Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunday, September 06, 2009

More Media Madness

Every morning while eating breakfast and drinking my first cup of coffee, I read various email accounts, Facebook pages and news sources. I also fight evil doers in various Facebook applications, but that is not the point of this blog. What is the point? Absolute disdain for the choice of cnn.com's staff picking the below article as it's lead for the day.

Why Exercise Won\'t Make You Thin

Where do I even begin? It is proof to the disturbingly unwell world in which we live that the quest for thinness trumps the efforts for health care reform, the crack in the San Francisco Bay Bridge that shut down this national wonder, and resignation of a top presidential advisor. Clearly, worrying about wastelines is more important than the 900 people rescued from a ferry in the Phillipines or the international relations question of Chavez and Iran working together. Silly me, I thought the news was going to report on, well, news!

Adding insult to the injury is the article itself. I did not read it - I don't need to read someone else's opinion about the best ways to lose weight. I'm sick of this world that is obsessed with thinness - an ideal body that most people will never have. My theory? Change the ideal. I would suggest several alternative titles to this article to improve the overall climate in discussing weight:

- Certain Exercise Routines Increase Hunger
- The Key to Happiness: All Things in Moderation
- Learning to Love the Body You're In
- Why Do You Exercise?
- Fitness is Not Being a Number

I could go on, but I won't. Sure, these titles may not be as "catchy" or "hip" as the one generated by the authors of this article, but they are a lot less damaging to the national psyche. The error in their title is the assumption that the world wants to be thin. It tells me that I should be exercising to lose weight - that this will not work, and that I should read their story to figure out what will make me thin. Make me thin. Does anyone else see the problem with that? Fitness and health are NOT about the size of my pants. It's a state of total being achieved through working WITH the body instead of against it. The goal of exercise is to increase health and wellness, NOT simply working towards a smaller number.

How are we to change this world obsessed with unnatural thinness when even CNN covers this topic as its lead story??? There is SO much more to the world than numbers and scales and calories burned vs. calories consumed. Instead of reading about what will and will not make you thin... try getting up and LIVING your life. Even if your size doesn't change, my hunch is that your overall happiness and wellness will increase exponentially.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Harvest Season

It's beginning to be one of my favorite times of the year. Harvest season. Autumn. Mabon. Fall. No matter what you call it, it's simply spectacular. This year, I am fortunate enough to be living in Nashville, Tennessee where the weather is more amenable to outdoor activities during the season. The season itself will extend into November - another welcome change from snowy New York!

What are some of the reasons that you love the Fall? What does the Fall remind you of? What smells or scents do you associate with this time of year?? Post a comment to reply!

  1. Picking apples in the orchards
  2. Shucking corn and freezing it for winter
  3. Hiking along nature trails or rivers as the leaves turn
  4. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove
  5. Farmers markets have an abundance of supplies
  6. Mabon!!!
  7. Back to school energy
  8. Homemade mulled cider
  9. Making pumpkin-products, especially pumpkin bread!
  10. Preparing for Halloween/Samhain
  11. Bright colors everywhere - reds, oranges and yellow!
  12. Hayrides through pumpkin patches
  13. Decorating in Fall colors
  14. That slight chill in the air in the early morning hours
  15. Sense of energy as Nature prepares for winter

Those are just a few that came to mind in this moment. I'm sure we can come up with more!!! Here's a picture of my Harvest mantle/altar. It's a work in progress, but I like it!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

You know you've spent too much time with your cats when...

You know you've spent too much time with your cats when:
  1. You could spend hours sitting by the window.
  2. You enjoy stretching out into crazy positions.
  3. You spend multiple hours a day napping.
  4. You ingest several pounds of cat fur a year
  5. You start getting hungrier before a big storm
  6. You find yourself excited over shiny objects and pieces of string
  7. You wake up from said naps in contorted positions
  8. You stare at the world backwards, just in case it looks better upside down
  9. You take these naps on the floor, in the chair and on top of clean, warm clothes
  10. You communicate volumes with a simple tilt of the head and look in your eye

These are just a few of the habits I notice that I start to pick up after spending many months with my baby girls. I think it might be time for me to get out of the house a little more... before I turn into a feline completely!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

One Stitch At a Time

One of my favorite things about crafting is that, no matter what the art form, there is a lesson just waiting to be learned. There are so many possible avenues for the mind to focus on while crafting... all of which can be translated into rather potent life lessons.

This morning is a perfect example of such phenomenon. After my morning routine of making a large pot of coffee (hazelnut of course) and sipping on the delectable delight while reviewing the evening affairs of various friends and acquaintances on Facebook and email, I decided to try my hand at the latest of my crafting endeavors. I made collaged journals that I hope to sell at the coven's booth during Pagan Pride Day. I also make these wonderful journaling dice that provide structure to the mental meanderings of the writer. A friend suggested (thank you Courtney!) on Thursday night that I make these dice as well and put them together with the journals for a more uniquely-Kayti gifting idea. I LOVE IT!

I was walking around the aisle of WalMart yesterday (hey, I'm broke!) and was looking for small cloth bags to house the ceramic dice - preferably something that would match the color schemes of the journals (hello OCD). I was rounding the corner of the scrapbooking aisle when I stopped dead in my tracks. Why not make them myself? The thought lingered a moment or two before being inundated with all the many reasons that I shouldn't do this. Why not? Chimed in that voice that says "fuck you" to naysayers and doubt. And why not won out.

This morning I decided to experiment with this idea. I had drawn a rough sketch during a particularly boring meeting yesterday and determined it was time to test my theories. I was quite pleased at the success during my first attempt at making a little pouch bag. Around the time I needed to work on the drawstring section... I hit a road block. My original idea was to use toothpicks to hold the space open, finish the bag, then weave the cord in at the end. After stitching up the first side, I realized there were a few issues. The toothpicks really didn't move. Problem One. The cord didn't fit into the eye of my many needles. Problem Two. The tape that was holding the toothpicks together had fallen off into the sewn-together pieces. Problem Three.

I made several attempts to rectify the situation and found myself growing increasingly more frustrated. I managed to remove the toothpicks, but that tape wasn't budging and the cord just wasn't going to fit. I tried many more needles, until I realized that I just had to accept the fact that a thick cord was NOT going to ever fit inside the hole of a tiny needle. Why was I trying to force something into a size that it should not be. (oooo, do we see where I'm going with this?) Alas, I resigned myself that the best way to move FORWARD was, in fact, to start over. Not completely though, as the one set of stitches on the side was already doing just fine. I snipped off the complicated section and carefully removed enough thread to avoid ruining the progress already made. I went straight to the cord and put it into the fabric... sewing around it. Why was I was trying to make it more complicated? What was the danger in using the actual material instead of "testing ground" with a wooden stunt double? What was I afraid of?

The next issue... I don't have straight pins. At first, I considered going to the store and buying some. Then again... I have many needles. I don't need to follow the straight-and-narrow path to accomplish my goals. The needles worked fine in holding the fabric in place.

The end product was outstanding. I'm very pleased and excited to start another bag soon. The lessons of the day???

- Sometimes to move forward, we must accept our limitations and go back to a point in time where we were on track. Pick up the pieces from there and start over.
- Sometimes to move forward, we must think outside of the normal logic and find a sturdy, suitable substitute to help us on our way.
- Sometimes in our efforts to protect ourselves (in this case the cord) we actually complicated the situation and create more work for ourselves along the way.
- The only way to continuously move forward is to take it one stitch at a time.

And now? I've refilled my coffee and grabbed an apple for a snack. I'm off to the post office to mail out a birthday present to my forever friend and to the grocery store for experimenting with new tastes and new foods and new recipes. Next up on my agenda? Starting to figure out my dish for Lammas today... going with what tastes good and works well together instead of what another recipe tells me to do exactly. Creativity is more than just arts and crafts... it filters into every aspect of a life.

I challenge you to embrace your creativity and to allow it to guide you in whatever endeavors you put forward. One stitch at a time.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sometimes Credit is About Taking Charge

Cash or credit? Do you want change with that? Can we charge it?

Funny how these phrases come at us every day and we always assume the speaker is referring to payment. What if we take the financial whim out of the question and focus on the underlying meaning of the words?? Credit. That means so much more to me than a piece of plastic or the status of my borrowing and lending power. It isn't something defined by a number because I am not something defined by a number. It's... it's the idea that my word has significance and meaning to it. It's linked with the phrase "give me some credit" and "I'll take credit for that" - ownership, responsibility, worth. It's the idea that I will follow through on something and that I am a trustworthy individual.

Charge. Yes, it's something you can do when you swipe your cards through those annoying readers at various stores that all have different instructions and leave your signature looking like your primary school teacher's attempt at teaching you cursive... But it's also something about leadership, responsibility and agency. People take charge of given situations and we call them leaders, sometimes even heros. We celebrate their courage, strength and wisdom. Sometimes it's "I charge you with..." and it means giving someone else ownership of an item or situation. Again, it's linked with responsibility. When a nanny says "this is my charge" s/he is referring to the child s/he is watching over at the time.

What is at the root of the meanderings?? I've meditated on a lot of things lately (side effect of being at the beach and stuck in cars for very, VERY long times). I've come to the following conclusion: the only way to have a future is to take charge of the present instead of dwelling in the past.

Perhaps this is a "duh" expression for most people. I'll admit, it's rather simple to say/type right there. But how many people really LIVE by this standard? Really invest time every day to this commitment and make the necessary changes in their routines for it to become reality? My hunch? Very few. I know I have been batting pretty low at this lately.

Sometimes taking charge of the present means doing things against the advice of others. Everyone had trusted folks in their lives that give them good advice. Many people have opinions on various issues you may deal with - from employment opportunities to clothing/fashion choices. It is our responsibility, however, to navigate through these well-intentioned offerings and figure out what is true for us in this PRESENT moment. Sometimes it is related to our past, sometimes it's breaking away from that past to move towards the future.

The other thing about this new standard... it provides total agency to the individual (in this case me) and responsibility for his or her successes and failures. I really don't like that word - failure - for even a mistake is a learning opportunity. It's never really failure... just more information about how to do things differently next time. I guess failure would be if you gave up and refused yourself the chance to have a "next time" - but, alas, I digress.

Too many times people (at least I know I do) wait for other people to resolve their issues or situation. They wait for that phone call or for the other shoe to drop. Honestly? I'm just not that kind of person. I'm the kid that saw a problem in my high school and confronted it head on, creating a new student organization and speaking before parents, school board members, teachers and peers to make it happen. I'm the college student that dared to be the only dissenting opinion in a sea of homogeny. I'm the professional that stood up for others in dire situations despite overwhelming evidence against it. I believe people because I take their word seriously - I give them credit. It's time to do that for ME. A lot of folks have opinions about my life... about what I should and should not do... about how I should live or look or pray or whatever. I appreciate the opinions, they give me items to meditate on. They help me by challenging my status quo... sometimes encouraging an adaptation to a routine or a refining of a skill (oooo, she's sounding so Locke-ian today!).

Moral of my morning story? I'm taking credit for the things I have done well and not so well. I'm taking ownership of my life. I'm tired of waiting for the right thing to come alone... I'm going to go out and make the right thing happen. I'm taking charge of my present instead of waiting for someone else to tell me "yay" or "nay" to given situations. I will continue to listen to the opinions of every important person in my life that offers such a thing... but I am taking charge and giving myself credit.

Attitude. Confidence. Courage. Never leave home without 'em.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kudos to the Random Nice GuyI was

I was down in Cool Springs this morning for a meeting at a place that I've spent many, many hours in the past year or so. I drive my car there... the silver Chrysler Sebring that I bought while living in Potsdam. It's a great car, comes complete with a faerie wind chime and quite a few socially activist and aware stickers. It stands out due to these statements of my endorsements and, because I still have New York plates.

So, I have parked this car in the same general area for all the many hours I've spent at this particular place in town. Today, as I was pulling out to head towards another meeting, a man in a larger SUV stopped me. He was blocking my way out and got out of his car, signaling at me to roll down my window. After the initial confusion (I mean, this is NOT normal behavior!) the nicely groomed, khaki-clad gent told me that he really appreciates the causes that I support. He has noticed my car parked here off and on this last year and had always wanted to thank the owner for speaking out for others like that. He smiled and said a big thank you, and told me that I'd just made his day. He then got back in his car and let me go in front of him.

That is just... really random, and really nice. It's also a little sad that I've been at this place so long that this poor guy thinks I'm employed there!! I got a kick out of that... and I got a real deep smile that lasted for quite some time. What causes are on the back of my car? I got out before going to my next meeting to check! I have two "Stop the Violence" stickers - one for domestic violence and one for sexual assault. I have the "Have a Faerie Nice Day" and "She Changes Everything She Touches" for pagan stuff... and an OBX sticker I just added from my recent trip. There is "Namaste" and a beautiful tree that represents religious diversity and support for multifaith communities.

Here's what is just... awesome. This random stranger in the parking lot in about two minutes said more supportive words about key issues in my life than many people that I've lived with for a lot longer than that. Here's a man that took notice of something small... and took the time out of the hustle and bustle of life to tell me about it. How often does that happen? What would the world look like if more people engaged in random acts of kindness???

So I took the spirit with me to the doctor. While getting some labs done (everyone breathe, I'm totally fine, just routine stuff after a lifetime of borderline EKGs), this older lady comes out crying. She looked like she'd just received some bad news and was having trouble digesting it. She could barely walked. I quickly moved the magazines out of the chair closest to her and let her sit... and then quietly got up and snagged the tissue box from the counter for her to use. Her eyes smiled at me despite the tears and I knew that I'd passed on the random kindness. I don't know what her story was, I don't even know her name. But hopefully she'll tell someone about the random lady in black and white in the waiting room who took a minute to do the right thing.

I challenge everyone to take a moment out of EVERY day to do the right thing. If it's texting or calling or Facebooking a friend and telling them you care about them... or telling someone when they cross your mind... or helping someone reach something from that tippy-top shelf... do it. We never know how long we have on this planet... why not take some time to do the right thing instead of losing hours upon hours being lost within ourselves.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An Ignored Storm Still Rains

Wisdom comes in many shapes and sizes, especially while relaxing at the beach. I thought I'd share with you the lesson learned from yesterday:

I sat on the uppermost deck of the cottage named ONE, slowly rocking along with the crashing waves below. The wooden chair was cool to touch after a morning shower and there was a slight chill in the breezy air. I snuggled in with my large cup of coffee (in the white ceramic mug with brown sea shells painted on it) and my OBX sweatshirt I purchased several years back. I thought of how wonderful it would be to have my Naia at that moment, cuddling up with the furry child and sitting, totally at peace, in this paradise.

The clouds behind me were quite ominous - in the dark blue, stormy, rumbles of thunder far away type of way. In front of me though, was a beautiful array of white clouds with spots of sunshine filtering through the various holes in the arrangement. I sat with my back to the storm and focused on the single beams coming down, penetrating through the clouds, and reflecting off the morning ocean. It was magnificent! I savored each swallow of the warm liquid (flavored with sugar free hazelnut creamer) and sat wondering if mind-over-matter could work with Mother Nature. I contemplated the meaning of these sun beams in an otherwise nasty, threatening sky. I took respite in their beauty and the sanctuary of sunshine that they offered. I focused on the positive aspects of the reflecting waters and wondered if a fish out there was pulling out a pair of sunglasses.

I thought about how this could be a metaphor for my own life. Is it better to ignore the giant thunderstorm looming behind you to focus on the positives that are right in front of you (but slightly out of reach) or to turn and face the storm head-on, bunkering down for the impending weather in order to find the brighter skies on the other side. I thought about the meaning of optimism... and questioned the sky aloud as to why it had a chill to it in North Carolina towards the end of July. THAT is just not right.

As my thoughts began to wander even further (hopefully that does not count as exercise), I felt the first drop of rain. The wind had picked up and was slapping water pellets in my direction. The spots of sunshine were filled in with gray and the droplets began to descend furiously from the sky.

The conclusion: An ignored storm still rains.

This being said... it rained for about 2 hours yesterday morning before the system passed, giving way to a beautiful afternoon of sunshine and brilliant blues. The weather lasted just a few hours before the next wave of storms, but carried with it the promise for continued changes in the tide of life. Very applicable, I thought to myself, very very applicable.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Faeries are not a Farse

Okay... break from the breathtaking bucolic beach scenes for a small rant. It's another cloudy, rainy morning... which means a sluggish start to the day. I shared with my family a video that was sent to me this morning from a good friend, IK the Troll. Yes, when you work at the Renaissance Faire, you have friends that are trolls, peasants, nobles, faeries and everything in between. Well... let's just say that my family does NOT share the same fun and excitement about the winged creatures as I do.

I understand that it's hard for a parent to realize their daughter is a college-educated Faerie. But really... why must you poke such fun? There is NOTHING wrong with being a sprite at the Renn Faire... we had great fun! Playing in the mud puddles was entertaining to patrons and amusing to children. We ate stuff off the ground... sure... but it wasn't "gross" and "disgusting" and worth wrinkling your nose at. Apparently they've been telling people how "my daughter is a faerie" and just... not in the proud way. But the wow-look-at-the-freak. Really? Thanks.

Okay... I get that I'm 25 years old and still believe in faeries. Maybe if people would stop and ask about the Fae Traditions within the pagan philosophies it would make sense. Maybe if they realized it isn't an obsession with Tinkerbelle or a refusal to grow up... but a genuine belief in Nature spirits and the natural energies that surround us... maybe if they realized that as an actress I'll do many things and if I can enjoy it, why not??? It's just... frustrating. There were a lot of wonderful things about the Renaissance Faire and a lot of not so wonderful things. It was hard work! It is something I'm proud of and enjoy sharing stories about. Why is it so difficult to take me seriously?

Then there's the people that go off on the term "faerie" - implying that because it is linked with homosexual connotations it's an impure or dirty word. WOW. Homophobic much? And if you are... then how in the WORLD do you expect me to take you seriously? There is nothing wrong with the phrase or the word. People believe in angels and they aren't freaks or gay or anything. And if you ARE gay, why does that make you a freak? Why is it such a bad thing??? Why do people have to extend judgement for something done in good fun???

Guess what world. I am Kayti. I like faeries. I was a faerie at the Renn Faire and, if I do the Faire again, I hope to be another faerie. It's brilliant to see a child's face light up when they realize that faeries are real. They have conversations with us. They believe. We take some of the seriousness out of life and out of the festival... which is good. The whole thing is designed for people to get dressed up and play. Adults do not play as much as they should... it's always work work work. Faeries remind us to take life a little less seriously and to converse with our inner children. If someone isn't willing to accept my adoration of faeries... then we've got some major issues. I have some pretty substantial differences from the people around me... and the faerie thing is one of the more minor, innocuous ones. If you judge me for my wings... what do you think of the other things in my life??? Then again... if you judge me for speaking in Fae... then maybe I won't take your thoughts and opinions that seriously on other matters.

It just... pisses me off. And believe me, you do NOT want to upset the Fae. I'm not saying I believe I am a faerie, only in costume. I am human. I'm not psychotic. But I do believe in the faeries and I enjoy playing the role. Most people smile and laugh and tell me it's nice to see someone having fun in life. Why the harsh judgement? Why the critical eye? Sorry world, I'm not here to be a pretty princess all donned in pink, waiting for her prince to ride up on a pony and save the day. I make my own magic and my own history and do my own day saving.