rowanf: (crown)
Sunday there wasn't really much happening since we had finished grand council. Don, Anna & I ate breakfast and then headed over to the vendors. I got a copy of Bryan Lankford's new book, Wicca Demystified to read on the plane since I was finished with the novel I was reading. I've read about a 1/3 of the book. It is meant to answer questions friends and many might have about the beliefs and practices of Wicca. Other than the fact that he is a "ground of all being" theologist I am very impressed with the book. It is laid out in chapters with a set of Q&A that go with each chapter. Since all the Q&A is in the back of the book one can just read the chapters or straight through the Q&A without bothering with the chapters. I think the Q&A format will particularly help folks who just want small doses of thoughtful information in response to questions they may have had about a Wiccan friend's path.

I went back and packed and D&A caught their shuttle. We didn't have to be out of the rooms until 11am so I hung out listening to music and playing Snood until then. Evidently the closing ritual which was in the schedule for noon was moved forward because it was over when I wandered to the patio at 11:30. *sigh* I said goodbye to folks and the place pretty well cleared out. I had a nice lunch with Scott & Shara & Michaela (who has grown a lot!) and Ina. Then they left and I sat in the lobby waiting for the shuttle. They forgot me (despite having called to remind them) so they sent a shuttle to pick me up and carry me to the airport all by myself. My shuttle out was packed, so I can't say that I minded. The driver was chatty and we had a nice trip. His family is in Louisiana and he was a bit worried about them. I hope they came through Hurrican Katrina okay. At the airport I wandered through the sthops and then sat down at the gate. The folks next to me came up and started eating pizza. I thought that looked good and we had 45 minutes until boarding so I wandered over and got a slice. I ran into Glenn sitting in the table area and we visited until I had to run for my plane. She was flying into Oakland and had a direct flight. Her plane didn't leave until 7:30, mine at 6pm. And she was getting home an hour before me. *shakes head* I may have to consider flying out of Oakland sometimes. I just hate not really being home at the end of a flight.

Changing planes in Phoenix it was so hot in the jet way (as it had been on the way out) and I commented on it. Someone in line said it was 108 out. Yee-ouch. No thanks! The flight was quite uneventful and I dozed a little on the Phoenix to SJC leg. Having gottten less than 4 hours sleep the night before made it easy. Russell picked me up at the airport and it was such a blessing to be home.

This evening [ profile] sbisson and [ profile] marypcb will be coming to stay for a couple of days. *happy dance* How fun that they come here so close to when we'll be there.
rowanf: (crown)
After breakfast we were back in Grand Council. Despite my fears of last night we got through the entire agenda very expeditiously. Amazingly we had two offices which were not only contested but the vote tied! I'm sure that is a CoG first. We decided MerryMeet locations for the next two years (beyond next year which we already knew as we usually do). Next year is in Ft. Lauderdale, the 2007 will be in Amherst, MA and the year after that in Southern California. I was hoping 2007 would be in SoCal (avoiding east coast trips two years in a row) but the Amherst venue does sound very good and the 2nd officer involved is very interested in Interfaith and has some ideas for making that a theme of the Leadership Institute. I talked to Rayna about the dance at the MM in Florida and she's going to put me in touch with the DJ who is going to be doing it. Maybe I can finally get actual meaningful Pagan music into the mix. Looking at my iBook which less music than my work machine I have 10 hours of Pagan rock and 12 hours of folk. Granted not every song is great... but surely I could do a 1-1/2 hour mix CD set that would be fun to dance to. *bounce*

At lunch I ate a hamburger in the restaurant because it was chicken again and the sides were black beans and rice which I really didn't want to eat before sitting in a room with people all afternoon. Even if we all ate the same thing. *laugh* The hamburger was wonderful. The Blue Heron Restaurant is really quite good from all the reports I've heard.
before sitting in a room with people all afternoon. Even if we all ate the same thing. *laugh* The hamburger was wonderful. The Blue Heron Restaurant is really quite good from all the reports I've heard.

During the afternoon we managed to get through all of the outstanding issues, elections and budget as well. The officers for next year will be:

First Officer – Kathryn
Second Officer – Bridget
Correspondence – Bryan
Membership – Stachia
Publications – Daryl
PIO West – Lisa and Yvonne
PIO Central – Janine
PIO East – Cynthia
Pursewarden – Scott
Recorder – Gordon

Plus we chose MerryMeet sites for the next three years (instead of just two). The next two are on the East Coast which is a bit of a bummer of those of us in California. It would have been nice to reverse the 2007 and 2008 sites.

MM 2006 – Ft. Lauderdale, EMLC (Bridget)
MM 2007 – University of MA Campus, Weavers (Laura)
MM 2008 – Southern California, TLC and OCLC (Jeff and Yvonne)

We adjourned and vacated the room so the staff could set up for the banquet. I sat at a table with a bunch of folks from EMLC and chatted mostly about plans for next year's MerryMeet. I am looking forward to visiting Ft. Lauderdale and doing ritual on the beach. And touring botanicas. And eating Cuban food. I haven't been to South Florida in a couple of decades, it will be interesting to see how it has grown. I had worried that we'd have chicken on the menu, but it was a lovely salmon with rice and veg followed by a truly decadent chocolate cake. The catering at this MerryMeet has been very, very good.

I went back and changed into clothes for the Tea Dance. Rayna pointed out later I chose the same dress as last year. How embarrassing. Nevertheless, I started out with a couple of layers - sparkly club dress under blue slip dress with sparkly red jacket on top. I did my lips with red fairy dust (several people asked me to provide red lip marks which I did... I like leaving sparkles!). Folks were hanging out on the patio with a no-host bar. I had brought up a $1 diet coke from the machine since it was about twice as much as the glasses they sell for $1.50.

There was a concert by a local coven called Crowomyn who sing together. Wow. I love acapella singing done well. They had original chants and tunes, Sweet Honey in the Rock covers and some delightful filks. Among the latter was a filk on The Lion Sleeps Tonight called The Witches Dance Tonight with a chorus that went A-Wiccan Way, A Wicca-Way which got the whole audience singing. Crowomyn is planning a CD and put my name on the list to be notified.

The band for the Tea Dance was a local band called Tathata (a Sanskrit word meaning "suchness" or "as it is"). They had great vocals, Middle Eastern rhythms and more. I bought their CD, Vesica. They do an amazing up-tempo version of Barge of Heaven! Everyone was garbed in their finery and it was really fun to dance. Amongst the folks dancing there were some carrying silk fans with long tails. Wow, I want some! I have googled for all kinds of things without finding them though. I see ones with a small fringe like these But the ones they had had about 2-3 ft trains. Does anyone know where they might be found?

Rayna and I danced together, continuing our flirtation from last year. I had a wonderful time chatting and dancing. We stayed until the last raffle prize was awarded and then wandered back to drop things off at our rooms and head for the hot tubs. I stayed up in the tubs with Rayna, Jeff, Elvis, Kirk and others talking about a wide range of topics from Wicca to Santeria to morphogenic fields to Foucault's Pendulum and Godel, Escher, Bach. It was wonderful! I didn't get to bed until around 2:30.
rowanf: (crown)
After breakfast came the opening ritual where we charged a wonderful metal web symbolizing the "Web of Wonder" theme of the meet. After check-in Joi led a heart circle that lastet the rest of the morning. Lunch was chicken, green beans and salad so I had the latter two items for lunch. It was probably good for me. *grin* After lunch I went to a workshop with Oz on Working with Spirits. Part of the workshop was a guided meditation to find your spirit guide. I talked to a Cabocla Vielha who said she was a path of Oxossi but not my spirit guide. I asked her to take me to my Guide but instead she accompanied me back to my "safe space" and we hardly got to talk before the journey was over. I get the feeling I'm supposed to talk to her more. Perhaps she is the Wise Old One that Exu told me to talk to awhile back instead of the Cigana Vielha.

Naturally, they got to the interfaith report before I got back. After such a slow morning the report part evidently went pretty quick. Oh well. I needed to do that workshop. I got back in time for a few other reports and then candidate statements. Compared to the hard stuff on the agenda I am not sure we got a lot done. *sigh* Rayna had borrowed Baldr's van and took Canu, Don, Anna, Elvis and me into Santa Fe to a great restaurant called La Chosa where we had wonderful New Mexican food and great conversation. We went down to old Santa Fe and walked around the square after dinner and then came back to Sunrise Springs. We had missed the evening ritual and D&A and I thought about looking for the bardic circle but were just feeling kind of hammered and went to our room to read. Sometime later we were joined by Rayna, Elvis and Jeff and talked about the proposed bylaws amendments for awhile. Like NCLC they are against lifting term limits. I hope that is the general feeling! Eventually we got to sleep but it was a fairly broken sleep with folks talking loudly at 4am and other disturbances.
rowanf: (crown)
After work on Wednesday, [ profile] mr_kurt dropped me at the airport and I flew to Albuquerque without difficulty... most unlike my attempted flight in January. I still intend to avoid America West but I must say this was just a normal flight.

I took a taxi to Wendy's house and we sat up talking for awhile before I went to sleep in "the Pirate's Cove" which is Wendy's daughter's room featuring pirate flags for curtains. It was totally cool! Who knew flags would make such good curtains. *laugh* There was a spiral of holiday lights on the ceiling but I didn't turn them on. I imagine they'd light up the flags and be really cool. A great room for a teenager! Much cooler than I ever had.

Wendy cooked a great omelette for breakfast featuring various things - tomatoes, basil, chives - from her garden. We had a lovely visit and I'm really glad that the MM folks were confused about my reservations such that I had a chance to stay over. I hope to have more hangout time when I'm back for Balloon Fiesta.

Then I caught a shuttle out to Sunrise Springs. I arrived about 11am and decided not to go to the last bit of morning session of the leadership institute but to check out my room and get settled. There was no sign of the promised "roll away" and I headed back to registration and requested it. Luckily they were out and had to put a real twin bed into our room. It is hard as a rock but at least doesn't have metal edges and wire underpinnings like most roll aways.

Then it was time for lunch. The food was lovely - tilapia, salad, grilled veggies and a lovely mixed berry cold soup. Yum! I connected with various friends and asked Scott if I could crash the afternoon part of Ardantane's LI program. It was on communication, always a good topic. Evidently the morning had been more experiential; the afternoon was mostly discussion of principles. It was very well thought out, having elements of NVC and other similar techniques but cast into a Pagan context. I'm looking forward to finding time to read all the handouts!

At the end of the day I was getting a terrible headache and went back to the room to take meds and close my eyes. About then Elvis showed up saying they had assigned him and Jeff to the room too. I said, nope, I'm expecting Don & Anna and I have a headache. He left his luggage and went off to sort things out. D&A arrived soon thereafter and Elvis & Jeff were settled elsewhere. Luckily the meds had started working because there was no rest to be had.

I dressed and headed over to Gail & Rick's handfasting. It was truly lovely, very Celtic traditional with pipers, the exchanging of the tartan sash, etc. along with many Wiccan elements. Kathryn & Daryl officiated with the help of the whole CoG Board as Elemental Guardians and Sylvia as Guide. The bride's gown was truly stunning, one of those with a corset top and a traditional skirt with train. It has maroon embroidery and marooon corset ties at side and back that set off beautifully the white satin. Yum!

There was a reception afterward at the terrace below the restaurant with hors d'oevres and cakes (white, chocolate and cheese). And wine and beer which I couldn't drink because of the lamisil. Diet coke was $1.50 for a small glass. *pout* I guess it is a good thing to notice how often I drink wine in my normal life but three months of being a teetotaler is going to be quite wearing. It just occurred to me as I write this that it means I can't drink cider whilst I'm in England. *wah*

After the reception Rayna & Canu and I wandered over their room to pick up an Ogum tool necklace and bracelet Rayna brought me from a Miami botanica. They are very cool. The most defined tool on each of them is a bow and arrow like Oxossi carries. I may have to take one for him. Ogum may make it but it is Oxossi's symbol. Then on to Baldr's casita where there was much tasting of Absinthe and Damiana liquer. I didn't mind skipping that as much. *grin* There were shot sof the hurricane in south Florida on the news and it was going right over Rayna & Canu's home. Their kids were with the folks and they have been getting periodic updates. Their house is fine, the kids are a bit freaked and there is no electricity but it is basically okay. Scary though to be so far away! After a good bit of visiting, D&A and I headed off to bed.

May 2015



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