Sunday, March 23, 2008

Best Ostara Evar! (long)

Apologies for the length of this post, and the possible "squee factor". I really had a better day than I'd dared to hope, and I am still energized.

Here's how my Ostara went today:

Got up this morning, glad to have the day off and be able to go to the Ostara gathering. I packed my feast basket with the homemade rolls for the potluck, got the shovels from the backyard, loaded up my drums and stuff. The shovels were for the tree-planting we were gonna do as part of the ritual.

Found Sunflower River easily enough, and pulled into the yard. This place is a small farm, really, now being rehabbed into a working farm again. Four people sharing the place, Alan, Kat, Jenny and Tristan. The same ones I’d met at the concert so long ago! Jenny’s the one who finally got me the info for the gathering, since she’s in ASFS as well.

People were arriving for a while, and one of the young guys from work even showed up with his folks. That was pretty funny, actually, especially as he usually doesn’t come out for circles. I was lighting and tending the fire, meeting people, having a good time, and got the urge to call Sandy. Talked to her for a few, then to Fred when he came in. That was cool.

After that, I headed back up toward the house for some reason, and stopped dead in my tracks. Lo and behold, there was Matti! I honestly did not expect him to come down for Ostara! We hugged and said hi, and I continued on into the house. Of course, I had to scoot out the other door and around the corner to immediately call Sandy back and tell her that he’d made it down…*grin*

Eventually, we all headed to the ‘ritual grove’ area, beyond the sheds and chicken coop, and gathered for ritual. The current May King and Queen presided, and it was very nice. We had bread and strawberries with mead or juice for libation, and then got divided up into seven teams to plant the new fruit trees for the farm. We’ll all get a share of the fruit eventually, whether it be as mead or desserts, too. Some of the people who weren’t up to the digging kept the chanting going while we worked. When the trees were all in, they were watered, and each team fed their tree some energy. We went back to the circle and closed things down, and headed back to the main yard. I put my shovels back in the truck, and walked with Matt over to the van while he was putting his away. We talked a bit about how things are up at the mountain home, and the possibility of pooling our resources for Beltane’s camping event. I went back to the house as he was getting his drum and guitar out and locking up. I really hope he didn’t see me step in the hole and fall on my face by the kitchen door… I wasn’t hurt, just embarrassed.

The food at our feast was very good, lots of variety. The fire I’d started was our cooking fire, and the firepit ring had a grill built into it. There was chicken and elk steak, Portobello mushrooms and eggplant. Add the salads, desserts and drinks, and we all ate very well. I had a tiny bite of chicken and a tiny bit of the elk, as they just smelled so good! I had some plum mead and a bottle of a wonderful Ginger Stout that Jamie had made.

After dinner, the drums and instruments started appearing from their hiding place in the yurt. I ended up sharing out some of my tinwhistles in an impromptu ‘petting zoo’, and a couple of people even tried the bodhran. Phoenix got his drums going, Matt joined in, and I moved over to play my little doumbek. A few other drums appeared, Alan had the didgeridoo out, and it just grew from there. It was a great jam, and I don’t know how long it lasted, really. We sang several songs, some of the other gals started dancing, it was just too cool. I’ve been waiting a year and a half for the chance to drum and sing with Matti, and I finally got it today. W00t! There truly is a groove that you get into when drumming and I was feeling it. The rhythms would change, and I was right there in perfect sync, not realizing it until seconds later. My kind of magic.

The sun was starting to sink when we packed up the drums, and people started saying their goodbyes. I got one more hug from Matt and sent him off with a hug for Mama, too. I stayed to help clean up and put things away, then headed home myself.

All day long, I had been having a good day, and thanking the gods that I had been able to go out. I managed to keep most of the energy either under control or grounded, but on the way home I had my music cranked, shouting my thanks to the Universe! I really needed a good day, and the good days are coming around more often than they used to. Sometimes I really can tell when things are “right”. Today was like that. Thanks for letting me share it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A day off...did I get anything done?

Well, to be fair, I did get some things done. Not near as much as I'd have liked, but the day is only so long, y'know?
Since I was scheduled off for today, I do have to work Saturday. Bit of a bummer, that, as the Winterwolf SCA event is Saturday at UNM. I work 11:30-8, so it's not even worth trying to get to a day event like that.
Today I did my plasma donation, which takes about 2 hours or so including the wait time. Not bad, really, and I may have helped someone there get a job where I work. He was going to check it out, at least, and if he gets in and stays for 90 days, I'll get a reward, too! After that, I picked up a couple of Freecycle items I'd arranged for. I now have my very own Cibola HS Soccer t-shirt. I also got a bunch of homeopathic and dietary supplements to use and share. Stopped at Title Wave Books, where a couple of friends work, since I was in the area. Snagged a couple of free binders for work, even. A bit of lunch to follow, then off to the laundromat. I was running out of work-worthy clothes - I like to go for the upper end of the dress code when I can. Might help get brownie points and/or promotion in the future. A quick dinner at home, then I went down to the Guild Theater for this week's movie. Just got home from that a little while ago.
The movie this time was "The Rape of Europa", an excellent documentary from 2006 about the plundering and recovery of the great artworks of Europe during WWII. Fascinating, heartbreaking in spots, and very well done. I learned a lot from it, including the fact that there are still thousands of artworks that cannot be accounted for. There is hope that some may be found eventually. Work begun after the war is ongoing, especially with the frescoes of Pisa's Camposanto, and returning even small religious items to descendents of Holocaust victims. I have a new heroine, too. Her name is Rose Valland, and she single-handedly managed to keep an inventory of French artwork stolen by the Nazis and who it was stolen from. Nobody at the Jeu de Paume museum she worked at knew that she spoke German, and she memorized huge lists every day to write down at night. Amazing. She's in Wikipedia, btw, look her up.
So what didn't I get done? Garden stuff, mainly. I'm still trying to finish making notes from a book that needs to go back to the library. Gotta buy my own copy eventually. I need to get digging out back, finish measuring off areas...just all sorts of stuff. Maybe Sunday, I'm off then.
Work's going well, still a bit hectic when I come up with a situation I'm not sure how to handle, but there's always help handy. My team leader's cool, and the other TLs don't hesitate to help no matter who's asking. I'm encouraged.
I'll finish off by putting in a few pictures of my backyard so you can see "before", at least!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Finally sitting down for a few!

Let me, there's not enough time....let me sum up! ;-)

Saturday was a full day. My neighbor Roslee and I went to a free class on 'Edible Landscapes' at a local garden center. Way cool, lots of good info and resources. She bought us some books, and I got "The Permaculture Guide to Ferment and Human Nutrition" by Bill Mollison. Everything from pickles to sourdough to alcohols. I'm enjoying it immensely! After the talk, we went out to pick up a computer monitor from a freecycler. I got a desktop computer from another freecycler last week, and am working on getting it up and running. Anyway, the people with the monitor raise miniature horses, and give away the bagged manure! Awesome connection for gardening, so yay!
Back towards town, and we stopped at a little Italian restaurant for lunch. Very good food, we split an antipasto salad (I just picked the meat out), and I had Lasagna Napoli. The minestrone soup was excellent, especially as it was meatless also. We didn't have room for dessert after that, so my iced cappuccino filled that need. Next time, we'll just go for cannoli!
Home again, and out to the yard. I pulled out some more bricks and trash, and drew diagrams in the dirt for some ideas we have. A corner for relaxation and shady retreats, a fire pit, the masonry oven, things like that. It looks like the thorns I was finding are from goatheads, and as long as I can keep those from growing, then I can keep the yard barefoot-safe eventually. I still want to get a sledge hammer and do some heavier work, especially if I can get rid of the useless cinderblock bin in the back corner. If I can salvage the blocks, so much the better, because I can use them for part of the oven base.
Got the computer up and running, and with a wireless adapter, it's even online. Only one small problem. Literally, in the harddrive is only 3 Gb! Can't even do a full WinXP install on it, because SP2 won't fit. It runs on basic XP for now, so that's cool. I don't see it taking over from the laptop, but it'll be a good backup. It's a P3/733 mHz, 640 mB of RAM, originally a Dell. Not bad. I'm glad to know that I haven't forgotten how to work on computers, too. By the time I got to that point, I was tired, and went to bed.
Today was housework. I did dishes, and swept & mopped the kitchen. Picked up the spare computer parts in the front room, too. I have another nearly bare case for a Celeron 366, and may turn that into a Linux box. Later today, I plan to walk down to the Guild Cinema to see the fully restored version of Blade Runner. Should be good!
Tomorrow's work schedule is a bit earlier, starting at 2 instead of 4. I should know by Tuesday what my real schedule is going to be. I'm hoping to get back on a daytime schedule. My days off won't be the same from week to week, nor will my hours be exactly the same day to day, but they give us our schedule in advance, so I can plan ahead. I do want to see if I can work 4x10 (four ten-hour shifts) and that will free up more time, too. As long as I can get time for the cons and events I want to do, I'll be fine with that.

If you want to see some "before" pics of the backyard, they're at in the album 'My ABQ Digs'. I'll try to post more as things progress.