Mar. 5th, 2011

reviews, phones, card of the day

So in the course of Googling myself (as one does, regularly), I found a 2/5 star review of a flash fiction story of mine that was published in 2005 or 2006 (I don't remember), and the entire text of the review is four words long. Very, very strange.

Today Nefertem the Magical Purple Smartphone almost gave me heart failure when he abruptly stopped working. I went to a Sprint Store but they wouldn't help me because while he is a Sprint branded phone, I don't actually have a Sprint account. Doh! I was able to call on one of their phones to get tech support from Credo, and now Nefertem is back in working order. Thank goodness. I was worried for a moment there!

Today the card I pulled was the Eight of Earth in the Gaian Tarot.
Eight of Earth, Gaian Tarot )
This card is about lessons, so I've had a few lately. Today, my lesson about how to manually reboot my phone. Also a lesson about how things on the 'net have a way of being resurrected even after several years of downtime. Fiction never dies! Bad fiction really never dies!
That flash fiction piece was my second piece of paid prose. Fun.
Today I also got a lesson from the universe in being a nice customer despite frustration. Frustration and anger live in very particular parts of my body, too, and it's always a sign to me that I need to slow down and breathe and get things under control when the emotions come out physically.
This card also makes me want to go to a fire circle. I love the drumming.
Delicious lessons for today: how to reheat rice in the rice cooker. (It turned out well!) And adding mushrooms to my sauteed kale really worked! Nom nom nom.
Other lesson: Bar Code Viewer on phone works, but no easy way to link it up to LibraryThing. Oh, well. Manual entry it is.
And lessons in general: The Wild Hunt has a couple of nice link round-ups for the recent gender discrimination/inclusiveness controversy that has rocked the public pagan sphere lately. Looks like some really exceptional conversations are starting.

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Mar. 3rd, 2011

Card of the Day: Awakening

This is one of my favorites in the Gaian Tarot deck - the illustration is just so incredibly evocative, and it has a lotus flower on it! I have a particular love for the lotus! (By the way, the deck will be published this year from Llewellyn! I plan to pick up at least one copy of the mass market edition, for carrying to tarot meetups or just having in my purse. (Yes, I have a tarot deck in my purse all the time, why do you ask?))
Awakening, Gaian Tarot )
This card is about just that - waking up to what's around you, seeing and doing and BEING a part of the world that surrounds you and nurtures you, and thereby becoming a nurturer of others. I think that this may refer in part to my continued search for creative space in town (calling the property manager for a tour is a big step, which we did today!), and also to my recovery of my creative impetus. I did a new digital painting today, which is for a challenge that will remain anonymous for a while, but hopefully I can unveil it by the end of the year.
I also did a few more small steps toward re-arranging my living space this week, and hope to be able to act with the New Moon in a formal manner after work tomorrow.
I've also enrolled for a spiritual retreat! Eek. But I think it will be good. It's about praying with the body, and I know that body-spirit work is what I really need to do. The posture of the man on this card is a good example of a full-body prayer pose, and it is surprisingly difficult for me to feel comfortable raising my arms like that. Weird, huh? So I'm going to go to this retreat (two one-day workshops, really) with a teacher who has studies all sorts of different body-oriented prayer/rituals from whirling dervishes to martial arts to zen, I think. I am really looking forward to it.

Yay, Awakening!

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Mar. 2nd, 2011

Life, the universe, and the rest of it

So mostly over the last little while I've been posting photos of food.
I should take more photos of the food I cook at home - I made a really excellent dinner tonight that hasn't made me sick, so hooray!
Today I went to a Brown Bag Lunch Presentation at the university, by the Executive Chefs from a couple of the residential colleges here. These students eat so well! They prepared some great stuff in the kitchen theater and then we all got to eat it for lunch. (On the menu: Seafood medley, Beef Wellington (with portabella mushrooms instead of foie gras), and mascarpone crepes with berry flambe drizzled with strawberry jam, a balsamic reduction, and fresh basil.
HOLY COW.
I did not eat like this in college... (photos) )
I LOVE FOOD. HERE I TALK ABOUT IT. )

Ok, that was more than I thought I'd type about food and eating.

On a different subject: reading.
I read The Eagle of the Ninth and really enjoyed the heck out of it. I borrowed a nonfiction title from the office Liberal Studies Library, Slaves and Masters in the Roman Empire: A Study in Social Control that should be an interesting follow-up to that. I don't know if I will be able to bring myself to see the film while it's in theaters. I might find that very fun, actually, but I have terrible motivation about going to films alone, and I don't have a movie-going geek tribe here. At least not movies in the theater. ;)
I also have on the back burner some Northern European primary source mythology - The Eddas and the Mabinogion and some others, as many as I can find in Public Domain libraries for download. (Have I mentioned that I love Nefertem the Magical Purple Smartphone/eBook Reader?)
And yesterday I spent the entire evening devouring in basically one sitting Anne Bishop's latest Black Jewels offering, Twilight's Dawn: A Black Jewels Book. I have read much criticism of the series and even agree with some of it, but damn, they are addictive and I love them. I couldn't bear to put it down. And I thought it would be easier to pause since it was a series of connected novellas rather than one story! Ahahahaha, so wrong. I was very surprised, but not in an unpleasant way, by the turn of those novellas, so that's good. Kept me engaged.


Today's card: The Four of Air, Gaian Tarot
Four of Air, Gaian Tarot )
Oh, dear, it's the nesting card. I just put in some inquiries with my property management company and some warehouses in the First Ward about larger apartments and art studios for rent. I am taking active steps to pursue changes in my living and creative working situation. I am actually a bit amazed to be in a position to consider such, but again, that's part of why I moved back here. Options. Relatively low cost of living. Thriving arts community. I have to do some buckling down here, too, and make decisions.
It's a good card for today, I think.

Plus I did my taxes. Always a nice feeling.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/481624.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

Feb. 24th, 2011

yee-ha

Today was one of those days when folks left early or were out of the office in my corner, so I got involved in some doings with the Spanish and Korean versions of one of our sites (menu items not acting correctly), and when I next looked up it was 5:40 and most of the office was gone. Whee!

I also had my hands full with the anti-bullying discussion, which is still open and welcomes anyone who comes with a genuine desire for discussion and problem-solving. Feel free to stop by. (And I need to renew my connections with my support staff - even online ministry can be harrowing if one is not well-prepared.)

And in a bonus for the day, I was asked to help a friend with a web issue and found that my skills are still there. It's nice to be able to use creative html and css wrangling, especially when most of my time is spent elsewhere these days.

Today I ate all my kale chips. Nom nom nom. And there was the office birthday celebration for which I was an honoree. Sugar high coming right up!

I received in the mail a correspondence elective course from The New Seminary, which is awesome. This course was a really great (and welcome) presentation by Rev. Galina Krasskova on "The Polytheist Perspective" in interfaith work, which has a lot more pitfalls than one might imagine. I really loved it, and wish I could have been there in person to see everyone and take part in the discussion.

Perhaps that elective did a bit of shifting, or else my interesting day did, because I pulled the Child of Air from the Gaian Tarot.
Child of Air, Gaian Tarot )
This is a dreamer's card, so delicate and fragile in a way that the Page of Swords usually is not. The relationship between ourselves and our dreams is equally delicate, and often just as beautiful as the ethereal and short-lived butterflies in the card. I hope that the dream itself outlasts the mortal inspiration, and finds new shape in the eternal aspect of the butterfly, the psyche or soul.
I've been concentrating a lot today on other people's dreams, both in fandom and elsewhere.
But I also have been trying to allow my own creative energies to flow. I created some art this evening (I'll give it its own post) that just seemed like an interesting thing to do. No challenge or deadline or event prompted it, just the fact that I had an empty piece of screen and a tablet. It's fun to be spontaneous, to just see what speaks to me from my files of reference photos, or from the sketch books that I should be using more often.
Dreams need nurturing.

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Feb. 21st, 2011

another year begins!

Ok, so I had an excellent birthday weekend all around. Got to see some old friends I haven't seen in a while, and had delicious food, and subjected my father to a Disney movie musical (we went to see Tangled - thanks, Dad!), and did not get a damn thing done on my housekeeping.

I am debating getting a jigsaw puzzle to set up in my bedroom. How much do I really want a puzzle, or will I lose several days to obsessive concentration over it? Hmmm.

Still working on some art, but it's been days since I've actually drawn anything, or sewn anything. Just been very busy, and had some books taking up time. (Dude, my phone now has an ebook reader on it. It holds my place when I close it down! Damn, this phone is awesome!)

I may need to create my own three- or four-day weekend once I get things under control at work, so that I can do crafty things and household things. I swear, if I don't take my recycling to the center by the end of the week, I am going to be wading through paper and plastic to get to the kitchen.

Speaking of work, things are still good, but busy, and the tedious kind of busy instead of the frantic deadline-heavy busy. There are some repetitive data-management tasks that just have to be done manually until we get a better system in place.

For various reasons I am feeling very good about my general health, and I have exercised today in hopes of maintaining it. I still need to figure out some way to get my swim on during the day, but perhaps this year will be the one.

And in other news, tragedy at the grocery store today: no kale to be found! Woe! I'll have to remember to swing by the farmer's market for some tomorrow.

In other other news, I'm watching Book 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and i just noticed that the wall behind the throne of the Earth King is designed to look like a badger mole. Awesome!

Today's card is the Three of Earth from the Gaian Tarot.
Three of Earth, Gaian Tarot )
This card is about teamwork, synergy, and community creation. I hope that means that some of what I'm doing both online and off with friends and allies will bear great fruit in the coming year. I look forward to working with friends on exciting projects.

And now I should try to sleep.

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Feb. 17th, 2011

Food, politics, and creativity

Today's card: Two of Water (again), Gaian Tarot
Two of Water, Gaian Tarot )
This again? Hm. Well, it's certainly apt as usual, because there's a lot of really exciting stuff happening, and I'm feeling lots of creative vibes.
New collaborations are in the works, plus progress is being made on writing and art that had been sidelined. Yay!
I have new connections of all kinds through Nefertem the magical purple smartphone, too. Never underestimate the power of FourSquare, I guess. Except I can't get it to post to Twitter (probably a good thing, really).

I had something really important to post about but I got distracted because, you know, work and stuff. Now I don't remember what it was. Possibly something political, but just thinking of all the petitions and congressional faxes and whatever else I've been sending is depressing. Democracy Now! every morning is depressing. Politicians' being assholes is depressing. Rape culture is infuriating, and the political attacks on womens' health are part of it! Rar! My Facebook overfloweth. And my state reps are screwing us over, too. Fun times, indeed.

I got spoiled for Fringe in a pagan blog, of all places. Oops. But I'm still totally engaged and watching Season 2.

I picked up some kale at the Farmers' Market this week and sauteed it with olive oil and garlic powder and it was AMAZING! Good grief. I want it, like, all the time, now. Bring me all the kale and garlic in the land!

Also on the subject of food, the H-town Streats lunch truck continues to be awesome, and Kim and I are planning to go to Inversion on other days, too, to hit the other two local trucks. Nom nom nom. Today for lunch we had beef sliders with bacon jam, parmesan truffle oil fries, and deep-fried chocolate coconut brownies with dulce de leche sauce. *swoon*

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/478837.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

Feb. 6th, 2011

Tarot Cards

So yesterday, I pulled The Gardener from the Gaian Tarot.
The Gardener, Gaian Tarot )
I'm thinking this is both a statement about my need to go grocery shopping (after being stuck in the house because of the ice for days), and then also the fact that I got so much done. I cleaned, I created, I cooked, I exercised, I really felt good about myself and the things I was working on.
The only thing that didn't get done was sewing, and I am working on that. But it was a very fertile day, and weekend, and then I went to a dinner party last night that was full of laughter and friends and music.

Today's card is Explorer of Water, also from the Gaian Tarot.
Explorer of Water, Gaian Tarot )
This is a card that speaks of meditation, ease of mind, and being "in the zone". I can see how that would be a good thing for me, especially since I'm getting more creative projects on the horizon, and trying to bring in a deeper spiritual connection in my life.
Both of those things are the sorts of things that the focus and inspiration of the Explorer of Water can aid.

(This time I've remembered to add a link to each picture, so you can go to the website for the Gaian Tarot and see the whole deck, or find out when the mass market version will be published. It's a great deck, I highly recommend it!)

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/476404.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

Feb. 1st, 2011

Imbolc

So I've made lots of false starts on a lot of goals, but I did want to take a moment to say that today I did a formal ritual at my new altar. I used a variation of James Wells' tarot game, as sent by Joanna Powell Colbert for adaptation for Imbolc, and used quite a lot of fire.
One thing I learned by doing this, though, was that I still need a few tools. ;) Some of them I know I own already, I just need to find them. Others I'll have to acquire.

It was a really good feeling.

Now I just need to use this inspiration toward some exercise as well as creative pursuits. Heh.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/475523.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

been busy...

We can see how well my "card a day" posts helped me remember to post regularly. Hahaha.
So, been busy - working on a lot of illustrations, mostly for Avatar: the Last Airbender but there's some Merlin caught in there, and planning stages for the Harry Potter Snupin BLU art focus big bang, plus [livejournal.com profile] paperlegends is signing up now for Merlin stories and art and cheerleading.





I've been writing - I started my steampunk submersible craziness for my group, and for the [dreamwidth.org profile] camelot_fleet Finish-a-Thon. Yay! Very excited about that, although if anybody is interested cheerleading and hitting me over the head when I skip important descriptions, that would be awesome.

We're having a ridiculously cold wintry snap for Imbolg this year. Fun times. It's a good time to re-dedicate myself to some projects, though, and perhaps kick-start some of my 2011 spiritual goals.

Appropriately enough given the Imbolg planning and spiritual kick-starting, I drew Taliesin, the Hierophant, from the Llewellyn Deck today.
Taliesin, the Hierophant, Llewellyn Tarot )
This card is about custom, religion, society. It's often a card about conforming to expected norms, so in a way it's a reminder to actually be in my religion, instead of just sitting around the outside of it.
Reading Britain AD: A Quest for Arthur, England and the Anglo-Saxons (which, incidentally, is making a case to debunk the "Anglo-Saxon Invasion" of Britain and thereby most of the legends in their traditional form - awesome book) has reminded me of the sense of connection that many non-Christian religions have. Christianity (especially early and medieval Christianity) seems to begin this idea of religion as something separate from lifeway, something that can be compartmentalized into a part of the mind, unrelated to the physical universe of body and labor. Many pagan traditions, and the neo-pagan one I'm practicing (badly), have an intense unity between the spiritual and the physical. Physicality is part and parcel of practice, and in fact it isn't really practice but rather lifeway; worldview; lifestyle, perhaps. It's intimately involved in everything - every decision, every movement, every breath. This echoes the kind of ritualized existence early archaeologists posit for those early historic cultures. Seriously, this book has me examining all sorts of thoughts I'm sure I've had before, but now with added personal relevance and a sense of quiet revelation.
Pretty intense. When I go into my occasional existential crises over my purpose in the universe, it's a good time to remind myself through divine physicality that I am part of this great spirit, and that I am worth believing in. (If I don't think so, who will?)
Yes, I think this card definitely wants me to do a working later.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/475354.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

Jan. 21st, 2011

Card of the Day: The Builder

Today work was fun but busy, which seems to be about par for the course these days. I really need to get out of the office to eat lunch, especially once the weather warms a bit.
I've finished all my Netflix DVDs of Fringe and have to wait a few days now for more. I am a little less than halfway through the first season now, and it's great.

I have been trying to get going on this ficlet for my challenge, and may have figured out a way into it. I drew cards for it, but first the Card of the Day:
The Builder, Gaian Tarot )
Aw, man, this one is so awesome and yet so much a rebuke, in some ways. Or perhaps I'm too hard on myself. The Builder is the card about sustainability, environmentally responsible development, and co-operative living. This card represents a power and authority over one's own life and place that allows one to choose wisely for the future.
I recycle. :P That's about it, really, when it comes to very practical things. And I probably don't do that enough. I try not to buy rayon, or bamboo fabric, or chemical cleaners, or things with excessive packaging, but sometimes I do all of those things. And it's hard to imagine that my choices will impact the larger picture, especially when there are places all over the world that are suffering from a disturbing lack of clean drinking water.
In any case, my own hang-ups about lifestyle aside, the builder is also about building a responsible and compassionate life, and being aware of the great truth of the universe: we aren't, any of us, alone. No one acts in a vacuum. Everything we say, or do, or type, changes the world.
I used to write poetry about that - how breathing displaced molecules that would otherwise have been moving with their own inertia and that changed everything - when I was in the midst of my greatest spiritual crisis, and stopped believing in an immortal soul. Crazy the way images and ideas carry such great reminders of the past. I can even think of the sidewalk in Astoria, Queens that I walked down while composing that poem in my head.
Sometimes it's really hard to remember that, but I think it's important to get these reminders every so often. And to be gentle with myself when I think I've fallen short.

I just had an idea for my story (the original one, not the fanfic, although I may have a clue for that one, too). Gone writing, be back later.
If anybody on gmail wants to ping me, feel free. I miss my writers' chats.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/474254.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

Jan. 19th, 2011

Card of the Day - The Tower

Today's card is Key 16, The Tower, in the Llewellyn Deck.
The Tower, Llewellyn Tarot )
The Tower traditionally heralds catastrophic or unexpected change.

I'm also going to quote my horoscope:
The tender Cancer Full Moon falls in your 5th House of Romance and Creativity, encouraging you to have fun while expressing yourself. Still, your friends could act quite judgmental, distorting your easygoing attitude and misinterpreting your true intentions. Don't skip over any miscommunications today; take a few minutes and clear things up before moving on to what's next.

The book that came with the deck specifically mentions in association with the The Tower "triumph over enslaving, compulsive behaviors such as addiction or obsessive complexes" which relates to Monday's card, The Devil. And the horoscope seems to talk to the High Priestess from yesterday as well as today's Tower, about the risk and change inherent in creative work.

Perhaps this is a sign that art class will be interesting today. :) Or perhaps it harks to the fact that my cough has come back today with a vengeance.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/473390.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

Jan. 17th, 2011

Card of the Bay - Bindweed

Today's card is Key 15: Bindweed, which in the Waite symbolism would be The Devil.
Bindweed, Gaian Tarot )
This card represents imbalance, struggle, despair, and addiction. This card speaks to me of the darker side of life, the pain of dealing with reality and humanity when it seems that compassion and love have departed forever. I struggle a lot with my spiritual self partially because of that societal difficulty. Especially in the United States lately, religious pluralism has been under attack and apparently religious freedom eroding slowly. It's pretty depressing to think about, in addition to other issues of tolerance and diversity, like sexuality, gender, ethnicity, class, and age.
I think this is a key card to get today especially, when we are reminded of the great work of Dr. King toward peace, and the harsh imbalance of the world in which he lived, and which we have inherited. Patting ourselves on the back for perceived triumphs while ignoring the vast edifice of inequalities still shadowing our word serves no purpose.
This card is as much about solutions as it is about problems. As with many addictions, this imbalance is one that can be eased by action on the querent's part. Uncurling from the painful posture, looking at the problem, accepting accountability, coming to understand one's own power to change... those will break the cycle. Continuing to curl up into a ball of denial will serve no purpose.
Again, this card makes a case for action - action with direction. Finding a purpose - it's difficult but worthwhile.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/472725.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

Jan. 16th, 2011

Card of the Day - Seven of Earth

Gaian Tarot again today... I've been doing some meditative work with these cards.

Seven of Earth, Gaian Tarot )
This card is about long-term goal-setting and creating projects that last. The woman in the illustration is planting a sapling that will grow into a mighty tree, as part of a forest recovery project. The sapling is just a tiny thing now, but with time and care (Mother Nature's care) it will become mighty.
I need to take some time to examine my goals and lay foundations for those that are long-range. It's hard to be optimistic when the end of the line seems so far away, but it's important to understand the scope of the project and plan for the end that may be months, years, or even decades away.

Funny how all these cards are about doing important work. I wonder if this card is telling me that I should take another look at the M. Div. from Cherry Hill Seminary.

This entry was originally posted at http://zephre.dreamwidth.org/472383.html. comment count unavailable comments posted to original post.

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