September 22, 2008

Mabon Celebration

I (and the majority of the Spoons) celebrated Mabon on Friday evening by assisting Amaset at her first Earth Temple ritual. She has been planning the ritual for months and it was very well done! Amaset works primarily with the Egyptian pantheon, so the ritual focused on Ma’at and her scales of balance. This was my first time attending an Egyptian-based rite, so it was very interesting.

The altar was lovely, all black and gold, with statues of Anubis and Ma’at, a set of amber glass scales and various other ritual items with an Egyptian theme. I wish I had a picture of it to share, but I don’t think a photo would do it justice.

I helped smudge people as they entered sacred space and then helped pass apples out to everyone in circle. We used the apples to cast circle, a very cool idea, I thought. I also called south for the circle casting, not the quarter I usually choose, so that felt a bit different. Anubis and Ma’at were invoked, Amaset talked about the autumn equinox, Ma’at and her relationship to balance and then we did a meditation where we met Ma’at. After the meditation we used information from it to determine what we wanted to attract or banish in our life right now and prepared the appropriate colored candles for burning on the actual equinox. We raised energy and then had cakes and ale (pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and homemade grape juice!) and opened circle.

It was a lovely ritual and well done; I think it was well received by the community. Amaset was given some real positive feedback and at least a couple people were interested in contacting her about more Egyptian ritual in the future.

My candle from the ritual is on my altar and I plan on burning it this evening, along with some sort of simple ritual.

May your life be filled with balance on this fall equinox!

September 16, 2008

Mudding & Laundry

That’s what I have been doing for the past two weekends– mudding the walls downstairs and doing laundry.

I’ve never done mudding before and it is hard work. But I’ve learned a lot about how to do it just by doing it– slapping it on, spreading it out, scraping it down. I’ve learned that corner trowels DON’T work for making nice, neat corners; so I’ve learned how to make corners without ‘em. I’ve learned that when you’re short, mudding requires that you have a variety of at least 2-3 step-stools or ladders handy for reaching high places. I’ve also learned that when your hands are covered in mud from scraping out the bottom of the container, it’s best to just wipe ‘em on your shirt. But the most important thing I’ve learned is that you shouldn’t mud the ceiling with your mouth hanging open. Something could fall in, and it wouldn’t be very tasty.

And while I’ve been doing all this learning with mud, I’ve been doing laundry at the same time. Laundry, AT HOME! Hallelujah! At long last! It’s only been FOUR MONTHS since I’ve had the privilege. There were a couple of times where I thought I was going to be able to do laundry at home, only to be appalled by water back-up when the washer drained between cycles. So, here comes the plumber, YET AGAIN, (”I’m getting to know your place like the back of my hand,” he says) and we determine that construction debris and some roots from the tree in the front yard are clogging our line, which he cleans out so thoroughly that he gives us a one-year warranty on the work. And just for good measure, he caps off the toilet access in the downstairs bathroom for now, until we can get the stool put back in, and he has us “shock” our sewer line with copper sulfate something-or-other to kill off any remaining roots. And NOW, finally, I can do laundry at home! Which is good, because it was reaching critical mass.

So, as of this past weekend, we have achieved our 3rd (and hopefully, last) coat of mud on the walls, and all my laundry is caught up. We celebrated on Sunday by having our traditional Sunday bagel breakfast, followed by a trip to the bookstore, which we haven’t done in ages.

Next up: sanding the walls, most likely.

September 5, 2008

Tarot for 2008~ 9th Moon

Only a week into the moon’s cycle, but this moon’s card, the 10 of Pentacles, is already quite fitting:

Keywords/phrases from TP&S: material abundance, family support, tradition, comfort, financial security, family matters, salary increase, concern about parent, inheritance, major life transitions

I think all the basement work and help from the in-laws is directly related to this card, wouldn’t you say?

Tarot: Your Everyday Guide explores the family connection in this way:

If you need help with a matter in question, whether emotional, financial or otherwise, this card advises looking to your family and extended family network for help It implies that your family has the resources you need. Think about how you can later add something to your family’s resources by way of repayment.

Also mentioned is “kin-keeping”– ways of staying in touch with family and keeping the lines of communication open, as well as honoring family traditions. It is interesting that the book brings this up, as MIL told us the only repayment she wanted for helping with the basement was for us to remember their birthdays and anniversary with a call or card– something the book specifically mentions in relation to the 10 of Pentacles!

September 2, 2008

Last Thursday vs. Today

Firehand’s parents were here for five days helping us put up drywall, mud and tape down in the basement. We actually have rooms again! Here are some pictures to compare and contrast, starting with the family room before:

And after…

Bathroom walls and framed-in shower with new shower pan before…

And after (below)… Installing the shower has been a bit tricky because of the window in the way, which is why it’s not quite finished being walled in yet. The contractor had to frame the shower stall around the window. The minus side to this is that there is a shelf in the shower stall, to the right, below the window. The plus side is that Firehand did an excellent job creating a slight slope to the shelf so that it will drain and not collect water. Because the slope is so slight, the shelf will still be handy to use for holding soap and shampoo bottles.

Also, we now have a little bathroom storage space, where before, when there was a tub/shower, there was none. MIL suggested installing shelves that slide in and out, since the space is narrow and deep, to maximize use of the space. I think it’s a great idea and we’re going to look into how to accomplish this once we get that far along in the building process.

Here we are with the laundry room before (looking through into the bathroom in the first picture)…

And after drywall installation… You may notice that we only did the mud and taping halfway down the wall; that’s because we have another idea for the lower half of the wall, more pics later when that project is completed.

And last, but absolutely not least, our shiny new support post, right where its supposed to be, holding up the house:

And here it is again, hidden in the new walls of the guest room (to the left of the doorway):

Now we just have to mud everything at least 2 more times, sand, prime, texture and paint! And then new carpet, new baseboards, new doors framed and hung, vinyl in the laundry room and bathroom, tile the shower stall, get a new sink and vanity cabinet installed, install the toilet again, install a shower door, finished the new bathroom storage space… yeah, its gonna be a while… and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things that need done, too…

But we made excellent progress! It’s beginning to look ever so much better!