Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Parenting After A Tragedy

After Sunday I told myself that I had spoken my last piece on the Sandy Hook tragedy and I just couldn't and wouldn't think on it anymore. I grieved for them, I was angry for them, I hugged my son, and I prayed for them. Everyone on facebook posts a message for them at least once a day and I just can't handle it anymore, thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach. Then something happened yesterday that made me more sick.

I have a teenage cousin who was complaining because it now takes her twice as long to get to her lunch room and by the time she gets there lunch is half over due to a rule that everyone is only allowed to enter through the front door. Then someone who goes to school with her commented "Gee thanks, school shooters". They're teenagers, they don't have children of their own and they don't know how to process the violence. I was in 9th grade when the twin towers were struck and as upset as everyone was I just couldn't bring myself to feel the devastation everyone else did. I just didn't see how it affected me. So I get it, I understand their apathy, but it worries me.

I know she's a good kid, and I'm sure her friend is too but I had to stop myself from berating them online and remind myself it's not my place. How dare they bitch about an inconvenient lunch schedule when they're safe, when they get to go home to their families every night. Now it makes me wonder, should we say something? Should we force empathy, and sympathy on them? Should we force them to think outside of their selfish bubble to the world around them? Would it make them better adults if they learned to care more a little earlier? Or should we let them just feel what they feel selfish or not, and develop complex caring emotions in their own time? My son's only a preschooler but one day I'll have to deal with these types of parenting dilemmas. So what are your thoughts, Should sympathy, and empathy be taught, or developed with age and experience?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Saturnalia

I have a lovely little Pagan Calendar app on my phone that tells me all about important Pagan dates. I thought I'd share what it has to say for today and also let you know that this app is free in the google app market.

Summary: Saturnalia
Calendar: Roman
Date: December 17th Every year

Description: Saturnalia is the feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn, which took place on 17 December. Over the years, it expanded to a whole week, up to 23 December. The Saturnalia was a large and important public festival in Rome. It involved the conventional sacrifices, a couch (lectisternium) set out in front of the temple of Saturn and the untying of the ropes that bound the statue of Saturn during the rest of the year. Besides the public rites there were a series of holidays and customs celebrated privately. The celebrations included a school holiday, the making and giving of small presents (saturnalia et sigillaricia) and a special market (sigillaria). Gambling was allowed for all, even slaves; however, although it was officially condoned only during this period, one should not assume that it was rare or much remarked upon during the rest of the year. It was a time to eat, drink, and be merry. The toga was not worn, but rather the synthesis, i.e. colorful, informal "dinner clothes"; and the pileus (freedman's hat) was worn but everyone. Slaves were exempt from punishment, and treated their masters with disrespect. The slaves celebrated a banquet: before, with, or served by the masters. A Saturnalicius princeps was elected master of ceremonies for the proceedings. Saturnalia became one of the most popular Roman festivals which led to more tomfoolery, marked chiefly by having masters and slaves ostensibly switch places. The banquet, for example, would often be prepared by the slaves, and they would prepare their masters' dinner as well. It was license within careful boundaries; it reversed the social order without subverting it. The customary greeting for the occasion is a "io, Saturnalia!" io (pronounced "yo") being a Latin interjection related to "ho" (as in "Ho, praise to Saturn").

Saturday, December 15, 2012

God's a Vampire

I have a four-soon-to-be-five year old. He starts kindergarten next year so the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook yesterday morning hits home. Especially since it's just one state over. Already people are trying to come up with solutions to make sure something of this horrific magnitude doesn't happen again. They say we need better health care. The people that commit these terrible acts are usually severely mentally disturbed and are not getting the treatment that they so desperately need. I've heard people talk about stricter gun control laws. Hunters or those protecting their homes do not need assault rifles. There are also the people that say there will always be evil people doing evil things and there is nothing we can do or could have done. To be perfectly honest I agree in one way or another with all of them. All arguments have good points, solid reasoning, and a heartfelt wish that things could be better.

Then there are people like this piece of human trash, Brian Fischer. I read this and literally got red. Apparently this asshole thinks that this happened because there isn't prayer in schools. How fucking stupid do you have to be to hear about this awful occurrence and that's the first thing that popped into your head. According to him "God" is a gentlemen who does not go where he's not wanted. WHAT??? Well thank you for giving me yet another reason to be thankful I'm not Christian. I guess all of the boys and girls who are Christian and go to church, and go to Sunday school, and read their bible, and pray are taught to believe that God's totally there for them, until they go into a secular building then all bets are off and they're on their own.

This sick jerk isn't the only one who believes this crap. Already I've seen the facebook memes where a child asks God why he allows violence in schools and his response is "I'm not allowed in schools" Yes apparently even though he's an omnipotent deity he has the limitations of a vampire on Buffy, he can't come in unless he's invited. These same people always forget the violence that takes place in churches.. the molestation in the Catholic church, are you going to tell me prayer isn't allowed there? I highly doubt any of these nut jobs would be saying the same thing if it was their child, or grandchild, or family member who was gunned down in a school.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Letter To My Child

Before I get too old and forget I want you to know, I was just like you. I was small and young once and I made mistakes, I still make them, but I was never loved any less by the people that mattered. I broke things, I lied, I stole and I cheated. Chances are you will too. That's okay. The action's aren't okay.. but you are okay. It doesn't make you a bad person, it doesn't make you evil, it just makes you someone who made a bad choice.. human. Hopefully that will be the full extent of your missteps.. but if it isn't I will still love you. No matter what you do, I will love you.

One day you're going to listen to music that I think is terrible. That doesn't make it terrible.. it just means I don't like it. It's okay, you can. You're probably going to date someone I don't like.. you might even marry them. That's okay, I don't have to like them, but for you I will love them with all my heart. Anyone precious to you is precious to me. You're probably going to have sex before you're actually ready, and if I find out I'll be mad and embarrassed, but I did it too. I'm going to hound you to do your homework even though I rarely did mine, and I'm going to give you chores even though I hated them. If you get bullied, I'm sorry. I was too. There is no right way to handle it. I'll probably tell you to ignore them but I ignored them and it doesn't work. Violence works... but I want you to be better than that.

You'll want to spend money on things that I think are stupid. If it's your money buy what you want, you need to learn to make your own choices. I made stupid decisions with my money, even if one day selective memory has me tell you otherwise. I bought movies, books, music and all sorts of junk I didn't need and very rarely did my money find its way into a savings account. I had to ask my parents for help.. even when I didn't want to. It's okay to be embarrassed about it, but it's also just as okay to ask for help. I will always be here for you, don't be afraid to ask..even if my help comes with an unsolicited lecture.

With any luck you will be better than me. I want you to be better than me. Smarter, more enlightened, more self-assured, stronger, and more easy going. I want you to forge your own path even if that means leaving mine. I'll always try to give you advice, sometimes it will be right, but sometimes it will be wrong. I'll always think it's right. The world and possibly me might make you feel like an outcast. I and the world will be wrong. It's okay to be different and it's okay to be unique. Don't be afraid of having an opinion I don't agree with. Even if you're the only one who thinks it.. your truth is still truth.

If you have children of your own one day, I hope you try to fix all of my mistakes. If I tell you the way your parenting is wrong I want you to smile, nod, and do whatever you think is right. I do however make no apologies for spoiling them. Don't worry, your grandparents spoiled you too. I want you to know that sometimes I'm afraid.. and it's okay to be afraid. It's okay to be unsure, it's okay to be a little cautious, but it's also okay to experience life with a wild abandon that no one can match.

Finally I want you to know it is your life, not mine. Live it your way. I'm just here as an example of what works and what doesn't. Hopefully I can look back on this and it will keep me honest. Most of all I hope you'll see this and realize I was human... just like you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holidays, Cleaning, and Reading

The holidays are winging their way towards us at lightning speed and I haven't even begun shopping. Bills are at the top of my to do list and doing the holiday financial juggle is less entertaining than ever. Our tree is up and the beginnings of decorations are up, garland, lights. I'm considering making a popcorn garland but we'll see what time, patience, and energy allows. Lately my days have been filled with an insane amount of cleaning and reading. Each Equinox and Solstice fills me with the urge to put things in order, clear the air, and de-clutter.

In my few free moments I've managed to grab a shower here and there and savour books, like decadent chocolates. I finished reading Dracula and and found Bram's writing to be darkly funny. Not sure if he intended it that way or I'm just twisted but I enjoyed it none the less. If you haven't read it yourself it's written as a series of journal entries from different perspectives. Each character having moments of wisdom that stuck with me.

I loved Van Helsing. Today he's depicted as some young hunk vampire hunter/ religious vigilante ( certainly not a depiction to be spit at ), a far cry from the tender, intelligent, aging, man formed in the imagination of Stoker. His fervent love for those around him and the willingness to do what he considered his duty to humankind at the risk of his own life was endearing. Normally I don't find myself drawn to characters who are desperately religious, but his religious fervour was without pompousness, and a holier-than-thou that is far to prevalent today.

Next on my reading list is Frankenstein which is a lot shorter than I expected it to be but I look forward to it all the same. Then it's back to books written in my lifetime for a little while.

And yet unless my senses deceive me, the old centuries had, and have powers of their own which mere "modernity" cannot kill. ~ Jonathan Harker, Bram Stoker's Dracula
Truer words were never written


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tinkerbell

I lost the source of the image but I
believe it came from a home depot
website
I normally save talking about fairies for spring but they recently added a bunch of Disney movies to Netflix and both me and my son love the new Tinkerbell movies so we've been watching all of them.

When they first came out I wasn't sure if I was going to like them, Tinkerbell was always Peter's side kick and I was worried it would be cheesy and undeveloped but I was pleasantly surprised.. and hooked. It also helps that one of the fairies and I share a name.

I've found that Disney in general is pretty Pagan friendly. I know they receive a lot of flack but none of the movies I have ever seen picture one religion as better than another, they bring classic tales to life and make them child friendly, and they encourage imaginative play.

All of the Tinkerbell movies make for great Pagan ( or non Pagan )  family films. Each of the four movies deals with a different season showing how important the changing of the seasons is. It helps to get children interested in nature and opens up their imagination to what could be out their and causing the changes they see around them. Not to mention they feature some great Celtic music ( the first movie even includes Loreena Mckennitt ). Now this doesn't necessarily make it more Pagan friendly.. but it certainly adds to its enjoyability. Also they deal with important issues like being true to yourself, the importance of friendship and forgiveness, and being proud of who you are. Not to mention they're just plain adorable.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble Review

Last night I finished Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory. I loved this book from beginning to end. It took surprising turns, and I loved the main character and her evolution throughout the book. I highly recommend this book. It was fun, quirky, funny, sexy, and engaging. It was like Twilight (yes I know lame reference but I liked Twilight, so sue me) for adults. Also, most of the book takes place in England, I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with England.. not sure why.

I don't want to give anything away but it has every facet of the supernatural you can imagine all in one book. Witch's, Ghosts Vampires, Werewolves, Fairy's, Pixies, and Demons (though you don't meet them yet). Also it's not all just smashed together. Each creature is highlighted in his or her own time. They each have their own purpose and they all seem to mesh together seamlessly. It doesn't feel like they are all just thrown together as an afterthought or in desperation to get them all in there.

Jolie is fun, funny and relatable. A powerful Witch with major self-doubt. She isn't vain, or stuck on herself which I like, plus she doesn't like arrogance which I doubly like. Rand, her boss/would be lover, sounds like enough to make any woman drool/melt/burst into flames but he too seems real. He has a personality that doesn't just revolve around kissing Jolie's feet. I think it's a little ridiculous that pretty much every man that comes into contact with her from the underworld falls all over himself trying to get into her pants but it is what it is. I guess with as long as they all live they get a little sick of seeing the same creatures day in and day out. Fresh meat is always exciting. Christa her best friend kind of becomes her side-kick, but again, at least she has her own personality, she isn't just some extension of Jolie.

If I had to make one tiny smidgen of a complaint it would be that Jolie, the protagonist, seems confused. First she wants sex, then she's saving herself... *ack* but I guess that's anyones prerogative. Also the main vampire hunks name is a little weird.. Sinjin??? I can only assume it has some specific meaning to the author. Other than that I would have done away with the word warlock *gag* (see Why I Hate the Word Warlock) but I'm not the author so that's not my call.

I already have the next one and I can't wait to start it but for a little change of pace and to give myself a bit of a break from all of the Witchy fiction I'm reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. I've never actually read it and I'm looking forward to it.

If you're interested you can find H.P. Mallory on Facebook, Twitter, and she has a blog!

What have you been reading lately?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why I Hate the Word Warlock

I mention a lot that it bothers me in books or movies when they use the term warlock. Obviously it bothers me because it's a silly and inaccurate term, but why should that matter in a piece of art or entertainment that's nothing but pure fantasy? For me, my frustration with the word runs much deeper than simply being annoyed at someone elses ignorance.

As far as I know real Pagans (and I use the word real here to mean historical and real life, not my paganism is more real than yoursnever used warlock to label a male Witch. The word Witch itself does not indicate a gender, rather it is supposed to label someone as wise, Witchcraft being the craft of the wise. Furthermore I'm fairly certain Warlock was actually used to call someone a liar, or oath breaker. The history junkies are more than welcome to correct me if they have information proving me wrong but all of my research points me to that definition so that's what I believe.

My thirst for accuracy and truth are what causes this little ignorant slip to annoy me but the reason I simmer just beneath the skin upon seeing this word is for another reason that may not readily spring to mind, and it has to due with gender labels. Using the term Warlock to label a Witch as male is sexist.. that's right I said it, it's fucking sexist.

This word annoys me as a Witch but it pisses me off as a woman and a human being. Why do men need to have a different title than women? It all hearkens back to an antiquated belief of separateness. We need to label ourselves and others as separate. We need to make sure their is no blurring of the lines between masculine and feminine. It's ridiculous. Witch has generally been used to describe a Wise Woman, or Woman of the Craft and when I see the word warlock it smacks of a need to distance men from woman and vise-versa. Somehow sharing a title stains us or them and we need to keep things clean and above all separate. I understand that I may be allowing my ire to get raised over nothing but there is a baser part of me that thrums with anger every time I see it.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book 9: Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

Image courtesy of BarnesandNoble.com
First of all I have to say is that not an incredibly cute book cover, how could I not be excited about a book that looks like that. It's the first of 6 books in an urban fantasy/ paranormal romance series based around a Witch name Jolie Wilkins by H.P. Mallory.

'Life isn't bad for psychic Jolie Wilkins. True, she doesn't have a love life to speak of, but she has a cute house in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a cat and a quirky best friend.

Enter Rand Balfour, a sinfully attractive warlock who insists she's a witch and who just might turn her life upside down. Rand hires her to help him solve a mystery regarding the death of his client who also happens to be a ghost. Jolie not only uncovers the cause of the ghost's demise but, in the process, she brings him back to life!

Word of Jolie's incredible ability to bring back the dead spreads like wildfire, putting her at the top of the underworld's most wanted list. Consequently, she finds herself at the center of a custody battle between a villainous witch, a dangerous but oh-so-sexy vampire, and her warlock boss, Rand.

I can't say that I'm entirely excited about the use of the term warlock but you can't have everything and it's fantasy so we'll let it slide. If you're interested the book is currently free in the Kindle market. Yes I know I'm cheap thrifty, but if I like the first book I do buy the rest of the series.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Eye of the Witch Review

I started reading Eye of the Witch last Sunday morning and finished it that night, I've read another book and a half in between. Like I said I've been going book crazy lately just spending hours devouring words like they're the finest chocolate.

Anyways the fact that I was able to finish it in a day should give you an indication of how fast a read it is (although I'm an insanely fast reader and can finish whole series in an afternoon if it's engrossing and I have no other responsibilities). It was a fun paranormal style who-done-it story. It's told from the point of view of Tony Marcella. I like tales told from an omniscient view point but for some reason first person always make for a faster read.

It was quick and fun and left you guessing as to who the real criminal was, which I liked. I know some people felt that the English was poor but I felt that it gave the characters a sense of realism. I didn't find it to be dragging or predictable, and reminded me a little of some sort of paranormal cop drama.

Now this wouldn't be a very witchy book without a Witch but don't worry it does have one. Lilith the Witch in question was funny and caustic, which I like in a woman. Also I have to give the author credit for attempting to keep his description of Witch's in general real, addressing the fact that not all Pagans are Wiccan and not all Wiccan practice Witchcraft. A character in the book who equated it with devil worship even got their head intelligently and appropriately bitten off.

In closing it was fast, it was fun, and it was funny, with a kick ass Witch and relatable main character. I'm in the process of acquiring the rest of the series for myself and when I read it through I'll let you know what I think.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Book 8: Eye of the Witch

I decided I should probably do a proper intro for Eye of the Witch with a picture of the cover and the synopsis before I do a review. I already read the book so I know how it ends but I wanted to pique your interest.
 
Eye of the Witch is book 2 in the 7 book Tony Marcella Mystery series by Dana E. Donovan. If you're interested it's currently available in the Kindle Store for free.
 
'Back in the game, are detectives Tony Marcella and Carlos Rodriguez with new comer, Dominic Spinelli. Together they race against time to solve a mystery involving a string of suicides that suggest a pattern of something more sinister. It's not enough that the clues in the deaths of three women seem to indicate who the next victim might be, but because of the ties that bind their pasts, every potential victim is also a potential suspect.'
 
Image courtesy of Amazon.com


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