Sigur Rós on The Simpson

For all you Iceland-o-philes out there (and of our ranks I know there are many), Sigur Rós is going to be on The Simpsons on May 19th, and have written their own version of the theme song for the episode. I. AM. SWOONING. And their cartoon doppelgangers are pretty amazing.

Sigur Rós in Simpson form
Jónsi looks adorable here.

I’ve seen Sigur Rós live 3 times, and they are one of the most magical and engaging bands I have ever seen. The first time I saw them was October 3rd 2001, less than a month after 9/11 and at a time when Americans were still heartbroken and lost (before we became the stormtroopers of doom, that is). Even though the show was in a tiny, dingy little venue, the show was so uplifting, intoxicating, and lush, it was like being in the presence of elves- and I don’t say that lightly or flippantly. I love the fact that they are willing to show their more humorous side, seeing as I found a lot of their more recent stuff a bit pretentious (I couldn’t tell if the short film project they just did was supposed to be arty or absurd. Maybe both. Meh.)

A prisoner of the white lines on the freeway

Sitting in a Haggen’s parking lot behind a laurel hedge, eating grocery store sushi and listening to Joni Mitchell’s “Hejira” on sunny and stunningly warm Friday afternoon. Everything smells like spring flowers, fabric softener, and hot pavement. I just dropped $250 on 2 pairs of shoes for my trip to France. I am loathe to spend it, but I wear a size 6.5 WW, so if I want something decent I have to spend the dough. Next up is acupuncture, then my Husband and I are off to hang the curtain rods at my Paramours house. I can’t believe he’s moving here. I can’t believe I am going to France! I can’t believe my German classes are almost over. I can’t believe I am just a few months away from finishing my first year in the ADF. I can’t believe they are selling Cheerwine at the local Haggen’s.

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The Salish Sea and Me

It’s a beautiful day on the Salish Sea, and I am sitting alone in my Paramour’s empty future home, looking out over the water at the roof of my house and marveling at the strange twists and turns our lives take. The other night we had a house full of people, all of them people I consider my family. We stayed up late, talking about childhood toys and random acts of heroism and villainy we have indulged in over the years. I am so blessed to have these people in my life. I am blessed to have my Paramour returned to me after all these years. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who is my hero and protector. I am blessed to have friends who make me laugh endlessly and challenge me mentally.

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The view from my Paramour’s living room. You can literally see the roof of my house across the water.

To celebrate Maitag, I had to make room in my nightmare of a schedule for a my first solitary ritual. In the whirlwind of redecorating my Paramour’s house, school, planning for my trip to France in 3 weeks, and multiple health problems, I hadn’t realized that TODAY was May 1st. I picked up some items from the grocery store and headed over to the Paramour’s new house between classes to do some work. While I was there, I sat out in the backyard on a bench overlooking the water, set up my gear, and did a combined Maitag ritual and house blessing. Since I didn’t have any sort of oracle to consult, I had to improvise. I thought to myself, what is an oracle? Divination is the selection of a randomly generated symbol and the interpretation of that symbol in the context of the question your are asking. Regardless of whether you consider an oracle to be a message from the divine or just random chance, you are still taking a meaningful symbol and applying it to a query for guidance. Before I left German class today, I pulled WMFH aside and asked him to write the first German word that came into his head on a piece of paper and give it to me. He obliged, and I used that as my oracle. The word he wrote? Zuverlässig: trustworthy, steadfast, everlasting. Have I mentioned lately how awesome WMFH is? Seriously, the guy is totally magical and doesn’t seem to know it.

My first solitary ritual went ok, it wasn’t completely ADF compliant, but I am ok with that. I managed to do a basic skeleton of the core ritual from memory, and the addition of the Freya’s Gold beer from the Odin Brewing Company as my offering to the god’s was another sweet slice of serendipity. During the ritual, a goldfinch landed on the bough of an blossoming apple tree and sang a few notes before moving on. It seems that during most of our rituals we are visited by a bird or 2 with a purpose.

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Another view.

Bald wird der dunkle Hain belebt

In the immortal words of John Lennon, life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. In my world, multiple sclerosis is what happens. I have been fighting some pretty gnarly symptoms as of late. aside from having a black spot in my vision in my left eye, I am also having significant weakness in my arms that is really fucking with my feng shui. Toss in a liberal dose of fatigue and a dash of leg pain, and you have a satanic salad of gloom. I have had to prioritize things, and life only gets more complicated. We just found out our landlords might want to sell our house, so we may be looking at having to move, which is NOT something I want to do. I am still redecorating my Paramour’s new house, I am still planning our trip to France in a month, WMFH has decided that German this quarter should be more like boot camp, and I am taking a singing class that I SO TOTALLY REGRET TAKING because I have to sing in front of the whole class (I am singing “Bald wehen uns des Frühlings Lüfte” by Haydn. WMFH was kind enough to sit with me and help me understand the lyrics and pronunciation. He was adorably excited to find the lyrics were rather Pagan in nature. The man is a complete sweetheart, and my heart breaks to think this is my last quarter of German). I am not a good singer. I am a loud singer, I am a powerful singer, but it is not pretty. Sigh. I guess the only thing to do is dive in, shame myself, and get it over with.

On the spiritual front, I have had so many things to write about I haven’t even known where to start. Co-priest and I spent Ostara with the Cascadia Protogrove in Seattle. They couldn’t have been lovelier if they tried, seriously a terrific bunch of people and very gracious. We are talking about inviting them up to the island for a ritual at some point, but as it stands right now, Co-priest is going to Trout Lake Abbey for Beltane, and as much as I would LOVE to go, right now I just can’t physically do it. Instead, I am staying home and doing my first solitary High Day ritual. I am a little worried about our Midsummer ritual, since we will all be in France until June 3rd. I really want to make it something special, but I am so bogged down with school and extra projects and travel.

My ADF reading? Nonexistent the last few weeks. I did appropriate my husband’s Nook eReader (gods I hate those things) to take with me to France. It makes reading all the out of print and PDF stuff that much easier. My meditation and daily devotionals are a complete scattered mess right now. I am trying to prioritize orthodoxy vs orthopraxy (which is a post I am STILL working on) and decide if it is more important I light the candles and offer the wine when I am physically taxed or more important that I do something purposeful with my time that I consider to be an act in service to the gods. If I approach preparing a meal for others in the spirit of hospitality, or infuse my academic studies with my spiritual goals, is that not more important? Reconstructionism isn’t just a belief, it is a way of life. While I feel like a bit of a failure for not having the stamina to do everything, maybe focusing on the things I can manifest in the real world are more important.

“Bald wehen uns des Frühlings Lüfte” (it’s the first song in this mix)

The Vacation That Wasn’t

So yeah, my vacation? Not so vacationy. I have spent the last week doing nothing but housework, errands, laundry, having house guests, visiting family, cooking for large groups of people and all manner of other tasks. I need a vacation from my vacation, and classes start tomorrow. However, in the news of AWESOME, my Paramour is moving to a house just across the water! He will be within walking distance of the ferry, and can actually see my house from his back deck. Not only that, but he’s letting me and my best friend decorate it for him (he said, “You guys can decorate the house, I’ll just give you my credit card and can you do whatever you want” and I had what I have dubbed a “decorgasm” in that moment). I am working on a whole “mid-century modern space age swinging bachelor pad” look (the house is gorgeous and was built in the late 60s, and his furniture is all Scandinavian mid-century design). While he was staying here this weekend, he finally had a chance to really bond with my husband, which was actually really cute. They played video games and talked in “southernisms” that no one else understood (one is from Memphis, the other is from North Carolina), went shopping for appliances. It’s good for my husband to have a straight male playmate, because as much as he loves our gay boys, sometimes he just needs to do “guy” things, like talk about boobs and scratch themselves, or whatever straight guys do.

I have 5 posts that actually pertain to Paganism (you know, the actual point to this blog) in draft form, but I haven’t had time to finish a single one. I haven’t bailed yet! Honest!

Beethoven and Bauhaus

Thursday night was the symphony, which was just wonderful. It opened with Mozart’s overture from Don Giovanni. Not my favorite piece in his repertoire, but lovely and well executed. Next was Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony. Bleah. Not a fan. I have a few pieces by him, he’s always been extremely hit and miss for me, and almost always a miss. It’s just noodling to me, and I hate noodling. Virtuosity for its own sake bores me. The last piece was Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which was absolutely transcendent. Best of all, I got to watch my Paramour listen to it, in all his composerly glory. Sigh. Speaking of dashing men, WMFH looked quite handsome and stylish in his vest and pocket watch. It’s always nice to see a man who can rock anachronistic fashion without looking cartoonish. It suits him well. Speaking of anachronisms, I was working a long, black Regency style dress, with my 6ft strand of pearls and a teal blue butterfly wrap. I think I looked pretty fly, however the only photo of me that turned out was taken at the last minute in the ladies room and I looked about as drunk as I was (I had one too many Cosmos with dinner. Oops). I had this fabulous Audrey Hepburn moment as my Paramour escorted me down the long staircase of the concert hall on his arm, both of us giggling and racing to get home and fall into each others arms. Of course, as we were leaving WMFH was asking if I was headed back from the big city to our bucolic neck of the woods (100 miles away), and I had to tell him I was staying at the Paramour’s house. That’s an awkward conversation, seeing as he knows I am married. I don’t want to be TMI, but at the same time I don’t want him thinking I am just randomly stepping out on my husband. I’d rather he thought I was a slut than bad wife. I am trying to figure out how I could casually explain the situation to him without it getting weird. Not that ultimately I owe him an explanation.
Me at the Symphony
Because nothing says “classy” like a drunken self-portrait taken in the Benaroya Hall ladies room during intermission. And, yes, I am standing up, not using the facilities.

Paramour at the symphony
I was teasing him about being my cicisbeo.

I spent the next day drunk from noon on, because he’s a bad influence and we are like a middle-aged Sid and Nancy. Cruising around Seattle with my Paramour, listening to 80s dance and goth music at top volume, and shopping for used books and records was the most fun I have had in years. It was one of those “born-again teenager” moments that is a bittersweet mixture of nostalgic and pathetic you only have when you are in your 40s. It was a sunny Friday afternoon, we had Siouxie and Ultravox on the radio, we had nowhere to go but where the wind carried us, we were in a state of obsessive infatuation, and we had the big city at our disposal for the rest of the day. We ended up later that night, drunk on the pier, waiting for the ferry, doing impersonations of Paul Lynde, singing New Order songs at the top of our lungs and waxing poetic about how young, goth, and beautiful we once were whilst intermittently manhandling each other in a fit of uncontrolled passion. Publicly not my best moment, but we were having a blast, and sometimes you just gotta say “fuck it”. Also, I learned that drinking and shopping don’t mix. I bought a book of post-war German poetry, a German-English dictionary, and for reasons I can’t quite fathom a Lawrence Welk album and an autographed album by Cleo Laine, who, to the best of my knowledge, only existed on The Muppet Show.

All in all, it was a heady, frolicsome, romantic, passionate, decadent, wonderful couple of days. France is not ready for us. School is out for the next week and a half, I need some rest for a few days, then it’s back to blogging etc.

Mozart’s Overture from Don Giovanni

Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

Cleo Laine – He Was Beautiful (seemed appropriate…)

New Order – Age of Consent (the song we were singing at the pier)

Paul Lynde – The Best of Bewitched

Wild Men

Yesterday was the end of class for this quarter. Finals have been taken, papers have been written, everything has been handed in. Today I drive to my Paramour’s island and we will go to the symphony for Beethoven’s 5th (extra credit for the music class). WMFH will be there as well, so it should be an interesting evening. I am going to take the weekend off to catch my breath, but I plan of returning to blogging next week. In the meantime, enjoy this link:

Europe’s Wild Men: They become bears, stags, and devils. They evoke death but bestow fertile life. They live in the modern era, but they summon old traditions.

Leaving Eden

As I sit here, on a beautiful, sunny Pacific Northwest afternoon waiting for a ferry to take me from my Paramour’s island to the mainland, I think about how lucky I am. Sure, the first 30 years of my life were fraught with drama and strife, but in the last 10 or 15 years things have finally started coming together. I attribute some if this to having a deeper understanding of both myself and my spirituality. Sometimes I think people believe that prayer is like a karmic pez dispenser: insert prayer, out pops your hearts desire. When they don’t get what they want or something negative happens, they throw up their hands and decide the entire system is a sham.

I am a huge fan fan if Doctor Who. There was recently and episode where the Doctor meets his Tardis in human form. He complains to her that she was faulty in performing her duties. “You never took me where I wanted to go!”, he cried. “But I always took you where you needed to go.”, she replied. Whether or not you see the gods as being interventionists, or if you believe it is all just dumb luck, life has a way of handing you things as you need them, not as you want them. Sometimes, if you are very lucky, those moments happen at the same time.

So, as I sit here in the sun, waiting for a ship to take me from my Paramour’s island to the mainland, where I will take another ship from the mainland back to my husband, I think how very lucky I am at this moment to have both what I want and what I need. I can only hope to do right by both of these wonderful men in my life.

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The Interruption Continues

This month is shaping up to be a busy one. I have to drive the 102 miles to Seattle every weekend this month, on top of it being the last 3 weeks of school. Tomorrow I head south for a neurologist appointment, then spend the night with my Paramour (*le sigh*… but more on that later), next weekend Co-Priest and I are going to the Cascadia ADF Protogrove to celebrate Ostara. It will be nice to see how others do it for a change, since Co-Priest and I have been working in something of a vacuum here. The weekend after that I am attending a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with my Paramour for my music appreciation class.

The BIG news is that my Paramour (with no small assistance from my Best Friend) is taking me to France and Barcelona in May! Best Friend runs these amazing wine tours in the south of France, and I have been trying to figure out a way to go. I get to spend 10 days with my Paramour staying in a 12th century chateau in the south of France in Spring. Not only that, but my Best Friend, Co-Priest, and several other close friends will be there as well. Seriously, how completely blessed can I be? I am sad that Husband wasn’t interested in going, he is completely disenchanted with travel and doesn’t understand why he should leave the house when all of his stuff is here anyway.

Chateau d'Aragon
This is where we will be staying, Chateau d’Aragon.

Carcassonne
This is the nearest city, Carcassonne.

So now I am slammed with local travel and planning for global travel. Travel with MS requires HUGE amounts of planning. I need doctor’s notes, equipment, and medications. I need to plan for problems with security, figure out the best strategies for expending my energy… not to mention I will be sharing a bathroom with 3 boys when I get there. AND to top of the insanity, I will be coming back to the last week or so of school. THEN we have our grove’s Shakespearean Midsummer rite. So I apologize, the dry spell here will probably be ongoing for a while.

This is the only clip I could find of this Ab Fab episode, but imagine my trip will be a lot like this.

Da Da Da

Last night, the community college I am attending presented an evening of Dadaist, Futurist, and avant garde music, theater, and dance. I am completely in love with where I live, because #1. the local community college presented an evening of Dadaist, Futurist, and avant garde music, theater, and dance for crying out loud. #2. It was sold out. and #3. When WMFH performed John Cage’s ‘ 4’33″ ‘ the audience sat with rapt attention and gave him a standing ovation at the end. They also performed “The First Celestial Adventure of Mr. Antipyrine, Fire Extinguisher” by Tristan Tzara, which was surprisingly well executed by the student actors. By far, the highlights of the evening for me (aside from WMFH’s oddly engaging John Cage cover) were the choir performing “Miniwanka” by R. Murray Schafer and the 2 separate interpretations of Paolo Buzzi’s “3nomio Voci Gorgo Distuzione”, which had to be seen to be believed. WMFH also performed György Ligeti’s “Poème symphonique” which involved 100 metronomes. It was impressive, but a little too short. Somebody at the college really knew their stuff, because I am relatively familiar with the Dadaists (less so with the Futurists) and there were obscure pieces that not only had I never heard of, I can’t even find on “teh interwebs” (I have to write a paper on this for class, much research is needed). All in all, it was a rousing success, and the audience was refreshingly receptive to it.

Miniwanka, performed by someone else. I really wish I could find a copy of the graphical sheet music they projected during the performance. It was beautiful.

György Ligeti’s “Poème symphonique”

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