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Archive for the ‘shopping’ Category

Yesterday Weretoad and I went to Central NY’s Pagan Pride Day located at Long Branch Park in Liverpool, NY.  We had a lovely time.  In many ways, PPD has becoming a homecoming of sorts now that I’m living in Northern NY.  I love seeing so many of my old Pagan friends from Utica as well as my grovies who I only see for High Days.

I was really happy with the presentations by Patricia Lafayllve.  She gave an introductory lecture on Asatru and another on Freyja.  I learned a lot and later thanked her for her presentations.  The non-Pagan workshops were refreshing – especially since they focused on reconstructionist principals.  When I try to explain such things to most people, they look at me like I have three heads, so the education that was offered at this event was the best it’s ever been.  Lafayllve’s discussions on hard polytheism, blood magic/sacrifice, and UPG were a welcomed step in the right direction. Her humor, honesty, and open-mindedness made her approachable and fun to listen to.

Part of what I love about PPD is the shopping.  Having just got paid, I went to town.  Check it out!

I bought this beautiful tapestry featuring the tree of life as a Celtic knot.  Surrounding it are the salmon of knowledge, a crane, a fox/hound, and a horse.  I’m trying to figure out where to put it…  This will probably result in me moving some furniture…
This was apparently a big year in home decor for Weretoad and me.  We found a knight in shining armor to go along with our Medieval/Renaissance motif, a little plaque featuring Cú Chulainn, and a print of an ink greenman made by a local artist.  We also got a print of a goblin which is difficult to see in this photo…
I also purchased several ritual and wildcrafting supplies.  I had to get some incense (“sugar plum,” a scent I just couldn’t refuse, a spicy scent that reminded me of mulled cider for autumn and winter spellwork, and heather for general offerings).  I also found dragonsblood resin that I plan to use when I attempt making my own incense, and nettles for healing work.  There were representatives from a wolf and fox rehabilitation and education facility.  They were selling things to raise money for their cause – including small bags of wolf and fox fur!  Apparently the critters love to rub up against the fences and leave it there.  It’s so soft…  I couldn’t pass up humanely collected wolf and arctic fox fur!  I also grabbed a small oak branch with leaves and a couple rowan branches.  

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Life has been pretty busy this past week due to work, a death in the family, and plans with friends and family.  My craftiness has been slowed and, as work picks up, will probably stay that way for a few months.  I still have a DP to finish reviewing and an email from my mentee to look over and reply to.  I haven’t done any work on my study programs this week, but did finish reading The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien.  It was such a fun read.  I pour over so much history and folklore recently that I don’t often treat myself to more modern literature.  As I already have a copy of The Two Towers, I’m sure I’ll be delving into that next!

What else is going on with the Ditzy Druid?

I went to the NY State Fair yesterday with my husband and a couple friends.  It was exhausting but fun.  Thankfully it wasn’t as hot as it was the last time I went.  The temperature comfortably hung around the 60s all day.  I actually wore a sweater!  It was wonderful.

Anyway, I was able to take advantage of some of the state artisans and famers.  I bought some supplies for art and wildcrafting, such as the brick of beeswax at left.  I’m planning to make some herbal ointments soon, starting with a soothing jewelweed and witch hazel concoction for poison ivy rashes and other itchy irritations.  I must get the other ingredients soon!

I also bought some soy candles made by Canterbury Cabin of Greene, NY.  I picked out “Eucalyptus Avalanche” specifically for congestion and healing spells.  The “lemongrass and ginger” I’m planning to consecrate for cleaning and purification magic.  Can you tell that I’m big on candle magic?  The “Waterfall Mist” was Weretoad’s favorite scent and I had to treat him. 🙂

Weretoad treated me to this lovely pewter figurine of Galadriel, one of my most favorite Lord of the Rings characters (along with Gandalf and Sam).  I was so excited when I saw her!  I’m not sure where to put her yet.  I’m thinking about near a mirror, along with other confidence-building trinkets.

I also bought myself a small pewter figure of a witch/sorceress.  My interest in Dungeons and Dragons was recently reawaken and I’m playing with some acquaintances.  My character is a sorceress.  You may be surprised to learn that this is my first time playing a caster.  The last few times I played I was a fighter/bard, a rogue, and a rogue/bard/exotic dancer cat person.  The spell casters have always intimidated me due to the amount of work that seems to go into them.  I would have played a Druid but one of my friends has never played before and seemed to have her heart set on that class so I let it go.  I would rather her enjoy her first experience.  Besides, I’m a real Druid every day!  Well…a ditzy Druid in training anyway.   Perhaps I’ll post about D&D sometime.  I have a lot of thoughts about it in regards to Paganism.

I also stopped by the wool center to purchase some roving.  I want to try dying it for doll hair and spinning.

In other news, these are the skulls I found a little over a week ago.  They’re all cleaned and bleached now.  Sarah Lawless, an experienced traditional witch and wildcrafter, thinks the larger skull belonged to an opossum.  I’m moved to agree after looking at more photos of opossum and fox skulls. You can especially see the features of half an opossum skull in these photos.  How fascinating, to be true!  Just as the authors of that blog describe, I was surprised to learn that this skull with very long and sharp teeth belonged to an opossum.  It’s obviously not the first animal I thought of!  When you look at images of fox skulls, you can see the difference.  The opossum skull, for starters, has a ridge on the top whereas the fox skull is rounded.  Neat, huh?  The nature spirits teach us so much when we take the time to learn.

Finally, and in honor of the coming season, I give you the Autumn Oak Tree Spirit!  She’s not quite finished (I want to buy another acorn button first), but is ready enough for me to share her with you.  I’m too excited about her to withhold this photo any longer!  I hope you like her!  My goal is now to make a tree spirit for each ogham character.  Next on my to-do list are willow and birch!

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Today, Weretoad and I went to a craft show in Clayton sponsored by the Thousand Islands Art Center.  It was exquisite with high quality artisan crafts; probably the most diverse and interesting craft show I’ve ever seen – along with Utica’s Indie Garage Sale.  Weretoad bought me a stained glass triquetra.  I bought tea tree and fir essential oils and a foot scrubber from Harmony All Natural Soaps and Oils.  I’m running low on oils lately.  I like to use them as offerings to spirits and for certain magical workings.  I very nearly bought juniper berry oil as Northern Europeans burned juniper as incense and I’ve found it to be very effective in my rites.  I decided to go with fir needle instead because I recently made (and have been using) juniper smudge sticks and I’ve never had fir oil before.  I rather like it and think it will be excellent for working with local nature spirits.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Today I attended an Esbat – the first in a couple years, I think.  It was put on by the local CUUPs chapter.  There weren’t as many people there as there were last time, but still some familiar and new faces.  The ritual was very Wiccan, which isn’t a problem, of course, but I’ve not been to anything like that since leaving Utica.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect and the ritual wasn’t briefed very well beforehand so there were some awkward moments.  We did get some energy flowing, which was fun.  We made some holy water for spells and consecrations which will be nice to have.  The ritual leader never lead us through a grounding which I believe helped trigger a headache.  I did some grounding when I returned home which helped. So…  all in all, pros and cons to the ritual.  I really liked getting to know people, working with others towards a magical goal, and seeing new ways of doing things, but I think they could plan it better.  In their defense, they did admit that they hadn’t really planned well to begin with!  I do intend to keep going for now.  There was some good energy and the fellowship is nice.  

I also did some shopping today.  I bought some clothes, some art supplies to make more tree spirits, and the latest edition of Witches and Pagans.  I have a lot to keep me busy!

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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As of August 6th, Weretoad and I have been residents of Northern NY for a year.  We moved up here from the Mohawk Valley last year.  It’s been a bit of a transition.  I’ve been meaning to write about it.

In many ways, the North Country is similar to the Mohawk Valley.  It’s still NY and therefore we witness similar plants and animals.  Each area enjoys productive agricultural areas and lovely rivers and/or canals.  We’re a couple hours away from the Utica/Rome area, so I’m not seriously removed from my family and friends.

That said there are differences.  Few people see wild bears in the Mohawk Valley, but they’re quite common up here, as are bobcats*.  There have even been lynx and cougar sightings.  This is probably because life up here is more agriculture than in the Mohawk Valley which is heavily urban and suburban except for a few happy exceptions.  The bigger animals haven’t been driven out yet.

The rivers in the North Country seem more appreciated.  They are a central part of life here and not just something discussed in 4th grade social studies.  People celebrate our rivers.  Schools incorporate them into their songs.  The St. Lawrence is huge to our tourist industry, and many people who reside in this area enjoy it for sport, beauty, and sustenance.

The urban and suburban centers, while spread apart, have grown on me.  Alexandria Bay is kitschy but the views are beautiful and the swimming area is great on a hot day.  Clayton is one of my favorite places to go.  It seems to be the artistic center of Northern NY with its textile museum, antique boat museum,  studios, galleries, opera house, and art classes.  The view of the St. Lawrence is just as spectacular there.  The dining is also wonderful and vegetarian friendly.

Potsdam, an hour away from us, is a lovely college town full of cafes, international cuisine, boutiques, and access to the Raquette River.  There is art and academia, and it seems very pedestrian friendly.  I wish it were closer so I could live there!

Our city is Watertown.  While smaller than Utica, it seems cleaner and more alive.  There are many shops, restaurants, a huge and ornate library, and a thriving farmers market that is right in the middle of everything on Wednesdays (although parking is hard to find…) and a second, smaller one closer to the community college on Saturdays.

I am finding things to keep me busy outside of work and home.  There are a lot of classes that I would like to take advantage of when I have a little more money – yoga, sustainable/organic gardening, tai chi, weaving, drumming….  I’ve even found belly dancing classes a few towns away.  The CUUPs chapter is now providing me a place to practice Paganism more regularly with others.  A second New Age shop just opened up here.  The Mustard Seed in Watertown is my vegetarian cafe.  We have an amazing Thai restaurant, a decent Indian restaurant, and now have hibachi!  We are super close to the Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Ottawa, and Montreal.  The military presence originally gave Northern NY a conservative feel, and I’m sure a majority of people here are very conservative, but the area is more diverse than that.    I’m feeling happier here and more at home, and that’s even without me waxing poetic about how I have an amazing job with wonderful people!

There are things I miss.  The proximity to my family and friends is one of them.  My parents, especially my father, keep talking about moving up here.  They really like it.  I wish they would.  I miss seeing them as much as I used to.  There are things about Utica I miss as well: the amazing Stanley theater and the art museum mostly.  The Stanley gets Broadway shows and MWPAI has a spectacular collection as well as their affordable film series.  Weretoad and I used to take advantage of that all the time.  We also miss Minar, the Indian Restaurant in Utica.  The place in Watertown isn’t bad – it’s quite good really – but the environment at Minar was special.  The staff knew us and the decor was warmer feeling.  Utica also had more independent cafes.  I’ve found some in Clayton, Canton, and Potsdam, but Watertown only seems to have Paneera and the closest thin in my hometown is a Jrek’s Sub Shop.

I also miss how close everything was in the Mohawk Valley.  Unless living in the extreme outskirts, it only took 15-20 minutes to get anywhere.  Up here, we have to drive 30 minutes to Watertown, 30 minutes to A Bay, 40 minutes to Clayton, 40 minutes to Canton, 1 hour to Potsdam…  It’s annoying and stressful to someone who wants to be more environmentally friendly.  But even if I were to move to Watertown so I could be closer to everything there, I would then be 30 minutes from my job.  I can’t win, aside from moving in between – which is what we’d like to do.  But, as the author of F that S says in her latest blog entry, living in the North Country comes with a lot of driving.  Her entry assuaged my inner guilt, reminding me that the little things one does to help the environment do add up.  Thanks for that!

While I’m certainly not close-minded to moving elsewhere down the road, I am finding myself happy here.  I have days or moments when I am annoyed by the driving, but that’s really the worst part, and I want to focus on the best parts, of which there are many.

Here’s to another year of exploration and growth in the North Country!

* I’ve not seen either yet, but my place of employment was on lockdown due to a bear once.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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My husband and I, rather spontaneously, decided to visit The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY.  It was the second time we’ve been and was just as fun as the last time!  There were a few new additions, such as an impressive, stuffed moose in the great hall, a farmers market (open only on Thursdays), and a dry area for the otters to play in.  Ah, the otters.  They really are one of the best parts!  I also enjoyed rummaging around the naturalist cabinets.  As you can see in the photo at left, I’m holding a raven skull.  Not pictured is the crow skull.  It’s amazing to see the difference in size!

We took a walk around the pond but decided not to visit the other, longer nature trails.  Unfortunately we dressed for warm weather and it was a bit chilly at times.  We went to the farmers market on sight, though, and that was nicely sheltered from the wind.  There were a lot of artisans there and I received a lesson in spinning yarn with a drop spindle which I bought, along with half a pound of roving.  I’ve already spun my first small skein!  It was a tad frustrating at first, but I think I’m getting the hang of it!  I cannot wait to order more roving!  In the meantime, my first skein is setting in the craft room.  What should I do with it?

After our adventures in Tupper Lake, we made the short drive to Saranac Lake.  I hadn’t been there in a couple years and I really missed it.  There was a time when I really wanted to live there.  I won’t lie and say I wouldn’t consider the opportunity, but the winters must be horrific with all the steep, hilly streets, and we would be even further away from my tribe in the Mohawk Valley.  It’s still a favorite place to visit.  I would have liked to stay longer and swim or kayak in one of the lakes, but it was late so we made do with browsing the boutiques and eating dinner.  We found an amazing shop specializing in eco couture.  I only ever see fashionable eco clothing online.  Everything sold in health food stores is always really, really casual and not work appropriate.  I can’t wait to visit again with a good paycheck in my pocket!  We ate at Nori’s Village Market which is Saranac Lake’s health food store and cafe.  We had vegan borritos, soup, and ice cream sandwiches.  Mmmm…  
Following that, we decided to drive to Lake Placid, NY.  It’s a very busy, very popular Adirondack destination.  We just drove through.  There are some new shops and restaurants since the last time I was there.  Sadly, the old used bookstore is now gone…  The trip was worth it to see some of the high peaks in the distance.  Weretoad and I have this fantasy of climbing them all one day.  Considering how much mountain climbing and camping we’ve done, we’re not well on our way to meeting that goal…  
The day was wonderful.  It felt great to be back in the Adirondacks, even if we weren’t as “outdoorsy” as either of us would have liked.  We’re already conspiring to go back for swimming, kayaking, and hiking.  Another perk to living in Northern NY – we are SO much closer to the heart and the majesty of the Adirondacks!  

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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It was warm yesterday so I put on my new black capris slacks (so soft!) and a black tank with a lovely, loose scoop-neck short sleeve over it.  I thought my outfit would look particularly pulled together with all-black sandals*.  At the moment I have a very old, very worn pair of brown wedges, a very old, very worn pair of high heel black and cream sandals, white and cream jute wedges, black flip-flops, and all black high heels.  The latter I generally don’t like to wear much because, although they are comfortable, they clack very loudly and are finicky if I step wrong.  In other words, they force me to walk a certain – very careful way.  But I wanted to look nice so I put them on and, shortly after, nearly fell on my face in the kitchen.  I grumbled and found myself praying to the Gods to lend me grace.  In fact, all day I caught myself praying before I went down the stairwell.  “How funny,” I thought, “that I’m praying to the Gods to keep me upright when I’m the goof who decided to wear these shoes.”

I would like to find a comfortable, classy, and practical pair of black sandals.  Ideally they would be vegan and more fabric than plastic.  I’m having a difficult time finding anything like that…  Most eco-chic  shoes are very expensive.  Tom’s Shoes doesn’t seem to make sandals.  I normally love buying second-hand or vintage but I simply will not wear shoes another has worn.  It skeeves me out.  I will probably look around the mall and see if I can find anything…  But I will continue to look around online.  I’m not completely against spending $80ish for a pair of good shoes.  I wear shoes until they start to fall apart, so if I can find something of quality that is more earth-friendly than leather or pleather, I will consider it.

Being a fashionable and eco-friendly Pagan is a very fine line to walk…

* I have to look relatively nice where I work.  No sneakers or flip flops!

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

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