13 December 2012

Goodbye, Graf! Hello, Ninja!

Grafenwoehr Tower. I couldn't seem to
track down who drew it originally.
I’m leaving Germany early tomorrow morning. Although the work part of this three-week detail was not nearly what I expected (and far from productive), it has been a productive trip in other respects. I managed to track down a few cute Yule presents without which I would have been hopelessly lost. (What does one get a boyfriend’s parents when meeting them for the first time? My solution: German gingerbread cookies in a cute little cookie tin that sings a German folksong when you open it up. Couldn’t get that in Texas!) I’ve also finished writing the 11th chapter in Circle: The Spinner’s Journey, which will be my first ever novel…if and when I ever try to publish it. I have even written the first five pages of the 12th and final chapter. All that’s left after the actual writing process is complete is the massive editing. Since I began writing many years ago, and went years without touching it, there’s a noticeable style difference between the first few chapters, the middle few chapters, and the final few chapters. On a personal level, I like how my story currently displays my progression as a writer; on a practical level, I want it to reflect the peak of my abilities the whole way through, and that will require an editing mostly for stylistic consistency.

The whole first three chapters, and almost certainly the prologue, may get re-written…but at least I know where I’m going to have the most problems.

In other news, I am the best big sister ever. Well, at least when it comes to Yule presents. Last year I put together a Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit for Little Brother, which I had pieced together from various survival necessities from Ranger Joe’s and Amazon. You’d be surprised what you can find online. I found a water filtration straw—literally you can use it to drink out of a puddle in a rock and be perfectly fine—and a few other unique (but necessary, in a survival situation) items. I thought that was going to be difficult to top, because my brother is as much of an apocalypse nerd as I am. However, this year I managed to outdo myself. Because I am 100% confident my little brother does *not* read my blog, I’m going to go ahead and spoil the surprise right here.

I got him ninja swords.

Not just any ninja swords, but rather a set of high-quality, full-tang, tactically finished in black stainless steel ninja swords, complete with their own carrying case you can sling across your back. He’s going to faint when he sees them. I’m so excited! I literally can’t wait to see his reaction.

I’m actually even kinda jealous that I got them for him…because I definitely want my own pair.

09 December 2012

Gods of Winter

Winter Goddess of the North
by IndigoDesigns
The dead have followed the Raven’s song,
and no longer among us they roam.
~ Damh the Bard, “On Midwinter’s Day”

As I walk between the buildings, the snow packed hard from the daily press of thousands of boots, I am struck by the stillness. Winter used to always strike me like that: silent and still, a memorial to sleep. I had almost forgotten the affect this season can have on me, likely because I haven’t seen snow in almost two years, and I had stopped loving Winter and its gods of death long before that. Perhaps it was digging my car out of two feet of ice every weekend while I lived in New York that made me grow so bitter towards the season, or perhaps it was trudging to class through frozen puddles while I studied in Russia, or perhaps it was simply that I had forgotten that just as I need my nightly rest, the land needs its yearly sleep. Regardless of the reasons, I had grown to dread the period following Samhaine despite the joy with which I always approach that particular holiday.

And yet, now, surrounded by the stillness of cold, far from anywhere I’ve ever called home, I find myself reconnected to the Earth in a way I have not been since I last walked the forests of Virginia. I certainly never felt this connected in Texas, and most definitely not while deployed in the Middle East. Here in Germany I am in a nearly constant state of awareness, of connection, of prayer. The gods of winter are thriving; they sent their messengers forth to peck the ground for frozen morsels, cawing at the curiosities they find buried beneath the white. Every time I pass such a scene, I smile to myself and nod in appreciation to my black-winged brothers. The crows are out in full force now. I often wonder if they are as amused by humanity as I am by them.

I had been dreading coming here. I had convinced myself that this temporary duty would consist of nothing but work, work, work and DFAC food (never a relishing thought). No one else from my unit was going, and I was the lowest ranking officer on the invite list. I couldn’t imagine a scenario in which this detail could possibly have been worthwhile, and I was so worried about what would happen to my Platoon with neither myself nor a Platoon Sergeant to look after them and shield them from higher HQ for three whole weeks (he’s on leave en route to a new post, and I am, as I have mentioned, out of the country serving a larger mission). However, despite the frantic emails I receive once a day from my Commander or the XO, things seem to be at least—if not running smoothly—continuing to run. The realm I left behind is not, in fact, imploding; nor am I quite so alone here as I anticipated. One other officer I knew who used to be in my unit is also here, and I have since developed a few good friends among the younger Captains. They all still outrank me, but since my little gold bar turned black, no one seems to care whether you have one black bar or two. I still salute them when we are all in uniform, much to their chagrin.

Thus, as reluctant as I am to admit that I was wrong, I have to say it: I’m glad I came to Germany. I may even go so far as to admit that I am glad I came to this particular, forgotten spot of the former Soviet-controlled Eastern half. The woods here are dark and full of history; and, blood-stained as much of that history is, it still adds a richness to the fabric or the land. Perhaps that history is what the crows are searching through the snow for, or perhaps it’s just my imagination getting the better of me again, but the gods of winter have rekindled a flame I thought lost. I am now looking forward to Yule, to reuniting with my family and my forest, or at least the few trees that remain of those I grew up among. The rights to their wood has long been sold to loggers, builders, and other contractors, as if the forest itself were something a man can own.

The puddles here are glass, solid and still. The ripples froze in place, creating a mottled and unique texture on each one. Part of me is glad that they are frozen in their judgment, unable to reflect the faces that pass them by. Sometimes as I walk by them I am struck, not by the stillness, but by a still thought: the gods of winter are quite alive, and we are the ones who sleep eternal with dreams of a world we control.

07 December 2012

Alive auf Deutschland

Weiden im Winter by Kerstin Borchardt
I realize it’s been far too long since my latest blog entry. So much has happened that I can’t even begin to encompass it all. First, and likely most importantly, I’m pretty damn sure I’ve met my Orion. At least, as sure as one can be in such circumstances. More on that fabulousness later. And by later, surely by now you know I mean eventually. In other updates, I’m also currently stuck in Germany—and I use the term “stuck” rather loosely—on a three week detail for my unit. They wanted to send a Military Police officer who speaks German to support some sort of multinational endeavor. I really don’t know why they decided I was the best fit, unless perhaps someone was watching Inglorious Basterds and thought, “Well, if those are the requirements for speaking the best Italian…” Yeah. In my unit I *speak* the best German.

I certainly studied the language for three years back in high school, but I’m still horribly out of practice considering I haven’t made a concerted effort to speak it since 2007. And really barely made an effort then. Languages were easy once upon a time. I saw the patterns, they just clicked in my mind, and the grammar and vocabulary was a breeze to memorize. Then I went to college and either a) got dumber or b) just stopped being linguistically smart. Russian was way more difficult to learn than German or Latin or French had been, and now that I finally started to get the hang of Russian, anytime I attempt to speak one of the other three…Russian spills out of my mouth. Or, best case scenario, a Russian-German-French linguistic mishmash hybrid language that really doesn’t do credit to any of the three. Occasionally I’ll even throw in some Latin-inspired grammatical constructs, since that’s technically the language I studied longest for a whopping five years.

But I digress.

The point is that I am currently in Germany, doing a job they wanted two Captains to do (and I’m definitely still a Lieutenant, and there is definitely only one of me), and yet I’m also pretty sure that a monkey could do my job. It amounts to forwarding emails, sitting through briefings, and highlighting semi-useless information just so I can say that I was “tracking” it. Like I was saying, a monkey could do it, and not even a particularly intelligent one. Speaking German? Totally not required. However, I have at least made good use of the time--Germany has some very, very cute shoes--and the food has been fantastic, at least for a schniztel and bratwurst fan.

Anyway, it is roundabouts that time that I need to go make my presence known at a briefing in which I will have no speaking role. Don’t worry, I’ll bring my highlighter so I look official and important-like. At least I get a nametag??

15 October 2012

Contemplating Cleo

Cléopâtre sur les Terrasses de Philæ, 
Frederick Arthur Bridgman, 1896
"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety."
~ William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

Last night whilst snacking on Wheat Thins, drinking an Angry Orchard hard cider and pretending I had no paperwork to be getting caught up on, I came across a documentary about a certain infamous Egyptian. Naturally I decided to postpone writing my OPORD and working on my METL brief to watch Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer, and naturally, the show got my thinking. What was I thinking, you ask? Surely by now you know I’ll tell you regardless.

What is the price of immortality, and do the ends justify the means?

As I have mentioned before, the Roman view of immortality was that as long as the living remembered your name, who you were, what you did, you never truly died. Thus, by that standard, Cleopatra is certainly an immortal. Memorialized in books, plays, poems, songs, movies, documentaries, even Halloween costumes, Cleopatra continues to fascinate the world…or at least that bit of the world that has access to books and the internet. These days ignorance seems to be more prevalent than ever, despite the wide availability of information. Nevertheless, the story of Cleopatra’s life, and especially her death, is infamous, and for good reason. The legends surrounding her play out like a soap opera set in swanky ancient palaces, full of sex, wine, incest and intrigue.

The daughter of Ptolemy XII and (most likely) Cleopatra V Triphaena, Cleopatra (actually Cleopatra VII) rose to the Egyptian throne with her brother at the young age of 18. Her brother, Ptolemy XIII, was only ten at the time, so they must have surely made an odd couple even then, if only for the age difference. The Egyptian Pharaohs—as appeared to be common in many royal lines of the day—tended to marry brother to sister in an attempt to keep the royal blood pure. Can’t have those nasty outside genetics interfering with the royalty. Inbreeding clearly is the key to stable regencies. (I’d start listing royal failures and crazies throughout the centuries, but gods only know how sick we all are of those.)

History.com has the following to say about this controversial woman:
Cleopatra VII ruled ancient Egypt as co-regent (first with her two younger brothers and then with her son) for almost three decades. She became the last in a dynasty of Macedonian rulers founded by Ptolemy, who served as general under Alexander the Great during his conquest of Egypt in 332 B.C. Well-educated and clever, Cleopatra could speak various languages and served as the dominant ruler in all three of her co-regencies. Her romantic liaisons and military alliances with the Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, as well as her supposed exotic beauty and powers of seduction, earned her an enduring place in history and popular myth.

She killed (or rather, had someone else kill) her own siblings in order to gain and then maintain her hold on power; however, she brought Egypt into a period of prosperity. She used her feminine wiles to gain the trust and acquiescence of two powerful Roman men—none other than Julius Caeser and Mark Antony—and in so doing, secured her romanticized place in history. She was the combined powers of Marilyn Monroe and Margaret Thatcher and Mary Magdalene rolled into one, in an era when women were still supposed to be the meek followers of men. (Wait, did that era ever end?) She represents the ultimate in sexy power, and even used her sex to gain that power. So what I’m left wondering is, was it worth it? Did she look back on her life as she drew the asp to her chest and think, “Well, at least I will be remembered,” or did she regret her relationships with Caeser, Antony, her own family?

I suppose we the living will never truly know.

30 September 2012


I totally thought Texas would have more of these...
Picture from here. Where are my cowboys!?
I love autumn. I love the smells, the deep sweet decay of leaf mould, and the spiced apple cider that I make practically every night until winter. However, I’m far from my beloved Virginia this autumn, and I’m discovering that September in Texas is a very different environment indeed.

For starters, it’s almost October and it’s still bloody hot.

Take a walk down memory lane with me now, if you would. Way back in February 2011, when I was choosing my Post, I was sick of snow. It had been an especially snowy and miserably cold winter in New York, and if I never dug my car out of another drift I would call it a win. Thus, when we were choosing where we wanted to spend the first three years of our post-graduate careers, I figured somewhere down south looked pretty darn appealing. Tequila, Mexican food, sunshine, cowboys (and I mean the manly type in jeans and Stetsons and boots, not the sports team)…yep. I wanted to go to Texas.

So fast forward to the present, and I’m not regretting my choice by any stretch of the imagination—I still firmly believe that I am in the precise right place at the right time to be leading the right people—but I am becoming increasingly aware that what I envisioned of my future when I pulled that little piece of paper off of a wall was somewhat wrong.

And it’s not easy for me in all my Type-A Virgo awesomeness to admit I’ve been wrong.

The weather here in the morning and late at night is perfect. I love it, even. It’s warm and cool at the same time, with a slight breeze, and although it’s a little too humid for my hair to thank me (yay frizz!), it makes me want to go find a forest to frolic through in the twilight. But mid afternoon? I don’t believe in 90+ degree weather after Mabon. There is just something not right about that. This late into the year I should be comfortable in jeans, not sweating! I don’t like sweating unless I’m actively engaged in a workout.

Either way, it seems to be a love-hate relationship I have with Texas weather. I can live with that for now.

23 September 2012

Dragons, Costumes, and Ghosts! Oh My!

My Mother of Dragons costume! If you
use this photo, please link back!
First and foremost: Happy Equinox! I had a lovely little private ritual last night, offering wine and berries to my deities and the local spirits along with some fall-themed poetry and prayers. There was, of course, lots of candle burning and meditating on the turning of the wheel and singing to the moon that I love so much.

And now, for some updates…

After weeks of late night creative strain and busy weekends with sore fingers developing calluses from all the sewing, I am finally done creating my Daenerys Targarian costume! To include, of course, a baby Drogon. Creating the dragon took the most time, but getting the leather vest right for the outfit was difficult as well. The skirt turned out pretty easy, but I’m still very pleased with the overall look. I have some more work to do on the wig—namely, making it a paler white-blonde and braiding a few bells into it, Dothraki style—but it’s a start. I’d like to lose a few pounds before I parade around Texas on Samhaine bearing my midriff, but I’m still a lot thinner than I was a year ago and way more in shape. My running times have shed minutes, and my endurance is way up. So while I may not be model-thin, at least I know I’ll stand a fair chance during a zombie apocalypse.

Rule Number One: Still Cardio.

Let me know what you think about the costume preview ☺ once I have someone other than myself who can take photos of it. The camera in the bathroom photo sorta diminished the effect of the outfit + dragon combo somewhat, in my opinion.

In other news, I’ve been asked by a friend to be part of a local paranormal/supernatural investigative group. Because of my ridiculous schedule, I couldn’t commit fully, but I did agree to help out and serve as a part-time consultant with a Pagan perspective. It’s a newly formed group, so they’re just starting to dip their feet in the ectoplasm, so to speak, but the crew seems to have promise and I’m looking forward to working with them. They’ve also expressed interest in trying to contact the ghost I share my apartment with (who has been rather quiet as of late, and I’m beginning to wonder if he’s finally moved on), so if that actually pans out, I might have something of more substance to blog about.

In the meantime, may your fall be blessed with a full harvest and lots of fun!

11 September 2012

Why Yes, I Am Alive. Sorta.

Completed Freya Statuette! Available for purchase now
from the Shoppe Between the Trees! AKA Etsy.
I can always tell I’ve been too long away from my blog when it asks me to retype my password instead of just remembering who I am. Tonight was one of those occasions. As I sit in the guest bedroom of my apartment, which also serves as my art-music-bejeweling-crafts-sewing-reading-etc room, with a glass of Aglianico wine (a particularly ancient grape, originally grown in Greece and then adopted by the Romans and found mostly now in Italy—albeit much less famous than their Chianti—which possesses dark, fruity, and smoky flavors of which I am particularly fond) in one hand and a mug of gunpowder green tea in the other, and having just finished reading another Daenerys chapter in the Storm of Swords (the third installment of the Game of Thrones books), I thus contemplate my lack of blogtacular ponderings of late.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve referred to myself as busy; safe to say, every time I start to think that surely I am as busy as I’ll ever be and soon this business will diminish and I’ll be able to return to my blogtastic awesomeness, I’ve been wrong. I only seem to get busier and busier as the weeks and months progress. If I’m not at work from 0500-1900 every day, only to return home with the minimal amount of energy to feed myself something that resembles dinner before plunging back into work for a few hours before finally collapsing in bed, then I’m working on one or another creative project. Or, when I lack the energy and functioning brain cells to do naught else, I’m reading a chapter or two of George R. R. Martin’s addictive, dragon-and-incest-riddled prose.

Incidentally, I’ve determined that this year’s Halloween/Samhaine costume will stray from my previous few years of Xena-esque Warrior Goddess while keeping with the hot-female-badassery theme by donning a white-blonde wig, leather, silk, jewels, and a dragon, and calling myself Daenerys Targarion. So far: skirt complete, wig purchased, leather vest half-complete, boots picked out (already owned them), and dragon half complete. All my baby Drogon needs still is a torso and wings.

Further updates on my life (before I plunge back into gods-only-know-how-long of silence):

1) Etsy Shoppe is still up and running, albeit low on purchase power at the moment. Perhaps I should go back to running ads so that my jewelry/paintings actually show up on searches.

2) My Soldiers seem to really like, respect, and want to emulate me. I’ve noticed the lower enlisted females have started wearing their hair the same way I wear mine, and at least half of my Platoon has told me on one occasion or another that I’m the best Platoon Leader they’ve ever had. Melts my heart :)

3) Still a single, raging feminist, suffering from an utter lack of male attention (Army doesn’t count. They have to listen to what I say; also I can’t date any of my subordinates) and wondering if ever there will come a time that I am capable of loving someone who loves me.

4) Still writing depressing poetry, angst-filled song lyrics, and painting chicks with swords and dudes with horns in an attempt to rid myself of afore mentioned angst. Oh. And I’ve finally started recording again.

5) Still Pagan. Yep. Definitely still Pagan. If you need further proof, check out the latest statue I *finally* finished painting! Yay Freya!

29 August 2012

Freya, Casper, And How Is It Only Tuesday?

Photo still from one of my fav childhood movies:
Casper, the Friendly Ghost. I might have one.
Despite lack of communication in the blogular sphere lately, I’ve been relatively artisticly busy lately. The disconnect—evident by lack of posting—is not for lack of thoughts, material, or otherwise lack of anything other than my cord that connects my camera to my computer. I molded, fired, and painted a lovely statuette of Freya, Norse goddess of Love, Sex, Beauty, the Hunt, and general Badassery. I snapped several fantabulous photos of said statuette. But unfortunately, I am unable to either post pics here or list the item for sale on my Etsy Shoppe. Sad day. Perhaps once I finish cleaning my apartment (starting with my living room) I’ll be able to locate the runaway camera cord. In the meantime, I suppose I’ll just have to tweet a few pics from my phone. Not nearly as high quality, nor nearly as exciting.

In other news, I’ve been running around like a headless chicken these past few weeks trying to get everything in order job-wise. You know, that real job that I have but rarely blog about because, let’s face it, there’s a bazillion Army Officers out there, so who wants to hear about what I do? Of course in the same respect, there is a growing Pagan population, not to mention the colossal numbers of amateur artists, writers, musicians, and other creative-type folks. So perhaps I’m not as original as I once thought. On the other hand, perhaps my originality lies in the blending of all these things…but oh wait, we already have a phrase for that: Jack (or Jill) of all Trades, Master of None.

But such is life.

Perhaps it’s the encroaching full moon that has me so introspective, or perhaps it’s the lack of sleep (wait, what time is it? why am I not still working? oh yes, waiting on an email), but something just has my head spinning lately. Even on the rare occasion I’ve been able to finish my work (my real, Army-type work) before midnight, I’ve been unable to fall asleep right away, left instead to muse in circles, awake and pissed that I’m still awake. Tonight I’m upping my usual nightly dose of one ginormous mug of Bedtime tea (two leaves & a bud to the rescue!) to two ginormous mugs of Bedtime tea. Of course, with my luck, this will only result in my sleeping through my five alarms and being late to PT formation. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we?

And in keeping up with the fine tradition of I-might-be-crazy-but-please-don’t-tell-anyone-as-I-post-publicly-and-only-slightly-anonymously-online-about-my-own-craziness, I think my apartment is still haunted. I’m not particularly astute when it comes to detecting entities of a ghostly nature, but in that half-waking, half-dreaming state of early morning semi-consciousness, I’ve been able to perceive a presence. I’ve done some research in ghosts—Walking the Twilight Path, Monsters: An Investigator’s Guide to Magical Beings, A Witch’s Guide to Ghosts and the Supernatural, and several other more generic examples of Pagan lit, and of course I’ve trolled all over the internet—and based on my interactions (such as they are) I have determined several things: My ghost is the spirit of a 13-15 year old boy, a victim of drowning some 200 years ago (surprising that his ethereal body has maintained this much cohesion, but water-deaths tend to do that, apparently), is totally OK with calling my Casper, and in fact might have a slight crush on me.

Oh yeah, and he also makes a great alarm clock. No joke. He yells at me in the morning when it’s the last possible time for me to get out of bed and still by chance make it to formation on time. Seriously. This has happened three times now. The first two times he poked me, the third time—just last week—I actually heard a young, male voice say, “You have to get up! Like right now!” So I did. He seems content so long as I acknowledge his presence, and he’s been thus far VERY well behaved whenever I’ve had guests over.

So either I’m crazy, or perhaps ghosts really do exist.

07 August 2012

Road Trips and Deployment Poem

Basically what I looked at every day for four months.
Yay empty desert and camels. Picture found here
I love road trips. I love getting to see the country in between here and there, wherever I happen to be going at the time: the roads that twist and wind through the mountains, shaded and dark no matter what the time of day; the roads that stretch on forever, straight and flat and open; the highways with a billion lanes and cars driving at reckless speeds. I love it all, I really do. With music blaring I’ll sing along obnoxiously, not caring who sees me or what they think. I’ll be rocking my aviators, dancing in my car as I drive. Sometimes I’ll reach my destination only to realize I’ve lost my voice in the process because of all the singing…no one else can hear me—there’s no one to judge me—so I can sing as loud as I want.

There have been quite a few roadtrips in my rearview mirror over the past year or so. I drove from Virginia to New York and back multiple times, Virginia to Missouri and back twice, Missouri to Texas, and now Texas to Virginia. I’ve got another roadtrip around the corner, but this one I won’t be driving myself. The family is heading up to Pennsylvania for an annual summer reunion. It’s always a lot of fun, mainly because we eat and drink and laugh and watch Star Trek and ride horses and just have a riot out in rural (and when I say “rural,” I mean rural) Pennsylvania. It’s a blast. Then shortly after we return, I’ll have to start heading back to Texas. It’s a two-day trip, and I usually take a break with a friend who lives along the route.

It is, as always, good to be back in Virginia. Everything here is so green right now! The trees are definitely dressed in their summer finest. There’s been a lot of rain this year, which likely accounts for the intense greenness. Even the grass, which is usually a little brownish by August, is a bright emerald. I went for a run yesterday morning along my favorite running road—well shaded, not so well trafficked, and winding lazily next to a creek—and just couldn’t get over all the green. Perhaps it comes as such a shock of color after spending so long in the colorless desert. Speaking of, as promised, here’s a poem I wrote while deployed, titled simply “Hell.” Enjoy!

There’s something buried here.
There’s a vengeance; there’s a need,
buried underneath the sand
     and piles of debris.
It rumbles with the wind;
it clings to our clothes,
and if it rears its ugly head,
     this desert may explode.

There’s something buried here:
an ancient, angry grief
under pebble-crusted dunes,
     swallowed whole,
          buried deep.
It stirs the blood of Soldiers,
chills the wary to the bone,
infiltrates our dreams with thoughts
     of never going home.

There’s something buried here,
and that something wants us gone.
It says, “You never should have come,”
     but we’ve known that all along.

16 July 2012

Firebirds and Sea Nymphs

Firebird. This is my own painting, so if
you use the pic, please link back.
Oi. The business never stops, apparently. And by business, I mean both business and busy-ness.

I’ve got good news and I’ve got great news. The good news is that I made my first sale from The Shoppe Between The Trees, which I placed lovingly in the mail this afternoon after work :) It was with both delight and a slight tinge of sadness that I packaged up the Sea Nymph Necklace and sent it on its merry way to my first customer.

The great news is that I also completed another painting, now posted on my Etsy page! This painting was inspired by my favorite bit of Slavic mythology, the Firebird, and bears the same name as that gorgeous and ethereal creature. If and when someone purchases this painting, it will also be a bittersweet moment. If you recall a previous entry about my tattoo in which I explain the significance of the Firebird mythologically and personally, you’ll understand why.

While the artsy craftsy side of me has been in full force lately, I’m afraid my music is slipping. I believe I’ve picked up a guitar once or twice in the past year (ironically, it was while deployed), and the only singing I do anymore seems to be in the shower. It never ceases to baffle me how when I increase my involvement in one of my hobbies (or my career, or my running) at least another one of them seems to be temporarily forgotten.

I couldn’t really keep up with my Pagan practice while I was deployed, but there were definitely moments when I remembered how to pray. Still, I’d like to take some time now that I have it—well, more or less—to reconnect with my deities and landbase. Any suggestions? Right now I’m thinking a semi-casual midnight ritual sometime this weekend.

09 July 2012

Grand Opening of the Shoppe

Camel Princess Necklace
I have several items of happy news. First and foremost, I’m back in the great US of A! I couldn’t be happier to be stateside again, and although Texas hasn’t been having the best weather since my (re)arrival, it’s a helluva cooler than it was in the desert I left. Second order of business:

My Etsy shop is officially up and running as of a few minutes ago! Check it out here.

I spent all morning taking photos of my jewelry, carefully handcrafted over the past two or three years, and then all afternoon editing those photos and updating the listings. There are now 30 items available for sale at The Shoppe Between The Trees. Thus, I’m feeling quite productive this evening.

I’ll be pretty busy for the rest of this week and the next, with reintegration training and other fun military functions, but I’ll keep you updated. For a preview of some of the sparkly goodness available for sale on my Etsy shop, check out the pics below. Clicking on the pictures doesn't seem to work as a link, but if you click the caption below each--including the one in the above left corner of this post--it will link you to the item listing where you can buy it.

Chrystal Nebula Necklace

Guardian Necklace

Lioness Necklace

Sun God Necklace

04 July 2012

Guess Who's Back...Sorta

So…did you miss me? It’s been a while.

To all newcomers to my fantabulous blog, welcome! To old fans and friends and random passerbys who decided to stay and browse, welcome back! I’ve been a little MIA recently, but if you’ll notice the World Between The Trees has a bright new banner at the top, and I’ve been slowly but surely updating the Bookshelf page with new character profiles and other Aorean-minded updates related to my stories. I’ve got pics of new paintings to post, an Etsy shop I’m getting ready to open, and a shitton of experiences to relay. Thus, the return of regular blogging activities will come with a vengeance.

My life has been hectic as all hell since I last posted. I deployed, took charge of a Platoon of the best Soldiers in the world, and came back to Texas with everyone in one piece. Well, technically there’s a few of us still deployed and waiting for a plane, but hopefully soon we’ll have the whole crew reunited stateside. Any day now. Promise. In the mean time, I have nothing better to do but write and read and blog and update and brainstorm and all that other good stuff, so I thought I would reopen the blog early. I also really wanted to post this lovely fanart one of my recent followers made for me, drawn on a piece of a cardboard box:


Isn't that awesome? I have fanart! Anyway, while anticipating the next blogtastic update, check out the new public facebook page! I finally made a public one to go with the franchise that is springing forth from my pseudonym. Originally “Anden Jade” was just a writing name that I intended to one day publish my stories under…and then it became a blog, and then a twitter, and now an Etsy shop! I’ll post here with the link when we have the official grand opening. In the meantime, hit up the facebook and *like* Anden Jade! You’ll note the signature spiral alpha in the banner on there, too.

 Blessed be )O(

10 February 2012

Off To Fight The Good Fight

A few quick notes:

  • I moved into a fabulous new apartment that I absolutely adore.
  • I've been filling up my dream journal like it's my job. Seriously. I've had a dream almost every single night since the start of 2012. My dream journal--the same book I've kept since 2009--was, prior to January 1st, only half full. I now only have maybe 10 pages left.
  • I am much handier with a toolbox than I ever thought possible! Ikea furniture did NOT defeat me.

Now that my random updates are out of the way, apologies are in order. Sorry for the long absence. I’ve been way busier than I anticipated, and it’s only going to get worse. Furthermore, I’m not sure whether or not I’ll have regular internet over the next couple of months…because I’m deploying. I won’t say where or when precisely they’re sending me (troop safety, etc), so just consider the blog on a temporary hiatus, at least until I get back from my deployment.

Until then, dear readers: take care, and blessed be.

17 January 2012

Some Military Stuff

Detail from my latest painting, Amazonia Reborn.
It's a shame that serving in the Armed Forces isn't
more like being a legendary warrior instead of being
shit on every day by everyone who outranks you.
So you know how I rarely talk about my career on here? Well, this post is pretty much Army-centric, so skip it if you're only interested in the more Pagan-minded of my posts.

So I may be deploying right away once I get to my unit. I finally found out why no one has contacted me from the unit I’m joining in Texas, and it’s because they’re not IN Texas right now. They’re downrange, fighting the good fight, making the world safe for Democracy and all that jazz. So. I could either fall in with Rear Det…or I could disappear for half a year and see what happens. I’m glad I haven’t signed any papers on an apartment lease yet. On the up side, deployments = good career experience, saving the world, an opportunity to actually serve and fulfill my commitment to the Constitution as well as my personal ideals, etc, and then at least I found out *now* as opposed to after I show up and say, “Hey! I’m here! …Just kidding. Won’t bother to unpack.”

Then again, this is something that it would’ve been nice to know, say, when they left. But whatevs. No re-writing the past, eh?

I guess we’ll see what happens. I hate this uncertainty. I know that the majority of my unit is gone right now, but since they still have a lot of people state-side, it’s like 40/60 chance whether I’m staying/going. It all depends where they need me, and that’s not something I can find out until I do show up and say, “Hey! I’m here!”

I just wish I KNEW what I’d be doing! It changes my settling in vs. just getting a hotel for a week plan completely. It's times like these that I really wish I were just a Firebird.

One more week, just one more week, and then I’m out of this miserable state…at least until I hit O-3, that is.

Have I mentioned how much I hate Missouri?

Below is the full-size version of my latest painting. Enjoy. Since it's my work, please link back if you copy it. Thanks.

14 January 2012

Seriously, This Time I Mean It.

Apparently she's a real-estate agent in Dreamland,
or at least she was the other night. Pic from here.
We had our last class on Thursday, so now all that’s left is to pack, outprocess, and head to Texas. I should be settling in by the end of the month with my new unit, apartment, and all that jazz. I’m excited, but a little anxious, which I’ve been able to tell by all the random dreams I’ve been having about the move. Last night I dreamt that I was driving to Texas and kept getting lost, and all I wanted to find was a hotel I could stay at for the night before I went apartment shopping. The night before that I dreamt that Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black’s character from Farscape) was my real estate agent, and she was showing me around a huge apartment, all painted white, complete with ten floating microwaves based on “an early Peacekeeper design.”

Really, I don’t know where my subconscious comes up with these things sometimes.

Other than that, I’ve finished writing the dialogue sketch of the final chapter in Aorea: The Spinner’s Journey, which puts me one step closer to actually finishing my first novel, woohoo! Before I write a chapter of my book(s), I always write out the barebones of each conversation that takes place in that chapter, like a screenplay or a script. It’s just character name: what they say. I’ve found it makes the actual writing process when the chapter comes around much simpler, as I’m just fleshing out the bones. It’s a process that works for me. For those of you who also write, what process do you use?

Now I’ll leave you with the lyrics of my latest song, composed during the final day of class, expressing (as usual) my pent-up frustrations. I’ve titled it “Seriously, This Time I Mean It.” Enjoy!

Standing in the rain,
wanting to see your face,
if only to hit you. I want to hurt you,
     to make you feel this way.
You’re really an ass, you know.
A class-A jerk off. No, no, no…
I think I changed my mind.
I’d rather not hit you, I just
     want to leave you behind.
I hate this open sky;
I hate this damn denial.
I can’t wait to get out of this state
     and re-start my life.

Five years from now,
     I will not know your name.
I will not remember why I
wanted you in the first place.
And ten years ahead,
     you won’t even exist
to me. You’ll be just a dream
     that faded before it lived.

Filling up my car
with boxes in the dark,
so I don’t have to see the mess
I’m leaving, not thinking about
     where you are.
I guess I’ll miss my friends,
but hey now, in the end,
the ones I want to see, I’ll see.
As for you? We better
     never meet again.


Before I leave I want you to know
with every mile I put between us,
     I’ll be happier.
And when I arrive to my new desert home,
You won’t cross my mind, not once.
     I’m done. It’s over.


02 January 2012

God/ess Statues

So I’m back in the (not so great) state of Missouri. The Bad News: I’m here. The Good News: I’m only here for three more weeks, roughly. Anywho, I’ve been a busy little (Pagan) artist in the past week. I don’t have an oven in my apartment, so while I was at my parent’s house in Virginia I decided to make use of their baking capabilities to get back into my sculpting. For quite some time I have been wanting little statues of my m/patron deities, but as an artist I always have a hard time buying anything that I could make myself. Furthermore, I believe that things we create with our own hands have more power than things someone else—or especially a machine—creates. Thus, I bought a pack of polymer clay and I went to work.

I couldn’t complete the statues in Virginia because I’d left my paints at my apartment, so I had to wait until I drove back here to add color. Anywho, the way I have chosen to represent my deities may not be the way they’re usually represented, but it’s to the best of my modest abilities I have fashioned god/ess statues as I see them. I took some pictures of the finished products, posted below. Enjoy!

In her many incarnations throughout the centuries, Diana has been the virgin goddess of the moon and the hunt. However, she existed prior to the Roman mythologized version (linked with Artemis after the Greek influence), and that’s the version I follow. I honor Diana at the Full Moon.

The Morrighan:
Irish goddess of war and (somewhat) sex. She flies over battlefields in the form of a Raven and mates with the Daghda at Beltaine. Pretty badass. I honor the Morrighan at the New Moon.

A Celtic god, Lord of the Forest, Lord of the Animals. I associate him with the Green Man, and although he’s usually depicted with the antlers of a Stag, but in a dream once he looked more like a satyr, only without the goat legs. Although I do not work with him as often as I do Diana and the Morrighan, but now and then he pops up in my meditations.