December 2008


I must tell you, I have an issue with the whole “New Year” thing. I’m not a bah-humbug type…Oh god, really, I’m not.  I love the Holidays, I love the special-ness and of course,  any reason for a party!  Almost every year, I make some sort of plans for New Year’s Eve, and I very genuinely mean to follow through.  However, often after doing so, I don’t feel like it when the night arrives.  Even when I do follow through with the exuberant festivities I’ve eagerly planned,  I feel…tainted.  A sour taste in my proverbial mouth.  I lack-luster anticlimactic *poof!*…the whole thing just seems all so forced to me and I feel cheap and used and like a user.

There’s nothing in the calendar of nature that excuses this obvious (to me) falsification of the holiday.  Why is it today, of all days?  I mean, yes I get the history.  We now use the Gregorian version of the calendar and in 153 BC the Powers that Be (aka the Roman Consuls, with the ratification of the Roman Senate) officially changed  “new year’s day” to January 1stTHE DAY (and/corresponding eve) to celebrate, apparently.  But there is no solstice, no change in weather/seasons…nothing for me with which to link it.  It really bothers me…almost on a cellular level.

Way back when, the Greeks and Romans originally celebrated the new year with the Winter Solstice (aka Yule, for any of the Euro-pagan learned/leaning types)…marking when the sun “returned” and the days began to lengthen.  THAT makes sense to me.  Many cultures, including the Phoenicians, Persians and Egyptians, marked their new year at the Autumn Equinox…when the Summer light dwindled and the the wane of warmth was most apparent.  THAT makes sense to me…and seems to loosely correspond with the Wiccan “new year” of Samhain (aka Hallowe’en to all you raised in the Christian western world).  Then, there are those earth-based religions that mark their new year with the Spring Equinox…when the Earth revives and the new Life is sprouting everywhere…either obvious and apparent above ground (I love those first crocuses!), or as yet imperceptibly in the earth or womb.  THAT really makes the most sense to me.  All these reasons make me feel like an awful cheating lover, wooing someone else behind my loved-one’s back, when/if I make a big hoopla on Dec 31st/Jan 1st! 

And then I get disgusted.

Disgusted with the mindless Hoople-heads that make any public holiday so annoying to be out and about.  See…maybe I want to bend a little and be with my friends and their perception and happiness of the “New Year”, regardless of my own thing.  I mean, I can go to mass for the beauty and magic of it, and not have to believe in the whole Son-of-God/Virgin-Birth concept…and still enjoy and appreciate it, can’t I?  Well, so I should be able to do so with this whole “New Year” thing!  But the asinine Weekend Warriors (as my sister calls them…they’ll always be Hoople-heads to me after Deadwood…)…my GAWD!  Do they really need this holiday to exhibit their Stupidity?  Their Blatant Audacity?  Their…Name-Your-Undesirable-Quality-Here!  I mean, it’s not even 8:00 pm yet and outside my window, on my “quiet” residential city street, I already am hearing “Whoo-hooooo!” and “YEE-AAHH!”…amid cackling laughter and various idiotic snippets of “conversation” from those that would be “revelers”.

Yes…now I sound like an Old Fogie.  I sound like a Bah-Humbug Bitch.  But some people’s children are just so offensive that I just don’t want to be around them and there are SO many more of them out on a night like this.

Used to be, I was younger and could just drink more, take more drugs, whatever, to ignore them.  It springs to mind now that maybe some thought of me in the same terms as I am now thinking of Them.  I’m not so self-delusional to dismiss such a possibility altogether…but I really rather doubt it.  For one, I didn’t usually need a forced-upon-me-holiday like “New Year’s” to indulge myself…in fact, I have felt this way about the “holiday” for many, many years.  I did, however, do as I mentioned above…go out with my friends (and overindulge!) to share in their enjoyment of the holiday, thereby creating more enjoyment in turn on my end.

The Gregorian New Year is not my holiday…I have my own holiday(s).  Yule…which we just finished…and coming up, Ostara (the Spring Equinox).  THAT’s my real New Year. And though I do wish all of you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year (by the Gregorian calendar)…rest assured that my real and more abundant blessing is still to come.

Stay safe.  Stay Happy.  And whatever you do…STAY AWAY FROM THE HOOPLE-HEADS!

Brightest Blessings from Seattle…to get you through to Spring…

 

©2008 D. Kessler

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For some reason, I had it in my head that I could not fail.  That I, by sheer will and fortitude, would succeed.  That despite a new job, the resulting reduced time to myself at home with my own ‘puter, and the exposure to a plethora of new and untold germs/bacteria/viruses that my new workplace allowed me to access…I would be unwavering in my task.  That, despite the impending Holidays and the flurry of baking, cooking, planning, wrapping (and drinking!) that normally precedes and accompanies such events…I would be impervious to distraction and would soldier on!  In the words of Cmdr. Peter Quincy Taggart:  “Never give up! Never surrender!”

But alas, and alack!  I have failed.  I am apparently NOT full of paranormally abundant levels fortitude, stick-to-itive-ness, or of whatever else it takes to get through 31 days of December without missing more than a day of writing.   All it took was a few little germs I wasn’t used to, a whole LOT of snow (for Seattle), and a sidetracked step or two in the direction of Hearty Good Cheer (aka holiday drinks in a warm bar!) and we just plumb up and put our writing cap on a top shelf somewhere in the back of a closet along with the hidden gifts and didn’t apparently want to be bothered to look for it or to climb up to get it later.

Yes…I got a cold.  Then, when I got better, I got cabin fever.  And with what little time I had at home to myself after that, it seemed like a preposterous idea to ask myself to sit and type at a computer…as that’s what I’d been doing all day every day at work, but for someone else!  Then, there were cookies to bake for Christmas (Oh boy, these are melt-in-your-mouth-wonderful!), little-somethings to find and wrap for unexpected-but-very-loved guests, a Mimosas & Waffles Brunch to plan/prepare, a  Mexican feast to get lost in (both the prep and the consumption of!)…my gosh, I don’t know what happened!

So, now it’s been many days since the little bug-like figures that are the English alphabet have been freed upon the page…and sadly, all that I have today is this meandering apology slash holiday play-by-play. 

But, aside from getting a cold, I’ve been having fun…mostly…and I am starting to get used to having a normal work schedule, little by little.  So, I’m pretty optimistic that after the Hubbub of the Holidays winds down a bit, we’ll get our stride back.

Well, either that, or I’ve absolutely GOT to find out where I can enroll in some Discover Your Super-Human Self!-type classes!

© 2008 D. Kessler

This is a test of the Emergency Blogging System (aka WordPress for iPhone)…this is only a test. We’re about to see if this app is worth it’s beans (which was actually nothing…the app was free).

I am sitting in a closet-sized room at the hubby’s practice co-op…a 15′ x 8′ box with egg-crate foam on the walls and more musical equipment than I think they actually use on a regular basis (I could be wrong on that one, but I’m stickin’ to my guns). Three guys currently in attendance (the fourth is unable to make it in becuz of the snow), six stringed instruments (of the guitar family, of course) traded out every now & then (depending on the song), a full drum kit sits forlorn in the corner wishing it’s daddy had come out to play (yes, pun intended), and I’m keeping the drum stool company cuz there’s nowhere else for me to sit. Pass the Courvoisier, even tho’ it’s not my ideal fare, cuz Bay-bee…It’s COLD outside!!
I would be cozy and holed up on the couch with my ‘puter, but there’s some drama of the domestic kind happening with our neighbors and I really can’t deal with them right now. So, I guess you could say I’m hiding. I know…bad, huh?

Whaddaya gonna do…

Earlier, I got this little-kid bug up my butt to go walking in the snow. So I dragged my spouse out into the frigid exterior world to the Seattle Center to stomp around and look at the lights in the trees around the currently hybrrnating International Fountain. We came across some interesting sights like this life-size  ice sculpture (the sign says it was done over the weekend…gives you an idea how frakin’ freezing it’s been cuz it’s still whole:

 

Also, this light display made me feel like I should have a cocktail and be shouting at my friends in close range in order to be heard over the 180 bpm…but all was silent as the snow usually seems to make things…

In any case, I’m just thankful…and amused…that I can “hide out” here with the guys and they don’t seem to mind. In fact, they actually seem to enjoy the opportunity to show off new songs and pretend to be rock stars. No, really…they don’t sound half bad…

[editor’s note:  After posting the above from my iPhone app, I went back and reviewed the actual post from the web via my ‘puter and, as I expected, there where things that needed immediate attention.  Things such as formatting and spelling corrections and additions of tags and such…which I promptly have modified to as I originally intended them to be. Although the app for WordPress is nice in a pinch, a few things I have issue with are these:

  1. Photos, as far as I can tell, are only able to be added to the end of a post, and even then they may not be shown on the website in the order intended, nor can they be sized to fit.  Maybe this is because I am new to the app, but I searched and searched for a way to fix this via my iPhone, but could come up with no solution.
  2. There is no spell check, so you better know exactly what you are typing (hard to do on the touch screen sometimes) and exactly how Ms Whatever-Her-Name-Is that taught you spelling in name-your-grade-here instructed you.
  3. I entered the tags and categories in the appropriate places on the app, but when I checked in on Dy’s Mind’s Eye, they were nowhere.  Again…is this cuz I’m new to using the app??

But like I said…it’s good in a pinch.  For when you absolutely have to blog something but are on the go and can’t sit down with your face turned to the Incredible Glowing Screen.]

Oh-tay…Lights out..”

© 2008 D. Kessler

Bitter, bitter cold.  Nasty obnoxious wind. A vehement choppy-churny grey-green Bay.  And at one point I could not even see the West Seattle Bridge or the large port cranes at the mouth of the Duwamish River, both normally very prominent to spy, as they were now being enveloped in a angry-looking mass of of charcoal-hued monstrosity that looked like it came out of my vacuum cleaner when last we realize we weren’t getting any suction and couldn’t recall the last time we had emptied the canister…what a mess!

It really brought to mind a vision of some vexed spirit that, having entered the water molecules at a cellular level, was now having a violently anxious and ominous attack of animosity as it realized it could not free itself from the physical form of this…thing.  It was a bit alarming to view…complete with the accompanying sharp, razor-like particles that was frozen rain pelting our office windows facing Elliott Bay

With the wind as it was, however, the mass of angry cotton-candy-from-hell with a full stove’s worth of wood ash tossed in the mix blew off a bit to the south enough for me to leave the building to have lunch with my daughter one block away.  It’s a grand thing when one’s offspring is advanced to the stage I call “all grown up” (mostly) and insists on taking her mom to lunch…sushi, even.  It was a very Shonri & Danica_12.17.08welcome treat to visit with her and her best friend, the three of us toasty warm at the cozy Japanese Gourmet in the Pike Place Market. While there, I snapped a little picture with my crappy camera-phone/iPhone, as Miss Shonri is leaving us tomorrow…home for the holidays, we’ll say…and one must capture such moments, I don’t know why.  It’s just one of those things that our parents and grandparents have instilled in us and seems to stick through the generations.

I bet you can’t guess which one of the girls is mine.  I’ll give you a hint…we have the same hair… 😉  Totally unintentional…of course.

So that’s my post today:  I’m thankful for my beautiful daughter (she’s going to kill me for putting her on the spot like this…).  So thankful that she’s so much smarter than the average bear/A’murkin (take your pick) and that we get to spend time together often and have similar enough interests that we can share so much…ideas, musical tastes, artsy-crafty-things.  Just stuff.  And in exactly three months (tomorrow) she’ll actually be able to legally order that sake she ordered with her sushi this afternoon…(oops! Shouldn’t have mentioned that, should I have? Bad, mommy!)

And now it’s time for this over-age princess to hit the sack.My fingers are making it pretty clear that they want to stop now.  They had a hard day at the office…

© 2008 D. Kessler

[Warning:  Shameless use of links to various facts and silliness…and not much literary substance ahead…]

Okay so this is a first…

…I got up at 6:30 am…AND actually made myself some brekkies! WTF?~!  That  never happened before…EVER! 

Well, you say…maybe you’re eager to get to work on your first day?

Um…maaay-be.  Or maybe I went to bed too early (for me) at 10:30 pm.  What…no news?  No Craig Ferguson! Oh, I’m going to miss my Craig every night…

Um…Maybe I was just all cranked and anxious and woke up at 4:45 am and couldn’t go back to sleep, even with the ambient noise and then Saturday’s podcast of This American Life…so finally I gave up at 6:30 and made coffee and eggs and toast.

Yeah…that’s it.005

After a short ride downtown, this (bad iphone photo to the right) is what the view looked like when I got to work at 8:30 am, looking SSE from the tiny park outside our offices.  You can see the sun about to peak out from behind the skyline to the left (most of which is just out of frame), the treacherous frozen hydrogen/oxygen on the ground along the railing verifying the frigid temperature and The Viaduct with the remnants of morning rush hour. Dead ahead center is Qwest Field, then Safeco Field, and waaaay off in the distance behind the stadiums, Mount Rainier is just barely visible.  This is an amazing thing, to see this time of year.  Even on clear days, such a vivid sighting of “The Mountain” is usually improbable due to haze…what we up here in the NW know to be moisture in the air threatening to become clouds, or something like that.

So, anyway…

Work.  I did it.  And I get to go do it again tomorrow.  And yes, I’m thankful I do.  However…I may not feel so tomorrow on the way home as we are to get some more snow, this time for real…

So, I’m off to lay my head down now and hope for easy oblivion.  Ta-ta, toodle-oo, and all that jazz.  I’ll try to post something for real tomorrow…I know this was not the most imaginative thing you ever read.  I’m just dog tired and can’t think of anything really worth the extra energy.  Hell, I’m having trouble constructing basic sentences!

So sorry…and thanks for playin’ anyway!

© 2008 D. Kessler

christ_crucified_w saints I am forever amazed how many people aren’t familiar…nay, are downright  ignorant…of their own religion.  I mean all of it…the history and how it came to be, what influenced it and how it has evolved over however long it’s been around into what it is now, why they beliefve certain things and why they do whatever rituals, ceremonies or prayers…even what its actual formal doctrine and/or dogma is.  How can one say this or that is their religion if they don’t even know what that religion is and how it functions??

You would think this lack of familiarity would give them some pause, keeping them from attempting to argue points about which they feel strongly with non-believers, or partial-believers, or alternate-believers (it does seem that most people do profess to believe in something).  How in the world can one really truly expect to be able to pull this off and be taken seriously if the persons with whom they are debating…or worse, trying to “convert”…know more about the damn belief system and its history than they do?!  I just don’t get it.

The part that really gets me is when Party A (Mr/Ms Ignorant) is confronted with the additional/correct information from Party B (whom Party A is attempting to convert or sway in some way to their thinking).  Reactions from Party A vary from blandly discarding whatever info/tidbit/discrepancy has been provided…a reaction akin to fingers in the ears, singing la-la-la-la-la to crowd out the sound of the offending information…all the way up to flat-out anger and/or fire-and-brimstone sermon tactics, complete with self-righteous indignation.  It baffles me.  It humors me.   And then I get pissed off.

I mean, I don’t like to usually get into religious discussions with anyone.  This is something that I deeply feel is the ultimate personal space and an area that any discussion really should be only between an individual and whatever Higher Power they feel they subscribe to…and possibly, from time to time, with one learned in that chosen belief system, should the person feel the need for assistance and guidance.  However, with “The Holidays” upon us, there seems to be some discussion throughout certain areas of the blogosphere regarding the Christmas Controversy, or War on Christmas, or what have you…and it’s evolved into there being all manner of persons going off on others about what’s what, what’s wrong or right or about the sanctity of the holiday and the birth of Christ and such…it’s actually got me a bit upset.

Now if you subscribe to the Holy Virgin Birth Theory, then fine.  I don’t but that’s great if you do and it works for you.  But doesn’t that mean that you believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would have you Love One Another and promote peace and harmony and do for others as you would wish them to do for you?  Isn’t that the whole idea to those folks that celebrate Jesus’ birth this time of year?  So, why all this animosity about whether there’s a tree or an angel or a Santa or a menorah hanging out for all to see?  Or not getting well-wished in the way you want it?   We used to call that looking a gift horse in the mouth.  Who Menorah_mosaic cares if someone says Happy Holidays to me…I have a holiday this time of year, too!  It’s not the one they were probably thinking of, but so what?   Do I care if they call out Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah to me?  Well, no, not really, because it’s the idea behind the sentiment that counts.  Hell, I’d be okay with someone wishing me a Happy Kwanza…though I don’t even know exactly when that is…because damn it!  That’s their version of their Winter Holiday. 

And there’s another thing…I’m sorry, but the Christians do not have a monopoly on December 25th as a holiday.  In truth, they stole it from the pagans…you know, those peoples that used to abound throughout the world…including throughout the Roman Empire…with many different gods for different purposes and each one had their own feast day?  (Sounds like the Saints to me, but that’s another topic for another day…)

So, let’s discuss the Ancient Romans, since they celebrated Saturnalia from December 17th through the 23rd…and boy was it a doozy of a time!  Feasts and parties and games and gifts and…hmm…sound familiar?  Yeah, well they also had animal sacrifices and the parties were pretty famously full of debauchery.  So much so that more that one Emperor even tried to shorten the festival days from seven days to first three (Augustus), then five (Caligula), but to no avail!  Nope…the people loved their festival.  Over time it eventually evolved into Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, “the birthday of the unconquered sun”, which was celebrated on December 25th, and although  the feasting days were now fewer (they still had another feast day on Dec 19th), the revelry continued unabated. 

Somewhere along the line, the Christians started getting better press…Constantine converting was a huge help with that…and because of the popularity of these very pagan celebrations, the Church eventually felt it best to declare Jesus’ day of birth to coincide….how convenient!  The idea is so that the masses would be able to more easily adjust to to incorporating Christian modes into their lives, and do away with the old pagan rites.  Well…good on paper, but not necessarily so in action, at least not at first.  A great deal of the pagan rites and practices just migrated over to the new holiday.  The Tree, the Yule Log, the abundance of extra candles (normally a very wasteful and a costly thing), the holly and mistletoe (both green with berries, they were and are symbols of life in the “death” of Winter), the giving of gifts, the plethora of sweets and heaps of feasting…all pagan in origin. 

So…who’s desecrating who’s holiday with adding a babe in a manger, a supernatural “star” in the sky, and a few astrologers/magicians stopping by with gifts (a little late) a few weeks later?

WICCA_L See, but the pagan way isn’t like the Christian way.  We don’t say “Our way or the highway”  (or rather, “Our way or the flaming stake”!).  We go…”Sure, whatever.  Just don’t mess what with we already got going good here and I don’t really care what name you put on the day”…’cause we all know what day it really is.  That’s our motto:  “An ye hurt none, Do as ye will.”  We didn’t really mind the Christians changing the names of a bunch of our deities and putting “St.” in front of the new names. Whatever…we know who they are, they haven’t changed.  Just different words…a rose by any other name, I say.  But then, over the centuries…and with the help of some menacing threats from the Church causing us to start keeping things closer to home and even under wraps…well, it all just eventually blended together…into one “new” religion…and into the one Winter Holiday.  A big showy mass for the baby Christ…Christmas. 

Kinda silly if you ask me, because anyone that knows any Roman history would know that the census was always taken in the Spring and that’s why Mary and Joseph supposedly had to make a road trip to Bethlehem.  That, and the fact that shepherds don’t now nor ever have tended their flocks in the field in Winter…

And I didn’t even get into the whole correlation with Mithras

© 2008 D. Kessler

I think the cold does something weird to my brain.  That and too much sleep, maybe.  I dunno, but when one wakes up with “The Politics of Dancing” in one’s head…and so one of the first things I have a craving for is to watch/see is this video on YouTube so that I can get the other out of my head:

…one’s gotta wonder what the hell is wrong with one.  I mean…”The Politics of Dancing”???  …the HORROR!

Outside it’s a balmy 29°F right now in the now-brittle Emerald City…21°F if you consider the wind-chill factor.  Let’s all go frolic in the now-frozen and no-longer-fluffy snow!  Whoo-hoo!

NOT.  This is the part of snow I do not like.  No sirree-bob.  The part where you *swoosh-CRACK!* fall on your ass when all you want is a little tid-bit from the corner store only half a block away.   My spouse has just pointed out that at least we’re not in Wisconsin where it is probably colder, but I just shot him down with the fact that, according to The Weather Channel, Sheboygan, WI, is currently twice as warm as we are right now…with a lovely not-frozen temp of 42°F!!  I mean, really…that’s just not right!

Okay, I’m sorry this is not some philosophical or scientific expose regarding the effects of exposure on brain activity.  Nor is it even a witty tirade about anything at all related to the aforementioned abundance of sleep.  It’s just a rant…a lame-ass rant about how I don’t care how pretty the snow is anymore and I want it to go away and I want to be able to turn my heat down ’cause I can’t afford my electric bill as it is and I’m tired of being holed up on my couch ’cause I don’t want to bundle up to walk the few blocks to a coffee-house for a change of scenery and I’m tired of it being dark at 4:30 pm.  I really hate winter and none of the many holidays…Christian, Pagan, Jewish or otherwise…or various other forcibly induced distractions like Christmas Shopping or Winterfest can change it.  I…hate…winter.  Never mind that it’s not even actually winter yet…that it doesn’t actually start for one week (yes, folks…Yule/Solstice is next Sunday).  It feels  like winter now.  It smells like winter now.  It’s dark  like winter now.  For all intents and purposes, it IS  winter now!  And I’m sick of it, I’ve had it, I want my Springtime and I want it NOW!

“But, Dy”, you say.  “Where’s the silver lining?  Where’s the up-turn ‘I’m thankful for…’ part of your post?”

Don’t got one today, sorry.  I’m NOT thankful for the cold. I’m NOT thankful for the ice and snow outside.  I’m NOT thankful that I think I may have contracted a sinus infection from somewhere…either that or I’m due for a root canal on my #15 molar (upper left), and I REEALLLY hope that’s not the case!…and it’s really making it hard to concentrate and keep from screaming and making me worry about Tuesday as my first day at work and…*sigh*

I think you get the picture.  

© 2008 D. Kessler

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