Monday, May 30, 2011

Birthdays

How did it get to be May 30th!?

It's funny how days can just creep by without me noticing.

Anyways...

Tall One's birthday was on May 23rd. I posted about other stuff that day, but not about him.

The cake was a nut and carrot cake, with some apricots in the middle of it. It was weird, but yummy.

And what did I get him? I got him an aromatherapy thingy. He had already figured out what I was getting him, but he thought I was getting him a soapstone one. So he was rather surprised when I gave him the glass and metal one you see to the left! I also gave him cinnamon leaf essential oil.

Two days later was The Belly Dancer's birthday. She's up in Spokane and I'm down here so I wasn't able to be with her on her birthday, but I did send her an aromatherapy locket that I've fallen in love with myself. So now she can wander around smelling like clove, which is the essential oil I sent her, or anything else she wants to.

No, I don't make a habit of giving people aromatherapy stuff for presents all the time. But I happened to know that Tall One wanted one and when I found this locket on Amazon.com I decided that I had to get it for The Belly Dancer.

I also found some amazing aromatherapy earrings, but I restrained myself from buying any. Maybe I'll get one of the inexpensive pair in the future. :)

"Empty Chairs at Empty Tables"

This seemed like an appropriate song to share today.

Marius is the only survivor of a barricade that he and his friends built during the French Revolution, and this is his solo afterwards.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm Santa Rucker!

First, a screen shot and a photo. The explanation will follow.



Several years ago I published the poem Mehndi in Cricket magazine. This was super awesome, and I was super excited.

A few days ago I Googled my name just to see what's out there on the web under my name (it's good to see what's out there every so often) and I came across a Britannica article about Mehndi. That was nothing new, I'd seen it before. But what I hadn't seen before is that they misspelled my name in one place, as you can see in the screen shot. The funny thing is that they spelled my name correctly elsewhere on the page.

On one hand I couldn't believe it, but on the other hand I could believe it. The photo I've provided is straight out of Cricket mag. I love the font my name is written in, but the "r" and "i" are so close that they look like one letter. When I first saw it I had to do a double take, and I came to it knowing what my name is already!

Anyways, so the point is some people out there think I'm Santa.

I contacted Britannica expressing a hope that this could be fixed easily and promptly. Unfortunately they replied today that they got the info from EBSCO Publishing House and have no authority to make edits. Well, if they can't do anything then there's no point in me bugging them, so I'll talk to EBSCO Publishing House about this. But first I have to figure out who to talk to there! lol I admit I'm a little intimidated. As a college student I've used EBSCOhost and I never realized that they were also a publishing house. And I'm a little in awe of them.

This will get straightened out, hopefully soon, but in the meantime I'm Santa. Which could be sort of fun.

Ho ho ho! May I present you with some poems? I'll even gift wrap them if you want!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A new form of spamming....

Will the people/person who keeps adding "links to this post" that have nothing what so ever to do with what I'm writing please stop it? I have deleted your links, and will delete all future links that have nothing to do with what I'm posting. And I'm getting grumpy.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Socks

I washed Socks today. No, I don't mean the clothing socks. I mean black cat (well, almost entirely black) cat named Socks.

Cue music...



I don't make a habit of washing our cats. In fact this is the first time in my entire life that I have ever washed a cat. But Socks is very oily and I've been thinking for a while that he needed a bath, so today I finally did it.

I got very wet in the process. lol

I didn't wash him as thoroughly as I had wanted to, though, because of the tone of his meows. Not because they were "I am very irritated" meows or even "I am going to bite you" meows. No, his meows said "This is scary. I am a rather frightened kitty."

Socks was in the kitchen sink for two minutes, tops. Probably not even that long. But that was more than enough for him, so far as he was concerned.

And there are two things that amaze me. 1) Socks didn't bite me, even though he's a biter. He'll bite even when he's pleased with a person, just randomly. Ok, so he did bite, but only after about five minutes of me helping him dry off. And it was one of those random bites, not a "I can't believe you did that to me!" bite. 2) As soon as I set Socks down on the towel and started helping him to dry off he forgave me.

Cats. I've lived around them my entire life, and Socks has been with me since I was in first grade, but they can still surprise me. But life would probably be pretty boring if I knew everything. :)

Fun stuff

Ok, not fun stuff.

First, you may remember that grandma fell on the 13th. She was checked out by paramedics because mom called 911 at the time and we thought she was fine. But she started complaining about pain in the last few days, and when mom took her to the ER today it was discovered that she has a cracked rib.

Good vibes and prayers would be appreciated on grandma's behalf. After spending half the day at the hospital with grandma mom has returned her to the nursing home. There's also been some other drama going on in addition to the cracked rib and it's my understanding that my grandma is not a very happy grandma right now.

So we'll see what happens.

Oh yeah, and it's Tall One's birthday! Mom still hasn't gotten back home from taking care of grandma but she should be back sort of soonish. When she does get back we'll have cake and do presents. But since we haven't actually celebrated his birthday yet I'll leave that post for another.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Too funny

Debra shared a very entertaining YouTube that I just had to also share concerning the end of the world.



Does it put anyone else in mind of Monty Python?

Kokopelle's Twin

Kokopelle's Twin is another neighborhood cat who I see from time to time. We call him Kokopelle's twin because the very first time we saw him we (my family) said "Oh my gosh, he looks just like Kokopelle!"

And we don't mean he is identical to Kokopelle, because he certainly isn't. He's black and white like Kokopelle, but he has more white on him. Set the two side by side and you can easily tell them apart.

The reason they look the same is their personalities, which you can read on their faces. They're tricky, and you can see that they love stirring up trouble. They also have this certain cluelessness which is cute but also worrisome.

One day when I was walking home I came across Kokopelle's Twin lying in the middle of the road. I stared at him and exclaimed "Kitty, are you trying to get yourself killed!?" He just looked at me, clueless that a passing car could end his life.

I haven't seen Kokopelle on the streets, but I imagine that he would be equally clueless. And it's true that we were in a neighborhood and not on a main road, but still. Neighborhood roads get used, and not everyone looks out for cats!

I wound up herding Kokopelle's Twin to the relative safety of the side of the road. Silly feline.

It's my pet theory that Kokopelle and Kokopelle's Twin are related. Mom picked Kokopelle up as a stray kitten very close to where we live now so I think it's a good chance that Kokopelle has siblings in our neighborhood.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Old Grey

Old Grey is a (young gray) cat who has set up territory in our backyard. This wouldn't be a problem except for the minor detail that we feed song birds, and Old Grey thinks that they look delicious.

Old Grey is by no means the only neighborhood cat who sometimes tries his luck with the birds we feed. There is the orange tom cat (or I assume it's a tom) and a host of other felines, including one who we call Kokopelle's twin (more on him later). But Old Grey is the one who really stands out.

In truth, not everyone in my family approves of me naming Old Grey. (Tall One definitely disapproves. And don't tell him about this blog post! Ssh.) But too late. Somehow the name just came to me, and it has stuck. And I like Old Grey.

Old Grey is the type of cat who I would love as a pet. Even as he's being run out of the yard he'll turn around and look at us, and it's pretty clear he's saying "MAKE me leave!" He makes us chase him all the way to the fence, and even over it. He's got (c)attitude, and I love him for it. Unfortunately this cattitude also make him a particular nuisance since we're trying to feed the songbirds. All the other cats are easier to chase off.

Tall One has finally put the high pressure nozzle on the garden hose, which is a favorite tool of his to run the neighborhood cats off with. I'm not sure what Old Grey thinks of it. I can imagine him laughing, though.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Rapture

Guess what I just read about today? Christians who will be Raptured can pay for their left-behind pets to be taken care of by heathens.

On one hand this is funny. In a way everything about Rapture is funny to me, as you may have guessed by my post yesterday.

But it also seems sad to me.

I don't believe in the Rapture, and I don't believe that the right-wing Christians will begin to vanish on Saturday. However, there are plenty who do believe in the Rapture. And what are they doing? Preparing for the end.

And the end won't come.

So what will they do to pick up the pieces once the end doesn't happen? After all, some people are quitting their jobs and spending all their life savings because the end is near, and they will not have a penny left on May 22nd. Why? Because they don't plan to be around then.

What will they do?

I don't like to think about it. I guess that's why I prefer to laugh, and write things like yesterday's post.

I guess they'll do what people in past years have done. After all, this is hardly the first time that doomsday has been predicted.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Let's celebrate!

Did you know that the Rapture is going to occur in less than a week? Don't believe me? Just Google "Rapture May 21". I assure that many web sites discuss this event in great detail. Or anyways, I assume it's in great detail. I know that they have a lot of content, but I didn't bother to read it.

But of course, Rapture doesn't mean that the world ends. The world won't end for another several or so months. In fact, we have until October 21st. So, what should we do during that time?

Celebrate!

Us Pagans will have the earth to ourselves!

...well, ok, that is us Pagans, Jews, easy-going-Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, etc. will have the earth to ourselves. But hey, those who vanish in the rapture probably consider all of us to be "pagans" so we may as well throw one giant party together.

You can RSVP on Facebook, or just crash the party. Whichever you want. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dreams...

An interest of mine is how dreams are used in stories. I think I'm actually going to write a ten page paper on the subject for my English class this term!

This evening I picked up The Ransom of Mercy Carter by Caroline B. Cooney. It's a captive narrative about a girl named Mercy who is taken by Native Americans. Many of her friends as her family are also taken, but Mercy is the focus of the story. It's a pretty quick read -- I've been reading less than two hours and I'm on page 90 of 244.

So far there have been two dreams. The first is on page 8:

"Fingers grabbed Mercy's hair, twisting the thick yellow braid and yanking it tight. Her neck stretched and she could get no air. The scalping knife would --"

Mercy wakes up from this nightmare to find that her town is under attack by Native Americans.

So, what does this dream do for the story?

1) The first sentence of the paragraph following the nightmare is "All too familiar with the nightmare, Mercy suffocated her scream and hugged herself hard to keep from making a noise." So we know that this is a recurring nightmare, and that Mercy often thinks about being killed by the "savages" and is afraid of it. It even haunts her dreams. So one thing this dream does is show us that she would expect Native Americans to kill her, not take her captive, and it shows that they are on her thoughts even when she is asleep.

2) It sets the stage for the attack. Just minutes after she wakes Mercy realizes that the Native Americans are inside the walls of her town.

The next dream is on page 48, and it takes place after she has been taken captive and has had to march some distance.

"And yet her dreams, when they came, were sun-gilt and sparkly, as if the day had been made of crystal instead of blood. In her dream, it was October, and the leaves were gold. She gave a leaf to Marah, and Marah smiled."

Now, before I discuss this dream...

SPOILER ALERT!!!

1) In this dream Mercy thinks of better times. She thinks of a time when the weather was good instead of snowing, and when she did not have to watch people she love be killed. Marah is her little sister, and unfortunately was very whiny. Because of this she was killed. So Mercy is reliving better times in her sleep.

2) Might the time of year in the dream be significant? In the story it is the middle of winter, but in the dream it is autumn "and the leaves were gold." Winter is when things are dead, but autumn is when the things are dying. So since her memory is taking place in a time of dying could it mean that her memory of home is dying? Since I've read the book before (years ago, but still) I already know that yes, Mercy does become a Native American and her memories of her old home fade, even if they don't completely die. In fact, in the end, she chooses to stay with the Native Americans who adopt her rather than return to where her home once was. So yes, I think this dream indicates that her memories and/or attachments to her old life are already dying.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Barefoot runners

As someone who likes to go barefoot I found this video very interesting.



How do you run?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Whew

Grandma is in a nursing home! Except, it isn't a nursing home. It's some sort of assisted living facility that specializes in dementia. But whatever it is, it's someplace that I think she'll be happy, and unlike here she'll have people around 24/7. And she'll have more opportunities to socialize, which I think she'll like. She often complained that our house is too quiet.

We took over furniture (bed, dresser, nightstand), her things, got her stuff unpacked, and...I think that's it.

Whew.

But of course, there had to be some excitement before she was safely installed in her new home.

This morning (just a few minutes before my alarm was going to go off) I heard her calling for help. Upon investigation I discovered that she had fallen down, was in pain, and couldn't get up. Mom wound up calling 911.

The paramedics checked her out, got her on her feet, and after a few more questions decided that she didn't need any emergency care.

Oh yes, and I was in my pajamas, with my hair unbrushed, while the paramedics were over. Since, of course, I had been in bed when the fun started and I only bothered to throw on a bathrobe.

And that was all of the fun we had today.

...actually, there was one more surprise in store for me. While we were going over paperwork with the head nurse person I found out that I am grandma's second medical power of attorney. Someone had neglected to mention that little detail to me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ranting and a request for help

I'm in a bad mood, and I need to rant.

And everything about my bad mood relates to grandma's microwave fire. Well, it mostly relates to the fire.

1) Mom declared the microwave to be non-salvageable and threw it out. So now we have no microwave.

2) The water for the tea I'm drinking was heated on the stove since we now have no microwave. Ok, so I guess this is the least of my complaints...

3) The house still smells like smoke. Despite doors being opened to allow the house to air out.

4) My throat is a bit raw, due to smoke, which is not good for singing.

5) We've had fires in this microwave before. I think I even started one of them. But they were never allowed to smolder for who knows how long like the one on Sunday.

I'm not angry with grandma. She has dementia and it isn't her fault. We should have either kept a better eye on her or forbidden her use of the microwave. Or both. I'm just frustrated with the situation. That is, the smoke I inhaled, and the smoke that is still lingering.

On the upside I have a mid-term this afternoon and that should take my mind off these things.

Oh and one good bit of news -- grandma will move into a nursing home on Friday. This is something she needs. To tell the truth, it's also something we (mom, dad, Tall One, and I) need.

Back to the smoke, and also my plea for help: Does anyone have any suggestions for getting rid of the smoke? Please? And I don't mean just covering up the smell. I mean making the smoke go bye-bye.

Monday, May 9, 2011

News about Dragonfly's Laughter

I have an exciting announcement to make!

First of all, I have added photographs to my shop. You can see some of them by going to my Etsy page on this blog, or you can go directly to Dragonfly's Laughter to see what all I've got. If you like what you see, please buy! And if you like what you see but don't like the size, let me know and I'm sure I can print it out in a size you like better.

I've been taking photographs for years. I love it when I get a photo that is just right. :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Well, that was interesting...

This morning I woke up to the smell of smoke. I could hear other people moving around in the house and no one was screaming so I thought to myself Well, it can't be anything too bad...hey, maybe it's coming in from the outside? Yes, that must be it. Then as I was sniffing at one of my bedroom windows my mom came to my room and said "My mom started a fire in the microwave."

Whoopee.

So now the house smells like smoke, and after a couple hours I ran away from home to my local library. Of course, I'm going to have to go back home at closing time...

Due to one or two other things that have happened (but which I'd rather not write about) (don't worry they're aren't too bad -- I'm just preserving some privacy) mom's not going to go back to work until grandma is in a nursing home. Unless I can stay home to look after her. But I spend most of my days at school.

The good news is that grandma could be in a nursing home as soon as this Tuesday. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Foreign accent syndrome

I read an interesting article today about a woman, Karen Butler, who suddenly developed an accent after undergoing surgery. What's she's got is called foreign accent syndrome, or FAS.

Funny thing is, I suspect that I've also got FAS. I've written about it before, though I didn't talk about FAS itself. Just the fact that people in my hometown think I'm from some other continent like Australia.

Butler got FAS after dental surgery, but for most people it happens after brain trauma. When I was about a year old I fell on my head and lost what little language I had, which admittedly wasn't much. After all, I was only a year old. But I did have a few words, such as gato, which is Spanish for cat. Or anyways, I was pointing at the cats and saying "ga", and since my parents were originally raising me bilingual I think it's a good assumption that I knew the cats were called gato before my head injury.

When I eventually did start speaking again I had developmental delays. For example, I couldn't figure out that leaves were "green." I could say that they're the color of grass growing, but assigning a name for that color was too abstract for me for several years. Also when I took a Spanish class in first grade I couldn't understand that there were male and female versions of words (such as "gata" for a female cat and "gato" for a male cat), something which all the other children picked up with no problem. The teacher couldn't understand why I didn't get it, and told my mom that she'd never seen a kid who just couldn't grasp the concept of feminine vs. masculine words.

Ok, so that wasn't exactly FAS. That was a language disorder. (Then again, is FAS a language disorder?? Must find out...) So, on to my speech.

My mom tells me that when I was very small I was 90% unintelligible if people knew what I was talking about. And if people didn't know what I was talking about...good luck understanding anything I said. I got into speech therapy a few years earlier than most kids because of this. Mom has also told me that I pronounced "Chessie" (the name of one of our cats) and "doggie" exactly the same.

Fast forward a bunch of years to where I am now, after years of speech therapy as a child and then even more years of singing with choirs and learning how to match vowels, and my speech disorder sounds like a foreign accent. I've had so many people think that I'm from Australia, southern USA, England, New Zealand, or some other place.

I guess that in my case it would be difficult to diagnose what I've got as FAS since the head injury happened when I was so small. But the fact is that, I think due to brain trauma, I have an accent that sounds like a foreign accent.

Oh and a funny thing -- I hardly ever hear my own accent when I speak. And when I hear a recording of myself, I'm like "Do I really pronounce my words like that? That is such a funny accent!" On the rare occasions that I do hear my accent as I speak I become self conscious. Don't ask me how I sometimes hear my speech disorder and sometimes don't. I don't understand it myself. All I know is that when I sing with a choir I can hear myself more easily and can match vowels with others. Singing is somehow different than speaking, it seems. :)

And no, I'm not writing this up trying to say "Oh poor little me." It's just a part of who I am, and I felt like writing about it after I saw the news article about Butler. Oh, and I think it's neat that Butler is an Oregonian, just like I am. :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rapunzhair

Have you ever heard of hair being used for healing? Well, check this out.



I think that I'll have to get myself some of that! And you know, my own hair is already pretty long...maybe if I sing it'll start glowing and healing people. What do you think? Hmm?

;)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Taking control

I have this reoccurring dream about my teeth falling out, or being about to fall out. Sometimes it's just one tooth. Sometimes it's more.

Sometimes it's all of them.

I've read that dreaming about teeth falling out means that a person is worried about communication. I don't know if that's true, but it could be. I do have a speech disorder and a language disorder. I don't think that they don't bother me much these days, but in the past they made it almost impossible for my speech to be understood, and often made it difficult for me to understand others.

I had the teeth falling out dream again a couple nights ago, but with a difference. In this dream I said "No, this is not ok. Teeth, get back where you belong in my mouth. Don't fall out." They obeyed me at first, but then started falling out again. I didn't like what was happening, and I somehow knew that I didn't have to stay in that reality, so I decided to leave.

I woke up.

Taking control, for at least a little, and then waking up when I wanted out somehow felt like a big accomplishment.

Beltaine

It's Beltane!!!

I'm not actually really doing much to celebrate. And I don't have a special someone to celebrate it with. At least last year I got to dance around a May Pole, so that was some sort of action, kinda, sorta... *ahem* ...this year I went for a long walk and volunteered at my library mending books. As usual. Oh, and I found a ladybug inside at the library. I caught and released it, of course.

Wait, maybe I should read some Sappho love poems. That would definitely be in the spirit of Beltane. ;)

For those who don't know what Beltane is, it's a Pagan holiday celebrating fertility. There are various ways to celebrate.

* One way is described in this witch's hot poem.
* Dancing the May Pole, which is a giant phallic symbol.
* Jumping over a bonfire (or a smaller fire) with your spouse/significant other if you wish for fertility together. Or, if you're single like me, or otherwise don't want children, jump over that fire alone so that the fertility may come in the form of fertile projects, money, etc.
* Any other way you can think of to celebrate fertility.

I would also like to mention its pronunciation: BOWL-tan-a. I only found that out today, actually, and I feel a little sheepish about having assumed that it was pronounced BEL-tane. I should have known better. It's a Celtic word and pronunciations are very different in Celtic languages versus in English.

Now, I'm about to go off and clean the floors of the utility room, kitchen, and dining room. Then I'll watch a movie (Smoke Signals) for school. I guess that's not very exciting for Beltane, but it's what I'm doing.

What are you doing for Beltane?