comes. When that’s all been taken care of, we’re going to turn everything around in there, so that my desk is facing the window and the bistro set I’ve been referring to, somewhat hopefully, as “the dining room set”, will be moved into a more accessible area, so that we can actually, y’know, dine at it.
The living room is looking better than it has in a while (hurrah!) though there are still things that need touching up. The birds are fed and watered and have had their cages cleaned (and, in Fiona’s case, some of her stuff has been moved around… though not by very much. I don’t want her to get bored…), and the vacuuming actually got done, albeit not by me.
 
The kitchen, to drag this back onto the topic at hand, is still a mess. Moving the table into the living room means I’m out about six square feet of “shelf” space, and the counter is feeling the pinch (and, consequently, I am feeling the “Augh, I don’t know where to staaaaart!” that I feel whenever there’s no clear space to put something down).
I’m continuing to use up my crushed tomatoes and my salsa (I made SO MUCH last summer), but I have a LOT of preserves still to go through. Crab apple jam, pear and pumpkin butters, chokecherry-plum relish, jalapeno jelly, a jar or two of pickled beans (they’re lovely on sandwiches, but see above re: soggy bread), and a LOT of gifted preserves (delicious gifts, mind you) from other folks. I need to do an inventory, and I need to put up shelves. This might or might not be the summer that happens, but it needs to happen. I have too many empty canning jars and nowhere for them to live. Too many (Ha! Meaning two, at the moment!) fermentation projects on the go. It’s time to add more storage to the kitchen.
 
 
Anyway, so yeah. Not a whole hell of a lot going on in terms of house-hold productivity this week, but that’s where things are at. Did I mention I had a grease fire (small, put out quickly and easily with baking soda) AND boiled a pot dry today? I did. “Productive Home”, indeed. :-\
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

New Year New You 2016: Weeks 14 & 15 – Searching for a Sign + One Small Step and Then One More

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: “Now would be a good time to check in with your personal Powers That Be (PTB) about your goals. […] How do your PTB’s advice change your approach to your goals?” PLUS “We’ve spent a few more weeks thinking, planning, and doing magic. Now it’s time to return to the task at hand: doing the work necessary to accomplish our goals.”.
 
Tarot Cards: Eight of Vessels (Week 14) + Two of Earth (Week 15).
 
So. I spent the past month-and-a-bit avoiding my tarot cards. A mixture of being afraid of what they’d tell me and being afraid of how I’d mis/read things (the stories in our heads are frequently how we interpret readings for ourselves, and it’s easy to read worst-case scenarios AND wishful-thinking daydreams into what the cards have to say).
None the less, messages have a way of getting through.
A huge part of the Queen of Cups Project has been, basically, answering the question of “How do I get to Happy?” Miss Sugar talks, occasionally, about Radiomancy – the practice of seeing what pops up when you spin the dial, put your playlist on shuffle, or otherwise just see what songs are screaming at you from the airwaves.
I’ve been getting these two a lot. Plus this came across my desk this morning.
Gosh, do you think someone is trying to tell me something?
>.>
 
Yeah.
 
My Eight of Water story is, basically, “Gotta let this one go. No fixing it. Time to start again. Put your energy somewhere else” like, say, feeding your whale heart and nurturing relationships with people who actually care about you. Combine that with all the “Femme Emotional Labour” and “Trojan Horse Boundary Crossing” stories I’ve been getting linked to, of late (or, y’know, all freaking year…) and, yeah. The Eight of Blooms (top, right) is the pearl found (at last?) after going through a lot of oysters. All those discarded heart and vulva shapes ringing a treasure found by moonlight, by shining a light on all my old patterns and assumptions. The “rebirth” of the Eight of Vessels is a reminder that there will be other chances, that it’s hard to be happy when you’re fussing over every little thing in order to “make” yourself worthy in the eyes of someone who, when you get right down to it, messed with your head and took advantage of you, no matter how much of a compassionate lens you can view that through.
 
So that’s the information I’ve been getting.
 
How does that translate into One Small Thing I can do to push towards my goal?
My Queen of Cups goal has been to become more receptive, to understand that I’m actually loveable and worthy rather than just some fuck-up who has too much privilege and too much monster-brain to warrant being cared for without having to seriously earn that stuff. So…
I mentioned feeding my “whale heart”. That’s a Life Coaching thing, my “new Way of being/operating” that is self-compassionate, and doesn’t truck with people who won’t step up to meet her needs the way she steps up to meet theirs. The one small thing, the moment-to-moment practical thing I can do to feed my Whale Heart is to practice being kind to myself and doing what’s actually good for me.
Yes, it’s totally a challenge – I’m something of what Nydia Dauphin calls a “high functioning self-neglector”. Way more likely to make food if I’m feeding someone other than myself. Way more likely to swallow the worst of my feelings and focus on others than make them listen to me whine (uh… this entire blog notwithstanding…) – but it’s also necessary. So. Things I can do right now along those lines?
 
Start the latest batch of stock + process a bunch of sunchokes/as’kebwan’ for the freezer. This will make it easier for me to make meals later on.
 
Put dinner in the oven (I dug through my meat bin, in the freezer, and pulled out a tiny roast. This, with some sunchokes/as’kebwan’ will be a good start to dinner. I can throw in some frozen veggies or pickled beets and sour kraut (if they’re ready) for veggie content) and make myself Real Food instead snacking on crackers until my wife gets home to start cooking. It’s not quite making Real Food For Just Me, but it’s a step in that direction.
 
Bake something (probably soda bread and/or brownies using whey and/or Gone Off Milk). This will be creative, plus it will mean easy go-to food available for lunches and snacks over the next few days. It will also clean out the fridge a bit, which won’t hurt.
 
Do 10 minutes of yoga (child’s pose, plank, tree, warrior pose in one direction, Goddess pose, warrior pose in the opposite direction, downward dog, heart-melting pose, child’s pose again), possibly while humming. This will work my body, strengthen my arms and my core (good for my back), remind me to make music and let me move energy through my body.
 
Start anointing my heart chakra with “Unveiled” – a limited edition perfume/magical oil that Miss Sugar made, years ago – to help me see what I usually can’t/won’t see, the bad stuff I wish wasn’t there, but also the good stuff that I’m too prone to ignoring or refusing to allow in.
 
Wish me luck!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Squash Moon Crests

It’s Saturday night and the moon is round. Most of my friends in Toronto are getting their velvet chokers on to watch the Drunk Feminist Films showing of The Craft (and I’m following it on twitter because, in spite of not having watched it in my teens, I still rather adore that movie and the general (and generally gothic) aesthetic of 1990s teen witchcraft).
The jerusalem artichokes are flowering, the squash (all two of them) are in, and I’ve bought four pie pumpkins with-which to make pumpkin butter. I am waiting for the as-yet-to-materialize (I don’t mind) frost to arrive. My wife and I have spent most of the day loafing around and just had late-night (for us) grilled cheese + tomato soup dinner. It’s a weird mix of “we have not gotten nearly enough done” and “oh, thank fuck” over here.
 
I’m having a serious surface-area problem in my kitchen. Most of the counter is covered in pumpkins and small appliances (and dirty dishes, but they are not a huge percentage of the stuff, unexpectedly), and my shelves are overflowing with preserves and kombucha (which is probably vinegar by now, but works quite nicely when cut with soda water – I’m wondering if I could tincture stuff in it for a way-less-alcoholic-than-vodka option… Hmmm…), also we brought the plants in, so the floor space is limited, too. O.O
 
I’m thinking about time.
About things ending.
About things NOT ending.
I’ve got maybe two more life coaching sessions left, and I feel like what I’ve tried to accomplish through them (a) is working, but (b) is not going to be anywhere near a done deal by the time my 37th birthday (and final coaching session) rolls around. I’ve got about eleven weeks before the end of 2016 (er… maybe ignore that if you freak about late-December stuff?), by-which-point I’d like to be done my New Year New You project for this round which… will be cutting it close, to say the least.
Autumn is the season for letting things go, but I’m watching myself dig my nails in deeper, dig my heels in elsewhere, hold things at arms’ length like “Why is this happening now?” Trying to discern what I actually want. Trying not to jump in too fast, make assumptions, or flee in terror over imaginary things.
 
Horoscope from Chani Nicholas is telling me that I need to focus on work – on the day-to-day of doing my “chores”, but also on The Work that I’ve been doing all year, and on “work” in the sense of “career” which, in my case, is probably modeling? That and/or working in my wife’s shop. Honestly, this particular topic (in a Jupiter Return year, no less) has always kind of baffled me? My “Year At A Glance” in the We’Moon calendar is all “What kind of wealth do you want to accumulate?” and I’m all “??? This is even a thing???” Second Chakra Stuff. I don’t even know. :-\
ANYWAY.
I am clearly done like dinner. Birthday party for a 71-year-old sky diver tomorrow.
 
Goodnight, kiddies.
Meliad, the Birch Maiden.
 
 
~*~
 
 
Motion: Lots of long (1hr) walks of late. Spent a week not doing Plank, and my back was Not Impressed so, lesson learned there. :-\
 
Attention: Reading “If I Was Your Girl” by Meredith Russo. Trying to up my self-awareness game, notice and name my feeelings, try to spot my own repeating patterns before I get too sucked into them. Trying to notice it when I get Emotionally Stormy around self-inflicted feelings of obligation, so I can sort out where I need to draw a line or step myself back. It’s… sort of working so far?
 
Gratitude: Getting to sleep in late. Snuggling with my wife. Being taken out for a fancy dinner by someone cool. Friends getting good news. The chance to talk about symbolism and celery root (not of celery root, mind you, though maybe we could have?) with a (probably queer, probably femme) cashier at the grocery store this afternoon. My wife making sure we ate dinner, because sometimes I totally fall down on that front. Hot baths.
 
Inspiration: Femme Rage. No, seriously, that’s pretty much where it’s coming from right now.
 
Creation: Finished the pink shrug, finally, and even wore it out and about the other day. Beyond that, though, not feeling super creative right now.

New Year New You 2016: Week 13 – Sacrifice (You are the Thing That is Burning)

I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
 
Instructions: A meaningful sacrifice to your Powers That Be. You and your PTB will know best what that is for you. Think on it.
 
Tarot Card: Judgement (20 of Major Arcana).
I picked this one for a couple of reasons. One is because of the Mary-El version of the card, which is very-much in line with the title of this post. Another is the idea of “Judgy Judgy Judgy” and the way we can be cruel to ourselves, the way our Jerk Brains can say the meanest things, in the (mistaken) idea that dissuading us from leaving our comfort zones will keep us safe. The third is the Osho version of this card, Beyond Illusion, which has to do with the “sacrifice” theme of this week’s prompt (the Collective Tarot’s take on it is also relevant, in terms of end goals, fyi).
So I’m going with it.
 
I’m just over two months away from the year-mark of my Queen of Cups project, and right about at the year-mark for when I started getting Messages about becoming more receptive in the first place. I have to say it’s been an interesting ride, given that where I’ve ended up is a question about how to have better boundaries. This isn’t particularly surprising, but it’s not what I was originally expecting when I set out to teach myself how to Let More Good Stuff In and how to be More Vulnerable (in the asking for what I need way) in relationships that matter to me.
Then again, it’s been a pretty constant internal argument with myself to avoid going back to the definition of “boundaries” that essentially means “nobody is allowed in, ever” and hang onto the one that (is fairly theoretical but also probably a better plan, and) says “boundaries” mean “I decide who is allowed in, and how far, and under what circumstances… and will back myself off accordingly if my needs aren’t being met”.
 
To that end, I’ve been pushing up against some significant edges during my most recent life coaching sessions. I’ve been reading about Non-Violent Communication, the notions of observing and naming my feelings, and of voicing needs and making actionable requests of people to help me meet those needs.
It suuuuucks.
I read a chapter, and my shoulders hike right up around my ears. My teeth come out, and I seriously start spoiling for a fight. Turns out my metaphorical Flailing Mermaid has had a lot to say about changing the way I interact with people when it comes to boundaries, needs, and consequences.
This is the bit about “Judgy” that I was talking about, above.
So, here I am, staring the “sacrifice” prompt in the face, and haaaaating the idea of giving up something that I value. I don’t think this particular NYNY Goal is one that can be met by limiting my time on social media or deciding to stick with fair trade chocolate, sugar, coffee and so-on[1].
 
The thing I have to give away is my illusions.
 
You remember I did a tarot reading a little while ago?
The thing that is burning, when The Tower shows up, is me.
 
I’ve been telling myself old stories over the past couple of days. Like, noticeably replaying Old Tapes, grinding old axes, getting mad (inside my head) at everyone whoever Wronged Me in some way. And I know that pattern.
What do I have to give away in order to get what I want?
If what I want is Liberation (which could also be understood through the last “phase” of this version of the 10 of Air), I have to move myself Beyond the Illusions that I’ve build around myself that simultaneously tell me (a) that I’m not worthy of love and care and kindness, but also (b) that Needing Things is how you get yourself hurt, so better off to keep your damn mouth shut if you’re codependent enough to need something in the first place[2].
 
So. How do I offer this to the fire?
How, in a situation where the behaviours associated with The Flailing Mermaid are part of me, have redeeming qualities that I want to keep, and which – like it or not – are never going to go away, how do I give away the control I let those behaviours have on me?
How do I let that go?
The answer, I suspect, is “slowly”. Slowly, but consistently, a sliver at a time, one bad habit at a time, burn a new path through my internal woods, tread it enough that I know my new way and don’t always twist towards the old.
 
~*~
In terms of how to back this up with some magical working, mind you, I can see doing some sort of a fire ritual. Write out the old way and feed it to the flames, spread the ash on my garden and let it compost into something good and new.
 
 
Cheers,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Although, for the record, Ben and Jerry’s (which recently spoke out in support of Black Lives Matter) does fair trade cocoa and sugar on at least some (“Cherry Garcia” and “If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours”) of their stuff, which is always good to know. I’ve added them to my list of Approve Ice Cream (even if they are owned by Unilever), alongside Kawartha Dairy (which is Delicious and made in Ontario).
 
[2] Here I’m thinking of Brene Brown’s Rising Strong and the chapter about struggling with shame around need and needing, and how, when you are afraid/ashamed of needing things (or people, or help), you have set up a hierarchy where people who need/receive are Less Than people who help/give. I have a weird(?) relationship with needing and receptivity. Some stuff – like home-made dinner, hugs, or second-hand furniture – is easy for me to receive. Other stuff – like small-but-special presents or people going out of their way for me – is harder. Other stuff – like flirtatious attention, sexual touch, heaps of cash, or very generous gifts (which… 2nd Chakra Stuff, much?) – is very, very difficult. I get suspicious about what I’m going to “owe” the other person, or nervous about not giving them the performance/response they’re (in theory) wanting “in exchange” for giving me so much attention, effort, or “energy” (what is this thing where money = energy? I don’t entirely get it) which, in itself, can land me in Trigger Land or the kind of emotional storms with-which my Flailing Mermaid is all too familiar, real fast. I have difficultly needing things (and talking out loud about same) and difficulty receiving things – even if some of those things are much easier than others – and maybe it’s not surprising that the two go hand in hand AND that being “the giving one” feels powerful and safe (or powerless but indispensable, which is also a kind of “safe”… in a way) while being the “needing (“needy”) one” feels vulnerable (it is), dangerous/unstable, and burdensome/shameful (it’s not, but I’m having trouble working that into my bones). Relevant stuff here. Still sorting it through.

Full Moon – Ice Moon Crests

The past few days, it’s been warm enough that it rained (rained!) for two days straight, and walking anywhere required rubber boots and careful navigation over icy sidewalks – and roads – covered in four inches of cold water. The temperature dropped overnight, and the sidewalks were thick with (thankfully-rough-and-choppy) ice this morning. Ice Moon, indeed.
Outside, a flock of starlings are eating the offering bread I put out a week ago. Inside, the house looks a bit like it exploded (we emptied our storage locker, but all that means is that the various boxes and other Things that we’d kept outside of the house are now stacked in my front room and partialy unpacked). This past week, I’ve been (avoiding further unpacking by) reading a lot of Brené Brown. You know, the TED Talk woman who researches shame and vulnerability? Her stuff. Like, all of her stuff. It’s astonishing how much what she’s saying about vulnerability relates to what Miss Sugar says about how glamour works. The courage to show up and be seen.
It’s blowing my little mind, I tell you.
 
At the beginning of this lunar cycle, I asked myself:
What do I need to firm up?
Where do I need more flow?

 
I… have no idea.
Sometimes, when I write my lunar cycle posts, I try to come up with questions to get me (and anyone else who feels like it) thinking along lines that are thematically related to the time of year. In another six weeks, I’ll be asking myself (here or elsewhere) what needs to be cleaned out of my literal and metaphorical pantries to make room for newer, fresher things to come.
 
As far as “flow” goes… I’m sticking with those self-help books I picked up and recognizing that I’m going to have to get… used to, if not comfortable with, uncertainty. That’s flow. Needing to be able to roll with sudden changes-of-plan without taking 24 hours to freak right out about it before that can happen. That’s flow. That’s the Ace of Water and the Two of Earth. Figuring it out, moment to moment, and being willing to go with the flow rather than panicking (and potentially drowning because of it).
 
As far as firming things up go… What am I committing to? Like, really, not just lip-service. Part of why I’m reading the entire Brené Brown oeuvre right now is because all that “daring greatly” and “rising strong” stuff is pretty relevant to my Queen of Cups Project (still going, even if it’s taken a bit of a detour in terms of keeping up with my NYNY posts). And part of it is because it’s relelvant to a couple of books I want to write. I’m taking another stab at The Novel, and I’m working on the outline and content (and research) for a Relationships Book for polyamourous folks. So what I’m committing to, other than getting my own head-and-heart in slightly more reliable working order, is getting back in the saddle for Draft WhateverTheFuck of my novel (maybe I’ll actually get it all the way done this time?) and sorting out the preliminaries for the Relationships Book.
 
Something from The Gifts of Imperfection is the idea (or data-based argument, or whatever) that in order to be open to joy, you have to practice gratitude, and that – kind of the same way that trying to see someone else’s PoV by practicing empathy will also help you to be less afraid of them and less ashamed of (yourself for) the fear that is starting to quiet down – focusing on something (related to the Scary Thing) that you are greatful for can help make Vulnerable Moments feel less like something you have to flight/fight/freeze about and more like something you can lean into and deal with (hopefully) without screwing it up. So, I’m poking at this, at Miss Sugar’s Glad Game, at my friend Talia’s “two good things for today” practice, and other stuff that various people in my life do to refocus on what’s going well and making them happy in their lives. So here’s mine (WHY YES, IT’S TOTALLY AN ACRONYM, BECAUSE I’M LIKE THAT SOMETIMES):
 
Motion: I modeled today (which is sort of the opposite of motion, but is definitely engaging with my body), and then walked home (about an hour, into some seriously bitter winds for the last 15 minutes or so). Glad to be warm and inside!
Attention: I’m thinking a LOT about (go figure) shame and vulnerability, how all those FEELINGS that I’d been understanding as anxiety might actually have been “shame storms”, and how… that explains things a little more fully. It’s another piece of the puzzle of my own brain, at any rate.
Gratitude: My awesome wife got my Walking Wheel working last night. She made me a spindle (that you could totally gash yourself on, if you’re not careful – Sleeping Beauty may have been a cautionary tale about running in the house…) and fixed the accelerating head. It looks fantastic, and it works – even if it does take two of us to work it right now (I don’t really know how to do this yet…). Excited to practice and get things up to speed, though I suspect there will be a significant learning curve involved.
Inspiration: Inspired by how narrative is built into our DNA, and (finally) learning what “Act Two” in a story is actually for. (This is what has given me the go-ahead to pick up the novel again – I know what needs to underpin the stuff that’s happening and the decisions my MC is making. Woohoo!!!)
Creation: Books, yes. However slowly. And wheel-spun yarn, ditto, however slowly. But right now I’m in the middle of (and excited about) knitting a shrug (in the round), and using new (to me) stitch patterns to do it. I love the way the texture of the fabric changes depending on the stitches you use (knitting in the round looks very different from knit-one-direction-perl-back-the-other-way, and I find it just fascinating… I’m easily ammused. 😉 )

New Moon – Ice Moon Begins

I’m sitting here, eating a coffee-cake cupcake (chocolate-pumpkin with coconut, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries) that made to use up some gone-off milk in the fridge. It’s -42C outside today, and I’m wondering if I can get away with holding off on bird-cage cleaning until the deep-freeze warms up to a balmy -15 or so (including wind chill,obviously).
 
I started a part-time contract job a week ago (two months of above-minimum-wage, 4 hours a day, office work that I can walk to, with people who don’t suck! I win! Now how to I wammy this into a permanent gig??) I cleaned my fridge and re-stocked on basics like apples, cabbage, and cheddar cheese (which was down to under $6 when it’s usually close to $10 per pound). I’ve made (some) new candles, done a honey pot to help my former-or-maybe-just-paused romantic partner get the job she’s angling for right now (fingers crossed!), started giving a fuck about how I present myself to the world again (mostly, I admit, because of the job, but whatever works… Having spent a chunk of yesterday talking Glamour with Miss Sugar didn’t hurt, either), and redyed my hair (for the first time since October), and am starting to work on old projects (including making back-up files, ye gods) again, and dipping my toes into some new ones. The Archivist and I are talking. Just chatting and catching up. Far less frequently than we used to (for obvious reasons), and with a distance that hits me hard but, according to my lovely wife, is “just how she is”. (Joni Mitchel is singing through my head about don’t it always seem to go… because I had no idea she didn’t talk to everyone in her heart with that degree of openness. I’m sorry to have lost it.
 
As much as I’m still doing a lot of Self Work (and dealing with the corresponding degree of Crying At My Desk while I’m at it), and will be for the foreseeable future, I’m also kind of sick of feeling like the Three Of Swords (Ice-Olation, Jealousy, heartbreak in general) all the time, flip-flopping back and forth between anger, grief, and holding onto hope (whether that’s a wise plan, in the long run, or not). She’s in no position, right now, to do anything but get through each day as it comes, and the chance to consider whether both/either of us want to try doing Romance with each other again is going to be a long time coming. Right now, I want to hold onto hope, recognize that how she’s relating to me right now is how she relates to the partner I have in common with her, and – to some extent – the other semi-sweethearts in her life whom she wishes she could be seeing more of, but can’t right now. Better to focus on me, find the things that bring me joy and do more of them, get my ass back on track for my Queen of Cups Project (I still haven’t done that mirror wammy, let alone tackled Week Six), get back to writing up my Daily Cards (which were never actually “daily”, but still), and get a handle on when “processing” turns (yet again) into “wallowing” in order to stop that business before I get myself in too deep.
 
Questions for this lunar cycle:
What do I need to firm up?
Where do I need more flow?
 
Goals for the coming week:
Make a giant batch of muffins at my volunteer spot (tomorrow morning – Dear Weather, Please Don’t Be Too Cold, it’s a 40-minute walk…)
Restock my beeswax candles (I have nine on my altar now, so a single batch doesn’t go very far)
Do my modeling gig (got one this week, got two more coming up after that, woohoo!) on Thursday night
Visit the yarn-and-roving shop, get some more roving, and spin more yarn for my weaving project
Start knitting a new sweater
Write some poetry (because what’s the use of a break-up, if it doesn’t generate some good poetry, amirite?)
Start going through the boxes in the front room (one at a time, this could take a while) and sorting which books (among other things) to give away, versus which to make space for on my (already stuffed) shelves.