Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! & New Year's Resolutions #HappyNewYear

I'll start by wishing everyone a Happy, Prosperous, Joyful and Healthful New Year!

It's common place to review the past year on New Year's Eve and then make resolutions for the upcoming year. For me, the key is to make *realistic* resolutions. I could make a resolution that I'm going to make $1 Million Dollars in 2015, but unless I sincerely have a plan to do it or am willing to work at making a plan to do it, such a resolution is pointless. What I could do though is say I'm going to work on my prosperity in 2015 and then figure out what that means and how I can accomplish it. I can spend less by trimming expenses so that I end up with more money. I could work more hours. I could switch jobs. There are lots of things I could do to increase prosperity. The point is, resolutions have to have a plan to back them up or else they are just wishes or just an activity to do on New Year's Eve.

Here are my resolutions for the New Year:
  • Make sure my loved ones know how much they mean to me and that I love them
  • Find joy and happiness in all that I do
  • Find time to read everyday
  • Stay in touch with friends more frequently
  • Advance on my spiritual path
  • Always be open to opportunities in whatever form they present themselves
I may come up with more but these are a good start and are things that I should be able to realistically accomplish.

Happy New Year and Bright Blessings to All!
Rayven Michaels

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

GJOYful Bears: Woodland Fairy Tree House 95% Complete!

What a GORGEOUS Fairy House! I am inspired to make one of my own! Wish me luck. It's a huge undertaking but it will be worth it! And I have some awesome ideas....  Enjoy the article.

GJOYful Bears: Woodland Fairy Tree House 95% Complete!: I have been working on creating a Woodland fairy tree house since September, between creating bears & dragons. The house is for my tin...

Bright Blessings!

Rayven Micheals

Friday, December 26, 2014

Yule Celebration 2014

I'm a little late posting this on the blog. I realized I posted it straight to FB but not on the blog. This year, our Yule/Christmas did not revolve around money and gifts. The only ones we did buy gifts for were the two tiny tot grandchildren.  This wasn't because we were being Grinches or without Yuletide Spirit. We opted to lead by example and not celebrate this season as Commerce Day, something my husband is fond of calling it due to an old Mac Davis movie. And there is a lot of truth to how Yule/Christmas is marketed -- anyone ever heard of Black Friday? I have never participated and have no plans to ever do so. However, I have friends and acquaintances that consider it the kick off event of their holiday traditions. To each their own. ;) As Grandparents now, we have decided to make the holidays more about family, traditions and memories. I think we got off to a very good start this year.

We had a great time at our family Yule/Christmas party. We had a humble meal of brown beans, fried potatoes, hot rolls, tabouli, sauerkraut relish, pickles, salad, dressing & chicken gravy. Nothing fancy and no meat -- was an awesome meal for me - one of my very favorites. In the summer we have garden fresh fried okra too but we enjoyed it without the okra. We played games and had a good time. The Christmas memories game was really fun -- enjoyable to see what things people remember and how they remember them. Then we played a game where everyone had a tiny gift bag with their name on it -- everyone put an anonymous note about each person in the bags. Then you had to read your notes and figure out who said it to you. Handwriting was helpful unless someone else wrote the notes. LOL Anyway, if you got it right, you got to take some treats from the treat bowl to go in your gift bag. We had two perfect scores that figured out who wrote every note about them. It was fun to see what people said. Was a great day finished off with GiGi being a rodeo bull for the Grandkids to ride alternating with being a sheep for mutton busting. I surely worked off all the calories from my meal because the kiddos dearly love their bull riding! LOL

Since my path is different than my family, I did a quiet ritual in my backyard later when I got home. All in all, Yule was simple and yet wonderful this year.

I am already planning for next Yuletide Season with lots of ideas for activities.  We have an unused house in town that I think should become our family gathering spot. Decorate it full out for the holidays and have get togethers there year round. Now I am on a quest to name it. But that shall be a addressed in a different post...

Bright Blessings to All,
May Your Day be Merry and Bright,
Rayven Michaels

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Blinging my Blog #checkoutmynewblogcolors

I got a bit behind on blinging my blog and keeping up with the seasons. My old colors were wintery but it was definitely a spring look. So, I finally sat down and winterized the look. Check it out! I think it's pretty... of course.

Living Without Electricity

We've all found ourselves some time or another without electricity. It could have been due to a citywide power outage, a downed pole during a storm or caused by a vehicle accident, perhaps a blown transformer, a limb ripping down the personal power line to your house, perhaps even an off-grid cabin camp out, OR the one everyone dreads, a payment issue with the power company. And then there is one more reason a person might find themselves living without electricity -- CHOICE.  Electricity is involved in such a large portion of our lifestyle these days that many cannot even begin to fathom the concept of willfully choosing to be off-grid -- but there are plucky individuals out there that make that choice everyday. My hat is off to them.

Regardless of *why* a person is living without electricity and whether it is short term or long term, it's good to have some ideas on how to cope.

The first thing that comes to mind for many is a backup generator of some sort. Those are usually gas operated, expensive to run and are quite noisy. Still, some people choose this route.

But what if you want some simple low tech ideas on how to get by? I decided to collect a few ideas.

Something that makes no electricity appealing is that it cuts out all the distractions in the house -- no radio, no TV, no computers. I don't really watch TV and never really have because as a young adult I always lived in remote areas where cable wasn't an option and we couldn't get an antenna tall enough to catch the free signal. My childhood love of reading naturally carried into my adulthood. I never missed television. Even now that I live in the city and subscribe to cable, I rarely watch it. I have contemplated shutting it off but on occasion I do like to binge on HGTV and some of the gardening shows. But truthfully, if I didn't have television, I honestly wouldn't miss it. I would be harder pressed to forgo the internet -- I do LOVE my internet. But if I were completely honest, it is a huge distraction that keeps me from living life fully. There are many chores that get neglected because I fall down the hole on the internet -- and I couldn't blog! But I could make better use of my internet time so that I wasn't online as much and still be able to blog.

Now, let's get down to lighting ideas. Here are a few of my favorites:
  1. Solar light spikes.  Our local Dollar Tree sells these little gems for $1 a piece throughout the year. I just have to get there at the right time to snag them. I have purchased some that didn't last long while others were an incredible bargain and very long lasting both in the length of light they provided and the length of time they worked.  They could be charged during the day and then brought in at night and placed in vases to hold them up and used like a flameless light. The neat thing about using these is that other than the initial investment to get them, there is no expense to use them. Just lots of remembering to place them out to charge.
  2. Vegetable oil lights.  I save my used cooking oil to be used for emergency lighting. There are numerous ways to do this but most involve putting the oil in a heat proof container inserting some sort of wick. I have seen olive oil suggested but that is quite expensive and I happen to like recycling. Here are a few videos giving ideas on how to do this:
     This next video shows an oil lamp with an open flame which I personally would place some sort of open ended *globe* over to both protect the flame from the wind and to keep children and pets safe and to avoid items from accidentally getting close to the flame.

These are just a couple of ideas. I will be posting more. Living a simple, cost effective life that brings me and mine closer together and allows us to thrive and survive safely in hard times is a strong priority for me.

Bright Blessings to All
Rayven Michaels

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Just Me Being Me

Just a picture of me being me. Went to Halloween Village last night and ended up with this look. I kind of dig the retro red cats eye glasses in combo with the blue hair. And the neon witchy wench top just completed the look. LOL

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Alpha Gal Dangers - Served Beef by Mistake

My Alpha Gal Allergy keeps me ever on my toes. Today we frequented our favorite Mexican restaurant. It is my *comfort food* that I reach too when times are stressful and it has been one truly stressful week.

Today I ordered a cheese enchilada and chile relleno platter. I thought that would be a nice change from chicken. Me eating chicken all the time make me feel sort of like Forest Gump eating Bubba Gump Shrimp - boiled, fried, stewed... you know the drill if you've seen the movie. :)

Anyway, as I was gabbing at hubs, I took a big bite of what was supposed to be my cheese enchilada, only horror of horrors, I found myself gnoshing on a big mouthful of beef and cheese enchilada. I know, I should have been more careful and looked at it before it went in my mouth but I was in unwind mode.

Six hours have passed now and no hive episode so I think I'm in the clear. Phew! But I'm keeping the epi pen close at hand just in case....

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alpha-Gal / Red Meat Allergy -- What is it? #Alpha-Gal

As some may already know, I was recently received a preliminary diagnosis of red meat allergy also called mammalian meat allergy which is caused by an allergic reaction to a sugar present in red meat called galactose-alpha-1, 3- galactose, aka Alpha-Gal for short.  This allergy is kicked off by bites from the Lone Star tick commonly found on deer.  Living in Oklahoma, tick bites are a common occurrence if you are a country dweller or spend time outdoors. It is a given that you will experience a tick bite at some time.  We have all been alerted to watch for telltale signs of Lyme Disease including the bulls eye rash, aches fever, etc., but never would I have thought my horrendous hives to an *unknown* food might be remotely related to a tick bite.

Although my allergist believes there is a strong probability that I have this affliction, I won't know with certainty until testing later this month. Either way, this experience has brought this disabling allergy to my attention and I am spreading the info far and wide in case there are others out there suffering without any idea what the problem is. Perhaps this will help connect the dots.

The positive outcome of this situation for me is that it has pushed me to work on my diet and make some long over due changes for a healthier lifestyle. If I get to put red meat back in my diet at some point, hurrah! If not, I'm going to be okay.

Here is an excerpt from the University of Virginia website that discovered the connection between tick bites and mammalian meat allergy. 

What exactly is this mammalian meat allergy?
When certain people are bitten by ticks or chiggers, the bite appears to set off a chain of reactions in the body.  One of these reactions is the production of an allergic class of antibody that binds to a carbohydrate present on meat called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, also known as alpha-gal.  When a person with the alpha-gal antibody eats mammalian meat, the meat triggers the release of histamine.  Histamine is a compound found in the body that causes allergic symptoms like hives, itching and, in the worst case, anaphylaxis (a reaction that leads to sudden weakness, swelling of the throat, lips and tongue, difficulty breathing and/or unconsciousness).
In addition to the classic allergy symptoms, some of our patients report significant gastrointestinal distress or gynecological symptoms. These symptoms can take the form of abdominal cramping and pain, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting and in some cases uterine cramping with spotting. It is not uncommon for a patient who has anaphylaxis to lose consciousness while moving their bowels.  Some patients have reactions that are characterized almost entirely of GI or gynecological symptoms while others may not experience these types of symptoms at all.
This allergy is different from other food allergies like peanut allergy in that the response is delayed.  Unlike someone with a peanut allergy who has an immediate reaction when they eat a peanut, people with the alpha-gal allergy usually do not start having symptoms until several hours after they eat meat.
For the complete article, visit:

Frequently Asked Questions - A Resource on the Mammalian Meat Allergy from the University of Virginia 

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be,
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Vegetarian Efforts this Week

Well, I have spent the past week eating vegetarian -- mostly. I did have a lapse and eat some bacon today. I LOVE bacon. I am so thankful it didn't trigger an anaphylactic shock episode. I won't be eating it again anytime soon. There was a time I would have gladly eaten it daily but now it might end up being never....sigh.  Perhaps since it is pork I will do okay but I don't want to risk my life to see. I am considering my lack of reaction a free pass that I better not push my luck on.

The rest of the week I ate lots of veggies. I ended up cooking a big pot of rice with lentils and using that as a base for various stir fry bases. I've enjoyed it but several days of basically the same thing in a row gets boring. I know, that is a shameful statement since there are people in the world that would gladly eat the same things over and over just for the opportunity to have anything to eat at all. But since I am blessed to have options, I want to exercise them.

So, today, I bought a cookbook called "Vegetarian Indian Food & Cooking". I have to say I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes. :) I love flavorful food with lots of textures and spices.  I am especially interested in the bean cake/dumpling type foods so that I have a quality protein source if I am going to be absent meat.

I'll be sure to take pictures of my efforts in recreating recipes from this cookbook. Wish me luck. And send some luck to my Hubs too -- he is surely quaking in his shoes wondering what foul things might be pushed at him as I scramble to recreate my diet in the interests of good health and living.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Call to All: Pray for Peace Vigil on Sunday - July 27 -- #PrayForPeace

Wherever you are, whatever you might be doing, take a moment on Sunday, July 27 and let's all join together and *Pray for Peace* in whatever way you choose to pray - whether to deity or the universe or merely put out the energy and intent for peace to the world and to those in need. Do it anytime during the day or night on July 27 that is convenient for you to do so. Post a comment when you have done so and let me know where in the World you were. Let's push some Peace out into the world!

Here's a little *mood* music if you'd like to listen to something when you do your Prayer for Peace -- It is *country music* and it has a *Christian flare* but the sentiment is awesome and is the same for all no matter what path we walk. I love the bagpipes at the beginning... ;p

Pray for Peace! <3

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Preliminary Diagnosis of Allergy to Beef due to Tick Bites!

Wow! I have a preliminary diagnosis of BEEF ALLERGY caused by TICK BITES! This really set my head to spinning.

I recently had a life-threatening anaphylactic shock episode. I have experienced horrendous hive episodes since I was 14 yrs old and never really been able to settle on the cause, although we have always believed it was food related. I thought perhaps it was due to coconut or paraffin wax because the first time it happened I had eaten some homemade coconut balls made by my cousin. As years went on, I would have a series of episodes and then it would go dormant and not bother me at all for months or even years.

Oddly enough, I began to eat coconut pies, candies, fresh coconut, and dried coconut fresh out of the bag when cooking. No problems whatsoever! So there went my coconut theory. So, perhaps paraffin then which shouldn't be a problem I thought because I never eat paraffin -- that I know of anyway.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Children and the Mexican Border Crisis #MexicanBorder

I try not to make posts on political issues because they are so volatile in nature, but I couldn't help but make this one. It is a plea to all to consider the wide and varied complexities to a tough issue our nation is facing.

What America has to remember is that *children* are our weakness -- we value them and pamper them in ways that other countries don't, won't or can't. As a consequence being spared from hardships and wars, our children are more mild and loving and have many perks and advantages that children of other nations do not. In other countries, children are *tools* -- they are sold into slavery, they are used as drug mules, they are even recruited and turned into militants. Children in such places can be deadly forces to be reckoned with as young as 7 or 8 yrs of age. It is horrendous and shaming, but it is the truth nonetheless.  This is where our achiles heel is exposed -- if you wanted to invade the US, do not do it with an army -- send in the *children*. Many of the *children* crossing the Mexican border into the US are well above 7 or 8 yrs old -- more like teenagers and young adults. My heart bleeds for them, indeed it does. No child should have to live the way many children do whether in other countries or even children in the US that we turn a blind eye to and pretend does not exist in our Great Nation.

It is inevitable that the flow of children must be intercepted -- they must be checked for diseases that could cause epidemics if allowed to flow unchecked into the US; they must be checked for potential drugs hidden in their bodies to insure they are not *mules*; they must be intercepted to make certain they are not making their way into what equates to slavery in the agri-industry. They must be intercepted so that they don't become street people, homeless and hungry turning to theft or worse to survive. And they must be intercepted so that our already staggering economy does not plummet further than it already has. Do I begrudge these children a better life? Absolutely NOT. I wish every child on the planet knew love, health, happiness and had plenty to eat and toys to bring them joy.

Whatever is causing the problem of the influx of children crossing through the Mexican border needs addressed -- if America is the great nation that she claims to be, she would help Mexico and the home countries of the current influx of children address the underlying problems. If Mexico is guilty of opening its borders to 72 hour visas to allow immigrants from other countries to cross through without tendering its own aid to them other than to help them attempt to enter America illegally, that needs addressed.  While the focus of the Nation is on the Mexican border, children in Chicago are living in a war zone, terrified to come out to play. But a blind eye is turned to that because it makes our Nation look bad while welcoming *refugee* children crossing the border is great humanitarian sound bytes. The issue has the nation at war among themselves -- those pounding the drum to stem the tide versus those pounding the drum to welcome the children with open arms. There are no easy answers.

America can only hold and sustain so many people before it hits a breaking point - how far away is that breaking point I do not know. But if there are scarcely jobs for the children leaving high school how much less jobs will there be if a neighboring nation pumps unwanted children across the US border, whether their own poverty stricken citizens or refugees from other countries? It is an extremely complex issue that must be looked at from all angles and not just a few. A big issue raised is how vulnerable our border is -- as I said before, any hostile entity with a warlike agenda has only to recruit a child army and send it in and we as a nation will be ill prepared for that scenario because of our moral high ground regarding children. We think of them as innocents -- sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are hardened, brainwashed products of a cruel environment and regime. It is a sad day when we must recognize that sometimes children could be wolves in sheeps clothing -- seeming innocents that could rise up and wreak wilful havoc. Am I saying that is the case with the children currently crossing the Mexican border into the US? I have no way to know -- I truly hope not, for thier sake and ours. But it should cause America pause for cause -- all peoples throughout the world do not share common values. And many have been trained to exploit weaknesses of their foes. America will never be capable of recognizing children as foes -- it is why so many of our soldiers come home mentally broken from war -- being confronted with children the same ages as their own fighting them in battle with weapons of destruction.

I wish I had answers. I truly do. The world is a complex place and there are no easy answers to its issues.

All I can say in closing is, Americans be kind to one another as you debate these issues. It is something that effects all of us and some more than others. Put your voices together for resolutions and solutions rather than name calling and angery blasts. We are the *United* States -- lets try to be *united* -- stand together to solve the problems WITHIN the US as well as those issues from without.

Bright Blessings to all....
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Making a difference...

Making a difference....something we hear about a lot -- something we strive for. Sometimes we don't quite know how. Sometimes there are people who get so caught up in making a difference they don't really make any difference at all.

There is a person on FB that is quite outspoken to the point of hostile, crude and vulgar rants. She posts videos of violent world events and then rants at the world for being stupid enough to allow it to happen. But if she is in the world and she too did not stop it, then how are others worse than she? She rants that others are at sports events or home safely etc. living their lives with blind eyes and doing nothing -- but what is she doing? She is sitting behind a computer, scouring the internet for ugly events and then screaming at the world for allowing it to happen. But how is HER actions making a difference? Is it because she is calling attention to it? That by making people aware of the problems? Like we don't know or can't read? But how is the ugly tyrades supposed to motivate people to rise to help?

If a person wants to make a difference and has a cause they are championing, then tell me how I can help but don't rant at me and tell me how stupid I am because something happened across the world that I didn't stop and that I should be ashamed because I was in the safety of my own home eating ice cream or some such action while a heinous act went down.  We can only make a difference within our sphere of influence. Figure out what your sphere of influence it, figure out the issues you can influence and do so. And for goodness sakes, pull people into helping instead of cussing them and alienating them.

Activists ACT -- Attacktivists just RANT. Activists make a DIFFERENCE -- Attacktivists just make ENEMIES.

Please people, when you champion a cause, try to truly make a difference and not just a big word splash that makes you feel better. Being bitter and ugly and shouting obscenities at people just contributes to the problems of the world and alienates those that might otherwise help. And always remember, "Be the change in the world you wish to see."  Lead by example.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be,
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Monday, July 7, 2014

Public Face / Private Face -- Do the two ever meet?

One thing I notice is that people have a public face and private face  -- amusingly enough, that actually equals being two faced. I know when there are people we don't know, we might *scope out* or *creep* depending on the catch phrase of the generation you come from, to see what someone is like.  I like to think that I pretty much post on my Facebook and my blog things that accurately reflect who I am. But that might not be true of all people.

I did a blog post on the Hobby Lobby ruling and remarked on the fact that it was based on religious principals awarded to a corporation and that this ruling could open up an entire can of worms with unintended consequences. Most notably that while that pendulum is swinging in the Christian direction and the higher religious percentage stands momentarily appeased, they will not be so happy when that double edged sword cuts both ways -- meaning that other religions can impose their religious beliefs into corporations and limit the lives others with beliefs that are contrary to their staunchly held Christian religious beliefs. Those happy with the ruling will not comprehend this until a situation bites them and trust me it will because it is the nature of people to exploit loop holes. I have worked in attorneys offices for nearly 30 years -- all cases are based on what a person can find a way to do within the law even if it is deemed morally wrong. Nothing is important until it becomes personal to someone. And this too will be the way of the Hobby Lobby ruling.

Because it is a hotly debated topic and people from many different groups are posturing on it -- Christians, Liberals, Conservatives, LGBT, Feminists, etc. -- it was pretty much a given that if someone happened on my blog post, there would be comments and very likely backlash at my position. And so there was. Firstly, the guy's comment was negative and derogatory -- he called me names and accused me of being a whore that should pay for my own birth control.  I wondered what kind of person he was and decided to take a peek at the sort of stuff on his Google+ page. It was very bewildering. On the one hand, he posted lots of positive Christian stuff, and he posted other anti-religious stuff. He was anti-Obama.  This all lead me to think he most likely is a conservative. Then I see that he also has very sexist videos regarding women -- hmmm, that would lead me to think he is anti-feminist and holds women in low regard except in a very sexualized way. It was a very disturbing mixture of posts that truly didn't show him to be a very well balanced person.

The one thing I did wonder is, if he isn't a Facebook friend, and he isn't a blog follower, how on earth does someone like him even find an obscure post like mine on the internet out of the millions and millions that must have posted that day? And why feel compelled to call me ugly demeaning names? He didn't post any thoughts behind what made him uphold his position other than he clearly felt if I was against the Hobby Lobby ruling that I was for sex without consequences which makes me a whore and I should have to pay for that. Wow! And these were words from a man that is holding himself out to be a Christian. And that is the crux of it right there -- it isn't so much Christianity that is flawed as it is some of the flawed individuals that follow it and the way the twist it up and represent it. Certainly *every* Christian is not flawed so, but when the vocal majority are, it is a very sad and very bad reflection on Christianity.  I guess it is what it is.

I gave him a polite response and corrected his misunderstanding of me and my post. But it was all for naught. I do believe he was just a drive by negative poster that will never return to my blog page. And I have to say, he will not be missed. I don't have a problem debating issues or listening to the many and varied opinions on things -- who knows, they might even change my mind if they state their case well enough -- but I do have a problem with outright rudeness and hatred. The world is full of far too many of that type.  I can get along with people that are different but being expected to tolerate people who are  outright abrasive, rude and closed minded is more than should be expected of any person.

I wish him well. Perhaps he will live long enough for wisdom to cure his illness of ignorance and that his closed mind will crack open to embrace that there are more than just him in this world. We can hope.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Green Walkways Idea

Ok, I see a lot of talk about going green, and people walking more or using alternative transportation. Here where I live, we are a city of only 40,000 and there is no bus or L-trains. I like pondering things and looking at ways to please all parties. Something I see here is that the City has abandoned use of the alley ways -- and that in most of the neighborhoods there is only partial side walks or no sidewalks at all. This lack of sidewalks puts walkers, bikers, skateboarders etc. in the street.  So, here is the thoughts I came up with:

Recondition the alleys to be used for "green" traffic -- meaning walkers, bikes, skateboarders, and electric scooters, motorized wheelchairs, etc. 
  • Alleys already exist in every city
  • Using alleys for foot traffic and non-vehicular traffic separates them from the dangers of motorized traffic and motorized traffic is not impeded by traffic that can't keep pace
  • Using alleys as green walks means that only one *sidewalk/navigable* area is needed for every block -- thus reducing the number of needed sidewalks from four, to only TWO (the one up the middle and then lateral sidewalks on one end of each block to let walkers, riders etc get to the next block, thus reducing the expense of creating and maintaining sidewalks (from the air -- it would look like a T on every block)
  • Cross walks would be mid block where the alleys are since that is where everyone is walking anyway so you would have foot traffic only mid-block and not both ends of a block.
  • Light the alleys/green walkways with solar street lamps so that they are a one time expense and no cost to power them other than to replace bulbs when necessary
  • Consider partnering with companies that would be willing to pave the alley/green walkways with some sort of solar panels that could produce solar energy to power 

The more I think of this, the more convinced I am that this would be an awesome solution to safe walkways for foot traffic and provide opportunities for *green energy* companies to come in and have a foot hold to provide resources green energy rather than electricity.... if the electric companies want to be the ones to play, GREAT! If they don't, then move over and let some other company come in that will bring it....but the end resulting energy must be the same price or less than regular energy....

Makes me wish I was a City Manager somewhere, I would be investigating the possibilities and moving my city towards this idea....

I am hopeful that launching such an idea to the internet will get it picked up and put into the world -- it doesn't matter which of us gets it to happen, it only matters that it happens.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Monday, June 30, 2014

Slippery Slopes

There are many slippery slopes in life. When we settle on beliefs we may find that we also became blind to anything that conflicts with the beliefs we have chosen. The reason being, beliefs are what weave the intricate fabric of our lives. To unravel one thread, may cause other things to unravel as well until we find ourselves totally unraveled and deeply uncomfortable. Some of us will follow those threads to see where they lead. To see if we find new threads to patch the holes left by the pulling of the old threads. Some simply become angry that something is pushing at them and threatening to unravel the foundation they have in place. Because if you are constantly building or rebuilding the foundation, you may never get beyond the beginning.

I personally like unraveling threads. I sit and ponder so many things daily that it surely makes my husband's head spin because he is my safe haven that I bounce all thought wide and varied thoughts from. Usually he listens intently and lets me run my course. He sometimes contributes when he feels moved to do so. Our politics are similar and yet sometimes widely different. I respect him highly and hear him out. Sometimes I gain new fodder to contemplate. Sometimes I am guilty of brushing things aside and standing fast to where I started. But at least I pondered and I usually ponder deeply.

I've asked myself often why do I ponder things so deeply. Why can I not read a book or watch a movie for only the time it takes to do so and then let it go? Why is it that I talk about the book or movie for hours and days afterward, dissecting it, pondering it, twisting and turning it for meanings? I find that I won't watch superficial entertainment movies -- they always have to have some *hidden meaning* -- or perhaps I simply read into them what I choose to see. I find that I look all around me all the time contemplating everything. I will read something, make a snap decision and then find myself later pondering the decision I made. Did I look at all the sides and consider ever angle? Was the information sound? If evidence was given was it valid? Were the sources I based my decision on *good* sources or were they rumors or hype written to spin people, wind them up and move them in a desired direction.

I find that everything out there that we read, hear and see can be a slippery slope. We can back ourselves into corners being defiant and staunch believers of something, failing to hear anything else that doesn't agree with us. Or we can get so caught up in pondering and second guessing that we become wishy washy and stand for nothing and have no purpose.

The key is in *balance*. To know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em and when to walk away as the Kenny Rogers country song goes. When I am angered, I have to dig into my anger and find out *WHY* am I angered? Because only when I know the reason can I know what to do with my anger. To just jerk knee react and allow anger unchecked will most likely spur me to words and deeds that will be regrettable later. But just as anger can blind us, so too can an over abundance of happiness. Happiness can cause us to let our guards down, to lay ourselves open to wolves, to refuse truths because they would take our happiness from us.   Emotions definitely have a place in our lives -- they are the filters by which we live our lives. They are what spurs us to our decisions. But again, balance is key.

So, when I stand strongly on something, I ask myself what is motivating me to do so? Am I blinded with anger or happiness? Am I resisting change because it is unraveling some belief that I will have to forge anew? When I set off on a goal I ask myself what is my desire for myself? What place do others have in my goals? Only when I know what I want from it and what I intend to get and/or give to others can I go forward.

Perhaps I think too much. Perhaps I stand frozen in a sea of thoughts that rise until they drown me. Perhaps I should swim in that sea with bold strokes until I master it and swim for a destination certain.

Slippery slopes of the ponderous one.

Bright Blessings to all and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Hobby Lobby Ruling Sets a Dangerous Precedent... #hobbylobbyruling

While some will see the Hobby Lobby win as awesome, I have to wonder about the can of worms this ultimately opens. This pretty much means a corporation of any kind can declare religious beliefs and force that upon their employees. So, Christians can force Christianity onto workers that are Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Pagans, etc. on the flip side of that, what they don't see is that they have opened the door for other religions to do the same. How would a Christian like to be working at a plant that suddenly is sold to Muslim owners that enact Sharia law over the way they run the company?.... or to find that Christmas holidays are no longer one of the ten holidays allowed because the company owners are Pagans and honor Yule instead.... and on and on. By the precedent that Hobby Lobby just enacted that is the dangerous road paved.... hope the victors enjoy the ride.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Being Upbeat and Respectful

I think it is very important to be upbeat when speaking and also respectful of others. What I mean by this is that I see a lot of things on Facebook that are spun to the negative, rather than the positive. When something appears to bash something someone else believes in, it instantly causes hackles to rise and it doesn't really show respect for other beliefs. Many people say they are tolerant of other people's beliefs -- but are they really.

When a person states their own beliefs like drawing a line in the sand and saying this isn't debatable or that this is the ONLY opinion I want to talk about is mine -- that isn't very tolerant in my humble opinion. Nor is it respectful.  To me, if a person doesn't want to hear what someone else has to say, then why should they say what they want? It is almost like a drive by opinion slam and then running off to prevent you from being able to say anything at all. To me that is rude.

People on Facebook need to remember that when you post something on your wall, it is an invitation for discourse. Otherwise it is like virtual turrets syndrome where you just blurt something out like you can't help yourself. It is also like you being an egomaniac and talking to your self and valuing only your own company and opinions.  If one is going to post on Facebook, be prepared for comments -- if you don't want comments, don't post. If you don't want to hear what friends have to say, then don't have friends. It isn't very complicated.

I do know that I sometimes feel baited when people post things that I definitely don't agree with. But then I remember, I am not their only friend. I am just one of many. Everyone doesn't believe the same things and that is a good thing. I have taken up the practice of commenting only to the positive. If I don't like something, rather than rise to the urge to post an alternative view, I just scroll on by and respect that is their belief. I have learned the hard way that many people don't want to hear discourse on their posts unless it is totally in agreement with their views. So, I respect that and accept that as being the way of it.

In a way, retreating like this sort of makes me feel like a cheap shot and a shallow *friend* because I'm not interacting with my friends as much. But in truth, I'm trying and have mostly succeeded in reducing my Facebook time. Only the past couple of days have I spent much time on Facebook. It reminded me why I left. :)

But I will always be around a little. Participating in Facebook is inevitable -- but it doesn't have to be all consuming.

Just my rambling thoughts for the night.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be,
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest at Yesterways Cottage

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Funny Things Kids annecdote about Mercury Retrograde

Kids can be an endless source of hilarious sayings. And don't think just because they grow up, that changes. My father had a habit of saying something hilariously similar to a word he either couldn't pronounce or couldn't remember. My grown daughter seems to have picked up that habit.

For those who believe in Mercury Retrograde -- daughter and I had a series of bizarre events occur yesterday so I told her it was Mercury Retrograde. She asked what that was and I explained it to her. We went on with the day and yet more things happened. Finally, when she thought she had locked the keys in the car hundreds of miles from home and she was frantically pawing through her purse for them near tears, she blurted out -- "This Mercury Rondingo has got to GO!" --- I laughed so hard I nearly fell out in floor in the restaurant.

So, folks, remember, when mischief is afoot, it is *Mercury Rondingo*!!!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Day 55 Count Down to Funky 55

It's finally Day 55! And here I am in my birthday suit!!! Well, not the one I was born with -- the one I bought to wear on this special day. :) We were at the Oklahoma Diamond Miss Pageant today. Granddaughter was competing in the World of Babies competition. What a wild day this was! Flying tires, midnight photo madness, early morning racing around in the dark -- oh yeah! Will get into all the juicy details after I talk about the outfit.

I am standing in the midst of mommy madness as mothers swarm their little darlings to get them ready to take the stage for the next event. In total, there were 4 events in this competition.

I'm sporting my roman sandals as usual, and a new tiered skirt and a turquoise vest that I bought from Zulilly. If you haven't heard of them, you really need to check them out. They are a clearing warehouse for name brand clothing. Lots of bargains. Boy oh boy could I really get in trouble if there were funds to back up my credit card. LOL The white blouse I have on is called a *popcorn* shirt. You can wad it up into a tiny ball and stuff it in a suitcase and it takes up very little room. You take it out, shake it out a bit and even though it looks tiny, tiny, it will spread out and cover a lot more territory than it looks like it would. So, that was the clothing I had on for this day of chaos and mixed blessings.

All the madness started early in the week as daughter realized that things she had ordered for this pageant were not going to come in on time. Either they were back ordered, delayed shipping, or the person she purchased from didn't mail when she thought it would. Also, some packages started out as Fed Ex but once they arrived in town, they switched over to postal delivery. That was nuts. So, something that arrived yesterday didn't get delivered because the carriers were already out for the day. So, the outfits she needed got here TODAY while we were gone to the pageant. Nice one. NOT!

But we managed to pull things together and come up with outfits for every category from the things that did come in and from things we purchased locally. Granddaugther got decent scores so it was nice to know our mad cap efforts paid off.

The really crazy part was getting a portfolio together. As you can imagine, babies are squirmy and hard to photograph, so daughter called in a professional. It was a friend visiting on vacation and she couldn't come until this past Wednesday but she assured daughter the photos would be ready in plenty of time for us to be able to print them in time for the pageant. Which meant we had to have them no later than 7pm on Friday to get prints before the photo department closed which was at 8pm. Through a comedy of errors that weren't so comedic, the photos didn't arrive timely! UGH! We were tanked on the portfolio! So in desperation we pulled together some photos from what we had and were prepared to make due. It was stressful and disappointing after paying to have photos done specifically for this pageant but there was no use crying over spilled milk. We just had to dust off our big girl panties and go game on.  Well, lo and behold, at 11pm the photos shot through in an email. Very exciting and yet a big DANG IT moment because what could we do with them? No place opened until 8am or 9am and wouldn't be able to have photos until 10am at the earliest. We had a two and half hour drive to our destination from daughter's house and I had a one hour drive to HER house! That meant I would be leaving my house at 4am to get to her place and then us leave her house no later than 6am to race our way to the destination. There was absolutely no way we could expect to pic up photos locally. We have no photo printer and everyone we knew that had one had already left for pageant and spending the night on location. We were the odd ducks driving up on pageant day -- mostly because the hotel was booked and we needed to save the money. Sigh....

But then a pageant friend told us that there was a Walgreens in the town we were going to and if we would push an online order to it, she knew the photo center worker and would call and give her a heads up. YES!!! Mercury Retrograde, take that!!! We were back in the saddle and riding high. Photos were ordered and we finally laid down to try to rest between midnight and 1 am. It was going to be limited sleep for me. 

Got up on time and made it to daughters. She was ready to roll. We got granddaughter in the car and off we flew. We were making record time until..... the FLYING TIRE HIT US!!! Oh my goodness, it was totally crazy. We were taking a ramp to merge into traffic on a highway we needed. Ahead of us was a pickup pulling a trailer with a tractor on it. Behind us were SUVs and a big Semi. We were all booking at high speed and that's when it happened. The truck ahead of us hit a bump and his trailer bounced and when it did, the back left tire flew off -- the trailer tipped, and the tractor got tipsy. The truck was fighting to keep his load and his tire was free wheeling down the highway and passed him up. We thought it would hit a pillar on the over pass but it cleared it and shot right out into traffic that was running 75 miles an hour. I have no idea how the miracle happened but NO ONE HIT THE TIRE! It shot through traffic as though it was perfectly timing the space between the cars. Then it hit the center median and bounced back and IT FREE WHEELED BACK THROUGH TRAFFIC AGAIN. Once again, no one hit it. I was is awe! But then with a sickening lurch of my stomach I realized what was about to happen -- we were still running down the highway and the tire had veered at such an angle that we were going to intersect with it. I expected to hit it full in the radiator and have it plow through the windshield. I started yelling for daughter to hit the breaks -- she hadn't seen it because it was in her blind spot. She thought it had jumped the center median and flew off in to the ditch on the other side of the highway. Not so -- here it was like a boomerang returning to its owner that was still fighting his truck and tractor load to a hault on the side of the highway. As daughter saw the tire was upon us, she glanced in the review mirror and said *OH GOD!* and then she hit the brakes. Thankfully, the semi and SUV behind us had seen enough to avert running us over as we braked. The tire WHACKED OUR BUMPER and then shot on past us and flopped in the ditch. I guess it was *tired* of its freedom run. (sorry for the sappy play on words but I had to do it)  We came to rest on the side of the road behind the truck, trailer/tractor.  He was shaking and white as a ghost. He came running at us and wanted to know if we were ok and did the tire hit us. We told him it did hit us but that we were checking the damage. It just popped the plastic bumper loose which should be easy to snap into place. Poor man tried to fix it but he was shaking too hard to really accomplish much. Once we were assured we were road worthy and only very minor damage, we told him we had to get moving because we had a deadline -- we were going to a pageant and had paid big fees to be there. We couldn't be late.  We assured him we were fine and told him to take care of himself, that he had his hands full with his tire and trailer problem. He seemed somewhat relieved and shocked -- I'm sure the thought he was facing a lawsuit big time. Granddaugther never so much as blinked during this whole escapade. She slept though it all. I was quite impressed with daugther's driving skills. She has always lacked confidence but she learned today that she has much better abilities than she has ever given herself credit for.

There were other mishaps throughout the day but nothing like these I've detailed. I kept telling daughter it was Mercury Retrograde and explained to her what it was. Later in the day we had a nice stress relieving belly laugh at the restaurant when she realized she left the keys in the car and I had locked all the doors. Daughter was on the verge of tears and then she reached for her door and yanked the handle and it flew open!!! She had forgotten to lock her door. Saved from a mistake by another mistake. Daughter said, this Mercury retrogarden can stop about any time. I was like, WHAT????? She repeated, you said it was Mercury retrogarden -- well it can stop any time. I've had enough. I got the giggles that grew into a loud and obnoxious laugh. She was not amused and wanted to know what was so funny. I explained between snickers and snorts that it was *Mercury Retrograde* not *retrogarden*.  She began to laugh too and nearly spun into tears. [I stand corrected -- daughter informed me she did NOT say *retrogarden* -- she said *rondingo* BUHAHAHAHA -- that is even funnier than *retrogarden* -- she cracks me up. But if I'm going to tell it, I have to tell it right, says she. So, it was *Mercury Rondingo*.]

Thankfully, the ride home was uneventful unless you count missing our exit from the turnpike that caused us to have to drive 20 extra miles out of the way. Yes, this was a very interesting birthday, indeed.

And now I am 55! And the Funky 55 Count Down is over. I hoped you enjoyed reading about my 55 day journey to age 55 as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Friday, June 20, 2014

Day 54 Count Down to Funky 55

Last day before Funky 55 Count Down ends! We ate at the Boomerang Diner today. Right behind it is the American Legion Post so I took my photo there by the sign on their building. This town is big on celebrating and supporting its Veterans. It has a large Veteran's hospital and a gorgeous park called Honor Heights Park.

The fashion today is a black *mini* dress that I'm sporting as a tunic top. I can't imagine ever wearing it as a dress because it is *at you* length. If you sneeze, bend or the wind catches it, everything the wearer has would be staring right *at you*. In some cases people might consider it a pretty sight depending on the wearer. However, I choose to keep private things private. :)

Here is a full length shot that lets you see my *capri* pants and my roman sandals.  My jewelry is a pretty glass medallion with a swirl in it and the earrings are swirls.  They are hard to see in the photo. I got the earrings on a trip to Arkansas with my Coven mates when I lived in New Orleans. We had an awesome time and got to buy lots of gorgeous crystals. We even dug for crystals. I found a few and some big rocks too.  I have been wondering where my big rocks are.... I haven't seen them since we moved. That makes me sad.... I really thought they made it. Maybe I unpacked them and put them somewhere, but where? That's the question. They will turn up eventually. Unless they never made it here. I really thought they did though. Sigh.... when you have so much junk it takes two years to figure out something is missing, you have too much junk. But we had established that fact already for me. Maybe that will be my next post series topic -- weeding out excess. GAK! That just gave me chills. To actually be confronted with getting rid of stuff.... I do really need to. Hmmmm, let me think on that. See if I can make myself do it...

See you one last time tomorrow. The post will be late though because I will be jetting out in the morning at 4am to go get daughter and granddaughter Peach and maybe grandson too. We are going to Peach's state pageant. She gets awarded the diamond necklace she won at preliminary pageant. Whoot! Whoot! It's a two hour drive and we have to be there by 8am so we going be booking down the highway. Hopefully bright eyed and bushy tailed as they say.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Day 53 Count Down to Funky 55

Help, I'm melting! Actually this was one Witch that getting wet didn't bother. It was a beautifully cool, and rainy day. While out on our jaunt to eat today at our favorite Italian restaurant, we found another guitar. Actually, the town is full of them and we are now on keen alert for them. Funny the things you don't see right in front of you when your mind is elsewhere.

This guitar sculpture had a plaque of dedication under it but it was up in the shrubbery and I didn't want to trounce the beautiful setting just to read it. I think it was dedicated to a woman.  This is on the street corner by a very beautiful house with gorgeous manicured landscaping.  This display gives an inkling of what the grounds look like there. I made sure to stay on the sidewalk so that I didn't bruise anyone's tender feelings about trespassing in their yard. Having spent my whole life in the country without ever having to worry about foot traffic, I am a bit sensitive about being respectful of other people's yards.

Artwork on this guitar is full of Native American symbolism -- the buffalo, the tee pees and the beautiful cloud filled sky. I love these sculptures. Each one is a reflection of the owner/artist that created it or had it created on their behalf.

My outfit today is another one of the robe like dresses that I bought for ritual. I loved the colors in this one. The stitching is really beautiful. This one is a bit smaller cut I think. I know the arms are slimmer and a little binding. I'm sure part of that is because of the lack of give in the lighter colored material. 

Just a different angle and close up of the detail on this dress. As I said, I really love the stitching on it. Beautiful, beautiful. And I was so lucky to get them. A new vendor on eBay posted them for .99 cents each starting bid. I bid slightly above that and then waited. I figured there would be a flurry of bids in the eleventh hour like there always is. Nope, nada! So, much to the distress of the vendor I'm sure, I got all 4 of the dresses they had listed for just a little over $6. I felt bad for them but I gladly paid the shipping. Needless to say, the vendor didn't make that mistake again. They learned as did others, to do the 99 cent listing to capitalize on the no eBay fee or whatever the incentive eBay has to do so, and then you put shipping to be the least amount you could afford to sell the dress for PLUS the cost of shipping. So, if you need to get $20 for the dress, shipping is $23.00 or some such and the dress is listed for 99 cents. Anyway, I there were no more deals like that to be found. Not from this seller anyway and none found elsewhere by me.

This last photos is just a silly close up of hubs -- I call it the *All Seeing Eye*.  I wanted to take his photo and he wasn't feeling well so he said he wasn't very photogenic today. I insisted on taking his photo anyway and as I posed to take it, he leaned into the camera and this is what I got. We both had a good laugh. He did allow me to go ahead and snap a couple of shots but this fun spirited one was my favorite so it is the one I shared.

Two more days to Funky 55!

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be,
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day 52 Count Down to Funky 55

Busted! I am caught having pizza! It's one of hubs favorite foods so we indulge from time to time. :)

The clothes today are rather simple -- light colored jeans and a colorful top with a sculpted tail and little bling up the front. However, the hair was my daring deed for today. I was at the Sally shop yesterday to pick up something for daughter and I spied *hair chalk*. I found that intriguing so I snagged some in neon colors. This morning I got up and put the pink, purple and blue in my hair. Not sure if I was supposed to comb it through like I did or just leave it super dark and chunky. At any rate, when I was through playing I had what you see here. Yes, I am a giant kid. And I will be going back at some point because they have the temporary wash out colors too. Oh my what fun I will have with that.

The funny thing is when I walked into Mazzio's to order, the young man behind the counter had the most marvelous hair in the same colors. He teased me and asked if I was copying him. I laughed and said not really because his hair was so much more well done than mine. We chit chatted about how he did his and discussed chalk. He says chalk is just not so much. He likes the dye. I would have taken a photo of him but I didn't want to explain that it would be on a Witch blog -- he might have been cool with that but then again maybe not. I chose not to go there. Let's just say, our heads of hair looked sort of like twin flames - only his was more vivid and waaay cooler. :)

And that's it for today. Have to hit the road. Going to see the grandkids and they are an hour away. I'm running late...

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Controling yard fleas without using poison

As I am turning to green cleaning, I am ever on the look out for something to replace dangerous chemicals. Today the challenge was ridding my yard of fleas. Each year since we have lived here, 2 years this month in fact, our little dog Rex has suffered miseries from fleas. Something he has NEVER had to deal with before. And his tender little skin reacts horribly to their bites. The first summer here, we kept him inside as much as possible, treated him with flea collars and frontline. I wasn't happy with that solution.

Last year, we tried bathing him in Dawn dishwashing liquid and while that would kill fleas that were on him, it didn't keep fleas from getting on him. What was even worse, was the fleas got a foot hold in the house and got in the carpet! So we had that battle to deal with. To kill the carpet fleas, we first tried the carpet sprinkles marketed for that purpose. We had limited success and found we had to do it repetitively which got expensive. And since everyone was fighting fleas at the same time because it was flea season, the carpet stuff was hard to get. After scouring the internet for other solutions, we bought diatomaceous earth from the local tractor supply store. That did the trick! It knocked the fleas right out. I also sprinkled the diatomaceous earth around the back yard. It seemed to work some but honestly, every time it rains and gets hot, we have a new surge of fleas to deal with. UGH! Meanwhile, poor Rexie was noshing himself bald from the fleas and even when the fleas were washed off him, and he was powdered down with diatomaceous earth, the venom in the bites still drove him mad.

Now it is flea season again and we are back where we were last year, fighting the good fight. For Rexie, we have a three fold prong of attack, we bath him in Dawn dish soap to get rid of any active fleas. Once he is dry we massage him all over with organic natural coconut oil. Research on the internet indicated is some sort of acid that fleas hate and I can tell you that during the massage, any fleas the have survived the bath or sneaked on after the bath during the drying time, are flopped out dead or scrambling to get away from the coconut oil. Rexie loves to lick my fingers while I massage him. This is the least tramatizing treatment he has ever had and it isn't dangerous to him. Anywhere that he sleeps or naps, we sprinkle diatomaceous earth in the bedding. When his coconut oil looks like it has all absorbed away from him, we sprinkle him with the diatomaceous earth. It too is not dangerous to him and in fact, if he happens to ingest it, it will help rid him of any internal parasites he might have from his outdoor bouts or from swallowing fleas.

Today, I tried something new on the yard. I used a Dawn dish soap and water solution in my little mini sprayer and soaked the yard. That supposedly kills the fleas without injurying the plants. Apparently it coats the fleas and flea larvae and causes them to suffocate. All I know is it kills them and it isn't poisonous to my dog or to my grandchildren or the environment. However,  I was sad to see that it will kill other critters also. But then, so would the poison. The idea is to get the yard flea free so that we don't have to do all this spraying and dusting etc. However, it is going to take a lot of will power and effort on our part to stay on top of it until the deed is done. Last year we used something called Bifen but it is very poisonous and I just am not comfortable with using it since we have pets and grandchildren. Plus, we have honey bees that feed off the clover in our yard and I don't want to endanger them. So, no poison this year. Had to be a different way. And so, today was the Dawn dish soap and water solution. I figure in a day or so, I will go out and follow up with the diatomaceous earth.

For Rexie's sake, nature and the environment, wish me well. We must win this war on fleas. They are hideous creatures that are terrorizing our dog and making his life miserable.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Day 51 Count Down to Funky 55

As promised, here I am with another one of our local guitar art sculptures. To be honest, I didn't even know this one was there! I saw it by accident as we were headed for a different one. I was like WOW! How did I not know this was here! I drive past this building almost everyday. But it is on the side of the building clearly visible from the side street and for a fleeting minute when driving on the main way. Today, after two years of traveling that road way, I saw it. Glad I did. This lot is beautifully landscaped. It used to be the home of our bank but it recently moved across the street into a more grand, newer custom built building. I have no idea what is happening with this building. Construction workers are going in and out so hopefully that means it will become home to something good. An office building at least. I guess we will see.

The clothes, the clothes! What about the clothes? As you can see, it is a tie dyed sun dress. It is the tiered ruffle kind. The green and black and white really called to me when I saw it. I bought it at a little shop in New Orleans called The Rainbow Shop. I was so excited when I moved here to Muskogee because our Mall had one too! Whoot! Whoot! But right after Grandson was born, they moved out and disappeared. Drats! I could have and would have spent lots of money in there. They should have stayed and give me a chance. LOL 

The little jacket I have on is a wonderfully weird piece. I can't remember where exactly that I got it other than it was on a close out rack. It is crochet and has rabbit-like fur on it. The crochet has a rosette pattern on it. It has two large crocheted buttons that fasten it closed. And there are two decorative ties that had little fur puffs on the end. The reason it was on the discount rack is because one of the fur puffs was damaged and lost some of its fur. Didn't bother me. So, now I have this great over jacket. So far, I mostly pair it with this dress because I like the looks of them together. But I do have another dress that is all solid green that I like to wear it with also. My shoes were the same roman sandals I wore yesterday. I tend to do that - get on a tangent of wearing the same pair of shoes over and over. Gives my feet a break and the shoes also. :)

Just 4 more days until Funky 55. Wow! I think I will qualify as an *official* Senior Citizen when I turn 55. Discounts, discounts, discounts. Gotta stretch that money however I can.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Monday, June 16, 2014

Day 50 Count Down to Funky 55

I'm Proud to Be an Okie from Muskogee! Yes, that Merle Haggard song was written about my town! Turns out Merle Haggard's folks were from nearby Chechotah, Oklahoma and migrated to California during the Great Depression after their barn burned. The mighty Merle was actually born in Bakersfield, California and he had a very troubled youth and did several stints in prison. After encounters with two different guys in prison that landed on death row, he turned his life around and became the music legend we know him as today. We can come from any background and climb to greatness. All it takes is motivation and determination.

I'm sure this craze has happened throughout the nation, but here in Oklahoma various towns have themed artistic sculptures scattered about town. In Tulsa about 45 miles away, they have Penguins. In southwestern Oklahoma, they have Buffaloes. Here in Muskogee, we have Guitars after the music legend Merle Haggard and his song about this town I mentioned above, "Okie From Muskogee".

Here I am posed in front of one of the Guitar sculptures which I believe is supposed to represent Merle Haggard himself. It's a Cowboy with red boots playing a guitar. Across the guitar is an American flag and on that flag is a bulldog. Being the wife of a retired Gunny, that smacks Marine Corps to me. :)

Today I have on a robe style dress which is one of several that I bought from eBay a couple of years back with the intent of wearing to public rituals. But since there are no public rituals here and they are too pretty to sit in the back of the closet or to be worn for only a few minutes for Full Moon I broke this one out for regular wear. I will show another one tomorrow and the next day.

I fell in love with the patch work effect of this one and the beautiful stitching. What can I say, I'm a fool for pretty clothes. But this was inexpensive and that makes me a double fool because I LOVE bargains. These robe dresses (abayas is what I think the ebay listing called them) are very comfy and cool despite the long sleeves. I know that seems counter intuitive to wear long sleeves in the summer time, but it keeps me from burning in the sun for one thing and for another, it knocks the chill of the over zealous air conditioning that restaurants and businesses have going on.

My choice of shoes today were my roman sandals with the decorative silver brads up the front. This pair has a zipper up the back to put them on whereas my solid black pair has velcro fasteners on the side.

In my photo, hubs cut the head off the statue. He said he was so focused on getting a good photo of me that he forgot to check if the sculpture was in full frame. Plust he was thinking of the guitar and not the cowboy holding it. So, here is hubs in front of it where you can see it a little better. He is getting all these photos of me and I wasn't getting any photos in kind. Today I changed that and had him indulge me while I snapped away.

This photo is just to share with you how easily amused I am. I always find it quite funny that the side of hubs truck acts like a fun house mirror and squishes me down in size. I love looking like I belong in the cast of Willow. I guess it is one of those things where you just have to be there.

We're headed to the finish line now. Just five more days to Funky 55!

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Day 49 Count Down to Funky 55

We went to the movies today and saw How to Train Your Dragon 2. I LOVED it and yes, I cried! No spoilers from me, so I won't tell you why. You'll just have to watch it for yourself.

Since all the movie posters were the same, I waited until we got back home to take today's photo. I am perched on my front steps next to the flower bed I have worked on. I pulled out all the grass and put down a layer of the carpet we pulled up from the living room to use as a weed barrier. Then I put down mulch and set my potted plants in it. To keep the sun from frying the roots and baking them hard, I have them sitting in red bowls that I can fill with water. This was very effective when I lived in New Orleans. I'm hopeful it will help my plants ease through the drought of July and August here in Oklahoma.

My outfit today is jeans. Jeans are kind of blah to me but they have their place in life. As a top I have on my brown tee that has angel winged sleeves -- I think maybe they are called *dolman* sleeves? It's been a while since the sewing machine and I were good friends where I knew all those terms but that will change soon. I will be making sashes for pageants. :)

Over the top, I'm wearing a brown beetle tailed sweater. I made that term up but it does a good job of describing it. Sometimes I wear the sweater belted but today I didn't. Since we were going to the movies and it's summer time, I knew it would be cold inside and a sweater would be necessary to be comfortable.

The funky element today is the necklace. It is a big chunky thing that I bought from Dillards in New Orleans. It cost more that I would ever normally spend on a piece of costume jewelry but I had a gift card from the attorney I worked for. I didn't find anything in clothes that inspired me and I didn't want perfume or make up so that put me in the jewelry. The options were awesome! This Dillards had an entire jewelry section of goods made by artisans. Some were beyond my means but definitely attention getting. I finally settled on the brown hued one with a large dangle. I have several pairs of earrings that complement it nicely but as luck would have it, I couldn't find the ones I had in mind so I wore a pair that was an old timey antique looking bead in similar colors. It worked.

This was the funky fashion for today. I would write more but I'm hungry and it's time to go to dinner so my brain is sort of one track at the moment! LOL But there's always tomorrow if you come back, and I hope you will.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Day 48 Count Down to Funky 55

Look, it's me without my glasses on! Actually, I think I didn't have them on yesterday either. :)

This is the tiny hall way in my house that is basically a little rectangle that has doors on every side. The reason I'm standing there for this photo is because I CAN! Finally, after 2 years, the moving boxes are GONE! Well, gone from this spot anyway. I actually moved them to the laundry room. You can see them in yesterday's photo. But oddly enough, as I keep trying to groom the front of the house to make it more *liveable*, this honestly felt like a HUGE accomplishment. Now, I just have to deal with the other two around the corner. There is always something to keep me busy at my house. I truly should be busy all the time but I am a *spurt worker* -- I get a burst of energy and go wild working on something but it has to be something that matches the burst of energy. Otherwise, it ends up being a *half-done* project. Like the brown craft paper on my bathroom wall. But I AM going to finish that before the Count Down to Funky 55 is over so I can have that project completed. That way I can start an even bigger project up over my fireplace! Maybe if I apply myself hard enough, I will find the can of varnish that I bought to seal it with. I can't believe I bought it, brought it home and have never seen it again. Well, truthfully, that isn't much of a stretch to believe it. Remember that pile it system I told you we had going on and flat surface disease? I'm sure one of those two swallowed up my varnish. But it will be found.... I am determined.

I guess I should talk about the outfit. I love the colors of this maxi sun dress. When I moved to New Orleans several years ago, I bought lots of sun dresses in various materials and colors. This one is knit and a size smaller than I normally choose to buy. When I was young and rail thin, everything had to be skin tight to show off that .... nothingness I guess. LOL There were no curves, no bosoms, no anything except rail thinness. The one thing I was proud of was I had a 22 inch waist. But I only weighed 98 pounds. Eventually my body kicked in and decided to grow when I got pregnant at age 32. After all those years of being a nearly nothing barely there person, it was a big adjustment to weigh 20 pounds short of being twice your pre-pregnant weight! So, I tended to buy things big and baggy and flowy which made me look even bigger probably. But I couldn't see the bump of a rump or the fat rolls around the middle. Isn't it funny how we are like that? To suddenly hate our own body and why? Because everything around us markets to us that we should be horribly malnourished looking to be beautiful. UGH! I don't believe that for a minute. I just honestly had a hard time adjusting to being *bigger* and not letting my head scream *you're fat! you're fat! you're fat!* I'm not fat. I'm out of shape. That is the honest truth. But, I have been working on that too! I actually have a push mower -- the kind you push -- WITHOUT A MOTOR! Yep, those legs and glutes of mine are letting me know just how much they are putting out to make that lawn look nice. I actually enjoy it. I like the whirring sound the mower makes as the blade goes round. I also like the work out it gives my upper arms. I'm not a big fan of just working out for the sake of working out. I have to be *doing* something useful. Otherwise, I feel like I lost my time to busy work. That's silly I know but sometimes the old noggin' just doesn't keep up with the program.

Oh, yeah, before I forget, I wore my black lace shawl with the hot pink sequins. Yep, I had to cover up those thin straps and bare shoulders. 

That's all for today. See you tomorrow!

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Friday, June 13, 2014

Day 47 Count Down to Funky 55

It's Full Moon tonight on Friday the 13th with Mercury in Retrograde! Yikes! But here I am rising to the occasion. This is my ritual robe that hubs bought me for Yule almost 4 years ago! Wow, how time flies! It is a bit big on me but that's okay, that means I have plenty of room for warm clothes under it in the winter time!

This robe came from the Pyramid Collection. It's made of a stretchy velvet like stuff. I can tell you that if you are close to a fire and little sparks land on it, it will melt a hole right through it -- I know this first hand. sigh.... But it isn't a big hole, just a tiny one but still I was so miffed that it happened the very first time I wore it. 

Here is a full length view of it. And I'm noticing that I have a few orbs floating around me! I have been experiencing activity in my home and kept telling hubs I was seeing things flitting through the room in my peripheral vision. I guess now I have photos of the little beggars. :) I like the *frogs* down the front of this robe but they do take some fumbling sometimes to get them done and undone. In the winter time with gloves on, they are very difficult to do. That's why I now own gloves with the very tips of the fingers out -- so that my hands can be warm and yet I can still function. As you can see the length of the robe is very long. If I were still growing *up* instead of *out*, that extra length might come in handy. But I'm not going to get taller and I'm not going to wear stilts so I really need to hem it up a bit for ease of walking and to keep from dragging it and fraying it on the ground.

Today or I should say tonight, I put on a different pair of my roman sandals. I like this pair a lot also although the solid black pair I usually wear is my all time favorite comfy ones. 

These photos were taken in my laundry room. Those very *red* washer and dryer was my pride and joy when I bought them. Nothing would do but that I have bright and flashy. I still love the color. However, I've learned that the most awesome factor of a front loading washer is that it allows you to stack the dryer on top of it. After that, there is really no advantage in my humble opinion. The door seal stays full of water and therefore will mold and mildew if not properly cared for. Also, it requires special soap and if you use the wrong kind, I'm told it will really gunk up and plug up the works and make the washer become useless. On the good side, it doesn't use very much water. On the bad side, it doesn't use very much water. When it comes to shoving clothes into it, less is more because if you overload it, they won't come clean. I love the color, I love the stackable feature which is a life saver her at Yesterways Cottage but I don't like the special soap issue,  or the moldy door gasket. But as expensive as they were, I will have these babies for the next 20 years if they and I last that long.

Soon it will be Day 48 and we'll have another round of funky fashion.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

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