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You know how people are always saying things like "find a job you like and it'll never feel like working?"

Okay, I'm here to tell ya, I have a job I like. One I really like. But there's just no way you can bend admining Exchange accounts and spam filters to make it not, y'know, work.

(If that actually is your idea of a hot party, you've got problems I don't wanna know about. I'm a nerd but...)
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The last week has been crazy. My company has a thing twice a year where they fly everyone from the other offices here to Portland for a week. It's mostly for other departments to have meetings and stuff, but I think they're trying to- or want to anyway- get support more involved than it has been in the past. But it was cool, I got to meet pretty much everyone in support (we're here, in Atlanta and New York) Plus most of the folks from the other departments (in those offices as well as Boston and LA). Got to go on a river cruise, took home a nice new hoodie and a couple of water bottles (emblazoned with the company logo, of course- and to that I have to say, I'm really glad it's not an ugly logo!)

I think I've decided that if I stick around for a while- and as it stands, definitely planning to- I'm interested in the eventual possibility of working for our Client Data department. I'd met the manager a few weeks back, and then after IMing back and forth with a couple of the guys down there, and then finding out more about what happens in that department yesterday, it seems like it would be something I'd like.

This is vastly different from my previous "Well, I want to get to CPU tier 2 for a while and use that to get the hell out of here" aspirations. When I had my second interview here, with the director of client services,he asked me how I felt about going from a place where I'd been around for a while, had some seniority and really was about as far as I could go without getting into management, to basically being absolute bottom of the heap, I had said that I really saw it as a good thing. It was really a step up, getting hired into a job that actually required some specific skills and knowledge just to get in the door. Being at the very bottom meant that I could actually go somewhere with it, as opposed to using it as merely a stop along the way as a means to something else.

It's also nice to y'know, have a positive income.

Right now, just having a breakfast/lunch of iced coffee with coconut milk some red pepper bisque with goat cheese and some trader joe's broccoli slaw and kale salad (to which i have also added goat cheese!)

I'm liking this being able to feel that things will get better because they actually ARE getting better, and not because I'm just forcing myself to hope and be optimistic that they will because if I don't, I'll go nuts. With basic living now much less of a worry, I have hopes to start being able to go back and really look at some other things in my life that slipped over the last several years.

Also, I have a new ringtone no my phone. I don't know if I'll use it all the time, I've had the some ringtone for years Tchaikovsky's Chinese Dance from the Nutcracker, think I first had it on a phone in 2006 or 2007. But the other day I decided I wanted a bit of a change, and grabbed Everybody Loves Me by One Republic. (I'd been hoping to get somethign by the Smashing Pumpkins- the intro to Tonight Tonight would have been awesome, or just about any bit of Thru the Eyes of Ruby, but they didn't have TTEOR, and the ones that they did have, I didn't like the way the used parts sounded as standalone bits, so...yeah. I think One Republic is probably the only really current band that I much listen to at this point, and it's a fun song.

Off to other things. I'm hoping to read at least one book this weekend, and do some writing. We'll see how that goes.
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"I know it may sound selfish, but let me breathe the air." - Little River Band

Great sum up of one of the things I've been feelign lately.

For those of you keeping up with Gavin's DW, you know that life has been a roller coaster for a good long time. Worked far too long at a job that didn't seem interested in payign me, promoted against my will, demoted, re-promoted, then demoted again (and please, I don't need sympathy, especially for that last demotion, at the time it happened, it was probably one of the best things that could have happened, short of finding a new job.)

Then in April, a whole bunch of my coworkers, myself included, jumped ship to go work for Yahoo. It was awesome, it was great, it was excellent. Well, the environment was at least. The work itself was aggressively boring. But hey, I'd have happily put up with that for a while just for the access to the free coffee bar (my desk was the closest in the entire place to it too!) But at the end of the training week, after handing us our new schedules, assigning us to supervisors, wishing us a good weekend and saying they'd see us on Monday, a few of us got calls asking us to place not come back. No warning, no reason.

Blah blah blah, my unemployment was denied. This thankfully came AFTER I'd already been offered another job. At this point, I've given up attempting to appeal. I'm now working in downtown Portland for a company that does archiving of electronic communications, primarily for regulatory compliance for the financial industry. We also do web and email hosting and a few other things for the same clientele. I really feel like I've found a good place. It's a much smaller company- less than two hundred scatters across a couple of offices on each coast as opposed to like 700 in my office alone) and a much more interesting job. I'm actually learning new things, working with a much smaller team,for a company that gives a rat's ass about its employees. I can walk to the office (takes about an hour) or take public transportation practically to the front door. They actually treat me like a human being and I don't have to constantly complain to my supervisor that, say, my paycheck is fucked up again and then feel like an ass because not only is he dealing with the same thing himself, but he's also dealing with it from six other people on the team.

Yay improvements in life.

I currently have super-dark navy blue hair, and I love it. Also got a serious cut back when I started really looking for a new job- it was almost waist-length and now it's just at my shoulders (I had it cut to jaw length and it's grown back some, thinking about cutting it back again just an inch or so)

I'm working on some writing projects. Attempting (slowly- very slowly) to learn to speak Polish. Just trying to learn how to have a reasonable, decent job and hopefully a life again.
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The thing I mentioned in my last post? STILL hasn't happened. They're now telling us it's guaranteed for tomorrow. That's what they said yesterday about today.

And when I tried to call my ride to work at 830, he didn't answer. I only just got ahold of his ass about five minutes ago when I was ready to say screw it and take a bus. I'm waiting for him now- it'll still be faster than getting on a bus to work.

My latest cullinary creation turned out quite well last night, I think- well, the sauce did. We'll see how well it goes once it's all mixed in with rice and vegetabls and stuff. I know that chicken or vegetable coated in it tastes good,. Next time thought, I thnk I need to actually marinate the chicken in teh stuff to make the flavor a bit more thorough, not just a surface coating.

Basically, I did this: just cooked up some chicken in a bit of olive oil, chopped up some baby corn and broccoli and stirred them in at the end to make them hot and cook them a bit, then tossed it with the sauce. Then throw the whole mess over brown rice.

The sauce was a mixture of about equal parts melted butter and sweet red chilli sauce- I love that stuff and it's so cheap at Trader Joe's- a buck twenty-none a bottle- I think used about four tablespoons of each, maybe. Plus about two tablespoons of chopped garlic and the juice from a large-ish lemon. Next time, I think I'll try a lime or orange to see how it works. Lately, I've been very into cooking with citrus. Started about two months back when I found this recipe for Limehouse Chicken (I modified the recipe a bit to suit our tastes, mostly just omitting the mint and wine, doubling the chicken broth and using two chicken breasts instead of six thighs.)

Got the idea from a meat counter clerk at Fred Meyer. He had mixed butter, chilli sauce and garlic and coated shrimp with them and they set out a tray as samples a couple of weeks ago. Amazing, and ridiculously simple. And I got this idea that adding lemon would be really good. I was right.
painandlight: (happy shamrock)
Go and wish [profile] keyandroad a happy birthday.

Because y'know, it's her birthday today.

Happy birthday Gavin, I love you!!!!

Hmmm....

May. 6th, 2011 03:00 pm
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How sad is it that I spend half my lunch break reading tech articles that have nothing to do with anything that I'm required to do for my job?

AND I find them interesting? Nevermind that I'll never use them in real life. I'm just stockpiling information.
painandlight: (happy shamrock)
You know you work for a certain fruity computer company when you hear "I lost my dong!" and your first thought isn't "Loreena Bobbit's at it again!" but "Needs a PRAM reset*!"

So I had this call the other day wherein I greeted the customer and asked for his name and he blurts out rather excitedly and impatiently "I lost my dong!"

This wouldn't have been so bad if he had just said it once- my very first thought was, as I said "Needs a PRAM reset!" but as I attempted to get his computer information to log a case, he kept repeating "I lost my dong!" "What happened to my dong?" "Where's my dong?" "Can you give me back my dong?"

I wasn't really able to tell for sure if the guy was saying this on purpose. He sounded about ninety years old (not that old people are incapable of making with the dirty innuendo or anything...), and "dong" is one of the words frequently used by people attempting to mimic the sound of the startup chime on Apple computers, "bong" being the other one that I hear, with about equal frequency. He didn't really sound like he was trying to be all clever and innuendo-y, but one never knows for sure.

In between all this, I manage to get him to calm down and stop babbling about his dong long enough to complete said PRAM reset, which did, indeed, return the startup chime. At which point, he thanked me profusely for giving him back his dong. By the end of the call, I couldn't take another one for about ten minutes.

*For those not familiar, a PRAM reset on an Apple computer resets some of the low-level hardware functions back to default. This includes audio amongst other things. Once in a while that familiar startup chime will stop sounding when you restart the computer. Resetting the PRAM usually fixes this.
painandlight: (happy shamrock)
A while back, I killed the Wild Hunt blog from my RSS feeds. I don't know why I ever subscribed to begin with. So much of the stuff on that blog is just....well, he takes things that are completely unrelated to paganism and does some sort of gymnatics to fit them in instead of just talking about them- I mean really, if you want to talk about an issue, do it. Don't throw in a random mention of paganism that has nothing to do with anything.

Like the time that he posted about someone being upset about the way airline security lines were doing rather invasive patdown checks of passengers, and as a rape victim it was particulrly upsetting to one particular person. And what did he just HAVE to point out? That she was a Wiccan. This had zero relevance whatsoever to the story. No doubt, had she been a Christian, that this would not have been worth reporting.

But that was a while ago. So today, don't ask me why, I decided to surf on over and have a look...and what is he bitching about now? Charlie fucking Sheen. A raving loony attention whore. Or so it seems. Supposedly, Sheen's lunatic ramblings are really offensive to paganism? I dunno, I look at the article multiple times and I can't figure out what he's talking about other than somehow Christian Day, who seems to be taking over Laurie Cabot's spot as the Official Attention Whore of Salem has something to do with this and wants to do a magical binding on Sheen and um....something? Then there was something later in the comments about Sheen's use of the word "goddess" to refer to some women he sleeps with being offensive.

What this has to do with pagans is beyond me. He's a raving lunatic who treats women like shit. To say that it's offensive in general is one thing, but pagans have no special reason to claim offense to their delicate little sensibilities.

I don't know why I ever wasted my time reading this blog.
painandlight: (happy shamrock)
I got some news a couple of nights ago that pissed me off. Doesn't matter what the news was, it was the sort of thing whose only appreciable impact on my life is how I react to it. I'd be lying if I said it didn't still piss me off. But fortunately, I've got better ways to feel and for the most part, I've been in a pretty damned good mood since the morning after (indulging my bitchy side and mentally composing a multitude of "fuck you!" blog posts that I'll never actually write has been a significant contributor to this.)

Instead, I'm writing this.

I just want to give a huge thank you. To the gods, to friends, to everyone who's been so supportive of me and Gavin for the last couple of years now, for anyone who's helped in any way, offered help, or wanted to but couldn't for some reason, even something as seemingly insignificant as a virtual hug, has made some difference. To everyone who's stuck by us and given half a damn. Thank you. We are so blessed, and things are just getting better.

I'd like to offer a list (certainly not exhaustive, I'd be here all night) of thine things for which we are particularly thankful right now.

-For having moved to Eugene, necessary mistake that it was. I haven't written a lot about it, but after moving to Eugene, a lot of things got worse for us than they were in Baltimore. Thankfully, money wasn't one of those things and one of the great blessings of living there was that it quickly put us in a position to get to someplace much better for us.

-For moving to Portland. Eight months in Eugene, and by the end of the first week, it was already feeling like a distant bad memory. Two weeks beyond that, it barely crosses my mind. When we moved to Eugene, we were so thankful to be out of Baltimore. Now, we're thankful to be in Eugene, but we're even more thankful to be in Portland. Three weeks here, and if we had to leave tomorrow, I couldn't tell you how sad I would be after this short of a time.

-For my job. The one for which I shouldn't have even gotten an interview. The one for which they broke rules to hire me. A job I've done before and liked doing. One that I'm good at.

-For our new apartment. Getting it was a fiasco. And then we got here and found out that it wasn't supposed to be ready for at least another week. but the maintenance guy and the leasing agent (and a friend of the leasing agent!) rolled up their sleeves and had it usable in just a couple of hours. There's still a bit of cosmetic work to be done, but that will be taken care of this week.

-For the movers. We were supposed to have a friend help us move, but when we were forced to change our plans a move a week later, he was no longer able to help (though we were still grateful that he was originally going to). After the last experience that we had with movers, we were very reluctant- but had no choice. These guys were so much better than we could have asked for from a moving service. (Uptown Movers out of Marion, Oregon if anyone needs a mover- I highly recommend them.)

-for the leasing agent from the apartment that we didn't take who was really nice and told us a bit not only about the area where that apartment was, but also about the area that we ultimately moved to. We were originally going to go with her apartment, but after we handed in our deposit, we then noticed some fatal flaws that made the place completely unworkable for us. She offered our deposit back without us even asking, when legally, the company was perfectly entitled to keep it.

-For my commute, if you can believe that. It's really silly, but every day I head off for work, and I sit there on the train and I get a little excited when it gets to the arena and I can see the western side of the city looming across the river. It just makes me a little giddy for some reason. I love that Portland straddles a river. And that we live in the free rail zone, where we can take the light rail and street car for free. I still have to get a transit pass because I use it every day to get to work- but I get to buy it for half price through my office- something else to be thankful for! Oh, and TriMet in general. I love the public transportation system here. I love how they post the arrivals of trains and busses and update them in real time.

-I am thankful for Gavin, the one I love, who has been here with me through everything, who has kept me from losing it completely more times than she will ever know. Everything is so much better with her here.

-I'm thankful that, since everything else has worked out and there are so many things that we don't have to worry about anymore, that figuring out ongoing spiritual issues of the last few years has also improved greatly and more so than ever, relationships with the gods are truly improving again, and new things are happening as well. Shortly before Christmas, I started working on getting to know Ares. It's going slowly at this point, but I believe it's as real as anything else has been, and I also believe that he helped us out at least as much as Apollo and Hermes, and I also believe that he has, at least a bit so far, helped me with some personal things with which I don't really know that I'm entirely capable of handling entirely on my own. For all of this, I am most grateful because without them, I don't believe that any of this would be possible.

So I'd just like to say that I am thankful for all this and so much more- beyond words.

Also, I was fairly amused when I was first writing this post on Friday. On my way to work, I was doing it the old fashioned way- in a notebook to be transcribed later. I had my iPod on shuffle, a play list of about eleven hundred songs. The song Peaceful world by John Mellencamp came up, and the line "Money's good, work's okay. Looks like everything is rollin' our way" played just as I was writing about my job. So I shamelessly borrowed it for my subject line.

Oh, and I can't remember the last time I played a video game. (It's an inside joke!)
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http://www.bestbuy.com/site/AudioQuest+-+Coffee+39.4'+HDMI+Cable+-+White/1267764.p?id=1218245464814&skuId=1267764#BVRRWidgetID

Portland!

Jan. 31st, 2011 08:17 am
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We got moved in, safe and sound on Saturday. The movers, to our shock were amazing. There were some minor headaches. But I didn't have to tie anyone to a chair, give them a million paper cuts and pour lemon juice all over them. So that's good. We don't have (reliable) internet service yet, but that should be rectified within a few hours. And I start the new job today.

Have to go eat breakfast and do things, I probably won't get to post again today but for those of you who watch Gavin, I'm sure she will have plenty to say. I'll post again as soon as I can.
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I just learned about them,. I really want some now. Good thing I have no small kids running around to worry about....

http://www.getbuckyballs.com/

You want some too.

(Um, yes. In case anyone's wondering, it's work-safe.)
painandlight: (bunny)
It seems I have them now too. As of Sunday. (No, seriously, I can pinpoint when they hit me.) Before this, I've only ever been allergic to a few things that I just had to avoid touching or ingesting- stinging nettle, malt beverages, cyclobenziprine and fluoricine. (Probably other medications as well, but none known so far.)

And now, I am allergic to the air in Eugene. I've been waiting for this to happen. Hopefully, they will be gone once we move next week.

How do I know it's allergies? Severely itchy throat causing me a lot of horrible coughing and as a result of that, a sore throat, and being semi-stuffed up all the time. The symptoms don't really get any worse or better, they just stay the same since the onset. And I don't feel sick. I just feel like hell.

To make me feel better, a bunny!
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I never did post on why I think Portland will be so much better. So, here.

By the time we left Baltimore, the things we had hated about it had driven us so nuts that getting into Eugene, everything looked so nice and appealing, for at least a few minutes anyway. Hell, East Cattlefuck North Dakota had it's own charm when we stopped there on the train and at the time, if that was where I was going, I think I'd have been happy for a bit.

Recognizing this, both Gavin and I have had to question whether we're excited about moving to Portland or away from Eugene and if we will be happy in Portland for what it is, or if we'll just be superficially happy for a while because it's not Eugene.

There are still things that I like here, but he sum total of them does not add up to a place where I can happily live. Whatever weer to happen, I need to be out of here, I know that. Need to be like I need to breathe. Even if certain things had gone perfectly and smoothly without a hitch, I might have been able to tolerate for a bit longer, but I would not be happy. I know that. I give it maybe another six months before I was climbing the walls.

When I went up to Portland last week for my interview, I was dead tired, but started to feel a little better just getting on the train. I got off the train and walked into the train station, and was feeling even more "right", like there was something there that I was missing. Um, then again, it could also be that I have a thing about train stations. Especially really big, old ones. Portland's isn't the hugest, but whatever the criteria may be, it's met. Train stations like 30th Street station in Philadelphia, Penn Station in Baltimore, Grand Central in New York, and apparently Union Station in Portland feel...hmm, almost like a sort of temple to me. I love traveling by train but I'm not one of those railroad buffs or anything. But tehre's always this sort of feeling of "rightness" to them for me. I used to even have a sort of ritual where every time I was in 30th Street station, I would go to the Chinese buffet there and get some food and sit down in the middle of the floor and watch the sign board flip through the departures and arrivals. (30th street station also looks a lot like it should be a temple...lol)

Anyway...I didn't have a lot of time walking around the city that day, but it was enough to start getting a feel for it. There was an odd familiarity to it. It reminded me of cities in the northeast- but cleaner. Some blocks felt a little like Baltimore, others felt a little like Philly. There was more of this same feeling when we went back on Saturday to look at apartments. I was feeling like I was getting parts of me back that were missing. Between living in the city, and getting a job that I'm not going to have to get an all-new, "not-me" wardrobe fore, and knowing that I will be allowed to dye my hair fuschia again...woohoo!

I've badly missed having to look up to see the tops of buildings, and public transportation that consists of more than just busses and runs after 9pm...hell, I've missed the "ding" of the ilght rail trains- so much! And Portland's system is so much better than Baltimore's was. There's a whole other city just north of us, too- Vancouver, Washington is just across the river to the north, and they have a separate public transportation system, but the fare passes for Tri-Met and C-Tran are interchangeable. And for some reason, I just love the idea of a city that's split up by a river. And there's an air-tram and street cars and....and....

One of the really good signs that we see is that we've found a hangout, a default place to go where we don't know where to go. Back in Baltimore, that was the Barnes and Noble at the harbor where we would get coffee and unless it was too cold, sit outside on the balcony and watch the world below us. We ran into Dominic there semi-frequently also. We've never found a place like that here in Eugene and try as we might, we can't think of any place that we'd want to be such a thing. There's one such place that had some possibility, but it also just wasn't quite right- not close to enough other stuff, minimal people-watching potential and various other things.

There are just so many little details, I don't think I can list them all. Suffice it to say, I think going up there Saturday has shed any doubt about being happy In Portland versus being happy Not In Eugene.

Life tells me, again and again, that I need to be in a bigger city to be happy. Doesn't have to be The Biggest City EVAR (Love to visit New York, for example, don't wanna live there.) But it's pretty safe to say that I need a good public transportation system, an Amtrak station, a population of around half a million give or take and buildings that require I look up to see how high they are to be happy.
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We are moving into our second-choice apartment. We should be going up this weekend to sign our lives away the lease and it's looking like the date it is officially ours will be the 20th.

Things continue to go well. I was just given a 20% discount on the moving truck! And because our moving costs will be a LOT less than expected and it's a third floor apartment with wacky layout, we've decided too splurge on some moving help. Not going to hire a company to haul our stuff, just going to get help loading and unloading on each end.

Details continue to fall into place. So nicely.

*happy dance*

New address will be distributed on a need-to-know basis. If you think you've got reason to have our address, leave a comment.
painandlight: (happy shamrock)
So...Portland. We spent Saturday up there checking out a couple of apartments. We were supposed to look at three, but we only saw two. On one hand, it really pissed us off, on the other hand, it's okay. We didn't need the third one.

We were supposed to hop on a train at 530 in the morning, but just before the train was supposed to ger there, tey made an announcement that the train was having engine difficulties and that they were trying to get another engine, or a bus and didn't know lhow long it would be but they would make an announcement when they had something. Gavin and I were standing outside, instead of inside, and I was drinking some soda. I got it in my head that I should go over top the tracks and pour some for Hermes to help things along, so I did. Felt like I had done the right thing. A few minutes later, nothing had happened and while I didn't expect that everything would work instantaneously, I felt like I should do somehitng more. So I pulled some gummy bears out of the b ag of foodish thigns that we had and scattered a few of those on the tracks. that time, I got in my head a "Thanks...and talk to me at quarter of."

We were getting cold, so we went inside for a bit and a little later, there was an announcement that they were getting a bus and it was on the way. Then I noticed the clock. It was exactly quarter of six. Heh....and I thought I had just imagined what I heard in my head. In the end, the bus got there a bit over an hour after we were supposed to leave and we had to call and push back our first appointment. Since we were supposed to get in at 8am and the first appointment was only a few blocks from the station, we made it for 830. We pushed it back to ten, and got in around nine, so we got some coffee in the nearest Starbucks, sat there for a bit and made our way back to that apartment.

There were two units available in this one, we were told that they were both one-bedroom, and identical except that the kitchen was on opposite sides. The rent was the same on both, so we were only going to look at the one. But we ended up deciding to look at both, they were right there and all.

Glad we did. It turns out that they weren't identical, and the seoncd apartment was so much better- it's a two-floor apartment. The bed room is its own floor, with the bathroom and a big closet. The down side is that the stairs are a spiral staircase, and there's no separate door in on that floor. So getting our bed in is going to be a pain- I think it might actually be easier to try to bring it in through the window....oh yeah, the windows. There are two of them in the place. But...well, basically, one entire wall on each floor is a window. And it looks like they open like a big door. So that might be good. Lots of light too.

Cabinet space in the kitchen is okay, but counter space....doesn't exist. We're going to have to improvise there. But we have a table here that could serve that purpose. Our dresser wouldn't be able to go downstairs, so the dresser could be our new TV table.

But we're not thinking too much about it yet because the other apartment is our first choice. The other place is just across the river, next to the Rose Garden Arena. It's in this building from the early 1900'sthat has a huge, crazy closet with a revolving door that you can access from three different rooms. Decent counter and cabinet space and a vintage phone. You know, the kind that you pick up the ear piece and takl into the box on the wall? Yeah one of those. That's the intercom system to the front door.

We should hear on the second one today, looks like we already have the first one if we want it. So either way, we have a place.

The third place...well, as far as we can tell, doesn't exist. Long story short, we spent a couple of hours running around and around the area where this place was supposed to be. Must have asked a dozen people, and they were all "Um I don't know where that is. Does it exist?"
The arrangement had been that we would go and check the place out at our leisure, there was a lock box on the door with the key and we were given a code to unlock it. If we wanted to apply, we were to give the leasing agent a call and he was going to come and meet us. Only that didn't happen. We were beyond pissed off. Even more so when repeated attempts to call said agent resulted in no answer. And calling a friend to have him google the address resulted in a picture of an intersection where we had been where there was no apartment building. I had googled it before and gotten directions but not looked at the picture.

So...wasted time. Too much of it. In the end, we said screw it. The place, if it existed, was too far from down town for our liking anyway.

We're going to run out to pick up some things, so I'm going to end this one here. Will continue later with why Portland will be so much better.

My Mom....

Dec. 24th, 2010 08:01 pm
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Erg.

Was just talking to my mom. Was not intending to mention the whole thing about looking for a job in Portland and gonna move there until I had actually secured a job. But she was talking about sending me a package which is likely going to arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday and without thinking, I immediately responded "but I'm not going to be here Wednesday." So she asked where Gavin would be. I said that she might or might not be with me, not sure yet. She was all "Erf?" so I said I was going to Portland. She asked what I was doing up there and I said I had a job interview.

She asked what the position was, and I told her it was for a video and teleconferencing technician with Lockheed Martin.

Her next question was "UM, what makes you think you're qualified to do that?"

*facepalm*

Um....that whole two and a half years in video and teleconferencing support? Besides, do you think I would have even gotten a call if they thought I wasn't qualified? I informed her of what the manager who interviewed me over the phone told me. And her response was basically just "Oh, okay, that's cool."

Oh, and she insisted that she had no idea that I was working in video and teleconferencing. She thought that I was still working for Apple. That ended going on five years ago now.
painandlight: (Default)
You and I wake up in jail together... using only 4 words, what do you say to me? Note: If you comment, you must copy and paste this in your journal so I can comment on yours. Fair is fair... play along.
painandlight: (Default)
Gavin and I went out yesterday, hopped a bus over to Springfiled so we could get her some slippers and then go to Michael's. On the way, we stopped at Oakway center to go to this place called Cafe Yumm! which is a small chain here in the Pacific Northwest- mostly in Oregon, but I think trhere are a few in Washington and Idaho also. We first discovered them during the first trip to the urgent care center when Gavin couldn't breathe.

Their menu is extremely limited but we've found two things that we like there, and like them enough to not worry that nothing else on the menu really interests us- we don't exactly eat there every day so it's not a big deal. Those two items are pretty simple, but so good that we don't care. We get a cheese quesedilla with chicken added to it, and a turkey sandwich. The cheese is soooo good and uh, cheesy...lol, the turkey is really good.

They use Veganaise for their mayonnaise. Now...we've both seen it in the store and never had any interest in trying it (I'm not much of a fan of mayonnaise in general, if I use it at all, I basically put just enough on the bread to say there's some there...and then I scrape off s much as I can.) but the first time we were there, I ordered the quesedilla, Gavin ordered the turkey sandwich and asked for mayonnaise. when the food came, we tried a bite of each other's food, and ended up just splitting it so we each had half of each. We both commented on how the mayonnaise was particularly good. The next time we were there, we ordered the same. Only i was actually looking at the register screen that time and I saw "veganaise" come up when I asked for mayonnaise.

So we've both discovered that veganaise is surprisingly really good.

Anyway, we had lunch there, and then had a bit to go before the next bus came by to Springfield, so we stopped in Borders. My birthday was two days ago, and Gavin got me my birthday present- a recipe book. I've got this file folder full of recipes ripped from magazine pages that I've been trying, and wanting to put the good ones somewhere a bit more permanent. I was going to get a book with lemons on the front but then Gavin showed me one covered in food with cute little faces. I took that one. (Also, that one didn't have pre-dedicated sections like the lemon one did, and I don't need a whole section on say, fish.)

And we got our Christmas tree. we were not expecting to get a tree at a bookstore, but I found one and it was perfect- it's two feet tall and people....it's black. We got a black Christmas tree.

At Michael's, we got a bunch of beads to make ornaments for it. I might get some colored ribbon to wrap around it as a garland. I'll post pictures when it's up.

Woohoo! Christmas Tree!
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I just found out that this year, December 21st is not only that Winter Solstice as, you know, every other year...but it's also a full moon and a full lunar eclipse.

According to this site, The eclipse will be visible throughout most of eastern Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, the Americas, and Europe. The eclipse will be visible after midnight in North and South America. Since the Moon will be almost directly overhead from these locations, this should be an excellent chance to view a rare total lunar eclipse.
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Well it's that time again...time for one of those posts. We had the turkey earlier tonight, and all the good stuff that goes with it (though I forgot to make the crumbly broccoli stuff I was going to make. Oops. Oh well, we were both pretty stuffed even without it.)

So for anyone who wants to know what I'm thankful for....

i am thankful, first and foremost, for my girlfriend, the best thing that ever happened to me, Gavin. I seriously don't know what I would ever do without her. there's so much that I've only gotten through because of her.

I am thankful for the gods, for Apollo and Hermes in particular right now.

I am thankful for my cat, Gavin's cats...and cats in general (Especially kittens, who make me sooooo happy!)- there are a lot of cats around this city, as many as we see around here, it's like having a bunch of part-time pets that you don't have to clean up after..heheheh.

Thankful fopr being out of Baltimore, and able to live here, even without having a job yet.

Having broken off the supposed friendship with a couple of very draining, toxic people.

For the friends that I still have.

For the new refrigerator which actually has enough room to store Thanksgiving dinner and doesn't leak.

Yeah, my list is pretty much all exactly the same as Gavin's.

I think that pretty much covers the bases. if I keep going, I'd be forced to say things like "I'm thankful to be an American" and cheesy, insincere things like that. It's not that there aren't plenty of thigns that I'm thankful for, it's more like they can be summed up pretty easily.
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Being unemployed, and having more than enough time to think about this shit, I can only think so much before I start to wonder if I'm not assigning too much emphasis to some thoughts, or if I'm not imagining that things are affecting me more than they really do. But that's me. For as long as I can remember, I've downplayed the severity of so much in my mind. Like my recent post about my stepmother and stepsister...it wasn't that long ago that I was thinking about all of those things and brushing them off as being not a big deal, telling myself that they had no lasting effect on me when clearly, I'm wrong.

I don't think I could ever flat out say "I was abused as a child", but at some point during the two and a half years that I was seeing a therapist in Baltimore, I could say that there were numerous incidents of abusive behavior from several of my family members.

So when I think of the shit with the former supposed friends, and how they affected me while we were friends and how it now affects me to realize what happened and be removed from it....I start to wonder if some of the thoughts I have are genuinely a result of that, or if I've manufactured them and shouldn't just shut up and get over it.

I was never, that I can remember, told to just get over it- in so many words or not. I think a lot about how differently things could have gone, how, looking at how they've affected others, it could have been a lot worse for me too.

But still, it does. It affects me. I'm worried about Doing It Wrong too. though, instead of worrying about doing what's right for me and having it be the wrong thing because it's not their way, I'm worried about doing what's right for me, and that it could look too much like them.

Rational brain tells me that it shouldn't matter, that if something is right for me, who cares if it does look like them, it's not going to make me turn into that. And it probably doesn't look nearly as much like them as I imagine it.

For example, I haven't touched my blog in months. Not that I don't want to- there is plenty that I really want to write. But I think about it and I just think about how they have blogs and how they write on them all the time, and go on and on about "when you do as much ritual for as many gods as I do.....blah blah blah" and "I'm taking life-altering vows for the sixth time todayyyyyy and oh how I suffer- today I'm going to walk across a bed of razor-sharp glass shards for the gods, I hope my feet won't be too badly cut but even if I can't walk for days and days it will have been worth it because I love the gods soooooooooo much and this is how I show mah epik boobs devoshuns now gimme teh beeeeeadzzzzz!

Rational brain also tells me that all I need to do is look at any one of my blog posts and compare it to any one of theirs and...well, they're just not the same. I'm writing about and for the gods, they're writing about everything that they do for the gods.

I've also given some more thought as to why I want to keep using the blog, and other than it existing as an offering, I also have the blog because no one else did when I was looking for something like that. It's not that I'm terribly concerned about educating the public, it's just more good reason to do something I already want to do.

Then there's things like making "devotional playlists". Now...I've been making playlists since before I ever saw them talking about it. I have a list of songs that I associate with gods, even with gods that I have nothing to do with. I hear a song and my brain goes "oh, that sounds like *insert name of a god here* and if, on more than one hearing, the same thought comes up it goes on a list, or occasionally if a song is directly about a god, it goes on a list. Most of it isn't all that significant, especially as pertains to gods with which I have no connection- for example, the song Secret Life by Thriving Ivory reminds me of Persephone. Songs like this remind me that such gods exist, and sometimes it's interesting to let the list play and think a bit about them, sometimes I wonder a bit about the gods that I'm not connected to- but it's not devotional anything, it doesn't mean much more to me than the fact that I also have a set of playlists for morning, afternoon and night because for some reason, certain music just um, sounds like certain times of day for me and makes sense to listen to at those times. I do have playlists for a couple of gods- Apollo, Dionysus and a very short one for Hermes. But I don't go looking for songs for them, they just get added when I hear something that sounds like it belongs.

I've also had cause to think a bit about some things I've done, said or felt in the past with regards to religion and how it might be connected to them. One of the things that's been discussed a bit has been the wanting religion to be the most important thing, even coming ahead of romantic relationships. I used to feel this way. I feel it important, though, to make it very clear that I felt this way before I ever had anything to do with them. This had come with my earlier involvement with ADF and wanting to train as clergy. I think I could say that they reinforced that for some time, though eventually Gavin and I both came to a point where we just realized that religion didn't come before each other, but was more of equal importance. It makes sense though, seeing as it was the gods that threw us together.

I've been feeling for a little while, to some extent or another that god relationships have been somewhat contaminated- not irreparably damaged, but...hmm...overshadowed? I know that Apollo isn't going anywhere, and I don't think I could give him up if I wanted to, and divination indicates that I shouldn't drop Dionysus either, though it could be a little while before I really have much to do with him again.

I have, however, been thinking for probably a couple of months now that maybe what I need is something new, something different, something untied to them. The idea that working to establish a relationship of some sorts with a new god has floated in and out of my mind even before the issues with the former supposed friends came to light, and has been coming in more frequently since we realized how damaging all of their shit was. For a while there, I was thinking of taking a shot with Selene- who at one time I thought may have been a possible patron- or Helios, but no, my interest in teh gods of the Various And Assorted Shiny Things in The Sky(tm) is- wel, whatever it is, this isn't it.

A few weeks ago, I started hearing "You need me" coming from Ares in my mind. Now...this was not The Voice Of Ares, it was my mind manufacturing the voice, but it was fairly repetitive. I started thinking more about it, and after talking to Gavin about it, decided to do some divination and see what came up. I threw around some cards and results indicated that yes, I was right about Ares. Results also pointed out- repeatedly- that yes, this is a good idea, but I should be sure to not forget the limits of this new relationship. Which makes me think, a bit, of the fact that not long ago, I was advised by Apollo to learn about other deities who have aspects in common with him. Odin was specifically named- but with the order that I not engage in any worship of him.

So far, I haven't gone far beyond thinking about it. I did make a necklace a few days ago- I thought I was jumping the gun, but I just really felt like I needed to, so I did. Carnelian, red tiger's eye, red garnets and dark charcoal grey seed beads. Very smoke and blood, feels very right, and since I put it on, he's been on my mind pretty consistently. Nothing major, just a thought that doesn't entirely go away.

I also feel like I'm getting ahead of myself wanting to set up a shrine for him, but I do want to put something together, if nothing else because my current shrine is set up entirely for Apollo and the table it's on is pretty small, and I'd be hard pressed to try to make room for another god there= that and the fact that, with an exception of a brief stint sharing with Dionysus, it has always been strictly Apollo's place. So I'll figure something out.
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I know I haven't been posting much- er, at all lately, and I just suddenly fell after the first few of a thirty-day meme. It started when the post for the day was death and rebirth and I wasn't really in the mood to think or write about death and so I was all "Uh, yeah, not so much today" and then I just never got back to it...and then I picked up some temporary employment and wasn't really online at all. I's been pretty cool. I've been doing some political canvassing (really, just telling people that it's time to vote, nothing partisan or particularly controversial, and it's involved surprisingly little actual contact with people so I've had a good bit of time alone in my own head- and gotten paid for it! Plus I've gotten to travel a few days to Salem and Corvalis, though that's not really at all exciting. I have gotten some cool pictures from my walkings-around so I might post some of them too. Awesome trees, things like that. And I discovered an amazing little park full of redwoods just a few blocks from our apartment)

Said employment ends on Tuesday, so if I don't before then, then I hope to get back to things by later this week. I also plan to actually start reading more of people's posts and, y'know, commenting some.

In other news, I've made myself a sweater, just have to finish the second sleeve. Maybe I'll post some pictures if I think about it. I'm pretty excited. Never made one before.

That's all for now.
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Let me start by saying, first of all, that I am a (fairly) hard polytheist. I won't go so far as to say that every single deity name that comes up in mythology is, in fact, a separtate and individual deity. I think that some of them are alternate names for some gods, or that some of them are shades of another god.

For a bit more clarity on that last thought, I'll paste a comment that I made to A blog post on the subject

I get what you’re saying here. It sounds like you’re trying to say in much deeper terms that all of the gods are some of the gods, no?

I also agree that in many cases, a god will appear across pantheons, in different names but that not all gods that appear similar are the same. Most of what I believe about specific deities is pretty much limited to Greek and Roman/Pre-Roman Italic because that’s what I know best and even then, most of it is based only on what I’ve read of mythology, history and religion and based on that, what I’ve decided makes sense to me- though I hope this is a little better than just pulling it out of my ass. I believe that the Greek Apollo and the Roman Apollo are the same god while Artemis and Diana are not the same goddess and Leto and Latona might be the same but I don’t know. I don’t think that Ares and Mars are the same god, or that Aphrodite and Venus are the same goddess. I also don’t think that Apollo is Soranus or Veiovis or Bellenos or Lugh or most of the other gods of which people frequently say he is a cognate- and I am absolutely certain that he is not Helios or Aesklepios though I’m pretty sure that he is Paeon (and to make it more confusing, that Aesklepios might also be), but I think they are all related in varying degrees of closeness. I also think he’s related in some manner to Heimdall and- at least in my extremely limited knowledge- Bragi.


So...there are many separatre, disstinct gods- it's just that not every single name ever is a distinct god. Many, maybe even most are, some aren't.

I am also a panentheist. I believe that the divine is within everything. When I say that I believe the Divine is within everything, I mean that I believe that there is some "stuff" that I call "The Divine" of which there is a little bit in everything. I also believe that this is the basic building block of life for the gods, other non-corporeal beings, and probably for the souls/spirits of such things that have souls or spirits (I'm not an animist, I think I'm semi-animistic, but as far as what exact things I beieve to have spirits versus what doesn't, I haven't exactly made up my mind. Some thing are obvious, others..not so much- but that's wandering a little off-topic here, so maybe some other time.) Please don't misunderstand me- I'm not an emanationist. I don't believe in "The One" or "The all" or whatever you want to call the idea of a single, supreme entity even beyond the gods from which they, uh, emanate. When I say that I believe The Divine is "the basic buildig block of life" for the gods, I mean it in the same sense that carbon is called "the basic building block of life" for physical life. I don't believe that the gods emanate from this one source any more than I believe that plants and adnimals emanate from a cloud of carbon.

I believe in their literal existence. The gods are not "energies" or "thoughtforms" or "archetypes"- this one drives me crazy. the gods are not archetypes. A specific deity may fulfil an archetype, but that's different. An archetype is not a specific example, but a general idea, a stock character. "Love Goddess" and Thunder God" are archetypes. Aphrodite and Zeus are examples which fulfill the archetype.

I said in my last post that I believe that the gods are the supreme beings, I could just copy and paste my second to last paragraph from that post here...but you've probably already read it if you're reading this and if not, if you care to read the bit I elebotrated on that, you can just go back and look.

I don't know if the gods are necissarily male or female, "young" or "old", or each other's mothers and fathers and sons and daughters but I don't think it's not possible that these things are true of them. I also don't think that it's wrong to ascribe human wants, needs and emotions to them. These may be human traits, but I don't think that the gods would reveal themselves in this way if there were no meaning and purpose to it. Of course, I also think it's very possible that humans got all of these traits from the gods themselves.

I believe that the gods are above us, they are to be worshipped and respected and loved. They are not our equals, they are not below us. They can be worked with, but they are not to be used.

This is where I get ranty. As I frequent a number of online pagan forums, I see a lot of things that annoy me. One of the big ones is how people treat the gods. People saying "I dno't worship the gods because I don't bow down to anyone" or "I useed Aphrodite for my Beltane spell last week" or "Hey, I don't know anything about them, butI think it would be a brilliant idea to call Hathor and Quetzalcoal for my Equinox ritual, wanns join in?" all just make me want to bang my head against the most covenient brick wall- and then grab them and do the same to them. Seriously...learn what words mean and learn a little respect for the gods. And learn a thing or two about them while you're at it. Because nothing says clueless like "Apollo's my favorite god because I'm gay and he's gay!" or "Apollo and Artemis go together so they're like the perfect Wiccan lord and lady!!!"

Okay, it looks like I managed to keep the rant pretty short. Tay me.

Da List )
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I didn't think that when I said that thirty days doesn't necessarily mean thirty consecutive days that it would start right away, but there ya go. I'm going to double up today, since I have two posts mostly-written. I think they will probably finish themselves while I write. Also, I'm thinking about changing one of the days- probably the last one because I can't think of any others offhand that I really want to cut right now, but I've been thinking for a few days that I want to write about places that have or have had some significance to me in a spiritual context.

If you could read my thoughts, this is exactly the sort of thing that you would be subjected to frequently. I don't imagine that most people would want to be able to read my thoughts.

The structure of the universe is a subject of curiosity for me. Particle physics and string theory are subjects that I've read a bit about and have wanted to read more but haven't gotten around to it yet. If, as the Big Bang theory tells us, the universe exploded into being from a single point and continues to expand outwards, then clearly there must be a perimeter somewhere, right?

If this is true, I imagine the universe to be something like the town of Seahaven in the movie The Truman show- but on a much, y'know, grander scale. If you haven't seen the movie and want to know, or if you need me to clarify what ideas from the movie I'm talking about- just so you know, I sum the entire thing up in two sentences..... ) If you could take a boat (or a spaceship) out far enough, you would reach the "wall" of the universe. What's the wall made of? what's on the other side? Is it possible to get out? How big is the universe? How much does it weigh? (If on the other hand, it's not true, this is all a bunch of pointless blather.) Here's an idea: what if the spark of fire is the big bang that sets a whole new universe into being? Does that mean that you become a god every time you flick your Bic?

How ridiculous is that? Is it any more ridiculous than a giant bird coming along and laying an egg from which the cosmos hatches? And how is the idea that the universe once took up the space of a single point until it exploded any less absurd?

I don't think it is, but only the latter is at all accepted as a scientific possibility. Science explains how things work, it explains the forces of nature. It doesn't explain the forces behind the forces. We all know that Zeus isn't literally up there, riding around on a cloud, picking out a lightning bolt, taking aim and hurling it at the ground. At least not on this plane of existence. But can we say for sure that He isn't literally doing so on the plane of the gods, that that's not hmm...meta-force? behind the natural phenomenon that we know as lightning? Maybe natural phenomena in this realm is a result of the activity of the gods in their realm bleeding over here. Maybe when Nyx laid the cosmic egg, its first crack in hatching over there caused the big bang. Maybe all stories of creation are literally true in that realm- maybe a whole bunch of different huge events happened all at once, and the outpouring of energy was just so unimaginably massive that it caused this explosion in a void of nothingness that set this realm into being.

It makes sense to me. I've never really been concerned with trying to reconcile how so many different people can have so many different explanations for how the world came into being, so this isn't my desperately grasping at straws. In fact, i didn't really even have this last idea in mind at all when I started writing this. I've long held the idea that I illustrated above with the example of Zeus, but it never went so far as the origins of the universe until now, and as I look back on what I'm typing here, it really makes a lot of sense to me.

Continuing on...

I believe that the gods are the supreme beings- at the very least that they are the highest beings that we humans are aware of, but I don't really believe that there are any higher than that, aware of them or not. Above the gods, I believe there is only "The Divine"- which I will explain more in my next post. No, I'm not an emanationist. From the gods, it goes on down the line, but I couldn't really put an exact order or hierarchy on what "the line" is- where demi-gods versus deified mortals versus nymphs fall, I don't know. The order doesn't affect me, and how or how much it affects them is their affair. I just know that I am human and the gods are above me.

I believe that there are many worlds in parallel, they're all occupying the same space It's like projecting more than one movie onto the same screen at the same time. Sometimes two different characters in two different movies say the same word at the same time, or the same character appears in two movies at once or the same song plays on both soundtracks. When this happens, the worlds bleed through into each other.

I think that's all I have to say on cosmology. For the moment at least.

Da List )
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Why (not) paganism? I'll start by pointing out that it's been a very long time since I've called myself "pagan" or referred to what I do and believe as "paganism". The word doesn't really hold meaning for me. No one can decide what it means exactly, though the definition which many people seem to subscribe to is that it covers any non-Abrahamic religion. That doesn't work for me, and it certainly doesn't even begin to give the vaguest idea of defining me. And I'm not an ancient Italic country-dweller either.

So...pagan? No. I won't argue that it's incorrect, but I don't actively describe myself as such.

I tried to be Christian for many years. I was a member of ADF for several years- I even got to the point of beginning clergy training. But I'm not any of that. And all three of those points will be addressed later in other posts on this meme.

So to steal a thought from my girlfriend, My religion is Apollo. There are other elements to it as well, but they are (mostly) minor in comparison. I have been dedicated to Him since April of 2007, and he has been a major fixture in my religious life since 2005 and present in some way or other for several years before that. He is the one thing I am always certain of, the one thing I have never been afraid of losing. He came in and took over for another deity (also to be addressed in a later post) and has been connected to pretty much everything ever since.

I don't know if I first called to him, or answered his calling me. It doesn't matter. Why Apollo? Because Apollo is what I want, but more importantly Apollo is what I need. Nothing else would be right.

Okay, I got it done tonight. Oh, and I've made a change to the list. )

Me too!

Sep. 27th, 2010 06:25 pm
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Thirty Days of Paganism Meme

I'm gonna do this thing too. I should get the first entry posted tonight, but if I don't, then tomorrow. "Thirty days" does not guarantee thirty consecutive days.

1. Beliefs - Why Paganism?
2. Beliefs - Cosmology
3. Beliefs - Deities
4. Beliefs - Birth, death and rebirth
5. Beliefs - Magic, spellcraft, mysticism and various woo shit
6. Beliefs - The power of prayer/reciprocity
7. Beliefs - Patronage and other deeper relationships
8. Beliefs - Holidays
9. Deity Gender- who cares?
10. Patrons - Apollo (and other Apollo-related gods)
11. Pantheon - Dionysos
12. Pantheon - Hermes
13. Pantheon - Gods and spirits of Sparkly Things In The sky
14. Pantheon - Titans and Protogenoi
15. Pantheon (anti) - Artemis and Brigid
16. On not being "Earth-Centered" or "Nature-Based"
17. My ways of worship
18. Community- Not quite an outsider but don't really belong anywhere
19. Paganism and my family/friends
20. Paganism and my relationship
21. Other paths I've explored
22. Paganism and major life events
23. Ethics
24. Personal aesthetics with magic and ritual
25. Favoured ritual/magical tools, and why
26. Any "secular" pastimes with religious significance, and why
27. How your faith has helped you in difficult times
28. One misconception about Paganism you'd like to clear up
29. The future of Paganism
30. Advice for seekers
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I did the same thing as Gavin today. By now, you've probably seen her post about a devotional hair-wrap as something that isn't easily forgotten about. I used some gold/tan variegated embroidery floss and added one spot to attach/detach a charm.

The charm is the seven stones that I associate with Apollo (Rutilated quartz, Larvikite, Citrine, Iolite, Garnet, Sunstone and blue tourmaline. Here, aquamarine stands in for the blue tourmaline, as it is mindblowingly expensive and the only blue tourmaline I have are some practically microscopic chip beads that already have a sorta-plan for. Aquamarine works- we had some on hand, and hey...Apollo is associated with water, so...yeah. The little spacers are just some copper-metal lined clear glass seed beads that I love. They're very Apollo.

And that's me, totally looking like an evil teenager.

Apollo hair

Apollo hair charm

Thanks so much to Gavin for helping and taking the pictures!

This reminds me, I want to do a blog post on the stones that I associate with Apollo.
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If there is one person or more on your friends list who makes your world a better place just because they exist and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.


(And you know, I guess my other friends here are important too... :-P )

(Someday, I will make a Real Post here. Promise.)

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