Thursday, November 9, 2017

A week without Facebook

Have you heard of the Artist Way?  I'm going to sound weird and cult-y for a minute, but it kind of is weird and cult-y, so go with it.  The Artist Way is this philosopy slash spiritual system to help blocked artists unblock.  Using things like the Morning Pages, and Artist Dates, as well as tasks, it kind of forces you to face the reasons that you're blocked and work (really WORK) to tear down those walls.  And you confront some...stuff.  Childhood stuff, college stuff...  stuff.  It really makes you confront your blocks as an artist.  It's awesome, and terrifying at the same time. 

One of the main processes of AW is the morning pages.  Oh my various gods the morning pages.  Three pages of absolute stream of consiousness every day.  Let me tell you, getting used to them SUUUUUUUCKS!!  But honestly, once you are used to them, you have to do them every day.  I actually get uncomfortable and disoriented if I don't write them every day.  The notebook stays right on my bedside table, so I write first thing in the morning, right after i put on my glasses.  I've taken my morning pages notebooks with me to Viking encampments, stays with friends at renfairs, everywhere.  It's cathartic.  Julia Cameron  (the author of the book) calls them "brain drain", but I call them "brain vomit".  Getting it all out there on the page so it's over and done with.

And let me tell you, I have worked through some major poo-doo on those pages. 

But that's not what Im going to talk about today. 

A week or so ago was the "no reading" week.  Doesn't seem so difficult does it?  Well let me tell you, it is hard.  And I took it a step further.  Now, I don't read the newspaper, and I can't even tell you when I was last able to just pick up a book.  So I gave up social media for 7 days.  And it was a life changer.  You really don't realize how much time is wasted on Facebook.

Day 1 I got off work, got groceries, mealprepped, and cooked 10 days worth of food.

Day 2 I cleaned the entire house. 

Day 3 was my day off, and I spend most of it bumming around with my bestie.  We went to a pretty cool coffee shop and a couple of magickal stores.  At the coffee shop I got to talking to the staff and showed them some of my artwork.  And they loved it!  so on...

Day 4 I dropped off three of my larger pieces to Caffine Dreams to be displayed there.  It's a really awesome venu, and my stuff is right by their amazing corner fireplace.  It looks phenom.

Day 5 thru 7  I seriously don't even remember what I did, I just know it was actually STUFF instead of sitting on the couch scrolling through memes and gifs.  Wait, there was quite a bit of subversive cross stitch in that time frame...

And you know what?  I didnt really miss Facebook.  It sucked away so much of my time.  I took it off my tablet compleetly.  And while I kept it on my phone, I hid the icon so that I'm not just clicking it to click, you know?  I've been keeping up that "media blackout" momentum too.  Housework has been easier, not so rushed.  Even prepping meals is becomming part of my everyweek routine, which of course steamrolls into making my home time easier.  Win/win.

Am I going to give it up forever?  No.  I get about 90% of my art shows from Facebook via Art Pop! and the pop up shows they curate (an awesome group of artists to work with by the way).  But I see myself using FB a lot less in the weeks since the "blackout", and then mostly for pictures of Bam and which Stranger Things kid I was.  (don't ask, I'm not happy with the Barb-rific result).  I'll fully admit, I love the rush of dopamine that I get when I see notifications and likes, but I know I can live without them.  And can live happly without them. 

Pintrest, however, you will take from my cold dead hands. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017


this faire season is over for us.  i'm a little sad at that.  this was the most amazing season to date.  i worked a booth at KCRF.  we slept in period viking tents through a massive thunderstorm.  Mark unvailed the super secret costume much to the delight of our pirate family.   

the booth i worked at was Goldtooth's pottery.  He's been a staple at KCRF for longer than we've been going there.  i'm a huge fan of his work, and can honestly say that i use one of his mugs at least once a day.  The collection that Mark and I have amassed is truely...  massive.  my favorites are the jars he makes.  They're perfect for spices, though honestly I keep black salt, hot foot powder, and graveyard dirt in mine.  (yeah, like you're shocked)  This was their last season at the faire, as Capt Ron is moving on to teaching.  I WILL take his classes some day.  Hopefully if he offers them again in January.  I'll trade days away if i need to.  It was an honor to help him and Iris out, making their last year as successful as possible.   Next year the booth will belong to my friend Woody, who is an AMAZING woodworker (he's very well named).  I've already offered to work at his booth every day I'm at the faire next year.  So apparently I have a job lined up. 

The Mr Gibbs costume was a suprise to almost everyone.  Honestly only me, Mark, and three other people knew, and that was to make sure the logistics of getting everyone in the same place at the same time for the unveiling.  There's a video floating around of Mark walking in as Gibbs surrounded by the Whores.  The faces on Greg and Chip are priceless.  I thought Greg was going to die of laughter. 

Worth every penny we spent on the costume, and then me recreating the costume because it wasn't up to my standards.  Seriously, the origional pants were too distressed, the waistcoat was the wrong color and cut alltogehter, the shirt was too flouncy...  there were a meriod of problems with the costume.  But me, being who I am, just remade the whole damn thing.  There will be changes to the costume for next season though.  Even my work can be improved upon.  The pants for example, will need to be remade.  Canvas is an unforgiving mistress. 

The highlight of the Gibbs reveal was when Kevin McNally (the actor that plays Mr Gibbs himself) got to see the costue via Facetime.   I never had a prouder moment as a costumer as when he gave Mark a thumbs up.  Seriously had to remind myself to breathe.  Several other people reminded me to breathe too.  I honestly didn't realize I had been holding my breath. 

In between weeks at KCRF, we spent a weekend with the Olskapan Vikings at Riverssance in Sioux City, Ia.  We helped build the period Viking tents from start to finish, and they were amazing.  I loved every second of it.  Even sleeping through a MASSIVE thunderstorm was amazing.  Lightning strikes a mere hundred yards from where we were sleeping, the wind causing the tents to creek and sway, making sounds like we were on a boat.  Not to mention sleeping in a bed covered in a bear fur.  Amazballs.  I even got to play as Volva for the weekend, doing rune readings and keeping the fire going.  I swear I smelled of wood smoke for a solid week, reguardless of how many showers I took. 

like i said, im sorry it's over.  i wish every day could be as amazing as the faire.  but, alas, real life creeps in.  i am not a fan. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Spiritual House Cleansing

Spiritual house cleansing.

Halloween is tomorrow.  The darkest night.  The time when the vale between the worlds is the thinnest (the other being Beltane).  Our ancestors believed this was the time when the dead walked the earth.  Who’s to say their wrong? 

This year, 2016 (HORRIBLE year so far, but I digress), Halloween also falls on a New Moon.  The dark time of the month.  So yeah, extra spooky.  I’ve scored the day off tomorrow, so I’ll be spending the time that Bam is in school cleaning and smudging the house, sweeping the floors and smoking the air.  Getting all the negative energy out of the house. 

Sweeping is something I’ve always done to get rid of negative energy in the house.  When it’s done with intention, sweeping gets all the staleness and “bad juju” out.  I do it when I’m angry, or when there’s a presence in my house that I don’t want there.  Follow that up with a good smudging and some Florida water, and your house is spiritually clean.  I’m guessing on the Florida water, I’ve never made it myself, but I’ve heard it does wonders.

It’s always a good idea to do a bit of spiritual house cleaning at each of the holidays, be them religious or secular.  I’ll probably do the same thing at Thanksgiving this year.  Again at Yule.  And any other time I feel the house needs it.  You know how sometimes you walk into your house and it just doesn’t feel like “home”?  Yeah, then.

And personally, I’m not to keen on leaving all that negative energy in the house when walls between worlds is so delicate.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about ancestors, but energy attracts energy, and the less bad around my house, the less bad gets attracted.  I’m all about a harmonious home. 

I did get my garden taken down this year, and I have four or five small smudge sticks drying now, and one giant one for the fire pit or camping, I haven’t decided yet.  If I do have a fire pit going tomorrow, one of last years smudge sticks will go in that.  Of course this all depends on what time trick or treating is done. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The House Of Bear and Raven Update

It’s fall.  My favorite time of year.  But it means that there’s a lot of work to do around the Bear and Raven house.  From winterizing our hundred year old windows to cleaning up the yard so I don’t have to shovel leaves as well as snow.  But the thing I’m most excited about is getting my sage up and in bundles.  I love my Russian Sage.  As soon as it flowers in the summer, it’s awash with bumble bees, and they fly all over the yard.  I love bees.  Love them.  Anyway. 

Every year when I start on the yard, the sage is the first thing I do.  It’s a long involved process, but it’s a lot of fun.  I cut the plant down to just above the ground, then take the branches, cut them down to about forearm length, and tie them into bundles to dry.  Once the bundles are dried, they make amazing smudge sticks.  I usually throw a couple in the fire pit whenever we have it going. 

And we’re probably going to be doing that quite a lot this fall (being responsible sucks so much, and fire pits are free).  Thankfully I have some still left from last year so I won’t have to wait for them to dry.  I should have a lot bundled up this year, my plants kind of exploded in their little witchy garden.  My Lemon Balm too, though I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do with that.  Probably make bundles of that too.

With the crisper weather I’ve already made Witches Brew a couple of times this year, and to be honest, it’s pretty damn amazing when you add rum.  That of course is on a glass by glass basis.  I fully plan on making a huge batch of that for Thanksgiving this year.  I’m thinking of planning a really big HUGE meal this year and inviting friends as well.  It’ll be awesome. 

With Mark breaking his leg this spring, we haven’t spent any time at all in the back yard this year, and I want to remedy that this fall.  Cut the grass, lay down more pavers for a nice little patio.  Eventually get rid of the deck we made the year we moved in.  Another long term project is to have Bam help us build a new altar in the back yard as part of his Service to God badge in Cub Scouts.  There’s a little hill by the pear trees in the back that would be a great place for it.  His Cub Scout Pack has made it clear that all religions are welcome, but I’m pretty sure we may be pushing it with …  us.  Not my intention, but we have to be true to ourselves, right?  Right.

We have a two week vacation coming up this month, and were going to spend it for the most part working around the house.  Pretty much all of the plans we set down to do for our ten year anniversary (oh yeah, it’s our ten year anniversary this month) have fallen through.  We MIGHT go camping.  But that would only be an overnight thing.

Eventually I’d like to do a whole big yearly camping trip every fall.  Mark spent a day with some Viking reenactors, and they had these AMAZING tents that I’d just love to have.  I’m hoping that I get to go too next time they’re in the area.  From the pictures he took, it was an awesome time.  But I’d love to do a big Viking camping trip.  Period tents, cooking over a fire, no electronics.  Sounds like bliss to me.  I’m seriously getting burned out at work, and I need some time to get away.  Between work and getting ready for another solo show in December, I’m burning the candle at both ends.  It’s starting to take a toil. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


My step daughter is a Junior this year.  which means that next year she is a senior.  which means the next year, she is a college student.  you know, if that's what she wants to do.  personaly i'm not a big fan of college.  i went.  it was ok.  it's just that i don't really see any kind of return on that investment, you know.  but then again, the degree i persued was theater and art.  unless you're one of the golden chosen, there's not a lot you can do with that.  i would be just as happy if my children went into the militairy or a trade school.  learn something useful, you know?  digressing.  she's picked out the school she wants to go to, and of course i immedietly did a google search for rape statistics on that campus.

please read that sentance again. 

one more time.

she told me the school of her choice, and unstead of loooking into how long of a drive it is, campus activities, or anything to do with her major, what is the first thing i look up?  rape statistics.  because as much as i love my step daghter and trust her in all her decisions, i know the likelyhood of her being raped is greater in her freshman year of college than any other time in her life. 

this is a problem people.  one that isn't going away.  i've armed her as well as i can.  i've given her the speaches, i've drilled "my body my choice" into her squishy developing brain.  i've tried to give her as much healthy self esteem as i possibly can.  i've taught her when to fight and when to run away.  how to hold her keys so they are wolverene claws.  i've prepared her.

and it has pissed me off.  There should be no reason that i should be telling her how to avoid being raped.  i should be telling her how to sew her own clothes.  how to use a jackhammer.  how to shred on air guitar.  not how to avoid a brutal assault.  not how to stop someone from breaking her, completely, inside and out. 

but it has dawned on me that while the problem is massive, i am in a unique position to be  part of the solution as well.  i have a 5 year old son, most of you know him.  when we go over his sight words and alphabet each night, there are a few phrases that work their way into the mix.  "no means no", "your body your choice".  things like that.  we talk about how it's never ok to hit.  to keep our hands to ourselves.  that everything diserves respect, no matter what.  and shouldn't everybody follow the same rules?  if we teach an entire generation something as simple as "everything diserves respect", how much will that change the world? 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Open letter to everyone

A lot of things have happened lately. Globally, nationally, locally, etc.  Bit of good. Bit of bad.  Bit of both.  And like everything through time everyone has an opinion.  I'll save you mine because it doesn't matter.  But I want to say this...

I hope your life always goes the way you want it to.  I hope you are never derailed.  I fervently pray that it's all smooth sailing from here on out.

Oh I hope you're never different.  That you never think outside the box.  Never open up yourself from criticism from the group.  Please never ever listen to that little voice that says "but I'm not..." because therein lies folly.

I hope you always conform to society's standards.  That you will always walk that very narrow path.  That you will always be content with the mold you were cast in by others.

I hope you never feel a passion for something that others think is weird.  That you never have to pretend to like something just because you will get called names and made to feel bad about yourself if you don't. I wish all your interests are herd-acceptable.

I hope that some tragedy never befalls you.  That something first happen that makes you question the masses.  That you're never put in the position that people will assume that because something happened TO you, that it happened BECAUSE OF you.  Or worse, to be told that it's your fault, for whatever reason.

I pray that you always do what is expected, even when the ones pushing those expectations are doing the exact opposite.  That you don't see the hypocrisy all around you. 

Please don't hear when society adds up your parts and decides your worth.  Legs, $50.  Breasts, $125.  Brain, $15.  Chuck the rest.

Harsh words I know.  But I mean it.  Because in the end... the world wasn't made for you.  The world was made for us freaks.  It was made BY us freaks.  Long after your beige boxed life has ended, the Technicolor awesomeness of us few, us glorious few, will be celebrated.  Annually in some cases.

We are the creators.  The protectors. We move this earth and everything in it.  You can belittle us, bully us, and talk down to us. 

But you will never break us.  

Thursday, February 12, 2015


i'm home sick today watching today's video, and stopped at about the three minute mark absolutely floored.  something that Kelly Rae said really resonated with me.  "we are all innately creative, and we loose it along the way..."  and that is so true.  whether we loose it, or its taken from us, it's so amazing that we can get it back again.   i tuned 40 last October and it has so far been the BEST and most creative year of my life.

see, in high school, i was in every art class my school offered.  painting, drawing, even ceramics.  i killed at it.  i was awesome.  when i went to college, i studied theater with a minor in art.  and i was awesome.  i was deep into my art.  i even had been accepted to San Francisco School of Art for my post grad work.

and then there was a guy.

he was charming, and suave, and because he didn't "understand" or "get" my art, i let it go.  i let him, in no words at all, tell me that because it wasn't making money, it wasn't good, and i needed to stop.  he never told me to quit, but in looks and smirks little digs...  i stopped.  and it died.  and to no ones surprise (except for perhaps his), i eventually got tired of not being enough, of everything being my fault, of doing everything with nothing in return, and in an incredible leap of faith i left.

but i didn't paint again.

that stayed dead.  oh, every once in a while i would buy a sketch book and draw.  i still sewed, even knitted and did soft sculpture with needle felting.  but i didn't paint.  i again became a wife to a wonderful man, became a mother to two amazing children.  but didn't paint.  i wasn't good enough and it didn't matter anyway.  right?


one day after getting so angry (at what doesn't matter any more) and my mother becoming one of the few survivors of something called Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome (yes, seriously), my wonderful husband sat me down, went up into the attic and retrieved 20 year old canvases that i had carried around with me and my grandfathers easel.  he gently shoved me into what was then an exercise room and told me not to come out until i had painted something.

what that awoke in me was beautiful.  and amazing.  and it started me on the path to this amazing class, and honestly, i'm sitting here stuffed up to the gills, sneezing, coughing, achy, and yes, in tears because i am so happy to be where i am today (not the stuffed up coughing achy part).  in this class, having this catharsis, and being with these wonderful people in my tribe.