Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Personal IS Political

Blessings Darlings!

We old folks, who remember feminist activism in the '70's, remember the mantra "the personal is political" - that is, a lot of what you personally experience is a result of what the Powers That Be allow/encourage.   Your experiences reflect systemic problems - they are not JUST 'your problems.'  The phrase is just as true today, 40+ years later, as it was then.

To straighten out some of the big things in your life, you end up working against rather than with, 'the system.'  And even if you kludge some sort of solution, it only helps you - it doesn't solve the systemic problem.

Let me give you an example. I live in West Virginia.  It's an incredibly beautiful state, very rural, lots of mountains.  Getting almost anywhere requires a car ... ESPECIALLY if you're poor.  That's because housing in cities and towns where you can walk to a job (or - gasp - might have buses) is considerably more expensive that living out in a rural area.  Oh, sure, it might be physically possible to walk to a job, but it will be 3 - 15 miles away.  And you'll be walking 2 of those miles on unlit roads with relatively fast moving traffic ... and either going to work or coming home it will be dark out.  And the road won't be very plowed in winter, so you'd be walking IN the road after dark, no streetlights, icy conditions, and traffic.  It . is . not . safe . to . walk .  Even if it's summer and 'just' dark.

A coworker of mine lives that rural, and 15 miles from work, AND can't afford a car.  He lives with two other adults who work and share a car getting THEM to their jobs, but they work on shifts that conflict with his.  Before, several other coworkers were in positions to give him rides to and from work AND lived in his direction.  Due to staff turnover, that's not possible now (and child care issues for the poor are part of THAT problem, as is the lack of local services for children with disabilities).  So we've kludged together a solution that involves a couple of other coworkers who do NOT live in his direction providing rides. 

One of them is driving 180 to 240 extra miles a week because of this.  Obviously, that coworker is putting a lot of time and car wear into this (the person lives only two miles from our workplace, and in the opposite direction.)  Another coworkers drives when possible, but doesn't often work the same shift.

We're getting Rural Living No Car coworker to and from work.  This 'solution' works for that one individual.  The cost is ... kinda high to other individuals - it's fortunate that the person driving him the most loves to drive.  AND the 'solution' doesn't at all address the underlying problems - rural transportation problems, low pay in the restaurant industry, and housing costs.  We, his coworkers, can't fix those problems by ourselves.  Those are the systemic problems, that affect way  more people than just him.

Heck, as I recall (and I could be wrong), the rural transportation issue is the #1 cause of rural poverty.  It's systemic. In a very real way - the system is set up so that the rural poor will always be the rural poor.

These are some of the reasons I'm politically active. We need system solutions, not individual solutions.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Stitches, or How I Used My Health Insurance

Blessings Darlings!

I did NOT plan on needing to USE that  health insurance within half an hour of my post on having it going up - but no one PLANS on injuring themselves!

It started off as such a good day - I was whipping thru' my To Do list at a good pace.  Out in the garden I was  putting down a layer of newspapers and pulled weeds, to smother the weeds in an area I want to put more zucchini in.  I went to break off another stalk of Johnson grass and ... it fought back, breaking in a way that it cut the living crap out of the inside of my trigger finger.  Profuse bleeding occurred.  I wasn't afraid of 'bleeding out', but it was clear that the injury warranted some stitches.

Of course, I was home alone, the husband was out to lunch with a contact and has no cell phone.  Direct pressure with gauze, lots of gauze, kept in place with masking tape (I was in a hurry and didn't want to bleed on the carpets!) reduced the blood flow as I tried to get thru' to the restaurant.  By phone. At noon. Their line was busy for rather a while.  So I called work and sent word that I was going to get medical care and probably wouldn't be in today (Thursday as I'm typing.)  Reaching Chef was a bit of a problem, since there were Events at the hotel he was up to his ears in - I had to call the Tavern and have my son (who was at work there at the time) relay the message, and I texted the sous chef.  I also checked to see if B. was working at the front desk - she works at both the hotel I work at AND at the restaurant my husband was at, so I figured if she was at the hotel she could text the restaurant.  No luck there.

Finally got thru' to the restaurant, they had no problem identifying the Chubby Hubby from my description, and he came home with the car to take me to Urgent Care.  Urgent Care was empty, so we got in for treatment right away.  Well - right after adding my new insurance info to my account!

Four stitches and a tetanus shot later, I was good to go.  No meds -  the wound bled more than enough that it washed itself out to prevent risk of most infections, and no pain killers.  Just take Motrin if needed.  Ten years ago, and in Maryland not West Virginia, I'd have been given Tylenol with codeine.  Different times, different place, less worry about the epidemic of opiate abuse.

It really hasn't hurt at all - even before getting the stitches.  Most likely because it was a sharp plant doing a clean cut, tho' the numbness still in part of my finger tip hints at there being at least an insulted nerve.

But I sure didn't get more stuff done around there, other than taking the laundry off the line.

And now I can see I need to increase my preps.  First - I need to learn how to do sutures.  Second - I need at least one left handed can opener.

Frondly, the Patched Up Fern

Thursday, July 19, 2018

I'm JUST Poor Enough.

Blessings Darlings!

For the first time in rather a while - I have health insurance.  Because the home business side of our income has been suffering and we've not been able to pay ourselves, I now qualify for Medicaid (The Chubby Hubby has a plan under ACA that he pays $1.13 a month for). 

So my doctor and I are trying to get all sorts of tests/etc. in FAST, since the business is improving and I might lose my coverage next month or the month after.  Blood work, mammogram, colonoscopy, pneumonia shot, of course my annual exam/meds refill visit, etc.   All things I've needed for years (I know my LDL levels are high as are my triglycerides, but haven't been able to afford blood work in a decade or so).  I have a 50/50 chance of having the Ashkenazi Jewish colon cancer gene from my mother.  Two of my father's three sisters - and the only daughter born to either of them - had breast cancer.  I need those tests I couldn't afford.

This, my darlings, is the reality of 'health care' when poor.  Most of us simply cannot afford health coverage unless we qualify for Medicaid, and live in fear of making so much we don't quallify any more for that but won't be able to pay for 'regular' health insurance.  So when we get coverage - you bet your ass that we get our testing done and get treatment while we can.  Our doctors aren't trying to 'bilk the system' and 'run up our bills'.  They are helping us play catch up.

Do I fear what some of the tests might find?  Sure!  But facing fears is part of adulting.  I wish that NOT having fears came with being a grown up, but that's not how it is.

So for now, while poor enough, I'm going to get my basic health care.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

That OTHER "10 daily things witches do list"

Blessings Darlings!

It occurred to me that I should really do a blog on what was in that OTHER 'what witches do' list. The items and my brilliant (why doesn't this have comic sans as a font option) commentary.

Here goes - starting with the original post:

"10 Daily Witchy Things

1 - Cleanse your bed in the morning when you make it - to remove the stress and negativity of the previous night and have a peaceful sleep the next night.
2 - Make a cup of tea and charge it with positive energy to get you through the day.
3 - Clean your desk/workspace/wherever you do creative things and draw productivity sigils on it in cleaner or keep a clear quartz nearby to focus energy.
4 - Bless your car keys before you get in your car for protection on the road
5 - Use a special scrub or face ask in the shower for a glamour spell.
6 - Spend time outside or keep your blinds open to allow sunlight in.
7 - Take a walk outside, if you can and ground yourself with each step.
8 - Use wax melters, incense or other scented items to fill your space with an intended scent.
9 - Clense your phone/other electronic devices - clean out the old apps and photos, clean out the negative people from your contact list, and reset your ringtone and wallpaper to increase positive energy.
10 - Before you go to bed, take 10 minutes and thank your deities (if you have any) and reflect on your day.  Before you fall asleep, think of one thing that was good about the day, no matter how small, and be grateful."

Item #1 - If you're having stress and negativity in your bed at night ... what the hell have you invited   into your bed each night?  Look at THAT, not 'cleansing the bed'.  The BED isn't the problem!
Item #2 - Obviously I find 'positive energy' too vague, and would be far more specific.  The  last         clause is a bit worrisome, tho'.  I'm not sure if the writer meant "To last the full day" which is a useful affirmation, or if the "Get you through the day" is a sign that the writer feels that her days suck and she needs to be dragged thru' them almost against her will.
Item #3 - Of course a clean desk is nice, and some of my creative time is spent at a desk.  What bothers me is reliance on external things like a sigil or crystal.  Reliance on those things (as well as working at your desk) doesn't prepare you to work elsewhere.  I can be creative in the library, at a coffee shop, etc, in part because I don't rely on things like that.  Learn to focus your energy without props.
Item #4 -  At the very least - let's make that more general.  Not everyone drives, not everyone has a car, etc.  You CAN enchant your house keys for protection when you leave your house.  That would cover it all.  Or you can ... wait for it ... wait for it ... have personal shields like I keep harping about.
Item #5 - No special products needed.  Charge your soap.  Yes, I can see doing a glamour daily for a while. such as when starting a new job.  "Image" of competence until you actually have competence at the job.
Item #6 - Just a quibble.  It's summer and I'm NOT letting sunlight in that will heat the house.
Item #7 - Taking a walk is a nice idea.  Being able to ground anywhere is also a good idea.  Don't get tied to only one way to ground.
Item #8 - Just not my style.  Just like I don't have music/tv on in the background all the time.  For me - I often get 'messages' thru' scents that pop up out of nowhere.  AND many scents bother my son's asthma.
Item #9 - I guess I just don't have problems from 'negative people'.  OTOH, I'm the type who - while I don't worry about 'Mercury Retrograde' use all the posts about upcoming ones as a cue to back up my devices.  Backing up my devices is more important to me than 'clearing' them.  Devices can crash and 'clear' themselves just bloody fine, damn it!
Item #10 - Not a bad suggestion - but also make your 'to do' list for the next day, so you can put that list aside and out of your mind.  That might even help the issue cited in Item #1!

Work smarter, not harder, Darlings.

Frondly, Fern

Sunday, July 15, 2018

BJ's "Top 10 things to do as a Witch" list.

Blessings Darlings!

BJ responded to my 'suggestion' list with this.  It is, of course, wonderful, because that's how BJ is.

So, in it's entirety, and shared with permission:

Top Ten Things to do as a Witch
1. Be born
2. Have spirits
3. Be othered
4. Inner sense of being kind of fabulous but also meh because liminality
5. :. Be liminal
7. More POWER because Kraft means power.
8. More spirits because they're in your blood
9. Be a supernatural monster, but in the way you choose to be
10. Magic!

Frondly, Fern

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday the 13th this year is Chaotic Neutral.

Blessings Darlings!

I've been rather gobsmacked by all the memes and such that I've run into today along the lines of "Friday the 13th is the Witch Day of [Good] Luck!"  Look, folks, this is just bullshit. 

First - why do SOME folks think that Friday the 13th is bad luck? 
1 - 13 people were seated at the Last Supper (servers don't count, eh?)
2 - Jesus was crucified on a Friday.
3 - The slaughter of the Templars was on a Friday the 13th.

NONE OF THIS HAS SHIT TO DO WITH WITCHES.  Or Pagans, for that matter.  Get over it.  Just because it was 'bad' to Christians doesn't make it 'lucky/good/whatever' to us. It's neutral.

What IS true about today, Friday the 13th, 1028 is that it is a Dark Moon.  SOME of the folks going on about the Friday the 13th shit did notice that.  But virtually NONE of them noticed that it also featured at partial solar eclipse.  A solar eclipse - which, BTW, can only happen during a dark moon - is the chaotic combination of the chaos/Samhain like aspects of the Dark Moon combined with the strong hard-to-shape energy of the sun/moon/earth alignment. 

Chaotic  Neutral. 

How can people who claim to be so tied in to nature and the universe be more tied to the totally artificial calendar dates than they are to ... well ... nature and the universe, to the point that they don't even know what's going on between our planet, it's one moon, and the star in our solar system? 

I weep.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, July 12, 2018

10 Daily Things Witches Might Just Consider Doing.

Blessings Darlings!

I just read a really masturbatory and inefficient list of 'What Witches Do'.  It was immediately obvious to me that I had to create my own list!  Really, almost all of them come down to either "Work to bring down the Patriarchy" or "Do your craft more efficiently"

1 - Read the local paper, so they are informed local citizens. 

2 - Read a good 'National/world' paper, so they are an informed world citizens (New York Times, Washington Post, London Times, whatever).  Witches should never be ignorant twats.

3 - Ground and center where you are.  No need to go somewhere else to do it.  And "Long Walks in Nature" may not be available in your area nor safe to do.

4 - Charge all the food you buy with 'health and power' as you bring it into the house after shopping.
Sure, you can charge individual foods when you cook or eat them for specific purposes too.  But this way EVERYTHING has at least some charge.  And if you're bringing in some food that you know is going to NOT work for 'health and power' ... you need to face that.

5 -  Charge your vacuum cleaner (or broom, or carpet sweeper, or whatever) to deal with 'negative energy' as well as dirt/dust/etc.  And did you notice the word 'Daily' in the title of this post?  Use it/them!

6 - Charge all your cleaning products for the same purposes as in #5.  Again, note the 'daily use' clause. 


7 - Charge your bath soap for some purpose.  No need for a different product than what you're going to use daily.

8.  Fight for justice.

9.  Support your communities.

10 - Do what self-care you can.  Eat as well as your finances allow, and learn what your body works well with.  I can do neither Keto nor heavily starch/grain/bean based eating, and we are poor (I work two jobs. And I'm in my 60's).  Turnips are cheap. Cabbage is cheap.  Eggs are cheap.  Well, they are cheap if they agree with your body.  Otherwise they are expensive.  Try to get enough sleep.  Have that bed time routine that eases you into the arms of Morpheus.  If your body allows it, get some daily exercise.  Clean your body daily - even if it's a sponge bath -  you'll feel better. 

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bring Your Vegetable To Work Day

Blessings Darlings!

This post is not about bringing garden surplus to share with your coworkers.  Maybe next year I'll be able to post about that.  My garden's not going to provide that much food this year.  I'll probably post more about that some other time.

Instead, this is about me wanting to eat better but NOT wanting to cook at home/heat up MY house.  Work, OTOH, is in a hotel kitchen. And it's already hot and nothing I do will actually affect that fact one way or the other.  So today (the day I'm writing this blog post, Sunday July 1) I'm bringing in a whole bunch of veggies that I want to roast so I can cut them, season them, and roast them - all during slow periods at work - while at work.  This week has a federal holiday in it, so there will be LOTS of slow periods at work.

I got permission from the previous sous chef.  Hell, he'd have let me use the veggies at work for this.  Which is not something I'm going to do.  Thus I have onion, carrots, beets, turnips, and two types of summer squash coming to work with me today. I also have two half gallon containers to take the finished products home in.  And I'm bringing in the chef knife today, instead of the serrated knife or the boning knife.

It's gonna get real.

Frondly, Fern

Saturday, July 7, 2018

There's plastic in the Ocean!

Blessings Darlings!

I'm hoping that your reaction to the title of this was "No Shit".

Now, read this on an idea on where to put your efforts on solving the problem.  And feel free to point out why banning single use plastic or whatever is better.   We can argue here.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, July 5, 2018

That Which is Remembered, Lives.

Blessings Darlings!

Today (as I type) would have been my Mother's 102th birthday.  Not coincidentally, it would also have been my uncle Sid's 102th birthday, since they were twins. 

They have already been served their home-made birthday cake.  And before I served THAT I cleaned up more so Mom wouldn't be upset.  Not that she wants ME to clean - she wants me to hire someone to clean. 

Mom and I still have some disagreements, to say the least.  Sid and I probably do, too, but Mom is going to make sure that he keeps his mouth shut about them. This keeps him in the 'benevolent protector' mode he took towards me.  Unlike the mode he was in towards his own kids.

Ancestors that you KNEW are ... so very human.  You know their warts, their weaknesses, their fuck ups.  It's so much easier to only honor the far more ancient ancestors.  If you don't know their actual stories that is.  Knowing them as they were would make them more problematic too, I'm sure.

Happy birthday, Mom and Uncle Sid.  You are remembered.  That which is remembered lives.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Work, not Spells, Increases Will Power.

Blessings Darlings!

In my online travels the other day, someone asked for spells to increase their will power.  I was kinda gobsmacked by the question, and not surprised that the person asking hadn't done any mundane work on increasing their will power ... nor had done any work on learning how to do magic (BTW - there are no 'spells to make me know how to do spells', either.)

It's just way easier to increase your will power thru' mundane means than by magical means.  This is because you need to have a LOT of 'will power' to learn magic.  Learning to do magic is a long and tedious process.  You won't make it thru' that process without will power.  Going thru' the process you will develop will power ... but it's a side benefit.  Doing it directly is way more efficient.

For those who are wondering - I'm talking about 'small w' will power.  Not contacting/manifesting your Higher Will.  

So what mundane stuff helps a person strengthen their will power?

1 - Do things you want to do early. And often.  Don't put them off.  Procrastination is your enemy here.  Eat veggies with breakfast, meditate early, stop reading e-mail during the most of the day.

Which might mean you have to take a fearless look at the rhythms in your life.  In my case, my husband wakes up before I do, and when I get up he will interrupt anything I work on in the morning.  So to get MY important stuff done early, I have to be clear that I need to be uninterrupted for the next 20 minutes to meditate, or for the time needed to do offerings, or whatever.  I have to be clear about my needs and communicate them to him. 

2 - Build in a reward for having done the thing you want to do.  Brush your teeth after meditating (You're going to do that before leaving the house anyway, right?) Don't have that second cup of coffee/tea until you close down your e-mail.

3 - Put off doing things you want to stop doing.  Delay having that cigarette.  Or those carbs.  Procrastination is your friend here.  Throw in some distraction as well.  Maybe captioned cat pics. Maybe not if that's what you are doing instead of work.  Put on some hand lotion that you don't want to get on your keyboard if you don't want to be online as much.

4 - Build in a 'punishment' for doing things you don't want to do.  The old 'wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it if when you swear/whine/whatever".  Donate money to a cause you don't particularly support when you screw up.  I'd say not to go as far as to give $$$ to a candidate you hate, but ... maybe donate to a charity that's just not a PRIORITY of yours.  Maybe a public jazz station if you don't listen to jazz or such.

5 - Remove temptations/cues to do what you don't want to do.  Oust the desserts/cigs/computer short cuts/whatever. 

6 - Make it easy to do what you want to do.  Keep the foods you want to start eating around.  Maybe in frozen form, so they don't go bad while you push yourself to eat 'em.

7 - Work to make it a habit, rather than 'will power'.

8 - As ALWAYS - don't fear failure.  It's a process.  You're changing things.  It doesn't happen immediately.  Your BUILDING will power.

9 - Always Be Testing:  Some folks find that they only have a limited amount of 'will power', and that while it increases with time ... it's going to be weaker later in the day after they used some of it up by not killing coworkers, dealing with traffic, doing whatever practice, etc.  Maybe you need to limit the opportunities to test your will power by simplifying choices.  Or maybe you need to 'practice more' by inflicting your will power on meaningless shit like - I kid you not, this suggestion is all over the internet - brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand.  THAT is going to be very individual.  It might vary by the amount of stress you're under, too.  Be aware of yourself and your limits on a day to day basis.

BTW, in researching this, there were lots of suggestions that 'regularly meditation for 8 weeks increases your will power".  Nope, the meditation wasn't it.  The daily 'do it early and make it a habit' things covered above is what did it.  It was the mundane, not the woo.

Frondly, Fern