Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Birthday Party

I just realized I completely forgot to post about Lance's 1st birthday party!  He turned a year old on August 22, and we celebrated on August 21st.

It was a good party, or at least we had fun.  I think everybody else did, too.  There were only 10 or so guests due to the fact that we inadvertently planned the party for the weekend of the Canadian Shiloh Shepherd Nationals, but quite a few of them commented afterward that it was a really interesting mix of people, so we were pleased.

The guests included neighbors and people that are in Lance's life--his trainers, his groomer, a few of the friends who'd help socialize way back in the beginning, and so on. And Lance had a canine guest, too--a chocolate lab puppy by the name of Hardy.  And Kai, of course.

The party and the prep went fairly smoothly, although we had a bit of a panic when, after working all day to prepare the new patio and the back yard for company, it started raining about 1/2 an hour before guests arrived.  But we got everything moved into the garage and under a dining tent, so it all turned out well in the end.  And the rain cooled everything off, so we didn't have to worry about humans or dogs overheating.

And Lance had a lot of fun.  He had so much fun in a game of chase that he broke a hurricane lamp on the aforementioned patio 'cause he couldn't make the corner!  LOL!  And so much fun that he wore both Kai and Hardy (who is a few weeks older than Kai) out by the end of the evening.  They both had to go to bed early, so Lance wound up having the human guests all to himself.  :)

The only thing I regret is that I was having so much fun I totally forgot to get any pictures.  :(  We took some of the aftermath, but it's just not the same!  I'm thinking next year we put out a few disposable cameras to make sure we get some DURING.

All in all, a very good memory!

p.s.  We did make it to Nationals the next day, and Lance took second in his age class.

Friday, August 27, 2010

December 21, 2012

End of the world?  Chaos & cataclysm?  Death and destruction?  Meaningless superstition? Something in between?

I've had this on my mind lately, as I try to learn how to save seeds from this year for next.  Am I wasting my time, or is this a vital skill I need to learn?

I, personally, am of the opinion that the world AS WE KNOW IT, will end sometime near the titled  date.  I suppose that could mean that we will all die in a nuclear war, or be wiped out in world-wide natural disasters, or that aliens will come down from the sky and enslave us all, but none of that is really what I believe will happen.

I think the "end" will be much more subtle than any of that.  The pessimistic side of me wonders if the last bee will die, with our crops and ourselves slowly following.  The newer, much more hopeful side of me thinks maybe it will simply be a shift in human consciousness--a new, more positive way of looking at things, perhaps.  In my wildest dreams, I imagine that the number of Pagans will outgrow the numbers of more established religions, which would certainly bring a new worldview to humanity.

I suppose only time will tell.  If nothing happens by the Winter Solstice in 2012, I'll begin to believe the Mayans were wrong.  If nothing happens by 2020, I'll know they were.

In the meantime, I'll follow the old saw and hope for the best while I prepare for the worst.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I write about our dogs all the time, even one that is no longer with us.  I write about us, both in our personal and our Pagan lives.  But my tag line mentions 2 Pagans, 2 Puppies, and 2 Cats!  And I really haven't been giving our cats a fair shake, so here goes.

We have two cats, a small, gray domestic short-hair, and a rather large, black, medium-haired Maine Coon mix.  Audrey is bad-tempered and very, very smart.  Dale is sweet, laid-back, and not-so smart.  If you come to our house I can almost guarantee you will see neither, they are both so shy of strangers.

First and foremost is Audrey.  We usually describe her as 8 lbs of concentrated malice.  For a while we worried that there was something wrong with her feet because she never drew her claws in.  When she walks across a hard surface you can hear "click, click, click" because she won't put her claws in.  (We found out she CAN, she just chooses not to do so most of the time.)  I have multiple small scars across my legs because she walks across you with her claws out.  Dale and I are scared of her because she's so quick to take offense, and those claws are always ready. When she was about 10 weeks old, and weighed about 2 lbs, it took me, a vet, and two vet technicians to hold her down to have blood drawn.  Two of the humans ended up bleeding, too.

Despite all that, she CAN be sweet, and her purrs are treasured because they are so rare.  She can figure out any obstacle that doesn't require thumbs, and she is the absolute ruler of her domain. 

Or she was until we got the puppies.  At that point, her maternal instincts seem to have kicked in, and she won't hurt them, no matter how much they bother her.  We're glad we haven't had to rush to the emergency vet with a bleeding nose or scratched eye, but at the same time it's made teaching the dogs to rein in their prey drives and not chase the cats all the harder.  Talk about mixed blessings.

Dale is the polar opposite of his 'sister'.  His claws are rarely out, his frequent purrs are loud enough to hear two rooms away, and he usually has to be shown the way around obstacles.  He is a gorgeous, 20+ lb male with fur that is a deep, deep black tinged with chocolate brown at the very tips.  He will lay on your lap through an entire movie, purring any time he's not asleep, and not clawing you once.

Of course, when his claws DO come out, he can do a lot of damage--he has serious muscle and mass to put behind his rather large claws.  And you'd think he was slow, because of all that size, but you'd be wrong.  He may not be as quick as Audrey, but we saw him take a fly out of the air with one swat a couple of days ago.

He has no maternal instincts, nor even any paternal ones, as far as we can tell.  Both dogs have a healthy respect for him, and won't mess with him if he's facing them.  (They still will chase if he runs, but we're working on that.)

And in case you can't tell, I love both my kitties very much.  :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good Things About High Temperatures

The list for truly hot weather is fairly short, and I had to struggle to come up with even these, LOL! I tried to limit the list to those things that only really happen, at least outside, when temperatures soar.

Hot peppers, watermelons, and cotton
Shorts, tank tops, and sandals

 Most of the rest I came up with can also be performed in mild weather (18-25 C or about 65-80 F), with which I don't have a problem.  And yes, I  do realize that your interpretation of hot and mild weather will depend on your own acclimatization--these are mine.  :)

As I write this, btw, it is 18C (65F) and raining here in Southern Ontario--truly lovely weather! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Update: Evil Ex

I know I promised a list of good things about hot weather, but I interrupt my previously planned post for an update on my life:

It’s over. It turned out to be $17,000 stolen from us instead of the $12,000 we’d originally thought, but it’s over. Our income is back to normal, from being at HALF for the last few months. Our savings are gone, our credit accounts are almost maxed out, and we borrowed as much as we could from family and friends, but it’s over. Another month of it and there was a very real possibility that we would have lost the house, but it’s over. It will still take us a couple of months to "catch up", but . . .It's Over!

And it wasn’t nearly as bad as I would have thought it would be if I'd been told about it beforehand. We learned that money really is not what makes you happy. We grew even closer as we got creative about entertaining ourselves without spending money, not to mention as we shared the stress and the distress of the situation. We spent more time cooking together, which we love to do, and more time just talking. Our puppies benefited as we spent more time at home training or at the dog park playing. The cats saw more of us than usual as we stayed at home instead of going out.

All in all, I’d have to say it was at the very least a not totally bad experience, and taught us a lot. I wish we hadn’t had to spend $17,000 on the lesson, but I’m not sure we would have appreciated it as much if we hadn’t. So, if you ever read this, thank you, Courtney. You have reminded us just how much we love each other.

And may you reap everything you deserve from the stolen money.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Still Need Balance

Well, despite all my attempts to at least LIKE the heat, I was excited and happy this morning when it was actually chilly for the 1st time.  My spirit just soared.  Sigh.

I guess it's just how I'm built--try as I might, I can't help looking forward to fall and winter.  Maybe if we end up with a pool or pond where I can swim in the next house it will help me enjoy hot weather more.  The long, long winters here in Ontario (and my container garden) have at least taught me to enjoy spring, and that's a start!

Tomorrow I'll try and create a list of everything good about hot weather.  Any suggestions?

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Goddess

This comes from another prompt from Pagan Blog Prompts:  The prompt was to share an image of how the Goddess looks to you.  I opted for a description, instead.

The one thing consistent about how I see the the Goddess is that She is ALWAYS in the forest--a forest so old and thick that the backdrop of any vision I see of Her is always dark and solid-looking, alive with ancient trees and huge ferns.  The occasional spectacular burst of wildflowers, or changing leaves, or pure white snow punctuate the landscape.

Sometimes She is walking a meandering path deep in the trees, only enough rays of sunlight filtering down to light that path.  Or perhaps She is coming out of a small dwelling in a large clearing, looking up at the starlit sky. Often, She is sitting or standing in a small clearing beside water or ice, be it a stream or small pool, a well or a small waterfall.  Occasionally She is walking under full sunlight in a high meadow, high walls of trees all 'round.

She tends to appear to me as either a woman of indistinct age, somewhere between 25 and 45, or a crone of very advanced age, more advanced than a mere human will ever see.  I have only but rarely seen Her as a maiden, perhaps because I found this Path far beyond my own maiden days. 

As the crone Her hair is white, and Her clothes somber.  As the younger woman, Her hair is long and light brown or strawberry blonde, and Her clothing tends to be light--whites, creams, and occasionally the palest of greens.  In either case, Her skirts are always long, and She usually wears a cloak, either of black, dark brown, or of a very dark green.

How do you see the Goddess, Dear Reader?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lyme Disease in Canada

This is another post I didn't really want to write, but once again I've been stuttering in my posts because of avoiding it, so it's obviously something I need to get out.  And I need to do it whether or not it is very upsetting and very difficult to write.

I've been suffering unusually frequent and unusually serious diseases and conditions for the past two years or so.  I've been diagnosed with Clinical Depression, Anxiety Disorder, and, most recently, Fibromyalgia.  I've been asked if I've had a heart attack due to the damage around my heart.  (I haven't.)  And before my DH heard a life-changing story on the radio, I thought I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

These, and others*, are all diseases that Lyme Disease (LD) can mimic.  The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation lists 76 symptoms associated with LD, many of them mimicking serious ailments, not all of which everyone gets.  The Foundation claims that if you have 20 or more you are at serious risk of having LD.  I personally have close to 30. 

Open and shut case, right?  Wrong.  LD is controversial worldwide.  Many doctors don't even recognize it as a disease.  Here in Canada, the problem is twofold--doctors are resistant to acknowledge the disease, and when they do agree to look into it, they only perform the first level standard test for LD, the notoriously inaccurate ELISA test.  Most of them won't even consider going on to more in-depth, more accurate tests.

The most common recommendation from patient advocates?  Send your blood to be tested in a private lab in the States.  The one I looked for performed five standard tests, continuing with another three if those were inconclusive.  The price is about $500 US, and we'll have to pay for it ourselves, but it would be worth it. 2nd recommendation?  See the one physician in all Ontario who is supposedly sympathetic to LD.

I was all set to try either of these recommendations when I ran into even more snags.  The LD sympathetic doctor needs a referral from my doctor to see me.  The lab in the States needs a request from a doctor to perform the tests, even if I'm the one paying for them.  Neither of these things was particularly a problem--my family physician is, for the most part, really cool, and I figured that even if she herself doesn't believe I have LD, she wouldn't stop me from pursuing it on my own.  So I call.  Or, rather, my DH calls, since one of my LD symptoms involves hearing problems.  At any rate, he finds out that I need to actually come in and see my doctor for either the referral or the request, it can't be done over the phone.  Okay.  No problem.  BUT, my doctor is leaving for vacation tomorrow, and I can't get an appointment to see her until SEPTEMBER 10!  Problem.  You see, I think I'm in Stage 2 of the LD, and I don't know how long I've got until I move to Stage 3, which has some potentially serious side effects such as permanent arthritis and heart problems. 

So, I took the Sept. 10th appointment, but in the meantime I will try and get an appointment with Dr. Maureen McShane, a New York physician who has had LD, and who doesn't require referrals.  She is actually the woman my DH heard on the radio, which led him to put it all together and propose to me that I might have it.

In closing, Dear Readers, beware--You can contract LD anywhere in North America.  The deer ticks that transmit it are also carried by birds, so you can be bitten even in the most urban areas furthest from known tick infestations  Less than 50% of people notice the tick that gave them LD, and only about 30% get the recognized "bull's eye" rash.  Stage 1 is relatively easy to treat, Stage 2 is debilitating and hard to diagnose, and Stage 3 is potentially life threatening.

*Juvenile Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Reactive Arthritis, Infectious Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Raynaud's Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Interstitial Cystis, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Fifth Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, scleroderma, lupus, early ALS, early Alzheimers Disease, crohn's disease, ménières syndrome, reynaud's syndrome, sjogren's syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, prostatitis, psychiatric disorders (bipolar, depression, etc.), encephalitis, sleep disorders, thyroid disease

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Which Came First . . .

Had an interesting discussion with DH yesterday, regarding wood stoves.  Now, understand that we do not have a wood stove at the moment, nor even a wood fireplace.  But I dream of a studio over a garage heated by a wood stove. 

"Why?"  you ask.

I just find them terribly romantic, even beyond their incredible efficiency.  And the idea of banking them at night and then having them waiting for you in the morning. . .delicious.

The discussion was over whether to start gathering wood, and then acquire the stove, or to get the stove, then start saving wood for it.  It seems like it would make sense to get the wood, then the stove.  Otherwise, you chance having a stove you have to buy wood for all winter. 

Problem is, we, and I in particular, have a terrible habit of buying all the "stuff" needed to accomplish a project, whether it's a home repair project or an art project, and then not actually doing the project.  It's very frustrating, a great way to accumulate a house full of things you don't need, a horrible waste of money, and irresponsible to boot.  (We are getting better about it, though.)

Of course, this is a moot discussion unless we can actually sell the house this fall and buy a farm/homestead.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends

I know it's old news, but 2 days ago Prop 8 was once more declared unconstitutional.  (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/08/prop8-gay-marriage.html)  Who hasn't heard about this?

I bring it up now because my feeling about it had been, "Yeah, yeah.  So what.  The RB's (as DH and I call the extreme right, for religious bigots) will just ignore the blatant fact that the issue is unconstitutional and put it on the next ballot again, just as they've done so many times in the past." 

I was actually pretty down, thinking about it.  But a friend of mine maintained that changes like these take decades, and she, for one, was going to be optimistic about it.  I decided she was right, and I would once more apply myself to positive thinking.  (Thanks, Turtle.)

This is a huge victory, and THIS time, law, rationality, and sanity WILL prevail.  They will.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sticks and Stones. . .

You may or may not have noticed that I changed a word in the description in the header of this blog.  (Don't feel bad if you didn't, it's hard to see, and, for the most part, it's the same every time you visit.)  It's a small change, but an important one for DH and I.  Instead of reading "two witches", the description now reads "two Pagans".

The capitalization really isn't that important--more of a correction.  I should have had "witches" capitalized as well as "pagans".

What IS important is the change from Witches TO Pagans.  Thanks to a post on another blog (Adventures in Witchery:  Reclaiming Warlock) and an article by Storm Faerywolf entitled "Crafting the Warlock", my DH has realized that he was never really comfortable being called a witch (and, truth be told, I was never really comfortable calling him one).  As a result, he no longer sees himself as Kitchen Witch Don, but as Warlock Donald, until he finds his magickal name, at least.  (He did consider many other titles:  Sorcerer, Mage, Wizard, Magician, Wise Man, Cunning Man, but, for various reasons, none of them had the same appeal.) 

I think it's a bold move, and one that won't be popular with many people.  He'll have to fight a lot of prejudice associated with the title, perhaps even more so than with "Witch".  And he'll have to explain even more often that no, he doesn't worship Satan--to Pagans and non-Pagans alike, and maybe even to those who DO follow the Left-Hand Path.  But to me, the switch makes it sound likes he's grown-up in his practice--made a conscious, THINKING choice, instead of simply following someone else's rules.

Welcome, Warlock Donald.