31 October 2013

Fall Festival And Other Updates

My vendor display! Check that awesome banner.
Well, the Fall Festival came and went, and then my unit went out to the field. We have a brief reprieve before we head back out into the wastelands and shrubbery that pass for woods in Texas, and then you won’t hear from me again for another two or three weeks. But alas, so many updates and so little time. I’ll just hit the highlights and then get back on my merry working way.

The Fall Festival was a success, all things considered. The weather held out, so the worst of the wind and rain didn’t hit us until it was time to take down the vendor tents anyway. I met some wonderfully nice people (only one of whom attempted to “save” me) and handed out numerous business cards. Did I mention I have business cards? Now, whenever someone makes a purchase from my Etsy shoppe, I will have a lovely business card to send with the item ordered! I might have overkilled the number I purchased but I plan on using them for many, many months and years to come. But back to the Fall Festival. I made several purchases, and my one regret is that I did not make a gift of one of them. There was a young woman, perhaps in her teens, browsing with her father. She absolutely adored one of the purple, leaf-shaped pendants I had made, strung on a black suede cord. She wanted it and she asked her father for money. It was one of my more inexpensive items, as there was not a lot of heavy beadwork and the piece did not require hours and hours to assemble, but her father—without even asking the price—simply growled, “No,” and then stomped away. Head hung, she followed after him. Now, looking back, I really wish I had just boxed the damn thing up and handed it to her with a whispered, “Shhhh…don’t tell anyone I’m this nice.” However, it all happened so quickly that she was gone before I could make a gift of the pendant. Le sigh.

The Festival ended all too quickly, although meeting that many new people and having to wear a smile all day was quite exhausting for me (especially considering my hermit-like tendencies). I could also have done without the grabbing hands of snot-nosed children tugging on my jewelry displays…I mean, is it so much to ask that if you are going to allow your four year old to touch EVERY single necklace and bracelet and pendant I have available—quite enthusiastically, mind you—that you at least consider BUYING one for yourself? Or them. Either way, ugh. Here endeth all discussions of Fall Festival until, well, next time.

In other news, I recently received confirmation that I am moving to a new unit. I’m not leaving my present station—that’s still a year or two in the future—but I am moving to the other side of post. I’m not sure what my job will be over there, but hopefully the grass is indeed as green as I imagine. Sure, I hate my current job, but I love the people I work with, and the people I work for could definitely be way worse. Nonetheless, I am curious/excited/nervous about the job move. It could be good or bad, and fingers crossed for the former.

My friends and I celebrated Halloween (well, sorta) last weekend, heading down to Austin in our LOTR themed costumes. The Hobbit among us was quite the hit, so we’d usually send him into the bar first, at which point people would giggle and ask for his photo amid “OMG you are a HOBBIT” declarations. His response—“Just wait, I have my whole fellowship behind me”—would be the cue for the rest of us to roll inside with our elfin gowns, wizarding robes and dwarven beards. We had a blast.

Naturally there were some confused stares and “Game of Thrones?” queries, but hey—we can’t all be lucky enough to be nerds.

Finally, I’m afraid I must leave you on a somber note with a request for prayers and healing thoughts. A friend of mine was recently struck by lightning while training in the field and has been in a coma since. Please direct healing energy his way, and light a candle for either a swift recovery or a painless transition to the other side. No warrior wants to go out that way; we'd rather live long lives with our broken knees and stories about the good old days and how the Army got soft, or else we'd like to go down in a blaze of glory. Training accidents and nature strikes are not what is supposed to slay us.

08 October 2013

Reviving Vasilisa

My Firebird painting? Totally relevant.
Trust me. If you copy, please link back.
Warning! This post references a LOT of my much older blogtacular ramblings as well as some outside concepts best explained by others, so it's a little on the link-heavy side. Now on to the updates!

As I posted over on the book of face yesterday, it’s official: I will be a vendor in a Fall Festival hosted by a local Methodist church this weekend! Not exactly my usual clientele, but perhaps they will still like my obnoxiously colorful jewelry with nature and faerie themes. I am leaving my post-apocalyptic paintings and goddess sculptures at home, and instead I will be focusing on showcasing the mounds of jewelry I’ve made over the past year or so. So, if you are in the central Texas region on 12 October, swing by Grace United Methodist Church’s Fall Festival, at which yours truly will be sporting a lovely table with all the sparkly goodies from The Shoppe Between The Trees and then some!

In other news, you may not hear from me towards the end of October and mid November. My unit will be in the field for a large part of the fall, and I will not have access to the endless interwebs (nor, much to my deployed fiancé’s distress, a phone). I will attempt to take a break from the insane amounts of Samhaine and Handfasting related crafting projects I presently have underway to post an update on how the Fall Festival went, but no promises! I have four more Halloween costumes to finish, another dress to make, a dress to re-size, and gods only know what else has slipped my mind. Our guest bedroom has become my room of unfinished crafts.

Bottom Line: posting may be sporadic throughout this Autumn, so I will try to make them worthwhile when I can. Now, onto the good stuff! Today, let’s ponder about a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and has caused me much pondering of late.

Давайте поговорим о русских сказках, в частности, Василису Прекрасную! Or, for you non Russian speakers (which according to my stats are the majority of you, but believe it or not my blog does get regular traffic from all over Eastern Europe), let’s talk about Russian fairy tales, specifically, Vasilisa the Beautiful! This is not the first post I have written about Russian folklore, nor is it the first dedicated to that dutiful daughter who faced Baba-Yaga and won. Now, as some of you likely know, I majored in Russian and International Relations in college, and I wrote my Honors Thesis about Baba-Yaga as a symbol of initiation into adulthood. Thus, I have always had a soft spot for old bony-shanks. And, as the Slavic Cinderella, I have always had a soft spot for Vasilisa as well.

Vasilsa and Baba-Yaga represent two opposite ends of the spectrum of womanhood: one is an archetypal maiden; the other, undoubtedly a crone. One is just beginning her life, and the other is both ancient and timeless as death. Vasilisa undergoes a change in the tale, growing from an innocent child into a young woman. She comes from her humble, girlhood roots to earn her right to be an adult, and at the end of it all she is a woman ready for marriage. This is a common theme in Slavic folklore. What you don’t see as prevalent in Russian myth as in some other cultures, are the heroines who are clearly the heroine, but remain unmarried. Cue: Daphne. The endgame of every Slavic fairy tale in which a woman is the lead is marriage. Even in many of the male-centric adventure stories, the heroes complete their three tasks and at the end, they marry the princess. We see this theme repeated in Disney movies, in other culture’s fairy tales, in modern literature; this theme being that You, as a human being, are not complete until You are part of a Married Couple. Obviously I am making some generalizations here—there are plenty of counter examples available, even the Rusalki come to mind, albeit they are not heroines by any stretch of the imagination in traditional folklore—but my point is that, according to myth and other cultural stories, we as humans are not complete until we are aligned and bound to our other halves, and those who remain single—particularly if they are female—are somehow….wrong. Rusalki, the firebird, Baba-Yaga, crazy-cat-lady.

And I don’t necessarily agree.

Sure, Vasilisa is a great heroine, a wonderful role model for obeying her elders even when they are clearly full of crap and do not have her best interests at heart. She’s a great passive character, perfectly passive, even. She obeys her evil stepmother. She outwits Baba-Yaga by listening to the advice of a magic doll, for frak’s sake. But as naive as she may be as a child, I do not think she is necessarily more fully human once she exits the Yaga’s hut and marries a prince. To reference the all-wise Buffy, her cookie dough is done baking when it is done baking, regardless of her relationship status. The end game is to become more fully who and what you are, not necessarily to find that other someone to make you perfectly happy (and then by uniting with them, becoming complete). You are complete when you reach self-actualization, in psychological terms, and it has nothing to do with being single or married.

I know this may sound hypocritical for someone in a committed relationship; however, happy as I am with my fiancé, I am not necessarily a more complete human being now that I have him around. Or, had the case been otherwise, if I had settled on a her instead of a him. Things just happen, and sometimes you find someone who you fit with, who also happens to fit with you, and things work out so perfectly that it would take a clinical idiot to ruin them. I’m lucky enough that I found such a relationship. But I am still an independent, complete person. I am not an independent half. I am not a half of a whole. Neither is he, for that matter. Yes, I believe that he is my soul mate, and that we have lived many lives together already, and that we have been searching for each other unknowingly in this life until we finally met. Yet our being with each other in the present does not invalidate our time before we met. We were as human before as we are now.

Is my cookie dough done baking? Of course not; as long as we live, we are changing. We are in a constant state of flux. We grow, we deteriorate, we decay, and then new growth eventually takes place from the ashes of the old. Whether you are Vasilisa the Beautiful, Baba-Yaga, or Ivan the Fool (perhaps more on that particular hero one day), you are a complete human being simply because you are. You do not need another person to make you whole; you are whole already.

02 October 2013


I miss the woods where I grew up.
I miss the mountains, miss the trees.
I miss the ever-present, overwhelming
     sense of mystery.
I miss my friends from childhood
(even those who were mean to me).
I miss the way my heart would break
     every time a boy didn’t talk to me.

And I’ll never get it all back;
life goes on even when your soul is cracked
     in half.
I miss the wind over the lake.
I miss the sunburns, miss the rain.
I miss the utter certainty that I would
     never change my name.
I miss the grass beneath bare feet.
I miss playing the lava-game.
I miss a home where I belonged;
     since I left, nothing’s been the same.
And I’ll never get it all back;
life goes on even as the gods, they laugh.
And I’ll never reclaim those days;
innocence lost, imagination chained.

But if you keep holding my hand—
my love, my hunter, my king, my man—
I might just make it through;
even a perfect past can’t compare
     to a future with you.

01 October 2013

Not Fading

Dudes with horns holding Greenman masks?
Won't be for sale at a Christian-run Fall Fest.
First off, I promise I’m not going anywhere! I know it’s been a little while, but I promise I won’t fade away for half a year again…at least not any time soon. My day job has just been incredibly busy as of late, not to mention a very full social schedule as I attempt to fill up as much time as possible and therefore stave off the encroaching omg-my-fiance-is-still-deployed-and-I’m-trying-not-to-think-about-how-much-that-freaks-me-out loneliness. So yeah. I’ve been busy. Nothing new, of course, but some weeks are busier than other weeks, and the last two weeks I barely had time to breathe, let alone blog, and I probably only slept about two to three hours a night.

Secondly, MABON WAS AWESOME! I am aware that writing in all caps on the internet is frequently interpreted as yelling; however, yelling, in this case, seems very appropriate to me because it’s one of those things I really just wanted to shout at everyone I saw. The running commentary in my head, while I was busier than ever at work, was something along the lines of this:

Me (thinking): “Omg, I had SO MUCH FUN camping out in the woods and celebrating the autumn equinox and it was SO RELAXING that I just want to scream, and hello random person I work with who knows very little about me and probably already thinks I’m crazy—I want to tell you ALL ABOUT Mah CAMPING WEEKENDDDDDD YAY! But we are in a meeting so instead I will keep my mouth shut and continue doodling in my notes.”

But I digress.

Thirdly, as I recently mentioned on my public facebook page, I may be a vendor in an upcoming festival! I was approached through my Etsy shop last week about perhaps participating as a vendor at a local event, and so after some thought—the crowd didn’t exactly seem like the usual clientele for fantasy, mythology, and Paganism inspired jewelry/art, so I was hesitant to agree outright—I eventually accepted and submitted an application. I should find out in the next few days, after they review the photos of my merchandise (I decided to forego the art and just offer jewelry), I should find out whether or not my acceptance of their interest in my jewelry is…accepted. Convoluted, I know. The whole time I kept thinking, “Wait, you approached me…I have to apply to what? And then you’ll decide? Odd.” But I don’t make the rules; I simply must abide by them if I want the opportunity to share my sparkly, overly colorful jewelry with my local community. I figure, at a minimum, making things gives me so much joy, that this is my chance to share it and hope that my little creations bring as much joy to others. Once I know whether or not I got accepted to be a vendor, I will submit more information about the festival here and on facebook and twitter and and and….

So, definitely a little excited about everything going on in my life. Now, if only that Orion of mine can hurry up and come back from playing in the sandbox so that he can join in on all the exciting newness, that would be grand.