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Basketry [Nov. 26th, 2009|12:42 am]
Has anyone here done any basket weaving? Every year my family makes a pile of Christmas goodie baskets for everyone, but we don't usually get many of the baskets back for the next year, so we have to keep getting more. Unfortunately, the availability and quality seem to be dropping. If anyone knows a good web site or book for learning to make baskets, a good source of basket-making materials, or someone who would be willing to make ~20 baskets of a particular size and style every year for about $5-$10/basket, drop me a note? Please?

Thank you.
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Wiccan Wedding [Jun. 28th, 2008|07:14 pm]
Today I got to go to a Wiccan wedding for the first time, and some of my friends expressed interest in what it was like, so I thought I'd post the explanation from the program and some notes of my own.

I'm afraid there wasn't a note as to who wrote the program, but thank you, whoever you are!

A Guide to the Liturgy
Casting the Circle
Wiccans have no churches or other religious buildings, so Wiccan religious ceremonies take place in sacred space known as a "circle." This circle is erected anew before each and every ceremony, yet its creation reminds us that we return to the same Sacred Space, the same Temple, over and over again.

Before we begin to construct the Sacred Space, we sweep away all negativity and unwanted influences, leaving the area ready for the ceremony that is about to take place. In times past, the broom was used not only to physically clean the home, but also to spiritually bless it.

The Priest and Priestess mark the perimeter of the Sacred Space, and consecrate it with incense and salt water.

Calling the Quarters
We call the Guardians of the four directions, symbolized by Air, Fire, Water, and Earth, to witness and protect this Rite, and to bring their unique gifts to the Bride and Groom and to their union.

Calling the Lord and Lady
The Priest and Priestess invite the gods to enter into our circle. Wiccans see Deity as both masculine and feminine, and therefore, we invite both the Lord and Lady to join us in this Sacred Space, witness the Rite, and bring Their blessings to the Bride and Groom's union, which is an echo of Their own.

Binding of the Hands
Wiccan weddings are best known for the "handfasting," or the binding of the hands of the couple.

Presentation to the Quarters
The Bride and Groom are brought to each of the Quarters in turn, to declare their union and receive the blessings of that Quarter.

Wine and Cakes
The sharing of food and drink with one another is one of the oldest and most basic rituals known to Mankind, and it is a part of every Wiccan ceremony. The wine and cakes are blessed by the newly married couple, symbolically representing the Sacred Union between the Lady and Lord.

Jumping the Broom
The ritual of jumping the broom is an old one, and steeped in tradition. It symbolizes the couple's union, their new home together, and jumping over the threshold into a new life together.

Extending the Circle
The Priest and Priestess will extend the Sacred Space we have constructed, so that it will encompass all of the wedding celebrations to follow. We know that the food, drink, dancing, and celebrations that will follow are just as sacred as the Rite in which we have just participated.

My notes:
One of the things I liked best was that, because it was a smallish group, we were all inside the circle. They swept all around everyone, and, while we stood and faced the different directions as instructed, they moved around the perimeter of the circle. You could easily tell who had been to a Wiccan wedding before and who hadn't from who knew which way to turn and when! It was inside, likely because the weather was iffy, although I think outside would have been better. As they're casting the circle, one of the things they bring around is incense, which was a bit strong in the small space, and I think made some of the kids tend to sneeze.

I have a feeling that the ceremony was vastly simplified for us, as I know Wicca tends to have a *lot* of symbolism and a kind of poetry to it. The casting the circle, and calling the Quarters and the Lord and Lady were very short and seemed abbreviated. That actually makes sense, since I presume a lot of the guests wouldn't get most of the symbolism anyway!

The handfasting part was pretty. The little girl that brought up the rings also brought the cord, although it wasn't red like I had read about. It was in the wedding colors, instead. The Bride and Groom's hands were bound together, with each one's hand on the other's wrist, so that they could put the ring on each other's finger. They wrote their own vows, which were very similar to others I had heard. I liked the end, which was something like, "Will you take me as I truly am?" and there was a part about, "I promise to carefully listen, and to speak the truth."

Then there was more moving around the circle, which was nice as everyone got to have a front row seat at some part or another. That helped as it was sometimes hard to hear what they were saying. Then their hand were unbound, and the Bride and Groom blessed the wine (white grape juice) and cakes (small, possibly gluten-free, cookies). Then the bridesmaids and groomsmen brought the trays down to each row of seats and had us pass them along, taking one as they went. This was very practical, as there was no room in that space for a lot of people to get up and move around. It also had us looking at and smiling at each other. The grape juice was in lots of small glasses, though, and no one was quite sure what to do with them afterwards. I suspect a lot of them got left under chairs and forgotten. The blessing was lovely, though, and it was nice to share in the ceremony.

Jumping the broom was cute, but I imagine it was a lot harder to do in a wedding dress than it looked!

There was a bit more ceremony, and then the Bride and Groom left, presumably to start a mad round of picture-taking, while the Priest and Priestess finished up the blessings, and the ceremony to extend the circle to encompass the reception and all the following parties. I think they simplified that part, too. The whole thing was very graceful, and very personal. I learned later that the bride had officiated at the wedding a few years previous of the Priest and Priestess who officiated today. There were a lot of neat touches like that.

The reception was wild. There was a live jazz band, and the Bride and Groom had taken lessons, possibly from some of the guests, as there were a lot of great dancers on the floor. Some of the guests left at one point and came back in full costume, one group of sword dancers (Renfaire style, maybe?) and another crew in leiderhosen (spelling?) and doing all sorts of crazy dances. There was a lot of laughter and good food. It was a lovely day, spent talking, laughing, and dancing with my husband and celebrating a new marriage just begun.
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Health conscious food [Apr. 30th, 2007|01:17 am]
Just a note for people on various weight/sugar/stuff watches, a small dish of ricotta cheese with a spoonfull or two of dark Ghiradelli's chocolate powder mixed in is *wonderful*. I'm told you can do a lemon version with Crystal Light singles. If anyone has them and can try it, let me know how it is?
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FFXI RDM Genkai 5 - Maat fight - Notes [Dec. 25th, 2006|07:44 pm]
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |accomplished]

I just won the Maat fight, on my 14th try. Here are some notes for anyone else attempting it on what I failed to do before and what finally worked. If you see any typos or gramatical errors, please comment so I can fix them.

Gear on the winning run:
Weapons carried:
--Dark, Light, Wind, Water, Ice staves (NQ) and Mythic Wand +!
--(Used all but the Light staff)
AF Hat, Body, Legs
Back: Red Cape +1
Hands: Master Casters Bracelets
Waist: Penitent's Rope (Thank you Fishy!)
Feet: Custom (Hume) Boots
Rings: Swapped between a pair of Wisdom Rings and an Electrum/Ether ring combo
Earrings: Fencer's earring and Moldavite (anything I could hunt and not buy was good!)
Neck: Swapped between Spider Torque and Elemental Torque
Ranged: Fortune Egg

Macros (Alt for things I do to him, Ctrl for things I do to me)
--Pallette 1 (Heavy use)
C1 - Recast (Sleep, Sleep2, Bind, Dispel)
C2-3 - Blink, Stoneskin (Macroing in Mythic Wand +1)
C4 - Cure IV (Didn't use, but nice to have)
C5-7 - Hi-Potion, Pro-Ether, Yagudo Drink
C8-9 - Vile Elixir, Vile Elixer +1 (Macroing in ether/electrum rings to boost MP recovered)
C0 - Convert (Macroing in ether Electrum rings to boost MP recovered)

A1-3 - Sleep, Sleep II, Bind (Macroing in staves)
A4 - Empty
A5 - Dispel (Macroing in Dark Staff)
A6 - Empty
A7-9 - Aero III, Water III, Stone III (Macroing in Wisdom rings and staff)
A0 - Chainspell

Pallette 2 (Minimal use)
C1 - Echo drops
C2 - Empty
C3-4 Shell IV, Protect IV
C5 - Phalanx
C6 - Haste (Didn't use)
C7 - Refresh (Didn't use)
C8-0 Empty

A1 - Diaga
A2 - Paralyze (Didn't use)
A3 - Blind (Didn't use)
A4-6 - Empty
A7-9 - Aero, Water,Stone (For removing blink cheaply if I didn't want to use Diaga. Didn't use)
A0 - Empty

Medicines brought:
Pro-Ether (Didn't happen to use, but wouldn't go without)
Yagudo drink (Should have brought 3, only had 1)
Hi-Potions (Brought about a dozen, didn't need that many)
Hi-Ethers (Brought about a half-dozen, used only one or two)
Super Ethers (Brought 2, used one)
Vile Elixir, Vile Elixer +1 (Used both)

Food: Melon Pie +1

Course of events:
Run in, run up to circle, and watch him buff while I buff. He got in both Blink and Shell, the only two I was watching for).
Buffed: Protect IV, Shell IV, Phalanx, Blink, Stoneskin.
Used a yagudo drink, Super Ether, and Hi-Ether (to get MP to nearly full before starting)
Drew weapon (Not sure if you have to, but not taking any chances! I stayed with weapon drawn all battle, turning away to sleep)
Opened with Diaga (This will clear shadows and the Dia effect will wear off before I need to sleep him)
Bind (stuck) Dispel (Shell) Aero III (377 and Bind wore)
Water III (342) Bind (stuck)
Stoneskin, Aero III (377)
--Maat Chainspelled--
Sleep II (stuck)
Phalanx, Blink, Stoneskin
Vile Elixir
Wait... until his chainspell should have worn
Bind (stuck), Chainspell
Aero III (377) Water III (170) Aero III (377)
Sleep II (not enough MP) Sleep (Not enough MP)
Vile Elixir +1
Sleep II (stuck) Bind (stuck)
Chainspell wore off
Aero III (377)
Clear time: 5 minutes, 49 seconds

--Use a Super Ether after buffing to save a bit of time. Three Hi-Ethers can replace the Super Ether and the Hi-Ether.
--Don't bother going in unequipped.
--Watch him buff. Diaga works for an opener, as it will wear off soon enough.
--NEVER SILENCE MAAT! If he's silenced, he will hit instead of cast. Any time he spends casting you spend not getting hit, and blink takes the spell damage.
--Don't use a Pro-Ether before you engage. Spend the time on the Hi-Ethers now, and save the Pro-Ether for when you need a chunk of MP fast.
--After you Chainspell, check your MP. You can cast as many elementals as you have hundreds of MP minus one (326 MP left? You can cast 2 elementals). Then cast sleep II, or Sleep, or at least Bind. Don't just mash the macros. If you run out of MP (like I did) getting it back is iffy. Save enough to sleep, get out of the way, and use medicines to get it back fast.

Each run cost about 150-200K gil (may be less if you die before meds are all used). It took 14 runs for me to win. This is an expensive fight.

Good luck!
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VSC - baby things [Sep. 5th, 2006|09:43 pm]
This is a post to develop a list of all the things I'll need for baby. If anyone can think of anything that's not listed, or knows specific brands or qualities I should look for or avoid, please let me know!

Cradle - I have the cradle that my husband slept in as a baby. Can't get more perfect than that.

Crib tent (to keep cats out), bumper pad, sheets, blankets, swaddling blankets
Dresser/changing table - from the same set as the Crib
Gliding rocking chair - Erica suggested extra-wide to have room for two for nursing and storytime later
Travel crib/playpen - one for Mom's place and one for Dad's, looking at the Sandollar Pack N Play as the favorite right now
Highchair - Mary suggested Healthy Care Booster Seat as a high chair for once baby can sit up and becoming a booster seat later. Tons of positive reviews on this one.
Car seat/Stroller - Maybe this one, have to test it
Baby swing/rocker -
Bouncer (for later) -

Baby tub
Baby towels, soap, hairbrush, washcloth, bathtoy

Clothing and Accessories
Spitup cloths, bibs
Winter clothes, hats, car blankets, laundry basket, baby detergent?
Pacifiers, bottles, teething rings, baby dishes
Diapers (disposable and GDiapers)
Diaper pail, diaper holder, baby wipes, creams, powder

Plush toys, soft blocks, blankies

Night light
Nursing supplies (What kind of supplies will I need, besides spitup cloths?)
Nursing bras, nursing tops, shawls
Baby gates (5, preferably, but at least 2), plug covers, cabinet latches
Baby footprint plaster kit (That one's purely for me ^^)
Digital camera (I should have gotten one of these long ago)
Baby sling/carrier - Erica may be sending me her Snugli carrier if her littlest doesn't like it.
Baby monitor
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