Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Weekend in Black and White

Hello, everybody, I hope you all have a great weekend!

Tonight we joined the world again on the Earth Hour. At 8:30pm we turned off the computers, all the house lights, and spent one hour by candle light, having a relaxing time chatting with my mother and my brother (actually trying not to disturb him, since he was having a major migraine, but Lucas wanted to check on him). Some people may say that this simple act will not protect the Earth. I'll quote my Canadian friend Gabrielle, who said exactly what I think about it:

"How can turning our lights off for one hour save the Earth? It can't.... It's symbolism. By participating in Earth Hour, you're saying that you're at least interested in helping save the planet. If after that one hour, you are more conscious of turning off lights and TVs when you're not using them, of being smart and choosing energy saving equipment; and reducing, reusing and recycling whenever you can, then earth hour is successful."

Every year, when we participate in this beautiful event, I'm helping my little witch to understand and be conscious on how important it is - and will increasingly be - to use resources in a wiser way, so it becomes natural for him as he grows up into a responsible adult. His generation is the one that can make a difference in the future, and this it's another way of treating Mother Earth well and showing Her the respect she deserves.

For more beautiful B&W photos, visit the main page.

ABC Wednesday - K is for Kindle

We're back to the ABC meme. This wee the letter is K, and K for me this time is for Kindle.

(me, reading at my little witch's bed while I thought he at the computer - not!)

When I started working at home as a text reviewer and text editor for a publishing house for indies last year, one of the first things my boss did was to give me his Kindle DX, so I could work and train in the process of converting texts into pdf files, and test them into the device. For the book lover here, it was a huge treat. It was already filled with over 4oo ebooks, from technical manuals, to classic authors, to some brand-new books that were only recently launched - Da Boss is also an avid reader, Gods bless him, lol!

I have always been reluctant on using an e-reader. Physical books, as for many people, have always been some kind of sacred objects to me. I always loved holding a book in my hands. The joy at running my fingers over the cover, feeling the different textures and beautiful (or not) art on them. The pleasure of turning the pages and feeling that classic smell only books have. And of course, the excitement of reading the stories at the pace the authors imply, reading under blankets, over breakfast table, on bank lines. One thing I miss is to have my bookshelf again full of my old, cherished books, now patiently waiting in cardboard boxes.

So at first I kept my Kindle aside, not trusting it entirely, and being stupidly stubborn not allowing myself to try it at least once. But as work demanded, I started testing some texts converted from my favorite writing program, Scrivener. It worked well, of course, and I started getting used to feeling the cool surface, the device's weight, its clean appearance.

And I was caught. I started re-reading classics just for the fun of experiencing it, and liked it. I still love actual books much more than ebooks, but I can't deny that they are here to stay. It's a fact that more and more ebooks will be launched, it's a niche that is begging to be explored. I just can't deny it. And after all, what matters is reading.

I still prefer buying a physical book and enjoy it the way I always did. But now I also buy ebooks with no regrets. On my Kindle I'm devouring now The Hunger Games trilogy, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy is just waiting for me after that. As I said, what matters is reading! ;o)

For more cool ABC posts, visit the main page.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Weekend in Black and White

Hello, friends! Hope you all had a terrific week. Here we are for another B&W post.

Today I bring this beautiful samurai warrior my little witch asked me to buy to put it on his pagan altar. He's all black with a silver plastic sword. He represents strenght, courage and focus:

His altar is getting a bit crowded but, because Lucas loves to have all his favorite figures, lovely and special presents from friends and elements' representations there. It's a very boyish altar! :o)

If you want to see more cool B&W photos, visit the main page. Have fun!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

ABC Wednesday - I is for Imagination and J is for Japanese doll

Back to the fun. I missed last week's, but here they are, I & J.

Last wek's letter was I and this stands for Imagination. Like all the boys, my son has plenty if it! He's always exercising his wild imagination by drawing, painting, reading, writing, playing...

"No child should be permitted to grow up without exercise for imagination. It enriches life for him. It makes things wonderful and beautiful." ~ Mark Twain. As usual, Mr. Twain is right. ;o)


This week's letter is J, and it stands for Japanese wooden doll. I had a great-uncle, Benjamin, who was a talented and passionate architect and wrote some books on the subject. But he also loved exercising his imagination by making toys like wooden puzzles and little statues to decorate his house and give them to friends and relatives. One of the decorative dolls he made, back in the 50s, was this cute Japanese doll:

He carved it in oak and carefully painted it with bright colors, placing it on one of his shelves. I remember going to his place and admiring his many creations, and this was one of my favorite ones. Now it is here at my mother's crystal closet, among other family stuff, and Lucas loves taking it in his hands admiring too.

For more cool ABC posts, visit the main page

Monday, March 19, 2012

Saying goodbye to a friend

A couple of days ago, my ex called in the afternoon to talk to Lucas, as he does from time to time. When Lucas asked about his pet Ringo, a very sweet dog that was a mix of stray dog and Weimaraner, my ex told him he had passed away the previous week. At first he didn't sound so sad and kept chatting about other things with his dad, and hung up minutes later. Only then he seemed to realize what happened, and came to my lap with tears in his eyes. My heart sank. Lucas seldom cries, he's the kind of boy who's always smiling and feeling great about himself. Even when upset for any reason, it never lasts long. But he got Ringo as a present when we were living in Minas, in March, 2009, only a few months before we moved back to Petropolis in August of the same year:

They were always together while we lived there, on the two occasions Lucas went to spend vacations at his dad's, Ringo was there to play with him. My little witch was always talking about him and how much he would enjoy meeting his pet again in July, his next school's vacations. Not happening anymore.

It's not easy to say goodbye to a friend, furred or not, even when it lives seven hours away from the owner. I think it was even harder this way, because Lucas couldn't do things the proper way, burying him, and being sure he was well treated in his final time. So I knew I had to do something about it, to at least fill the gap in his heart, and make him feel less helpless. So I told him we could say goodbye here at home, making a little ritual to Artemis over his altar, asking Her to take good care of him. Thank the gods he agreed with that, and decided making it all his own way:

He made a drawing portraying a smiling Ringo and wrote above it, "Be a good dog, Ringo. Your owner, Lucas. I love you.", and also a little pentagram below (heart-breaking to see his cute boyish handwritting). Then he folded the paper and put it into his cauldron, asking me to pour some alcohol so I could burn it later for him.

I poured some milk and honey in his chalice as an offering to Artemis, and he took one of my white candles to carve Ringo's name on it.

Then I lit the candle and burnt the paper in the cauldron. He asked me to let him pray for the goddess by himself, and I respected it, leaving him alone while he opened the circle on his favorite way (reciting while moving his wand deosil, "by the power of Earth, by the lightness of Air, by the warmth of Fire and the purity of Water"). He took long minutes in front of his altar, and then, with tears wetting his face, he allowed me to return and take a couple of photos of the burning candle and cauldron.

He had seen the Rainbow Bridge site when my friend Vaith talked abou tit, and asked me if he could create a virtual pet memorial, and of course I said yes. I couldn't afford to make it on te RB site, so we made a quick research and he found a simple free site where he posted his dog's photo, and wrote a goodbye line. Somehow making this comforted him a bit.

After watching the fire for a bit longer, he finally went to bed, asking me to lay in bed with him until he fell asleep. So I stayed there, literally drying his tears that seemed like never stopping to fall from his closed eyes, until I noticed he was sleeping. It's been a long time since I had such a long, difficult hour.

But the bottom line is, this was important for him. It was important to be comforted by me, to be hugged and to feel loved and safe to express his sadness and pain for losing his beloved doggie. It was important to make his ritual, to be in touch with the Goddess and feel his connection with the departed soul somehow.

It would be easy for me to simply try to distract him from this sad moment, not talking about it so he would put it in the deepest part of his mind and move on, but it wouldn't be fair, it would be like Ringo wasn't important for him and he wouldn't be allowed to grieve and mourn. A crucial step would be skipped. The feeling would be always there, scratching his heart. The way we did, he put everything in the right perspective, starting and finishing a process that needed to be lived.

He still feels sad when talking about Ringo, or when he sees a black dog in the street, and I know that he will avoid for some time Pretinha, the stray dog at the transversal street close to home, because she looks so much like his dog, but I know that he'll move on, not skipping any step, and he learned to honor a beloved friend that was gone, just the way it must be.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

When a great author comes to our bookshelf to stay

As everybody knows, I love reading. Having a stack of books by my bedside table is reassuring and makes me feel safe somehow. I'm always with a book in my bag when I go running errands downtown (one never knows when the bank or shop's lines will be too long), and my favorite thing to do before sleeping is to lean against soft pillows and to read a good story while sipping hot tea.

When a kid, I would climb our neighbor's abandoned house's jaboticaba tree in the orchard and read Agatha Christie sitting on its branches, for my mother's despair, lol

It's always a delight to discover a new author and add him to my list of favorite ones. It's like bringing richness and more beauty into my life.

And it happened again! Some time ago I discovered Tim Byrd, a witty, versatile and incredibly gifted-talented writer I now have the sweet honor to call a friend - today is his birthday, Happy B-Day, Tim! :o)). I became a huge fan of his work:

First, I had a great surprise when I read Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom. This exciting adventure, in the pulp style I love, caught me right in the first lines. The saga involving the brilliant Dr. Spartacus Wilde and his no less brilliant children to rescue his missing father, and all the crazy things that encompass it, including the scary mutant frogs, brings back the thrill real good adventure stories like Indiana Jones left us orphans many years ago. You have all the ingredients: charming characters, gadgets that could be in James Bond's collection, breath-taking chases, you name it. I just can't tell you more about it or I'll spoil the story!

It's a book that will captivate 'young readers' of all ages, and now that the author is going into the most-welcome self-publishing path, a new edition will be launched with Gary Chaloner's beautiful art illustrating the saga. I just can't wait for the upcoming adventures of my new favorite hero: Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull, and Doc Wilde and the Dance of the Werewolves.

Then I read Dead Folks, a short-story about historical corpses mysteriously coming to surface in an American town, that took my breath away and brought a lump to my throat in the end, so moving and unexpected.

He also wrote a pagan-related essay called Wild Soul, where he discusses the ability we all need to have to keep the balance with Nature and our inner wild self while living in a modern, full of technology world.

Another piece of Tim Byrd's awesomeness, a darker tale called Skullduggery, A Tale of Thieves, is posted at his blog, and it's making me have an exciting time walking along the ancient streets of Drogarth.

What I learned about really good writers is that you don't ever have to worry about what's coming next, if you'll like it or not - much the opposite, you know you will always be looking forward to it! Tim is no exception to my personal rule. So take a comfortable seat, have a cup of tea at hand, and choose any of his books to be rewarded for hours.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ABC Wednesday - H is for Hocus Pocus

Hello, everybody! This is my first entry on the ABC fun after a very long time! I really missed this meme and I can hardly wait to see what everybody else is up to!

For me, H is for Hocus Pocus. Spoken words are a must for witches and a wonderful tool for the imagination. When I was a little girl, I used to love saying those words when playing with my stray dog Black, turning him into another creature with my improvised wand - actually a branch from the mango tree by our house. I still love having an old branch at my altar as my Air tool. Wikipedia has an interesting article about the origins of the word, from a parody of the Roman Catholic liturgy to a Norse folklore tale, it is worthy reading.

Hocus Pocus is also the title for one of the funniest movies on witches - thanks to the hilarious interpretation of the actresses playing the main roles, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jesica Parker. My little witch loves it too:

One curious thing about this movie is that the lyrics to the song played by one of the witches to enchant all Salem's kids are allegedly the original poem by Edgar Allen Poe, "Come little children":

Come little children
I'll take thee away, into a land
of Enchantment

Come little children
the time's come to play
here in my garden
of Shadows

Follow sweet children
I'll show thee the way
through all the pain and
the Sorrows

Weep not poor childlen
for life is this way
murdering beauty and

Hush now dear children
it must be this way
to weary of life and

Rest now my children
for soon we'll away
into the calm and
the Quiet

Come little children
I'll take thee away, into a land
of Enchantment

Come little children
the time's come to play
here in my garden
of Shadows

How creepy is that? lol

For more cool ABC posts, visit the main page.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Back to the Weekend in Black and White

I so missed joining this beautiful meme! Dragonstar is one of the sweetest souls I know, and she hosts this fun for some years already. I'm happy that I'm back to it, and just can't wait to see the other members' photos - I know I'll be delighted.

I chose to convert to B&W one of the photos I took of my little witch a couple of weeks ago, during his school's Carnival Ball. He had a blast running up and down throwing confetti and serpentine on his friends, and his Scary Skeleton costume was a hit.

If you want to see more cool B&W photos, visit the meme's main page. Have fun! :o)

Keeping the blog alive

I've been having a hard time catching up with my blogger friends, and posting here on a regular basis, and it's something that is bothering me a lot.

One nice way of keeping the blog alive and kicking is to follow a weekly meme. There are tons of cool ones in the Web, and you get to know many interesting blogs and the people behind them.

Some time ago, I was part of an awesome group called ABC Wednesday, hosted by Denise Nesbitt, where bloggers post about any subject starting with the letter of the week. There are always unique posts from all around the world, and people's creativity to find different subjects has always been a joy for me to read and see - and to learn something new. I'm definitely rejoining the ABC again.

Another meme that I was part of and absolutely love is the Weekend in Black & White. Originally created by my lovely Irish friend Aileni and now by his wife, my adorable friend Mererid, it brings some exquisite B&W photos that are breathtaking. I found out that there are incredible amateur artists around the world who love monochromatic photos and generously post their weekly findings that become even more beautiful pieces than in color. Another one I'm rejoining.

So when my dear friend Kallan posted this beautiful statement, I knew I had to join this meme. It's like the ABC, but focused on the pagan path. It will be thrilling to think about what to post every Friday about paganism, and I know I'll learn more about my spiritual path and get to know new blogger pals.

This way, following these three different weekly memes, I'll keep my salamanders happy, bringing up new ideas, and I'll restart taking good care of my page. Hope you enjoy the upcoming fun, and maybe join these cool projects as well!