Event Anxiety

I’m taking a day off from work today so I can recuperate from the Ostar event with the kindred. No, I wasn’t drunk or hungover. I got ample sleep so it’s not from lack of sleep and trying to explain the fuzz is difficult. I just told my supervisor that I had a stomach bug. In reality, it was my body trying to mend from anxiety and fear. To join the kindred a person needs to speak up in front of everyone at an event such as Yule or Ostar. The anxiety is crippling and I could never speak up and ask. What if everyone voted no?

The Ostar egg hunt went great, the kids had fun painting, and the fire spinning was beautiful. The ritual was moving as always…well, they move me in the sense that it feels right and I’m at home. I was chosen or how it was put, ‘Volutold’ (a cross between volunteering and being told) to be this event’s Valkyrie. Immediately I started to panic. I was reassured that I had one simple line (that I had to say to everyone) and move on. I couldn’t tell you how many times I practiced that in my head. Over and over the line repeated. Not only do I have that going through my head so I don’t screw it up (because it’s a great honor to), I was working on not tripping and falling into the fire or impaling myself with the drinking horn. I think it all went well, I didn’t screw up the line I needed to ask nor did I impale myself on the horn. In the end, it was time to read runes. To uphold the rune reading four wooden ones are thrown to choose people to help in this by reaching out but also sacrificing something. You guessed it, one landed in front of me. I had nothing on me other than my Mjolnir, wedding rings, and a silver tree ring that was an anniversary gift. I wasn’t giving up my wedding rings and my Mjolnir didn’t mean as much as my anniversary ring. So it was the ring that went into the fire. The sacrifice had to be meaningful and this was the only thing I had. My finger is bare but truth be told there isn’t any regret.

As the evening wore on our Sumbel was taking place under the northern lights. I don’t mean we could see them but we were RIGHT UNDER the lights. As I didn’t think things could be any more perfect the moon was rising over a house and the glow was an orange magnificent light. It came time for the circle and I made it through the first two rounds. I hailed the Gods and ancestors but then it was time for the third. Oath, toast, or boast. Oaths are not a no-no but are taken with the utmost care. If you fail with an oath it will affect the kindred Wyrd. That scares me so. I didn’t have anything to toast to but I could have toasted our hosts. DAMN IT! Why didn’t I think of that then? Oh, yeah (wave at my anxiety here). I had a boast which was my job interview I landed for the 28th. Before I could speak, a wonderful person tried to encourage me to ask to join. It was horrible but in a good way. Everyone was staring and people had to vote. I almost threw up twice and held my breath waiting to hear a ‘nay’ but none came.

Now, my body is trying to get better from the panic, fear, and anxiety felt on Saturday? Probably wondering why if it was so bad, do I put myself through this? Because it’s that important to me. Heathenism and Asatru mean that much to me. So today, I’m trying to regroup and think about the responsibility that I have asked to take on. Not only am I learning a new path in life, upholding the modern heathen ways, but I’m also gaining a family. I hope I don’t fail at that. I hope I don’t fail at anything.

So…happy Monday everyone!

 

From Yule to Medieval Times

These past few days have been emotional and great all at the same time. I celebrated and experienced (somewhat) my first Yule with the kindred. I was still sick with the stomach bug but made it through the Sumbels and ritual. During this time my husband and I are trying to find each other again and that is proving to be a longer goal that I once thought. Over a decade of being together, you start to feel like strangers all over again. Christmas Eve, I surprised everyone with a trip to Medieval Times. The only way that we could pull that one off was an online discount, then another at check-in for a better upgrade, and not staying at a hotel which meant driving a total of 8 hours. As your kids get older that holiday sparkle fades in their eyes. The best gift I got was seeing that sparkle come alive again in their eyes as they watched the entertainment.

From Yule to Medieval Times (Friday-Monday), we were going non-stop. Then comes Christmas day when my mom decided to invite her and her boyfriend over. I hadn’t planned much for dinner and ended up throwing something together for 7 people, in an hour. Being sick and tired from driving I didn’t want anything to do with the kitchen. Next year I think we will do a longer Yule celebration since there is some debate on the holiday lasting 3 days or 12 days.

Today, since we didn’t get to do our family games like tradition thanks to family stopping by, I’m ordering pizza and we are doing a gauntlet of games. We will be playing Cards against humanity, exploding kittens, Stranger Things monopoly edition, and some classic Nintendo 2 player game battles. This weekend I have plans for more Havamal study since I learned so much during Yule. I have some wood burning to do and other things to set up my area. Pictures and whatnot of my progress will surely make a debut here. I’m slowly feeling like myself after the huge interview fail and working even harder on my web development course. Maybe marketing graphic design isn’t for me. All the great advice, positive words, and stories from my readers helped in more ways than one. Thank you, guys.

How was your holiday? Traditions new and old? Happy Wednesday everyone!

I Survived…

Cue music and dim lights. Everything on Thursday was nice up until my mom came over. Her birthday is at the end of the month and I thought it would be a great time to give her the gift. This also ensures that I don’t have to make a trip out to see her. Why wouldn’t I want to see my mom? Her exuberance of superiority, her display of being better than me, and a touch of guilt are just a few reasons why I keep our visits down to a minimum. She opened her gift which was a bottle of REALLY good mead that she said she enjoyed and an Ancestry DNA kit. This was kind of a jab at her for giving me such grief over my results but I wanted her to see what her DNA story was. ‘Ooohhh (decrescendo here everyone). Thanks.’ That was her reaction. OK, whatever (down a glass of wine).

Then it was time for me to heat up Thanksgiving dinner. Let me tell you it was nice not to run around for a week and prepping and baking then cooking ALL morning to have everyone scarf EVERYTHING down in 5 minutes. Not to mention all the dishes that no one would help with. I timed everything perfectly. It was on the table and people were eating. It was good food. Then my mom chimed in. ‘It’s good but we weren’t brought up this way. I’m cooking tomorrow since Jeff doesn’t have dinners like this.’ This comment here was BULLSHIT (oh sorry this isn’t going to be a PG-rated blog). First off he came to Thanksgiving dinner last year and loved my cooking then seen how she reacted about how good it was and seen why I didn’t want them to come thanks to her jealousy. Second, she cooks homecooked meals ALL the time for him. But ok, whatever (down a second glass of wine). Then my oldest daughter chimed in. For me wanting to take care of myself this holiday was apparently a crime. I felt deflated and me wanting to enjoy being with everyone without having clean up and being exhausted was stolen. The two younger ones stayed the night with her and the oldest went to work allowed my husband and myself to do our shopping. We are mostly done so I’m good with that.

Here we are on Friday. My husband and I set out for coffee and a few more things. We got back in time to discover my oldest didn’t do ANYTHING she was supposed to do. Now I’m irritated but don’t say anything because we have to go to my mom’s for HER homecooked meal. I gushed at the pictures that she posted of my daughter helping here cook but wondered where my son was in these pictures? Oh, she didn’t want to bother with him and let him fall asleep at 6pm. Dinner is served, her boyfriend loves it, and ‘I was able to get all my prep work done when we got back from your place.’ Jab 1. ‘This is really really good. Not like what you get a restaurant. Unknowingly Jab 2 from her boyfriend (or did he know?)’ ‘Mamaw this is so good. Homecooked meals are what I look forward too for the holidays’ Jab 3 from my own damn kid. Then it was time for pies (mind you no one ate the ones I got with dinner) and what was supposed to be my daughter’s spotlight because she cooked them my mom took credit for showing her how to bake pies since I didn’t show her this year. Jab 4. I’m pretty much feeling awful at this point and was thankful that my son wasn’t feeling good. We all came home smelling of smoke because she smokes in her house and we were covered in pet dander. Changed clothes and showered. My son was feeling a ton better and ate dinner (leftovers because everyone HATED what I did).

Per our day after Thanksgiving tradition, we set out for the perfect family Yule tree. (we are going to try a traditional Yule this year whether my older girls like it or not). I think that was the most fun I had this holiday. My husband tried being compassionate and support me through all the bullshit from both my mom and oldest daughter. I will be cooking next year and hope that I don’t let my feelings for this year cloud and happiness. I’m feeling absolutely deflated to the point I don’t even want to do Yule this year and that includes cooking. I’m going to try and stay positive and make the best out of what’s left of the weekend. We have a tree to decorate and I think I’ll bake cookies. Hope Y’all made it through or will make it through your holidays. Chin up, it’ll all be over soon and the regularly scheduled program will continue. Happy Saturday everyone!

Are we REALLY family?

I have most of my portfolio done! EEK! I even started updating my resume. Outside of a few tweaks by the end of the day, if no one interrupts, I’ll be applying to jobs with a decent portfolio, updated resume, and awesome cover letter. Hopefully, I’ll be in a new job by the new year. Dream or goal? Actually, it’s ok for it to be both.

While taking a break from work and portfolio construction I was scrolling through my social media feed when I see that my cousin just had a baby. I didn’t even know that she was pregnant. Wondering how that’s possible especially if you’re close with all your family. Simple. I’m not considered ‘REAL’ family. How do I make a long story short when in reality it’s a long? My grandpa on my mom’s side and my grandma were young when they had my mom. They tried to make a go at it. It didn’t work and split. My grandpa never talked to my mom after that. Years later, my mom found her dad. They talked and we all met. While my mom was getting sideways looks from her stepmom (obviously reminder of her husbands past) she met her half-sisters. One was accepting the other was really giving off the Cinderella stepsister vibe. My sister and I were really not considered ‘grandchildren’ but rather children that tagged along. While my dad bought us happy meals (and a big girl burger for me) he was more than happy not to interact with people who didn’t approve of him or his lifestyle.

Forward years later too after the divorce and she moved north to be close to her family dragging us kids with I rebelled. I was a constant reminder of my mom’s past. I eventually screwed up enough where the judge told my mom, ‘She can go to jail here OR you send her back to her dad.’ I got to go back home. Forward many more years later, I moved north to be closer to my mom but nothing has changed with her side of the family. Now, my kids, husband, and myself are still considered the non-family members. We’re family by blood but if it wasn’t for that tie then they wouldn’t bother with the yearly Christmas card. While my grandfather is helping his other grandchildren pay off loans, purchase houses, and pay for weddings he takes time to send $100 in a Christmas card addressed to, ‘Family’. Thanks, Grandpa. He got married this past summer and the wedding invite my mom received was to her and ‘family’. I didn’t go.

I have cousins that think that we aren’t family and that’s what led me to find out she had her first child this past weekend. I have a grandfather that only acknowledges my presence around the holidays. I have two aunts that don’t consider me to be a niece until they need my blunt honest mouth to get their ‘beat around the bush’ ideas across. I did not chime in my congratulations on the baby picture post. I did not get invited to the baby shower so I’m not planning a belated gift for the baby. I’m going to skip being a part of their ‘family’ this year. I find that it’s better to get rid of all the toxicity at once.  What’s my point with this post this morning? Well, trying to focus more on self-care and what I want and need I need to remind myself to let go of all the people, including blood relations, that does not bring joy into my life in some form or another. With this holiday season coming up remember that it’s OK to let go of people including family.

Who am I? And what do I eat?

It’s one thing to grow up being proud of a heritage ONLY to learn that there is more to the story. In my quick video, I had mentioned that my father was adopted. My grandmother was a single mother to my father when she met, fell in love with, and married my grandfather who was in the Navy. The family (her side) kept secret the identity of my father’s biological father. So much so that the secret has gone to everyone’s grave. I unknowingly kicked a hornet’s nest (with my mother but that’s for another post) and did the Ancestry DNA test. In the FAQs, it details which parents DNA you may receive. Apparently, I received more of my father’s DNA and who knew that he was Scottish and Swedish?! I also got my mother’s DNA with Norwegian and Irish. I am trying to embrace my heritage both new and old. With my husband learning that he is Norwegian as well I started with recipes from Norway. NORWEGIAN SUCCESS TART (SUKSESSTERTE) and NORWEGIAN BUTTER COOKIES (SERINAKAKER) were my first two actual attempts. I’m so thankful that these two sites posted Norwegian recipes. I was proud of what I was able to accomplish. My original idea was to use my great-great grandmother’s Krumkake iron to make those awesome delicate cone cookies but my mother squashed it. So I searched all over the internet and found these two recipes that would be simple for me to find all the ingredients here in the states.

The tart and the cookies didn’t last long at all and I felt like I was able to own some of my heritage. The tart had no flour! I was shaken, to say the least. I was able to make something so light and filling from just a few ingredients. The excitement happened when it tasted like something I already was familiar with but never had. Bonus-it looked just like the picture. The cookies were a simple cookie that I could easily make from scratch again and again! I know my father and great-great-grandmother would appreciate it. One thing I learned and felt while tasting the little treasures from my oven is the fact that I felt a sense of belonging but also coming from somewhere. I didn’t feel as lost anymore.

The Scottish recipes seem to be my nemesis. I cannot find for the life of me some recipes that are new and exciting to try and make at home. This was an interesting find for me in my DNA and it belongs to my father. He passed away 8 years ago and I would like to make something that helps me feel closer to him and our heritage. Until I am able to get my hands on a recipe or two from Scotland I am going to try my hand at recipes from Sweden…I just have to find them first.

My Plea: I’m asking for help. Anyone with family recipes from Norway, Scotland, or Sweden that they wouldn’t mind me trying to make myself I would greatly appreciate it. Know a friend of a friend whose grandmother LOVES to pass down tradition and wouldn’t mind passing on heritage and the stories that go with I would be grateful. Unfortunately, I do not have those living relative links, family ties, but would like to slowly build my own for my children and myself. I can’t get to see these beautiful countries and experience the culture first hand but I can start to build tradition at home. Please share and ask if there are any recipes.

How I Single-handedly Ruined Thanksgiving Dinner…

At least according to my 16-year-old daughter. (I wanted to start with some journal entries to feel like I’ve caught myself up on my blog so thank you for hanging in there with me) First and foremost…I know my mamaw was rolling over in her grave the minute that I received the confirmation email. Being a southern woman, wife, and mother there are some things that are expected of us and one of those things is cooking a from scratch holiday meal, every holiday,  until the day we die. Before we die we are to also make sure to pass down ANY AND ALL cooking knowledge to the next in line which is learned through cooking every holiday. This year I did something so completely radical that my kids are ready to throw out the ENTIRE Thanksgiving Holiday. It went something like this once I got the kids home from school, dinner started, homework in progress and answering phone calls:

ME (to kids): Announcement Everyone!! (I’m all smiles so they know it’s not bad news)
KIDS (gather in the kitchen)
ME (still smiling): I will not be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. (still smiling)
KIDS (uprising officially commencing): OOH WHAT!! Now we have to go to grandma’s and PRETEND to like her food and PRETEND to like her boyfriend. Then have NOTHING for leftovers when we get home! I don’t want to let’s back out!
ME (wishing I had the ability to yell ‘SHIELD WALL’ and have the Vikings to back me up): No No…we’ll have leftovers.
KIDS (uprising paused and puzzled looks): Are we cooking?
ME (Still wanting that shield wall): No one is cooking?
OLDEST DAUGHTER (takes lead with fire in her eyes): Are we not doing Thanksgiving at ALL?!
ME (she is my mini me…I can take her if she rushes me): I ordered Thanksgiving dinner so all we have to do is pick it up, heat and serve the day of.
KIDS (in unison): What!? *Moaning and groaning noises*, its tradition! You ALWAYS cook dinner and WE eat it!
OLDEST DAUGHTER: *Steps forward, Thanksgiving is RUINED! *Stomps off.

This is the basic rundown of the conversation. I didn’t need that shield wall but I did need to explain to them the reasoning behind the break in tradition. Time, my employer only allows one day off for the holiday and I would spend an entire week of prepping, cooking, and clean-up. With the hectic schedules that are in my house, I would be up until midnight or later. Budget is another reason for my decision. I can easily spend $200-300 on all the ingredients needed to make my authentic from scratch southern Thanksgiving dinner but ordering the already made dinner I am spending less than half of what I normally would. BONUS of ordering…unfortunately the place I ordered from is about an hour away. I know you’re thinking why waste time and gas? My husband and I haven’t had a decent night out without the kids. We are treating this as a little date night and the town that we are traveling too has a bunch of shops that we have been meaning to visit.

My oldest girl has been sulking since I told her what was happening. I compromised and agreed to use the china (She has to wash it since I wanted to use paper plates but this will also appease my ancestors). Instead of me running around, exhausted, and irritated with everyone we can have a nice meal and spend the quality time together that we have been missing. My advice to mom’s EVERYWHERE…make it easy for you. Break tradition if you have too. You are not ruining ANYTHING for your children. Looking back they’ll see that you were there and in the moment instead of in the kitchen killing yourself frantically trying to recreate your great grandmother’s recipes.

Image from Cracker Barrel

6 Word Story: 4/21

If it wasn’t for what my father instilled in me along with his pride I don’t think I could make it through the daily anxiety and depression.


Prompt Word: Planted

Your roots will give you strength.

6 Word Story: 2/15

My insomnia can be both a hindrance or a brilliant idea spinner…in this case, idea spinner. I would like to think my mother would be the binding tie but it was actually my grandmother. But I think this could be used as a blanket term and interpreted to allow visceral feelings of fond moments.


Prompt Word: Family Ties

Mother, the binding tie in families.

6 Word Day 20

No explanation needed. I’m sure the noise of your own family needing dinner will ring true with this one. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could throw a bag of family chow on the table with glasses of water and call it dinner?


Prompt Word: Ding!

Impatient, starving family… DING! Silencing salvation.

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