Good Things

I’ve started a few posts—one about authenticity and and Batman, of all things; one about John Trudell and an idea about tribalism; one about the difference between fairness and justice as I reflect on the Goddess Zisa, “The Isis of the Suebi”; and one about getting one’s desires and realizing they cause more anxiety than pleasure—but, like everything these days, they’ve all been put on the back burner.

No. I mean that literally. The back burner as in “on the stove.” It’s a good thing.

Around Thanksgiving, I wrote about cast-iron cookware.[1] And I have mentioned my New Year tradition of making the year’s worth of stock from holiday carcasses. (And—using every part—the bones give up their marrow and become soft enough to go in the food processor, this makes a great base for homemade dog food—another thing I put on the back burner.) This year there’s turkey, chicken, and vegetable stock piled high in the deep freezer and plenty of food for the doggies. In this case, the back burner is a good thing.

Speaking of good things, back in the day (like the early-90s), my sister used to tease me and call me “Martha.”[2] I really didn’t know who Martha Stewart was until I saw this commercial.[3] I was always saving things and repurposing things and doing whatcha do when you are broke and raising three kids in a little-bitty urban household. I used every inch of vertical space, salvaged every reusable item, grew my own food[4], made my own [fill in the whatever I couldn’t afford to buy from cement paving stones for the driveway to industrial drop ceiling in the basement[5]], and recycled everything from Ziplock bags to hardware.

I loved every minute of it.

Imagine my joy at discovering HGTV in 1998 while at my other sister’s house (I couldn’t afford cable).

Because it appears from the outside that I’ve an inexplicable requisite of making everything more difficult than it needs to be, it became an ongoing family joke that I function much like THIS episode of Martha Stewart Living/Whatever Martha! My family teases, “I see you are making s’mores again.” I argue that I do things in convoluted ways in one instance in order to save time and effort later. My life gets complicated when I least expect it. Being prepared? It’s a good thing.

I mean, I will trim a week’s worth of meat and measure out ingredients all day on Mondays (when I have the house to myself) so that Thursday doesn’t catch me amiss and too tired to prepare a well-planned meal for my family.[6] Even if it is done in a Crockpot. Don’t get me wrong, the most magical meals have derived from my ability to play Chopped with my own pantry.[7] But I prefer not to.

This last year, however, saw a slew of new magical students, a growing Kindred, several major house repairs, a revolving door of people who live/lived in my house and the accompanying “move the stuff from this room to that room and clean out that closet” insanity, and—due to a situation that simply won’t go the feck away—copious time and energy spent in places I’d rather not spend them. In addition, I had gotten used to disposable income, which lead to random decision-making. And I got away from living purposefully.

Sadly, I kept the habits of saving odd items for later use only to have to enact a painful purge in the late-Autumn.

I was able to macerate a horde of herbs and roots into oils, create a number of ritual items, make winter ritual-wear (just in time for a 70 degree Yule, oi), and stay on top of Kindred gatherings and my magical teaching schedule. But I  fell off my planetary rites schedule, my practical magic, um, practice, and my garden went a little south there at the end.

This New Year I realized three-days-in that I had made no resolution. That’s no big deal; New Year’s resolutions are not typically among the many things I make. However, this year? OK. I’ll play.

This year I’m resolved to live with more intention. To get back to my regular devotions and spiritual practices as they were last year, to write on a schedule rather than catch-as-catch-can, to delegate more tasks to willing tribal leaders thereby leaving me time and energy to be a proper sacral leader,[8] to not let little things get so big that they are unmanageable and then go by the wayside, and to put a lock on the revolving door that has parasitized my personal space.

It might sound like I run the risk of scheduling myself into a corner, but, as all Type A people know, a solid schedule makes life’s little twists and turns spontaneous and exciting instead of a cause for alarm and consternation.

It’s actually pretty magical.

And with that, I welcome the new year and about a dozen teenagers into my house for the recommencement of my son’s regularly scheduled “Friday Movie Night” which often turns into “Saturday Brunch With Amazing Kids.”

[1] And I was gifted a beautiful full set of humongous pots and pans for my birthday!

[2] She meant Martha Stewart but this is also our mother’s name; and Momma always compares herself to the Biblical Martha who was always working in the kitchen instead of relaxing with guests. See Luke 10:41-42.

[4] My house was small. But for the South-Side of Chicago? My yard was huge.

[5] I was making dining room curtains on 9/11/01—it’s kinda etched in memory as those things tend to be.

[6] And with the new semester beginning, rather than recycling old teaching material, I’ve decided to overhaul my entire syllabus. The class is going to be awesome, grading will be simpler, and learning will be more meaningful. Win/win.

[7] Another ongoing joke is that my life is often like a Chopped basket.

It’s one of the only Food Network references I have. Cooking is for real around here, not as-seen-on-TV. HGTV, I liked. Food Network? Merh. Only Nigella was ever able to win me over.

[8] At our Yule gathering we designated “committees” and such. It’s already a relief to have others accountable for the growth and operation of our many Kindred functions.


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