erynn: Gaelic merman image (GIR likes FOOD!)
Today we did some further talking and research for the spirit work and PTSD presentation. I pulled out some materials to photocopy for tomorrow, when we're down in Seattle. We passed references and PDFs back and forth and made notes and updated outlines.

For dinner, I roasted a duck. We had the rest of the borscht from a couple of days ago, and I also made a caprese salad; we had all that with some chianti. Dessert was a baked pear with fresh ginger and some mace then, once everything had settled, we had a little Mexican hot chocolate with rose water. Pretty good stuff. I spent the rest of the evening making duck broth and picking the meat from the carcass to use later.

I looked into why I hadn't yet received the tickets for the upcoming Medieval Women's Choir concert, and Brown Paper Tickets said that nobody's had been shipped and to pick them up at will-call. I'll do that, but last year we got the tickets mailed, and I taped them into the calendar for the days when the concerts would be held. That helped so I wouldn't forget when the concerts were. The holiday concert is at St James's Cathedral, Saturday, December 15th at 8pm, if anyone is interested in attending. They're featuring Medieval English carols this year.

Also today, I made a reservation to go to the local Sherlock Holmes society's Holmes Birthday Dinner on January 5th. They're still awfully 20th century. Their website is not particularly functional, they don't really have an email discussion list (or any other online forum), and they still take RSVPs generally by mail with a check. I don't think I've used checks since I swapped over to BECU, several years ago. Anyway, I can carry cash with me for the buffet, so that's dealt with, at least. I ran into these folks at the Sherlock con down in Seattle and they seemed like a nice bunch. It should be fun getting together with them.

I need to start ordering books to take along with me for PCon in February; I'll have to email Storm about copies of the ogam book and Circle of Stones, and I need to order more copies of Fireflies as well.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (GONZO!)
Today we worked on our presentation on spirit work and PTSD. We've got some good outline material together, and have sorted out some of our sources. [livejournal.com profile] druid_medb and I are definitely on the same page for most of it, and where we do disagree, it's very minor. We'll do some more work tomorrow after we've talked more about some of the material we want to cover.

This morning's email brought a note from RedBubble saying that the iPad cover was actually for an iPad 2, which is very slightly smaller than the iPad 1, and I'd forgotten that I had the first iteration of the thing. I got it just before the 2 came out. Anyway, they sent me a refund and said go ahead and keep it - give it to somebody, hang it up as art, whatever. So, does anyone have an iPad 2 and want a really cool hard case for the back that says "Get Fucking Epic and Do Shit"? We can work a deal, if you like. Let me know.

This evening we went and hung out with the steampunks over in Lake Stevens. The place we were in closed at 8pm so it wasn't open as late as we had expected. This is likely to become an issue. We went in on our scouting trip for the place on a Thursday, and their hours are different that night. Anyway, after that, I took [livejournal.com profile] druid_medb over to the AFK and introduced her to the awesome that is my local gamer geek tavern. She was suitably impressed. Upon arrival home, we watched Steamboy and had a lot of fun with that.

Tomorrow will be more work on our presentation, as noted above. Thursday is the VA, and she will be staying Thursday night in downtown Seattle in walking distance of the train station, as the train leaves before 9am, and getting her there through rush hour traffic would mean an unseasonably early departure time from Everett. She's good with that and has made her reservation at an inexpensive place in Pioneer Square. We'll head over to the VA for my appointment, then spend the afternoon/evening down in Seattle before I drop her down in Pioneer Square for the night.

All is well. Happiness abounds.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Orpheus I see...)
First off - I was nowhere near Seattle today, though I had friends downtown during the rioting. [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson had headed off before [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and I got up. I could hardly sleep last night because I hurt too much, so I ended up getting up about 3am and staying up until around 6:30, though I think I got a little sleep between then and noon when the alarm went off. Ish. I think I remember getting one of those fecking robocalls from the VA reminding me of my Thursday appointment around 9:30, which is precisely why I turn my damned phone off most of the time.

While I didn't get a callback from Comcast today, somebody claiming to be from Comcast left a name and contact address on yesterday's entry, so I have sent a brief inquiry to that address to see if it's genuine or some weird phishing thing. If it seems legit I'll talk to them, but I'm not going to be giving any information that can be used for evil - no passwords, no financial information, etc. Anyway, we'll see what happens.

I re-read my essay in Disability and Religious Diversity last night while I wasn't feeling well, because I had to go over to UW Bothell today and talk at the class. This time I had the building and room numbers, so I actually got there a little ahead of time, as I had intended last time when I did this. The class was good. It's always difficult to talk about PTSD and sexual trauma in front of a group, but so few people are willing to do these things that any open discussion of it can only help to awaken people to the scope of the problem. I felt like I did a good job, at least, and a couple of people came up to talk with me briefly afterwards. It's always pretty emotionally draining to do something like that and I'm vaguely headachey at the moment.

When I got out of the class, I headed over to the AFK for the evening's steampunkery. I had enough time to be mostly done with dinner by the time folks started arriving. We chose a date for the Cthulhu film festival here (The Call of Cthulhu and A Whisperer in Darkness) -- folks will be coming on Sunday, August MAY 13th from 5-9pm, (August? wtf was I thinking?) which should provide enough time for both movies and some socializing. I need to send out a couple of separate emails, but the Steamrats list has been notified. I've asked for RSVPs so that I know how many people I'll need to stuff into my space.

Tomorrow I think I only have Irish class, which means going down to Seattle, but that should be after the worst of rush hour is over with heading south, given that class is at 7pm. I'm hoping I'll get at least a little sleep tonight at some point.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (ow. Robertson Davies)
It was another gloriously sunny day today, in the high 60s, and I went for a walk around the lake again. I forgot to put the knee brace on first, so I was kind of creaky when I got back (hip as well as knee), but it was a good walk. I stopped for a minute to take a couple of photos of some Canada geese and their goslings on the lake as I was on my way through the park.

Photobucket

When I got back, I wrote up a brief author interview for someone's blog. I'll post a link here if/when he posts it. The interview was about writing and publishing, so a little different than the usual Pagan stuff though, of course, Pagan stuff got mentioned because it's what I write about. He's also interested in disability issues, as he has Spina Bifida and has been in a wheelchair since he was 5, so I also talked a fair bit about the whole geilt and PTSD connection as well, and the challenges of writing with fibromyalgia, chronic pain issues, and migraines.

Today's online Isle of Man trip research netted me a web cafe with wireless access in downtown Douglas, on Victoria Street, open from 9am to 6pm, about 4 miles from the campsite I'll be staying at (and not far at all from the ferry terminal), so I should be able to be online for at least a brief update most days. I've also located Keeil Vreeshey, which is the ruin of a St. Brigid chapel, so I'll be doing my best to get out there while I'm running around. I'm thinking that renting a car for a day or two might be a really good idea so that I can get to some of the more outlying areas easily. My google-fu, let me show you it!

Last night's roast duck is currently being turned into broth for lentil soup for tomorrow. I'll be taking the bones out shortly and stripping the remaining meat from them. I walked down to the Safeway to pick up leeks and some other supplies for the soup and whatnot. I did have some veggies, but not the right sort of thing for lentil soup. I did wear the knee brace for that walk, and it helped a bit, but I had to take it off after I'd been sitting for a while when I got home. I was too tired to do much for dinner, so I made some thick hunks of toast with the kalamata olive bread I have, topped it with some goat cheese, then covered it with gravy I made from last night's roast duck. It was fabulously delicious, and I still have gravy left over, so I can do something like that tomorrow, as well!

Shiuwen from Floating Leaves sent out an email saying that from now until Saturday all the tea is 20% off, as she's clearing the decks for her trip to Taiwan in May to bring home the spring season teas, so I'm going to have to head over there and pick up some of her House Black, if she still has any in stock. I haven't been over in some months and have been out for a while. I've been drinking tea bags of English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast instead of the good stuff. ;)

I talked to Teo Bishop today on Twitter about his blog post and said I was planning on doing a response to it. He was pretty excited by that and was looking forward to seeing what I had to say, and he told me he'd link people over to my post when I have it up over on Searching for Imbas, so that'll be nice.

I did a small crafts/repair project today as well, having nothing at all to do with either the pilgrimage or writing. I have an old eyeglasses case that my glasses came with back in the 90s. It's metal and the little plastic padded case inside started coming loose. The faux leather outside wore off several years back and it has been just some slippery fabric that was rather difficult to open. I'd dealt with that temporarily by putting some duct tape in the places where I'd grasp it to open it. It was not the best solution, but it was what I could do without really thinking about it. Today I took a hot glue gun to the interior so that the part that's come loose is affixed once again, then I took an old, worn out Tibetan prayer flag and glued that to the outside. The fabric is rough enough to offer a good grip, and decorative enough to be pleasant to look at. There are a couple of photos of the finished project behind the cut here.

Two photos ahead! )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (asclepius rod)
Military.com put out this little notice:

Study Finds PTSD Gene Link

Week of April 16, 2012

Stars and Stripes reports that a recent study has identified the genes that are linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). "The existence of a study population with clear genetic links, common family histories, and exposure to a single trauma allowed researchers an unusual opportunity to distill information about genes' role in PTSD," said UCLA psychiatrist Armen K. Goenjian, who led the study. An abstract of the study is available in the April 5, 2012 online edition of the Journal of Affective Disorders.


And, of course, the study is much more ambiguous than this. I don't doubt that at some point, however, they'll try denying PTSD compensation to people based on genetic traits that might suggest predisposition to PTSD.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (foggy coast)
Today was the CR schmooze; as noted yesterday, I wasn't too clear on what we were to be talking about, but we did have an interesting conversation. A new person showed up whom I'd met last year at Eight Winds, and I don't think we terrified her or anything, so perhaps she'll come back again to talk with us.

My anxiety today was bad enough that I had to medicate for it. I dislike how the anti-anxiety meds make me feel, but they're at least slightly preferable to that horrible feeling of an impending panic attack. It was enough to get me through the evening, thankfully.

I left Everett a little early so that I could drop off stuff about the pilgrimage at East West Books. That was about a two minute stop. Some kind person had stuck their parking tab onto the kiosk so it could be re-used (it had over an hour's worth of time still on it). I used it for a few and stuck it back on the kiosk myself, to pass along the good karma, as it were. After that I hauled myself over to Travelers, where I ran into [livejournal.com profile] nathan_fhtagn and another friend. I was reading a book but we did have crossover conversation, and Nathan says he'd be interested in coming when I screen the Cthulhu movies from the HPLHS, Call of Cthulhu and The Whisperer in Darkness, so I got a contact email for him and will include him on the list when the dvd arrives and I have some idea when I want to schedule it. He's off for Providence I think this weekend to do some stuff out there (with [livejournal.com profile] meddevi, perhaps?), so I'll be wanting to schedule it for when he's back.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and [livejournal.com profile] joyful_storm both came by Travelers for chai. I'll be wanting to talk with [livejournal.com profile] joyful_storm again about travel stuff, as she's a much more experienced traveler than I am when it comes to the European stuff. She had a couple of suggestions for places to look for light, comfortable, multipurpose clothing that will work for packing into one light carryon bag. She said she'd email me links.

After the schmooze, I went off to Remedy to have tea with [livejournal.com profile] thewronghands and we sat and talked for about 90 minutes, catching up with a bunch of things. She's only in town for two days, so I was glad to have the chance to see her. She said she liked [livejournal.com profile] dpaxson's The Way of the Oracle that I brought back from PCon for her, though I haven't had the chance to read it yet. I asked if she'd like anything from Ireland and she said that a field guide to Irish plants or trees would be awesome, so I'll see about finding one when I hit a bookshop in Dublin or Sligo. I'm sure there are a fair few of them out there. I know that I like field guides and natural histories, so I'm hoping I'll have a good feel for what she might want in one of those. When I was there last, I bought a field guide to birds because I had seen a few that had fascinated me, but I had no idea what they were. Knowing what I'm looking at helps so much in orienting myself to a new place.

We talked a little bit about traveling solo and other similar stuff, and it turned to Badass Women In Seattle (we're looking at you, [livejournal.com profile] lakmiseiru, [livejournal.com profile] canyonwren, and [livejournal.com profile] varina8, among many others). There really are a lot of amazing women we know here, who travel the world alone, who climb mountains and kick ass and save lives, who keep on doing astonishing things despite the health problems that nature handed them. I'm so delighted to know so many of you! Lucky Erynn is one lucky Erynn. We also carped about the right-wing and their attempts (far too successful recently) to rescind every fucking right that women have gained in the last 50 years; anyone who thinks we don't need feminism needs to fuck off. I am a human being and I refuse to condone a government that tries to tell me I'm not. GRAR.

I also noted that [livejournal.com profile] thewronghands really needed to be introduced to [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor because they have a fair bit in common. She said it sounded like an excellent idea, so we shall try to arrange that when she's going to be in town for a bit and we have some scheduling options.

[livejournal.com profile] druid_medb got back to me and clarified about the whole Eight Winds versus PCon contexts. Both of us were having fibro fog and got a couple of wires crossed, but we're good now, and much more clear on what it was we were both attempting to convey. There are both Eight Winds and PCon components to what we were discussing and we just needed to sit down and sort where the salient points slipped by us. Eight Winds is definitely more of a personal with a few other folks in on it type conversation about some of the warrior stuff, geilta, and PTSD, with another private conversation on other issues, while PCon would be more involved, a lot more public, and more formal.

Tomorrow is my Skype chat with [livejournal.com profile] vyviane, there may be some steampunkery at the AFK, and [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor will be coming up before her band practice then heading out to play music with her friends. I really have to deal with sheet changing and all that kinda stuff. With my arms hurting like they have been lately, stripping and re-making the bed has been a challenge, so I'm hoping I can get a little help with it before she has to head for the rehearsal space.

Still way too busy, but at least working on getting some things done.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (ow. Robertson Davies)
I woke today about halfway through the Sunday #writechat, which was rather slow and sparsely attended, presumably because it was Easter Sunday and a fair few people were off doing things with family rather than hanging about yattering with fellow writers. Still, I had fun as I usually do. It's an enjoyable crowd.

Laundry was done while I was chatting, then I tossed myself into some clothing and went for a walk around the lake. It was a lovely, warm 68f today, and partly sunny, so it was pretty much ideal for a walk. I very much enjoyed it, and the park was pretty crowded, as you might expect on such a day. My knee was twinging a bit as I went. It wasn't enough to stop me, but it was fairly creaky. I'm probably going to want to talk to the VA about getting a knee brace sometime soon. If I'm going to walk, especially if I'm hiking overseas, I'd like to be a little more sure the knee isn't going to give out on me at an inconvenient moment - not that there's a convenient moment for joints collapsing, but you know what I mean.

Last night I'd walked over to the Safeway and picked up a few things, including a couple of lamb chops, one of which I had for dinner tonight with some asparagus, brown rice, jerusalem artichokes, and a glass of Boujoulais, which suited it quite well. It was all very tasty, and I hadn't really felt much up to cooking recently because I'd been too tired and there wasn't a lot here that I really felt like eating, nor was there much beyond pasta or a can of beans that was just something I could do quickly and without a fair bit of effort. I dislike having so little energy, but I've been taking B vitamins again and it seems to be helping a bit with that. Sadly, it doesn't do jack for the insomnigrackles.

[livejournal.com profile] druid_medb emailed back about Eight Winds and was very much into opening up the discussion, but I think she took it as being potentially rather more than I'd have the bandwidth to help out with. She suggested maybe a ritual (a tentative suggestion), but I don't have it in me to deal with something that involved before I leave in July. I suggested maybe we could do something at PantheaCon next year instead, considering this is pretty heavy duty stuff and I don't have the skills to deal with it if somebody goes all splodey on us. She certainly has more than I do, but I don't think Eight Winds this year is the right time or place. We'd need a lot more time and preparation to pull something viable together. That said, I do think it's an excellent idea to consider for another time and place. Depending on what's going on next year, maybe at Eight Winds in 2013 instead.

This evening I did some more work on the links document for the pilgrimage preparation. I've got something for all the various places we are (or might be) going, and most of the deities and other figures we might deal with as well, so we'll see if this is what Vyviane had in mind when she asked for something. We'll talk on Tuesday at some point, so I don't have too much longer to wait and see if I need to deal with this differently.

Monday is the CR schmooze. I guess the idea is dealing with a definition of cosmology. I'm not in charge of this ride, so I'm not too terribly worried about it. I've got other things to keep my brain spinning its wheels. I'm also meeting [livejournal.com profile] thewronghands for tea afterwards for a little bit, pursuant to a conversation elsejournal. Wednesday is Irish class, Thursday is group at the VA (which I should actually get to this time, gods willing) and probably meeting [livejournal.com profile] isquiesque afterwards. I may also be seeing another friend, but am not so certain on that one. I was supposed to see her last Thursday but something came up and she asked to reschedule for this week. Saturday is a birthday party, Sunday is the Great Spring Ceremony at the Shinto shrine and a chat with some of the people from Sisterhood of Avalon. All in all, a pretty full week. I hope I have the braincells.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Breakin' Ur Geasa)
I was contacted a week or so ago by [livejournal.com profile] druid_medb about the article I'd written on geilta and warrior stuff. She's a vet herself and has been working as a veterans advocate for people working their way through the VA system. As seems to be a thing at the moment, there's a lot of interest in the more mainstream spiritual and counseling communities in rituals and approaches to dealing with PTSD for returning veterans, and the work our group has been doing, and a fair bit of my own work and writing falls within that area. I sent her off the geilt article and she was very interested in the whole thing. She asked the other day if we could talk while we're at Eight Winds this June, and I suggested maybe we could do an impromptu discussion of the material with interested folks who might be in attendance.

She said that there would probably be a number of vets/military there, and some folks on the treatment/services side as well, who would undoubtedly be interested in such a discussion. So we're looking at how to put this together, when we might do it, and what we'll want to do about distributing the article and other potential material when we're there. I may end up hauling copies of a few things depending on how many people would consider joining the discussion.

In line with this, A is going back to the middle east soon and asked if we would do the warrior blessing ritual again in May, before he leaves. The local group is in planning for that. We have a couple of potential dates and the organizing committee is looking for a place to do it. Last time, we did it out at my place, also using the tiny park across the street at the lake. We're doing a much shorter version of the ritual this time, as he's already been through it once, so it won't be an overnight vigil but a more condensed version to only take about 3 to 4 hours.

I had a short text exchange with Vyviane about scheduling a discussion regarding the upcoming chat with the Sisterhood of Avalon about the pilgrimage and my work. We'll be talking on Tuesday afternoon (my time). She's been out of town and very busy and won't have time until after Monday, and I need to catch up with her and make sure everything I'm working on is what needs to be done. As I've said many a time before, not having ever done this previously, I don't necessarily know if what I'm spending time on is actually what needs to be done, so I'm feeling a little tentative. She's done this for years now and knows what all is expected and what works and what needs to be done, but I feel rather like I'm groping in the dark. Getting a reassuring word now and again helps me feel like I'm on the right track and doing what I should be working on.

A trip to the grocery store netted some rhubarb and some early strawberries (a two-for-one package sale). I may end up doing a cobbler, though I haven't decided if I want it to be strawberry-rhubarb or just rhubarb. With strawberries, I often feel it's too sweet, but these are probably not the ripest strawberries on the planet and therefore not necessarily overly sweet. It might work out well. If [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor is feeling better soon, I might do the cobbler with a gluten-free crust so that she can have some, too. The strawberries, regardless, would go very nicely with my honey yogurt anyway. I froze the remainder of my pseudo-posole this afternoon so that I can have it later instead of having to eat it all right away. Yay freezers!

Tomorrow, #writechat, #poetparty, and laundry, along with whatever note-making and writing I can get together toward the trip again. I opened up the notebook I'll be using for the pilgrimage and trip to Europe and wrote that in the first page, slipping one of the pilgrimage postcards into the little pocket in the back. I'll add all the contact stuff, a list of folks I'm tying ribbons onto the clootie trees for, and travel information to it in the next few days. I got one with blank rather than lined pages, and will be sticking in bits of maps, making notes, and stuffing it with postcards as I go along, as well as various meditations and journal entries. I'll use it as my writing notebook for our ritual and creative writing/poetry prompts work as well. I may or may not have it full up when I get home, but I'm intending it to be a record of my journey.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (all your books!)
Today I got email from Scarlet Imprint about the Mandragora anthology, which is due for release in its initial edition on May 1st:

Dear Friends,

Our latest title, Mandragora: Further Explorations in Esoteric Poesis, edited by Ruby Sara, is now available for subscriber pre-order.

Pulled from the ground, its shrieks threatening madness, carved and anointed, given form and breath… so it is, the Word walks.

Mandragora is a companion volume to Datura, and some 100 pages larger, comprising nine extensive essays and the works of 48 poets. If you enchant, incant or evoke this is essential reading.
We are committed to the art of poetry.

It has been a major undertaking, and now the mandrake gives forth its fragrance.

Our poets and writers are:

Adriano Camargo Monteiro, Adrienne J. Odasso, Alexander Cummins, Alison Leigh Lilly, Anna Applegate, Anthony Rella, Ariana Dawnhawk, Brock Marie Moore, Caroline Carver, Chris Page, Christopher Greenchild, Craig Fraser, Erynn Rowan Laurie, J/J Hastain, Jenne Micale, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Melusine, Jimmy T Kirkbride, Jose Leitao, Juleigh Howard Hobson, Juliet Johns, Katie Anderson, KH Solomon, Levannah Morgan, Literata Hurley, Mama Whodun, Mark Mandrake, Mark Saucier, Mark Valentine, Michael Routery, Mike Slater, Miriam Axel-Lute, Orryelle Defenstrate-Bascule, Paul Holman, Paul B.Rucker, Peter Dube, Peter Grey, Phil Legard, P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, Rebecca Buchanan, Ruby Sara, Scott Schroder, Shaun Johnson, Slippery Elm, Stuart Inman, T.Thorn Coyle, Valentina Cano, Voxx Voltair.

In addition to the rich wilderness of poetry represented in these pages, Mandragora also presents nine essays on the nature of the strange, mad, chymical wedding of poet and magic, and the occult euphoria that follows it through time and space. Throughout these pages we glimpse the ghost of Orpheus, that god-touched and wandering patron of verse, in explorations of the poet as seducer of the gods, the role of verse in ritual theatre, and the poet in relationship with the Muse. Twice we are invited to fix our hearts on the lives and works of specific voices from the history of esoteric poetry in essays on Ted Hughes and Fernando Pessoa. The prophetic voice of the poet is explored, specifically in relationship to Brigid, as is the role of poetry in the grimoire tradition, the use of the cut-up technique in poetry and magic, and the relationship of poetry to the ongoing conversation between science and occult practice. In these essays the poetic word is grounded in tradition and history, rooted in thought – a face given form and a spirit animating its limbs.

Essays:

The Poet as God-Seducer - P.Sufenas Virius Lupus
Black Venus and Wise Hermes - Phil Legard
On Cut-Up - Alexander Cummins
A Spell to Awaken England - Peter Grey
Magical Verse in Ritual Theatre - Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule
Burying the Poet - Erynn Rowan Laurie
On Pessoa - Jose Leitao
Houses of Death - Jimmy Kirkbride
Head of Orpheus - Michael Routery

Mandragora - Further Explorations in Esoteric Poesis
Various, Ruby Sara (Ed)

264pp, pinched crown 240 x 170mm in fine, hardback, paperback and epub/mobi editions.
The standard hardback Carpophorus edition
450 exemplars (50 hors commerce)
Bound in an exquisite copper crushed cloth. Stamped in black foil with La Mandragora.
Black head and tail bands, black embossed endpapers.
Archival quality paper.
£40 plus postage

The fine-bound Chthonia edition
32 exemplars
Full antique goat, sunk coffin device with copper blocking.
Magnani Firenze handmade endpapers.
Copper edges, slipcased and finished to the highest standards.
£185 plus secure postage.

http:www.scarletimprint.com/mandragora.html


I got email the other day from Justin Moore, who did the wonderful and fascinating presentation at last year's Esoteric Book Conference on The Library Angel. He's apparently developed an interest in things druidic, and the bardic traditions. He'd been interested in some of my work previously but hadn't realized who I was when we met at the conference until he was on his way back to Cincinnati. Sadly, he won't be attending this year, but we did talk a bit about the differences between the romantic/antiquarian druidic traditions and the more reconstructionist approaches in our brief email exchange; he also had a few questions about some of my earlier work, particularly the essay in Philip Carr-Gomm's The Druid Renaissance. I'm hoping to hear from him again soon, if he has time.

Today was a new session with the VA spirituality group. We have a couple of new people, which will change the dynamics slightly, but the women who come to join us have usually been pretty good people, so I'm looking forward to participating with them.

A little further discussion has been had on the cover design for the new edition of Circle of Stones, and I have to remember to find some time this weekend to find a couple of sample graphics for Andy, and to look at some font collections for the cover text.

Tomorrow is my outing for the steampunked Pirates of Penzance at the Village Theatre in Everett. There may be snacks before or dinner after, though I haven't got all of that cleared with [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor just yet. I know it will be quite the contingent, and all in our steamy finery. My head is twinging slightly tonight, so I'm hoping I won't be migraining tomorrow, as that would be exceedingly inconvenient. Rain and wind have been a bit much today, though the drive home from Seattle did provide me with a really nice rainbow arcing almost straight up into the sky as I came around the curve on I5 toward the Lynnwood/44th Street exit.

Nicole has asked me once again to come and speak to her class about the geilt and PTSD paper on May 1st, which I will most likely do unless I find myself swamped with too many things to do. I do need to put that into the calendar.

More stuff is going on than my brain can handle, I sometimes think. I did get a little more reading done in one of the Brigid books I've been working my way through. I need to take another look at the pilgrimage preparation timetable and see what's next on my list. Today on Twitter I made the acquaintance of a folklorist and (apparently) botanist going by @irishflora working at the Folklife Branch of the National Museum of Ireland in County Mayo. She'd been tweeting some stuff about ogam and trees, and a couple of people recommended my book to her, so we had a short chat before I had to head into Seattle today; she seemed really interested in my book and said if the pilgrimage group was able or interested, we should come by the museum. She says it's not all that far from Sligo, though I'm not sure what "not far" means in this context. I took a look at a map but am not certain of the scale of things in terms of travel and whatnot. Still, it would be fascinating if there's time at all while we're in Sligo for that part of the trip. She says that part of her work involves education on participation and ownership of Irish culture, heritage and tradition, which is of course right up my alley. I'm sure we'll have some interesting conversations, even if I don't get over to the museum while we're there.

So much stuff. So little time.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (17 onn)
Today I bought my ticket from the Isle of Man to Liverpool on the Manannán. The ferry leaves Douglas at 3pm on July 28th and arrives at 5:45pm. The ferry from Dublin to Douglas, however, leaves at 1am and arrives in Douglas at 5:45am -- the departure time isn't unreasonable for me, as a night owl, and I do have a reserved seat, so I'll be able to sleep. Getting to the dock at a little after midnight to check in might be challenging, but I can always get a cab if necessary. I didn't reserve a seat on the ferry to Liverpool as they have a cafe and a restaurant on board, apparently, so I can nurse a cup of tea for a fair while and they may also have wireless. If the weather's good, I can go out and wander on deck a little as well.

This evening I was also able to catch the sib online on Skype just before he headed out to work. I sent him my flight information from Venice, and told him when I would like to be picked up in Prague. He says he's very excited, and that my timing is excellent, because I managed to get him out of a big inspection/war game. I'm very much looking forward to the road trip from Prague down to northern Italy.

My flight from Venice leaves early-ish, in the 7:30am range, so I'm not sure if we'll spend the night before in Venice or if we can drive in. That'll be up to him. For all I know, he may have a friend there with a spare couch or something that we could crash with. I've been updating my itinerary doc with the various notes about flight numbers, departure and arrival times, and all that stuff. Once I have all the various tickets and reservations for lodging, I'll fill out the rest of it with contact information for the places I'll be staying so that I can be in touch while I'm in the area. I'm also going to leave information about where I'll be and who I'll be visiting with a few people here, like [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor, so that folks can check in with me if I've been silent for anything resembling a suspiciously long time.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the various B&Bs in Penrith that I've contacted. If I can't get one, I'm sure there's a motel or hotel in town that will have a room, probably for a somewhat equivalent price. I checked into the one hostel I could find in town but, sadly, they're already pretty much booked up for the season at this point. They're right along the Coast to Coast bicycle route and always have cyclists and backpackers there in the summer.

I took a trip over to Lowes today to pick up some diamond bits for the dremel. I will need to get a couple more, as the moss agate is rather harder than I'd expected and I've worn the diamond off the ones I got. What has been truly fascinating is that the high speed of the bit's movement means that there's a flash of fire inside the stone as I'm doing the work, so it feels very magical.

While I was at Lowes I also bought a new horizontal blind for the lanai door. The vertical ones have been kind of mangled by the DoDC+3 when he freaks out about the other dogs outside. If the blinds have been partly closed, he'll end up biting them, so he's destroyed a couple of the slats. With the horizontal blind, I can just lower it enough for privacy, but not so low that he can reach it and bite it when he's in one of his frenzies. That should resolve the issue. It is, however, a two-person job. [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor says that she'll help me out when she gets here tomorrow afternoon before her band rehearsal.

Today was, again, a very headachey day. My stomach has been giving me a lot of trouble as well, as I think I noted last night. Today I finally gave up and took a tramadol, an extra pill for the acid problem, and also one of the anxiety pills, which seems to have helped a bit, as both my stress and my stomach are calming down a bit. I've eaten really sparingly today and had only one small cup of oolong tea when I got up so as to have enough caffeine in my system to be sort of functional. I'm still not quite together, but with the slightly lowered anxiety level, the stomach does seem to be reacting less. Right now I'm having a bowl of mushroom udon.

Lastly, I did a beta for a friend's fic today, and had a lovely time reading it over. I think the fandom in question is really going to enjoy the story.

I've not been sleeping well lately. I really think the stress of crossing the Canadian border hit me harder than I expected. The stomach trouble has been manifesting since I got home from the trip, and I'm sure that the border crossing crap has had something to do with it. The anxiety about buckling down and dealing with booking transportation and lodging has also taken its toll. Believe me, I'm not at all sorry I'm doing these things, but I have to remember that I do have PTSD and an anxiety/panic disorder and that doing something so very far outside of my comfort zone is going to cause my anxiety to spike pretty hard, with all the accompanying physical symptoms. At least when I have some idea of what the triggers are, I can try to step back and work through it. It's hard, but worth doing. Excitement is its own kind of stress and I have to remind myself of that. Even happy things mess with my system, sometimes too much.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Inis Man)
I had a rather bizarre half-asleep experience last night. There were a couple of thumps on the mattress I was sleeping on and I looked up to see a large white shape with a curvy white "neck" coming up out of it. My brain went "swan" and then went "that's too small to be a swan, it must be a snow goose." The next immediate thought was "how the hell did a goose get into the house?!?!!?"

It was Fintan's kitty ass and his curvy tail on the chair above me. *headdesk*

I'm happy to report that, when last seen, [livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde was doing very well. She was hoping to go off for a meditation session, I think, when I ducked out a little before 10am this morning. Her mom had returned from a relative's house, and I packed up Garuda to go.

There was about a half hour to 40 minute wait at the border. When I got there, the border guard (who wasn't hostile, just fucking clueless) asked how I have the time to come up and take care of a friend during the middle of the week. I said I was a disabled vet. This usually stops their questions. Sadly, he was ex military and wanted the gory details. I gave him as little as possible and spent the rest of the trip back fuming and furious. He had apparently never actually met anyone who had been sexually assaulted in the military and wanted to know about the whole thing. I mean, I give him props for wanting to learn about it but it's very bad form to ask a random woman at the border about being assaulted, thank you very much. Way to be all triggery and shit.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor was still asleep when I got here but got up because, of course, the DoDC+3 went ballistic when I put the key in the door. He was exceedingly excited to see me. (She was pretty happy too, I must say.) I dealt with my stuff, grabbed a shower and changed my clothes (it was too chilly this morning at [livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde's before I left, and I didn't want to keep her when she needed to leave), then we curled up on the couch and watched Big Trouble in Little China and giggled hysterically.

I grabbed some teriyaki chicken for lunch/dinner and [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor practiced her harp while I pulled together some of the pilgrimage stuff and dealt with emails and whatnot that needed attention when I got home. I spent time in chat with an AT&T rep asking questions about overseas phone and options and now know what to do while I'm in Europe for short phone calls and text messages. I won't be getting a data plan, but the phone calls will be .99 a minute (except in Prague, where they will be $1.39 a minute) and outgoing texts will be .25 each (.50 in Prague, all incoming are free). That means I can take my own phone with me and not worry about having to deal with finding one over there for when I have to arrange to meet people. I'll just have to keep things as brief as possible, but for me that's rarely a problem with the phone.

I've sent off emails to [livejournal.com profile] fififolle and [livejournal.com profile] eydimork about transportation issues and options, and will be contacting [livejournal.com profile] tdancinghands regarding the Prague end of things for picking me up at the airport sometime soon. I've checked out airfares (EasyJet) from Liverpool to Paris and from Paris to Prague, and can do both for a total of just under $200. Getting from Paris to Vennes is a detail I'm having to ask [livejournal.com profile] eydimork about, as the website for the train was in French and they don't book tickets until about 3 months out anyway.

I did finally get a date for the Dublin to Douglas end of things after the pilgrimage. They sail once a week and I can make the trip on July 22nd, so I bought a ticket for that trip. I'll buy the Douglas to Liverpool for the 29th when I hear back from [livejournal.com profile] fififolle about travel options from Liverpool to Cockermouth. There are several sailings a day from Douglas to Liverpool, so I just need to figure out what time things need to happen in order to (a) get there on the ferry Manannán and (b) get to reasonable transportation to get me to Cockermouth. This is in progress.

I've contacted a B&B in Penrith for the overnight there to meet Stephen, the ceramics artist, at Potfest in the Pens, then back to Liverpool for the trip to Paris. Once again, train schedules are not available until 8-12 weeks before booking, so I haven't a way to tell just yet what will be available when, though I do have a target time for the Liverpool to Paris flight. Once I've got things more closely nailed down, I'll book the EasyJet flights. Their carry-on dimensions are slightly more generous than RyanAir's so that's good by me.

I've got a short list of questions for the folks at Rick Steves' Travel in Edmonds tomorrow. My appointment is 4pm.

Why do I feel like a grownup?
erynn: Gaelic merman image (all your books!)
I finally finished one of the books I'd got from the Suzzallo today, and hauled it back. The last few sections didn't have much that I actually needed or was particularly interested in at this point. I was too tired to do much else today. I'd really intended to be in bed before now, but such things are sometimes not to be. The group at the VA today was pretty good and I was glad I'd been able to make it.

Next week there's no group and I'll be going up Tuesday to see [livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde to help her out, as she had surgery today. I'll be gone from the 19th to the 22nd helping take care of her, and visiting with Bruce and Heather and possibly Pete if I get in touch with him beforehand. I know he's been busy with a just-released Bruce Lee documentary.

It looks like [livejournal.com profile] lupagreenwolf and [livejournal.com profile] smcinpdx will be up tomorrow and I'll probably meet them at the AFK, as she wants to show him the place. I've been invited out to play Munchkin tomorrow there too, so that's probably what will happen.

I wanted to do some work on the pilgrimage packet stuff today, but got sidetracked. Initial deadline for some of that material was supposed to be today, but I know that [livejournal.com profile] vyviane and Jhenah are a little behind the ideal schedule as well, so I'm not feeling too bad about it as yet. I did get my Queering the Flame paper off to Jhenah, who is doing her Masters on conclaves of holy or fairy women, particularly those living on islands. She wanted to know if there was any evidence for pre-Christian flametending practice for Brigid, but I had to say that I hadn't really found any. Best to offer the evidence I'd found; there's enough information in there for her to chase down some other stuff that's non-Brigidine, which should be useful to her anyway.

I also got an email from [livejournal.com profile] druid_medb today asking about the warrior rituals, and working on a project of rites of return and healing for people in spiritual communities. Part of her work is on spiritual healing and PTSD, which is - as everyone here knows - a deep interest of mine. I sent off a copy of one of the final drafts of the paper on geilt and PTSD for the Disability and Religious Diversity anthology. She's considering proposing a ritual for PantheaCon next year, so I referred her over to [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht. Both of us are behind the idea.

I know that Selena Fox of Circle Network did a ritual for vets this year (which I didn't attend), so it would be interesting to see a script for that one and check out what has been done, and what veterans might do for one another, as opposed to civilians attempting to serve a community of veterans.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor's bandmate loaned me his Thermarest sleeping pad to see if it was going to work out for me for my camping trip, but it's not got enough loft to be good for my back, and it's very short. I'm going to have to look into the more expensive ones at REI to see if they would fit the bill any better. I still have some time before I will have to have one, so I'll have a little time to save up to get something that would work for me with the fibromyalgia and the bad hips and shoulders.

I feel like I didn't get much done today, but looking at it, I did get a few things together that needed to be done, and they were in fact important things. Sometimes I feel like if I'm not constantly busy, I'm not actually accomplishing anything but that's certainly not the case. I need to be more forgiving of myself and my use of time. I do get things done; I do a lot of work, I just don't always recognize it.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (totem orca)
I was able to reschedule shrinkage until the 14th, which was the first opening Tracy had. She was very understanding about my needing to cancel for the day. I was glad for a little breathing space, honestly. I didn't stay home all day, as I had to deal with Things, but I'll get to that in a bit.

I'm having a hard time finding someone to take my Medieval Women's Choir concert ticket. I know it's short notice, but I had no idea it would be this much of a challenge. I wish I could go, but that's just not going to happen.

Progress was made on Ireland pilgrimage stuff today. I put together a tentative 3-book reading list for the folks going along, and have sent it off to [livejournal.com profile] vyviane and the others to see if that's what they were thinking of for this sort of thing. I also made a short list of things to start looking for and putting together, in concert with the To Do list they posted elsenet for reference.

Got word from my editor that he would likely be done with the layout for Circle of Stones today and send it off. We're definitely on track for May.

I went out and picked up cheap (like on sale at Freddie's) hiking boots, so that they'll be reasonably broken in by the time I have to actually go hiking in them. I got a new belt so that I could toss the old, falling apart ones. Generally that's about the only time I actually shop for clothes, when my old ones are falling apart. I really do hate to shop, unless it's for books.

Cut for clothes TMI, body stuff, gender stuff. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (d'oh!)
I'm still feeling like absolute crap. [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor came up so that I could actually run the errand I needed to for tomorrow's craft day, but I'm not sure I'm even going to be able to get down there. She can take the stuff with her if need be, so that's not a crisis, it's just hideously annoying. I'm hoping I'll be okay by Sunday, because I want to go to the Shinto shrine for Setsubun (soybean tossing) and our Imbolc is Sunday evening.

My computer (a 2008-ish MacBook) seems to be starting with the erratic behavior one expects of a computer soon to go splah. The bluetooth trackpad I'm using sometimes responds to a right click but not a left click, and refuses to activate anything on the dock, which it should do on a rollover. It's doing everything it's supposed to when connected to [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor's beast, so I'm thinking this is a computer issue, not a trackpad issue. I did a PRAM reset and that didn't do jack as far as the trackpad was concerned. I'm probably going to leave my computer running now, to make sure that everything works like it's supposed to, until I get back from PCon, because I can't afford $1,200 for a new computer right now. (Yes, I do actually want to get another Mac, thanks.)

As to the military fucking up, Madigan Army Hospital is in the news yet again. A couple of docs have been suspended for interfering with PTSD diagnoses. Story below the cut. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (10 ceirt)
I woke up today out of vague anxiety-soaked dreams and ended up spending the majority of the day fighting with the whole thing. Having that kind of heaviness in my chest, and that uncomfortable knot in my gut is never a pleasant thing. I used to have this problem a lot worse than I do now, and every time something like this happens, it reminds me how relieved I am that I'm not having panic attacks often enough to require keeping medications for them around the house. Being on the edge of panic for no reason for the better part of a day is challenging at best. I have to keep reminding myself that yes, they do eventually fade enough for me to be functional.

I did manage to get myself down to Seattle for my monthly shrinkage anyway, though it was hard to cope with the traffic due to the stress I was feeling. By the time I got through, I was doing a little better, but I was at least able to hang on through it and examine some of it to try and figure out what bits were being triggered by things, and what bits were simply free-floating anxieties. I skipped going to the travel office today in favor of doing it tomorrow after group. I've got a couple of weeks worth of group days to pick up, and today's appointment as well, though there are apparently some paperwork issues with Tracy's clinic at the moment that they are trying to work out, due to scheduling issues for her. It was complicated and I just wasn't up to dealing with it on any level.

I biffed over to Travelers for a dal bhat and a chai and by the time 6:30 rolled around, I was feeling at least a little more human. There is still some anxiety floating around, slightly aggravated by having to be around people for my Irish class tonight, but I got through it. Once I got home (after a brief detour through Central Market, where I dropped Charles off so he could catch a bus home and picked up a few necessary groceries), I was able to just sit in the quiet and absorb some peace and alone-time. That has been helping immensely. I'm still not where I'd like to be, but at least I'm not on the verge of hyperventilating now.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor got information for me about the Victorian seance we're supposed to be going to in early March, and I've sent off an email about reserving a room at the place. It is called Manresa Castle and does have rather a castle-like aspect to it. It looks like it'll be fun, and a really beautiful location for the whole thing.

I didn't actually get to writing up my outline today, but I did do some reading and research and found an intriguing reference to Columba having done an incubation for seven years in a darkened chamber to write a particular hymn (though another version has it coming to him suddenly, while he was waiting for a bag of grain to be milled). I think it's pretty obvious that the whole seven years solid wouldn't have been spent in darkened, silent isolation, but it does offer an interesting perspective on what might have been meant by longer periods of incubatory isolation and darkness.

I did, however, have my major Sarasvati sourcebook with me, so I'm getting a little closer to the whole "actually sit down and deal with the outline" thing. Maybe when I'm not coping with an anxiety attack I'll be better able to focus.

Tomorrow is group at the VA. Friday I'll be going to the AFK to hang with Gary and the crew, and [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and Brianna will probably be there, too. Gary is talking about shuffling all his Fluxx decks together and seeing what kind of a game results from that one. I'm betting it'll be massively chaotic and probably hilarious. Lamb has been got for the haggisoid substance for our upcoming Burns Night.

And I am contemplating bed. Not sure if I'll be able to sleep, but I am at least contemplating the concept.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Navy seal)
Coffee Strong/IVAW’s Veteran’s Day Event

On this Veteran’s Day, Coffee Strong and Iraq Veterans Against the War will be hosting a speaking event with the theme being Women in the Military and the issues women face, but also how they overcame those issues and what these women are doing now to combat issues like Post Traumatic Stress, Military Sexual Trauma, Traumatic Brain Injury.

We will be hosting different female veterans, and active duty military speaking on their experiences, also speaking will be a Vietnam veteran who now works with female veterans within the V.A. with also some audience participation on what we can all do to battle these problems.

Event starts at 4pm, all are welcome.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Navy seal)
Before I headed over to Bothell today, I forgot to put Nicole's number in my phone, so I ended up having to ask a couple of the admin types to help me figure out where the classroom was. That took about 20 minutes, but I had thankfully come considerably early and still arrived in the room 15 minutes or so before class was supposed to start. This, my children, is why we arrive at places early -- so that when we are stupid, we can save face and still show up on time. More nattering under here. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (all your books!)
First up, [livejournal.com profile] finnchuill has sent me the text of the PCon proposal for our joint session:

The Vision Poet

Poets have held roles as seers and visionaries in many archaic and traditional cultures worldwide, performing and practicing as intermediaries with the sacred. In the modern era, certain poets reclaimed/reinvented the poetry of the see-er, including Arthur Rimbaud, the Surrealists, and later the Beats. Today some of us are reconstructing archaic seer-poet traditions like that of Gaelic filidecht, along with working within the modern visionary poet lineages mentioned. Listen to two poets, Erynn Rowan Laurie and Michael Routery, talk about these practices. Writing exercises will follow, so bring something to write with.


Secondly, there's a link up for the book with my geilt and ptsd article in it. They have managed to misspell my middle name but I've sent them an email with a request to fix it dammit (thanks [livejournal.com profile] lysana). The book is titled Disability and Religious Diversity: Cross-Cultural and Interreligious Perspectives and due to be released on October 25th from Palgrave Macmillan.

This makes a total of two books and twelve anthologies containing my work so far. Pretty good for a professional madwoman, eh?

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