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Ebony's Pearls
20 most recent entries

Date:2015-04-25 16:57
Event type:Sticky

This journal is filled with adult content.

I regularly discuss things of interest to adults: responsibility, politics, religion, survival skills, cookery, science, filk, hobbies, government, current events, literature, history, human rights, jobs, finances, weight, disabilities, gardening, and more.


Date:2015-07-31 09:48
Subject:The Pretty Good Witch

1. You give fucks. BUT - not just any fucks. You cultivate them in pots and plots and pick and choose the ones about which you will give - picking only those that appeal to you and about which you can realistically do something. Your field of fucks is vast and well-hidden; the ones you give are select and few.

2. You really, really are selective about the fucks you give, and no one can influence that selection unless you were already leaning that way. It looks to outsiders as if you don't give any fucks at all, but that's because you're not giving them to *those* people.

3. You're mostly invisible. People rarely notice you, and they frequently forget about you. This is great, because it assists in your "give a fuck" selection as well as in your patterning.

4. People are so comfortable around you they will reveal all the information you need, want, and then some. They'll forget they told you all this, but you will remember, so when it's time to give a fuck, you can review and decide you gets the fucks and who doesn't. And you're very selective.

5. Because you are practically invisible and people are so cozy around you, you can always tell when someone is full of it. You know things, and you know the people.

6. You may have been harassed or persecuted or bullied when younger, but once you donned your cloak of invisibility with age and wisdom, you've glided through life forgettably, which allows you a tremendous amount of freedom and power.

7. You encounter a lot of synchronicity and you've learned how to manipulate the patterns to create more, so your life may have its bumps, but you have the skills to smooth those over - for yourself and for those fucks you choose to give.

8. Your effect on others is subtle and far reaching. They won't know it's you, but you will. You prefer to deal in the small and subtle. Perceptive people may realize you are the epicenter of these small things, but rarely will they think you are the cause. They may want to be closer to you, or smooth your path, a few may obstruct it, but you know work-arounds.This allows you so much freedom. Nobody ever suspects the kindly ones.

9. Sometimes your invisibility reverses itself, usually with others who are truly kind people. They will often approach you to tell you how comforting you are; they will speak of your kindness and your goodness. Accept these with grace and return the compliment as truthfully as you can.

10. Your experience of other senses and dimensions is greater because you don't ignore them. You may have developed ways to increase your perceptions and practice them frequently. You are more observant and people believe you have greater psychic skills than you do. You don't disabuse them of that but you also don't confirm how you know what you do - it makes your life easier and helps you choose which fucks are the best ones to give.

As a pretty good witch, you easily incorporate the physical and non-physical realms. Your observation and patterning skills are excellent, allowing you to be in the right place at the right time, and helping you choose when you need to step into a wrong place and time to cause the effects and changes you have determined need to be done. You are often a scientist, even if it's a citizen scientist without a college degree, because knowledge is your bread-and-butter - true knowledge, not pseudo-scientific crap. You spend some time dispelling pseudo-science because the more people support true science, the easier your field of fucks grows and the more generous you can be with those fucks.

Life as a pretty good witch is pretty good.

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Date:2015-05-04 13:00
Subject:Woman's Work

How did it become determined that certain tasks were woman's work? When did it become codified as such and why? Is it biologically determined, or are there other forces at play? Does it still apply today? Is this true across all cultures? Is it consistently true within a culture?

And then ask:

Does woman's work have to continue to be divided along gender? Is woman's work lesser than man's work? Should woman's work, if not lesser, be less valued than man's work? Are women more biologically fragile than men? Are women more mentally fragile than men?

And of course, we can substitute "man's" for "woman's" and ask the same questions. The answers would be as revelatory and relevant.

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Date:2015-05-04 08:44

1 - Who is your favorite actor (male or female) right now?

It doesn't ask about living or dead, so I'm going to go with Danny Kaye.

2 - Favorite movie based on a book?

I don't watch a lot of movies...Princess Bride, probably.

3 - Ketchup... yes or no?

Homemade ketchup is delish! Storebought adds too much salt and vinegar.

4 - Do you remember the first boy/girl you kissed? What was his/her name?

None of your business.

5 - Flashback to when you were a teenager. What were the posters on your wall?

I grew up pre-posters. I wrote on my walls.

6 - What embarrassing moment in your life are you willing to share?


7 - What is your favorite junk food?

Egg rolls

8 - Looking under my bed, you will find...

Carpet with dust bunnies

9 - When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be...

Airline stewardess for the ability to travel. I never grew tall enough to qualify, so my next best hope was to be a foreign language interpreter, so I learned Chinese, Russian, Sanskrit, Italian, German, and a few others. My education, however, was in phytotherapy/compounding pharmacy and fairytales.

10 - Skipped school... yes or no?

No, I didn't even know it was a "thing", no one I knew skipped school. If any of us were absent, we had a compelling reason for it.

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Date:2015-03-19 15:24

Most gods are our external, anthropomorphized moral conscience. They are also external, anthropomorphized arbiters of social behavior and protectors of natural, common-use resources. They guard borders and boundaries and remind people of locally specific risks and potentially costly engagements. They frown on over-exploitation of resources, like over-hunting, or over-picking the berries, or polluting the drinking water. They conform to local problems - one reason for deity-reinforced food taboos. People whose gods come from a desert, for example, would have an eating pig taboo because pigs are tasty but they consume more resources than they provide and too many people would die to allow a few to eat pig, so the god will say *no one* gets to eat pig, it's "unclean".

As such, gods can be *useful* in directing human behavior into kind, moral, helpful, conserving, sharing, cooperative directions. A belief in gods triggers moral cognition.

Read more...Collapse )

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Date:2015-03-19 13:55

I have a list of fandoms in which I participate. Some aren't necessarily what others consider a "fandom", but I'm OK with that.

Here's my current list. I am much more likely to add a fandom than to subtract one, but I have been known to drop one.

Science fiction
Elf Quest
Downton Abbey
Wonder Woman
Addams Family

Dr. Who
My Little Pony
Batman (but mostly Poison Ivy)
Star Trek
Star Wars

Monty Python
Big Bang
Nightmare before Christmas

Ghost Bride
Babylon 5
Battlestar Galactica

Death and Funerary Customs
Specialty Celebrations (Corn Festival, Watermelon Festival, Hillbilly Games...)
Soda making
Wine and mead making

Service Dogs/Animals

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Date:2015-03-11 13:29

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I ascribe to the Epicurean school of philosophy. In many ways, it resembles Stoicism, but is less about self-abnegation and acceptance and is more positive and thriving oriented.

I think the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears kind of sums it up - the porridge that's too cold, the bed that's too hard, those are Stoic attributes because at least they have porridge and a bed, they accept what is sent their way without complaint.

The porridge that's too hot, the bed that's too soft, that's sybaritic. An overindulgence, if a little is good, then too much is better.

But the porridge that was just right, and the bed that was just right - that's Epicurean. You have what you need, but not so little or so harsh that you must endure it, and not so much that you are overwhelmed - just the right amount to fulfill your needs.

Epicureanism is a philosophy of living a life - for oneself and others - that is free of unncessary pain, free of want for necessities, free of oppression. It's about balance and thriving, of having enough so one is free to pursue the arts or to spend time thinking and learning because time isn't spent in struggling to survive. It's about having enough and knowing one could have more, be more, do more, so there's still the impetus to strive that is robbed from us in a sybaritic world of complete indulgance.

I like Epicureanism, and the more I study it, the more I like it.

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Date:2015-03-02 14:47
Subject:Steampunk Home Style

I've seen any number of articles on how to have a steampunk style home. The photos they share all look either contrived or very modern trying hard to be steampunk.

There are a lot of elements that can make a home look steampunk without it costing a lot to do.

I think one of the first things that annoys me about all those articles is that they all start with using muted neutral colors, especially for paints. Dudes, the Victorian Era was when aniline dyes were discovered - they used color everywhere they could pack it in, as bright as possible. Don't get sucked into "neutral colors" as steampunk. Go bold in your color choices. Reds were a favorite, as were yellows - both look good with steampunk paraphernalia. Go for stripes, and ornate wallpaper, too. I recommend getting fabric you like and attaching it to the wall with liquid starch. This has the benefit of being cheap and easy to remove if you change your mind (or are renting). Just mix up a batch of liquid starch, paint the top of the wall you are covering with the starch, put up the fabric (and pin it in place with push pins, otherwise it will get too heavy as you work and fall down) and paint it again with more liquid starch. Work your way down the wall, painting the wall, smoothing on the fabric, then painting the fabric. Trim and smooth the edges. Let it dry, and voila! cheap wall "paper" that will come cleanly off with some steam, followed by a good soap scrub on the wall to remove any residue.

The point is - don't settle for neutral colors on the walls - go for interesting prints and colors.

Definitely use repurposed and refurbished furnishing - Victorians and steampunks are inveterate scroungers. Display those re-crafting skills proudly.

If industrial doesn't appeal to you, don't use it. If it does, go for it. Exposed beams, brick walls, exposed pipes, metal framed windows, replacing light switches with levers or gear driven switches, bookshelves made of pipes (or PVC painted to look like metal pipes), that sort of thing.

If you are an artificer, don't hesitate to display your work area, works in progress, or the finished products. If you are a supporter of the artificers, be proud to display your gorgeous purchases.

If you display photos, consider a tabletop display of sepia toned ones in ornate metal frames or a wall of plain framed sepia photos with some ribbon bows above or below a frame or two.

Display knitted or crocheted throws and antimaccasars (the doilies placed on chair and sofa arms and head rest areas to absorb dirt and oils from people).

Use textural contrasts - hang jewelry with leather bags and knitwear, for instance.

Have an umbrella/cane stand or coat/hat rack. If it looks like an elephant's foot or something exotic, so much the better. You can make cool looking ones from paper mache.

Put small items in small wooden boxes and display the boxes in groupings.

Display books. I know some articles suggest old books - but they weren't old back then, so have a mix of old and new books. Do intersperse the books with odd objects - an unusual rock, a brass telescope, a small globe, pieces of antler, an amethyst cluster, a specimen jar with *something* in it.

Chandeliers in the dining area or the formal parlor (what we call the living room - not the snuggery or den - those require table lamps).

Furniture-wise, historically, the more rooms you had in your house, the less multipurpose functional and more comfortable your furniture would be. If you had a room where you could meet visitors, that room would be your showcase room, with the most comfortable furniture and the most interesting displays. The wealthier you were (or wanted people to think you were) the more occasional tables, side tables, specialty tables, padded chairs, small sofas, foot stools, and so on you'd have.

The fewer rooms you had, the more functional and less comfortable the furniture would be. Furniture would be spare and essential and often performing multiple tasks.

I kind of think that's still a good aesthetic. If you live in a small house/apartment, then you'd want less furniture in it and all the furniture would be multipurpose. You'd have one large sturdy table to be your writing desk, your work table, your dinner table, your art table, your cutting table, your sorting table, and so on, instead of a table just for writing, and a table just to display your photos, and a table just for receiving letters or holding keys, and a table for eating breakfast, and a table for eating family meals, and a table for entertaining, and a table for crafting, and a table for rolling dough on, and a table for cutting fabric, and a table for displaying collections, and so on. The more space and rooms you have, the more furniture you have and the more specialized hte furniture - and often the more confortable the furniture. Of course, modern furniture doesn't have to sacrifice comfort for function. A sleeper sofa may not be as pretty as a Victorian canarde sofa, but it is comfortable as both bed and sofa. And it can be prettified with antimacassars and throws.

Steampunk could emulate that depending on the look you want to achieve.

I've repurposed my rooms in my house so when you first enter it, you enter my work space. It's functional, with folding tables that can be put up and taken down at need, shelving to hold supplies, bins on the shelves, and so on, but the walls are bright, the floor is smooth, and the chairs are comfortable. It doubles as extra workspace for large baking/cooking projects, and as a dining room when guests come over if it's raining or too hot or too cold to eat outside - the back patio is the preferred dining spot for company.

The smaller bedroom has become my parlor. I call it a snuggery because it's small and intimate. It contains the TV, a sleeper sofa so it can double as a guest room, a couple of comfortable chairs, some small tables, a mini fridge and soda stream, and tea things. The sofa is heated for winter comfort, and the room is cooled in the summer. It also acts as an exercise room as the elleiptical is in there unless it's being used as a guest room, in which case the elliptical gets moved into the bedroom. And it acts as an initimate tea parlor for one or two guests, and as my personal dining room, and the room the dogs love the most because their beds,f ood, and water are in there.

The garage has been converted to a library/storeroom. It was already converted to a room when I got the house, and it acted as a library until my children moved out and has become a default storeroom that is slowly being sorted and will become a library/game room once again.

The kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom retained their original functions but got paint and decor to make them more interesting.

The dining area became a walk in pantry and prep room for baking and distilling and preserving food.

It's a small house, so each room is multifunctional except for the kitchen, bathroom, and my bedroom.

Small houses like mine partake of many functions and display many interests, larger houses have the space to have rooms be singular in function and decor.

You don't have to set your house up in the common way unless you want to. The more rooms you have, the more options you have for how you use the rooms. And the more options you have for decor.

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Date:2015-02-23 13:23
Subject:I Could Live in a Small House

If I had no life, I could live in a small house.

If I didn't have hobbies that took up so much space and needed so many things, I could live in a much smaller house.

But I need room to spread out fabric for layout and cutting and fitting. And for storing patterns, fabrics, dress dummies, books, sewing machines, tools. Not to mention space for the iros and ironing boards.

I need room for rolling out doughs and cooling racks of cookies and making doggie jerky treats and canning foods and making wines and so on. And I need room for the baking racks, oven, fermentation equipment, canning equipment, and other tools of adventurous cookery.

I need room for pre-spring seed starting. Those seedlings need growing room, and I need access to them to care for them. And I need space for the garden tools I keep indoors because the shed outside isn't suitable for them.

I need space for winter exercise equipment. The elliptical, treadmill, and OT shoulder and hand therapy equipment all take up space, both for using and for storing.

I need space to store my books, and a desk for writing and my computer. Even though I've traded most of my fiction for their e-forms, I still have a lot of reference materials.

I need space for building projects. I don't build big things - bookshelves, pet crates and cages, pet toys, small mechanical devices, sculptures, that sort of thing - and that all requires storage space for the equipment as well as space for the making.

I need space for crafting things like plushies, and hat decorating, and jewelry making - both for the making and hte equipment.

I need space for making my potions - the stills, the beakers, the braziers, the jars and bottles and cannisters.

I need space to entertain my friends - so we have room to work on crafts together, to eat together, to game together, to discuss religion and philosophy and science together, and for Dorky Movie Night.

If I had no life, if all I did was work and come home to eat a microwaved dinner and watch TV, I could live in a small house.

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Date:2015-02-10 08:17
Subject:Itzl's Birthday


Itzl is having a birthday party this year. For the first time since he was born, we aren't going to be at MedFair during his birthday, so friends have decided to host a party for him.

At first, it was going to be a small, silly get-together, just a few of us, for tea and cookies and playing croquet with the pink flamingo mallets I made.

Then more people wanted to come.

And more.

And now, there are so many people who RSVP'd that we've had to move his little party to a hotel.

So we're opening up the invitation to ANYONE who wants to attend Itzl's 11th Birthday Bash a la Steampunk Mad Hatter. Come dressed steampunk, or with mad hats, and play croquet (that's still on, the hotel will allow us to use their lawn for this!), eat tea goodies and drink tea or spa water. Itzl and Xoco will be there.

The hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn, 801 South Meridian Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73108
(405) 942-1400.

The date is April 4th, around 2:00 pm.

No gifts, although donations to his vet fund are always appreciated (Neel Vet in Oklahoma City, Itzl Brothers). If you live close enough, bring tea snacks (on serving trays if possible), extra tea pots, and your own tea cup set.

We'll provide hot water, spa water, napkins, paper plates and cups and plastic flatware (for those who don't have any or can't bring their own for some reason - which includes "Oops! I forgot!" because I do that sometimes myself), 4 flamingo mallets (unless I can manage to make more before then), the croquet set, loose leaf teas, sugar, creamer, lemons, some tea snacks and serving utensils, and of course, the Birthday Dog, Itzl, and his little Xoco.

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Date:2015-02-05 16:00
Subject:Numenism and Sunday Assemblies

Since Numenism is slowly dying out and those of us left are not charismatic or good at locating new Celebrants who might like Numenism, and because the Sunday Assembly looks like a workable community substitute for Numenism (I'll still always be a Numenist), and because it is a no-religion-strictly-community type thing, AND because at least 3 other people in the area have expressed interest (no one on any of my FLs), I thought it might be possible to get together with people to discuss if what we want is a Sunday Assembly type thing - either the official or some hybrid unofficial version.

I admit, freely, that I hope some people would prefer to join Numenism, but I am open and willing to go the no-religion route, too.

I'm posting it here in case anyone wants to share it, and if anyone who then reads it wants to get together and set one up in OKC, we could meet and discuss it.

I thought a good first neutral meet up space could be MedFair, at the Water Paws booth, since doggies and free and seating. Free's good, right? People can pretend an interest in dogs, or working as volunteers in the booth, and not that they are itnerested in forming a community that isn't based on preaching and religion.

One of the biggest attractions to me about Sunday Assemblies is that it is free of any religion, the songs are popular ones, and it embraces qualities I admire: live better, help often, wonder more.

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Date:2015-02-05 15:07
Subject:Opportunities to Live

What people need to understand about me is that I want others to have the opportunity to live and to thrive - even people with mental illnesses and disabilities, even people of different skin colors and religions, even people of different sizes, even people of different income levels, even people who dress differently, even people suspected of committing crimes, even people who have weird hobbies.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue happiness, even if that happiness is playing with an Airsoft or talking about Tolkein's the One Ring, or shouting obscenities in anger.

Tell me you haven't said "I could kill [person] for doing that!" Do you deserve to have your life taken for expressing your anger or frustration?

If you don't deserve to die for your heated words, why should anyone else die for theirs?

We all deserve the opportunity to live and thrive.

Even assholes

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Date:2015-01-30 09:19

I weave my Way with the threads I've got.

Those threads consist of both warp and weft.

The warp threads are the foundations, the base that doesn't change, provides structure, and is rarely seen. You won't see those threads, they were laid down early in my life, and when new ones were added, they widened the weaving. In that regard - the width of my life weaving - the warp is visible.

But for the most part, what is seen is the weft, the threads that weave through the warp and leave their pattern glowing across the surface.

I won't give you my warp threads. They are hidden.

My weft?

Those are for others to see and know. There's the shining copper of Steampunk, the glittering sparkling black of deep space, the dull gray of tech and the brighter gray of steel for manufacturing, the soft black of puppy fur, the rainbow colors of fruit and vegetables, the ambers of grains, the grasses and leaves of the garden, the teal of my heart, the browns of soil and wood for nature and home remodeling, the blues of the sky and the oranges of sunrise, the braided fabrics of sewing, the words of my writings woven in with those threads. It's ornamented with the beads and charms that further define my interests, some passing, some more fixed.

It's a chaotic looking piece at first glance, but a closer look shows how the patterns build and feed off one another, how they grow and blend and diverge.

How does your weaving look?

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Date:2015-01-26 18:45

I don't want to be a leader or a role model. I also, apparently don't want to be a follower.

I want to be given a goal and the essential tools to achieve it, and then let go to get it done. I don't want people deliberately obstructing me in the process or micromanaging me. If you don' trust me to do the job, don't give it to me to do.

I do work well with others who share the same or similar goals - as long as they don't block progress, take away tools, or try to supervise or micromanage me. I work well as an equal, but not as either a subordinate or a supervisor.

I'm equally happy making my own goals and scrounging for my own tools to accomplish those goals. I can go it alone, or as part of a team of equals.

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Date:2015-01-09 10:53
Subject:Bone Chilling Good

Huh. Apparently making flavored and vitamin fortified beverages for dogs is a Thing.

I make bevergaes for my dogs. I make different ones for different occasions, and have a few standards that the dogs always love.

I give them funny names because I can: Chihuahua Chiller, Barkjolais, Beaugrrrr, Saweenie le Bone, Lil Squeaker Ale, Lap-it-Up Lager, Bison Brown Ale, Puppy Porter, Poochy Pilsner, Ruffus Red Ale, Lickin Lambic, and Barky Stout. These are "beers" and "wines" and "gourmet waters" for Itzl and Xoco.

When I had cats living at my house, I made a line of feline beverages - Eau de Maus, Kittianti, Catbernet, Purrlot, Cat d'Or, Tail Twitch Porter, Sea Cat Ale, Cat Scratch Cream Ale. They liked them, but for cats, you have to start them as teeny kitten, about 5 - 7 weeks of age. After that, it's a toss up if they'll like the beverages or not. If your kitty is a crunchitarian, they usually won't like flavored waters, kitty beers, or kitty wines.

These are all zero alcohol, flavored or vitamin enhanced bone broths or waters for dogs and cats. The flavors appeal to dogs (and cats), are good for after exercise as a treat, for special occasions, warmed for winter lapping, and for dogs who love frozen treats, can be frozen into pupsicles.

I also make the dogs Beer Bones, Pupcorn, Whine Cakes, and Nutty Ale Crunchies, and the kitties get Fish Bits, Bird Bites, and Purrcakes.

Mind, while I will make these for my dogs, I won't buy them.

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Date:2015-01-09 10:31
Subject:Nobody Expects the Inquisition

It must be a theme - somehow or other, every book I've chosen to read for the past 7 books have all contained inquisitors and inquisitions. These are new books, often from new authors, borrowed from the library. And am I ever glad I borrowed them, for I would not buy them. I have no intention of reading their sequels, for all of them are the first in a series.

I am coming to heartily dislike the prop of inquisitors used as plot devices to add stress and angst to a story that would be perfectly fine, filled with tension, challenges, and stresses without an inquisitor adding to it.

In fact, in replaying the stories in my head, removing the inquisitors doesn't alter the storyline at all. Those mean people are there for no particular reason, don't forward the plot any, and don't even really flesh out the world. It's like they exist in some alternate reality from the story and only appear to cause pain that doesn't do anything but hurt. It changes nothing, resolves nothing, doesn't cause the characters to grow in any way, and doesn't contribute to the storyline.

If you must stuff an inquisition into your story, make it count. If I encounter another inquisitor, especially an albino inquisitor or one who has an albino assistant, that's 99 demerits for the story out of 100.

These 7 authors have lost a reader because they added gratuitous meanies to their stories. I am taking a closer look at their imprints and publishers, so I can be wary of future novels containing irrelevent mean people.

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Date:2015-01-07 09:51

After many, many years of pondering, I have come to the conclusion I am an anarchist. In gamer terms, I'd be Chaotic Good. The rules and laws I prefer to follow are the ones I feel are appropriate and good laws. I don't insist that anyone around me follow any laws other than the one that clearly states "Leave me alone" - if their actions impinge upon what I am peacefully, blissfully doing, preventing me from completing it, then I take steps to insure it doesn't happen again.

Order, rules, structure, routine, closure, familiarity, consistency, or certainty are not important to me. These things fluctuate with the circumstances, and should not be fixed-state in my world-view. There are so many exceptions and exclusions that trying to impose rules and such on others is - in my opinion - rather hopeless. Striving for goals without bound-in-place rules and laws makes much more sense to me. Rules, structure, laws - these are guidelines implemented for the sake of children to help them learn and develop a sense of personal standards. Gibbs Rules are OK and sometimes useful (especially since they are a plot device), but some are rather arbitrary, and some conflict with others, so learning how to stand on one's own and pick and choose the "rules" that apply best at this time is an anarchic thing to do. I've never been one of those "my way or the highway" type people. I'm more like one of those, "Eh, good for you. Come back when you wanna play again." people.

I am not sensitive to threats - which is why when I perceive a threat, I tend to take it much more seriously. Amorphous, undefined, "We're all gonna die!" threats just pass through me unchanged. I just can't get all worked up about unfounded threats that are not specific and therefore lack any proper defenses. Turtling up is just not natural to me. This doesn't mean I disregard all threats, just the ones that are highly unlikely. I can't be bothered to be scared of things that will probably never happen in my lifetime or to me and mine.

I am a risk-taker, but only with myself and my things, not with other people's. In that regard, I could be somewhat conservative. Blowing my entire life savings on giving my child a chance to realize a dream is fine by me. Blowing a second life savings on trying to start an event that I think others will love is not a risk, but an opportunity. It didn't play out, but it so could have. Taking chances, learning new things, doing new things; I do these not for the adrenalin rush - if I wanted adrenaline rushes, I'd take up extreme sports - I do them for the opportunities, the learning, the experiences. And if I make a mistake - well, I had fun and learned something, didn't I?

I will scrupulously follow the rules of other people regarding their things and their lives. Should someone have too many rules and be too paranoid, they probably won't last as a friend of mine - we'll just drift away. I'll make sure to reduce contact with them in a way that they usually think it's all their own idea. I don't feel a need to impose order, rules, controls, on other people because I feel they should manage for themselves, but I will follow theirs until it becomes burdensome. If I care for someone, I will comply with their needs - to an extent.

I like uncertainty, risk-taking, new ventures, new things, exploring, going off and doing my own thing without any care for recognition or lauds. I'm not dependent on others for validation or kudos, and would prefer not to receive them. I have a box full of award certificates, trophies, plaques, ribbons, and medallions that mean very little to me other than as a reminder that I did all those things. Standing up before others to receive an award or someone's thanks or something similar is a total bore to me and I will avoid it as much as possible. It's not that I hate the attention, it's that I have more interesting things to do.

That's part of the reason I love my religion so much. There are guidelines and some slight structure to it, but for the most part, it's infinitely customizable and each adherent is personally responsible for how they live it - and for documenting and supporting their stances.

Being an anarchist doesn't mean total chaos, it means laws and freedom without force - a coming together of mature adults to review and discuss developments without a centralized authority. It is a mostly autonomous religion, with only one truly core belief (and even that could change if new information comes to light that would substantially alter it).

I suppose this is because I believe people should mature and be trustworthy. Laws, order, authority imposed from above or without all imply immaturity and distrust.

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Date:2014-12-30 10:45

Numenism is a syncretic religion. It's still a baby religion in terms of millennia - it's still less than a century old. One of the things we ask from our celebrants is an active participation in building and stabilizing Numenism, to help create it as a unique belief system. This is a lot to ask of people new to it, people who come here expecting to receive the answers when we're still developing the questions. Very few people stay, and most of our people are aging out, moving into another realm of existence, and completing their cycle of life on this planet.

Creating a religion and making it stable and enduring is far more difficult than most people realize. It's not truly a "do anything you want" smorgasbord. But we can stick with the culinary imagery for a moment. Think of what makes a sandwich. Bread and filling at minimum, right? No, with wheat allergies, bread is no longer a given. But a wheatless sandwich is still recognizable as a sandwich. What makes it a sandwich and not a casserole? If you plop a row of food down: a dish of a filling between 2 slices of bread, a scoop of pasta and filling and sauce, a filling stuffed into a split bun, a filling rolled into a lettuce leaf, a scoop of vegetables in sauce with a crunchy topping, a filling stuffed between 2 slices of meat - you can easily pick out the ones that are sandwiches no matter how different they look or what ingredients are used. A sandwich is a filling and something to hold that filling together.

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Date:2014-12-23 15:13
Subject:It's That Time of Year

When watch dog groups obstruct legitimate work by demanding attention to prove we're working and not wasting tax payer dollars.

Ayup - they seem to think that by flooding the phone lines with calls just to ask one question: "Are you open?" is a legitimate use of my time and the money I'm paid to do my job.

If they wanted something - anything - I wouldn't mind so much. But nope. All they want to know is if we're open today.

Hint: If I answer the phone, we're open. It would save me so much time if you'd just hear me answer and then hang up. You'd have your answer without wasting any more of my time that's better occupied doing my job.

But they weren't content with just flooding the phone lines.

Nope. They had to send representatives out to come in through the door and down the hall to my desk to ask, "Are you open?"

Again, if they'd wanted something, I'd have been fine with it.

This time of year, we get a lot of homeless people wandering in to get a drink of water, to use the bathroom (and take a roll or two of toilet paper sometimes), and they always ask if we're open, and then if they can get a drink or use the restroom.

I'm cool with that. And they are pretty good about sticking with my rules (Sure, you can have water, and even fill up that bottle I see you have, and Sure, you can use the restroom, but please don't take the rolls of TP - leave some for others.).

But these people?

They come in, demand to know if we're open (what, the unlocked door and me sitting at my desk aren't clue enough?). And when Iask if there's anything I can do for them, it's a huffy, "No, I just wanted to know if you are open."

Please, if you're going to come in and demand to know if we're open, at least ask for something. Make me feel like I'm not wasting my time and paycheck on you. Ask for a brochure. Ask if you can schedule a tour. Ask for a fact sheet. Ask if you can use the restroom. Ask questions about the facility. Leave a brochure. Leave a business card soliciting our business. Ask who's in charge and leave a message for them.

Because I guarantee that if I unlock the doors and sit at my desk, we are open.

I'm not going to travel a dozen miles in to work if we're closed.

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Date:2014-12-16 21:11

In Numenism, we don't, as a religion/belief/lifestyle,celebrate Christmas, or Yule, or any of the 36 other celebrations that occur in December. We do have Cookie Day, celebrated on the 12th day of the 12th month (or the closest weekend).

Refresher on Cookie Day: This is one of our two set holy days in Numenism. The other holy days are portable and flexible, but Cookie Day is the 12th day of the 12th month. It's a day when we celebrate bounty, community, and connection through the medium of cookies.

We do like to participate in the celebrations of our friends' events, and that means we do participate in Christmas as a secular celebration. We don't get all bankrupt over gift-giving and generally settle for giving cards or food - and would prefer that others reciprocate. After all, there are plenty of gift-giving opportunities throughout the year, there's no need to burden one day with all those expectations.

Exchanging gifts with others to celebrate the birth of a god is kind of a weird concept, but if it makes folks happy...

What would make more sense would be to give gifts to the newborn god - monetary gifts so the preachers, priests, ministers could devote time to officiating and assisting in the religious community, or giving items needed to support those goals. The god(s) generally already have everything, so what we can give are the things that adhere to the precepts of the religion.

Failing that, it makes more sense to share activities to build memories than to give more stuff - especially when you can spread the gifting out throughout the year and therefore provide a slightly higher and more personalized grade of gifting.

Piling all your gifting on one day means someone is always going to be disappointed, going to be frustrated, going to overspend because they feel they need to. It's just not affordable, really.

So, when people ask us what we want for this time of year, we try to deflect it, and failing that, we offer up a desire for memories, time together, and pressed for tangibles, we ask for food gifts or consumables we can share.

Among ourselves, we give pretty much any time of the year, whenever the need or the whim strikes us. We don't have a day set aside for mass gifting. The gifts we give tend to be either specific to Numenism or to the person we are gifting.

Numenist-specific-gifts tend to be things that most people don't perceive as gifts. Strips of cloth cut from clothing worn to special events to braid into Story Ropes/Quilts (we often wear special bandanas or scarves for this very purpose). Items for our extensive Elven Chess sets (rocks, feathers, interesting twigs, seed pods, antler bits, bones, etc.). Charms for our Standing Announcements. Memorabilia for our Memory Boxes. Tokens for Firsts and Annuals. Hair baubles for Rites of Passage.

Story Ropes/Quilts: These are made up of fabrics from special events so we can tell the stories of them. Each Celebrant is encouraged to have a Story Rope or make quilt pieces of special fabrics from community celebrations to remember the participants and the event. When we "tell the story", we recount and remember the people and connections formed through these ropes/quilts.

Elven Chess is a patterning game where a table is set aside and one or two or all of us study the table top and place an item on it. The rules are simple: the pieces are natural items (rocks, sticks, seed pods, leaves, feathers, bones....), you can only place one piece in your turn and have to wait until at least one other person places a piece (or, if playing solo, must wait at least 1 hour between placing each piece), you can only move the pieces you place, and the game ends when the person who started it says it ends. A pattern or rhythm is built up in the playing board, and the goal is for the players to sense that pattern and participate in it.

Standing Announcements are poles set up to stand upright (a christmas tree stand works well, so does screwing "L" brackets around the bottom), then painted and decorated to represent a person or family. The top often has a candle holder or place to put a small lantern. These are brought to celebrations to provide lighting and to share accomplishments.

Memory Boxes are containers that hold small tokens and memorabilia from one's co-adherents to mark memories of activities done together. They can be ticket stubs, tiny handmade tokens, buttons, charms, rocks, and things that evoke memories or hold a strong meaning.

Firsts/Annuals are celebratory events like First Word, First Step, First Tooth, First Day of School, First Day of College, First Job, First House, First Dentures, and Annuals like First Fire - lighting the first fire/turning on the heat the first time for winter, First Flowers, First 'Mater Day, First Triple Digit Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries.

Rites of Passage are the usual things: Births, Puberty, Majority, Partnering, Eldering, Dying, Funerals and Memorials.

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