Sunday, November 23, 2008


Winter has arrived and with a vengeance. Last year I was picking tomatoes up until the 7th of January –granted, these were from the plants that were up against the south side of my house, but still. Not this year. We had a record low Friday night and it has been in the twenties or lower for the past five nights and that is expected to continue for the next few days. Tomorrow we are going to have a lot of rain and then it will freeze again in the night which means…ice. A bit, at least.

My winter garden does not like this cold. The mustards and collards are fine, but I may have lost the lettuce and the chard. Why is the chard such a big deal? This chard I grow is tough –incredibly so. It takes heat, cold, drought, flooding rain, and everything in between. But it might not have been able to withstand this long cold snap. I’m waiting to see if it comes back before I make any judgments.

In broader economic news, I was watching the news at work yesterday morning and this two-bit pinhead of an economic pundit comes and starts talking about how people need to pare down their budgets for the tough times (true) but then says, basically, it’s going to be survival of the fittest and if you can’t make it, tough. Go crawl off in a corner somewhere and die. I am so sick of that attitude. It is the worst kind of the snobbish, I-am-better-than-you nonsense that has permeated this country for the past couple of generations. But I have news for these people: if enough people end up hungry, homeless, out of work and so forth, and that attitude is still prevailing among the powers that be, the situation will be solved the same way it has been historically: by pitchforks and torches, or the modern equivalent thereof.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I’ve been debating about whether or not to write about this. It doesn’t specifically pertain to the main topics of this blog, but it is indirectly related. After much thought I decided to go ahead and write about it. An incident occurred yesterday that had left me much shaken and I am just now getting over it.

I have long postulated that as things got worse there would be an increase in the incidence of hate crimes, harassment, and other things relating to protected categories. Crime in general tends to go up during bad times. I have lived in the south all my life and have only experienced direct discrimination for being a lesbian once and until yesterday had never actually experienced a problem because of my religion. I’ve heard stories about both and know they happen, and I’ve also heard by word of mouth that the number of such incidents is on the rise.

I have been very open about my beliefs on this blog, but before I go any further I want to be sure it is made clear that I do not care what anyone else believes in. You can be a Christian, Buddhist, atheist, Jew, or a worshipper of a two-headed purple polka-dotted space alien named Zeus from the planet Nylon for all I care. I am cool with it as long as two stipulations are met: the first is that you don’t harm anyone (if you have a religion that promotes ritual human sacrifice, for instance, you and I are going to have a problem) and the second is that you respect my right to do the same. Don’t try to force me to convert, discriminate against me, start a holy war or otherwise try to impose your belief system and we are fine.

What happened was this: I wear my pentagram just about everywhere (save work). It is a large part of who I am, and that symbol means a lot to me, in the same way that a crucifix means a lot to Christians. I was walking my dog and this guy starts talking to me. He’s a little crazy anyway and he sees my pentagram and recognizes it. Now, nine out of ten people never notice it and the ones that do usually have no idea what it means. But then you get the nuts who thinks it’s a symbol of Satanism. This guy was one of these. So he starts shouting at me and ranting on about the devil and Satan and hell and all of this crap and he starts following me. He followed me halfway home. I nearly had to mace him. (Yes, I carry mace and I’m thinking of getting a gun and a permit –I have no problems with self-defense, and this being Alabama, its easy to do.)

The incident left me a bit shaken, and very, very angry. I do not care if this man believes in Christ, hell, the devil or the afore-mentioned Zeus, but I have the right to be left the fu*k alone to believe whatever I care to believe. I was telling someone about this today and she suggested I should stop wearing the pentagram because it is ‘not prudent’ and ‘might offend’ someone. I do not care whether or not it is prudent or if someone gets offended. If someone gets offended, that is their problem and not mine; they need to deal with their own insecurities. As far as prudence –I’ve spent too much of my life on my knees and crawling through muck to please others. I will not hide who and what I am. I am my own person and intend to remain that way. The most important thing in this world is freedom and I intend to keep mine. I’ll pay whatever price I have to, but I will do so. As Patrick Henry once said ‘give me liberty or give me death!’ And, to quote someone else I’ve read on the blogosphere ‘I’ll die on my feet before I live on my knees’.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thank Goodness for Senators with sense

Like Senator Shelby. I do not like Senator Shelby. I do not try to hide the fact; he and I disagree on almost everything and I have voted against him ever since I became eligible.

But he has shown a remarkable amount of sense since this financial crisis started. He voted against the first bailout and is engineering the stalemate to keep the automakers from getting bailed out. For that I am grateful; we do not, under any circumstances, need to bail out Detroit. They are dead men (companies) walking. Who's going to buy their products anyway, in a bad economy with credit frozen?

What do I think we should do instead? Start directing money towards rebuilding infrastructure and the railroads. Those are projects with a future.


Winter has arrived

Winter has arrived. Old Man Winter and The Crone are making themselves known. We’ve had hard frost the past two nights and it is going to be one cold week –an Alberta Clipper is coming through tonight. I sleep more in the winter, partly because of the dark and partly because of the cold. We are just over a month from the winter solstice and then the light will start coming back.

My garden is all tucked in for winter and has been for some time. I have some cleaning up to do, but that is it. Just about everything is taking a well-deserved nap. My greens, however, are not –we can grow certain greens year round here if we get them in the ground soon enough. Spinach, collards, cabbage, mustard, chard, lettuce –all survive our winters just fine. Some of them stop growing for a bit if it gets too cold, but they resume as soon as it warms up. Part of the purpose of getting them in the ground early is so they get big enough for you to keep picking if they hibernate.

Winter is my least favorite time of the year, but still I love it. I love the nippy air, the frost on the windows in the morning. Hot apple cider and hot tea, soup, and pumpkin pie. Time off from my gardening to do other things, cuddling on the couch with all my animals in the evening (who needs heat when you have pets, lol). Parties and festivals, bundling up and the chance for snow.

Last night I made a healthy dinner –baked chicken, mashed potatoes and mixed greens from the garden. Tonight I’ll take some of the leftover chicken and make chicken soup, then I’ll freeze the rest of the meat (sans enough to have leftovers from last night tomorrow) so I have a ready source of cooked meat the next time I decide to make chicken soup or a chicken pot pie.

The funny thing is, winter is here and two of my rose bushes are still blooming. They are on the south side of my house where it is sheltered. Usually they bloom until the first week of December. They are gorgeous, but completely out of season. Oh well.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Jobs and Randoms Thoughts

I’ve had a pretty rough week. I was offered and then lost two jobs this week. The first I had to turn down; it turned out to be a high-pressure sales job and there is no way I could do the 100 mile (each way) commute they wanted me to do. It was well-paying, but that was all that could be said for it. The second job was a part-time temporary holiday job for minimum wage at a well-known department store. They offered me the job and then changed their mind when they found out I had some blemishes on my credit. (No? I’ve been out of work for a while and I’ve had credit issues…surprise, surprise.) They don’t hire people with blemishes on their credit. I almost told them what I thought of that, but then thought better of it.

Their dress code made me think even more about telling them off. What kind of company requires you to manicure your nails? Oh, and they allow fashionable open-toed shoes, but they forbid socks and demand you have your feet pedicured if you wear them. Um, yeah, okay…am I the only one who thanks this is completely crazy?

Look, I am not a lazy person. I am perfectly willing to put in a good day’s work. But I need the job first. And I also would like to be treated like a human being and not a robot or a slave. Is that too much to ask? Apparently.

I have been reading a lot of books on pagan theology. As anyone who has read this blog for a while knows, I am a devout pagan. I do not belong to any of the traditional paths; rather, I am an eclectic who goes my own way, in religion as everything else. Part of my problem with most of the ‘traditional’ paths, and with many of my fellow pagans in general (and this is not meant as an insult) is that many of them tend to be…rather fruity. Let me give you a couple of examples. First, one of the most well-known leaders of the pagan community looks completely crazy, and I am not talking about clothing –this person has that wide-eyed half there look of the meth addicts I see at the treatment center. This person’s writings often only help to emphasize that. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that, but if you want people to take you seriously, this is who your leaders are? Secondly, I was recently reading something by another well-known leader in the pagan community. She was talking about the Goddess Artemis. But during this discussion the author emphasized that Artemis’ bow was used only for marksmanship; that she never actually hunted or hurt anything with it. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. Artemis, the great huntress. Artemis, the warrior. Um, yeah right. In the real myths she not only used that bow, she was the greatest hunter in the world, called on by hunters everywhere to help them. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with that. Too many people in the pagan community, among others, tend to change everything to conform to their own political beliefs and agendas. There are also people who are on ego trips, just like in every other movement. (Often they are one and the same.)

So I follow my own path. I mention this for two reasons: one, is that I have been thinking about it a lot lately, and about how to make a viable earth-centered religion that appeals to more than just the fringes. If we are going to grow as a religion –which is an oft-hoped for wish among pagans –and, I firmly believe, if civilization is going to survive, we need to re-develop a reverence for the earth. Secondly, I get tired of people talking about how they like pagan ideas but how all pagans are fruit loops and I just want to point out that is not the case.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Student Loan Hell

So my student loan provider finally realized I'm not in school and wants me to start making payments. Nearly $300 a month. Um, yeah right. What have they been smoking?
I'm not even making that much right now. So I call them up and tell them I'm going to need a hardship forebearance. That will work for part of my loans, they say, but not for one of them. To get this other loan into forebearance I have to fill out a special application and pay a $50 fee, and oh yeah, the forebearance is only for three months.

I told them to send me an application, and I will send it back to them without the fee and with a note that says "Hi, I'm broke and living out of my car. I'm on food stamps. I don't have the money for your stinking fee. If I had $50, I would go to the grocery store. So, you can either give me the forebearance or mark me default status. Your choice. And oh yeah, you can blow me."

Okay, so I'm not living out of my car yet, but there's a good chance I will be by the time they finally send me that damn application. And I probably won't tell them to blow me; that would be uncouth as hell for a priestess to say, but just writing it down made me feel better. ;-)


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A restoration of faith

Yesterday I started a temp job. The job itself isn’t the greatest but it would be money. Would be, because it won’t work out. I discovered yesterday that instead of working around here they want me to drive 100 miles to and from. Um no, that is not going to work.

But this post isn’t about that. Yesterday on the way home from the training station I had a flat tire. There was a nail in the tire. I all ready wasn’t feeling well because I hadn’t had enough sleep and several bad things had happened, so this was not very good. To say the least. To make matters worse, I can’t get the wheel off because my car has wheel locks and I had no wheel key. (I did not even know the car had wheel locks until this.) So I go to the nearby tire repair shop to see if I can borrow a wheel key, promising to bring the wheel into them to repair. No die. They tell me they can’t do that and I’ll have to have the car towed in.

Um, yeah right. Thanks a lot, you (bleeped). So I go back and am trying to figure out how to break the lock when this older black gentleman pulls up in an old but very well-cared for car. He asks if he can help and I explain the problem. Well, this man drives a similar car and has a wheel key in his trunk. Not only that, but he’s an amateur mechanic and has a trunk full of tools. So, he gets the wheel off and then repairs it for me, right there in the service station parking lot. He fills it up and puts it back on and doesn’t charge me anything. Not all people are bad and selfish, even in these times. I knew that, but it helps to be reminded.
I’ve rarely seen anything quite like that. Some days, things just happen to restore my faith in humanity. That was one of them.
And, whomever you are that helped me, thank you. And Goddess bless.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Famine is coming

Famine is coming.

I understand hunger. I understand it bone-deep, in the way that only someone who has been hungry can understand it. My childhood was spent in extreme poverty and only rarely did we have enough to eat. I sometimes joke that my small size is due to childhood malnourishment. Going to bed hungry was so common an occurrence that it went unremakred upon. When I started school the free lunch (and later, when they started the program) the free breakfast were often the only meals I had. I have eaten out of trashcans. I have lived off of food stamps and donations and dented cans pulled out of the garbage and fish caught from a nearby pond and been happy to get the meal. To make matters even worse, my mother was not all there. That is an understatement. She was bipolar and borderline schizophrenic. She sometimes thought it was fun to get food and eat it in front of us. Particularly me, as I was the scapegoat in our very dysfunctional family.

So I understand hunger. It affects me in ways most people in the so-called developed world can not fathom. When I read that 25,000 people a day die of hunger (or did before the numbers started climbing this year), I feel that in my gut. I know what that means and what it is like to be that close to the edge. When I saw Gone With The Wind in high school the one time I empathized with Scarlett in the entire movie was when she swore she would never be hungry again. I understand that feeling.

The food crisis this year has horrified me. I know, deep down what it means: starvation. It is going to get so much worse next year. Early this year food agencies warned that without record harvests there would be famine next year. We did not get record harvests. Not only that, but next years crops are going to go down even more. When I read stories like the one discussing the impact of the credit crisis on farming, which states that wheat alone is going to go down by 4% ( I get a chill. It gets worse when I read about the water supplies in California being cut by 85% next year. A lot of food comes from California. ( Then I read about grain shipments stalling due to credit problems and wheat rust and climate change and I get physically sick.

All of this adds up to one thing: famine. Massive, widespread famine. The developed world has no concept of famine. We have not experienced it since the 1930s. The few remaining survivors remember it and the lessons it taught; I think my adopted grandmother could live off her food supplies for 6 months without leaving her apartment. But most people have no idea what famine is, no concept of it. If this gets too bad, they might learn. The number of hungry in this country is all ready going up. NPR said yesterday morning that almost 30 million people in this country are on food stamps. That’s about 10% of the population, folks. What is going to happen with the economy crashing, food prices going up, and food supplies going down? The answer should be obvious: shortages and hunger. Famine.

I can not explain how badly this scares me. I have been down this road and I know where it leads. Famine is coming, and trouble will follow on its heels.

Of course, I could be wrong. We could end up with bumper crops next year and everything will be fine. The Easter Bunny could also be real. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to celebrate.

I’ll leave off today with the words to Famine Song, a song I have performed many times with my choir:

Famine Song
arr. Matt Culloton (b. 1976)
Ease my spirit, ease my soul,
please free my hands from this barren soil,
ease my mother, ease my child,
Earth and sky be reconciled.
Rain, rain, rain.
Weave, my mother, weave, my child,
weave your baskets of rushes wild.
Out of heat, under sun, comes the hunger to ev’ry one.
Famine’s teeth, famine’s claw on the sands of Africa.


Sunday, November 09, 2008


First, let’s get it out of the way and say that yes, I am incredibly pissed off by prop 8.

That said, this post has nothing to do with prop 8.

California is in trouble. Big trouble. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I expect California to be shedding population by this time next year. There are several reasons for this:
1.) The foreclosure crisis. Google ‘tent cities’ or ‘car sleepers’ and see how many people out there are living in tents and cars. Eventually some of them are going to figure out that the cost of living is lower in other parts of the country and get together the funds to leave.
2.) The rest of the economic mess. California’s budget crisis is deepening, and there are almost certainly going to be massive spending cuts in the months to come. Bankruptcy is a possibility, as is tax increases. Also, job losses are going to throw a lot of people out of work.
3.) Last, and most important, word has come down that water deliveries to just 15% of the amount requested. That’s an 85% cut. In one year. ( This could cause rationing and shortfalls in cities and on farms. Let me rephrase that: it almost certainly will cause rationing and shortfalls, with the current drought and population levels.

How many people are going to stand for this? And for how long? It is eventually going to occur to at least some of them that others places are NOT a desert and might be better places to live.
As for the rest…eventually they’ll have to get used to living in a desert, with the attendant water problems.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dixie Died Last Night

The Old Confederacy finally went down in flames. It did not go out with a bang or even with a whimper. It just sat down quietly and died. For those of us in the Deep South, particularly those of us raised here, last night was a monumental night. The world changed, tilted, and ended up topsy turvy. I am, of course, speaking of the election of Barack Obama as President. You see, no matter what side of the issue you are on, the election of a black man as President has rocked the South.

Virginia and Florida turned blue last night. North Carolina, Missouri and Georgia are too close to call at this point. Unprecedented numbers of minority and young voters turned out to vote yesterday. There was a sea of young and non-white faces at my polling station yesterday. It has long been said that this day would never come, that Dixie could never get over their prejudice to this extent. We still bear the scars of slavery, of segregation, of racial hatred and civil rights violations. The reminders are everywhere, from the Civil War battlefield markers to the ‘Colored’ signs that still hangs in some bus stations.

But last night, the Old Confederacy died. It cracked into a thousand pieces, courtesy of a charismatic black man from Hawaii. Oh, there will still be prejudice. And there will be a backlash from the white supremacists. But the tide has turned, and as the older generation dies off the younger will grow never knowing any different.

You should have seen the parties last night, both here and around the south. They took to the streets in Atlanta, Florida and other places. There was an impromptu rally in front of the White House itself. You could see the future there –a mixture of white, black, and brown faces that represented the future of this country. Then you could look at the Biltmore in Phoenix and see the past in the McCain crowd –a solid mass of well-to-do white people. Rather angry after the results came in, at that.

History was made last night. Dixie died, and the future was born.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Building Community

Building community doesn't have to be hard. Sometimes it is as simple as baking a cake for a friend's birthday. That is what I did today and I'll be taking it to her shortly. Now, I should note that sine this is her 50th birthday, and this is also the season of Halloween, I can't help but be a little naughty. I'm trying to decide whether to only put 50 candles on the cake, or put all the ones I have on it. That would be, oh let's see, if my math is right...144. Insert evil cackle and emoticon depicting devil horns.
(I should note that my friend is a particularly good sport and will get a good laugh out of it, or I wouldn't even consider it.)