Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkins and Spice... and something not nice?

I love pumpkins. I love carving them, eating them, roasting their seeds... Pumpkins are practically royalty in my world.

Which brings me to a slightly disturbing story about royalty and pumpkins.

Jennifer Viegas wrote a piece for DiscoveryNews about a gourd dating back to 1793 France that may contain King Louis XVI's blood. The gourd has scorch markings on its facade that read: "Maximilien Bourdaloue on January 21st, dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his beheading."


Check out the rest of the article over at DiscoveryNews!


an original picture and poem:


axon by axon,
a mirage of pixels
scattered on a
blank screen.

Why in a room not a room
of white plaster walls
stained with insect remains
can’t we enter the worlds
beyond our screams?
Shake the silence?

There are doorways,
Dark and Light,
through which we

Speck by speck,
we gather shards of color,
space, scent
and piece them together,
these places
we live.

Resolution Check Up!

Three weeks ago, I made a post outlining four autumn resolutions. Now is as good a time as any to check up on how I'm doing!

1. contemplative exercise: Well, I meditated daily for about a week, then I returned to my comfy fall back of contemplative art (as evidenced by all the jewelry I've been making), with a few random meditations thrown in at night. No yoga yet, but I've been taking an average of two dogs out for a mile walk (in the same go!) every other day! I usually take my dog Rosie and one of my parents' dogs, Dakota or Ginger, while one of my parents takes the other dog. I imagine it must look rather funny to passersby.

2. doctoral applications: I have completed my University of Chicago and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but I still have five more applications to do! Yikes.

3. novel: I have not worked on my novel at all, but I have been writing other things: short stories, a young adult fantasy book, and poetry. Perhaps I'll post a sample later!

4. etsy: is up an running! As I mentioned in my last post, I've finally put some things up for sale. I've even been getting a few views, which makes me very happy!

All in all, I'm proud of myself for working on these resolutions as much as I have been. Just goes to show you that any time can be the right time to make some positive changes in your life!

Next goal: get out of the house more! :D

Monday, October 25, 2010

Up and Running!

My Etsy page
is now up and running! There are five necklaces up now.

Here it is:

You, dear readers, also get a sneak peak at what I'm working on!
a neo-Victorian necklace, still in its rough stages

a sort-of shadow box. The blue will dry clear and it will become a little eco-system of magic!

a painting based on one of my sketches

...and the beginning of my Halloween costume

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cutting to the point: Changes

Everyone has their own little rituals, quirks, or habits that make them unique. One of mine is that, in fits of passion, I chop off my hair.

The first time this happened, I was ten or so. I had been out in the fields and the forest, playing adventurer as I often did, with my hair tumbling down my back. Freedom, absolute freedom. And when I returned to my house, my loose locks were matted with burrs.

(Quick divergence, my boyfriend calls burrs "hitchhikers." When I hear "hitchhikers," I assume he's talking about ticks. So when he'd say that Rosie, my dog, had hitchhikers, I freaked out, massively. But matted fur, like matted hair, is still not a force to be reckoned with, in my book.)

So, ten-year-old me urgently pulled on Mom's sleeve, but she was held up with work. Disgusted with the itchy prickers, I found a pair of scissors and chopped off my hair about an inch from my scalp. Satisfaction!

I was so pleased with myself. Mother was not. I believe there was a wedding to go to soon, so Mom had to take me to the salon to get it evened out. I wore a lot of hats that year, in addition to feeling very un-pretty.

There were a few times in high school that I gave myself bangs and layers- usually those times when I'd come home crying, overwhelmed with the pain of teenage drama and lovesickness.

Once I moved to college, the scissors came out every month or so. My freshman year, my hair got shorter and shorter until I asked Nasser (Nasser Kassem of Clifton Cinci, a true wizard of all things hair related) to work wonders. He gave me a very fitting punk-rock 'do shaved in the back, bleached and long in the front. As this style grew out, I grew out of my goth phase and grew into a hippie-esque phase.

I resisted the urge to cut my hair for five years. I let it grow nearly down to my bottom, the length at which my high school friends will likely remember it.

But there's another heavy heart, another move, another change of pace and person. In the last few weeks, I stared in the mirror, holding scissors, urging myself to cut or to refrain. It's been a gargantuan battle, epic as my ten-year-old self's imaginary duels. Quirk won. So, yesterday, I let someone chop off thirteen inches of my hair.

So far, I've found two benefits to this new look. One is that people don't mistake me for an eighteen year old any more. The second is that I can donate my ponytail to Locks of Love and make a difference in someone else's life.

The point of this rather long diatribe is, whether you chop your hair, buy new clothes, destroy photographs, or gorge on chocolate or beer, these rituals are important. They're our way of dealing with things that are out of control. They're our way of taking control. They help us accept the things we can't change and love the things we can. They make life just a little bit easier, just slightly more comforting.

They are worth celebrating!

So, cheers to short hair!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Fading Lands are coming!


Just twenty days until the release of the fifth and final book in C. L. Wilson's Tairen Soul quintet. I've been reading these books religiously since the publication of the second book, Lady of Light and Shadows.

The series follows Ellysetta Baristani, a peasant girl who discovers her fate lies with the king of the Fey, who also happens to be a Tairen Soul, a very powerful Fey that can turn into a tairen. Tairens are cat-like magical creatures, and they are almost extinct. As Ellie delves deeper into the magical world, she discovers that she herself is much more than she ever dreamed.

Originally, the series was supposed to be a quartet. After the third book came out, there was an incredibly long pause before the announcement that an additional book would join the series. I was a bit angry that I wouldn't get to finish Ellie's story when the fourth book came out, but at least Wilson will do Ellie justice. It has been a long and arduous wait for this finale, and I, for one, am counting down the days.

These books are magical, well paced, and well written. I tell my friends that Wilson's imaginative worlds are on par with Tolkien's. My friends could tell you how shocking such a commendation is from me; I am such a Tolkienite that I taught myself how to speak and write the Quenyan form of Elvish (a talent that has rusted itself into oblivion since my entrance into college).

I will also add that for you fantasy lovers who are wary of Tolkien's lengthy descriptions and philology, Wilson creates an equally fantastical world in less lengthy and weighty prose.

Seriously, you need to check these books out!

My only complaint is that since her work has been cast as romantic fantasy, it has a few ill-fitting love scenes that I recommend skipping over. In this case, the genre-fication of these books did them an ill. Yet these books are of such a caliber that I believe any could forgive whatever minor setbacks might be present.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Magic in the air

Methinks there be magic afoot!

October has brought with it a crispness that promises change! The world is changing color, and the air is tinted with wonder.

This waning moon period feels perfect for casting off unwanted thoughts and habits. In just two days, the new moon will arrive! Then the real magic begins as the yearly cycle spins fast toward Samhain.

For me, I've decided this is the perfect time to stop giving excuses and to start practicing life affirmations. I know most people wait until the New Year to make resolutions, but the waning moon bursting into the new moon seems like a good time to me.

Resolution 1: Practice one contemplative exercise a day

Resolution 2: Get cracking on my doctoral applications!

Resolution 3: Work on my novel

Resolution 4: Get my Etsy site up and running

Well, I'd better go work on that! Merry meet and merry part, until we meet again!

Jewelry for Sale!

Now you can own your very own jewelry, designed and handmade by yours truly! Just visit my Etsy shop for options. Collages will be available soon!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Flying high: a falcon's eye view of the world

This BBC snippet shows a glimmer of what it might be like to be a raptor in flight. I can't say how many times I've had dreams of flying like this!

Minding your mindfulness!

How do you connect with the Sacred? Meditation? Practicing yoga? Going to church? Honoring the Sabbats? Participating in community service?

The simplest form of this question is: Do your actions lead you closer to understanding yourself, the world around you, and/or the divine?

I stumbled on this diagram of contemplative practices, or practices that promote mindfulness and self development:

Pretty cool, huh?

So many different branches! Does it count to practice any contemplation each day, without it being the same type?

Saturday, October 2, 2010