Standing in the Middle

The internet is a hotbed right now.

Everyone is angry.  I was angry last week.  The week before I was in denial.. and before that.. grieving for what I thought America was

Now I know what America is.

Hurting.

We are hurting. All of us.  Honestly, we’ve not been One Nation, Indivisible for a long time.  I was just talking to LB about this earlier today.  We both love Big O.  But looking back, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of bipartisanship in his Presidency.  Not blaming him, for sure.  I’m not blaming anyone.

I just trying to wrap my head around what is going on.   I’ve said it before. I’m not a fan of … 45 (that’s as close as I can get right now) and I certainly don’t agree with his policies.   I’d actually be quite surprised if he had any that someone didn’t hand to him.  He is a narcissist and does whatever will get him cheers.  He’s also, in my opinion, being manipulated by people who want to retaliate and rejoice in their new found “freedom” to push through some crazy legislation.

I’m pretty tired of “US VS THEM”.  I’m not so thrilled to hear people still talking about sides.  Our side, their side, stay on your side, get on my side, don’t go to their side, that’s the dark side, angry rant blah blah we are right you are wrong.

This solves nothing.

I’ve been listening to a YouTube series by a dude calling himself Frater Xavier.   Pretty interesting stuff if you are into Astrology, Ceremonial Magick, Hermetic principles and the Kabbalah.  I’m sort of on the outskirts of this but one of the things that Frater says a lot is that to be “de-polarized” is to be in a place of power and understanding. (Video Link here if you are interested – Star Wars references are included)

Frater also goes on to talk about reactionary behavior and honestly, it’s brought a lot of perspective to my social media use.

I’m done shouting into the crowd.  I’m done responding to inflammatory posts and articles that are designed to send me off center. To get me angry, or enraged, or furious.

That’s no way to live, man.

When you are on either extreme, you can’t see what other people are thinking and feeling.  Maybe I’m naive, but I firmly believe that people are motivated by two things, love and fear.  Although they are polar opposites, they carry the same energy and the same force.   I’m choosing to stand in the middle.  To stand and watch what is unimportant float by, to ignore the angry fearful words that seek to incite my rage, the information that is twisted or skewed to get to me REACT.

I’m choosing to observe, pause and respond with intention from a state of being centered and grounded.  That way no “side” wins because there are no actual sides at all.

 

Shouting into the Crowd

Things have been a bit … different here in the United States and they’ve been kinda tense for a while.

I’m not going to get into politics.

I’m going to get into headlines.

We have become a Nation of snippets.

I got a real eye opener the other day. I don’t talk about it much but I work in the mortgage industry and there were some mortgagee letters that made the news. Specifically Mortgagee Letter 2017-7.

I know what this letter says because I read it because it’s my job.

But the headlines that I saw and the subsequent Tweets and Facebook shares were jaw droppingly wrong.

One person called it a tax increase because they read the headline and didn’t know what it meant. Newsflash: it’s not.

Someone else thought it meant that the President increased the mortgage insurance premium. Newsflash: he didn’t.

Market watch says “Trump already suspends Obama-era FHA mortgage insurance cut

Are you fucking kidding me? It’s in the “Obama Era” by like.. two weeks. Not even.
The announcement of the cut came out on January 9, 2017.  

I love Big O.   Like seriously… but the annual rate went UP during his Presidency.  By the way?  I don’t remember anyone yelling when the annual rate was 1.25 or 1.15 when HUD was trying to recoup it’s money from the housing crisis. (it doesn’t mean they weren’t but that was under the Big O, so probably no one in my bubble was yelling). The annual rate hasn’t been below .85 since 2010.

The Washington Post seems to have it pretty close but buried way down in the bottom is the truth.

The move seems to be more symbolic than significant.

This is not a big deal.  It’s really not.  .85 vs .60 is not huge and it had not yet gone into effect and doesn’t apply to existing mortgages.  Whatever you closed on.. that’s what you’ve got.  The end. It does not change. You signed paperwork, remember?

Here is the thing. This didn’t actually affect anyone other than create a re-disclosure nightmare for lenders across the country.  My point here is that I was overwhelmed by the number of people.. people I know and that I know are smart people who lost their shit over this.

I’m not a fan of … that guy (I can’t say it yet. Sorry.. I can’t) but this is not something to lose your shit over.  Save your energy for the real stuff.  The policies that Pence has in his pocket are the scary shit (there is a protest song in there somewhere)

But no one listened to me.  No one.  People actually told me that I “didn’t understand how that works”. BITCH, I’ve been working on HUD loans for 20 years. I KNOW THIS SHIT and I know the math.  Inside and out.   I’ve read more mortgagee letters and handbooks than I care to admit.

It was like shouting into a crowd.  Not only did no one listen, no one wanted to listen. Everyone wants to be angry… every one wants to find a reason to hate.

CUT THAT SHIT OUT. IT’S EXHAUSTING.

People, I beg you.  Look away from the Headlines.  Read the content.  Look at how your local representatives vote and hold them accountable.

Ugh.. I feel better now.

Lady Buttons Heads Abroad

We have some lovely friends who live in the UK.  They came to visit recently on their Honeymoon and brought Cliff along with them. Who is Cliff? Well, Cliff is a toy stuffed Eagle and he blogs.   (I will happily share Cliff’s blog once they are aware of what is headed their way… but I want to keep it a surprise and I don’t need to tip them off with a trackback)

After spending a weekend with our friends … and Cliff, I realized that we needed to send a representative from New York State to London.

Did you know that the Official Animal of NYS is the Beaver?

Me either.

I headed to Ravelry to find a pattern for a Beaver… and I found a few, but this is the one I chose.

It didn’t take me long to make the pieces but I kept putting off sewing her together. I finally just sucked it up and did it.  I dug through my Great Grandmother’s Button Box and found these.

Three Buttons and a potential “Pin”

and her head quickly came together.

After I made her face, It seemed wrong to leave her unfinished

Friends.. meet Lady Buttons.

Isn’t she adorable?

I left Lady Buttons to her own devices too long, it appears. She got tired of waiting for me to make her scarf.

Seriously, I turned around and there she was.. making her own scarf. Quite talented, I’d say.

But evidently a hat was also necessary.. Once again, Lady Buttons took matters into her own hands.

And here she is, all dressed up for her jaunt abroad. Now I just need to get her airline ticket.

Dressed for travel.

What I did on my summer vacation…

Hi!  Me again.

I did this thing… this life changing thing.

I spent a week at Omega Institute for a workshop entitled Ukulele Zen.

Go ahead.. chuckle..   I’ll wait.

But it was amazing.. it was music and laughter and joy and meditation and zen and peace out man wow…

I made so many friends, I sang so many songs….

And we did this flashmob thing

and we had a concert.. and I did OPEN MIC and screwed up so bad and totally did not care and we all laughed together.

Do you know the joy of laughing with someone over your mistakes instead of having people laugh AT you?

It’s bliss.

And on our last day we all cried like babies…

and played songs

and more songs..and maybe I danced around a little bit

I wish I could tell you more about what an amazingly beautiful experience this was… but I can’t.. because I don’t have the words.

Quilty as charged

Yes, I know the title of this post is ridiculous.  I didn’t have anything clever in my head…  so I just rolled with it.

Almost two years ago, I decided that I didn’t have enough hobbies so I started quilting.  Well, actually.. I made two quilts.  And then we moved…. and for months my sewing machine /languished, unloved.  If you are a regular reader of this blog (hey, thanks for sticking with me!) you know that I said I was going to post more non-food stuff. And then I didn’t post at all. OMG THE PRESSURE… THE BLANK PAGE… but I think I’m over it now at least for a while.  I actually launched a SECOND BLOG what omg I know. .. also I did it with WordPress Multisite so there’s a good chance I borked a few things on THIS blog.. whoops.. oh well.

We’ve settled in to our apartment and I gotta say, I love apartment living. I really do. If I never mow a lawn again it will be too soon.  Also, three inches of snow last night and all I had to do was clear a wee bit in front of my garage door.  I’m spoiled now.

The tricky part, however is being mindful of our neighbors below us.   I try to keep my noisy hobbies confined to Saturday and my new sewing machine (a Singer Simple 3232) is noisy… also, not so simple. or maybe it’s too simple which is why I can’t remember where the stitch length button is.

So, I’m making a Mickey Mouse Quilt for LB but it’s been so long that I thought I’d start with something easy. I settled on Michelle Pattern’s Patchwork Coasters because I keep seeing her make them on Instagram and they are freaking adorable.

The front

I mean come on… how cute is this?

The back

Clearly I need to work on my hand stitching. This little bugger sits on my desk at work and it’s perfection.

Coaster in action!

I got so excited about piecing like this …

This patchwork thing is a hoot

That I decided that paper piecing was going to be my next thing… holy crap I love it so much.

and of course, I had to make a mistake or two… it’s like I always sew one sleeve in backwards? Evidently I need to cut off the wrong bit when paper piecing

An unfortunate event

But well worth an occasional oops to have this nifty coaster!

It’s messy… sure and the photos are terrible.. but I don’t care… this coaster just give me joy every time I put a cup of tea down on it.

This is so funny, now typing this out, I remember digging around in my mom’s scrap bag when I was a kid and making “quilted pillows” that were really just pieced tops (which is what I thought quilting was).   I figured out all of the angles then without any tools.. funny.  I guess I’ve always like math and I used to just DO stuff without thinking about it if I could do it or not.

I guess if no one tells you that something is “too hard”, you won’t know not to try it.

Maybe that is one of the downsides of having information at our fingertips.   We are unwilling to try something if someone tells us it will be difficult.

I think that’s the end of my profound thoughts today. I’ve been working on this post since OCTOBER and I think it’s time to just hit the button already.

 

Modern SpellCaster’s Tarot

I recently stumbled upon the term “TOADie”. That’s someone who “suffers” from Tarot Over-Acquisition Disorder. I’ve not reached the heights of my friend George, but every once in a while, I find a deck that speaks to me and I must buy it.

Right now, my “had to have” is the Modern SpellCaster’s Tarot by Melanie Marquis and illustrated by Scott Murphy.

For a long time, I had struggled with the religious and masculine overtones of the Waite-Smith deck.  It’s actually even more well know as the Rider-Waite for the publisher and the guy who commissioned the art.  Pamela Smith, who created imagery, is usual left out.  You get my point, yes?

I had been looking for a Pagan themed deck for years now.  Most of them, I found sort of stiff.  That’s the best word I can come up with for the imagery.  And I read images.  I don’t memorize cards.

The Modern SpellCaster's Tarot

The Modern SpellCaster’s Tarot – The Box

 

One of the things I love about this deck is that it is designed to actually be used for spell work.  Yes, I’m “one of those people”.  It should be noted that although “traditional” decks have the Wands representing the Element of Fire and Swords representing the Element of Air, this deck is the opposite, which really resonates for me. (I had to actually type that sentence out three times because I kept typing it wrong.. or right depending on your perspective).  If you are a stickler for wands = fire and swords = air, then this deck is not for you

However, if Pagan symbols, beautiful artwork and diversity are your jam, then this deck is for you.

I mean, look at this handfasting

The Four of Wands

The Four of Wands

and these two fellas sharing a drink

Two of Cups

Two of Cups

The mounts chosen for the Knights are also pretty spectacular

The Knights of the Modern SpellCaster's Tarot

The Knights of the Modern SpellCaster’s Tarot

Oh and look at these amazing women, eh?

The Queens of the Modern SpellCaster's Tarot

The Queens of the Modern SpellCaster’s Tarot

I’m also super fond of the back design. If you read reversals, you might have a bit of difficulty as there is a top and a bottom. I don’t read reversals. I find them too chaotic. Also, some folks find the cardstock to be very thin.  And it is.  It may not hold up to a billion readings, to be honest.  But I am the one who handles my cards as most of my readings are internet or email based, so for me it’s not a big deal.

The Back of the Modern SpellCaster's Tarot

The Back of the Modern SpellCaster’s Tarot

The book that comes with is SUPER thick and really detailed.

The Handbook for the Modern SpellCaster's Tarot

The Handbook for the Modern SpellCaster’s Tarot

Some of the complaints that I’ve read on the internet is that the book doesn’t give enough information on the imagery, however there is a page in the front that details why certain animals were chosen and what many of the symbols mean. You get to actually take this information and formulate your own meanings. I actually prefer that and I appreciate the list of symbols in the book as I was unfamiliar with a few.

The Aces of the Modern SpellCaster's Tarot

The Aces of the Modern SpellCaster’s Tarot

I am so completely, totally in love with this deck that I’m struggling to actually use them for readings. I feel like I need to get to KNOW them better. So! My plan is to look at each card and spend some time with it. I’ll be posting here as sort of my Tarot Journal. I hope you enjoy me on this journey and share your insights with the imagery.

In the meantime, I’ve posted pictures of all of the cards, so please enjoy this amazing imagery.