erynn: Gaelic merman image (lynx at first glance)
I actually had rather an interesting conversation with the neighbors about the various wildlife sightings in the area recently. One neighbor, in the little pocket house between our condos and the next set over, had apparently seen a bobcat a few days ago. She said it was a positive identification sighting, with the spots and the tufted ears and the bobbed tail. I can certainly believe someone in the area might have sighted one; there's enough scrub and bits of forest in the area to provide reasonable cover and food sources for a bobcat population.

There was an alleged cougar sighting (immature, most likely, if it was actually a cougar) by one of the neighbors in our condo complex. She said it was sunning itself out in front of Sally's place (my next door neighbor). I'm not sure this is likely. I don't know how much territory an immature cougar (which would presumably imply mature cougars also in the area) would require, or how much wild land it would need, but I'm not sure the Silver Lake neighborhood would quite do it. Then again, one sometimes sees deer, foxes, or coyotes in downtown Seattle. Stranger things have happened -- like deer and coyotes in downtown building elevators. Still, Sally called fish and wildlife and they said they'd have to take a report from the person who actually says she saw the cougar to determine if the sighting was what she believed it was. I'll be interested to hear if that was actually the case. I can report that I've been slightly uneasy walking the DoDC+3 at 2am the past few days, because if it really is a cougar, he's about snack sized.

The eagles are back in the area again. Apparently nesting crows have been chased off and the guy who lives next door on the other side has seen eagles in the tree where the crows had been nesting. He thinks there may be an eagle's nest there, but the foliage at this point is too thick to see if there is a nest structure. Eagle nests tend to be fairly large. We know there's an eagle's nest on the south end of the lake. I noted that I'd repeatedly seen ospreys in the area myself, though the others in the conversation hadn't realized that there were also ospreys in the area.

Anyway, that's the day's wildlife report.

I think I was still so rattled when I left the restaurant after I had lunch that I left my green scarf there. I'm going to have to drop by on my way into Seattle tomorrow and ask if they found it. That means I'll have to leave something on the order of half an hour early, I suspect, as I need to take a different route to I-5 than I usually do. Not looking forward to it, but I'm not interested in losing that scarf, either. I may just call first and see if anyone found it, to save myself a trip if they didn't.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (writy Watson)
I got my copies of The Scribing Ibis today. None of the italicization in my text survived, but the book looks good, regardless. It's sweet to have yet another one on the shelf of "Stuff Erynn's Done."

Hex Magazine emailed me today with the copy for the old amanita muscaria article from "Shaman's Drum" that they're reprinting. I went over it for proof reading and corrected a few typos, then sent it back. It's apparently going to press Friday, so that was my priority project for the day. Glad that's done with. Like Circle of Stones, this is from quite some time ago. I can definitely tell which bits I wrote and which bits Timothy White wrote.

[ profile] dmiley and his wife headed out for the ferry about noon. We had some pastry from the french bakery next door for breakfast and went for a walk around the lake before they took off. It was great to have them here and I wish them the best in their travels and a safe trip home.

Mom reports that Ray and Diane's house is still there but apparently some of the bank washed out, so it's very lucky the house is still there.

As to undermining bits, I went out with the DoDC+3 a little while ago only to find that there's a sinkhole in the parking lot. Apparently when the lot was paved, there was some kind of rectangular cement enclosure under it that was just capped with asphalt. I'm surprised it hadn't collapsed before. The hole isn't very big at the moment, but could get to be at least three feet long if it collapses along the whole underground structure. There's safety tape put up around it and I imagine it will be dealt with soon.

I'll be off to the AFK tonight for the steampunk meetup. Sounds like about half a dozen people will be there, so it'll be nice to catch up with folks.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Join the Illuminati!)
An article published recently (that I just saw) essentially said that their real names policy will not change because they intend to be an "identity service." I don't want to be a part of that.

Even though I use my legal name in many places online and have for years, people should have the choice to be anonymous for their own safety and for the purposes of speaking out when it is necessary. I'm not talking about trolls here -- they'll happen whether they are anonymous or not. I'm talking about saving people's lives from stalkers, about keeping identities safe from people and organizations that persecute others, about leaving people the hell alone if they want their privacy. I just can't countenance the whole "identity service" idea. Anyway, that's why I'm ditching the account. I still have gmail attached to my website, but I'm reconsidering that, too, to be honest.

In other news, mom says that her cousin Pat's ceramics shop is, for the most part, fine. Here's the relevant bit from her email:

Patty's business survived the situation unscathed miraculously. Only minor traces of structural changes due to the flooding of the basement. The building is actually owned by her ex-husband (I did not know or had forgotten that) and he was getting the basement dried and will doubtlessly have to have it inspected for safety. But nothing at all happened to Patty's space or her inventory or kiln, etc.

I'm so delighted with that! It's quite gratifying to hear. Still don't know about Ray and Diane over on Water Street on the other side of the river, but I have hopes that it's a similar situation.

For anyone interested in seeing photos from the area, there are some photo galleries at the Greenfield Recorder down at the bottom of the page. Have a look. Some of it is really amazingly bad.

More in a bit.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (It's raining)

This is about 2:20 long.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (It's raining)
A report from western Mass under here. )

Mom said that there had been landslides onto Route 2 up on Florida Mountain between Charlemont and North Adams, and the road is impassable at the moment. She heard from one of her friends whom she hadn't been able to get in touch with and the friend is okay; water didn't come into her house, just up to the sidewalk. The house of some friends on Water Street in Shelburne Falls is still standing, though I'm not certain what condition it's in -- Water Street is the one that runs along the Deerfield just above the banks. My mom's cousin Pat owns Stillwater Porcelain, right on the water in Shelburne Falls, and I haven't heard anything from mom about her or the shop.

It's so strange to see this happening to places I grew up and where I spent so much time, and to people I know and love. At the same time, I disconnected emotionally from the place years (decades?) ago and I feel very distanced from the whole thing, as though I'm not reacting as strongly as I think I should. Yes, I'm worried for friends and family, I'm concerned about them, but it's like something happening at an immense remove. I find that emotional distance disconcerting. Maybe it just illustrates how I don't think of these places as "home" anymore.

I do know that when I start seeing opportunities to make donations to recovery efforts there, I'll be giving what I can.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (It's raining)
This note from Massachusetts:

A section of the Deerfield River in Charlemont, upstream from Shelburne and Shelburne Falls, is flowing at 38,000 cubic feet per second, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. On an average summer Sunday, the whitewater release would be between 800 and 1,000 cubic feet per second.

I've seen some youtube footage of the flood in Buckland and Shelburne Falls, including one bit with a building that had been washed downstream, though we didn't actually see the building go.

As to my day here, it was actually pretty good. [ profile] gra_is_stor and I went out for a walk in Forest Park here in Everett. There are some nice trails there, but I got skeeter-bitten, having forgotten that they tend to congregate in the woods. We came out to a more open area and sat there for quite a while, just enjoying the afternoon, before we came back here.

I made a rhubarb cobbler with gluten-free flour, since she is very sensitive to that kind of thing. The raw dough tasted slightly beany -- it's largely made of garbanzo beans -- but the finished cobbler tasted very nearly like it would have with wheat flour. I have to say, I was very pleased.

We went down to Seattle for tango in the evening. I danced some, but my knee decided it was unhappy with me, so I didn't get to do as much as I'd have liked. We danced and I got to practice a few things. I'm still really trying to just feel my way around, but it's fun. I ended up driving her out to West Seattle to drop her off, as her apartment is still pretty uninhabitable due to paint fumes.

The trip to the Shinto shrine had to be rescheduled to Tuesday afternoon, due to some kind of emergency that's requiring Barrish Sensei to be in Canada on Wednesday. That's been settled, though, and we'll be able to attend that day.

Tomorrow, hanging out at home to do some writing and cleaning the house up a bit for visitors on Tuesday and Wednesday.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (It's raining)
This is a link to a photo on the yfrog photo site. I'm guessing mom's cousin's ceramics shop on the banks of the Deerfield in Buckland is a serious mess right now. I hope everyone is safe.

My mom's husband Al drove up into the teeth of the storm and is in New Hampshire right now. His son is dying after a long struggle with his health; it will probably not be more than another few days. Mom will be flying up to join him as soon as she can manage. I can only send my thoughts to them in the midst of all this.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Patrick's Lorica)
I got email from my mom about the situation in western Massachusetts. I'm not going to post much, just a couple of sentences about places I'm familiar with. I will preface this with the fact that, as far as we know, all the family and friends are safe so far.

Shattuckville is under 16 feet of water, the BRIDGE OF FLOWERS is under water, as is the iron bridge between Buckland and Shelburne Falls.

Apparently much of the Mohawk Trail (Rt 2) is underwater, and there's some problem with one of the dams on the Deerfield River.

Pretty scary shit.

Stay safe, everyone.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Caracal cat)
Today I was epic and got shit done, for which value of $shit = laundry + dishes + schmooze stuff + picked half a gallon of red huckleberries. I spent too much time bent over berry bushes (three-ish hours, I think) and my back and hips hurt like hell, but I have three small one-cup containers of berries in the freezer, one in the fridge, and a mini-cobbler sitting cooling on the stove at the moment.

I was glad to get the suggested reading things to the Puget Sound CR list today. We'll be dealing with animism, and with plants and animals, so there was a ton of potential stuff available. I suspect September's discussion will be fairly lively. I sent in a request to Barrish Sensei about a possible shrine visit on Tuesday, but I'm not entirely certain what time David will be in town, so I can't agree to an exact time until I have a few more details. Barrish Sensei is out of town until Monday, though. David will be in town from Tuesday to Thursday before he and his wife head to Orcas Island. I can't meet him Wednesday due to my VA appointment.

I got a note from the VA about a potential opening in a research study regarding mindfulness meditation and yoga for stress reduction and dealing with gastro-intestinal issues; I'm interested but am willing to put money on it that this will be happening in the mornings and I simply wouldn't be able to participate. I'll call tomorrow afternoon anyway, just to check on it. It's an eight-week study with weekly meetings and one seven-hour session on a Saturday. There are three two-to-three our assessments during the course of the thing as well. I'm sure it would be interesting but there's no damned way I'm driving down to the VA during morning rush hour for a stress reduction class. It would be completely self-defeating, given how stressful the drive itself can be.

Tomorrow I'll be heading down to Seattle in the afternoon for the showing of Footloose at Cal Anderson Park in the evening. Beyond that, I'm pretty tired and achy right now so I have no idea what my Saturday will look like. Sunday is the poly potluck and discussion, with [ profile] gra_is_stor's harp performance.

And on that note, I shall drug myself into a reduction of pain and try to get some sleep.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (writy pooped)
I took [ profile] gra_is_stor home again this afternoon. There was still some paint smell in her apartment, though not as bad as it would have been over the weekend. She was going to open some windows to try to air it out further.

We watched Buckaroo Banzai today and took a walk around the lake before I took her home. I showed her salal berries and red huckleberries at the park. There were a lot of ripe huckleberries. I'm going to try to get down there with a bag in the next couple of days and do some picking if my legs are up to it. Before she left, I printed out copies of three Gaelic songs that were possible candidates for music for Samhain this year, so I've got a little movement on that bit, at least.

On the way home, I stopped in the Roosevelt district to drop off a little dvd player I'd sold to one of the local Druids. We chatted briefly. She's wanting to make some extra money writing books and I had to explain to her that making $500 to $1,000 a month on writing takes a lot of doing and she's not going to get rich off a couple of books. So many people think that if you write a book, the money is just going to magically start rolling in, and it doesn't work that way at all. I said if she wanted to actually make money writing books, she had to have at least a dozen of the things in print, preferably more, and all selling steadily. The authors who make a lot of money at it are the exceptions rather than the rule.

Wednesday I have shrinkage down at the VA. I'll probably be hanging out at Travelers afterwards for a cup of chai and some reading. Tomorrow I really need to get into gear and find some reading materials for the September schmooze. I have some ideas, I just have to actually sit down and do some web searches and figure out if some of the stuff I want is online. I'll also need to pull a short stack of books from my shelves to cite as suggested supplemental reading for the group.

And now, this tired Erynn is going to hobble off to bed. The poor DoDC+3 hasn't snuggled up with me at night since Thursday and he is feeling sorely neglected.

Goodnight y'all!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (erynn999 merman)
I spent the majority of today working on two things -- the Queering the Flame essay, and sorting and shelving my catalogued Celtic books as I browsed through them looking for source quotes for the essay. The essay itself has gone from 8 to 10 pages in the last couple of days, so I'm pleased with my current progress, though occasionally frustrated by my efforts to find particular sources and quotes. I spent the better part of an hour poking through a box of photocopied papers looking for Patrick Ford's The Well of Nechtan and "La Gloire Lumineuse". I was ultimately successful (I knew I had a copy somewhere), but I also found that it is available on Googlebooks as one of the in-the-clear sections of Myth in Indo-European Antiquity. The entire book isn't available, but the fact that this whole section was is very useful.

One of the things I hit upon today regarding the tradition of perpetual flames in Ireland is an idea that actually supports a Christian origin of Brigid's flame. This is that traditionally all the flames in Ireland were extinguished and had to be re-lit from the Bealtinne fires atop the hills. If this tradition is true, there would be no Pagan perpetual flames in Ireland. The idea of a flame's perpetuity may well come from Patrick's lighting of a flame on the hill of Tara before the druidic flame was lit, and the prophecy that if the flame were not extinguished that very night, it would always burn and would eventually mark the fall of Paganism, as related in Muirchú's Life of Patrick. The salient quote is this:

The wise men answered: "'O king, live forever!' This fire, which we see lit this night before the fire of your own house, must be quenched this night. Indeed, if it is not put out tonight, it will never be extinguished! You should know that it will keep rising up and supplant all the fires of our own religion. The one who lit it, and the kingdom he is bringing upon us this night, will overcome us all—both you and us—by leading away everyone in your kingdom. All the kingdoms will fall down before it, and it will fill the whole country and it 'shall reign forever and ever.'"

Were the perpetual flames at Christian monasteries actually symbolic statements of Christian triumphalism? I think it's possible. I think it should be explicitly stated that it doesn't matter if the origin of Brigid's flame is Christian or Pagan, what really matters is the practice as it is used today in Pagan spiritual communities, and the intents and benefits of those practices.

I'm still working through [ profile] mael_brigde and [ profile] alfrecht's notes as I mess with the article. I have to keep going back and to make sure I haven't missed anything significant. I haven't looked at the article as a whole since I've added a couple of pages, but I'll probably do that tomorrow, after I've finished up working on it for the night. It's still not anywhere near finished, but it's fleshing out nicely at this point, which always feels good. It's hard to stay focused, but I think I've managed to do so reasonably well today, despite the several-hours' interruption for shelving books and digging through photocopies. Of course, now the library floor is covered with paper, and that'll need to be dealt with tomorrow at some point. I really need to develop a better filing system than "pile shit up." It's nice, at least, to have my space to myself again so that I have room for stuff like this and don't feel guilty about invading someone else's space when I have to keep going back and forth into the library for things.

Today was overcast, but significantly warmer outside than it looked. It rained for a while, though it didn't pour down buckets like it did the other day. When I was out walking the DoDC+3, I happened upon a little green and brown Pacific Tree Frog in the grass of the dog walking area, which is the tiny species of peepers that sing outside at night. I was kind of tickled to see it. According to wikipedia, they're the only species out here that sings like that, so I know I've identified the culprits. It was really quite cute. They're apparently capable of changing their color to a limited extent to match their environment, which is pretty cool. I hadn't known frogs could do that.

I'm feeling very crampy tonight, and my right hip is giving me fits. I hope that I'll be doing better tomorrow, but I suspect not. With any luck, I'll be through the worst of the crampybits by Monday, when I'm supposed to go talk to the guy who's interviewing steampunks. I sent him an email asking where he'd like to meet, but haven't heard back yet.

In the mail today, I got a cd and a final first edition copy of Nazza, a little volume of poetry by the young poet from Vancouver who came down to visit a couple of months ago. It has a blurb from me on the back, and one from a guy who wrote a book about Greenpeace. I haven't had a chance to listen to the cd yet, but am looking forward to it.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Totem emerald moth)
I was just out taking the DoDC+3 for his nightly constitutional when I heard a thup behind me. I turned around and found this: )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
Lake Crescent and the Hoh Rainforest.

6 photos )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
Landscape photos from Mount Rainier National Park.

5 photos )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
This batch are photos of a Roosevelt Elk we saw on the trail at the Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rainforest. We only saw this one on the trail. When we were leaving the park, we saw an entire herd of them, but we needed to get back to Forks so we could get dinner and didn't stop to take photos of the herd. We were both really hungry by then.

4 photos )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
These are detail shots from Mount Rainier and the Hoh -- flowers, berries, wood.

5 photos )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
Environmentalists generally suggest wind power as a reasonably harmless, renewable resource. Unfortunately, even this isn't without its cost. Wind turbines end up killing thousands of birds and bats in their operation. The video on the Oregon Field Guide site linked here talks about some of the problems and potential solutions for this issue; apparently wind turbines are to migrating bats as dams are to salmon, which is really disturbing.

Of course, nothing human beings do is consequence-free. Staying informed helps us make better decisions.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
Today I took a trip with [ profile] yiaya up Chuckanut Drive to Larrabie State Park. It's a gorgeous little place, and the drive up Chuckanut is really fantastic, though the road is narrow and twisty and it has been out already this year with landslides. Yes, [ profile] alfrecht, we stopped at the Japanese garden on the way out! More on that in a bit.

Birds, Photos, Prayers )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
Well, one friend, to be specific. [ profile] yiaya and I will be taking a day out in the woods. We hadn't decided whether it will be mountains or water, but it should be nice. The weather recently has been very typical of winter around here -- moderate, wet, and overcast. I'm not sure how long the hips will last, but we'll give it a good shot anyway.

Friday is the ritual for Arlen, on into Saturday, then Sunday out to the Shinto shrine for the annual amulet barbeque. It's promising to be a busy weekend. I'm not sure whether I'll get any writing done until early next week, given the various commitments.

[ profile] yiaya will be by about 11am to pick me up so I'll be crashing soon.

Everybody have a great day without me!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
A link from my flist about how animals exercise morals through play behavior. Reminds me a lot of the moment of butterfly altruism my mom witnessed a year or two ago in her garden. Very cool article. Certainly supports Kropotkin's arguments about evolution through mutual aid.

And now I'm going to bed. I have to get some sleep before my appointment tomorrow, after all.


erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)

September 2013



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