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I know, work tomorrow…actually no. Taking the day to work on that big thing I have been working toward…still cannot say what so as not to jinx it entirely, but fingers crossed. I know, then why mention it? Well, when big life things come up I deal with the stress by talking it out, and for me this blog is like talking to friends…and the ether of the Internet. Like a sounding board at times, though lately I confess it has been hard to write too, as noted in my last post, miss my Irish blogging friend. Still she would probably get a kick of my Prof. Trewlaney outift, thoughts like that can help I find.

So it was that on Sunday my friends and I went to the Botanic Gardens and saw the Chihuly glass exhibit before it leaves. When we attempted this last week everything that could go wrong did. It was fun, and honestly another story that will have to be saved for later…when everything falls through it can make a memorable evening. :)

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Mike’s pictures are probably better, but semi-pro photographer that he is, he had another shoot afterward and has yet to post what he got. Busy.Looking back I kind of envy Martine’s take on it she did not photograph, she just was in the moment, and enjoyed it. Something maybe we should all do a bit more of? Just remember things, no need to photograph ever blessed moment…here are some of what I got. Chihuly’s art is fantastic!

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This reminded us of Willy Wonka's choclate ball garden.

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We both loved the water shots...reflections, running water...so cool :)

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Loved the water, and by my favorite spot, the Japanese gardens.

There was more of course. As to pumpkins? Well, the original plan was gardens, lunch, carve pumpkins but Mike had to leave. So it was only the two of us to carve.

It was fun though I forgot how much pumpkin guts can stick to you and get over everything…including down your shirt. As a girl mortifying but expected when you are big-chested, at least it was just us girls thankfully.

My pumpkin is a bit hard to see, but it is a gnome with a scythe. It had that bit of humor that I like but could be scary to little kids just enough.

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That is my Gnome pumpkin, cute and a bit scary :)

First time here in my home and first time with trick-or-treaters in awhile. I have to find out how much candy I should expect to give out here. You never know the neighborhood quite until the first Halloween I think. The people at the other end unit have three pumpkins out, cobwebs, and ghosts, so there may be a bit of traffic–especially on a Friday.

Having moved, and my inclination to not overdo decorations for a holiday as I cannot stand the thought of Hallmark throwing up in my home–I do not have much this year. I always felt it was more you honor the holiday inside you, but I also like good decorations. Just a fine balance that I need to work on.

I feel I have gone too minimalist this year, pumpkin and a doormat that is it. Balance is a beautiful thing and next year I figure I will have more of a knack for how to tastefully decorate my new home. Still on a bit of a learning curve. Meantime, pumpkin, mat, candy…trick-or-treat :)

Always

Well, I noticed it has been awhile…and with the season in mind, this has also been on my mind: Why is the animal of Ravenclaw an eagle, and not a Raven? While on that subject, why a lion and not a griffin either? It is a school of witchcraft and wizardry…mythical creatures would not be that great a leap. Heck, just looking at Scotland’s unicorn, even Muggles are down with mythical creatures…unless this is also a hint that maybe, just maybe, Scotland is where wizards and Muggles openly coexist?

Coincidence? I think not!

See, I am not alone in this:

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From Harry Potter memes on Facebook

That is right, Harry Potter has been on my mind lately. I partly blame the costume theme idea going around at work, but it could also be that most people can relate to the series. Not surprising really (and yes, shocker there is a series on Harry Potter and philosophy, if you are curious).

Another sidenote: notice the hatred for she who is uptight and wears pink contrasted with Bellatrix. We can almost forgive Bellatrix’s crazy as she was touched, maybe even in love, compared to the micromanaging and just strict lawful evilness of Umbridge. Just saying, there is a greater implication going on there.

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She was always into...like everything. No privacy, Orwellian...

The series just encompanses so much we can all relate to and/or learn: growing up, finding yourself and being true to yourself, loss, empathy, continuing in the face of adversity, sacrifice for the greater good (and in Voldemort’s case power itself), etc.

For me it is some of the humor through the drama that keeps it real, and “human” as even the greatest of wizards can be flawed. Enjoy a smile or two, beginning with snarky and sarcastic Snape (check out my alliteration, woot!) :

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The condescending tone just adds to the charm :)

And a little more for you:

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A smart alec gps, who could pass on that?

Professor McGonagal and her shapeshifting ways:

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From HP memes on FB of course.

Then there is this thought that at times, I confess I wonder:

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And finally, these two bits of truth that can keep you going:

There is always hope, hang in there…

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One of my favorites :)

And of course, there are those for whom we say, “always.”

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Right in the feels again, sir. Well played.

He did such an outstanding job portraying the subtleties that Snape always had a hidden agenda, a good guy all the way through, but we did not know until the end. He was only given a glimpse from the author that there would be something deeper to the character, that he was more complex than what the surface revealed. Hence the fandom now goes:

Even after all this time…always.

The Moon and the Kats

I probably should be asleep…in fact I know I should. I should also cut down my caffeine-intake. It was explained to me quite simply today: if you can endure one terrible week, it will get better. It takes the body about that long to readjust when cutting down caffeine. Even just cutting down half what I do would be an improvement overall, if I can just make one week of sluggishness.

It is hard, and it is a cycle. Addictions are difficult to break because that is their very nature. You are tired so you crave it; you have trouble sleeping in part because you had too much or had it too late in the day. Which then leads you to wanting espresso in the morning.

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So why not switch my method of intake? Going back to tea, green tea is a little less caffeine than espresso…I think. It may or may not help I know, but if it does help that would be brilliant, and probably healthier.

It was with that in mind in part that I went to Estes Park to my favorite tea shoppe, Moon Kats. My only regret was getting there late (I am very skilled at sleeping in on weekends, or staying up to the wee am for some reason I have no problems, but good rest times during the week, pa-fah–I live off Americanos).

It was lovely, the food, the view, the overall serenity of the place and my chair. Well, not my chair, but it practically was for a time on Sundays when they were at Isis. Staci, co-owner and baker extraordinaire (seriously outstanding breads and cakes), laughed at how appropriate it was to see me back in the chair and writing. She snapped the following:

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This was my favorite chair, and apparently it still is.

Always look on the bright side. I try to, like having friends who are understanding of my…well…lately forgetfulness, which goes back to cutting down on caffeine. Still…

Still it was a great space for breathing and writing. The tea was lovely, the view of the mountains ascending all around…the only thing that would have topped off the day would have been a hot stone massage. I just wish I could make it up there to Moon Kats more than once a month, but for now, that will do.

Back to pen and paper…or of I am lucky bed. Only three hours until it is time to rise…and maybe shine, probably imbibe a bit of espresso knowing me. Oh, the wicked mistress of that warm sinful brew…I am so whipped, and not in a good way.

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I know, I know, it is a bit dramatic, but we are talking a serious caffeine addiction like Smaug was addicted to gold...just sayin'.

Treat to Self Motivation

This week has been rough–hectic, work intensive, just one of those weeks when half way through and it seems nothing quite works right. All you can think to do is look up and say, “Really?” (Anyone else have issues with Windows updates, blank screens, and all that work you need to do??…yeah.) We have all been there, it happens. In retrospect it is not a big deal comparative to the story of others…loss of jobs, homes…piddly when you think of it, but in the thick of it, it is hard to immediately have that Zen state (but progress, nice).

So you find something positive to focus on. It can vary, but you think of some kind of treat to self as we continue a bit of behaviorial conditioning that worked well when we were little. Get through this and Saturday LOTR or Star Wars marathon; Indian food night; nice bath and book time; hike day…whatever works, you create that light at the end of a short term tunnel.

For me it is Moon Kats this Saturday. Free time and decent mountain road conditions so far. I am heading up there, having my favorite tea and salad, amd then I am just writing in the mountains. Just sounds so freaking good right now. Be in the mountains, write, and drink tea. Just…ah…

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We have all been there, I know. Any favorite rewards to self? I like to mix mine up, but is that good? If I were more consistent would it be easier or a better motivator (behaviorial conditioning tool)? Does changing it up help make it more of a treat then?

I know, overthinking it…this is what happens late night, too much caffeine during the day. Sigh, have to cut down. Point is, we all have treats to self to help us through a rough patch, and sometimes it is the little pleasures that are the best. :)

In this case, tea, mountains, writing…my other option is sci-fi marathon, always lovely too, but in the mood to be more active. Enough blogging back to memorizing lines…long story.

Friendiversary

Friendship is a complex social relationship that transcends blood relation, mainly as you are not related to one another by any direct familial bond, and yet you still love each other and tolerate one another’s flaws. We choose these people to be in our lives and they likewise choose us.

There are of course many different kinds of frienships and durations: casual, aquaintance, school, season, reason, or lifetime. That said, there are some friendships that last longer than some romantic relationships, including marriages.

Yet, these friendships can also be as difficult to maintain. After all you are dealing with two, or more, humans in a social relationship. Issues are bound to come up as well as personality conflicts, resolutions, etc. As such, why do we not honor friendships in America as much as other countries? Why minimalize these relationships?

So my friend and I decided we should celebrate our 20th year friendiversary. We went to Chicago.

It just seemed the thing to do.

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Chicago cityscape.

So we got to stay at her parent’s condo while they were out of town. It was glorious! Walking distance to great restaurants, convenient bus system…and right by the Lincoln Park Zoo, which was free.

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Thought of you, Karen. There were flamingos :)

We also did some touristy things like check out the bean, great for photos.

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The "bean" great for photos.

The art museum for a Ferris Bueller moment.

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Okay, my timing with people not the best...but we got to get up close and stare just like Cameron. :)

We also loved the Museum of Science and Industry, submarine inside the museum, coal mine inside the museum, and the best fairytale castle ever…the list goes on.

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And they had real farm equipment...so much bigger than I expected. :)

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Mini fairytale castle with detailed roon of about every fairytale...so awesome!

96 floors up and enjoy a cocktail…sweet city view.

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96 floors up...views all round are spectacular.

The Untouchables tour, fun, informative, and highly entertaining.

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Informative: the wall where the Valentine's Day Massacre occurred.

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Entertaining: these guys had a great sense of humor. :)

Eataly…there are no words for this mecca for Italian foodies…but alas, I have no pictures.

And of course the Buckingham fountain which reminds me of “Married With Children”.

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Based on the Buckingham fountain.

It was a great trip and Martine and I had a great time.

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Our female friends are as important as our romantic relationships. In our time together Martine also pointed out that should we get into a serious romantic relationship with a guy anytime soon, we can draw on what we learned being friends together, communication, compromise, all that has worked, and it should help us to make a relationship last (should we so choose).

*Now I am not minimizing the other friends I have that also have a 20-yeariversary with; however, in this case it just so happened that we could go and as we are the only single friends we have it made sense to make a big fuss. I look forward to celebrating a friendiversaries with my other friends as well when schedules allow. Ladies, I am thinking when we all hit 30 yrs we should find a way to do Ireland, or a resort by a beach…thoughts? *

Should Hallmark, and/or resorts, catch on and capitalize on this concept of a friendiversary, I feel some credit would be nice. :)

A Rose By Any Other Name…

The news just gets more and more…well, annoying and speculative, full of propaganda…the usual. ChatterMaster and Strawberryindigo, I know you guys will get me on this one. And the media could help…change how rhey present things in this one instance, help others…but I guess it would take too much work.

I wanted to talk about my Chicago trip (outstanding by the way) and my friendiversary with a good friend of mine…but no, this kept coming up–over and over. So fine, I will not remain silent then.

Really? ¬†This is what we have come to? I realize that the media is supposed to perform the function of informing the public and acting as a watchdog for the rest of society, but it would help if they were a bit more sensitive to the fact that sadly many people are perhaps…okay, no nice way to say it–there are quite a few idiots out there. I know I am being negative. I am trying to be positive; take all sides into account; take into account emotions are running high and people do not think clearly when that happens; keep in mind that there are internet trolls out there too…but this is ridiculous.

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Many businesses and women who happen to be named after an Ancient Egyptian diety, one I admire, are getting a lot of flack to change their names because of a group of terrorosts going by the acronym I.S.I.S. (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

My favorite store is getting harassed by Internet trolls, women named Isis are becoming worried they should not go by their first names, other businesses are getting told similar admonishments–change your name. My all time favorite is some nitwit asking my store on Facebook to: “stop beheading people.” *Stares at the screen slowly blinking and then facepalm.*

Seriously? *Tilting my head* Really? Did you not pass seventh grade humanities? Do you not know basic Ancient Egyptian mythology? Isis, Goddess of Ten Thousand Names, Queen of the Gods, Goddess of Magic, Motherhood, Fertility…the list goes on (see Ten Thousand Names). SHE should change her name along with the thousands of others who were clearly born, or founded as a business, way before this group? (By the way that is rhetorical and sarcastic.)

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Even the foreign press, the French, saw they did not deserve this title. They are calling the group “Daesh” Daesh article rather than even affiliate the group with such an ancient and powerful name as Isis, or even a “State” for that matter. Daesh also loosely sounds like sowers of discord in Arabic according to the article, fitting.

Think about it. If names have meaning, and in some way inform our character, then how much power are you giving the terrorists by using that name? This is probably another reason the President tried calling them I.S.I.L (L standing for the area of Levant which is mostly in Syria as well) thus taking away some power of the name and helping those named Isis.

It would be nice to think some people can make the distinction between the terrorist group and innocent people with a bit of common sense…but sometimes when people are overly emotional or sensitive they cannot see or think rationally. Granted the terrorist group is so extreme perhaps some members would be that flagrant to call themselves ISIS openly…but I doubt a four year old in Canada is a member. I doubt a metaphysical bookstore that also sells books on the Jewish Qabalah is a member. I doubt a pharmaceutical company that had been around for at least 25 years is a member. I highly doubt the new hipster spa and salon in California is giving out swords with the aromatherapy…I could be wrong, but as Mycroft would say, “the balance of probablity” so I am logically concluding that answer is “no.”

As to changing their names…I am sorry but no way. The terrorists do not deserve such an honor as to have a name they got by the happenstance of a region and a movement (do they really constitute a state anyway?).

Taking a cue from Office Space, and dignity along with commonsense, why should They (the goddess, the women, the businesses) change their name when it is the terrorist group that sucks?

Michael Bolton from Office Space was so right.

Yeah, they don’t. The name of the monsters can change, not the innocent. ¬†Especially not Goddesses.

Spider Truce

So for those wondering: spiders. I have a huge maple tree in the back, and that brings with it glorious shade, birds, leaves, bugs, and spiders. This one let me know it was none-too-thrilled I took down a few of its webs so right on the other side of the sliding door, there it was.

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Apparently a jewel or cat-faced spider. Low toxicity venom and hey moves around the yard, kills bugs.

A brief look at the back…no street sign visible so I figure it is okay…but check out the thumb-sized slayer of insects! I yelped when I first saw it. Caught me by surprise…spider ninja.

Now a debate began after I showed this huge spider to a coworker. She said, “I do not think so. I would kill it.”

“But it is on the other side,” I protested, “technically it is adhering to our truce. So long as it does not cross the border into the home we are all good. Besides, it kills the bugs.”

(I had heard neighbors complaining about more bugs than usual this year as we are by an open space and a creek it made sense…I have not had a lot of bugs though. I can only credit my spider allies).

“No way, what about when it decides to go in your house? Or you feel something crawl on you in the middle of the night. You will think it is the spider and freak out,” she knew me and had a good point. I already felt guilty about destroying some web work and did have a spider bite at night in retaliation (I confess it was deserved)…but my cats killed that spider.

“True…but it is harmless venom wise and a bug killer (did I mention I have a fear of spiders?).”

A bit of debate, a talk with my mother, I decided to honor our human-spider truce…for now. On the outside we are okay, on the inside, if my cats chose to hunt it, so be it. There will be no mercy, no quarter shown…

A bit harsh, perhaps…perhaps. But such is life on the other side of the wall (yes, it is a Game of Thrones reference).

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