Thursday, March 28, 2019

Not On This Site!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," serving downsized deities since 2005! Wow! Another follower! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I have had to change the privacy settings on my comments link. "The Gods Are Bored" has been overrun with sicko spammers for Asian escort services. There are few things I find more loathsome.

Asian children from Nepal and parts of India are often trafficked into Red Light districts in the larger cities of the region. Poverty-stricken Chinese girls are convinced they will be getting good-paying jobs in America, only to be smuggled into massage parlors where rich old bastards use and discard them like sticks of chewing gum.

SMITE! I won't have this evil as part of my blogging package!

This is me when someone disrespects my blog. Any questions? If you have them, they will be moderated.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Minding My Sacred Space

Every year in March the Pagan community holds an event called Sacred Space at a hotel in Baltimore. I have never gone.

March is the hardest month when you are a school teacher. You get Daylight Savings Time as well as a level of ennui that puts the bored gods to shame. Everyone is praying for spring, praying for June, praying for evaluations to be over. It's still cold and often gray, raining but not snowing. The end of the year seems to be miles and miles away.

I lack the kind of energy I would need to go to Sacred Space and be really present there. So I stay home.

This spring I need to tend my own sacred space. The lavish new McMansions across the street are finished and inhabited. There are now 6 children under the age of 7 in those two houses. My whole block is suddenly running with kids. It wasn't that way when Heir and Fair were growing up.

It's time to tidy the outdoor surroundings, to buy screening plants for the porch and perhaps a fountain. I need a new bird bath and some more shiny stuff to please the faeries and Nature Spirits.

It will be a creative challenge to block the view of those ugly houses. If you have any suggestions, fling them at me. I need for my little piece of ground to be an oasis of peace in a desert of chaos.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Mandescending and Mindfulness

You've heard the term "mansplaining," and I really like it. Whoever coined it was pretty smart. The definition is basically a man explaining to a woman something that the woman is either more knowledgeable about because it's her lived reality as a female, or something she has trained to do and knows how to do already.

For instance, my daughter The Fair was filming an event the other night with high-end equipment she is well trained to use, and some dude tried to tell her how to set up the tripod. Really?

I'm going to add a new term of my own: mandescending. This is where a man is condescending to a woman and dismisses her out of hand, even though her concerns are serious, maybe either health- or job-related.

Yesterday my school district had a professional development workshop, and part of it was yet another session on how to use the baffling new web site for which the district spent tons of money to purchase a full package. The web site does a gazillion tasks but is about as user-friendly as a potted cactus. Every time we get a demonstration, the same guy comes. He's yet another of those paid consultants who spent a few years in the classroom, couldn't wait to get out, and saw this web site as a ticket.

Honestly, I'll be the first to admit that if I had trained as a teacher I would have been looking to move into corporate somehow after five to ten years. The teaching profession is poorly-paid, overly scrutinized, underappreciated by the public, and physically and emotionally exhausting.

Part of what makes it exhausting is trying to learn the web site du jour.

To return to my narrative, I was attempting to keep up with the blistering pace of this man's presentation, and as usual I fell a step or two behind. When I asked why my page didn't look like his, he came to my station, flicked a few buttons, and said, "There you are." And sniffed with derision.

I went to the vending machine and bought a Snickers bar. First one I've eaten in two years.

The joy of the Snickers soon abated, but my fury has not.

This country treats its elders with condescension. Or mandescension, you decide.

In the summer of 1979, I was working in the Milton S. Eisenhower Library of the Johns Hopkins University. I had a job with a special archive of psychiatric documents that belonged to a prominent Hopkins physician named Adolf Meyer. In order to prepare a documentary list of the voluminous records this man kept (which included extensive correspondence with Freud, Jung, and other psychiatric luminaries), the university purchased a word processor. It was the first one any of us had seen.

A technician wheeled the word processor into our office space and showed the lead archivist how to use it. But then an interesting phenomenon occurred.

One by one, the oldest professors in the Hopkins community dropped by to see the word processor. These were men (of course, it was 1979) who had probably written multiple scholarly tomes, using Royal typewriters or even legal pads. They wanted to see the machine in action. And so did I.

A few years later, I found myself working for a publishing house, preparing copy for encyclopedias. The work was done with pencil and electric typewriters. Then the company bought two word processors, but no one was particularly interested in using them. Having had a little bit of exposure to one, I gladly accepted a spot at the word processor. I got a raise.

I know I should have kept up with computing. I know I should be more capable when it comes to new web sites. Perhaps it shouldn't count that I was the most proficient with technology when certain workshop presenters were probably learning to use the potty.

I know my mental capacity isn't what it once was. I don't even write for this site like I used to. But to be dismissed with such thinly-veiled disdain was a nasty jolt. I'm old. I'm obsolete. I'm female. Thanks for reminding me.

But wait, there's more.

After being humiliated in the web site training, I had to go back into a general faculty meeting for both of the Vo-Tech campuses. When both campuses get together, it's a lot of teachers. A good two hundred plus, I should think. We fill an auditorium.

The rest of the long day was spent in mindfulness training. We had to ground, center, follow our breath, feel our feet on the floor (mine were cold), yada yada yada. Be in the moment, and if your thoughts drift, pull back to breath.

First of all, when I do this practice, it is tied to my religion, which I firmly separate from my work responsibilities. So I deliberately let my thoughts go as haywire as they wanted to. Here's the short list:

1. Wow, that guy is such an asshole! Karma's gonna come for him when he's 60, for sure. I'd like to be there when he gets confused over the communication system between himself and teachers on Mars. He won't have tenure. Maybe he'll get fired! Maybe a woman supervisor will tell him, "You're all washed up. Hit the road!"

2. I wonder where that mindfulness facilitator got her dress. Is that drip-dye, tie-dye or some other process? I like the way it drapes too.

3. Damn, I wonder what's going on with this student teacher I got assigned all of a sudden! Did she flake out on her previous assignment? What's up with that? Why did I even agree to do it?

4. Getting old sucks. I'm so tired all the time. I'm sick of people. I don't want to go out for lunch. I don't want to go to the gym anymore. My body is so weary, and my feet are cold. Why don't they turn on some heat in here? Dammit, I thought about putting foot warmers in my shoes, and I didn't do it! Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

5. I wonder if I should pull back the ivy in the back yard just a foot or two. But grass doesn't grow well, and Mr. J never mows the lawn. Isn't the ivy better? But pulling the ivy would be good exercise. Yeah, but you know how annoying it is working with that English ivy. Yeah, maybe I'll just leave it. But if I had a nice straight line down the back, I could put up a stone border, like a rock wall ... what, am I supposed to be feeling my back against the chair? Fuck that. Fuck this whole thing.

6. I think I'll stop by Woodstock on the way home and see how they're doing. It's sort of on the way. Let's see, if I take Haterfield-Berlin Road to White Horse Road, and then ... that leads right to Springdale. Easy! Because it's such a long slog up Route 73. Oh! Why does everyone have their hand up in the air? Did I miss something? Who cares?

7. I can't believe I'm hungry after wolfing down that Snickers.

8. Donald Trump is an asshole. All powerful men are assholes. Geez, even Bernie Sanders couldn't run a tight ship. But this country will never elect a woman. Women won't vote for a woman. I wonder why that is? But I know it's true.

9. Camping or a hotel? I'm too old for camping! I'm not sleeping in a tent on the ground. But the hotel is so expensive. I could use that money to improve the front porch, so I don't have to look at the disgraceful, hideous house across the street ... Is it time to go yet? FUCK! Another two hours? I can't even. Like, camping isn't as bad as all that. You wake up in the cool morning air ... snap, I would have to buy so much equipment. But then I would have all the equipment, and I could use it again! Yeah, use it again to go camping. I'm done with camping! I spent my whole teenage decade in a tent! You know what else I'm done with? Mindfulness! Just another trendy stupid thing our school district is flirting with. You'd think they would train us on what to do when angry parents start shouting in our faces.

10. Whoa, look at the shop teachers! They are giggling like kids. Welding and mindfulness: perfect together.

If you've gotten this far, I know you get the drift.

Readers, my stats tell me that I have had over a million page views here at "The Gods Are Bored." I think a significant number of those are spammers of the pornographic variety. Still, someone has been reading my drivel. If that is you, do you want me to bake you a pie?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Archives

When you're a school teacher, one dreary year blends into another. This is especially true on cold and gray March days when one has an after-work meeting at the other Vo-Tech campus, which is a 45 minute drive from mine.

As I made the long transit home from the excruciatingly boring meeting, I tried to remember how many years I've been a full-time teacher. I counted and counted in my head. But one dreary year bled into another.

Know how I figured it out? I went to the archives of "The Gods Are Bored."

I am completing my ninth year.

Oh well, lah di dah, time marches on and all that rot!

Happy Equinox to all in North America! The winters are longest when we hardly get any snow, and this is one of those winters.

If you're keeping score, I have to work another 11 years, or until 2031, in order to have 20 years in the profession. I'll be 71.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

My Grand 60th Birthday Gambit

If you're lucky, that day comes ... the day when the sun rises on your 60th birthday. You look in the mirror and say, "Wait a minute. Shouldn't I be turning 30?" But no. Daughter The Heir turns 30 soon. For me, it's 60. On Monday.

Those of you who have been with "The Gods Are Bored" since back in the grand old days know that I never opt for the sane and sensible thing to do, when instead I can do the wacky, frivolous thing.

And so, I am going on a mission to Salt Lake City to meet a very influential vulture named Andy N. Condor.


I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Anne! Why don't you go to the Andes and see real condors? This bird lives in an aviary!"

Yes, you're right. Andy lives at Tracy Aviary. Which means they know a lot about him. Including the day and year that he hatched. The year happens to be 1959.

Andy and I both turn 60 this spring.

The aviary is throwing a whopper of a birthday party for Andy, and I am going to be there. Additionally, I will be spending a day at the aviary earlier in the week for some quality time with this fine buzzard. It's going to be amazing.

What else did you expect of me? Something tame, like whale-watching? Pish tosh! The bored gods wouldn't have me any other way.

In preparation for my trip, I have done some research on hiking in the Salt Lake City area. Lo and behold, within a short drive of the city there's a fairly easy trail that leads to a waterfall and a series of hot springs. Soaking in a sulfurous hot spring has been on my bucket list forever!

So when I'm not fawning over Andy, I'll be up to my neck in a spring, or driving through big-ass mountains. This will allay some of the anxiety over the number of years I have been on the planet.

The trip is next month, during my spring break.

Please don't ask about my plans to retire. I don't have any, nor will I have any for another decade.

Alaska, Hawaii, Barbie, Andy, and me. Six decades along. Wow.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Motherly Advice for a Daughter of a Pretty Age

My dearest Fair,

As your doting mother, I feel it is well within my place to offer you advice on the matters of courtship and matrimony. You are of a pretty age, to quote Shakespeare (although the young lady of which he spoke was 13), and it is time to consider the prospects of your making a suitable match.

I proffer these remarks with a certain wistful awareness that the choice to enter into a contract often resides with the young couple these days, and not with sensible parents. Therefore I will be bold and list the qualities you must seek in the pursuit of lasting affection. They are as follows:

1. Your young gentleman must be amiable. He must greet the world with a pleasant smile and be fetchingly deferential to you and your family members, no matter how eccentric they may be. Concerning these eccentricities, which are abundant, he must regard all with benevolence and resist passing judgment on that which he witnesses. His grin must be infectious. Remember that when you are smiling, when you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you.

2. Your young gentleman must be possessed of a comfortable means. It need not be excessive, as in the manner of Fitzwilliam Darcy. However, it must needs be sufficient to cover expenditures with some shillings left over to bank for the future. You will, of course, contribute your own modest fortunes to the match, and therefore it should be a quite advantageous situation for you both. Go on, take the money and run.

3. He must have affection for domesticated felines and hold no allergic reactions to the species. Nor should he distinguish between pedigreed or mixed lineage -- sometimes known as "bear cats" -- never saying, "You can purr, pretty kitty, but I ain't gonna rub you no more."

4. He must eschew all frivolous forms of entertainment that require useless outpourings of lucre, most especially the despicable "football pool" and other dissipating habits. He is, however, encouraged to sit on the dock of the bay and waste time.

5. He must not be encumbered with a plethora of past contracts that were disbanded, for whatever reason. His regard must be fresh and untainted by the comparison with any other person he may have known. It should feel like the first time, like the very first time.

6. While looks are generally not important, he must possess a visage that does not frighten small children or cause laughter in the street. He should also cut a fine sartorial figure without spending excessively on his attire. Every girl is crazy about a sharp dressed man.

7. While not necessarily a gentleman who works with his hands, your young suitor should be able to mend, repair, fix, straighten, re-grout, spackle, tinker, build, and invent. He should also have a strong appetite for wholesome outdoor pursuits, including but not limited to hiking, biking, rowing, swimming, playing kickball or croquet, and scaling heights safely. He should prove daily that there ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no valley low enough, ain't no river wide enough, to keep him from getting to you.

8. His habits in #7, above, should be moderate and not include meticulous collecting or Ironman triathlons.

9. It is always helpful if he is proficient with the sword and the dueling pistols. In short he should be willing to catch a grenade for you.

10. His interests should be similar, but not identical, to yours. That way, you enrich each other with your singular expertise while finding estimable commonalities. If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain, he could just as well be into champagne.

11. He must put your happiness ahead of his own and be a safe port in the storm for you when the vicissitudes of life batter you about. He should be solid as a rock.

My my, how I do prattle on! I am quite sure this is not the whole list. Perhaps my readers will feel inspired to add their sage advice to mine. Suffice it to say that a union of true souls should not be entered into lightly, or in haste. So go on a slow ride, take it easy.

Your very loving, etc. etc.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

How the United Methodist Church Changes Lives

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," blue politics, bored gods, and buzzards all the time! If you're new to the fold, welcome! If you've been here since the dawn of time, thank you so much! I love you all.

I also love the United Methodist Church. Being a member changed my life.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Wait a minute. This is a Pagan blog." And you would be right. But that doesn't mean I can't feel some gratitude toward the good ol' UMC.

When my first daughter was born, her great-grandfather took me aside and made me promise to raise her "churched." He was Roman Catholic, and thank all the bored gods he didn't ask me to take her to that den of scoundrels. But he did want her to be "churched."

I said yes. I was fond of the old fellow. My own parents were faithful church-goers, and I had grown up going to church every Sunday. So I pretty much went eenie-meenie-miney-mo among the Haterfield (aka Snobville) churches and landed at the Haterfield United Methodist Church.

I attended for 16 years, almost every Sunday.

The experience was demoralizing, frustrating, and irritating. I got along best with the diaper babies in the years when I ran the crib room during the 11:00 service.

For awhile the church had a chill and liberal pastor who regularly excoriated his flock for being privileged and complacent. (He was unpopular.) When he resigned, matters went downhill. And still I went, and I took my daughters, and they hated it. But I had made a promise.

There wasn't one moment when I decided I'd had it with the United Methodist Church. There were about 125. Maybe more. But what put the kibbosh on my membership for good was when the national leadership defrocked a female pastor when she told her congregation that she was gay.

Mind you, her congregation already knew. And they loved her. What she did was, she made a public pronouncement about her identity.  That's all it took. She lost her job.

The hypocrisy was astonishing. I bounced.

For the record, both of my daughters were happy about it. They are blissfully "unchurched" to this day.

I formally severed the ties with HUMC in 2004. Long time ago! But this week in the New York Times, I read that they are still persecuting gay clergy to this day. Times may have changed, but not the United Methodist Church, by cracky.

Readers, I am so deeply grateful to have enjoyed 15 years of Paganism, free of the UMC, free of that hidebound Bible, free of the well-dressed snobby hypocrites, free of the stewardship sermons, free of the cackling hens in the "women's circle." Free of a place that discriminates!

Since 2004 I've met many, many fascinating people from many spiritual paths. I've explored several of those paths myself, before settling on my own eccentric blend of pantheism, ancestor veneration, and buzzard worship. None of that, not one single post in this long-lived blog, would have been possible if I had stayed with the Methodists.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Methodist church! Your stunning inability to recognize the dignity and worth of every human being was the final push I needed to step right out of Christianity and not look back.

Altar call: Some of you might be contemplating a similar move. Do it! There are Other Voices in other rooms! You can change your life! Our operators are standing by to take your call.