Tuesday, November 8, 2011

and sometimes, it is my nature to complain.

Today, I should have cleaned up the gardens to prep them for sleeping though the winter, but I didn't.

They've broken my heart these last two summers, and even though I know I will return to them and care for them, plant them and weed them, croon at them and hope over them; I'm just not ready yet. Two years ago, I found out that I was top listed in the salad bar section of the Zagats guide for deer and groundhogs. I think we salvaged a single tomato for the humans.

This year, I only had one garden to plant (the second one had been taken out of commission, the idea being that DH was going to dig it up, shore up the sides and put in better fence posts...) and I did figure out a way to discourage the critters who so abused my hospitality. So I laid the soaker hose, planted, weeded, and watered. June and July of this year were among the hottest I can remember. The gardens and I were very glad of the huge rain barrels that DH had built. During those months, I pretty much had a continuous drip of water going into the garden bed to keep the plants from drying up and dying in the heat.

It was an OK spring for the salad greens and peas. And the tomatoes did like the heat, especially since I kept the water flowing. And then we got to August, and it rained. I'm not sure what it was like in other parts of the country, but August 2011 was the rainiest single month in my county since written records were kept. September brought us a hurricane and more weeks of rain. (we have lived in this house since 1986, and this summer was the first time that we had ever gotten water in our basement.) If I had a stop motion camera, I'm sure I could have gotten some remarkable pictures of exploding tomatoes. Of course, the topper to all of this was our 16 inches of heavy snow right before Halloween that toppled our apple tree. So, currently I am somewhat broken in spirit regarding the gardens and the planting.

Perhaps coincidentally (or not) during the same time period, I have been trying to learn some material. I'd really like to be done with it, I feel stuck. Several times now, I think I've done it-I'm ready to present what I know and what I've done, so I could move along. But then something intervenes, and I don't. Sometimes, it's my doing, sometimes it is someone else, and sometimes, well, nature and seasons and events get in the way. And then, it feels as if I am starting all over again. Again.

I am always on guard and trying to make sure that I follow through on things, and do what I've told myself (and others) what I've said that I would do. Perhaps it is my flittery Gemini nature that I am on guard against. Maybe it's the responsible older sibling syndrome. I really don't know. But tonight, I will open up my notebooks and start quizzing myself. And tomorrow, weather permitting, maybe I will clean up the gardens.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Social Whirl

Last night, DH and I attended the Witches Moonlight Masquerade Ball. This is an annual event organized by the Bergen Wiccan and Pagan Group, and others, and is a fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Hospital and Four Legs Good, an animal charity that focuses on feral and homeless animals. But, primarily it is just a fun evening.

DH and I are friends with some of the people responsible for this event, but mostly, we were meeting people for the first time (although there was one mutual moment of "what are you doing here?" with a Rennie musician/actor). As I met people, I was really surprised to be told "Oh, I've heard of you!" Really? I admit, it surprised me. I also admit, I have an ego, and it was massaged very nicely.

Even though we are not members of any of the organizing or sponsoring groups, DH and I were asked to take roles in the Samhain ritual that preceded the dinner and dancing. DH was Door Warden, believe me, he can look very intimidating when he wants to, especially with sword in hand!

I was asked to call and hold the West Quarter, a spot where I am happy to be. We weren't able to attend the run-through of the ritual that had been held earlier, and since I am not Wiccan, I was a little concerned about the lack of "stage directions." The HPS reassured me that I should do what was right to me in that Quarter (as long as I stuck to the spoken part of the script, of course), and so I did. That meant that West was done a bit differently from the other directions, but no one and nothing seemed to be bothered by it. I was given a message by one of the Oracles, which, in the way of such things, could be understood in more than one way, depending on whether one of the words was used as a verb or an adjective.

After the Ritual, we partied. There was food and wine and beer at the tables, and a cash bar not too far away. We had an excellent DJ and a large dance floor. For the most part, we were in costume, and there were even some masks at the masquerade. (I wore one last year, but found that it got in the way of the dancing, eating, drinking, schmoozing...) I even came in second in the costume contest, wearing one of my younger daughters kimono.

Many, many baskets had been donated for the Tricky Tray portion of the evening fundraising, and two paintings had been donated for a Silent Auction, including one by Devyn Barat that I really wouldn't have minded taking home with me, except even the minimum first bid was a bit rich for me. I was glad to see that others weren't so constrained.
All in all, it was a good time for a good pair of causes. I am already looking forward to next year's event.