12-21 -2005 Mother Night /Bake Cookies Day

Actually, yesterday was Bake Cookies Day, today is “Look for an Evergreen” and “Go Caroling Day”. Tomorrow is Mother Night, celebrated mostly by heathens. Wednesday is the Winter Solstice, also World Peace Day and Humbug Day. Thursday is Forefather’s Day, the 23 is Roots Day, Christmas Eve is also Egg Nog Day. Sunday is, of course, Christmas. Hope your week has more fun and less stress than it probably will.
We are being as minimalist as we can, although sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. Star put up a string of blinking colored lights around the door- but we didn’t go along the roof this year. We got our tree up this week, and had it decorated by the weekend. It is lovely, as usual, and smells wonderful.
I’ve made some basic cookies: candy cane, pepper-nuts, cinnamon horns, mint chocolate christmas trees, and the finnish butter cookies. I’d still like to make a few more- gingerbread men, wishing stars, gnomes… It’s hard to keep cookies around in the jars in the keeping room- when you know they are there, that puts them at risk. Steve came up on Sunday, and I made some more- he likes to watch me cook, and I like an audience, so it works.
Saturday we went over to the Unitarian Church for the Solstice fair sponsored by the Spiral Scouts. I think we did better than everyone except maybe the book sellers. They had lots of stuff for the kids to do, free herbal teas. The music was life harping. The ceremony was good- I wish I could remember the music because it was nicer than usual. A funny bit was that the harpist fell in love with one of our bracelets, and we traded it to her for her CDs, and then we won one of her CDs in the raffle! They also gave us an assemble your own gingerbread house kit which they were offering as a fundraiser. I also got a lot of contacts for the book, and had a good time.
We’d forgotten the earring display and Willow’s workbox, so I went back to get them since it was only twelve miles. Well, 12 miles looked farther when I discovered that her gas tank was empty. And realized I hadn’t brought my purse. Yikes. I tried stopping and knocking on Megan and Dennis’s door, but they didn’t answer, so I scrounged around and found $1.42 in change, and got back home, got another $2, and borrow Star’s emergency card, but made it to the gas station without it. Woof!
Of course that pales when I found out why Megan was still asleep. When they’d gone to bed, Dennis’ bed had broken, and while he was downstairs looking for tools to fix it, Megan poked underneath to see what had happened and it collapsed on her (he’d propped it up before heading down). And it broke her arm! That led to the usual emergency room foolishness- they had to wait for some accident and a heart attack victims to get helped, so it was a wait. Then the X ray reader told them that her bone wasn’t broken- have some pain killers and an ace bandage. Apparently he wasn’t as good as the guy who came in in the morning- because they got a call in the morning saying “come back in- it WAS broken, and we have to splint it”. Well, at least they caught it. But no wonder they were sleeping when I came by.
Then in the evening Travis took us out to the Milford production of the Nutcracker. I’d never seen a live performance of the Nutcracker before although I know the music, of course, and had heard about it. But it’s so much cooler when you actually get to SEE the little kids coming out from under the ladies hoop skirt, and watch the Christmas Tree grow. There were at least 38 dancers in the final curtain call. Only two were guys, and one looked like he really didn’t want to be there. The Nutcracker and Rat King were both danced by women, but they were good. Not as good as some of the great dancers we’ve seen on TV of course, but who cares? The dancers ranged in age from what looked like under three years old to in their twenties- and a couple older ones (the teachers?). Boy those little kids were cute! And there must have been a very dedicated and talented wardrobe mistress backstage- they had all the costumes one would expect. Travis got the tickets through his boss at Alene Candles, who’s apparently a philanthropist who also helps the Boys Club a lot.
It was staged at what used to be the Milford Stage Festival Theater- which closed down a couple of years ago. Dan spent one winter crawling through the walls trying to get it cleaned out and insulated to be able to be used in the winter, but they didn’t manage it. Apparently someone else did. Travis said that one of the big problems was not just winter, but even in the summer when the rain fell it was too loud, so they put on insulation on top of the roof, then added another roof over that. So, apparently it’s now a year round theater- and associated with the Milford Boys and Girls Clubs. Kat and I took him up on his offer and Willow was dubious about a production that came out of a kids club, but she should have come. It was lovely.
Instead she went out with Avalon on Sunday- they shopped and I don’t know what else- she stayed out all night, came in, updated her comic and went out again. Trevor is working extra this week, so Avi needed company. She says Yuna is settling in just fine. Even though she’s a fluffy white cat with one blue and one green eye, she seems to be able to see out of both of them and has her hearing, so that’s good. Their older cat, who’s name I keep forgetting, but who’s apparently a big orange tabby- about 30 pounds she says (very “Garfield” type) is getting to accept the kitten, and may even be moving around more, which was what they’d hoped.
Meanwhile we took Greymalkin in to get spayed this week, and as we’d hoped she seems to be going back to being the sweet cat she was when Travis first brought her here- allowing Freya to get out of Kat’s room occasionally.
Kat’s all involved with writing the ghost story she writes every Christmas- she’s written a different ghost story with the same characters each year for five years now (even though she does occasionally kill them off during the tale). She’s chosen the Nutcracker as the theme for this one, using the concept of the various foreign dances- looking up different ghosts from the appropriate cultures. I didn’t know that Chinese zombies hop because of the rigor mortis. So picture, if you will, the chinese dance from the nutcracker (the little mushrooms in Fantasia) as hopping chinese zombies. And arabian ghouls doing veil dances… we’ll stop now before your head hurts more.
Willow’s been getting her comics done- she lost the web hosting and had to find another one for Songs of an Angel last week, and, of course, getting her calendar done. She also (which impresses the heck out of me) set up our Cabochons web site so people can buy things with clicking buttons (and using pay pal). It’s very simple, but I like that- I hate complicated sites. This came up because people from the war had written me and asked me about getting some of my cookbooks. It’s not huge, but it’s a beginning. I want her to get more of her silk shawls posted and available for sale. I suppose that we should also put up my sculptures. (I sold the father and baby, so I’ll have to make another of that image.) Willow did dye another batch of silks for the fair, but the only new things I made were a bunch of chocolate rune sets because Jess had asked me to make them. We didn’t sell them all- so we’ve got them leftover to eat and give.
When I go back from Kawai’i I couldn’t find the charger for the palm pilot and get the pictures I took out. So we ordered another, and after it arrived found the original. Isn’t that the way things always seem to happen? And then when it was recharged- someone the pictures I did take got erased. Oh well. I really need to learn to deal with technology. Especially the computer.
I think I’ve run out of disk space again- the word program keeps “quitting unexpectedly”. I may have to get some more memory for the computer. It will be cheaper than a new computer. I’m going to need space for the book- the questionnaires keep coming in. As one would expect- I’ve only gotten back about one in five of the ones I sent out- but I do hope and plan to get more. A lot of the books I’ve read have the authors talking about having talked to a hundred pagans- whoopee, I know a hundred pagans (and will probably start pestering them to answer my questions too soon), but want to talk to strangers and get a different perspective that what I have already heard. We’ll be having our Solstice Feast on Wednesday and Steve, Megan and Travis are all able to make it, so I won’t feel so lonely as I have other years when it hits mid-week and I figure no one can make it. (Of course, I didn’t even ask- assuming people couldn’t make it, which is kind of a self fulfilling prophesy. I guess I’m not so social now that I don’t have AElfwine’s support.) The new Coyote Run Christmas CD arrived, and we are enjoying it. We are also watching the old Christmas videos- tradition is wonderful.
Kerensa will be coming out later this week to see his family, and is planning to come by and see us (and bring us some goodies that he’s getting out of his studio). Meanwhile we are trying to clear out stuff here. The kids keep asking “What do YOU want?” and I can’t think of anything except book cases. I just want to try to get rid of stuff and organize what I’ve got! That’s not helpful to people who want to see you squeal and have your face light up when they give you something. I don’t mean to be a grinch, but the more I get organized, the better I like it. I picked up a book at the fair about Sacred Space- making your own living space sacred. That starts with cleaning, and that’s the hardest part for me.
I got so cross today- the chain pull came out of the light in the wood closet, and we just changed that one! It’s really annoying that when the chain comes out you have to change the whole fixture- you can’t put it back on, jerks! And while we were putting the tree up, one of the lights wasn’t working, and it turns out that someone had hidden an easter egg up in it, and it never got found, but the plastic had melted down into the socket, so the light died. Boy, talk about feeling dumb! So we had to get a new lamp for the living room too. Ah well.
I think the most important thing that happened this week was that when I was talking to Kat one night, and she was talking about still not knowing what she wanted to do with her life, it occurred to me that I am doing exactly what I want to do with my life. I’m writing what I think is an important book, studying and teaching healing and other interesting stuff, doing artwork, and people are buying it, and living on a farm with my family who loves me. Sure, I would be happy if I were bringing in more money, but I am doing what I want to do. That’s a pretty cool thing to realize.
Not very organized this week, but there you have it. If I forgot something, maybe I’ll remember it next week.

“The trick is to combine your waking rational abilities with the infinite possibilities of your dreams. Because, if you can do that, you can do anything.”  Richard Linklater

Tonight is celebrated as Mother Night by some heathens. As I understand it, it’s a celebration of the Idisi or Disir who are specifically the female ancestors who can be contacted by the living for help. I tend to make krumkakes and play inspiring music by myself because the kids don’t have a relationship with our Disir at this point. One of the nicest things about heathenism is that there is no expectation that EVERYBODY will participate in EVERY religious rites- only the ones that are important to them.
I’ve always liked the idea of the Idisi (Disir is Norse, Idisi is OE- again, if I’ve got it right). It says a lot about the role of old women in the culture- they were the ones who you came to with problems, And didn’t stop after they’d died. It makes sense, most people who died (in theory) went off to Valhalla or one of the other halls, but some women were so caught up with their families they kept tabs on them after they died. Actually, I figure that they went to Hel’s realm or where-ever same as most, but retained a kind of psychic hot-line to the family to keep track of them.
Obviously not everyone who dies shows up as a ghost, but there are enough examples that it’s not surprising that most cultures know that they are there- even if they can’t figure out why. I’m fairly certain that a lot of who shows up as a ghost and how they behave when they do is culturally determined. I like the idea of an “on call” helper ghost that’s consistent with the role of the living who take on the new role. Come to think of it, there are some old ladies who you really DON’T want hanging around “helping” after they pass on.

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