Friday, February 25, 2022

Of Goddesses and Birthday Angels

 Did you ever have something happen to you that absolutely defied all odds and just seemed basically incredible? I have experienced this a few times, and it's always startling. Makes the most logical person scratch their head, because it is just magic.

Two weeks ago, after a long day at work, I popped into the thrift store. They always have a shelf of trinkets right inside the door -- they have Christmas stuff on it all year around, as well as other little do-dads and statuettes and such.

The moment I looked at the shelf I saw her:


This is a Lefton birthday angel ca. 1966. I have never seen anything ceramic of this vintage in the thrift store before. And of course, March is my birthday month.

It gets better.

You see, I actually had a birthday angel like this, had her for decades in fact.

I gave her away as part of a fundraiser to save Terrapin Run.

Only my oldest of old-timers will remember how a rural community in Western Maryland had to pay a land-use lawyer to fight a developer who wanted to build housing for 11,000 people alongside a little Tier I stream called Terrapin Run. While the lawyer supported our cause, he needed to eat. So the little consortium to save the stream had all kinds of auctions and such to pay the lawyer bills. I sent them jewelry, and I sent them my little March angel I had owned since I was a kid. Had tears in my eyes when I turned her over.

In addition to giving what I could to the fundraising, I worked magic along the bank of Terrapin Run. For years. The Goddess I petitioned was Venus Cloacina, the Roman Goddess of the sewers. I figured if any deity would object to a crystal clear stream being turned into a wastewater dumping ground, it would be Cloacina.

Developers almost always win these battles. But this developer didn't. He lost like an egg-sucking dog and limped his saggy, broke-ass butt back to Washington, DC.

Ever since then I have thanked Cloacina whenever I visit that area, because I truly believe She answered my prayers.

Back to the present: What are the vast odds of finding a 50-year-old ceramic angel, exactly like the one I donated, just sitting on the shelf at the thrift store I visit twice a month? (By the way, she cost me $3.50.)

It gets better.

I had been waiting six weeks to hear from the attorney in Bedford who was handling my purchase of a property in the land of my ancestors. Not two days after bringing home the March angel, the documents and paperwork arrived in my email.

I am as scientific as the next guy, but that angel was nothing but an omen. Sent by Cloacina.

Don't pish tosh me now, reader. Terrapin Run is less than 10 miles from the property.

Which is now my property. It has closed.

I have land. And a Goddess. Bless them both.

Thursday, February 24, 2022


 My knees really hurt. Especially the right one. I have to go up and down the stairs at my work, and I'm literally gripping the bannister and grimacing with every step.

My Altra Lone Peak 5 trail runners would be a game-changer with this, but I am not allowed to wear my Altra Lone Peak 5 trail runners to school. The school has a dress code. Teachers are forbidden to wear sneakers without a valid doctor's note.

I got a note from my doctor in March of 2021 so I could wear my Altra Lone Peak 5 trail runners to work. Last month I was told that since my doctor's note is not dated after September 1, 2021, it's no longer valid.

The principal nicely asked me to call my doctor and have him write out another note. But when I saw how the doctor rolled his eyes and clicked his tongue and sighed that any 63-year-old school teacher would actually need a note to wear comfortable shoes, I was so embarrassed that I would rather work barefoot than bother him again.

I could get a healthy checkup in March, but now I have to wait until September, so I can get the properly dated note for next year.

It's very hard for me to find comfortable shoes, as I have bad bunions on both feet. I often have to buy shoes that are a size or two too large to accommodate my feet. I actually have to rotate three pairs of shoes that are "suitable" when I go to work, because each pair has issues for my feet. I'm sure these shoes are contributing to the knee pain.

This is my problem right now. By all that is holy, what a lucky woman I am! Such a trivial damn thing, compared to all the tragedies all around, all the time. I have no doubt that some day I'm going to look back with longing at the time when my knees hurt because I couldn't wear sneakers to school.

May we all struggle with minor nuisance problems. Things can change overnight.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

You're Really Dissing the Thrift Store, Country Magazine?

 It's President's Day weekend, and what does that mean? Everything's half off at the thrift store! And whoa, doggies. The place was packed.

Have you seen the average thrift store shopper these days? No you haven't, because all kinds of people shop at the thrift store now. Lots of artsy Gen Z, lots of handsome metrosexual men, and lots of school teachers. Tons of school teachers.

I have a favorite thrift store that I visit at least once a week for retail therapy. Over the years I have almost completely outfitted myself and my house from that store. I've gotten towels, bath rugs, sheets, bedspreads, throw pillows, small pieces of furniture, books, shoes, decorations, and small kitchen appliances there. Clothing? Almost all my clothing comes from the thrift store. The only clothing I buy retail is fairy attire!

Fact: Last week I went to Target to buy a Valentine's Day gift for Mr. J. I picked up the one thing I'm loath to buy at the thrift store (underwear) and saw a cute set of pajamas that I liked. With Mr. J's gift I spent ... get ready ... $70. My jaw dropped. That's three or four hefty hauls from the thrift store!

So you can imagine my surprise when Country Magazine, that chic bastion of finding cute stuff at the antique mall, came out with an article entitled "40 Things You Should Never Buy at the Thrift Store."

40, mind you. Should have titled it "Don't Shop at the Thrift Store, Buy Something Expensive Instead."

Needless to say, I was intrigued to see what Country Magazine deemed unworthy of purchase from a thrift store.

*Old furniture. Might have lead paint. As opposed to stuff at the antique mall, which is presumably pristine.

*Anything upholstered. Well, they don't sell such things at my thrift store, thank you very much.

*Bedding. Might have bedbugs. Except you can see the industrial-sized washing machines in the back room at the thrift store.

*Stuff for kids, as in, car seats, strollers, and toys. Excuse you, Country Magazine. While my local thrift store is chock-a-block with cutie pie young skinny guys, it's also always full of poor people. You know, the people the thrift store is supposed to serve. And those people might not be able to go out and buy a brand new car seat. Shit's expensive.

*Throw pillows. Again, bedbugs. The magazine's advice? Buy a throw pillow from Target, where it's $10 - $20. News flash: $20 will buy 10 pillows at the thrift store. It's a bedbug gamble, but so is staying at the Hilton.

*Clothes. Say that again? Yes, you heard me. Clothes! They might be torn or stained, and you can't return them! For the love of fruit flies. As if anyone goes into the thrift store, plucks something from the rack, flips it on the counter, and doesn't so much as glance at it to see if it's stained! I'll admit, I did buy a shirt two weeks ago that is missing the bottom button. But stains and tears? Everyone checks for stains and tears.

*Anything that smells bad. Duh. That's advice for trash-pickers, not Goodwill shoppers.

*Kitchen appliances. They might not work. Well, let's see. I got my crock pot there, and it works. I got my hand mixer there, and it works. Case closed.

In this slideshow article, the list goes on and on, and most of the stuff on it isn't stuff I see in the thrift store where I shop. Who buys old windowpanes at the thrift store?

I can't imagine that many readers of Country Magazine actually shop in thrift stores, but I guess maybe the sport is getting so trendy that even rich faux-chic snobs are going there now. I'm stretching it with this one, but do you think perhaps Target paid the magazine to run such a spurious slide show? Hmmm. 

One last powerful point to this sermon, and it's the kind of whopper of a point that would bring any new congregant to the altar call. Have you read that little tag on the brand new pair of blue jeans you bought at Target? WASH BEFORE WEARING. WASH SEPARATELY. You see this on everything new. Everything. So how is that different from bringing home thrift store garments and flinging them in the washing machine? Well, maybe all the poisonous dyes have been leeched from the thrift store attire already!

I'll bet you're wondering what I bought today at the thrift store. Oh, readers. I got an NFL brand zippered hoodie with the Eagles logo, in my size, for $2.50. Have you priced out official NFL merchandise in the retail sector? Don't. Go to the thrift store, especially after the team has had a bad year.

There will be more in this space about the thrift store in coming installments. But this sermon has run long, and I know you want to get on with your day.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

An Auspicious Full Moon

 Thank you for visiting "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm Anne Johnson. How can I help you? Please hold.

Had to add that last part, for those of you who actually remember how phones used to work.

Just now I got home from work and opened my home email. (Can't do it at work without spying.) Nestled among the come-ons for Hello Fresh and the latest God Pod and my Patreon payments and my electronic pay stub, there was another email.

An email with a deed.

And another email with information on how to close on a property from afar.

Full moon tomorrow, perfect time to sign documents and cut a check and get everything under way.

This is the part where I add that the property is coming to me from a private sale. On the multiple listings land of this sort goes for twice to three times the amount I am paying per acre. I've been looking at the online listings for years and years and years and years.

Four acres and change, all of it forested, off the grid with nothing built on it. No house for me to fret about. One contiguous human neighbor whose house cannot be seen and who was a chum of my uncle's. The other boundary belonging to the State of Pennsylvania, game lands.

Feature this. For the price of a middling cruise to Alaska, I will have a forest. A forest all of my own. Just for me and whichever bored deities like to go camping. I know Cloacina is wild about the area. She'll be my first invite.

Hold me in the light for this last haul, but it does look like all systems go.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Haiku from a Teacher

 Please stop banning books

I'm trying to teach reading

Can't if you ban books

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Three Gross-Outs before Noon

 Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," sunny Sunday edition! I'm Anne Johnson, as always your hostess with the mostest!

Dang! Three gross-outs before noon, on a Sunday! Trigger warning: gross stuff follows.

First thing, I went out to sweep off my front porch and put away my Yule lights. There was an advertising flier in my mailbox from a new evangelical church in close proximity to my home. It was a glitzy production, including the following quip:

    From attraction and dating to marriage and sex, the Bible contains eye-opening advice...

yada yada yada.

I promptly sent this church a Facebook message, to whit:

Dear *** Church, I am a hedge witch, and my house is particularly warded against such intrusions as your flier in my mailbox. The wards are not hidden. Whoever was distributing fliers over the weekend should be notified.

That ought to give them pause.

Second thing, I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. On the way, I smelled it before I saw it: a dead skunk in the middle of the road. Looked up in the sky, and already there was an inquisitive vulture circling. But you know ... a busy road! The cars regularly go 40 miles an hour along there.

So, on my way back from the pharmacy, I pulled over and (trying not to heave) heaved that full-grown, freshly smashed specimen right to the curb. Now if the homeowners just leave it alone, it'll be gone in a few hours. 

Well, you know, as you might imagine, one can't pick up a dead skunk by the tail without suffering a little blowback. But after a thorough scrubbing my hands are fine, and the car doesn't reek.

Tempted to drive by later and see if the skunk attracted any customers.

Third thing, it's not a biggie. A regular occurrence, really. My Gamma Cat suffers from crystals. Not the kind on my altar. Some kind that make him uncomfortable and therefore an outside-of-the-box thinker. We've got him on urinary tract food, and he's been better about the box, but there's still quite the cleanup to do. But that's kind of a gross-out I'm used to.

You know what? N95 masks are great for cat clean up! Another use for a useful tool!

For the love of fruit flies. This all happened before noon. I hope the afternoon is less eventful regarding gross stuff. I've reached today's capacity.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Imbolc 2022

 It's Imbolc here at "The Gods Are Bored," and I must say this is a very special holy day. We're socked under some snow, but the days are bright longer. Already we have gained more than a half hour of daylight.

I feel like a spring bulb just beginning to quicken under the frozen ground. Still awaiting word on the property I hope to buy ... you know how that is. But Imbolc is the holy day of yet-to-come, and I'm feeling it in my bones. Something is stirring.

Something has happened in the 17 years I've been writing this blog. The Goddess Queen Brighid the Bright has gone from bored to busy. I could not even schedule her for an interview today. She now has a vibrant and growing praise and worship team! No more lurking behind "Candlemas" and sainthood for her. She's on the move!

This is the season of home and hearth, of the interior work we all have to do to keep our souls spiffy.

It is also the time of making plans and of anticipating the spring. We've been through the wringer the past two years. There's been a pestilence abroad in the land. It has claimed many people's lives. Now, though, there are vaccines and medications for the illness. No one need get a deadly case if they follow the protocols. Look how far we have come since we all crept home in March of 2020, fearing for our lives!

Let's prepare to plant and harvest the way we did before Covid came along. Imbolc is the time of preparation. Can you feel the possibilities in the air? Even if the Goddess is too busy to pop in and chat? I can.

Bright Imbolc blessings to you, readers of "The Gods Are Bored!" Light the candle, everything's all right.