31 August, 2012

VIDEO: 3 Generations, 50 feet

In which my mother, my grandmother, and I visit the Servants of Mary Center for Peace in Windsor, OH, the focal point of which is a 50 foot tall statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


Image found with Google, from roadsideamerica.com


22 August, 2012

Missing England

Hey, Readers!

Before I get to the bulk of this post, I wanted to say that I did go to Lily Dale last Saturday, and I do have a video to post from it, but the video is 20 minutes long of HD footage, so I'm having trouble uploading it. Please be patient while I get it posted as soon as I can--I know you're DYING to see it! I just have less time throughout the day to try uploading it multiple times, since I now work days.


I've started reading a little novel called BLITZCAT by Robert Westall. It's about a black cat named Lord Gort who makes her way through wartime in search of her person, her human master, using psi-trailing. In other words, Lord Gort can sense where her person is. She senses home. When she starts heading there, she feels a change in her person's location, realizing he's moved, and so on. Thus she goes, from place to place in England, following her master's trail and finding new, temporary masters along the way.

The places mentioned in the novel so far, other than London, are basically all farther north than I traveled. The book does not mention anywhere I actually visited besides London, at least not yet. But even though the exact locations differ, the feeling is profoundly familiar to me.

When Mrs. Smiley and Sergeant Smith are up on a hill and the description talks about being so high up that they felt they were on top of the world, and so high up that the farms below look like toy farms, with toy farmers and toy sheep, I go back in my mind to Glastonbury Tor. I do want to write a whole post about my experience on the Tor eventually, but I wanted to wait until all my videos were up and I'm only about 1/3 done editing all those videos. Still, the simple feeling of being above it all, so high up, thinking how small the things are below and how big the world is, takes me there. The steep climb that made our legs strain and stretch, even those of us who are "in shape," the rain that started to fall, the goats on the hillside, and the elation when we reached the top. The rainbow. The little girl in the popply yarn hat that stood with me in the rain, our arms outstretched. The sound of my classmates and professor singing a song from our course-packet. My nerdy excitement while telling my classmates about leylines and energy, the energy that surged through me, the apple I ate in the rain in the name of Avalon. All of it. All of that from being so high up that sheep below look unreal.

Me, walking up Glastonbury Tor. Taken by Sarah.

Sarah & me on Glastonbury Tor, with rainbow.

And the WINDS. The novel describes winds blowing cool and strong, wavering the treetops and ruffling clothing and hair, and I am in Uffington. I am sick, I am crying, I am devastated that I may not get to walk to the smithy in my nervous, stomach-trouble-laden condition. I am frustrated. I am bored. I am tired. The White Horse looks at me, unconcerned, going about its day in the chalk hills. I want to get out of there. I have to walk sideways up the hill to avoid being toppled over by the current of air, constant, over the hills. I am crying, but there are no tears. They have all been blown away. Then, suddenly, a rush. Something I will not describe as air, nor as wind, but specifically, awefully, and reverently as the Winds of Uffington. I have never felt winds so strong that were not threatening a storm. I quite literally had to lean forward and stay standing sideways to the wind to prevent being blown down the hill. All my classmates and friends were jumping, hands holding coats outstretched, making believe they could fly. I didn't dare. But I did face the wind, eventually, and let it blow through me. Cold, weak, sickly me. I felt better. Distracted. My classmates lined up for a photo and reached for me, taking me up alongside them. We formed a wall against the wind, which pushed us backward so that we had to dig our feet in and hold on tight. I didn't feel well at all, but I felt good. Those are the winds I remember like old friends. Though others may remind you of them, they can never be the same.

Our class group on the site of Uffington Castle.

Strange, that a book, or a garden, or a meal can make you think of a place like that. Strange that I remember certain emotions so strongly tied to a place. A hill. One moment.

It's times like these that make me want to put on my rain coat, find a good tree to sit under, and sip tea in the rain.


18 August, 2012


Hey, Readers!

You like that extremely colloquial title to this post? WELL, I AM PSYCHED. LET ME TELL YOU WHY.

My mom and I are going on a day trip tomorrow to Lily Dale, New York, which is a trip we've had planned for about a month for my birthday (my birthday was yesterday, the 16th). We're going with a large group of people, organized by a friend of ours who is a spiritualist and medium and did a lot of work at Lily Dale. We only paid the basic entrance fee, which includes a lot of daily, free things you can do within the area. There are also extra things that you can pay more for, but we're not going to do any of that.

So before you get too excited with me, know that I cannot ATTEND this exact thing that is making me so excited because 1) I don't have an extra $45 to spare and 2) apparently you had to register online way before this and I didn't know it was happening until just now when I looked up Lily Dale to try and see what would be available for us to do for free. So I'm not going to this event, BUT I'M PSYCHED ABOUT IT NONETHELESS, BECAUSE...

15 August, 2012

Thank You

Just a brief note of thanks to the people who purchase items from my Etsy shop.

Dear Customers,

I know I thank you in multiple ways in and around your order, but before I go to bed tonight I just wanted to say thank you here, in this public arena. You, my customers, mean a lot to me. The viewers of my videos mean a lot to me, too, and many of you are both of those things, so you can imagine how important I find you.

It is true, as many of you have pointed out--I do need the money right now to help me pay back student loans and such. So I cannot thank those of you enough who have stated that a big reason you like supporting me is because I need the money and still don't overcharge. I also have to really thank those of you who bought certain items, because while I don't triple my price like some places do, I still worry that in this economy I am asking too much for my creations. But those of you who purchased some of the items I was worried about have renewed my faith in my ability to rightly judge cost and worth. If one person buys it, I know my work is worth it. If two buy it, I am thrilled! So thank you ever so much for your contributions in that vein.

I also have to thank the few repeat customers I have. There is a unique pleasure in sending more items somewhere that I know my creations already exist. It's like they're going to be together again. And it really helps me to know that you liked my work well enough to order some more. Thank you.

Lastly, I just want to say thank you in general for allowing me to do this and supporting me in it. It is sometimes hard to part with an item you've created so lovingly and with such attention, yet so far I've been more excited to share my work with others than I have been experiencing issues parting with it. I've enjoyed keeping a map of my sales, marking the cities to which my items are sent, so I can see my global influence. My items now range as far west as Utah and as far east as western Australia. I cannot express how wonderful that feeling is. My videos are seen all over (depending on who chooses to watch) and now things that have been in my hands live all over the world. Thanks to you.

Thank you, ever so much, for your support.

09 August, 2012

Food-Only Altar

Hey, Readers,

Someone sent me a message on YouTube asking for suggestions for dorm-friendly representations of the elements and God/Goddess. I have a great love for symbolism, and I think I'm quite good at finding meaning in things, and finding connections between things that other people may view as unrelated.

I gave this person some of the usual suggestions for the elements--things I use or things others have used. But I had never really been asked to suggest symbolism for God and Goddess before. Being me, I ended up going from ritual items, natural items, and color suggestions to simple items that could be found anywhere that represent masculine and feminine--something phallic and something womb-like, I said. Thinking of what a college/university student might have, I suggested a butter knife and spoon, or a fork and spoon, or even a straw in a glass. Such things may sound silly, I know, but the symbolism fits if only you personally feel that such items call to you!

Then I thought, perhaps, a food-only altar would be fun to try out sometime. We all know there are masculine and feminine foods. But besides that, foods are also associated with elements, AND they are different colors. So why not create an altar whereupon every representation is a food item?

07 August, 2012

Playdate Update & Offering Help

Hey, Readers,

Here's another two-parter. This one is just an update from the last topic, and a new one I just wanted to write about briefly.

My friend and I went to a park to walk and talk and have a picnic. I brought my stuff in a bag, but when my friend showed up, he was carrying all his food! So instead of walking a mile, we started down the nearest trail and stopped at the first bench we came across to have our picnic. We ended up not budging from that bench with our snacks for SIX HOURS, because, well, we both talk a lot. I think it's funny how we seamlessly covered all our mutual big topics, flowing from gay rights to religion to theatre to our recent trips to London to religion in London and theatre in London to working with kids in theatre to theatre about religion and theatre about gay rights. I didn't record any of our conversation, because that would be weird. I was going to take video of our walk, but like I said, we didn't do any more walking. We left after dark from that same bench. So I'm afraid there's no video and no mind-blowing discoveries were made for me to share. But we had a nice time. Next time, maybe we'll actually walk. =P

This is something that bothers me a lot, and applies to any subject matter. It's the question of when to offer help and when not to. There are a few situations I can think of:

  • A person asks for help and opinions. In that case, it's accepted that you offer it. They want to hear from you. Help is appreciated.
  • A person does not ask for help or opinions but you have something interesting to say, so you offer it up casually. Maybe it turns out to be new to them and they thank you for the information.
  • A person does not ask for help or opinions but you say something to say, so you offer it up as though you assume they don't know, or correct them. As it turns out, they do know it, so it seems like you're condescending to them or telling them what to do. This is not appreciated.
    • Sometimes you can do this without sounding condescending, by wording your un-asked-for input as a personal story. You might mention how you experience something, or what you think, without ever sounding like you're correcting the person or assuming what they know.
    • Some people also begin input with "I don't know if you already know this, but I think/heard/etc. ..." or "I know you probably know this but maybe someone else could benefit from my view."
Most of the time, people comment with the second kind of thing, or the last thing--something interesting, or something they admit that I might know but they want to say it anyway. Recently someone mentioned something in a video, saying "I'm sure you already know this, so what is your opinion on..." and because they were polite, I admitted that I had not known about the particular thing. I don't mind admitting when I don't know, but generally if I don't know, I ask others to help out.

Other times, people's comments are really insulting even though they clearly don't mean to be. (Sometimes they do mean to be, but mostly they don't. They just mean to help and haven't thought about what they're saying.) When I get such a comment, it's hard for me to get really mad because I know they don't mean to be rude, but at the same time I feel a need to explain that they could really say things in a much better way, or not say anything at all. Here are some examples of these types of comments that are really hair-prickling:
  • "You should not do this because I believe it's wrong." My beliefs =/= Your beliefs. I don't do me for you.
  • "You should not do this because you're a woman and women should not do that. Men can, however." Please do not place gender roles on people. I am much more polite than some women would be about this. It's not okay.
  • "You should not do this because it's not attractive." I don't do me for you.
  • "You should not believe this way because I don't like it." Ditto. I don't believe what I do to please others. Remember, your views may not be something I like, either, but you believe it and I respect that.
  • "Actually, you're wrong." If I am, you could be more polite about it. But actually, people say this more often when what I said was not wrong. Like I said, if I'm not sure about something, I say so. I think it annoys me more if I'm actually correct, because then I'm dealing with rudeness and not even learning anything in return.
  • "You need to do this." Maybe I already do. You're assuming that I don't, just because I didn't say it in the video. Please don't tell me what to do. Even if I already do it, someone telling me to makes me not want to! It's the classic rebellion issue.
  • "This is how you do this." Again, you're assuming I don't know how. Word things like this as "This is how I do this" and you'll avoid the negative effects while sharing your valuable information. You may have another, useful way of doing things, but that doesn't mean someone else's way is wrong.
  • "You should ask so-and-so how to do this because they actually know how." Ouch. I think you can figure this one out on your own.
It's a tough thing to deal with, because to some people you really could say "I didn't ask you. Don't tell me." But other people do leave helpful or interesting comments without ever sounding like they're saying you're wrong or telling you what to do. Those latter folks should be given candy or muffins or flowers or puppies or whatever good thing they desire. It is a skill that they may not even know they possess! It's also tough because when you tell someone not to tell you what to do, they can counter with the same thing because you're TELLING them not to tell you what to do... See? Yeah. I would hope most people are mature enough to just not impose their views and beliefs on others, or to realize that doing so is not okay. Unfortunately that's not always the case.

So, okay, you read. You listened. Now I'm asking! What kinds of things do people assume YOU don't know, that really bugs you? How do you personally avoid sounding rude when you want to help people? I was a teaching/writing assistant, so I have specific strategies for commenting on someone's writing without cutting them down. Share some strategies for speaking with people in general that you might use, that others could try out!


03 August, 2012

Birthday & Park Playdate

Hey, Readers,

This post comes to you in two parts.

It's not my birthday until August 16th, but I wanted to mention this because it's on this blog. Last Christmas, a few viewers from YouTube asked if they could send me presents in the mail, and I had to decline because I don't have a P.O. Box. Then I saw a girl's blog where she had a Donate button that said, "Wanna buy me a cup of coffee?" and I thought, hey, if people want to send me presents, why not send money securely through PayPal and then I'll buy the presents? No harm in offering, since some people DID ask. I certainly don't expect anything! I just felt bad having to say no to some people who, for some reason, wanted to give me something. So that button is in the left sidebar of this blog right now, so I thought I should explain it to my readers.

I just made a video about it for my channel but I can't upload it right now because I'm about to leave for a...

My friend Derek and I are going to hang out at a local park today, which happens to be almost exactly equidistant between our two homes. I plan to record some of this, as well, which is another reason I can't leave my camera plugged into my computer to upload the video while I'm gone. If we make any brilliant discoveries during this trip, I will be sure to let you know. Otherwise, there should at least be some nice nature footage.

I hope everyone had/is having (depending on when you have time to celebrate) a Blessed Lammas or Imbolc, and/or a wonderful Esbat!