A blog for her friends to check that she's still alive, when she's been missing for a while, and what she's whinging about now.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Return of the Sun

And so the wheel turns and after all the darkness, getting darker, somewhere up there above the rainclouds in the huge, black void, the hope of summer stopped drifting away and started coming back.

It's hope, we're not deserted even here, finally in our darkest hour; that's when the cavalry of light signals its journey back to warm us again. The sun has noticed our sigils of brightly shining baubles and tinsel sparkling in reflection of the candle's flame. And some answering self from hedonistic summer hears the tone of resigned despair resonating from our hearts and reminds us, 'The days are getting longer now; slowly warming; and you WILL reach the place where I am now. Dancing beneath a Festival sky, drumming in the Midsummer dawn. And it will be beautiful.'

The return of the sun; the return of warmth and brightness; the return of hope.

Mother, thank you for your son; and blessed Solstice to one and all.

- Still a little drunk from last night

Monday, December 20, 2004

Tu es vraiment folle...mais unique en ton genre

That's what one of the wenches on Witchgrove just said about me. Google gave me a stupid translation, so I asked Cerr. It means, 'You're crazy, but you're one of a kind.'

I'm really touched. I'm sitting here with a right stupid grin on my face! This is three seconds after another of the Grovers sent me a congratulations card which moved me to tears. Pretty, happy tears, but tears nontheless.

I think I'm happy.


Saturday, December 18, 2004

I thought..

... I was becoming unshockable, but this made me gag.


Thursday, December 16, 2004

'... caught in thy net of shadows,
What dreams hast thou to show?'

Poem from 'The Meaning of Witchcraft' by GBG

I'm feeling so much more positive these days. It was as if I drifted to the bottom of this dark pool on Tuesday night and one sleepless night later, touched the floor and used it to propel myself back upwards towards the light.

Last night I dreamt that I was on a beach at dawn, with great swaths of water left by the retreating tide all gleaming in the golds, pastel shades and blacks of the rising sun; while the sea itself glowed like some great golden homage to the sun. I ran the length of this beach, in my dream, running wild and free.

Behind me were two people. One was my work colleague and the other was either Pixie or Georgia, I'm not sure. They walked down the beach behind me, finally meeting me in a building at the far end. It had been a pub, called the British Oak (I think), but had been renamed Papa's (new). It had (new) in brackets on the sign. I just wanted to see the place, but Caroline and Georgia/Pixie hadn't been keen. It wasn't for a drink, it was the building itself that was important. When they finally joined me there, Caroline said, 'We should have just let you look when we drove past this, because now we've had a long walk and it's going to be a long walk back to the car.' I just laughed at them, then I woke up.

And in real life? That's pretty much governed by my dissertation right now. I wrote 4000 words in total last weekend, which is nearly a third of the dissertation; then yesterday, I had a moment of epiphany, which means that I think I know what the origins of Wicca are, though I'm still researching like mad to see how watertight that theory is.

I now only have one Christmas present left to get (and running quickly out of time!), though most of them haven't turned up at my house yet. I'm hoping that they hurry up!

Emotionally, I'm up and down like a yo-yo, with occasional panic attacks, which Georgia, Shonna and Laurie mainly are dealing with on an 'as they happen' basis. Anna's in-laws have just left, so she was on the case last night. Others are also in the mix, reassuring me or posting the right things at the right time to keep me calm. I have been taking a lot of calming from the Grove; in that I can dip into there in breaks, soak up some atmosphere, then get back on with it. The difference between there and direct e-mails to my inbox is that I don't necessarily have to answer Grove ones, but I have to answer those in my inbox. I normally don't get to the latter until last thing at night, which means that I'm falling asleep while responding, but there's far fewer of those than there used to be.

I popped my head into the Mods group on Monday morning; immediately got stressed, which culminated in me doing something against my instinct, which currently feels like a huge mistake. Shonna told me that she'll deal with it and not to worry anymore about it, as I'd got to the utter panic attack stage. Since then I haven't stepped foot in the Mods group, but I'm still uneasy about it. Particularly about Shonna having to tidy my mess up behind me.

But mostly things are clicking back into place and looking good for January being a time when everything is alright again.


Friday, December 10, 2004

Tasklist for the Weekend

Ok, my parents are away for the weekend and so I'll have glorious quiet to work in. Here's what I want to do this weekend (starting from tonight):

1, Dissertation - work on the 'eye witnesses' account

2, Dissertation - work on the 'definitions and origins'

3, Dissertation - review what I've done so far, so I have a better idea of what I've done (it's been two weeks since I last had all that memorized)

4, Dissertation - create an 'acknowledgements' page, so I can add folk as they help instead of memorizing those. (Need to find out Carrie's surname)

5, Sort out blue room

6, Sort out bookcase in green room

7, Sort out mess where shelf fell

8, Wrap presents; order two presents as I haven't got; panic about whether folk are getting me presents when I haven't got one back for them; see Bex about the order from her;

9, See Jordy and take his birthday card and present

10, Contact BS Kate about meeting up for chat

11, Speak to Aud about tarot readings

Ok, if I do the above, I think I'll be proud of having done it all. Of course, by Monday, I'll just be thinking of what I didn't do. In which case, slap me.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Overview for Me Update

Witchgrove website


Nothing I can actually do, as I'm waiting on the nod from others.


Since Vegas, I've transferred over 900 files from the old website to the new one. This is actually up-to-date (excepting those already mentioned in the outstanding part), as each time I've been given the all clear to up-date, I've attempted to empty my up-date folder.

Also, I've transferred 776 photos from the old site into the Coppermine Gallery.

Short of demanding the overseeing of the new site back (which would be a bad idea on many different levels, most of all that Dani and Pixie have far more knowledge in these matters!), there is nothing else I can do.


Overview for Me

On the basis that if you can see the overview, it's immediately less likely to send you into panic attack, here it is:



After CARD tomorrow and the Disability Workshop next week, all of my major things will be done this side of Christmas.


Two weeks ago, my 'to start' task-list alone had 79 items on it; now it has one. My 'in progress' task-list had about 20-odd items on it; now it has 7, one of which should be completed by mid-afternoon.

Since Vegas, I have organized, minuted etc nine meetings; eight major events (conferences etc); and one training day, plus got the newsletter out. In context, there's usually one major event per month and four or five meetings.

Witchgrove website


Several reviews and Andrea's weekly discussion - none of which I can upload until a) BS Kate sends me the former and b) Dani and Pixie give me the nod that it's ok to tat again.

Also half of Juell's photos for the gallery.


Since Vegas, I've transferred over 900 files from the old website to the new one. This is actually up-to-date (excepting those already mentioned in the outstanding part), as each time I've been given the all clear to up-date, I've attempted to empty my up-date folder.

Also, I've transferred 726 photos from the old site into the Coppermine Gallery.



9,000 words on the origins of Wicca

Longitudinal survey of beliefs/opinions concerning the origins of Wicca


6,000 words on the origins of Wicca in 38 days. Still managed to keep up the 'Year of...' even when I'd downed pens for a week... or two...


If I hadn't gone to Vegas, I might just have broken even in October, except the existing HPs. That situation couldn't have lasted though and I don't regret it one bit! Give me a time-machine and I'd go back for longer! *grin* Final tally for Vegas was £400, which isn't bad at all, considering where I went! (Checks Visa limit... yes, I've got room in there for another £400...)

Final tally for car was £325, MOT-ed, insured and breakdown cover. (With £160 outstanding for brakes and cam-cover and belt when I can afford it.)

Xmas and birthdays are nearly all covered. Just have about eight left to get, but three of those have price limits on them of £5 for three of them and £10 for one.

Currently: £860 in debt. It's been much, much worse. I'm not even going to tell myself when I'll be out of debt again, because it always gets so close and then just misses. I haven't regretted getting into it at all over the past couple of years. Also, come April, the HP will be gone and the student debt will be gone. Those can go into paying off the £860; and also Aud has lined up folk willing to pay me for tarot readings, which would bring it down to £660. Mind you, I haven't finished running it up yet.


Paid off about £6000 in two years.

Why do I get the feeling that anyone reading this blog will look at the achievements tally and start applauding, whereas I look at the outstanding tally and feel like shit?

So, overall... is all that good or bad? Just as confused as when I started! LOL Who's daft idea was this...?


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

"If you go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look west;
with the right kind of eyes...

... you can almost see the high water mark, where the wave finally broke and rolled back..."

'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'
Hunter Thompson

I've always loved that film, and that bit of narrative in particular. Until now, it's really put me in mind of the early '90s, when we thought we could save the world. Ok, it doesn't stop us still trying to save it, we're just more realistic about it. My mind tended to skip over the 'Las Vegas' part and think instead of the marches down London against the Criminal Justice Bill and the Anti-Fox-Hunting Sabs. Fox-hunting is illegal now. We made that difference.

But then, I went to Las Vegas. I looked up and at the end of Shonna and Stephane's street, you have a view of a mountain from which to look west and see Haight Astbury, which would have been the very mountain as Hunter was on about. I haven't watched the film or listened to the soundtrack since coming home, but when I do, I don't think I'll be thinking of marching down streets in 1993, I'll be thinking of the morning of October 15th, getting into Shonna's car and looking up; then Shonna saying, 'It's your mountain.' I'll be thinking of the Wiccaning and the Ren Faire and the Memorial...

'Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run... but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant...'

And since I've been back, it's been madness. Pure and unadulterated. I've pushed my mind to the limits and it's only been the experience of me with me and the fact that the safety ropes dangled, that kept me just short of the Terrible Place. Times curled up in little balls, crying to the Goddess to make it stop, however She can do that; while the like of FT Kate, Shonna, Georgia, Ocean, Andrea, Pixie and so many others, say words that get through to me, giving me ammunition to use against myself in the same way that flyers in wartime dropped food into occupied terrorities.

And I've been back, many, many times since, to Vegas, in my mind, to the last time and place where I didn't know what was coming and the world was at its most beautiful.

But let's get me out of Vegas first and home.

Vegas October 15th 2004

The one morning in Vegas when I really didn't want to wake up, but I was up early. Around 7. Shonna was already up, Elen too, and I went for my fag while the kettle brewed. Then it was a last minute sweep around to see what I'd left and what I meant to leave. Everything was packed so tightly into that big carrier-bag, but we were all too rushed to really be afretting on what was to come. I don't remember seeing William, though I must have done. I remember hugging Elen. I remember as well Shonna saying, 'You can go up and say goodbye to Stephane, if you want' and me asking if he was still abed. 'Yes, but that's ok, you can go in.' I went upstairs and Stephane, dressed, met me on the landing. I hugged and thanked him there and he followed me downstairs.

Then it was us taking things to the car and me looking around trying to saturate my memory with all the things I could see and feel and hear. It worked, I can see in my mind's eye every room as I left it, and the street too. I was by the car, when I looked up and saw that Stephane had come outside, so I ran up for one last hug. That's when the first tears started, but I blinked them away, though I could bearly speak. That's when, looking up at the mountain, Shonna said, "Look, it's your mountain. You know the one out of the film, 'Fear and Loathing...'" "Yes, I know the one."

'... the kind of peak that never comes again.'

Shonna chattered on and I was so grateful. It gave me time to swallow down the sadness at leaving Stephane and the kids and their home. I was able to speak again by the time we were on Gilmour.

We stopped for a cafe latte and cinnamon syrup, Shonna trying to pay and me convincing her that I needed to use the currency up. Then she drove us to the last place I needed to see, Summerlin Hospital. My thinking here was that I'd clocked every other hospital in Vegas on my travels, but not that one. If a Vegas Grover ends up in hospital, I want a picture in my head to send energies too. So she took me to Summerlin.

Then it was straight to the airport. I thought she was going to drop me off outside, as she had done Anna and Georgia, and I didn't think I was going to be able to stand it. But there were other considerations too, the most important of which was my athame. Instead of posting it, as I had on the way here, we were going to try me taking it in my suitcase. If it was stopped and taken out, Shonna could take it home and post it to me. Of course, Shonna had done some more thinking ahead. Having taken note of the hassle I'd had coming here, hearing-wise, she saw no reason that it was going to be better going home. She came as my ears.

That was good. She was able to negotiate a note on my flight information and forms to take with me, designating me as a special needs passenger. The notes told each flight attendant and ground steward along the way that I'm deaf. The woman in Vegas airport was brilliant, she looked straight at me and spoke clearly enough for me to lip-read perfectly. My case went through no hassle with the athame inside. I knew precisely what I had to do for the flight back, each step along the way. Flightwise, I had no fear of what was coming.

I was starting to choke up again there in check-in. I ended up singing, 'Walk Unafraid', trying to big myself up a bit, while Shonna beside me starting singing, 'Something'. She took me up to the security desk, which was the last point she could come with me, then she left.

I broke. I kept looking back, as we had with Bella, but it was so crowded that I couldn't see her. I was sobbing and it wasn't pretty tears, it was proper snot and red eyes and those gasping noises that you try not to make. I kept trying to calm down, thinking of Syd, thinking of the mountains, imagining myself back in their yard having a fag. I tried concentrating on the commercials, but nothing. I only just got myself sorted by the front of the long, long queue, where I handed over my forms and the woman still persisted in telling the conveyor belt something which I had no hope of hearing. I guessed and must have guessed correctly, because I got through ok.

I headed straight for the smoking area, spotting my gate en route. I sat in there and calmed myself down, as in not crying, with a fag. Shonna had told me that there was something in my bag for me, to look at when she was gone. I went in to see. It was Starhawk's 'Spiral Dance', but when I opened it, a photo fell out of everyone at the Wiccaning. On the back, she'd written, 'Thank you for coming, Johnny.' I cried again, but stared at each face in turn. My Grove. My people. My tribe. I imagined each and every one of them with me, hugging me, getting my luggage, making sense of the overwhelming noise all around me. I calmed down again.

The watch of the bloke next to me told me that I still had about 40 mins. I went in search of cafe latte and cinnamon syrup. I couldn't hear a thing. Silence is much better than the white noise of airports. That's disorientating unless you sing in your head to give your brain some discernable noise to focus on.

'if I have a bag of rocks to carry as I go
I just want to hold my head up high
I don't care what I have to step over
I'm prepared to look you in the eye
look me in the eye
and if you see familiarity
then celebrate the contradiction
help me when I fall to
walk unafraid'

I was holding the 'I'm deaf' forms like a talisman, but they didn't cut any ice in the coffee shop either. There I just asked for what I wanted about three times hoping that she could hear me; then handed over about $20. She gave me $10 back immediately, then some change. It didn't taste like it had cinnamon in it, but it was a nice drink. I also had some pink lemonade, which I gulped back.

Back in the smoking area, singing 'Walk Unafraid' in my head and staring at that picture, I felt myself come down a level. I could stop with the drama and start being me again now. The watch of a lady across the way told me that it was time to go, so I went. I walked down the corridor, into the departure lounge proper, and handed my form and flight info to the attendant. She took a copy of the form and was brilliant, however, she told me that the plane was delayed because of a storm over New Jersey.

I sat and there were a couple from New Jersey there, who were great. I spoke to the lady and showed her my form (that was such a good idea, Shonna!), and explained that I couldn't hear the announcements. Both she and her husband were great. I was so under their wing! LOL Both looked at me when they spoke, both spoke clearly so I could understand, and when the announcements went off, they told me it wasn't mine (except when it was, obviously!). I nipped for another fag in the meantime and came back, so I wasn't even sitting with them after the first five minutes, but they still caught my eye and let me know what was going on. When it was time to finally go, after nearly an hour's delay, the lddy came over with me and handed me straight over to the stewardess, who had come looking for me! I'm not used to being looked after like that, unless it's close friends.

So I got on the plane, and ended up moved as a couple wanted to sit together, I didn't mind. By now, I was all choked up again, but desperately trying not to cry. From my new seat, I was looking straight at the Strip. The tears came then. We were sitting there for ages and I was looking down, finding the railway line, thinking Shonna's just there, crying turning to sobbing. By the time the plane finally took off and we turned so I could see the whole of Vegas spread out below, all those beloved streets and homes, all those beloved people, I was inconsolable. I felt a right fool, but I couldn't stop crying! I was embarrassing myself, but still couldn't stop crying. I promised myself categorically that I was coming back, but the sobs were getting audible. It was like some inner me was REALLY trying to do whatever it took to shut me the fuck up, right now! People are watching! But no, sobbing like it was the end of the world.

Then we flew over the grand canyon. I soon shut up. Shonna who? That was gorgeous! I couldn't get over the size of it! Eversince 'Thelma and Louise', it's been something me and FT Kate have always wanted to do - go to the Grand Canyon. This was before I even knew the Vegas lot. We wanted to drive through the place like they do in the film, though obviously not drive over the cliff. That would be daft. I sat there looking down on this stunningly beautiful place, thinking on when I'd be coming back. The little voice inside finally got heard, 'YOU are coming back. This is not the end.'

From there it was flying over the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I stared down at them, going from red rocks, to bare browns and grays, to the tree-covered beauty. The little map on the monitor told me that we were going over Pueblo and if we looked over there, there was Colorado Springs. Pixie's 'hood? (I've since checked and no it's not, but as I was flying over, I thought I was looking at Pixie's 'hood.) I thought on that moment at the Shambala Festival, when I'd started to go into a dark place and a wench dressed as a pixie walked by. What would Pixie say? At Shambala, it was 'let it go, Johnny, the world will carry on without this pressure on you'; flying over Pueblo and Colorado Springs, it was 'look at my 'hood, you're coming back and I'll show it to you probably.' Both times, giving the Pixie in my head the right lines to say, I calmed right down.

During all of this, I had my personal stereo on. REM's 'Around the Sun' album, followed by the slow version of 'Leave', 'So Fast, So Numb', 'Walk Unafraid', 'Birds Fly South', 'Half a World Away' and 'Country Feedback'. REM is such the soundtrack band of this year and I hear any of those songs now and I'm either flying into or out of Vegas.

After that, we were up into the clouds, which are stunning to watch for the first 3 hours, but I'd seen those on the way there. I was also in a middle seat, or else I probably would have stared out of the window for more hours, but instead I got out 'The Onion Girl' and read that until the film came on. It was 'Dodgeball', which looked terrible judging by the trailer, but was set in Vegas. I wanted to be set in Vegas too, so I got into the film.

Before this, the steward had come round. He was great! He'd had the form which Shonna had got arranged for me and he knew EXACTLY how to communicate with me. He first gestured to get my attention, looked right at me and spoke in such a way that I lip-read him perfectly. He was asking me what I'd like to drink. I had me a cuppa. I hadn't actually had anything to eat. I was too upset when the food came round and it wasn't vegetarian anyway.

I saw the sunset while I was up there, beautiful. Normally sunsets go across one horizon, but above the clouds, it's all an horizon. The lad next to me let me lean right over to see it happen. It was indescribable. Btw, despite the fact that it had been noon in Vegas only about three or four hours before, I believed it was sunset. It very quickly started knocking on 9pm as well, which was very bad news for me and one of the lads sitting next to me. It turned out that he was on the same plane back to Birmingham as me, which was great from my point of view, because he was bolshy, a seasoned traveller and could hear. As the time came and went for that plane's boarding, with us still miles above America, he went off to see what was happening. As it was, we landed in New Jersey (which is where the second lad sitting next to me lived), just as the Birmingham plane took off. We were told that there wouldn't be another leaving for another 24 hours.


I'm in New Jersey for 24 hours. My first thoughts involved New York Grovers. This was bad, but not too bad. As long as I could a) get a message to Kate; and b) get a message to the Grove, then all it would be was a case of waiting to see if Draig, Dani or Saoirse could rescue me. Soooo... how was I going to do that then?

There's different electricity in America, so once my 'phone's battery had run out, there was no way of charging it back up. All of my phone numbers were in it. The only numbers I have memorized are home and work. I just put a call out with the Goddess to please give me the resourcefulness to pull this one off.

Off the plane, I'm suddenly transported into a VERY NOISY PLACE. I was now completely deaf, pure white noise. The lad I'd been sitting next to was just ahead of me, when he suddenly turned, touched my arm and guided us to the Continental Airlines desk. There was another plane going to Birmingham in an hour! I haven't a clue what he said, but we were both on it. He turned to me and spoke clearly facing me, 'The plane is going in an hour and our luggage is being transferred onto it. She needs to see your papers and you need to get a boarding pass.' Then he was gone.

I handed over my papers to the wench, who first insisted on asking questions whilst leaning over her... whatever was under there. I only knew she was asking questions, because she'd look up afterwards with an exasperated look on her face. Not only did she have Shonna's form, but I'd told her three or four times that I'm deaf. Eventually it ended up with her first shouting in my face (I heard that...), then later on, as we were boarding, I lip-read her welcoming each person onto the plane, but she totally ignored me. I suppose she would have made most nicotine-starved, cold turkeying deaf people feel inadequate; I just wanted to twat her.

In between this, though, I have just under an hour. That's time to find the exit and have a fag. :-D I half wondered if Dani would be there. She'd been thinking on it and had we been on time, then maybe... I thought... but not an hour late. I just sent a massive sigil out 'DANI IF YOU'RE THERE, WAIT ON!' Then went lugging that extraordinarily heavy hand-luggage... oh, that's why it's called luggage! You lug it!... down the corridor. I couldn't see an exit sign, so I didn't know how far away I was or where I was going. I just concentrated on memorizing where I was going to retrace it afterwards.

I saw a steward bloke and asked him where the exit was. He told me and I couldn't hear him. I showed him Shonna's form, a talisman again, and he looked right at me and said, 'It's a non-smoking airport. When is your plane leaving?' 'I know, I'm after the exit to have a cigarette outside.' 'When is your plane leaving?' I showed him my boarding pass. 'You haven't got time to have a cigarette.' I burst into tears. He just looked downright lost and I just gave into utter despair. Next thing I know, he's pointing to an escalator and I blinked enough to lip-read '... quick...' I ran.

That cigarette was the nicest cigarette I've ever smoked in my life. Calm came back into my life. I looked for Dani, then realized I haven't a clue what she looks like. (I later found out she hadn't come, because the time had been just too short, so there had originally been little chance for us to have met up. Next time.) I returned in a state of grace to the immigration place, took off my shoes and got through without knowing if anyone had tried to talk to me at all.

I retraced my steps through Newark Airport to my gate; where a passenger informed me that it had been delayed by another half an hour. Ok. I'd passed a... thing... and it had said internet access. Witchgrove. I stood there forever with my Visa card trying to make this work. Then I had a moment of inspiration - Kate is one of the emergency contacts on my passport. I checked. HER PHONE NUMBER WAS THERE! I worked out that it was 2am in Britain. She'd want waking up to know she didn't have to get up at 6 to fetch me.

I couldn't get the bloody phone working. There was a machine selling phone-cards for ten dollars. Apart from some single dollars, I only had ten dollars left in American money, so I used it to buy a card. That was complicated. In the end, an elderly lady had to show me how to use it. I rang Kate and it rang out and out and out. Her answer-'phone no longer works. I found out later that she was still at JBs, not in bed at all. Whilst in getting my passport out, I found the bit of paper with the Gariepy's address and their mobile 'phone number. Those had been for emergencies on the way there, as Stephane had the 'phone that day and the address could have been for a taxi, should the worst happen. Time was ticking by, so I rang Shonna, with a view to her keep trying Kate for me. But it kept going to answer-'phone. I eventually boarded the plane to Brummagen, not knowing if Kate had the message or not.

I found my seat and said 'hello' to the couple sitting in my row. 'Hello' came back, then they started canting to each other. I stopped dead. BLACK COUNTRY! They were speaking in broad Black Country! For the first time in two weeks I was hearing my mother tongue! 'Yam frarm tha Black Country?' 'Ar, Staabridge. Yow?' 'Wulvramtun!' I just relaxed and sat me down. I know that sounds ridiculous, but there's nothing like a Black Country accent to make you feel downright safe and sound!

I dropped my contact lense; there was me, the couple from Stourbridge and a couple others all looking for it, when it turned up on the floor of the row behind. I popped that in saline, with half the plane still on it, and settled down. A cup of tea was lovely; then the food came around. I told the stewardess I was a vegetarian and she said something. I showed her the deaf form and she said something. I don't know what, she only looked at me when I didn't respond. Then she walked off. That's the last I saw of her; and didn't have anything to eat that time either.

The film was 'The Day After Tomorrow'. Ocean and I were canting about this film last night and her take is that it's a crap story attached to a brilliant concept. My take is that I still can't decide if it's utter shit or utter genius, but the fact I'm still talking about it nearly two months later is making me suspect the latter. The story was crap - son in trouble, daddy defies odds to fetch him. Slushy crap. But the rest! WOW! Kyoto was mentioned a dozen times. I particularly liked the bit when the tables were reversed between America and Mexico. I remember when the film first came out, all the British scientists said it was exaggerated but feasible; all the American scientists said it couldn't happen. It looked pretty feasible to me.

I was exhausted then and actually did sleep. I was woken by the breakfast coming around and I was so groggy. I was also absolutely starving! I peered up over the oncoming trolley to find quassonts (sp?) - French bread things which you eat with jam - and a thingie of fruit. No meat. WOW! I sat up. The quassont was beautiful! But very small. About two inches across. The fruit was... pineapple. Even I saw the funny side of that! *grin*

By the time we reached British skies, and the most amazing dawn I've ever seen, it felt as though I'd been on an aeroplane all my life. It was only about an hour longer than the journey there, but because a whole night had passed (I'd gone back in time-zones, so the night passed very quickly), it felt like it was twice as long. On the way there, I'd left Brummagen at noon and landed in Vegas, that evening, at half six; on the way back, I'd left Vegas around noon, and landed in Brummagen the next day at half nine in the morning.

One thing which REALLY struck me is how green is my country. As we came down through the clouds, I saw miles upon miles of land, scarred by the Enclosure Acts, but so beautiful. The hills of Shropshire; trees; then the concrete of Birmingham and the Black Country. You just can't help getting Holst's 'Jupiter' in your head!

I got through customs and immigration (or whatever queue I was in) so quickly; and only had to wait on about two minutes for my suitcase (remembering at the last minute NOT to look for Y Ddraig Goch! That had been left at Shonna's for Mike's altar). Then it was up and running into Terminal 1 to the pub where I had arranged to meet Kate. She wasn't there. I was about two hours late now. I asked the wench there if she'd seen a woman about my height with short red hair. Yes, she'd been there until recently, drinking coffee and smoking, but had been gone about half an hour.


So I surrepticiously plugged in my charger and charged up my phone just enough to get into it. I called her as all my messages came flooding through. She was in the Music Bar! ie She was about 50 yards away around the corner and had been since about 8am. I ran round there and waiting with her was a packet of Embassy Number One. GOD! I love that woman!


We drove away from Brummagen, into my beloved Black Country, with Kate bringing me up to speed with all that had happened since I'd been away. Two friends had gone under; one ended up on anti-depressants and the other we both went to sort out that night. She'd left it up to me, because of just stepping off a plane and all, but it sounded serious enough. I ended up walking into his house having stopped around the corner to strip down to a bathing costume. *grin* A British October night has never seen the like before. ;-) Me and Kate did our velociraptor sorting of heads and stayed overnight.

Before that though, Kate cooked me some breakfast, then went abed, while I caught up on my e-mails and half the Grove. I was awake at first, but got tired as the afternoon wore on, however I didn't go abed myself until about 3am the next morning. God only knows what that was in Vegas. I think I responded to something daft like 300-400 e-mails, while Kate slept, and was up-to-date on my world by tea-time.

I returned home on Sunday; with my parents away. It was so quiet in our house. I found myself listening for Elen calling or William giggling. Silence. I went back to e-mails.

Monday morning, I walked into work to be beseiged before I even had my coat off. By half 10, I thought I was the most useless person alive. By 4pm, I was beginning to suss that they'd just been overwhelmed by doing my job too. That chaos has only just started calming down now. In the intervening just over month and a half, I've lost the plot completely; fled my desk in tears; up-turned my work-trays, so there's a mess of paper on the floor; lost a whole day through losing my memory; and had a meeting to work out what to do about my conduct and constant dropping off bollocks.

Meanwhile, over on the Grove, I've three times now lost it; twice in the Mods lounge, once quite severely. It eventually came down to Roxanne and Georgia trying to calm me down long enough to get the proof that Anna and Shonna were alive, well and fundamentally ok. After all four Mods basically realized I'd gone yampy, the suggestion came (bravely I thought), that I step down for my own sanity. I tried; but Shonna created a whole new category for me. Mod on Leave. I haven't been in the Mod's lounge since, so I don't know what major crises are happening in there. I only respond to e-mails when I feel like it, with everyone aware of the situation, and people have backed away from e-mailing me, which has helped with the panic attacks greatly. Shonna has taken the web-site off me. Last thing I knew, it was being handed over to Dani and Pixie. There's cool.

Panic attacks keep coming and going; but at every turn, there are folk helping me or just saying it's ok.

You know, Kate said to me on this Sunday night, just gone, that after she saw REM at Glastonbury, she went into a year long shock. I think that might be me too, after Vegas. Truth? I've hardly mentioned it to anyone, there just hasn't been the opportunity/circumstances. Odd instances here and there, but it's my blog as has had me gushing about Vegas. It's not so much shock with me, as the bends. I dived into this awfully big adventure, into a land which I couldn't have comprehended until I saw it, with people... the people... I lived a dream come true and peeped into scenes where Witchgrove had come to real life and all that was missing were the computer screens. I rose from that into a situation where I was dealing with two close friends cracking before I even got home; into work, where it's been so fast and furious eversince and I hadn't reached my desk before I was being bombarded with information; into the intense three days of moving the website and having to learn very quickly all these things I hadn't known before, in order to try and manage the relocation to the new site. And on top of all this, there was/is the bloody dissertation. By the time my parents came home on the Tuesday, Vegas was already receding as a dream; by the time I met up with Aud and Bex and the rest of the Wolves Moot, it was a long time ago.

Nine weeks since I left. It feels like a life-time. It feels like it happened to someone else, though I can see myself in photographs. But then, at least two or three times a day, I'll close my eyes and I'll be back there, in some scene or other. There's the Memorial; there's the comfy, blue settee; there's the yard and the stars above; there's Pixie at Brianne's garden table confirming that she feels exactly like I do; there's Shonna looking so shocked; there's Georgia waiting for me at the Bellagio; there's Stephane sniggering to himself when he thinks no-one is looking; there's William grinning at me; there's Anna shrieking, 'I'm not touching you!'; there's Aaron making his speech at the Wiccaning; there's Brianne with two packets of fags from the store; there's BoJo fluttering to the kettle; there's Chelle running down the stairs to hug me; there's Dirk bringing a beer; there's Sean giving me a nickel, because I'd never seen one; there's Bella looking at me with tears in her eyes and saying, 'You're so beautiful!', then hugging me; there's Corey telling me to choose 12 donuts, because she couldn't believe I hadn't tasted them; there's Jodi looking so beautiful in her cloak; there's Barb and Lauren shaking my hand; there's Luke leaning over the bannister watching the ceremony below; there's Brian talking about moving to Italy; there's Elen organizing the lady with the corn dollies; there's Osran on a stick; there's Kate coming over to sit with me; there's Caleb coming for one last hug at New York, New York; there's Rhia running away so she couldn't be photographed; there's Brad wrestling with Luke and Sean; there's Cameron saying, 'You must be Mab'; there's Kat canting in the yard; there's me, on stage at the Ren Faire, dancing like there's no-one watching.

And there's my mountain.

"... you can almost see the high water mark, where the wave finally broke and rolled back..."


Nicked off Lydia

You scored as alternative. You're partially respected for being an individual in a conformist world yet others take you as a radical. You have no place in society because you choose not to belong there - you're the luckiest of them all, even if your parents are completely ashamed of you. Just don't take drugs ok?



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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Blubbering like a babby


I just read that, filled right up and then noticed the comment too.


There's a school of thought that says I'm a bit too wide open right now. But things like that are going right in. I don't know what I was expecting, 'Mab you're cool' I suppose, because that's what I thought would be the rules of the game. Then I could smile and get back on with what I'm doing. Talk about gobsmacked.

Thank you, Lill.

I really ought to do a proper blog, as I've been around a bit more this week. I'm not in the 'It's No Good Trying' Syd-state anymore, which is really the result of another major panic attack on Saturday night. This one Cerr caught and, over the 'phone, there was a long, long cant, which basically ended with me sort-of stopping the dissertation. I say sort-of, because it's more a back-burner thing than a forever thing. Just to give me chance to stabilize my world, but I am reading 'Triumph of the Moon' again, just not at the speed of knots.

The basic plot now is that I do whatever I want to do. Mmmmm... imagine the calibre of HPS and friend who can convince a Methodist-Alexandrian-Virgo the value in doing that! I'm mostly doing it as well. There are times when the guilt kicks in and the panic starts again, usually in the vicinity of Grove posts, when I afret that folk are seeing me posting and thinking, 'Why hasn't she responded to mine, the ignorant bint!' or much worse, getting paranoid about it. That's usually when one of Cerr's e-mails gets a 14 page essay response full of angst and she sets me right again.

So, the upshot. My mind is floating back down to ground. Today, a whole series of things exploded simultaneously at work and those who usually have the calm heads - who have been covering my dropped bollocks for weeks - went to pieces. I caught the ball and ran with it. As a result, the whole thing came together seamlessly and all was well with the world. I stood back afterwards and thought where did that come from! I haven't been that together in a fortnight! A very high-up academic thanked me for the day and everything, and me, reverting back to form, informed her that I could only be so lucid because I've dropped my dissertation. Later on, alone, she asked on that. She's offered to take with her my first draft (or however far I've got at that point) home with her over Christmas and read it for me. :-o


I'm one extreme to the other though (as I always was, it just happened more slowly). On the one hand, I can't remember things as fundamental as 'did I thank Pixie for the CDs?'; on the other, I keep getting these flashes of clarity where my mind is racing as fast as it always did, nothing phasing, nothing too much to decipher. Caroline called me over yesterday. She said, 'If neither of us can figure it out... Jo, come here, we need your brilliant mind.'

Brilliant mind.


Now things like that will have me analysing like the most Virgo-ish Virgo that ever lived. I suppose everyone else would have taken it as a throwaway comment, but I'm standing there thinking, 'Brilliant? As in 'A Beautiful Mind'? Genius? Or is she just saying that to butter me up?' And I'm back at my desk with Caroline saying, 'Come back and show me how you did that!' Did what? I don't know how I fixed it, I was too busy analyzing 'brilliant mind', I just did it! So I grin like I know what's going on and wave my mug at her instead.

I really should shut up on this, else no-one will ever say anything nice about me again! LOL

Behind the scenes, Cerr's getting ready to initiate me to the first degree. She doesn't know this yet. She'll find out when she reads this. For about three days now, she's been helping me retrace my steps, as I missed a lot of them out running up the stairs as fast as I did. She's helping me work out who I am, what I am, where this is all going. You know, the usual Grail questions. Who does it serve is probably on the agenda soon. It's helping enormously. We started with the Mother Priestesses who wouldn't initiate me; and now she's kick-started the Priestess group again. I haven't panicked in three days and the flashes of my mind being in sinc with the rest of the world are getting longer.

I've also nearly emptied the WG website up-dates folder. There are a load of pics as I can't open, so I've sent them to work to try there. I've still got to upload Brianne's photos and some of mine, then all of the Grovers Meet pics are done; all of the page updates are done, excepting some reviews, which BS Kate is doing and forwarding to me. I've got the 'Coming Home' Vegas blog half done in draft, then that's all the Vegas blogs done. Rebecca is taxed, MOT-ed and insured. She needs some work on her cam-something and back brakes, which is £160 all told, but not dangerously so (else I wouldn't have passed the MOT). Overdraft. Everything I've afretted on is slowly being sorted out and I'm finding my centre of gravity accordingly.

I think that, by the weekend, I'll be sorted; then I can look at that bloody dissertation again.

Sometime, one day, I'll be back completely and this will look like the necessary hard lesson it probably is. Hopefully, by then, everyone will have forgiven nearly a year of whinging and all will be well with the world.


Stolen from Lill's live journal

1. Reply to this post if you want me to tell you how cool you are!

2. Watch my journal over the next few days for a post just about you and why you rock my socks.

3. Post these instructions in your journal and give your friends a much needed dose of love and admiration!


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