Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Goddesses in my Life

Some deities are confusing me. Here's how it goes:

Last spring Brighid sprang into my life. It took me a while to figure out who she was, and I had to look around at the different goddesses in various pantheons before I figured it out. After a few weeks I found a description of Her, and my search was at an end. Then, Danu also stepped into my life. She was a little subtler, though; I'm not even sure which of us took a liking to the other first. In the last month she's taken a larger role in my life, and I am now giving offerings to her, in the form of cut up veggies (they have to be ones I love, like potatoes or onions) placed in the compost pile.

Brighid and Danu are Irish goddesses. Well, I know I have Scottish heritage, and if you've got Scottish heritage you're likely to also have Irish heritage, so it's not surprising that Danu's taken an interest in me - I think she's taken to me partially because of my heritage. Brighid, on the other hand...I think she loves everyone, and couldn't care less about my heritage.

So, I figured that I was settling down nicely into Celtic stuff. I figured I was something along the lines of a Celtic Reconstructionist, but I haven't called myself by that name because although I'm into Celtic stuff (the afore mentioned goddesses, bagpipe music, Irish dance, ect.) I haven't really made a point of doing research into it. Well, some might have called me a Celtic Recon anyways. I dunno.

Then, yesterday something quite surprising happened while I was journeying during my Shamanism class: I met Pele. She is the Hawai'ian volcano goddess, and unless I am quite mistaken, she has nothing whatsoever to do with the Celts. She also seems to be planning to stay in my life. My first response to that was "But I don't have Hawai'ian heritage! What's going on???" But then I got thinking...I'll write more when I figure out how to put the general way my thoughts are going down in words.

You know, I have nothing against Eclectic Pagans, but I never expected to be one. I wouldn't have chosen to be one, either. But, the decision seems to have been made for me, and I'm not about to get into an argument with Pele over it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My day thus far

Well, today I sort of found out what's going on with my absent English professor. He's finally got a diagnoses, is undergoing treatment, presumably will be fine...but he won't be back teaching classes until summer term. Ouch. Poor guy. So we're going to finish out this term in English with our substitute. We'll still be following the syllabus and stuff, though.

Not much exciting has happened today. I'm still sick, but am feeling better, which is nice. I did stay home from Aikido last night. :( I wanted to go, but I figured that getting thrown on the mat would be counter productive to getting well quickly.

I started reading "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer today. I've heard all about it from the flair application on facebook. Anyone who's familiar with flair will be rolling their eyes like "Oh yeah, it's crazy." Seriously - there's a ton of flair devoted to "Twilight." I already have an idea about how the plot goes based entirely on the flair I've seen.

For anyone wondering what flair is, it's basically virtual...stickers. "Stickers" isn't the word I was looking for, but it's close enough, I guess.

So, what to do now? Maybe I'll hang out on facebook. Maybe I'll read "Twilight." Maybe I'll read that introduction I hadn't realized I was supposed to read for English today...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Something and something else

I am tired, and sick. :( I started out with my throat feeling weird, and coughing yesterday, then I started feeling queasy last night. Luckily it's not so bad that I'm unable to go to school today, which is good considering that I had a big exam for my English class.

Unfortunately my English professor is also sick, and is way worse than I am. We had the substitute again today, to administer the exam, and we might have her for a bit longer. She even mentioned the possibility of finishing out the term with us! I wish I knew what's wrong with my professor. But the substitute isn't much help on finding an answer to that question, since she's as clueless as my fellow students and I are, as to exactly what is wrong with him.

Anyways, onto a happier topic now...Girl Scout cookies!

Yep, it's Girl Scout cookie time again! My mom came home from the grocery store the other day with a box of samoas and a box of thin mints. Yummy. And oh, they bring back memories. I was a Girl Scout myself, when I was younger, and I always sold cookies. I have fond memories, but I dropped out when the whole program changed a few years back. However, the cookies are as fantastic as they ever were. I suggest buying a box, or two, or more, if you can. :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What can I title this???

I'm taking a break from studying for my big English exam tomorrow.

Something seems to be bothering my throat and I've been coughing. I mentioned it to mom, and she made me some jasmine (I think it was jasmine) tea. I know that blackberry tea can also help throat problems, but we don't have any in the pantry. We do have some in the backyard, but it's really young and I don't want to harvest it yet.

I'm afraid I might be getting sick. :( Mom and Tall One have been sick, so they might have passed it on to me now. I can't get sick! I've already been sick once this term, and I don't want to miss any more classes.

On a much sadder note, I found out that Joni Bescos passed away today. She was well known and greatly loved in Sweet Adelines, and we'll all miss her. She coached my chorus last fall. I remember being impressed by how much of a character she was, in spite of how frail she had become due to her fight with cancer. She was fantastic.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Exam stuff

Remember the other day I was posting English notes, under the theory that the more ways/times you write things down the more likely you will be to remember them? Well, I'm at it again. Same subject - English. This time, though, I'm trying to match authors to the stories they've written. Some of them I have no problem with. I know "The Old Man and the Sea" and "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" are by Hemingway! However, some of them I'm having trouble with, so here it is!

"Greasy Lake" by T.C. Boyle

"Araby" by James Joyce

"Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin

"Parable of the Prodigal Song" Biblical

"Cathedral" Raymond Carver

"The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck

"The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner

"Barn Burning" by William Faulkner

"Saboteur" by Ha Jin

"The Death of Ivan Ilych" by Leo Tolstoy

"A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" by Ernest Hemingway

"A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor

"Parker's Back" by Flannery O'Connor

"The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka

"The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe

"Everyday Use" by Alice Walker

"A Pair of Tickets" by Amy Tan

"Young Goodman Brown" by Nathaniel Hawthorn

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

"To Build a Fire" by Jack London

...now maybe I'll repeat this exercise on facebook...or maybe I'll go back to my flashcards...or maybe I'll vacuum...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Working up the food chain

This morning I noticed a surprising number of robins in my backyard; I counted nine! Wow. And then I noticed a cat who was sticking its head through a hole under the fence. I chased it off, but a few minutes later it was back in the yard, and I watched as it crawled through the hole. 

I need to do something about that. Maybe I can plug it up with some dirt from the compost pile? Or perhaps I can find some large rock to block it with. We've already got rocks around that spot, so it's not like another rock there will be out of place.

We love our birdies, and we love our kitties. However, we keep our cats indoors, and do our best to make our backyard as bird friendly as possible. And, sometimes that means running off the neighborhood cats.

And anyways, it's not like this is the safest place for outdoor cats. We've got coyotes around here! They'll make a nice snack of a cat, given half a chance.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beware of Bleach

Well, I thought everything exciting had happened for today. Then, while doing chores, I accidentally knock over a small thing of bleach. This would be no big deal, except that the top had broken, so that bleach spilled all over the floor. Luckily, this was the kitchen floor, which is linoleum, so no harm was done; in fact, we now have a pristine patch of floor in the kitchen.

Socks, one of the cats, was getting in my way while I was mopping the spill up with utility towels so I locked him up in my parents bedroom. While locking him up, I told mom that I'd spilled bleach. Her comment? "You smell like bleach." Gee, I wonder why.

I guess it's a good thing that I like having the mild scent of bleach. The smell will be hanging out in the kitchen for at least a few days after this, I think!

Substitute professor

As I've mentioned before, my English professor has been sick. This has resulted in one canceled class, and a few other classes ended early. Today, we finally had a substitute. Depending on how he feels next week, we may also have the substitute on Monday, when we have our big exam. 

...not much else going on, other than my mom just reminding me as I'm writing this about refilling the water pitchers and the ice trays. Since there's nothing else I feel like blogging about I guess I'll go ahead and get on to chores.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Aikido and Small World

I just survived my second class of Aikido. Fun fun fun. :) Of course, it'll hurt tomorrow, but it'll be a good kind of pain. And once I'm more in shape, I won't be hurting the day(s) following practice.

A surprising thing happened - I ran into one of my former yoga teachers at the dojo. She was actually in my class! I was in her yoga class at PCC last fall term. Oh, and, guess what? She also teaches yoga at the dojo

*singing* It's a small world after all... *end singing*

Ok, I feel like I need to add something else after that singing...but I don't know what to add, and anyways I need to do dishes, so I'll just leave it at that.

Studying ENG

Ok, I have a big test in English next Monday. I'm putting my notes into the computer, and then it occurred to me - you know, the more ways/times you write it down, the more easily you'll remember. So, why not put some of the "highlights" in my blog! So, here it is. Hopefully it'll be interesting. If not, ignore.

ps. I'll add in "editorial" comments here and there, in red lettering. Why red? It's my favorite color. :P

-----

Ways of reading

"Naive" reading

Pre-critical
Just enjoy it!
It's the experience of the story
Never feel like you need to give up naive reading!

Sophisticated reading
Apply some critical concepts: plot, conflict, ect.
"Pause," and analyze it

It's good to do both naive and sophisticated reading

I usually try to do naive reading in my first read through of anything, but I sometimes find myself trying to analyze things despite myself.

Conflict

Conflict is the ENGINE of the plot!!

Usually seven stages of plot

1) Exposition
2) Inciting moment
3) Rising action
4) Turning point
5) Further complication
6) Climax
7) Denouement

Memory jogger I had to come up with: Even In Rings The Forest Closes Down

Don't ask me what this memory jogger is supposed to be. All I know is that it's what I came up with, and it works. lol

Recipe for a quest story

1) Questor - person who's looking for something
2) Place to go
3) Stated (ostensible) reason for going
4) Obstacles en route
5) Real reason for going - it's usually different from ostensible reason
Reason can be: "educational," self knowledge,

Interesting how "quest" sounds like "question." Hmm...

Irony gotta love it :P

Three major types

1) Verbal - can be like sarcasm, when you say one thing and mean another
2) Situational - opposite result from what's expected
I'd say that a friend of mine losing her GPS recently qualifies...
3) Dramatic - when reader/viewer knows more than the character does

----

This is actually only a tiny insy bitsy sampling of what I've got in my notes...but anyways. So that's that. Now what?


The Chieftains

I'll try to keep this short, since I have schoolwork to do.

I went to see the Chieftains last night. Oh. My. Gosh. You know, I'd never heard their music before. However, my mom said it was something I couldn't miss, and so surprised me with tickets for both Tall One and myself. So, I found myself going to see them last night.

They are amazing. I love them! I have a new favorite band!!!

I think the reason my mom found out about them coming to Portland was because one of our favorite pipe bands, Portland Metro, wound up sharing the stage with the Chieftains last night. (You can see a you tube video of Portland Metro Pipe Band here.) The Chieftains did two songs with Portland Metro, one of which was the encore.

I want to talk about the performance, but I don't even know where to start! So, I guess I'll just leave it at saying it was amazing, and get on to schoolwork.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Classes today

There's some kind of bug going around. Today my English professor called it a day after only one hour of class, rather than going the full two hours, because he's sick. My guitar class has been completely canceled on account of the professor teaching it being sick.

So now I'm home, rather than at school. I guess I'll spend my time studying and practicing guitar. Oh, and facebooking. :P

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Valentines day

I don't have a sweetheart, so I hardly spent the day romantically. Still, it was fun.

I went to a program where I learned how to make a lei. It was quite fun. After that we did some hula. Now, my muscles were still aching from my first Aikido lesson on Thursday night. I'm not going to say that it wasn't at all painless, but I think the exercise certainly did help my poor muscles. After getting home, I wrote on my crafty blog how to make a lei, which is the link I provided above. :)

That evening I went to a bagpipe performance. There were two soloists and a band. It was quite fun.

Not much more to tell, I think.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Aikido

I just survived my first Aikido class! :) It's fun. I watched a class Tuesday evening, since they request that you watch one class first, and then my first class was this evening.

Aikido is sort of a family thing. My parents used to do it, and my dad even taught it! My brother is taking Akido, and is actually in the same classes I'm taking. Not that I really saw him this evening - we were on opposite sides of the classroom. I asked him afterwards if he was avoiding me, and he said that he just liked his side of the room better; there was more space to throw people around. I guess he does have a point there.

ps. The spell check says "Aikido" isn't a word.

Religious ignorance and intolerance

Moments ago I was on a facebook Pagan group, looking around at the posts. Well, I came across a post written by a teenage girl, whose story is a little too common for my liking.

The girl comes from a Christian family, but now has Pagan beliefs. Her family had apparently been ok with it, then one day she comes home from school to find her room "cleansed," with all her Pagan books and stuff taken out of it, and a cross on her wall.

The problem is religious ignorance. No, us Pagans do NOT worship the devil! And really, the way to "save our souls" is NOT by forcing Christianity down our throats! And anyways, while taking away a Pagan's material stuff may make them furious with you and make it difficult to perform rituals, it's not going to change their belief. It'll just make them practice their beliefs in secret. Now, do you prefer that, or would you like to know what's going on with them?

*sigh*

Now, please realize - I'm not trying to jump up and down and say "Oh us poor Pagans, we're so misunderstood!" I guess I'm really just railing against religious intolerance in general, and since I'm a Pagan who was browsing Pagan forums, the case I'm presenting here just happens to be one in which a Pagan is the victim. 

In fact, I know it can also go the other way too - there are some Pagans out there who unfortunately think that every Christian would love to burn them at the cross, and so hate and distrust any Christian them meet. Pagan parents like that would likely be just as furious as the afore mentioned Pagan teenager's mom was to find any child of theirs converted to Christianity, or even showing interest in it.

It seems to me that the root of intolerance is ignorance. Please, if a loved one suddenly starts professing a new religion or spirituality, don't suddenly start trying to save their soul or whatever! Learn. They will respect you much more for trying to understand their beliefs than if you just say they are wrong. And, by the way, if they respect you, then they are more likely to listen to you and what you think.

And as I said before: taking away someone's material stuff will tick them off and make trouble for them, but it won't change their beliefs. It'll just turn them against you.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sweets and Songs

My English class is canceled today, because the professor is sick. I only found this out once I'd gotten to school. I didn't feel like turning around and taking the bus back home, then taking it back out here again later today for guitar, so I wound up with two extra hours at school that I need to figure out how to fill. I've mostly been studying, and playing guitar. Now I'm blogging. :)

My local library has an annual fundraising event, which donors are invited to. It's called Sweets and Songs, and it was last Saturday evening. My family donates, so mom, Tall One, and I were there. (Because of medical problems, dad can't really get out and go to things like this.) Oh, by the way, mom is also an employee there. This results in her helping to run things, and being her children, Tall One and I wind up helping out.

This year Tall One and I put candles out and about, Tall One lit them, and we both helped hand out raffle stuff. We're used to it. The raffle prizes are almost entirely flower bouquets. Tall One won one of them. :) I've won one (or two) in previous years, but none this year. That's fine, though. Our cats only try to eat them, anyways!

There was one interesting thing I noticed, during the fundraiser. I was glancing at some bookshelves, and I noticed a bunch of "Harry Potter" books. (Do I even need to bother giving the name of the author of those books? :P) I don't know why, but I counted them; I counted seven of them. I took another look, and they were all the same book in the series. Which book? The seventh one. So, we had seven of the seventh "Harry Potter" books together on the shelf! I thought it was an interesting...coincidence. Hmm...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The chap stick

I seem to be in charge of laundry today.

So, I was taking clothes out of the dryer, folding them, and sorting them into piles. Suddenly I came across something: a tube of chap stick. I opened it up, and found there was even still some of the stick inside. I took it to Tall One and asked if it was his. He said no. So I took it out to mom, where she was working in the garage, and asked if it was hers.

When she saw it she was like "Oops! I bought that for you, and put it my in pocket to make sure I would get it to you!" Well, I've got it now. I'm not sure if I want to use it after it's been through the washer and dryer, but I've got it.

So I guess the moral of the story is that you should be careful what you do around me, because I just might put you in my blog. Oh, and if you say "You aren't going to blog about this are you?" the chances are good that I will.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Looking around Marylhurst

I went to Marylhurst today, and talked to admissions. My idea of minoring in English more or less went out the window. Turns out that music therapy is such an intensive program that throwing in a minor would be a whole lot of extra work. I may wind up deciding to do it anyways, but at this point in time it's not part of the plan.

I also got a tour of the campus. It was so cool. There's actually a bell that chimes on the hour! I was so excited to hear it. The library is beautiful, and is three stories! Wow. There are statues around the place that are just beautiful. About half (as a rough guess) are religious. There's also a cemetery! Can you believe that?

I learned a little of the history of the university. Apparently it was founded by some Christian sisters, and an orphanage was part of it. The afore mentioned cemetery is where they (or at least some of them) were buried. I went into the cemetery, while poking around after the tour was over. Now, I'd been taking lots of photos, but I put my camera away once I went in. I somehow felt that it was sacred space, and that taking photos would be disrespectful. I've never had that feeling before.

I felt like I kept running into Christianity all over the place! I was happy with it, though. True, I'm Pagan, but so long as other religions aren't trying to shove themselves down my throat I get along with them great; and though there were plenty of Christian overtones, I did not feel like it was getting shoved down my throat. So, I delighted in what I found. :)

I ran into my guitar professor. That was surprising, and neat. Well, ok, so it wasn't quite as surprising as it might have been; I already knew that he's also a professor at Marylhurst, and I ran into him when the tour took me into the music department. He teaches in the music therapy program - yep, exactly what I'm going into! I think I'll be seeing more of him.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mug Shot

Tall One plays bagpipes, and will be competing at the Highland Games. Well, one of them will be in Canada (or is it more than one that will be?) so a passport will make things somewhat convenient. Oh, and, I intend to tag along to as many of the games as I possibly can. :)

So, passports. Naturally, one step in getting a passport is to get a photo for the passport. Tall One and I got our photos today, at the same time. When I saw what our photos looked like I commented to Tall One "They look like mug shots." He said "Well, that's sort of what they are."

So now that we've got our mug shots, we'll be getting our passports soon.

Monday, February 2, 2009

English professor has laryngitis

When my English professor stepped into the classroom today, he wrote this on the board: "Professor has no voice today." At first I thought it was just a figure of speech, and that he wanted to conduct class differently than he has before. After a couple minutes I came to the realization that he meant what he wrote literally; he has laryngitis.

That's not to say that he didn't still have some control over the class and how we spent our time, though. He had us look at questions in the text book, come up with answers, and then write our answers on the white boards. He then worked with what we had written to teach us.

The class is supposed to be two hours, but apparently just one hour of teaching without his voice was enough for him - he wrote "Let's call it a day" about the time we usually take our mid-class break.

I do hope that he's better by Wednesday, when our next class is, but I've got to say that it was a fun class. :) If only it had been the full two hours, rather than just one hour.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Red Tailed Hawks and Bushtits

Last year we had red tailed hawks nesting about a block from our house, in a fir tree in some one's front yard. It was so cool when the youngsters started testing their wings.

Today I've noticed a red tailed hawk flying around, carrying stuff that I think s/he is using to make a nest. This bird was flying in the opposite direction from where the nest was last year, however. This strikes me as odd, because they usually nest in the same place year after year. But then, the key word there is "usually." Either they've decided to be unusual, or they haven't read the book on what they're supposed to do. 

On a different note, we realized today that we've got bushtits, not kinglets, in our yard. My mom described (apparently inaccurately) what the birds look like to an Audubon Society person, who told her they're kinglets. So mom told the rest of us they're kinglets, and we believed her.

I refrain from further comment about my dear mother.