Sunday, September 19, 2021

Gratuitous kitty photos.

I owe y'all a blog post, since it's Sunday and all. But I don't have much to say tonight, and I'm sure you'd rather just look at pictures of my new kitty anyhow.

So here's Tigger, a.k.a. Tigs, a.k.a. the Tiggenator. He's just shy of four years old and still pretty playful. He's settling in okay; I only caught him hiding on top of the kitchen cabinets for the first few days. Today, I clipped his front claws for the first time. He wasn't happy about it -- there was a lot of growling and complaining -- but I didn't end up bleeding, so I'm calling it a win. And he got treats afterward for Being Such a Good Boy, so maybe he'll let me do it again sometime.

Here he is, trying to be a loaf cat. He needs a little more practice -- gotta get that tail tucked up under him.

Lynne Cantwell 2021
He is much better at helping me knit. Well, actually, what he's good at is keeping me from knitting. Here he's lying on my pattern with his head pillowed on the project itself.
Lynne Cantwell 2021
I bought a tall cat condo so he could see out the living room windows (and also to encourage him to quit jumping up on top of the kitchen cabinets, as if that would work). He was a little leery of that top level, but a spritz of catnip spray took care of his reluctance. 
Lynne Cantwell 2021
And finally, here he is, being his snuggly and adorable self.
Lynne Cantwell 2021

That's it. That's my life right now. Have a great week.

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These moments of unbelievably adorable blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Get vaxxed!


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Autumn is coming, and I couldn't be happier.

This weekend was the Fiesta de Santa Fe: a celebration of my adopted hometown's creation myth, if you will. Last weekend's annual burning of Zozobra -- Old Man Gloom, a giant marionette stuffed with memories and things that people would just as soon get rid of -- sort of cleared the decks of bad stuff so that everyone could celebrate the Fiesta with a light heart. 

Copyright Lynne Cantwell 2021

The Fiesta itself is a three-day fair centered on the historic plaza. There are food stalls, craft booths, dance performances, and music by local bands. There's also a pageant associated with the event: one local man with Hispanic heritage is cast as Don Diego de Vargas, the general who led Spanish troops (including more than a few Mexicans, but anyway) to the "peaceful" reoccupation of Santa Fe in 1692 (twelve years after the Pueblo Indians ran the Spanish out). A local woman with Hispanic heritage is chosen to be La Reina -- the Queen. And a Native Princess is chosen from amongst the nearby Pueblo Indians. Part of the story involves parading a statue of Mary, dubbed La Conquistadora, to and from the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Fe.

I guess there's usually more than one parade, but the parades were canceled this year due to the pandemic. Last year, the whole Fiesta was canceled; Zozobra burned in 2020, but I didn't realize it was supposed to be the kickoff event for the Fiesta until this year.

Anyway, my point is that Fiesta feels kind of like a New Year's celebration: leaving all the bad stuff behind in the old year and starting the new year with a party. In fact, I read a quote somewhere this past week from a longtime Santa Fe resident who said she feels that way -- that Fiesta is the city's own New Year.

For me, September has been a month for fresh starts nearly all my life. The new school year always started right after Labor Day. And way back when, the TV networks' new seasons began in September, too. The air would turn crisp and the leaves would don brilliant colors before they dropped. I loved it. Autumn is still my favorite season.

Which creates a bit of a conundrum for me as a Pagan, because a whole lot of us think of Samhain -- Halloween -- as the start of the new year.

The Wheel of the Year is based on the Iron Age agricultural cycle in the British Isles. That's always been troubling in North America because almost nowhere here has a comparable climate. Lughnasadh, in early August, is known as the First Harvest, which is a bit of a head-scratcher for those of us who have been picking tomatoes and berries all summer. And Imbolc, in early February, is supposed to be a dairy festival, when ewes give birth and their milk comes in -- but the weather is too harsh in our northern states to even hint at spring then. Snowdrops blooming? When the snow is still a couple of feet deep? Yeah, no. And the disconnection will only get worse with climate change. 

About the only things that do equate are the solstices and equinoxes. Daylight hours still begin to increase at the winter solstice and begin to decrease again at the summer solstice, and the spring and autumn equinoxes are still the points of balance, when the day is half light and half dark.

For those of us who aren't beach lovers or who live in places where summer is miserably hot and sticky, the cooler weather that autumn brings is a blessing. And too, some of us simply love the dark.

Druid priest John Beckett has made a persuasive argument for celebrating the autumn equinox as "the triumph of the dark." Instead of being sad that the light is fading, he suggests looking forward to the dark half of the year and the advantages that darkness brings. 

Since fall is my favorite season anyway, I'm on board. My "gloom" of the past year has already gone up in smoke with Zozobra. Come September 22nd, I'll smile as I  observe the sunset and be glad that the season is turning at last.

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These moments of celebratory blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Get vaxxed!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

And the Summer Reading Challenge winners are...

 

Illustration 174468593 © Kornetka | Dreamstime.com

And that's a wrap on the hearth/myth 2021 Summer Reading Challenge. Thanks to all who entered, and congrats to the rest of you who found new books to read by consulting our curated list. 

The grand prize winner of a signed copy of The Payoff is Tom Dent. The winners of the Pipe Woman Chronicles mugs, in no particular order, are: Tabitha Ormiston-Smith, Meredith Townsend DeVoe, Smoky Zeidel, Melody Stiles, and Vickie Koehler Averhoff. Congrats! I'll be contacting each of you to get details on how to get your prize to you.

That contest took a very long time from start to finish. Thanks to everyone for hanging in there.

As for my total? 72 books. I wouldn't have won my own contest! I knew I should have tried harder...

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So I've just tonight uploaded the final few episodes of The Atherton Vampire 2: Out of the Coffin. They will be dropping on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays on Kindle Vella through October 22nd. 

In addition, every episode of the first Atherton Vampire novella is available on Kindle Vella right now.

I'll be releasing them both next month as regular Kindle ebooks, in time for your Halloween reading pleasure. There will be at least one more Atherton Vampire book -- book 2 ends on a sort of cliffhanger and I am going to have to resolve that if I want to sleep at night. Details on all of that, including preorder info, will be coming shortly. Stay tuned, as they say on TV.

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That's it for tonight. I have other stuff to say, but it's too serious in tone for this particular post.

Besides, I've been at the computer for hours and I need to go hang out with my new kitty, Tigger, who I adopted from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter just yesterday. Here he is, a little high on catnip. No doubt you'll be seeing more of him in the weeks to come. 

Lynne Cantwell 2021

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These moments of winning blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Get vaxxed!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Summer Reading Challenge is wrapping up.

 

copyright Lynne Cantwell 2021
This is it, y'all. The final week of the hearth/myth 2021 Summer Reading Challenge has begun. And I have a confession to make. 

See the books in the photo? Well, the three books plus a Kindle. Anyway, they represent two things: The hardback copy of The Payoff is the grand prize for the person who has read the most books on our list; the others are books I fully intended to read this summer and never got around to.

I don't know about you, but ever since all this business with the pandemic started, I've had a really hard time concentrating for long enough to get much reading done. But when I compiled the the list of books that's the basis for the contest, I had such great plans. I'd already read a ton of the books on the list, and so many of the others looked really good. Surely I'd be able to dive in and knock off a bunch of them in short order. Right?

Yeah. Not so much. 

I started one and bailed. Then I read a couple of books that aren't on the list at all (what was I thinking?). I picked up one from the list that took me way too long to get through (I blame packing and moving for that), but I did finish it at last. Then I spent way too much time on Facebook. Then finally, last week, I knocked off one. Today, I started another, and I can tell I'll have that one done by the end of the week, no problem. But the books in the pile in the photo? I'll get to 'em. Just not by Saturday.

All of which is to say that if you, too, had good intentions to make headway on our list, but got sidetracked for some reason, don't feel bad. I'm right there with ya.

When you're toting up the books you've read, if you're pretty sure you'll finish the one you're working on by Saturday, go ahead and count it. You have my permission. I mean, I intend to do the same thing.

And if you're certain that you're not going to finish any more books by next weekend, that's okay, too. Go ahead and send me your tally now -- no shame, no blame. We've all had a rough year, after all.

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If it's not clear from the foregoing: I'm accepting contest entries as of now. 

There are several ways to get your final tally to me: email me at lynne.cantwell@hearth-myth.com; leave a comment below; or I'll even take your total in a comment on Twitter or in a Woo-Woo Team post on Facebook. (Those last two weren't in the official rules to start with, but they are now.)

One more time, here's the list. Send me your totals by Saturday! I'll post the winners (and my own total) here on the blog next Sunday. Thanks! 

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A couple of housekeeping issues: The final episode of The Atherton Vampire dropped on Kindle Vella on Friday, so if you're the sort of person who puts off reading a book 'til it's finished, go for it. In addition, the first three episodes of The Atherton Vampire II: Out of the Coffin will be released tomorrow. Sales of the first book haven't exactly beensmokin' hot. So while I intend to write a third book in the series, it won't be released on Vella; instead, all three will be available in Kindle editions before the end of October. Stay tuned for more on that.

bejotrus | Deposit Photos
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this month marks the tenth bloggiversary of hearth/myth. Yes, that's right -- I published my first post in this space on August 16, 2011. "I'm going to aim for a post a week," I said back then. "Let's see how long it lasts." Well, now we know: ten years and counting. Good job, me! This calls for balloons, and maybe even a cake!

Should I shoot for fifteen years next? How about twenty? Let's just see how long it lasts!

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These moments of celebratory blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Submit your contest entries by Saturday, September 4th! And of course: Get vaxxed!