Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stimulating the Subconscious

Tarot of the Witches
Hannah and I have been exploring tarot.  We've always been interested in it as an art form as well as for divination.  The thing about tarot that I love the most is that it is basically a 78 card deck of therapy.  It all comes from interpretation, perspective, and an understanding of archetype.  And it's all about the subconscious.  It's a beautiful way to examine yourself and others and it's private while being public, simple while being faceted, and can leave lasting impressions despite its ephemeral nature.  Last week, Hannah, a friend, and I attended a tarot card 101 class with the Inland Northwest Pagan Guild.  The woman who led the class was very personable and knowledgeable and let us look at many different decks and spreads.  

Shadowscapes Tarot
One of the sample decks that I kind of fell in love with was the Shadowscapes Deck by artist Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.  We purchased it today at Hastings and I'm already enamored with it.  That makes three decks between us: The Tarot of the Witches, The Stone Tarot, and Shadowscapes Tarot.

The Stone Tarot
Today I did a small self reading.  I know that some people don't do self readings, but, for practice purposes and also because I am at such a strange place emotionally, I felt moved to go ahead with a basic nine card spread for past, present, and future.  I used my friend's Mystic Faerie Tarot Deck and drew the Nine of Swords (inverted), Seven of Wands (inverted), and Three of Swords (inverted) for my past.  Interestingly enough, the suit I seem to get the most in any reading so far has been swords.  The meaning of all three together was that I've made a compromise and felt a great loss in it, but the world isn't going to end, my worry and grief will not consume me.  For my present I drew: the King of Swords (upright), the Ace of Wands (inverted), and the Six of Pentacles (inverted).  These cards all spoke of need.  I have huge intellectual needs as well as lesser obvious emotional needs, and I need someone to help me understand it all, and I desperately need something new.  Honestly tarot may just be that something new.  For the future, my cards were the Knight of Pentacles (upright), the Four of Pentacles (upright), and the Priest (upright).  I found it rather fitting that my past cards were all inverted while my future cards were all upright.  My future, according to the cards, must needs be one of discipline and ritual in vocation, education, and spirituality.  I may need a teacher for these things and may become the teacher myself, but, in the end, through my patient devotion to beauty and serious devotion to others, I will reap the benefits of my work.

The Mystic Faerie Tarot

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day and the Day After

It was probably one of the best Valentine's Days that I've ever had in my adult life.  It was simple and sweet and drunk.  Hannah picked me up from work a bit after six and when we got home my mother put on the steaks (it was the last thing to cook and she wanted them to be super fresh).  We ate by candlelight.  Dinner consisted of steak, asparagus, light fruit salad, and rolls.  Mom also gave us all a chocolate heart (small and cream filled) from my Aunt Nan.  After dinner there were cupcakes but more importantly there was dice!  We played Bupkiss, which is a slightly more cutthroat version of Farkle.  Hannah won twice, dad won once, and I lost my ass all three times which is pretty normal for me in most games.  I told them we should keep playing until I won and they opted out of that arrangement as we would probably still be playing.

During all of this there was wine.  A box of wine for dad and me, and a bottle of Arbor Mist for Hannah and mom.  The bottle didn't last very long.  The box lasted but only because it contained 5 liters.  But I sure did my best to deplete it!  After the dice game we sat down together and watch two movies that I borrowed from a coworker.  The first, Stir of Echoes, is probably the best Kevin Bacon film I've seen to date and the second was a cute comedy, The Maiden Heist, starring Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman, and William H. Macy.  I love those guys!  And I loved them even more after a couple of liters of wine.  Somehow I was sober enough to make popcorn for everyone (I only spilled one bowl!).  

Then came the night.  Hannah was very tired and so was I.  But I was also a little drunk.  And horny.  So we cuddled, sleepily, until I licked her neck and then she woke the fuck right up!  It was a good night I have to say.  Unfortunately I had to work the next day.  Today.  So I got up and made everyone a nice breakfast before dashing off to take a shower because, let's face it, I smelled like wine and women.  

Work was a surprise for me today - after weeks and weeks of glacial slowness and boredom at the bra shop, we finally had a busy, busy day!  It was a treat.  I was able to get half of 'Feed' highlighted for source quotes, but that was all I could do in the way of homework.  Usually I can do a bit more but it was just so marvelously busy.  

After work Hannah and I went to Denny's to have nachos (we were going to have mom and dad come too but mom's been feeling a little sick so we ordered an extra nachos to bring home to them).  We sat at the back of the restaurant in a little alcove where we sat side by side in a both and chatted with our usual server (happily he's almost always the one we get) - he's a nice young man with a sort of goth look going on that's pretty adorable.  While we ate our dinner, another couple, seated about thirty feet or so away from us, did the awkward staring thing.  The woman had to literally twist her body around to see us, which she did quite often throughout the meal.  When she wasn't twisting to gawk, she would raise up her hand and cover the side of her face like she was shielding herself from our presence.  There was no one else around that she could be looking or 'not' looking at, so we knew her issue was with us.  Hannah wondered if she was appalled at our plumpness and then worried that the older couple didn't like seeing two women sitting together on the same bench like *gasp* lovers.  But I know the truth.  They were actually time travelers and happened to recognize us as famous novelists from the near future but were too shy to ask us for autographs and had to content themselves with longing, nervous glancing.  

After stuffing ourselves with nachos and silently bidding farewell to our time travelling visitors, we returned home.  Hannah informed me that earlier today my medical staples arrived.  If she's game, I'm going to have her put in four or five staples down each breast so that I can lace it up corset style before work tomorrow.  Sundays are usually pretty slow; I could go for a nice perpetual endorphin high during the long shift.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Haboo! Seattle Trip

Octopus lady
We left on Friday at exactly 6:00 am.  It was dark, snowy, icy, windy, and freezing!  Hannah drove first and it took a little bit for her to feel comfortable behind the wheel of old Optimus again but after a few wiggles (which were because of the wind and the bizarre striations of the road) she did beautifully about half the way to Seattle.  We stopped here and there for stretching and pottying, but other than that we rocked out to dark wave music and talked about stories and other various things that popped into our minds.

Pretty soon, I took over and while Hannah napped I put in Ziggy Stardust and sang so hard I could feel my vocal nodes saying hello again.  Two passes down (and I might I add that both passes were dry and pleasant) we finally came upon Issaquah, which is one of the most picturesque cities I've ever seen.  The residential streets remind me of San Francisco while the surrounding area reminded Hannah of Estes Park, Colorado.  It was gorgeous!  We met up with my Aunt Bunny and had lunch with her, her daughter-in-law, and her two adorable grandsons.  After lunch we took the 405 to the 522 and made our way to Monroe.  I just want to say right now that I rocked the driving on this trip - a few years ago I would have been lost, afraid, hiding in a corner, rocking back and forth saying 'I am pretty, I am pretty' when faced with Seattle Metropolitan driving.  But this weekend, I rocked it.

We spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with my good friend and poet from the MFA program, Mama V.  Friday night was Denny's and chill night, while Saturday was filled with wedding dresses (Mama V.'s best friend had a final try on at David's Bridal and she looked just gorgeous in her dress!), Old Spaghetti Factory Mizithra cheese is my new obsession), a few fun stores here and there and then an evening in Redmond listening to a wonderful Native American storyteller, Paul.  He told traditional tales, played songs on his flute, sang for us, drummed for us, and imparted the wisdom of the Elders unto us.   His mother was there too and she told us some stories from her life.  One of my favorite stories was the Octopus Lady and Crow - click here to see Johnny Moses tell the story.  During the storytelling, Paul would use the word 'haboo' as a way to keep the audience engaged and make sure that they were still listening.  He'd pause and lift a hand to his ear and we had to say 'haboo' to get him going again.  I thought it was fantastic.

Something else that was fantastic about that night: we gathered in a small cabin house in the park and Paul stood there before a large window, playing music, telling us stories, using every part of his body to bring the characters and the music to life and behind him, through the glass, it was snowing.  It was a beautiful scene.  And it kept snowing and snowing until we were unable to go to church the next morning.  Mama V is a UU and Hannah and I were both very excited to check out a service that is not only non-denominational but also accepting of non-Christian forms of spirituality as well.  That didn't work out this time but there is always next time and there is a UU in Coeurd'Alene, so we might get brave and go on our own some time.  The rest of Sunday was spent being lazy at the house (by lazy I mean we stayed in comfy clothes and huddled up inside) doing homework, brainstorming, talking, and drinking tea.

We headed back into Seattle the next morning (we were going to head up to Granite Falls to see the Tsubaki Grand Shrine but the snow and slush sort of dissuaded us) and I rocked at the driving once again!  I got us to Uwijamaya after only looking at the directions on the computer and then flying blind, oh and we didn't even have to pay for parking because we purchased enough inside to validate the parking stub.  It was pretty sweet.  Uwijamaya is sort of like a conglomeration of several stores in one huge building in the International District of Seattle and Hannah and I have wanted to go there ever since one of our friends told us how much she had enjoyed it while she had lived in Seattle for school.  We went, we saw, we bought, we conquered!  And then we went in search of the Space Needle.  I kept calm and fought the one-way streets and bizarre intersections and then, just as we gave up trying to find our way to the Needle, we glimpsed it through a break in the buildings of the Seattle skyline.  The glimpse was all we needed and so we made our way back to the I-90 (the only option at this point being East since we were literally as West as we could be!) and returned to my Aunt's house in Issaquah.

From there, plans changed.  Snoqualmie Pass was unpassable: there was snow, slush, freezing rain, a temperature below freezing, and chains required on all vehicles without four-wheel-drive.  Well, needless to say, my Aunt and everyone decided that we should stay the night.  We did.  I had to call work and tell them that I wouldn't make it in the next day - I think that is the third time in over a year I've had an absence.  I feel bad about it but I figure Gina would rather find someone to cover me than have to find a dress to wear to my funeral.  Anyway, with that decision made and all the necessary parties made aware, my cousin (my Aunt's son) took us out to a wonderful dinner at Olive Garden.  Hannah and I felt so spoiled.  And my little cousin's (my Aunt's grandsons) were just too adorable for words!

The next morning, after a little breakfast and after giving the sun time to rise and help the pass be a bit more amiable, Hannah and I got on the old I-90 again and started for home.  We made great time and excellent gas mileage (about 27 mpg in a decade old car).  Now that we've made the trip, just the two of us, I'm excited for making the trip again in future.  There's so much to do, so many groups to get involved with, wonderful culture, and very dear people in West Washington that I just can't imagine staying away for long.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I'm anxious and nervous.  Hannah and I have never really had a vacation together before.  Just the two of us. We have moved and we've gone places for funerals and the like, but we've never gone for a weekend away for sight-seeing and hanging out with friends.  We have gone to Anime Conventions and might (emphasis on the might) be able to go to another one this year with friends but that depends on monetary situations.  The anime conventions are the closest thing to a vacation we've ever had but this trip to Seattle is pretty much the first time it's just been the two of us.  We have so much planned and so many things to see.  Our friends have told us about some really great places to visit and we're kind of overwhelmed but at the same time incredibly excited.  I hope to have some fun pics and some fun stories to share when we get back.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sherlock, Uglies, and Vignette Rises from the Dead!

Today was a busy day.  I called Geico and got my policy changed from 'broke car' to 'running car' and then spent about an hour talking to a very helpful woman at Vizio repair.  I've sent in my computer to the factory where they gave her a new motherboard, then I reset the battery, and today, guided by the woman on the phone, I reset Vignette back to factory settings.  Twice. Because the first time I fucked up my wireless by deleting shit I shouldn't have.  Moving right along.  She is now alive and running and I'm getting her back the way I want her - all that remains to be seen is if her little 'spontaneous shut down' problem is truly fixed or not.  Time will tell.  I just hope if she's fubar that she shows it soon because my warranty runs out in April and I don't have the money to just arbitrarily get another computer.

After the reset, Hannah and I went to the library and did some serious reading.  I read about a hundred pages of Scott Westerfeld's The Uglies.  I had to leave with only ten pages left!  I had to go to work for an hour meeting.  We're getting quite the variety of new bras in the next few months and I'm pretty excited about that, but mostly during the meeting I just keep thinking about the damn book and wondering how Westerfeld planned to wrap up the enormous clusterfuck that the characters had gotten into.  When I got home, I quickly finished it and realized... oh... he didn't wrap it up.  Not really.  He ended it in such a way that you have to go and get the next book!  Which I will be doing soon.  Not right away because I have lots of other stuff to read for this semester, but that clever little author has made it pretty much impossible for me not to keep going.

Cursing at the book under my breath - and apparently in loud overtures as well - I had some dinner and then the girlfriend and I settled on the bed for some BBC Sherlock.  We finished the second season tonight.  It was really great.  I didn't think I would be such a Sherlock girl but in the end, I have found it to be ridiculously enjoyable.  I also love that each season is only three episodes long - this allows me to indulge in a full season while not having to be completely and utterly unavailable for other things.  Like, well, homework.  Speaking of homework, my mentor sent me her response to my first packet and it was a wonderful and insightful response that was filled with pretty much exactly what I needed to hear to make me feel better about moving forward with the critical thesis and my creative work.  I think, if I buckle down and really do what I set out to do, this will be a great semester for me.