Saturday, May 30, 2009

Donating blood

I've thought before that donating blood would be a good way to help other people. I've also been sort of afraid to do it, because I don't like the big needles that are usually used to draw blood. There have been plenty of times when I would see a blood drive, think to myself "You know, I really should do that," but then failed to do so.

I don't have a needle phobia. Believe me, with the anxiety problems I've had I know what a phobia is, and I do not have needle phobias. But, I do know that needles can be painful, and I avoid them when possible. So, whenever I've seen a blood drive, I've always said "Oh, I'll donate next chance I get, just not this time."

Enough is enough. I am going to donate blood.

I came to this decision during my public speaking class, believe it or not. Our next speech will be a persuasive one, and the professor was showing us examples of persuasive speeches. One of them was persuading people to donate blood. Since I've said before that I should do it, and I think it's a great way to help people, I was easily persuaded.  And what do you know, but just later that day I found out that there will be a blood drive next week. Not only that, but it's at a place that is really convenient for me, so I don't even have the excuse that I would have to go out of my way to donate.

I've told my family and I'm posting it here, to make sure that I don't chicken out. I'll post about it after I donate.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pagan Values Month

I just found out over at The Gods are Bored (here's the relevent post) that June is Pagan Values Month. Basically, that's when us Pagan bloggers are, to quote Anne, "supposed to talk about the deep philosophical underpinnings of our behavior, and how Paganism shapes that."

I just discovered this, and being semi-bored and having nothing better to blog about, I decided to go ahead and express that I'm looking forward to this. It'll be fun to see what other Pagan bloggers come up with, and to put some thought into what to blog about that's Pagan related.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Danu and potatoes

I'll sometimes cut up a fruit or veggie, and place it in the compost pile. I do this as an offering to Danu. The offerings I give are always something I love, and since potatoes are my favorite (except maybe for strawberries) I most often give those to her.

Imagine my surprise when, while doing gardening yesterday, my mom found a young potato plant growing in the compost pile. I did not offer Danu any that had growth on them, so I find it almost beyond belief that any of my offerings has turned into a thriving plant, and this one certainly is thriving.

Make of this what you will. :)

ps. Spellchecker doesn't like "Danu." lol Or "lol" either, for that matter. :P

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tall One's birthday

Today Tall One turned 18. So that's two adult "children" in this household. Wow.

He fixed his own birthday cake -- carrot cake with yummy icing. It's exactly what I got him to make for my last birthday. He's a good cook.

I got him a Realtime CD for his birthday. In fact, it's playing as I type this. We're both fans of that quartet, and actually saw them perform live once! They are fantastic, and I am still amazed at how their voices blend. They sing Barbershop, which as I've said before, is a style of music we love.

Our parents got him an iPhone for his birthday. He actually got it a few weeks ago, though, because mom wanted access to the GPS feature while on trips. But she didn't want him to have nothing from her and dad on his actual birthday, today, so he also got a gift card so that he could get apts for his iPhone.

This evening we played the card game hearts. Tall One won, mom came in second, and I lost miserably, as I usually do in that game.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wrapping up regional

May 17th, 2009 9:58am
A highway in WA

Pride of Portland is the regional chorus champion, of course. :D

Oregon Spirit took second. I was amazed to see how good they are. They're the baby chorus, and this is only their second competition. If they keep up like this, they'll be giving Pride of Portland a run for their money! Pride of Portland hasn't had any real competition in this region. Might be good for them.

Anyways -- Oregon Spirit is now one of my favorite choruses.

The Show of Champions was fantastic, and our MC was hilarious. It started about a half hour late, though, because some people it couldn't start without were apparently across the street having dinner. But being Sweet Adelines we found ways to entertain ourselves. When we weren't chatting, we were singing.

It was during the wait that I got to really chat with other members of my chorus. They kept asking when I'll be singing with them again, and I kept telling them "I don't know." Right now I just need to focus on school.

Mom didn't go to the show of champions. She wanted to be well rested so we could leave early in the morning. [NOTE: Neither Tall One or I have even a learner's permit, so the driving is all up to her.]

I have to say -- I want coffee. Specifically, a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, though I doubt I'll get another one of those until about Samhain time.

I did have some coffee that we brewed in our hotel room, but I still managed to take a brief nap in the car.

Imagine. It's not even 10:30am, and I've already had a nap.

Mom said that the coffee in the hotel was not good, but I liked it. She says that's because I put so much chocolate milk in it. (I'd never tried chocolate milk in coffee before this trip, but I love it. Sugar needs to be added, also.) You see, mom and I have this disagreement. She says coffee should be drunk black, or not at all. (Yet she'll sometimes put stuff in it. Go figure.) I say it should never be drunk black. Black coffee certainly smells wonderful, but it tastes terrible.

Later 11:08am
Highway in WA

I haven't got Starbucks, but I did get coffee at a gas station. I got white chocolate cappuccino. It's ok, but I would prefer it a little less sweet.

I just realized something -- we didn't have any thunderstorms while we were in Spokane. When we had regional there three years ago, we had thunderstorms daily. What happened? I'd been looking forward to trying to photograph lightning.

We just crossed the border back into Oregon!

I have got to say, when my chorus took the stage at regional I just wanted to sing along with them. As I listened I was noting "Oh, they changed that! Ouch...didn't quite do that so well. I love this part that's coming up." Things like that. :)

I can't wait to rejoin them.

Later 12:31pm
Entering the Gorge

Mom made an observation: it is taking us as much time to drive home now as it took for us to fly to Hawai'i.

Again, later 1:54pm
Dalles, OR

For once I actually know where we are, while on the go.

We stopped by the "Stonehenge" for the heck of it, since it was right on our way anyways. I was actually more interested in the paths around it than in the monument itself. I'd love to actually explore them sometime.

.......

And that's it! I guess I was sort of in a writing mood during the car ride back home. :P

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pagan or Playgan?

First of all, let me clarify what a "Playgan" is for those who may not know: it is someone who is merely playing at being a Pagan, and is actually pretty darn clueless at what Pagans actually believe. Or else they know, don't really believe it, and are just playing at being a Pagan to tick off their parents or whatever.

There is an interesting discussion on an online forum, in which someone has said that people who openly wear a pentacle are Playgans. His reasoning is that a person's religion is private, and that anyone who wants to "flaunt" it can't be taken seriously.

I say phooey. 

I openly wear a pentacle, for three reasons:

1) I know that some people are convinced that us Pagans are evil and worship the devil. The more of us who are visible to the public, the better chance we have of correcting this stereotype.

2) I love talking religion, and I love learning about other people's religions. When people make a comment or ask about my pentacle, that opens up a way for me to ask and learn about their beliefs, which tends to lead to fun conversations.

3) I just plain old like to identify and be identified by fellow Pagans. Of course, there are those "Playgans" around, so you can't always assume someone with a pentacle is a Pagan.

I don't claim to be an expert on the Pagan religions. Not by a long shot. There is a lot out there to learn, even if you just stick to one particular Pagan religion. And with a variety of Celtic deities showing up, and Pele also inserting herself into my life, I have a lot to learn. Still, I know what I believe, and my beliefs are Pagan. Not Playgan.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Regional competition

This is an excerpt from my travel journal. There has been some minor editing for privacy's sake, and for grammar's sake. There's also more to it, but I don't feel like typing it all out all at once, so I'll do the rest in another post(s).

May 14th, 2009 Thursday 4:55pm
Columbia River Gorge

The knees of my jeans have grass stains. They got that way when I got down on my knees (and eventually my belly) to photograph some rodents at the rest stop.

Mom, Tall One, and I are on our way Spokane. We'll be attending the Sweet Adelines regional competition.

It feels so strange to not be bringing my makeup and a costume. But, I'm taking time off to focus on school, so of course I won't be on stage with my chorus...even though I'm going to regional.

We were listening to the audio book "The Restaurant at hte End of the Universe" by Douglas Adams for a while. Now we're listening to bagpipe music.

Later 10:37pm
Spokane, WA

Neither Tall One or I like the hotel. Mom doesn't seem as irritated as us, though.

I know I signed us up for a room with two beds, but we've only got one. We do have a couch which folds out into a bed, but Tall One says (and I shared his opinion, when out of curiosity I tried lying on it) that he'd rather sleep on the couch than it.

The sink is not in the bathroom. Not the first time I've seen this kind of arrangement, but I still don't like it.

Hotel aside, I think this will be a great weekend, and am excited.

Oh -- the doors of the closet in our room are full length mirrors. I do like that about our room. :)

May 15th, 2009 Friday 11:30
Spokane, WA

Tall One's practicing chanter. I offered to let him use the music stand I brought (I also brought my guitar) but he said no thanks. Turns out he wasn't using sheet music anyways.

I'm playing hooky today. I have a Friday class at PCC, but I'm skipping it to be here.

Guitar isn't the only homework (if guitar can be called that) that I brought. I also need to work on a speech for my public speaking class. I have to talk about an important person. We don't have to talk about an actual historical person (the professor used Luke Skywalker as an example of a non-historical person we can talk about :D) so I've settled on the Celtic mythical guy, Taliesin. He's the bard, so I guess it's kind of appropriate to write about him while I'm at a music convention. Not that I was thinking of that when I chose him...

Later 10:10pm

I think I watched Sweet Adelines history being made tonight.

The champion quartet is Paper Dolls, and their tenor is only seven years old! It is amazing. When I saw them in the competition the only criticism I had was that they were a little heavy on the tenor. That was my only criticism.

I cannot wait to see them on the international stage.

We went to Olive Garden for lunch. The waitresses were really helpful and helped me find vegetarian options. I was also drooling over a few things on the desert menu, but mom said we'd go back another time for desert.

We can't see it from our window, but our hotel is right on a river. It is amazing. It's fierce and raging, and awe inspiring.

I can't wait to see my chorus compete tomorrow. I want to see what they've been up to. And it's been wonderful, seeing my fellow chorus members around here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Out of town

I'm heading out of town tomorrow, and will be back Sunday. I'll be going to the Sweet Adelines region 24 competition.

I still have to do homework, and pack, so I'll leave it at that.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Farmer's market

I went to a farmers market today with mom. It was super crowded, and I'm not overfond of crowds (just too much going on all at once!), but I still had fun.

Mom got some plants, and I also got some plants for my herb garden. I got another kind of sage, thyme, rosemary, and basil. Mom also got something that's going in dinner tonight, though I can't remember exactly what it is.

So I've spent about the last hour out in the backyard, gardening. First of all mom moved the mints out of my herb garden. She'd suggested that it would make an excellent ground cover elsewhere in the yard, and pointed out that moving it would give me more space in my little patch I've got. I happily said yes, and then kept reminding her about it until she moved it. I also replanted the parsley -- again. I am discovering just how big it gets, and they need more space. I still have four of the plants in my little patch, but I moved most of them elsewhere in the yard. My herbs are taking over! Bwahahaha!!! ...sorry, I just could not resist doing that evil laugh. :P

Tall One's also got his own little patch, where he's growing carrots and...he's doing something else, too, but I can't remember what now. I do know we've got pumpkins, and potatoes. The potatoes were my idea. They're my favorite veggie. :D Oh and mom got two strawberry plants today, which I planted with the rest of the strawberries that are already in the yard.

I love my garden. :)

In addition to plants, I also got a dragon at the market. It's a candle, and made out of beeswax. It smells wonderful. I cannot wait to see what it smells like when it's burning. I plan to light it later today, when I find a time that I feel like just hanging out in one room doing whatever, so I can fully enjoy it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Summer term

I signed up for summer classes today: writing, and math. I'm supposed to do both of them before transferring to Marylhurst.

There's also this bronze casting art class I'm in love with, and want to take...but with how short the summer term is I've got plenty enough credits already with just these two classes. Ah well. Hopefully I'll get a chance to do it another time. :)

ps. The spellchecker really doesn't like Marylhurst.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Photography

My latest photography assignment was to do a story in three photographs. I wanted to do a myth, and figured I may as well do one that parallels the Christ story to make sure that people would get it. I went with my first idea, which was the myth of Baldr. Like Jesus he's all wonderful, then dies, and is (or will be...) reborn. 

I got a guy friend of mine to be Baldr, and we headed off to a woody area last Sunday so I could get the photos. I'd also recruited my mom to be Hel (for the underworld scene, you know) and she was going to come with us, but at the last minute plans were changed. You may recall, my dad had been to ER the previous day. He wasn't doing well, and she wanted to stay home and look after him. So I photographed my friend that afternoon, and my mom that evening.

As it happened, none of the Hel photos made it into the final photos I used to tell the story. I tried, but they just somehow didn't look right. My poor mom. She had stood in the backyard, in the rain, barefoot, and in my dad's bathrobe, for nothing. She took the news pretty well, actually.

After we turn in the photos the class critiques them.  It's a great way to learn. The critique for this one was today, by the way. When we got to mine the class figured out the general plot, but they thought that Baldr was a saint. Ah well. Well, they got the general point of the story. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My hair is a menace

It's official. My hair is a menace. Hmm, maybe I should finally get around to getting that jade ring for it... Yeah, I'm a fan of Eoin Colfer's "Artemis Fowl" books. :D

So here's the deal. My hair is long. I mean really long. It's so long that I have recently, on more than one occasion, accidentally sat on it. I kid you not. For a while it stopped growing and stayed at being a little below my waist. Now it's below my hips, and is growing even longer. I have no idea how long it'll get before I give up and cut it. If I give up and cut it.

You're probably wondering why I refer to it as a menace. Tall One would be more than happy to tell you that when I used to keep it in a pony tail all the time I would accidentally (or sometimes not so accidentally) hit him with it. Now I tend to keep it in a knot and those days are (mostly) over. Now, the problem is in Aikido.

I suspect that having a knot in the back of my head would interfere with certain Aikido stuff, such as rolling. With that in mind, I've adopted French braids during all my Aikido lessons. That's worked beautifully, until this evening. This evening, one of my partners stepped on my braid.

It didn't hurt, actually. At first I thought he'd jokingly grabbed it, but when I asked "Did you grab my hair or step on it?" it turned out that he'd stepped on it. Uh oh. I decided to come up with a solution before the next class time. But then minutes later he stepped on it again, and I realized I needed to come up with a solution then and there. I stuck it down the back of my shirt, though it kept trying to come out. I'll have to come up with something better, but it worked for the rest of that class.

I don't know exactly what I'll do, but I suspect I'll sew something into the inside of my Aikido outfit that I can attach my hair to.

Ah, the joys of long hair! lol

Monday, May 4, 2009

Silly computer

I didn't mention in my last post -- my computer went down, during the thunder storm. Not because of the storm, though. I don't understand exactly why, though. When people start trying to explain technical computer stuff to me I don't tend to understand a word they say, even though I try to. So all I know is that I turned it off to protect it during the storm, and then it wouldn't start back up.

Fortunately Tall One still has his old computer, even though he virtually never uses it anymore. He much prefers his laptop. So I was able to steal his tower (I have a new word! Or a new definition for a word, anyways) while my computer was down.

Ok, I keep calling it "my" computer. Truth is, I share it with mom. But that's ok. Mom spends money on computers that belong entirely to Tall One, but she spends money in other ways on me. So, I'm fine with it. :)

I have my computer back now, happily. Mom bribed the computer guy where she works with donuts (or anyways, she said she would, and I assume she did) and got him to fix it for us. So, now it's working again. I am happy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Thunderstorm

For the past week dad's had some kind of a problem with one of his teeth. I only heard about it on Friday, and apparently mom has been trying to get him to see the dentist before then. Yesterday it got so bad that mom wound up taking dad to ER. Ouch. Turns out he had a rotten tooth. They would have gone ahead and dealt with the problem then, if it weren't for the power outage.

You see, we had a thunder storm yesterday. We don't tend to get thunderstorms around here, so it was something of a surprise -- especially since it wasn't even in the forecast. When we do get thunderstorms they tend to be really mild, compared to thunderstorms in other parts of the country, but this one wasn't so mild. It poured down rain (which I guess is nothing new to Oregon), had wind gusts up to 50 mph (you know how I love wind :D), there was one (unconfirmed) tornado, and a bunch of hail. A bunch of trees were down around the Portland area, afterwards. And, some people lost power. To top it all off, it is the cause of one death. :( A tree branch fell on a car, and I think there's some debate about whether that was due to the probable tornado.

It wasn't that bad at home, where I was at the time, though. I never would have guessed that it was such a bad storm, if it weren't for what my mom told me, and the front page of the Oregonian today. All we got was the rain, some wind, and of course we saw and heard the thunder and lightning.

Oh, and during the storm, mom dashed across the street from the ER to check out a new bakery. *rolls eyes* She brought home some tasty bread, though. :) She's planning to visit it again when she takes dad over to get his tooth pulled.