Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Ancestor Worship

I was going to go on an adventure today in the forests around Watertown.  My plan was to follow the map made by my grandfather to find my ancestor from Ireland who settled in this area.  But it’s been rainy on and off all day.  Normally that wouldn’t deter me, but my grandfather really wanted a photo of me and the headstone.  Truth be told, I wanted to take pictures anyway, but the wet weather is not good for my husband’s nice camera.  I also wanted to take the video camera and film it.  Same issue – rain and a video camera are probably not a good mix.  It would have been nice to visit my ancestor’s grave near Mother’s Day, but c’est la vie.  I’m hopeful for next weekend.  I would really like to go before the weather gets too humid and buggy.  Not to mention, my grandfather instructed me that it gets very overgrown where the graves are so once things really start to grow, it will be very difficult to locate.  Failing spring, there’s always late fall.  It would be really appropriate to go there around Samhain.  I’d love to build a small cairn and leave some flowers as an offering.

[ For my LJ friends, please visit me at: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ ]

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I felt really ill yesterday due to hormonal issues.  I accomplished nothing after work.

I don’t feel fully restored tonight, but I’ve already been more productive than yesterday!  I did some work on a doll and did a quick ritual to promote healing in the areas surrounding the oil spill.  CedarLight Grove is encouraging everyone to take part, even if it’s just through meditation.

Speaking of CedarLight Grove, do they not have an amazing website?  I hate to say this, because I’m very proud of my grove otherwise, but I totally have website envy.  Ours looks really out of date…  Heck, even some of the information is old.  I don’t even want to link to it right now because it’s kind of embarrassing…  I really want to offer Skip a hand but, at the same time, I don’t want to step on any toes…  Maybe he’s just been really, really busy with ArchDruid business and, now that he’s “retired,” he’ll have more time for that?    I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

In other news, I’m trying to clean the house.  My family is visiting this weekend and hubby and I have been so lazy!  Despite the existence of a designated “art room,” we tend to bring most of our projects into the living room.  I think the problem is a lack of surface area in the art room.  I’m going to be keeping my eyes open for a table to put in there.  Maybe that will help?

[ For my LJ friends, please visit me at: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ ]

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I spent some time with my family driving through the Otsego County today.  It’s always nice to see different areas in the state.  I’ve been there a few times as a child/young adolescent, but not recently.  Upstate NY is so beautiful.  We drove by glimmering lakes, sprawling wetlands, emerald pastures, and numerous content looking cows (which always makes me happy!).  I got to hand feed a pair of geese which was fun but intimidating at first.  They were domesticated but I know they can be quite mean when they want to be.

Still, it was nice to return to our home in the North Country.  I’m finding myself more and more content up here.  Watertown has grown on me quite a bit.  Clayton is wonderful and has so many cultural activities.  We’re really not that far from the fun in Syracuse.  There’s the beautiful Thousand Islands with plenty of swimming and boating.  Oh, and there’s a little thing called Canada literally a hop, skip, and a jump away (not that we’ve taken advantage of that proximity yet!).

Tomorrow I’m hoping to get into the woods and clean up some of the litter that’s there.  I’ll do it in honor of the land Goddess.  I feel her all over NY and love exploring her many features.

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I shot my first large gun.  The recoil surprised me, causing me to shriek and throw the gun after firing.  Luckily it’s only a single shot so the gun was empty!  My complete lack of grace was redeemed by the fact that I actually hit the target – a stationary clay pigeon. 

After that we took a walk along the Mohawk River.  It was wonderful to be outside.  Everything is turning green.  We saw some little fish as well as several invasive zebra mussels on the rocks.  I greeted the river Goddess – I didn’t really have anything to offer other than my respect. 

I brought one of my ISP books with me.  The men-folk are playing the new Splinter Cell video game so I might as well take advantage of my time and study!  

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I came across a childrens’ book today and, after flipping through it, I couldn’t pass it up for my growing collection of young Pagan literature.  Any parents/educators should be familiar with the hugely successful “Magic Tree House” books.  I see second and third graders reading them all the time.  This book, entitled Leprechauns and Irish Folklore, by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce, is “a nonfiction companion to” a fictional book they wrote called Leprechaun in Late Winter.  I read all 109 pages of the companion in an hour or so.

What’s so impressive about this book is how open-minded and scholarly it is.  While the authors don’t discuss the evolution of Lugh to leprechaun, they do briefly discuss the Tuatha De Danann.  There’s a whole chapter devoted to the modern history of Irish folklore.  It features sections about Douglas Hyde and Lady Gregory, for example, and even introduces the subject of British occupation.

Different spirits are discussed, such as the trooping fairies, pookas, and clurichauns.  The authors give examples of how people have/can befriend the good folk, as well as how to defend against them.  All the examples are consistent with the lore and folklore studies I’ve been reading.  The selkies have a section too but are called merrows (or múir ógh for sea maiden).  Speaking of Gaelic, the Irish is pretty accurate as far as I can tell with my novice understanding.  Children reading will learn about the filí and raths for instance.  I love that the authors used actual Irish!

My only real complaint is that the Druids are presented only as “wise men” (73) rather than men and women.  The book sometimes relies too heavily on the more modern idea of diminutive winged fairies but makes up for it by explaining that they can appear however they want.  Otherwise I highly recommend it for Pagan parents, especially those with Irish hearth cultures.    It’s very well written, contains beautiful illustrations and photographs, and even includes a section with further reading and research tips for youngsters to follow!  Rather than calling a belief in fairies nonsensical, the book leaves it up to the reader to decide for him or herself what to believe.  I really appreciated that bit of spiritual tolerance / allowance for magic.

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I had a lovely day with my husband and parents yesterday.  I showed my parents the Paddock Arcade, where I broought my mother Moontide Arts, the New Age shop, while the men waited outside.  She really loved all the clothing there.  We also went to some boutiques on Court St. like the fair trade/thrift shop and the new “Spinning Wheel.”  It was nice to walk around the city on such a gorgeous day.  I bought myself a sun dress, a locally made soy candle, some incense, and a dragon soap dish for the bathroom*.  We had lunch at The Mustard Seed where my mum bought me some yummy vegan cookies.  Later I served my family a homemade meal of shepherds pie, bread, and deviled eggs from the local farmers.  My mum provided the wine and my dad brought us some dill mushrooms.  Mmm!

Hubby and I are having a fun day today.  We went outside to throw a football around, then walked our ferrets which was fun.

I finished assembling my sleeve skirt**.  It was super easy.  My husband had some button-down shirts that didn’t fit him.  Most of them are going to charity but I selected a couple to construct this fun and simple piece***.

I have to iron it again but I’m happy with it.  I was thinking of adding some sort of trim but hubby thinks it looks fine as is.  I may add some jingle bells but we’ll see…

* Some of you may think that’s awfully kitsch.  Just remember that taste is relative!
** I got the idea from this Thread Banger tutorial.
***For my lj friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/

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Visiting for Easter

My parents want to visit next weekend!  I’m very happy and excited to see them, but the situation makes me laugh.  They were talking about going out to eat somewhere but I suggested making dinner.

“But it’s Easter!  We don’t want you to have to work.”

Oh, my silly if well-meaning parents.  I explained, for the millionth time, that I don’t celebrate Easter and that I wouldn’t mind making them a nice dinner so that they don’t have to work or spend lots of money on their special holiday.  They deserve it and I’ve been meaning to make them a nice dinner since moving up here!  We have a Cracker Barrel in Watertown and, ever since discovering it, my mum has been addicted to visiting us and going there for dinner.

As some of you know I’ve recently given up dairy, making me an ovo vegetarian.  I’m trying to eat more local when it’s available, so I’m only eating eggs from local farmers I trust.  In other words, when eating out, I’ll be a vegan.  My mother is concerned I won’t get enough protein so I’m excited to show her what I can do.  My father is surprisingly more supportive.  Although not a vegetarian, he’s been trying to give up/limit his dairy for various reasons.

One of my new favorite things to make is shepherds pie.  I make it just about every week using a haul of root veggies from Doxtater’s Farners Market and a mix of peas, mushrooms and, occasionally, tofu.  Recently I’ve been favoring the mushrooms in this recipe.  I think that will be the main dish, along with some homemade bread and some sort of green.  Maybe a few deviled eggs to celebrate the spring.  I’m not sure about dessert yet…  I have some frozen strawberries so maybe I could do something with them.  Hmmm…maybe pound cake with strawberries?

Where would we be without our freezers?  Seriously, I feel so dependent on that and my refrigerator.  This summer, I really want to do more canning and, maybe, get a dehydrator.  My soon-to-be brother-in-law has one and it works amazingly well.  When I think about how my ancestors kept their food, it’s really amazing to me, and I can understand why spring and summer were so celebrated.

So what about you, dear readers?  Do you have Christian family members celebrating Easter?  Are they including you in their celebration?

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