Barefoot

Hey there!

“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” Have you heard that quote?

I always forget just how true it is.

March is almost halfway over, and soon it will be April and time again for the Ramps and Rails festival. Where did the time go?

The weather has been beautiful this week, and yesterday I spent my entire lunch hour with my shoes kicked off, lying on the patio at work, soaking in the sun and the warm breeze. I’m sure the people on the 3rd floor were laughing at me.

It seems like every year when I crawl out of my winter hole of sweaters and fuzzy socks, I resolve to do more in the coming months. Start running again, go hiking, travel. Go to more festivals, see people, do more things, but all that ever seems to actually happen is life.

Things come up, and Saturdays get filled. I think this year I’m going to try to do just one outdoor thing and count anything else as a bonus.

I’m going to try to read on my porch. Detach from my phone a bit more and just sit and enjoy new worlds while being surrounded by birds chirping and a breeze.

There are few things as peaceful that I enjoy as much.

What’s something you miss doing that you want to find more time for? Let me know!

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Spring?

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My mother gave me a picture a while back to keep on my desk and help beat off the winter blues. It shows a few green tips popping up from the snow-covered ground. At the top of the page, it says, “Winter always turns to spring.”

It feels like it’s almost starting to happen. It’s still cold, but there are a few warm days thrown in among the cold. There’s almost a hint of warmth underneath the breeze, and I’m itching for back porch sitting and bbqs with friends.

What are you most looking forward to about spring? What’s the one outdoor thing you can’t wait for?

Lore

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I’ve mentioned here before that most of my days I listen to a podcast at work. I figure, I may as well be learning something while I’m putting in my hours. Usually those podcasts are entrepreneurial in nature, discussing marketing strategies and changing social landscapes. However, sometimes I have to take a break from ingesting only marketing podcasts.

My favorite podcast to listen to during these breaks is one called Lore. It’s written by Aaron Mahnke, has a phenominal soundtrack, and it shares spooky folklore stories from around the world.

A few of those stories have centered around some of my favorite creepy places and tales in my dear West Virginia. They are done without being incredibly negative or harmful to the Mountain State, so that always makes me prone to love something.

Listening to Lore is almost the equivalent of sitting around a campfire and hearing ghost tales. It’s slightly spooky and just creepy enough to make you a tad nervous, but it is so well researched, I almost always find myself googling stories or places to learn just a bit more.

If you’re like me and love a good myth or legend with a creepy twist, you should absolutely check out Lore. It’s also an Amazon TV show and a book series. Aaron Mahnke also produces two other podcasts with a similar vibe that I haven’t gotten a chance to check out yet, but I’m excited to listen to those as well.

What’s your favorite distraction podcast? Let me know so I can check it out!

Dream Weaver

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Do you ever have a dream so realistic it sticks with you after you wake up? Like somehow bits of it clung to you as you made your way back to reality and haven’t quite faded away yet – just lingering around you making you question if you’re really awake?

I get dreams like that from time to time, and it always throws me off.

Dream worlds can be absolutely amazing or terrifying. When I have a hyper-realistic dream, it tends to be more of a nightmare. They are never the wake-up screaming type, but definitely the wake up with a cold sweat and adrenaline rushing type.

Now, this doesn’t happen often (anymore), but when I was in high school I would often have dreams that were so detailed and frightening that if I could’ve plugged a USB cord into my brain and downloaded them they could’ve been sent straight to the big screen as a horror film.

Often the subject of my dreams would be friends or family and some strangers cast into some type of life-threatening situation from which I had to save them, andway too many times that danger was Zombies. I would constantly find myself walking into the path of danger to help someone else avoid it, and if I died (which I know you’re not supposed to be able to do in dreams, but, hey, my mind is weird), I’d pop back up in a new location and continue on.

I have spent a lot of time reading into interpretations of dreams, and it’s interesting how many people have the same dreams or who have similar dreams. Enough that folklore has assigned meanings to situations and figures that occur in our dreams in order to help us make sense of what our sleeping brains may be trying to tell our waking selves.

Thankfully, those scary dreams have become less of a nightly occurrence for me now and are more or less limited to stressful periods in my life, weird food combinations, or a full moon, but every now and again I still get a real doozy of a dream.

What type of dreams do you often have? Do you dream in color or black and white? Are you yourself when you dream or someone else? Share your dream world with me in the comments!

Umbrella Academy

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Considering how far behind the Fellow and I are on all of the superhero movies out there, you’d never guess that we actually enjoy a good comic book movie.

We hadn’t been watching many things together lately. It’s hard to find something that we both want to watch. I’m not a fan of straight out space movies, and he doesn’t like British dramas or crime shows. But we do have good luck on most Netflix Originals.

That is why I was SO excited to see The Umbrella Academy pop up on the “Recommended for You” tab.

The Umbrella Academy follows the stories of 7 children who are adopted by an eccentric billionaire and raised in his private academy where he trains them in their “powers.” Now that they are adults they have to overcome things from their childhoods, stop the oncoming apocalypse, and save the world.

I love the diversity of the characters, and the actors really do an amazing job (especially Klaus). I will say it’s a tiny bit predictable, but as with most superhero stories, you don’t really need to be surprised by the identity of the villains. You just have to know that the hero will defeat them.

One fun thing to watch out for is the show’s logo during the opening scenes. Maybe I have a soft spot for umbrella imagery after Gilmore Girls, but I LOVE the little surprise each episode. I won’t say more. You’ll have to check it out for yourself!


Our Deepest Fear

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February is Black History Month, and I’ve been active in its activities at work. During our rehearsals, I’ve gotten the opportunity to hear a reading of Marianne Williamson’s poem, “Our Deepest Fear.” Somehow this is the first time I’ve heard this beautiful piece. I think this is something we all need to hear, so I decided to share it with you.

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking,

So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest

The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,

We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we’re liberated from our own fear,

Our presence automatically liberates others.

What is your favorite inspirational poem or quote? Let me know!

Making Glass Beads

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Whew! Winter is still going strong. I was wondering if we were going to get another good snow-in before moving towards spring, and it looks like we are.

Thankfully, last weekend there was a brief break in the weather, and we actually ventured out of the house to enjoy it. The Fellow and I went to visit my laurel (the woman I am apprenticed to in the SCA).

Her home is always stocked with the most delicious treats. This time she served us yummy Italian wedding soup and yeast rolls. I brought scones, and we sat, sipped tea, ate, and chatted. It’s always such an enjoyable day when I get to visit awesome, crafty Medieval friends. I love to be able to focus on passion projects and not the real world for a bit. We discussed our current projects, some event plans, and research. I also got to love on her amazing Savannah cats all afternoon. (Seriously, her cat, Layla, is the most lovely kitten ever!)

We also got to check out the work in her studio. She’s been lampworking for a while now and has a pretty nifty little set-up in her garage. If you remember from my Tamarack post, I have an obsession with glass work, so any chance to play with it, I’m all in.

This was my second time making glass beads and the Fellow’s first. I think at some point I’m going to have to invest in a little set-up. You can get started with a pretty basic kit fairly cheap.

Per Wikipedia: “Lampworking is a type of glasswork where a torch or lamp is primarily used to melt the glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movement. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking, as the modern practice no longer uses oil-fueled lamps.”

So you’re basically using a propane torch. Using propane always freaks me out a bit as I remember a particular chemistry class that nearly went very badly. My lab partner wouldn’t listen to me and wouldn’t turn off the gas after not being able to get the lighter to strike more than a few times. She almost blew the lab up!

Anyway, making glass beads this way is pretty easy. You dip a mandrel (a small, stainless steel rod) in a release (basically a slip that breaks off of the rod easily) and bake it onto the mandrel. While keeping the mandrel hot and continually rotating it, you carefully warm up the end of a rod of glass until it starts to melt, then you wrap the melted glass around the mandrel forming a bead. Once you’ve got the desired amount of glass on the mandrel, you set the glass rod aside, continue to rotate the mandrel, and keep the glass in the torch flame to even out the bead.

When you’ve got it where you want it, you pull it out of the flame, wait for the bead to cool to put it into a ceramic fiber blanket, and then let it anneal or drop in temperature slowly to harden.

I was pretty proud of my second attempt! She also gave me some research about existent bead finds from the Viking age, so I could keep my colors in period. I’m hoping to have enough handmade beads for a small strand to hang from my apron dress at Pennsic.

What hobby have you tried that you would like to be more skilled in? Let me know so I can encourage you!


Valentines Day Festivities

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Guys, game changer for next year: Papa John’s and Domino’s both offer Valentine’s Day pizza specials! And they come heart shaped!!

For V-Day this year, I had a cute little surprise for the Fellow all planned out. I bought him a fancy, rocking pizza cutter he’d been wanting and planned to order him the heart-shaped Valentine’s pizza with a note that said, “You’ve got a pizza my heart!”

You know I love me some cheese, and not just on my pizza!

Unfortunately, with Amazon packages coming and going for both of us so frequently, . . . he accidentally opened the pizza cutter and ruined the surprise. But he still loved the gift.

The Fellow got me a Valentine’s gift as well, and he really picked out a neat one – a realistic heart key chain and a single red rose. So sweet!

We rarely get pizza, so it was a real treat to spend a night in snuggled up on the couch, watching a movie, and eating some yummy pizza!

What did you do for Valentine’s Day?

Winter Storm Maya

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Want to know a secret? I haven’t changed my mantle decorations over to Valentine’s Day yet! In fact, I think I’m going to skip it. I’ll switch to St. Patrick’s Day in March.

So right now my mantel is full of glitter-frost covered pine, rustic lanterns, a snowman lamp, and a small painting of snow-covered pine trees. Frankly, with the weather we’re having, I think it’s perfect! We’re toddling between rain and freezing rain with a potential for snow tomorrow.

As scary as it is to drive in, ice-covered trees are one of my favorite things! I’ve been enjoying all of the beautiful winter scenes.

I wandered out for a bit to snap a few pictures I thought I’d share with you.

What are your favorite bits about winter weather? Let me know!