Dec 282013
 

Good morning everyone and happy Saturday once again! How have the holidays been treating you? Are you looking forward to 2014? New Year’s Eve is a special holiday for me, as that’s when I met Ron. We don’t go out like we used to, but we certainly do celebrate at home. All year long, Ron’s been working on building up his bar, which is small but at this point, it’s significant. There’s a good selection of the dark liquors there (Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, Captain Morgan, etc.), so the next step is to start adding in some of the clear ones (Absolut, Bacardi, Beefeater, and so on). No rush of course, as we don’t entertain like we used to, but it’s been a nice hobby for him, and it’ll be nice to have for New Year’s this year.

The hobby I’ve been working on is my paintings. I never really spent much time on painting while we were raising our son, but now that he’s an adult, I have my own office and business has been much slower (it’s just that time of year), I’ve found myself needing something to do. So, I took up painting again. And, I figured since I don’t have enough wall space to hang them all, I can paint them, snap pictures of them and hopefully sell the bulk of them. If you’d like to see what I’ve done so far, this is my link – nothing special. Feel free to download and share; I really don’t mind. It would of course be nice if you credited me and “Liked” the page. And yes, I have a long list of things I will be painting in 2014 before Pagan Spirit Gathering, since I will be vending there this year. Right now, I’m working on a series for the holidays, then I want to do some fantasy stuff, and I also plan on doing some military-related works and even some fun stuff. And yeah, knowing me, there will be at least one Eddie. (Ron said my Metal card would be revoked if I did an Eddie in a drum circle, that there’s a lot I can do, but that’s not one of them. But what if it was funny, as in other drummers sitting on either side of him with a WTF look while he’s going Cornholio on the deal? “Someone’s Inner Warrior needs to go back to Basic Training!” LOL)

Anywayyyy…

So what plans do you have for 2014? Any goals? Resolutions? Everyone and their mom is doing a 2013 Year in Review – and thank you, Dave Barry, for also saying how nasty kale is! LOL. It’s interesting to look back to see what accomplishments have been made and how much further we have to go. I’ve been predicting for the last couple of years March, 2014 would be when DOMA would be repealed, but of course I Was Wrong, as in, “You’re wrong, Colonel Sanders!” On top of that happening, 2013 had quite a few states join in on marriage equality, including Utah. Let’s think about that for a moment. Friggin Utah! Utah one of the most religiously conservative states out there, dominated by Mormons. Sure, true, that didn’t happen by votes like my home state of Illinois (about time, people!), but hey, a win’s a win. So the way I see it, with all this momentum, maybe I can keep my March, 2014 goal and just tweak it to say marriage equality across the board. I don’t think that constitutes as cheating.

What I would like to see happen too is a Pagan presence in the military chaplaincy. I’ve had the pleasure to meet so many of our Warriors in person this year, and many, many others online, and it’s sad to even think about the fact none of them have/had a military chaplain to confide in during their service. True, many chaplains are trained to be truly open to all faiths and those who don’t have one, but they don’t get us on a cellular level. I will never get what black people go through. Or gay people. Or those with disabilities. Or what it’s like to serve. I can sympathize and empathize, and I can be supportive in their causes, but I don’t truly get it. To say I do would be an outright lie. While a chaplain who is Baptist can pray for a wounded Wiccan Soldier, how does the Soldier feel about it? That’s the heart of the matter. What are your thoughts?

Well folks, it’s the last weekend of the month, and I do have appointments scheduled. I’m just about completely over the flu that’s going around, just light congestion, so I’m still a bit sluggish and need a little extra time to motivate myself. Take care everyone, many blessings to you and yours, and Happy New Year!

Dec 312011
 

Good morning everyone, and happy Saturday once again! So who’s got plans tonight? For us, not anything extravagant. I’m making some split pea soup for luck, letting it simmer s-l-o-w-l-y so all the flavors come through, and we’ll probably chillax on the sofa while watching the tube. (Is Dick Clark still around?) And yeah, I’m sure come Sunday, I’ll be putting in some overtime on the Kinect trying to drop a few pounds… especially after baking all those cookies last week! (Pssst! Did you find the recipes I hid in there? If not – look again!)

Do you have any resolutions? The old standbys are to lose weight and kick an addiction or vice, but perhaps you have a different goal in mind. Maybe you want to find a (better) job. Or go (back) to school. Or pay down/off a debt or three. Or master a new skill. Or travel someplace spiritually meaningful and fulfilling. Whatever you resolve to do this year, remember you have a whole year to do it. That’s 366 days – an extra day due to the leap year!

Whatever you choose to resolve, choose a goal that is hard but not impossible, and tell supportive people in your life about your resolution. If you’re significantly overweight, resolve to become healthier – not a supermodel. If you want to quit smoking, don’t beat yourself up if you cave in on a nic fit two days in. (I hear it takes many people seven tries.) And if you want to finally make that pilgrimage, reserve the time off and then start pinching pennies. And what if you “fail”? So what – there’s always next year, when you’re that much more determined to reach that goal.

Now for Ron and I, New Year’s Eve is a special night indeed, even if we tend to keep things low-key these days. You see, it’s our other anniversary. We met at a Meat Puppets show on New Year’s Eve sixteen years ago, beneath a full moon no less, and have been exclusive ever since. (Who says you can’t meet a nice guy at a bar?) Needless to say, “Backwater” has a special place in my heart, even if the song’s about heroin addiction, which is not at all romantic or beautiful. I vividly remember that night – the band’s lineup, that beautiful moon outside, what we were wearing and the conversations we had, and it doesn’t seem like all that long ago. Funny how time flies!

What does New Year’s Eve mean to you? Besides the obvious, to me it means a fresh start, and for many of us, a clean slate is definitely needed. I know so many members of my family and friends have been struggling to hold on to even the basics, where the light at the end of the tunnel seems to keep getting pushed back further and further. So many have begun to give up hope, falling off the rails that barely held them before. I say not to give up hope, to push that much harder, because I know from experience what it’s like to struggle.

Where I am now is certainly a far cry from the newspaper job I had when Ron and I met that very magickal night. It was so bitterly cold – my hair turned white, and the soles of my feet split in two, and all for mere $140 a week. But it was work, so I limped through it. And when I think of where I’ve come from, as a poor kid from a broken home in the inner city, with no car and oftentimes no phone, whose only friends were kids in sitcom families, where I am now is a huge change.

I can safely say I know what it’s like to struggle – to wonder if the food pantry will be generous enough, if the roaches will get into the food that wasn’t expired, if even used clothes can be afforded, and if rent and utilities will be paid. It’s because of that and more, I truly appreciate all the blessings the Gods have bestowed upon us. And too, it’s because of that I know there has to be something better down the road for my family and friends who need a leg up. It’s a new year – change is coming. Believe it! Faith not a four-lettered word.

To further illustrate the change for the better we’ve all collectively experienced, let’s look at some important pieces of news within the military this year:

- Death of Osama bin Laden: Whether you rejoiced or felt a quiet calm, one has to admit the world certainly did feel a little bit safer that day. Of course, it was pretty tense right before the President’s announcement; I was shitting bricks thinking the worst when all the channels went to that pending special report!

- Openly gay service member appointed to West Point board: Just a couple months after a former lesbian cadet was denied re-entry to West Point due to DADT still being on the books, our President made this appointment. Whether or not it was a token gesture, I feel this certainly made an impact on how our military views those who wish to serve as they are.

- DADT officially repealed: It took what seems to be a lifetime, but it happened nonetheless. Here’s hoping DOMA is next on the chopping block!

- Air Force Academy’s Pagan Circle news coverage went *positively* mainstream: What can I say? I’m so proud of our friend here at the PNC, Cara Schulz, for garnering some much-needed attention!

- Pagan Warrior Radio launched: If you haven’t tuned in to the podcasts live, be sure to download the archives.

- Orthodox Jewish Rabbi sworn in as military chaplain: When I saw this article, in addition to a Sikh Soldier completing basic training a little over a year ago, it had me thinking it won’t be long until a Pagan chaplain is sworn in as well.

- Iraq war officially ended: The troops are coming home in droves! Thank the Gods! A lot of people, including myself, are rather pissed there is no celebratory homecoming for them, but at least we’re out of that hot mess. There’s still Afghanistan, and Libya, and a host of other battles out there, but at least Iraq is over.

- Two women share first kiss upon Navy ship’s return: And speaking of homecomings, this beautiful moment was made possible thanks to the DADT repeal.

Do you have any points you want to share? Please do tell!

And before I wrap up for 2011, I wanted to make a special mention about our lil ole campaign we got going on – Clip for the Troops! We’ll be heading downtown for this month’s haul, which I’m not sure what will be there. December had the last two weeks with no inserts due to the holidays, so that may have put a kink in our totals for this month. But BAH! We’ve already amassed over $35,000 in coupon contributions since Memorial Day weekend, which is no small feat! THANK YOU! Please continue to contribute however you can; there are many ways:

1) Like! the Facebook page and let your friends and family know what’s going on! This is an exciting venture that more people need to know about!

2) Help me spread the word by mentioning the campaign in your blogs and posts. If you do a podcast or are running a festival, please feel free to contact me (doom diva [at] yahoo [dot] com). I can go on all day about how couponing not only helps ourselves to great deals (including savings on organic fare and fresh and frozen fruits, veggies, dairy and meats!), but again, it actively helps those whose mission it is to serve and defend our country.

3) Send coupons! This is a campaign that is national, meaning you don’t need to even live near a coven or group to get involved, and you don’t need any real ability or skill. Kids can do this. Disabled people can do this. Our Elders can do this. All it takes is a little time and a stamped envelope. Mail your unwanted/expired manufacturer coupons to:

PNC Military – Clip for the Troops
Attn: Lori Dake
PO Box 306
Chicago, IL 60690-0306

I check the post office box downtown on the last Saturday of each month.

4) Drop a buck or two into the pot. For November, I received $10 towards the postage, which is greatly appreciated, and I have received word a check for $80 is on the way. THANK YOU!!!! Mailing little slips of paper doesn’t seem like much, but paper is heavy, even newsprint, and each package has been costing me $4.95 to send. If you would like to donate via PayPal, please email me so I can provide you with the email account (my husband’s verified business account, so you know it’s safe!). Again, my email address is doom diva (at) yahoo (dot) com (I’ve had that address since ’98).

5) If you’re local, contact me about stopping by for a sorting party! We continue to grow, and I am having a harder and harder time doing this by myself. I live in the Logan Square area of Chicago right off the boulevard (by the “Christmas House“!), right by the expressway, with ample free street parking and plenty of nearby public transportation. I’m an awesome cook and would be more than happy to share a meal for your efforts. (Psst! We always have beer in the fridge and herbal tea on the kettle!)

So once again, HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s a fresh start!