Grey School of Wizardry

Good Morrow to my dear readers!

I have recently embarked on a QUEST.
A quest for knowledge. Oh, I've really always loved school and learning, and the smell of books (especially those that are paperbacks that you used to get in elementary school) sends me into a delirium of delight :)

I have found a very interesting and deep Online school for knowledge. Now, know you, I also am the point person for a credit free online learning school at the college I work for. I have taken online classes and they are great, especially for people with crazy schedules who are self motivated.

But after going through the courses there, I still wanted MORE.

Mayhaps GRIMOIRE :)

As I have stated before, I am eclectic when I come to my spiritual practices which encompass being baptized Catholic (I am now a Recovering Catholic :) and have visited many faiths, learning, absorbing, growing.

As it is possible to do, as the Universe IS a big place and there is SOOOO Much to learn!

I am probably best described as a "Christian-Earthen/Pagan-Spiritual-Hedonistic-Psychic"

Yah, that is probably about right. I pray to ALL the Gods and Goddesses.

Yes, I Love Jesus, his goodly philosophies and all that he (but not necessarily what his followers) represents..
I Love Mary and Mary Magdelene.

I Love Zeus and also Pan, God of Music and Mischief :)

I adore the sensual Goddess Aphrodite,

And Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles is one of my favorites

 I admire and revere Lakshmi and Pele...among others.

 There is something to be learned and gleaned from all of them.

I pray openly with my loved ones, when there is grief, sickness or trials and when there are major trips or decisions to be made. I end most blessings with an Amen and a Blessed Be :) can't hurt. :)


I have found an amazing place for a weird searcher like me to be happy learning for a very long time. I wanted to share it with you ;)

It's the "Grey School of Wizardry". An online learning facility, with ethics, moral standards and TONS of information from Art, Magic, Literature, Science and Philosophy!
I have signed up and paid my tuition and have already started taking classes and I am impressed!

For those of you who are Harry Potter fans, it's a lot like "Hogwarts"

and was set up to be sort of similiar to make learning fun for kids interested in that. It's also for adults and the site is deep enough to really be interesting for the intrepid adventurer!

It was set up by famous Pagan writer and sculptor, Oberon Zell Ravenheart.
(remind you of anyone?)

You can study "Jedi Wizards" to Pathagorean math principles! You can learn about Herbology and Potions (Hermione's major :) to CPR to Reiki. You can learn about Mythical beasts to Folklore. It's all here.

I intend to look around, learn and let you know how it goes. I'm very excited to find a place like this!
While I have been to many circles and shops and clubs, in person, real time...and I have my magical friends too...I LOVE learning and there are all sorts of ways to do just that.

So, in signing out I will leave you with one of the ever changing "Wizardly Quotes of the Day" here:

“Wizards do not meet by chance.” -- Ursula K. LeGuin

If you are interested, surf to:   Grey School of Wizardry

and may your day be filled with Magickal Learning too! :)
Here is their Logo:
Which makes perfect sense :)

The Ankh for "Eternity"
The Pentacle for The Elements
and the Caduceus for Healing and Learning.


Good Morrow! The sun is shining on a very cold day. It is 2 degrees this morning. Yup, count 'em....2.
My life has changed a lot these last few months. And I didn't even do the "Letting Go" spell  sweetly given to me from Cynthia (who warned me that it's a powerful one)....but it seems I have let go of a lot, regardless.

My little home here of Squirrel Haven has seen a LOT of activity since I've moved in... oh... 21 years ago!

I moved in here with my first husband Dave and our two wee girls, Jesse (who was then about 3)

and a newborn Shawna (who was about a year old then).
 I loved and wanted  the place since the first day I saw it, but shortly after I moved here, and was all alone with two small children, I felt really isolated. And trapped. Dave would leave for work in the morning, and I was faced with being in a new community, yet, stuck in the boonies with no transportation and no friends out here.
Well, that was a long time ago.

Since then, much has happened. Therapists came to me for Shawna and her developmental therapies.

Jesse went to school, and Shawna went to school since she was 2 years old to go to Early Education.
I started taking college courses at night when I was 32, to stimulate my mommy brain and feel like a real thinking person again.

But life has a way of changing things and you....

I got my guitar back out (having set on the shelf for too long). I started playing out.
Dave and I decided to call it quits and have remained great friends.

He is a very good dad to his girls and has always been so.I am grateful to have him in my life still.

Wayne came into my life and once arrived, (he came with a duffle bag at first) then gear and sound systems started arriving. I kinda figured we were a thing, cuz I came home from being a pub wench at Sterling Renaissance faire and I found Wayne (Harry later on :) out in the back yard trying to tame the grass that had overgrown. I hadn't asked him to do this. He took it upon himself and well, I thought that was kewl.

He said he wasn't ever gonna get married again. EVER.

But then he proposed the following winter. Ok, he was drunk, but I believed him. :)

I had been having a lot of my guy friends come over to play music with me, Squirrel Haven was always a creative place....and Wayne thought it was great. He hadn't played his guitar in over 20 years since his divorce (she didn't like the way he played) so he put it away. But now he was playing again!

And it felt good. We were smitten with each other and with music. We outgrew our space here with we started organizing open mics in the surrounding communities. Merry Mischief grew out of this. Gigs came flooding in.

Time passed, girls grew, friends came and went....Squirrel Haven has seen a houseful or two in it's day. I raised both my girls here, happily for the most part. They never went to daycare. I was a stay at home mommy, baking bread, raising vegetables and buying organic for many years. I was even a Sunday School teacher for years! :)
They have been great kids. But Jesse got her share of spankings. If you ask her now if she was abused or if she felt they were justly given, she'd say, "Oh, no. I deserved them." She turned out great.She is so funny and smart.
Shawna is now out and about on her own, living in a residential housing with 3 other girls. She loves it. While Dave, Wayne and I (it takes a village) always tried to involve her in our lives, outings, events, Shawna never had the opportunity for a "bosom friend" (like Anne of Green Gables would say). Now she has 3! She is soaking up the friendships and the independance.

My best buddy Talon moved in with us, "temporarily", almost 3 years ago. He needed to shovel out his life and get back on track. We were going to help each other and help him do this. How'ere, about 6 months after he moved in, he was laid off (the day before Thanksgiving. Now, there's something to be thankful for, right?)

And the following month (2008) found us all happily unwrapping Christmas presents and getting interrupted with a phone call that Talon's mother was very bad off in Florida and could he come help get her to Hospice? (read: Merry Christmas everyone). So he left for points south and was with his mother for the entire time of her failing health and subsequent death. Then he was out of work for almost 18 months all together after this. It has been a rough road for him.

He finally found a good job, supervising a cleaning crew of people with disabilities down at the County Court House and Historic Post Office. He is enjoying his work and feels good about his job. He recently was able to get on his feet enough to move in with acquaintances of ours in Auburn, which is very close to his work. We are happy for him.

Wayne and I are now going through our next transition.

The empty nest.

Amazingly, it's feeling pretty good. Yes, it's quiet. Yes, it's different. But good too. Sometimes I don't know what to do with myself, but I am managing to get some of my life in order. Things stay where I put them! My cupboards are staying full and I now have to learn how to cook for 2 people now and not a houseful!

I have been getting my house in order, a bit...working on some of my writings and just trying to BE. I am finding some quiet time to read and practice and otherwise, Wayne and I are bonding back together without much ado. He is enjoying the quiet, but then again, he's a bit of a hermit anyways. Oh, you wouldn't think so, what with his outgoing chatty nature....but Wayne can be very aloof and solitary. He gets lost in his thoughts and in his projects. I have to get used to this again, because I've always had kids or friends around to keep me company...because....even when Wayne is here ...sometimes he isn't know?

While lust and passion have always been my cornerstones in life...I find that lately, my friendships are of upmost importance to me. I am trying to have "Friend Dates" a lot more and treat myself to their company on a more regular basis. This grounds me.We bounce ideas and share dreams, both small and big. We support each other and buoy each other on this ocean of life and change.

I am also grateful for the things I have recently put in place in my life. My Story Book Club and my Creativity Circle have been very fulfilling in many ways to me.

What do I want now?

Oh, I don't know.

I'm a Gemini. I want different things on different days.

More gigs is always good. I love to play and sing. I love making my living by the seat of my pants and making people happy with our music and humor is always delightful. I enjoy traveling with Harry. (Wayne's stage name and the alter ego I love the best. :)

I want to continue getting my life in order. I want to get my eyes done (clear sight will be amazing). I want to get out more into nature. I have recently sent a check to the GreySchool of Wizardry (online school) and look forward to learning some new and interesting subjects.. I am starting a course at my college tonight, a credit free course taught by reknown local spirit healer Janet Ridgeway, in "Animal Communication". This should be very interesting. It's a great opportunity, and I want to avail myself of the knowledge and continue to learn.

While some people may hate studying and dislike going to school, I am not like them. I love to read, I absorb learning and I even wound up Phi Theta Kappa and Suma Cum Laude. I just can't get enough of what I'd like to learn. And the subjects are far flung and eclectic! I don't believe in those that are "perpetual students' and who never work a day in their lives. No. I work. Hard. I am constantly spinning plates of various colors while wearing different hats. :) I believe that knowledge should be APPLIED. In whatever way you can manage it. Knowledge is meant to be shared. I believe in knowledge and in passing it on to others.

The world IS a magical place.

Squirrel Haven is a magical place.

 Oh, it's seen it's chaos. There have been cop cars out here. There may have even been a screaming banshee that looked like Merlyn throwing things out into the yard on occasion and riling the neighbors.

But it was only transitory.
It was only hormonal or more likely brought on by too much whiskey mixed with toads.

I have been a wild woman. I can't deny that.

I've run naked in the back yard.

I've been as snuggly as a toasty puppy in my puppy piles.

I've been as scholarly and philosophical as Merlin the Magician.

I have been as dumb as a blonde.

But throughout....I have always been ME.
I shall continue being ME, for good or for ill.

In a now, very quiet Squirrel Haven.

Hey, anything can happen....

Oh these Pirate Eyes are smilin':)

Sure tis' like a morn in spring!
You can hear Merlyn laughin'
You can hear Merlyn sing!

Aye, I be blind.

But like people that have one sense impaired...the others step up to the plate.

My sense of hearing and my sense of smell are amazing. I can hear a car door outside (before Monty barks :) and I can pick up the damndest scents. As I've told the guys, (like an Indian with his head to the ground measuring the passage of the wagon train) I say..."Aye...the cat pissed RIGHT HERE...2 maybe 3 hours ago"
Or in smelling them when they came home..."hmmm...what was her name? I smell perfume..."
To which they'd quickly cover with..."oh yah, I ran into so and so and she gave me a hug at the Big M"....

But surely I digress :)

Aye, that's right mateys....I do have some GOODLY news!

Well, I wanted to make sure ye was the first to know....

After have been so grand about listening to me belly ache and bemoan my blind bat fate....
and also to those of ye who have set aside money from yer tithing jar and givin' it so freely t' the cause instead of t' the Church and all.....I do thank thee!

and ME, why, I've been savin' up all me Pirate gig money and I've given up drinkin as much and settin' aside whiskey money so as t' add to the Hawk Eye Merlyn Fund (I've recently renamed it from the "Blind Bat Merlyn" Fund as I decided that I wanted to focus on seeing rather than NOT seeing :)

After the last time I wrote ye, and told ye the bad news about my doctor only offerin' his wondrous surgery at the local hospital...and the hospital, they be wantin' an 'arm and a leg to pay for an eye....

and then I did burst into tears and all and try to stab something....and what with Harry being so close by, it were dangerous to live with me.

So I put a message in a bottle, and I did ask anyone I knew who they could recommend for a new situation.
I did have an answer to a Pirate's Prayer.

I got word from another pirate, Val, who showed up at my Storybook Club SANS glasses...she were my commiseratin' friend! She too, had cataracts! But NO MORE!!

I did call her doctor and make a visit with him this day....

and I were afraid to go in there, I was....
afraid that my eyes had gotten worse...
afraid that he would tell me I didn't have enough wherewithal to afford him and his crew....

But walk in there I did.

The news?

Aye, my eyes they be BAD.
On a scale of 1-10 (of 10 being the worst...)...
mine be an 11.

("aye, this one goes to 11, doesn't it? 11 is more than 10.." Nigel Tufnell- Spinal Tap )

So, after I told him my true tale of woe....he bein' a humanitarian type o' doctor that visits Ecuador and Peru and doth give eye care to disadvantaged children ....
he took me in hand, and said, "I don't like how the "system" treats folks without insurance. They actually penalize people who are trying to do the best they can. Did you know that they actually give the insurance company BREAKS on prices while they raise rates for self pays? I don't agree with it. I will help you."

And then he did something miraculous.

He dropped his fee by $600 for me!

And he gave me "samples' of the two different kinds of eye drops I would need for the pre and post operative care. (these drops are $100 a bottle)

I chatted with them, they were informative, helpful and kind.
I had a thorough eye exam which also included a somewhat uncomfortable (READ: "bordering on tortuous") procedure where they "measure" your eyes with an "A-Scan" machine using biometrics. This is where they hold a contact in your eye which is connected to a tool which is motivated with pressure activated by sonogram waves....while shining a bright light in your wide open dialated eyes, for a loooooong 10-20 seconds. All the while you try to hold OPEN BOTH your eyes (so they will get a good reading and not have to do the fecking thing one more time!)

I was hoping waterboarding wasn't next...

but then they said I could go!.

I am scared about the surgery. It has a 95% success rate. Which is great! But they have to mention (as a disclaimer) that there is a 1 in a 100 chance of blindness due to macular detatchment (which is elevated if you are very near I am...) but I said a prayer to the Gods going into this...and I remain their humble pawn in it as well.

And so, March 24th I will have my worst eye (my Pirate Eye) operated on.
Then about 2 weeks later, on April 14th, I will have my right eye done (the lesser Gimpy Eye).
This will be all be done by our Spring Fling Celtic Ceilidh on April 16th.

Where I will be CELEBRATIN'....

(or Weepin')

or just Weepy with drippy eyes that will be seeing shortly.

I am grateful to you all for your support....

and to the Gods for this.

Because if it weren't for the lack of sight....

I probably wouldn't appreciate seeing as much.

Signing off as Blind Bat Merlyn

(Fer Now.... :)

Committments, updates, empty nests, cabin fever.... all lead to Caledonia

Ok, so I suck.
Here will be a list of my shortcomings and successes with total disclosure (as much as I care to) about my volunteered and hopeful life-changing changes I was making.

I have tried to watch what I eat. And some days I’m pretty good and know how many calories that I’ve consumed…..and other days I’m a grazing cow.

Have done pretty good with self care though. Goddess knows I love my hot baths.

Some yoga and well…..hahahahaha on the rest of it.

I have been doing off and on great with the house. The most recent news is that Talon moved on after temporarily living with us for almost 3 years. He’s on his feet now and I actually have a spare guest room. I cleaned and decorated that room with quilts, folk art, lace curtains and some of my doll collections. It’s cute.

Organized my closet, or should I say, I “played in my closet”, as this was more the case. I put my clothes (going from left to right) and from colors (white through rainbow to black) These are good cabin fever activities. Put things together in different combinations. I tend to wear certain things all the time. So about now, I ask myself, “why haven’t I worn this? This is cute” and make a pact with myself to try to wear something I haven’t worn in awhile. You know, shake things up. Hey, when it's cold, dreary, freezing and you are so sick to death of winter, you find things to do to give you hope in better days and better weather...

The writing exercises went in favor of actually writing pieces. The trip blog, poems, blather like this….you know.

I HAVE been keeping my promise to myself of a monthly Chiropractor appointment and also a quarterly massage therapy treatment.

Storybook Club is coming along swimmingly. Have met with other like minded interested individuals to have fun discussing: Hansel & Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Snow Queen, Baba Yaga…and next month will be about Finn McCool for the month of Celtic story and song.

Creativity Circle has been sporadic. It’s sparsely attended, but it makes me set aside creative time for me, and that’s why I’m doing it. If anyone else wants to partake of the pre-booked room and company, they are welcome to it. I have started a 10’X12’ seascape landscape faric backdrop, I’ve done my mending and I got out my watercolors and tried my hand at painting again. I will be booking the library community room for another one for next month (and will try to do this until faire season commences…)

I will be getting out some new music to start learning. 

Songs I’d like to learn are:
The Skye Boat song,  Caledonia, Harvest Moon (Neil Young), Paddle me own Canoe, Beautiful Dreamer.

Songs I’m working on: Cheap Motel, That’s what you get for loving me, Lemon Tree, Mist Covered Mountains of Home among others….

I also have to clean off my desk…but I really need either more coffee or better drugs to get motivated for that chore.

Have been enjoying reading in a quiet house. Current book is "Blackbeard the Pirate: A Reappraisal of His Life and Times". 
I enjoy reading. My eyes aren't the greatest...but I love to read.
People say that they “don’t have time to read”. But it’s not that so much as CHOOSING to read over something else. “I want something mindless to do after work, so I just watch TV” is another one I hear. I don’t watch TV. Oh, at a motel I do…but not at home. We don’t have cable by choice. We have no reception by location.

Looks like I may have found an eye surgeon and surgery center for getting my cataracts done (within reason of a self pay budget, at least) I have an appointment for next Wednesday on switching doctors and starting the process. Who knows? With any luck, I will have "new eyes" by spring!

This is now a new strange stage in my life. Everyone is gone but me, Harry and Monty Joe. For the first time in over 20 years I am here with just one other family member in this house.

My main hope (and fear) is to be able to motivate Harry to find value in the art of organization... so that we can continue to be creative.

I think if we just had staff….
some domestic help, office staff and a production crew…
we’d be amazing.

We just can’t keep up with ourselves, the house, 2 businesses and many hats.

But today, I’m not wearing any hat. Oh, I had on my minstrel hat this morning, when we sang for the folks in assisted living at the VA hospital. It was a "happy, smiling, red is the color" duo of assorted music for a presentation.
There were patients there, so totally out of it. Damaged. Some were aging and old and sleeping, some were coherent but had no short term memory so would continue to ask us to sing, as if we hadn’t, after we were all done. There was a lady there in wheelchair bed that announced she was 97 years old! Well, “96 & ½” as it turned out. Oh there were also the younger vets there who wanted "old rock and roll & country" too, and we did our best for them and mixed it up. I mean, you've never really heard "Locomotive Breath" until you've heard our acoustic version with bodhran :)

Outside it’s a bitter cold day, the wind is howling outside and I can occasionally hear large chunks of ice coming off the roof, which makes Monty bark. I've gotten into lounge clothes as soon as I could after getting home. Navy velours and a big red flannel shirt, cushy slippers, sipping hot tea, listening to harp music from my friends, Jay & Abby (The Harper & The Minstrel).  
The pace is as slow as a long Saturday afternoon should be. 

Talon will be back over for Sunday dinner tomorrow and we will see Shawna over here on Wednesday, I'm having a hopeful "end of winter party" for a houseful next weekend…so.... family and friends come and go and come again…

Caledonia is now playing….making me wish for so much for warmer climes...

"I don't know if you can see
The changes that have come over me
 last few days I've been afraid
That I might drift away
 I've been telling old stories, singing songs
That make me think about where I come from
And that's the reason why I seem
So far away today

Yes and let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me
And now I'm going home
If I should become a stranger
know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything
I've ever had

Now I have moved and I've kept on moving
Proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing
Found others on the way
yes, I have kissed the lads and left them crying
Stolen dreams, yes there's no denying
I have traveled hard with coattails flying
Somewhere in the wind

Yes and  let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me
And now I'm going home
If I should become a stranger
 know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything
I've ever had

Now I'm sitting here before the fire
The empty room, the forest choir
The flames that couldn’t get any higher
They've withered now they've gone
But I'm steady thinking my way is clear
And I know where I will be tomorrow
When the hands are shaken and the kisses flow
Then I will disappear

Yes and let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me
And now I'm going home
If I should become a stranger
know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia's been everything
I've ever had"