Thursday, March 31, 2011

Witches in Fiction

Blog party alert!!!

To celebrate her blog's second birthday Magaly (over at Pagan Culture) is throwing a party celebrating witches in fiction. This party will include:

*Stories about witches
*Fun give aways!
*Other fun stuff

This should be a lot of fun. I highly recommend that you head over and check it out. And if you feel like contributing a story or a post about witches in fiction, I'm sure that Magaly will be happy to have you join in the party! The more the merrier. :)

And no, you don't have to be a witch to join in. I don't think I qualify as a witch (though that might be a debatable point) but I will definitely be having fun at this party.

More details may be found here. =D


I'm usually not the type for going to the theaters to watch movies, but when I saw the previews for Tangled I admit that I wanted to see it. (I also want to see The King's Speech, FYI.) When I was in Spokane I got to see it with The Belly Dancer and her boyfriend, and it's a new favorite of mine.

If you haven't seen it before, or if you have seen it and want more of it, watch the following video.

If you liked this, go watch the movie. :)


I originally wrote the following in my notebook the day I left to visit my friend in Spokane.


One of the few advantages that traveling by Greyhound bus has over traveling by car is the people one encounters. Or anyways, it's an advantage when it is not a disadvantage. In my experience, so far, it has been an advantage.

There are two people who remain in my memory from my first time riding a Greyhound, less than a year ago.

One was a young woman, perhaps no older than me. She seemed a very nice person, and I believe she was going to Eugene. I found out that she was going to visit her baby and the baby's father, who had broken up with her. She easily admitted that the breakup was her own fault, though, because she had cheated on him.

There was also an older man. He looked very rough, and my first thought when seeing him was that I wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley. He sat next to me part of the way, and despite his appearance he seemed a good sort of person -- his speech did reflect his appearance from time to time, though. He was on his way to a hospital in Portland, and he needed to be there by 11pm. He would be cutting the timing a little close, I thought. I hoped he would get there in time. I seem to remember that he was having problems with his heart.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Of belly dancers and grandmas

I couldn't decide what to talk about first: my trip, or my grandma. So I decided to talk about both of them in the same post, in the order that they happened.


First, please allow me to introduce my friend, The Belly Dancer. I've blogged about her before, but I've never given her a name. I always felt like it would be awkward to ask her "Hey, may I use your name on my blog, or may I make up a name?" I did finally ask that question before coming back home (I didn't think to ask her boyfriend that question, though, so he'll just be The Belly Dancer's Boyfriend) and she suggested the name The Belly Dancer, which I think suits her nicely.

So, what to say about my trip?

I already talked about the SCA event, which was really fun. I'll probably share photos from it eventually, but I'm on the wrong computer for that now so photos will have to wait until later.

My friend also did some belly dancing while I was there. I'm not calling her The Belly Dancer for nothing! :) One thing that was funny was when she was dancing in a restaurant, and managed to get another woman who had done belly dancing before to show her some moves -- on the floor. So there the second belly dancer was, in a short dress and nice shoes, doing floor work. If you want to see exactly what I mean, go to 2:30 in the following video.

The Belly Dancer was quite happy with herself for getting the other woman to show her some moves, and the icing on the cake was that the woman had a date and his eyes went SO BIG when he saw her undulating horizontally.

The Belly Dancer and The Belly Dancer's Boyfriend also showed me some of the sights in their city. Including some craft stores and some book stores. They have good taste in stores. :)

I'm glad to be home, but I'm looking forward to seeing them again.


I really didn't know what to expect when coming home because I knew that a stranger had moved in while I was gone. After all, I hadn't seen grandma since I was a baby. And she'd never met my younger brother before, ever.

Amazingly, it hasn't been been too strange (to me) to have grandma living with us.

My first day back I took her to visit a nearby shop that's a favorite of mine. She has a wheel chair for when she leaves the house, so I pushed her all the way there and back. (It's a manual wheel chair and she doesn't have the strength to wheel herself around.) I managed to work up a sweat in the process! So I think that my new exercise regime should be to take grandma places. ;)

I don't really know what else to say. It's nice to have her around, and she's sweet.

Ending witch hunts

Did you know that witch hunts still happen? They do, and the details can get pretty darn gruesome and horrific.

I just found a post by Mrs. B. about 30 Days of Advocacy to End Witch-Hunts. I highly suggest that you go to her blog and read the first post on the subject here.

The "burning times" didn't really end. Or maybe they did, for a time, but they started up again. And just like in the "burning times" that us Pagans talk about, most who are accused of witchcraft and tortured and killed because of that accusation usually aren't witches.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I got back from my trip to visit my friend (who I will call The Belly Dancer) a couple days ago and I spent yesterday becoming acquainted with my grandma. I'll talk about both of these exciting things later, and probably at great length. But in this post I want to talk about school.

Last year I didn't do too well in school. My not doing well was a combination of being in a major that did not suit me, and the fact that I suffered from depression in winter and spring terms.

The depression struck in the last few weeks of winter term, and I did very little (if any) homework after it hit. For my music classes I had already done enough that I was able to scrape by passing those classes despite failing one of my final exams. But as for my non-music class, LAC 301? I failed it.

LAC 301 is a class that is required for all Marylhurst students who do not already have a college degree. It's basically an introduction to the school and it helps students learn how to learn. And because it is a required class I knew I would have to take it again.

I was dreading it.

Last term, a year after I had initially failed the class, I re-took it and this time I passed it. And I am quite happy with myself.

I have my first class of spring term today, and I don't have to worry about LAC 301 any more.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Checking in


I'm having fun visiting with my friend. First, I've got to say that when we visited the library we discovered they were having a book sale. I got two books and two CDs for a total of $3. Beat that price! :D

Yesterday we went to an SCA event, which was a first for me. I went in costume, about half of which was mine, about half of which was borrowed from my friend.

It was amazing. I don't even know how to describe it.

I want to do it again.

This event was a war, a very short war. Apparently they usually go on for a few days, but this one lasted only a few hours.

And I can proudly say that I drew blood at my very first SCA war!! :D (Ok, so I drew my own blood with a sewing needle, accidentally...but let's ignore that tiny detail, shall we?)

We plan to watch Tangled later today, and we have other fun plans. :)

Now, about grandma...

Of course I haven't seen her since she arrived in Portland (less than two hours) after I left, but I've been getting updates on her from mom. Grandma seems to be doing well.

Now about the Highland Games...and grandma...

For the past several years my brother, Tall One, has competed at the Highland Games both as a solo bagpiper and in a band. Whenever possible, that is, most of the time, I have tagged along. But I don't think that's going to happen this year.

If all three of us -- mom, Tall One, and me -- were to leave, it would leave only dad to take care of grandma. It occurred to me that that would mean one disabled person taking care of another disabled person, and I wasn't so sure that that would be a good idea. So I e-mailed mom, and expressed my concern, suggesting that I should stay home. She told me that she had been planning to ask me to stay home to care for grandma.

So I'll be missing out on the Highland Games, unless we can get grandma on Medicaid before them and therefore in a nursing home. But I'm not holding my breath. Who knows how long it'll take to get her on Medicaid.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Manannán Mac Lir Day

This is a re-post. I suppose I could set it to post on March 17th, but I decided to go ahead and post it two days early.

By the way, I think we should smuggle the Snakes back to Ireland. ;)


Yes, it's Saint Patrick's Day. I myself don't particularly like the day, because Saint Patrick is celebrated for having driven the "snakes" out of Ireland. Oh, and, they're using "snakes" to refer to "Pagans."

Now, not everyone thinks about this as they celebrate St. Pattie's Day, which is why I don't go around angry with everyone. If people want to wear green, drink green beer, dye a river green, talk with fake Irish accents, and so on and so fourth, that's fine with me. I just can't bring myself to join in, because I can't get past what Saint Patrick is all about. Same goes for my my family.

Now, not all Pagans like me on this. I brought up the topic of St. Patties in a Pagan group I'm part of on facebook, and I got the overwhelming response that it's just a day to have fun and wear green, drink green beer, dye a river green, talk with fake Irish accents, and so on and so fourth.

But, I have found evidence that my family and I aren't the only ones who can't get into St. Pattie's Day.

I discovered that Thalia Took, author of Amused Grace blog, is celebrating Manannán Mac Lir Day today. (The picture is one of her's, by the way.) She apparently got the idea from Anne Johnson, author of my favorite blog, The Gods are Bored. Follow the link I've provided to Took's blog if you want a little more info.

I for one think it would be fantastic if people celebratted Manannán Mac Lir Day on March 17th. So, are there any more converts (in addition to me) who are all for this idea? :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Interesting discussions

The wall of the Facebook fan page for Big Cat Rescue (BCR) has been very...interesting lately. One of the things that is interesting is that some people are arguing that feeding live prey to cats that are being rehabilitated qualifies as animal cruelty, and that it should not be done. But that's not the interesting bit.

The interesting bit is that some supporters of BCR are responding to this by lashing out and even making personal attacks on those who express their disapproval of live food, which really doesn't make sense to me. Telling someone that they "suck" and to "stfu" just because they express a differing opinion isn't going to get you anywhere, other than to perhaps make the other person defensive and alienate them.

It's disgusting, really. And even though I support giving live food to cats that are being rehabilitated (note: to cats who are being rehabilitated, which are the only cats who are given live food at BCR), I found myself defending those who spoke up against it rather than those who agreed with me. I even had to point out to someone:

"*** was not slandering BCR. She was simply saying that she cannot approve of what is being done. Saying 'I cannot support BCR on this matter' is not slander. It is stating personal opinion."

What is the world coming to when someone politely stating an opinion that differs from yours is called slander?

I guess the whole point of this post is to say that I am disgusted by those who argue by lashing out at the other person rather than by calmly stating their reasoning for why they disagree. I feel like I have more in common with those who disagree with me but who are polite about it than those whose opinions I agree with but call those on the "other side" "idiots."

In conclusion, I would like to share a quote from Tamora Pierce's book Lady Knight:

"Threats are the last resort of a man with no vocabulary!"

Ok, so I think that "threats" could be exchanged for "personal verbal attacks" and "vocabulary" could be exchanged for "able to support and defend their position." But you get the picture, I think.

ps. I hope this post is coherent. It may be past my bedtime and it's my first day of spring break and I'm looking forward to spending eleven days with my friend and I'm looking forward to my grandma moving in with my family and and and...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Travel plans

Two exciting things will be happening this Wednesday. The first exciting thing is that I will hop on a Greyhound bus to visit a close friend of mine who left town last fall. The second exciting thing is that my grandma will arrive in Portland to live with us.

The not so great thing about this is that I cannot exchange my bus ticket for one that leaves another day so I'll miss seeing grandma when she arrives -- by about two hours! Yes, her plane will touch down just a couple hours (or maybe less) after my bus pulls away from the Greyhound station.

So while grandma is settling in to her new home, I will be visiting with a friend.

I look forward to seeing my friend. We don't really have any exact plans, except for attending one belly dance show that my friend will perform in, and going to an SCA event. My friend's family is involved in SCA so even though this will be something new to me, it's something she's used to.

Then (eleven days later, just as spring term is beginning!) I'll get back home where grandma will have been settling in and getting used to things. The last time I saw grandma I was a baby, and she's never seen Tall One. So her moving in will be quite interesting, and exciting.

I look forward to seeing both people: my friend, and my grandma. Just not at the same time, unfortunately.

By the way, grandma living with us will be only temporary...though we don't know how temporary. That will depend on when we can get her on medicare. And who knows how long that will take. But in the meantime, we'll take care of her. :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My birthday!

It's my birthday!

I do have some plans, which I can discuss in another post, but here on my blog I decided to celebrate by sharing a hilarious video that I discovered today: How The Empire Strikes Back Should Have Ended.

They have many more hilarious endings here. I haven't seen all of them (since I haven't seen most of the movies anyways) but those that I have seen are worth watching. :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Trouble with ADHD

I have like no attention span right now.

Ok, so that's not quite true.

I have a ten second attention span.

And this is driving me crazy.

I want to grab my ADHD with both hands and THROTTLE it.

To help me focus I turned to two wonderful songs that I found on YouTube a while ago. (I've also tried to find them on iTunes so that I could buy them, but no luck so far.) Somehow these particular songs help me focus more than some other songs.

With the help of these two songs I finished up some homework this evening.

Hmm, might that be a form of music therapy...? ;)


I woke up to the news about Japan's earthquake today. If you've somehow missed the news you can click here to read about it and/or watch the following video.

I've heard all about tsunamis before, but I don't think I properly understood how scary they are until I saw this video. Then again, maybe I still don't really understand it, and won't unless I see one in person. I hope that never happens.

I'm praying for those in Japan, and other places affected by the earthquake and/or tsunami.

And of course, when I read about the destruction, this is what I thought: that could have been Portland, minus the tsunami since we're so far inland. The fact is that Portland is an earthquake zone, and we get a big one every five hundred years or so. And there's no telling when the next one will be. After this occurred to me I have to think about it whenever I think about Japan.

In fact, there is a fault (two faults, actually) that lie off of the Oregon coast. It's part of the ring of fire, which of course Japan is on as well. So not only could the earthquake happen to Portland, but the earthquake -- complete with tsunami -- could happen to the Oregon coast. As a matter of fact, I think it's safe to say that it will happen. We just don't know when. Someone else was thinking along the same lines and wrote a news piece about that. You can read it here.

I guess I'm writing about this, and writing about my home when the earthquake was in Japan, to try to internalize this. After all, it could -- will -- happen to Oregon someday. To the Northwest, in fact.

Again, my prayers for those in Japan, and everyone affected by the earthquake/tsunami duo.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Dear Allergies:

Why do you do this to me? Seriously. Just when it gets to my favorite time of year, you hit me. You make my eyes itch. Sometimes it feels like someone's even poking at my eyes. And I have sinus drainage, which makes my throat hurt. It isn't fun.

True, I have wonderful allergy meds that can hold you at bay. But I'd prefer that I not need them.

So why don't you back off, and leave me alone this year. Please?



(...this was inspired by Carrie over at [carrotspeak.] who sometimes writes letters.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Guess what? Grandma is coming up from Texas to live with us temporarily. Just how temporarily is unknown. We'll have to play it by ear.

And let's see, when does she arrive? In about a week.

And when do I leave to visit my friend? In about a week.

Really not so great timing. I wish I could have foreseen this somehow.

And since I just found this video about Portland, I would like to share it to show a little of what my grandma might see when she comes!

TRAVEL PORTLAND! from James Westby on Vimeo.

In the video are some of the sights of Portland, as well as three nearby places that are great to visit: the Columbia River Gorge (simply called "the Gorge" by us locals), Mount Hood, and the beach. The first forty seconds show the side of Portland that I know and love the best.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring Fever

Yesterday felt like the first day of spring, and I developed spring fever.

What does spring fever feel like? Here's what it feels like...

...minus the ship. Other than that, it's pretty accurate. I think that spring fever and cabin fever are very closely related conditions.

So I went for a walk today. A loooong walk. And I wore myself out. And now I need to do homework.

Note to self: Next time you still have things to do, take a shorter walk and don't wear yourself out!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring is springing

My favorite time of year is early spring. I can't exactly explain why. It just is. The energy of that time of year is just what feels best to me, I think.

And spring is coming. As proof of this fact, I have detected the beginning of my seasonal allergies. Yes, I do have allergies every spring. Which may make it seem a little strange for it to be my favorite time of year. Ah well. I never claimed to make sense. :)

Further proof that spring is coming is that a red tailed hawk is making a nest in a giant pine tree more or less across the street from my house. Every spring that my family has lived in this house we have had one (or two?) hawk nests on our street. They are beautiful to watch.

Spring is springing!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When God-Fearin' Women...

I don't seem to have much to say at the moment, so I thought I would just share the following music video.