Running

These haven't been out of the box since I tried them on a year ago.  (Two years ago?)

These haven’t been out of the box since I tried them on a year ago. (Two years ago?)

You didn’t think I meant exercise did you?  More appointments today, more all week.  I was up at 5:30 this morning and we still were rushing to get out the door.  We would have been on time for our 8:30 appointment but there was road construction.   On a day when the North wind is blowing and the temps are below freezing it seems wrong to be waylaid by our second season (winter and road construction).

Gandalf is hanging in there.  I can’t tell if he’s perked up or if he’s just upset that I’ve been gone so much.  I’m hoping he’s going to be willing to eat something today, he hasn’t all weekend.

Tax day is tomorrow.  I’ve managed to get as far as sending a note to the accountant to ask him to file an extension.  That counts right?  Thing is that once the deadline moves it becomes just as easy to keep putting it off.

This is Gandalf last week.  He's not looking THIS good.

This is Gandalf last week. He’s not looking THIS good.

One day at a time, one appointment at a time, one mess at a time.  And squeezing in a little blog post during my rest breaks in between.   What I really want is a good nap, but I’m not going to get one today!  I have to put away groceries!

 

 

Obamacare

Some of those waiting rooms are actually quite pleasant.

Some of those waiting rooms are actually quite pleasant.

I have a complicated medical history, as does my son.  The piece of the ACA that I was most excited about was the part where “pre-existing conditions” would still be covered when you changed insurance companies.  The second most exciting piece was the elimination of the “lifetime cap”.  If Orion had stayed on the same insurance he had from the day he was born he would have reached that lifetime cap long before he graduated from high school.  In fact, he may have reached it before he started kindergarten!

My list of Doctors, grouped by specialty, looks like the yellow pages.  I don’t have a geriatric specialist listed……yet.  We see the ophthalmologist, the orthopedist, the allergist, the psychologist, the internist, the cardiologist, the GI specialist, the pulmonologist, and the surgeon at least once a year.  Given that some of those specialties apply to both of us and that several of them involve ongoing appointments it is not unusual to average one lengthy doctors appointment a month.  Add on the extra trip for lab work or radiology and we exceed that.

My schedule has always been complicated by unpredictable demands.  Both Orion and I have been in physical therapy which can be anywhere from every other week to three times a week.  I have weekly allergy shots.  Orion’s occasional hospital visits can go anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks (as can mine.)  There are also meetings with the county for Orion’s funding, meetings with the program staff to set up goals, meetings with public health professionals and social workers.  Then there are incidental things like taking the wheelchair in to get the brakes adjusted.

It’s difficult.  As a single Mom holding down a full-time job isn’t in the cards for the long-term.  Even when there’s been another adult in the household,  the demands of my life interfere with the expectations of employment.  My projects and volunteer jobs have also been disrupted by the demands of Orion’s health, and mine.  Part of the reason I’m so good at delegating is because I can promise it will get done, but I can’t promise I’ll be there to do it.  I’ve done a lot of supervision on the phone from the hospital.  I’ve made a lot of phone calls on the way to or from a doctor’s office.

Orion missed my parents 50th anniversary bash.  They stopped in the next day so he'd feel included.

Orion missed my parents 50th anniversary bash. They stopped in the next day so he’d feel included.

As a strong supporter of ANY kind of revision to the health care system I wasn’t too upset when the county letter came saying, “your insurance is up for review, you will not be insured after December 31.  Please sign up for the ACA.”   I was unhappy about the computer problems and frustrated with getting booted out of the system but I managed to make a successful application as of December 17th.  The computer said I qualified for help from the state program – MNsure – and that they would contact me.

Ok.  I figured I was good and would hear from them before the first of the year.  Not so much.  I started calling early in January.  MNsure couldn’t even see the application.   Apparently the federal computer wasn’t speaking to the state.  About a month after my original application was accepted I found someone who said, “We have the application, you should receive a letter asking for proofs.”   Now I’ve been insured by the state before and I know what that looks like so I asked what specifically they needed and faxed it in – to both the state and the county.

Funny thing I never, ever got a letter from the state asking for those proofs.  Apparently the county and the state aren’t speaking to each other.  One side has to actually scan the proofs into the computer and the other side has to analyze them for qualification.  Both sides agreed they had received them, they just weren’t in the system.  My proofs still weren’t in the system in February when I went to Pantheacon.  They are in one system, but the other system doesn’t have access to them.  They seem perfectly fine and you clearly are going to qualify but a determination hasn’t been made yet.   Every week I call and every week I get some version of, “I don’t know what’s holding this up.”

In the middle of March, literally 3 months after my original application, I am finally given the news that the case is processed!  I have been given an insurance affordability number.  Theoretically they will send the options for insurance plans that I can choose from and there will be an amount listed that will be my monthly payment.  None of that appears in the system.  Isn’t that strange?  In fact, this case that has an approval number issued in March, that I’ve been calling about every week, seems to have been closed in January!

MNsure asks me to go back to the ACA website and reapply.  Now I’m looking at the March 31 deadline and again the system is slow.  I have to establish a new file, new log in, new passwords and I am guessing at the taxes from 2013 (which I still haven’t done) rather than reading the form from 2012.  Eventually it goes through and again a note saying I’ll hear from the state.  (I still haven’t received anything in the mail from the state!)  I’m following this case much more closely and 48 hours after I make the application on-line I’m on the phone again.

Orion and I aren't the only ones at the doctor this week.

Orion and I aren’t the only ones at the doctor this week.

Yes they have the information from the federal system and yes they will need proofs.  I asked them to refer to the original case, since the proofs are actually there already.  I asked them to reference the old case in the notes for the new case.  I asked them to especially make a note that the original date of application was December 17, 2013.  I asked them to please expedite processing the new case. None of that is unreasonable.  I’m trying to establish a case for them covering my medical costs for the last 3 months, but that’s not today’s battle.

I call again a few days later.  Yes I have a case, yes it’s been approved but again there is no information about which plans and what co-pay.  The second case has stalled out in exactly the same place the first one did.  I have returned to limbo and I’m not happy about it.  Apparently I am the hole in the computer program and it’s going to take an IT guy along with the case worker to hand push this thing through the system.  Stupid computer.  I asked to talk to IT weeks ago, but everyone assured me just reapplying would be sufficient.

As of April 1st Success!   I have some kind of insurance approval that’s real.  (I STILL haven’t gotten anything in the mail and I’m not convinced this isn’t a joke.)  I haven’t got a plan, but I do have the insurance billing code from the state.  So last week I ran to the pharmacy and to any doctor I could get in to see (and Orion’s appointments as well).  I’ve got another week of appointment catch-up and the rest of the month to work on addressing a shoulder injury that will require some tests and physical therapy.  All the things I didn’t dare do out-of-pocket.  Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll actually have an insurance plan and be able to proceed with what the tests I took in December recommended.  Most of those need prior authorization.  We’ll see.

Walking

Photo from AndraWatkins.tumbler.com  This is Andra, Tori and Lisa on the Trace in Tennessee

Photo from AndraWatkins.tumbler.com This is Andra, Tori and Lisa on the Trace in Tennessee

My blogging buddies are walking.  Tori at The Ramblings and Lisa from Woman Wielding Words are joining Andra Watkins (The Accidental Cootchie Mama)  on the Natchez Trace.   Andra has spent the month walking the 444 mile Trace to promote her book: To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis.

Yes, that’s the Lewis from Lewis and Clark.  He died, under questionable circumstances, along the Natchez Trace.  Andra’s book is an engaging character study in a genre that defies description.  In some ways it’s a historical novel, given the main character of Meriwether Lewis and a few guest appearances from people who could be his contemporaries.  In flashbacks we learn about the parts of Lewis’ story that don’t get as much attention in grade school.

Much of the motivation of the story comes from what happened to Lewis after the expedition that put him in our history books.  He was made governor of the Louisiana Territory, replacing a career politician who wasn’t happy about losing his post.  A desk job didn’t suit him as well as leading an adventure into the wilderness.

In some ways this book is a ghost story.  It is set in 1977 and Meriwether Lewis is sent back to “make things right.”  The afterlife mythos is curious and complicated.  Meriwether truly believes that because his death was deemed suicide he is forgotten by history. He was traveling the Trace in part to take his journals from the expedition to a publisher, but he never made it.  But there is also a mission, something he is sent back to do.  It seems he is destined to intervene in the life of a little girl.

Check out Andra's book!

Check out Andra’s book!

Em is a plucky and precocious young girl.  A native of New Orleans, her parents were recently divorced and her father forbidden to contact her.  He’s a musician and Em’s hero.  Her mother is not a nice person.  She’s running a brothel and has essentially sold Em off for her divorce.  When Em learns her mother’s plans for her future she becomes determined to find her father who has moved to Nashville.  Running away she literally runs into Lewis and the partnership is formed.

The Natchez Trace runs from the Mississippi river in Natchez to Nashville.  It was an important trade route, It aided the western expansion, it was a supply line during the 1812 war and it was a road familiar to Meriwether Lewis.  Em and Lewis making their way along the Trace is the setting for the bulk of the story.  It’s a road trip adventure novel.

I really enjoyed the book and I don’t care that it doesn’t fit neatly into a single genre.  Andra’s writing style is clear and witty and well crafted.  Her research into Meriwether Lewis and the history of the Trace is apparent but not intrusive.  The pencil sketch illustrations by Helen Rice are beautiful and very reminiscent of the kind of sketches Lewis made in his own journals.  I highly recommend it.

Oh, and if you get a chance get out and take a walk.  I’ve threatened to take a walk in solidarity.  Andra is going 15 miles a day and has been for a month.  Tori and Lisa are going to do what they can, but don’t really expect to make it half way.  I’ll be lucky to make it to the mailbox, but we do what we can.   Have a great week!

 

#toliveforever

 

 

Happy Spring!

The only way I could see daffodils springing up out of the snow.

The only way I could see daffodils springing up out of the snow.

Last week was the vernal equinox, the official start of spring.  Dare I mention that we had snow flurries this morning?

.

.

.

.

.

.

A friend dyed these for Orion and me.

A friend dyed these for Orion and me.

Dying eggs is a big deal this time of year.  Whether you dye them for Easter or Ostara or just because it’s fun I have to wonder if part of the reason for dying eggs is just to put some color into the landscape.

 .

.

.

.

.

Running water in Minnehaha Creek

Running water in Minnehaha Creek

In warmer climates there are native breeds of chickens that lay eggs of different colors.  If you think about the climates in places  like the Ukraine, famous for their egg dying techniques, winters are longer and springs can be pretty grey.

.

.

.

.

Ice lace tunnel

Ice lace tunnel

There are signs that spring may indeed show up after this very hard winter.

.

.

.

.

.

We have had quite a lot of melt (honest).  There was running water in the creek and I even saw a minnow swim by in the icy water.

Melting sheets of ice in the river give new meaning to "ice dams".

Melting sheets of ice in the river give new meaning to “ice dams”.

.

.

.

.

This year we blessed our eggs for the strength to hold on through the thaw.  It may still be awhile, but it’s coming.

Grateful

paganiconLast week was an uphill week.  The time change kicked me in the ass.  Monday I missed yoga because the clock I was looking at was the one I hadn’t remembered to change over.  Tuesday  I was so tired I could barely get Orion out the door.  I slept through my Dr. appointment. (Literally, I went back to bed.) Wednesday the alarm didn’t go off.  I woke up spontaneously at 730 am, which would have been great the week before when it would have been right on time at 630!  By Thursday I realized the week was almost gone and I hadn’t done anything to prepare for Paganicon.  Friday started the convention, which of course threw what was left of my sleep schedule entirely out the window.

In the course of my sleep deprived daze I heard someone say, “What if instead of being angry at the weather I was grateful instead.”  I actually think they said it to me weeks before when it was so cold but it finally sunk in.   My women’s group is working with Hanuman this month.  He helps us with our lessons by sending both good and bad energy.  Then I saw Peg-o-leg’s blog about her struggle with her own pity party.  When the universe sends the same message three times I start to pay attention.

I spent the weekend working at being grateful for everything that came across my path, good and bad.  I’m trying to be grateful for all the time I’m spending in health care hell.  I’m considering gratitude towards my physical limitations.  Instead of grumbling about how many extra things I have to do making arrangements for Orion this week, I’m grateful his Dad is taking him so I can go to Paganicon unaccompanied.

The attitude adjustment made all the difference in the world.  I still hurt, couldn’t do as much as I wanted, and didn’t get anywhere near enough sleep but it didn’t matter the same way.    I got to spend time with my publisher Taylor Ellwood and his wife.   When we were told there was a 40 minute wait for a table at dinner we took the opportunity to sneak over to the hotel and get them checked in.  When we got back we were at the top of the list.  My workshop was scheduled first thing Saturday morning.  That meant only the people who really wanted to be there showed up, and it was a good-sized group.  For a first time presentation it went really well and much of the feedback I got was that even after 90 min. at 9am they could have stayed and talked another hour or two.

Thrilled with the cover of the new book!

Thrilled with the cover of the new book!

I had a book signing with Taylor scheduled in the afternoon.  My new book When Gods Come Knocking: An Exploration of Mysticism from a Deity-Based Perspective was released in time for the event!  Because I was with Taylor I was introduced to a few other Immanion Press authors.   The friend who came to help me was miserable with allergies, but her presence also brought folks over to say hi who may not have noticed us otherwise.  I was debating going home for dinner when my friends hosting the Standing Stones hospitality suite realized they didn’t have trays to put cheese and crackers on.  I volunteered to dash home for trays (this con is VERY close to my house) and came back just in time to get an invitation to dinner with my students.

I had a great time at Paganicon and felt really good about the marketing and presentation that I did.  I was grateful to have the time with friends, old and new, to really sit and talk.  I always enjoy the opportunity to learn new things and was delighted by the art featured in the Sacred Gallery space.  I really do understand that sometimes the bad things really are a lot better than they look.

Signing books at Paganicon

Signing books at Paganicon

All that “understanding” doesn’t make it easy or automatic.  I find pushing at gratitude an exercise in futility.  Gratitude is something that requires opening up and accepting unconditionally.  It is making room for the bounty of life to fill that open space.  When facing frustration, practicing gratitude is a step back, taking time to breathe, letting go and allowing.  When I achieve gratitude I know that anything is possible and that I will have all the support I need for whatever dreams may come.

So I continue to remind myself to be grateful, for everything.  I remind myself to be grateful for the irritants, the frustrations, the stumbling blocks.  I remind myself to be grateful for the pain and the heartache.  I remind myself to be open to the possibility that it’s all for the best.

Maybe with enough practice I’ll be better at gratitude.

Entertainment

Sunshine and tulip on a backdrop of huge snowdrifts.

Sunshine and tulip on a backdrop of huge snowdrifts.

At the end of winter the season gets boring.  I have my conveniently placed birthday to provide a little relief, but there is still the whole of March.  While much of the country is keeping an eye out for actual signs of spring we might see snowdrops before April in a really early year.   So how do we “keep the faith” that spring will come again?

Living in an age of hot houses and shipping there’s a lot to be said for fresh flowers brightening up the house.  Come May I’ll be outside with my clippers looking at lilacs and apple blossoms.  Now I have to go to the store for tulips.  I’ve tried to force bulbs myself.  Apparently I have a talent for mold.

Wild turkeys have so much color especially against the white.

Wild turkeys have so much color especially against the white.

We’re having a little bit of a thaw this week.  It’s encouraging and there is more activity from the wildlife in the area.  The turkeys are actually up at my folks house.  The deer, turkeys, coyote, skunk, groundhog, and an occasional bear are the neighbors who occasionally stop by to visit.

IMG_0545

The rest of the flock is down below waiting for the spill over.

In a long harsh winter the wildlife can become very creative in their hunt for food.  They are aware the people in the area have abundance.  Many of the animals have learned my parents routine.  In the summer the hummingbirds are clearly irritated when someone is late putting out the feeders.  The turkey has learned that the dining room is vacant at 11am every day.  My Mom is watching her soap opera.

The chickadees don't seem to run short

The chickadees don’t seem to run short

He takes advantage of that little window to hop up on the porch and steal from the chickadees.  The squirrels do it too.  I don’t have photo’s but it was a days worth of laughter to watch a squirrel jump onto the turkey’s back to chase him away from the feeder.   The chickadees put up with all this nonsense and feed to their hearts content while Mom and Dad putter in the kitchen.

While the wildlife may be entertaining, sometimes I want to totally escape the winter.  That when I sit in the sunlight with a good book.   To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is the fictional work of a blogging buddy Andra Watkins.  She’s currently walking the Natchez Trace, where much of the book takes place.  I’m following her journey on her blog, but the internet isn’t as satisfying as disappearing into an actual book.

Just because I haven't been writing reviews doesn't mean I've not been reading

Just because I haven’t been writing reviews doesn’t mean I’ve not been reading

My new book, When Gods Come Knocking: An Exploration of Mysticism From a Deity-Based Perspective, is out as well.  I’m not curled up with that one.  I am busy preparing for its “official launch” this weekend at Paganicon in Minneapolis.  My publisher (Taylor Ellwood at Immanion Press) is coming out and we’re doing a book signing along with our respective workshop presentations.  Having something to look forward too always makes the days a little brighter.

In the meantime we’re enjoying the break in the weather.  It’s an unseasonably warm 50 degrees Fahrenheit today!  Maybe a walk is a possibility!

Happy Birthday

Not quite a birthday cake from Campiello

Not quite a birthday cake from Campiello

My birthday was February 28th.  I’ve always maintained that the older you are, the longer you get to celebrate.  So, even though I started early and am past the actual date I’m not quite done yet.  Birthday dinners were a big thing in my family.  Regular readers will hardly be surprised by this statement.  The deal was that although we couldn’t afford fancy dinners out, Mom and Dad were willing to cook whatever we wanted.

Being blessed with a birthday timed to hit all the post Valentines Day seafood sales I was indulged.   I developed a fondness for crustaceans early and never let up. I also happen to have a birthday perfectly timed for Restaurant Week.  It’s slow this time of year so Monday-Friday participating restaurants offer a pre-set menu of typical fare at significantly reduced prices.   It’s a great way to try out new restaurants, and a good excuse to get folks to take me out.

Orion and Karina at Fogo de Chao.

Orion and Karina at Fogo de Chao.

On my actual birthday I stayed in and cooked.  I was thinking about ordering pizza, but Orion wanted steak so I went for it.  But in another “good timing” gig, our celebration for the Goddess Lucina happens to fall on the first Sunday of March and that’s also a food rich event.

I have eaten out A LOT celebrating my birthday.  So far I’ve had:

Picking up Orion at my folks they made me birthday dinner of sea scallops in wine sauce with pesto linguine.  The recipes aren’t as full of butter as they used to be, but still very tasty.

The gauchos slice meat off the skewers.

The gauchos slice meat off the skewers.

Dinner at Fogo de Chao  with Karina and courtesy of Orion: including smoked salmon, cheeses, and asparagus from the salad bar and about 17 different preparations of chicken, sausage, lamb and beef.  The best cut of meat hands down was the special Brazillian cut.  Desserts were a definitive Brazillian flan, a molten chocolate cake, and a turtle cheesecake.  Orion sang me Happy Birthday in Portuguese.

Lunch with Judy: produced homemade rye bread fresh out of the oven along with roasted cauliflower and a lovely mushroom and sausage quiche.

Dinner at Campiello with my 50+ women’s meet-up group:  I had meatballs in the house marinara with fried basil leaves, fresh butternut squash ravioli in browned butter and a baked chocolate mouse cake with salted carmel gelato and caramelized peanuts.  The food was excellent, the company a lot of fun and the service exquisite.  They handled a bunch of rowdy women like pros.  The staff answered all our questions (even the ones about other restaurants) and accommodated our dietary quirks.  A really fun evening (and how I really spent my birthday money).

meatballs and prosecco at Campiello

meatballs and prosecco at Campiello

Dining in with Orion: I made fillet minion, which I cut off the tenderloin and wrapped in nitrate free hand sliced bacon from the coop.  I paired it with roasted asparagus sprinkled with parmesan and a baked potato.  Not too difficult and very satisfying.

Dinner at Piccolo with Karina:  Karina and I have established a history of fine dining and conversation about the details of the food we eat.  We’ve dished dinners all over town, in New York City, in Washington D.C., in Florida, on cruise ships and anywhere else we’ve traveled.  I started her early (she was maybe 5 on that cruise).  When we talk about our separate vacations the conversation usually revolves around the food we tried.  It’s hereditary.  My Mom’s travel logs all detail our vacation dining as well.

We had the tasting menu, starting out with a lengthy debate about who was going to get what.  Clearly we needed to avoid duplication and taste everything!  Our waiter stepped in and answered questions about how the food was prepared.  Karina stuck her head into the kitchen a few times to watch them prep and ask questions there as well.  Piccolos focuses on locally sourced food, lots of small bites and beautiful presentation.  We were in foodie heaven.

Piccolo's menu the day we went.  Karina ordered K's I ordered L's and we shared.

Piccolo’s menu the day we went. Karina ordered K’s I ordered L’s and we shared.

Piccolos is actually a small little neighborhood kind of venue.  The decor features stacks of books about food.  I noted the coffee table book on Olives in the bathroom and the Oxford Guides to Food and Wine.  The cookbook that we snuck to the table was an Italian cookbook by a local author, The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper with post-it notes stuck all through it commenting on the recipes.  The waiter thought she’d probably left it visiting the owners previous restaurant.  Clearly it remains a favorite.  It kept us entertained between courses and now I have to go find a copy!  (Karina wants one too.)

first bites at Piccolo

first bites at Piccolo

At Piccolo Karina caught me setting up a taste for her.

At Piccolo Karina caught me setting up a taste for her.

Lucina's Day ritual and "snacks"

Lucina’s Day ritual and “snacks”

Lucina’s Day brunch is set up as a pile of finger food and conversation among the women followed by dinner with the families.  The ladies I celebrate with cook so it’s always a treat.  I brought wine and pesto stuffed mushrooms.  We also had olives, pita, dried oranges, lots of cheeses, dolmades, figs, chocolate and orange cakes, nuts.   Perfect food to chat over.  Dinner added beef ribs and chicken and brie stuffed mushrooms.  Stuffed was the word of the day.

Maybe this week I’ll get around to making myself a cake.

Pantheacon 2014

My car is under there somewhere.

My car is under there somewhere.

Winter storm  Seneca stranded me without the internet on my way back from Pantheacon.  Not that this was a great hardship.  I had to go pick up Orion from my parents home in Northern Minnesota and the idea of a 3 hour drive back into the storm vs a few extra days with my parents made for an easy (smart) decision.

Being without the distractions of “coming back” for a few extra days gave me a chance to really absorb my Pantheacon experiences.  Crystal Blanton suggested to me that Pantheacon might be a pilgrimage.  I dashed off a response and she included it in her article for The Wild Hunt.  That thought has stayed in my mind throughout the coming home process, especially given the weather delay.  What if this were a spirit journey?  What opportunities has this apparent obstacle put into my path?  How would my experience have been different if I had approached the entire event as a pilgrimage?

Waiting for a hotel room - yes I'm as tired as I look!

Waiting for a hotel room – yes I’m as tired as I look!

There were plenty of extra obstacles in the way this trip.  There was the issue leaving and almost missing the plane.  They called at least 10 names on that flight over the speakers.  Southwest didn’t staff for the possibility of the Atlanta flight being canceled.  We ended up in line behind them.

I did everything right, pre-printed the boarding pass, got to the airport early.   I’ve never waited so long just to check my bags!  I asked and was told there was no other option.  As we pushed ahead in line at TSA the agent decided that the 3 people who’d seen my boarding pass already were wrong and I wasn’t on a flight out of Minneapolis at all!  He was corrected and facilitated my EASY pass through security in return for his mistake.  The flight crew was extra kind, knowing how frustrated we all were with the ticketing window.  What a way to start the trip!

Transferring planes in Denver the gate got moved so the walk was further than I’d hoped.  At the hotel room wasn’t ready and the convention didn’t have my registration.  One step at a time, one problem at a time, one solution at a time and a little help from my friends.  That first day I ran into old friends and joined them for lunch.  I got hand-held by the convention staff.  I got invited to “hang out” in another friend’s room across the hall while I waited for mine to be cleaned.  I found the woman I’d agreed to share a room with and we spent some time getting reacquainted.  I attended my first workshop and made a new friend.  I had dinner with Crystal and her family.

Sneaking out included Nitrogen frozen ice cream at http://smittenicecream.com

Sneaking out included Nitrogen frozen ice cream at http://smittenicecream.com

Any convention or festival like this is an exercise in priorities and pacing.  There were a lot of workshops I was interested in: a panel on privilege, a workshop on medical clergy, a celebration of the Mighty Dead none of which I attended.  The things I did attend where exactly what I needed and sometimes I opted out just to take care of myself.  Elevating swollen ankles beats sitting on an uncomfortable hotel chair hands down, no matter how good the workshop might be.  It’s an age thing I suppose.  I even left the convention one evening to join local friends out for dinner.  That was an extra treat and well worth the time.  The fact that the food was as good as the company didn’t hurt either.  Hotel food is expensive and a little boring.

The highlight of this year’s Pantheacon for me wasn’t the workshops I attended (although they were spectacular) but having the opportunity to present one of my own.  I suspected that I would have a larger turn out than I’m used to for my presentation of “Daily Practice Sucks”, but I never expected I’d fill a double conference suit and that the staff would need to bring in extra chairs!  It’s a good title.

It was also apparently a good workshop.  For the rest of the conference I found myself in conversations with people who’d attended.  People would stop me in the halls and thank me for such a great workshop.  I’d sit down at breakfast and somebody would come by and tell me that my workshop was exactly what they needed.  I had one woman tell me she’d already put some of my suggestions into practice and it changed her life!

I've admired Blossom's work for years.  http://www.weavingmonk.com

I’ve admired Blossom’s work for years. http://www.weavingmonk.com

My ego almost as swollen as my ankles, I floated through the rest of the convention.  I visited some of the hospitality suites.  I attended a few more workshops.  I even managed to squeeze out some time in the hot tub, although that’s because we stayed an extra night.  I’m always impressed with the quality of the workshops I find at Pantheacon and this year was no exception.   The vendors also tend to be high quality with some real artistry and reasonable, but appropriate pricing.  Year after year, what I come back for are the people.  It’s great to chat with other workshop presenters.  It’s pleasant to strike up a conversation over breakfast. It’s fun to pass on a kiss to someone you’ve never met from a mutual friend.  (Stephanie, I’m going to tell this story for a long time.)  And best of all is connecting with friends across the country that I don’t get to see very often.

When Gods Come Knocking now Available

Originally posted on The Blog Of Immanion Press & Megalithica Books:

book_when_gods_come_knocking_small

When Gods Come Knocking: A Continuing Exploration of Relationship with the Divine opens up the possibilities of what it means to be called by the Divine.  Filled with personal stories and examples, this book reveals to us we are not alone in our spiritual walk.  Crystal Blanton writes in her introduction, “I found much of my personal story layered within the chapters of this book.”

Seeking inspiration and understanding of our own journey is often made easier when we relate to the stories of others. In her first book, Manifest Divinity, Lisa Spiral Besnett affirmed our human experience of the Divine.  Here she expands on that work, specifically addressing those instances when Deity asks for something back. 

Lisa Spiral also touches on the concept of mysticism.  She examines the relationship of the mystic to those whose direct service to the divine takes a more traditional path.  She discusses the differences…

View original 40 more words

California

Clearly I have not mastered the selfie.  This is the balcony of my hotel room

Clearly I have not mastered the selfie. This is the balcony of my hotel room

I know it may seem I’m getting my blog out a little late this Monday morning, but honest it’s still REALLY early in San Jose.  I’m out here for Pantheacon (My regular readers will have seen previous years posts and several links to the con site in the last weeks.)  This is a convention for Pagan practitioners in the Bay Area and has become a national event.  I’ve met folks here from New York, North Carolina, Florida and Texas.  Not many this year from Minnesota through.

The locals are all complaining about the dry air.  I know that the area needs rain badly.  I also know that compared to living in forced air heating, well below zero, no humidity to be found air my skin is very happy with the moisture level.  My ankles may be swollen enough to be painful, but my heels are notably less cracked than they were just a few days ago.  63 degrees with the sun shinning is a treat not to be missed and I snuck an hour out of the day to put on my sunglasses and lounge by the pool.

I was on the schedule this year as a presenter, which has made this a very different experience for me than in previous years.  I find myself doing networking very actively.  This is hard work for me, but I’ve had some lovely conversations with people.  I even came out of nowhere to give Stephanie Taylor-Grimassi a big kiss!  Those of you who’ve listened to the The Priestess Show on Blog Talk Radio may know that Stephanie is another of the priestesses.  I’ve never actually met her in person, but Traci Logan Wood, our producer, asked me to give Stephanie a big hug and a kiss and I said I could do that.  It’s the kind of event (and Stephanie is the kind of person) where she didn’t instantly start screaming.  It was actually a good prank and it was great to meet her and her husband, Raven Grimassi, in person.

My publisher (Taylor Ellwood) is here and will also be coming to Minnesota for a convention in March.  We’ve been conspiring together between workshops.  It’s always nice to spend face time with people who are so important to the work I’m doing.  Taylor is additionally a sweet man and fun to talk to.  His wife has been very patient with him “checking up on hisImmanion Press authors”.

At the tarot table

At the tarot table

Because I’m a presenter I’ve also had the opportunity to do a book signing and tarot readings.  I took advantage of those events to make a few more contacts.  It will be great if I can manage to keep in touch with some of the folks I’ve met.  That’s not really my skill set either, but I know at least one of the women I’ve spoken with is now connected via Facebook.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that she’ll remember to send me the link to her favorite on-line women’s clothing store.

Next week when I’m home for real I’ll give you all more detail about my workshop presentation and the great friends I’ve been able to reconnect with.  In the meantime try not to be too jealous as you throw another log on the fire and curl up under you warm blankets.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 259 other followers

%d bloggers like this: