Monthly Archives: January 2012

Rabbit-Ears…

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I will happily share photos of my handiwork, but since this blog is public, my face is private...

Front view-- the crescent is there because I like the Hare in the Moon.

 

Three-quarter view-- and, yes, Lady Hares wear earrings.

 

Another three-quarter view, all the way out to the ear-tips.

 

Ears from the rear...

 

...and a close-up of the beadwork on the front.

 

And to finish, a side-view, showing the inside of the ear, with applique lozenge-shapes.

 

I am extremely happy with the results of this sewing project, which is good, because it took me about three months to fabricate. The whole headpiece is entirely hand-made, as shaping three-plus layers of heavy interfacing along with corset-boning into fully 3-dimensional ears really cannot be done on a sewing machine.

 

My main concern was to make the ears look as real as possible, from the point of view of both proportion relative to a human head, and also with regard to what would be a natural angle of repose for a hare’s/rabbit’s ears.

 

The headdress is covered in velour– black for the outsides of the ears and the body of the headband, and a raspberry-pink along the insides of the ears. The diamond-shaped applique in both ears is floral cotton quilting fabric, and the headband is trimmed with 1 and 1/4 inch brocade ribbon, in red and gold. The headband is also fully lined with cotton fabric. The flowers and beads were purchased at local crafts-stores, and are sewn on with nylon fishing-line. Last but not least, the Crescent Moon adorning the headband is recycled plastic– I cut it from an empty 1-gallon milk carton.

 

At present, I am fabricating a tail to go with the ears– it will be attached to something that is reminiscent of the back half of a belly-dancing belt, and I will post pictures when I am finished with it.

 

I generated patterns for both the ears and the tail by first creating the 3-dimensional shape I wanted with heavy drawing paper, which I then cut open and added the requisite seam-allowances to. Besides the usual sewing implements, I also made use of a set of needle-nosed pliers (to persuade my heavy-gauge needles to go through several layers of interfacing and the fabric casing for the plastic boning), and a pair of small jewelry-pliers (to retrieve the needle when stitching into the insides of the base-funnel of each ear).

 

The most difficult part of the assembly was the attachment of the ears to the head-band and secondary support across the front crown– each ear required multiple fit-adjustments and try-ons during the attachment process to make sure that both ears were turned outward to the same degree and were also angled the same once the headpiece was put on my head.

 

And, yes, there are numerous small damn-I-just-stabbed-myself-again (#*%!!!) blood-stains hidden beneath the velour…

 

Altered Book Art…

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Here is a photo of an altered book I made, on display at a branch library where I sometimes work. The piece is called "Spring", and I eventually plan to do one for each of the four seasons.

Here is a closer over-all shot, to give a better idea of detail.

Last, but not least, here is a tight shot of some of the collage elements in the center part of the book.

Something I really enjoy doing is making the odd piece of altered-book art, and yesterday, one of my pieces went on display at one of the branch libraries where I often work. Working on an altered book is something that I am able to do while care-giving for my parents, as it isn’t the kind of project that can be ruined if I have to drop what I’m doing right in the middle for an hour or two.

To get the full, puff-of-pages look, the book is ‘selectively water-damaged’ with a damp-to-wet sponge dipped in a small amount of acrylic paint (and, yes, each page is individually sponged on both sides, so it takes awhile) and then dried as quickly as possible in front of a fan– this usually takes 2 to 3 days, depending upon the amount of general humidity in the air. Then I add fancy end-papers, and start collaging…

Thorn Learns A Spell, And Becomes A Wenet-Hare…

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In the West lie fourteen Hills, from which All Creation issued. Each one is of different hue and substance, and calls unto itself its true children from among all that lives in the myriad worlds. Lucky is the wild witch, the priestess, who finds her Heart’s True Path, for it will lead her thither, to one of these Holy Mounds, which is the Center of her magick, and of her Life eternal.

We tell thee truthfully, O little thorn, thou art a daughter of the Twelfth Mound that rises up out of the Starry Ocean. It is green everywhere, with every kind of tree and herb, and its ground is strewn with emeralds. It is called Isdjedet-of-the-West by those who are Wise, and is also known as the Mound of Wenet, the Great Lady Hare. It sits before the Mouth of Rosetjau, and is the Holy Guardian of that gate, gleaming and exhaling a breath of supernal Flame that is such that all the gods of men cannot get near it, nor can any spirit or ghost associate with that place. Four Great Serpents dwell upon the green rise, each made of Subtle Fire, and upon their heads is written the word “Destruction”, so that the Mound and its treasures should be protected from all things, and from every evil.

Hie thee hare-foot to Isdjedet, little Lady Thorn, and say thus to its Holy Light–

“O Mound of Wenet, I am the greatest of the Spirits within Thee! I am among the Everlasting Stars that shine within Thee, and I will not perish; nor will my Name, made Holy by Thee, go down into the dust!”

Then the Lady-Gods, and the Lord-Gods, and the Faerie Djinn-Powers, and the Great Serpents of Fire who dwell in the Mound will answer–

“Thou hast the scent and savour of of a Lady-God among us, good Thorn!”

And then, thou wilt go into Isdjedet-of-the-West. There, Lady Wenet will come into thy sight, and She will say–

“If thou lovest Me more than any of the gods of men, and more than the jealous only-gods of the priests of men, I will be with thee forever, and thou wilt BE forever.”

Then will the two of you smile a single Smile, and the Green Trees of Isdjedet will bear their jeweled fruit in thy Heart and in thy Mind.

By Wenet is my Head made firm,
    my Mind made swift, my Heart made light,
By Wenet’s Word am I bestowed
    a Sceptre in the Barque Of Night.

The way of every hidden path
    lays open to my magick eyes,
By Wenet’s Hand am I raised up,
    like her Green Tree which never dies.

I go forth as a shining star,
    a Ra-of-Heaven without end,
No harm, no evil blight, no ill
    can hard against my good contend,

For I am made a Wenet-Hare,
    whose ruby-blood is burning fire,
And so I leap where’er I will,
    with all the strength of my desire! 

Salt of the Earth…

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Sometimes, when working magick, one finds oneself in need of quick purification, or there is no tub available for an herbal soak and showering is the only option. What works very well in these instances is to use a salt-scrub, made from table salt, powdered herbs, and oils or extracts that suit the magickal purpose for which the salt-scrub is being used.

The recipe below is one I developed for all-around purification. It works well for removing general negative vibes, but also can be used to remove traces of unwanted magickal energy. I began using the scrub for this very purpose when I discovered that oftentimes, after coven-work and subsequent post-spellcast grounding, I was still too wired from ritual work to sleep well. When I finally realized what was keeping me awake, I devised my ‘original recipe’ salt-scrub as a way of cleansing and dispersing any lingering magickal-vibe.

To use the scrub, mix up a batch according to the recipe. Then take a shower and wash as you usually do. At the very end of the shower, just before you are ready to get out, slather the salt-scrub all over your body, scrub well with it, and then rinse your skin thoroughly. Because of the oils and extracts in the basic recipe, it is strongly recommended that the scrub not be used on mucosa or very sensitive body-parts, as the essential oils can be very highly irritating to the point of leaving blisters on one’s more delicate anatomical bits.

Here is the basic recipe–

Purifying Salt-Scrub

1 cup table or sea salt (finely ground rather than coarse)
1 tsp. to 1 tbs. ground Sage (the generic stuff from the grocery store works just fine)
7 to 10 drops Oil of Peppermint or Peppermint extract
3 to 5 drops Pine Oil

If you are making up a batch of salt-scrub for purification rather than some other purpose (such as romance, success or healing), the three ingredients that need to always follow the recipe are 1) the salt (obviously), 2) the ground Sage, and 3) the Oil of/Extract of Peppermint. These three things are the backbone of the purifying energy of the scrub. The fourth element in the recipe, the Pine Oil, may be varied. When I make batches of this for others, I usually mix just the first three ingredients, and then I tell the recipient to add something as the fourth ingredient that is meaningful/powerful for them, so that the scrub is personalized for their use and energy.

I have also found that Oil of Clove, Oil of Cedar, and Oil of Basil are all excellent substitute oils if no Pine Oil is to be had. The Oil of Clove provides a healing vibe along with the purification, Cedar Oil is highly cleansing, grounding and restful, and Oil of Basil is very useful for dispelling a negative, ruminating kind of vibe. It is also especially effective for breaking hexes, should one wish to emply the scrub for that purpose.

Hare Synchronicity and George C. Scott, or, How Magick Works…

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As a witch, I understand that the world around us is magickal, alive and speaks to all, but very few people shut up and sit still long enough for the Goddess Cosmos to get a word in edgewise. Then they complain that they feel all isolated and cut off from things, and that nobody loves them. This is not true, of course, but it is the natural conclusion reached by those whose lives are full-body versions of sticking one’s fingers in one’s ears and going “La-la-la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you-la-la-la-la-la…”

While it may be both stupid and presumptuous of me to share a magickal confidence in this kind of general atmosphere, I’m going to do it anyway, just because my latest brush with the Speaking Universe has been a) amusing, and b) worth sharing, even if no one but me takes it seriously.

First, let us start with Harefoot’s Four Basic Principles of Cosmic Conversation:

1) The Sentient Cosmos is speaking to one all the time, whether one understands this as factual or not.

2) The lingua franca of the Sentient Cosmos is synchronicity.

3) If one is engaged in the right way, with the right task, at the right time, synchrony/synchronicities will start to occur in large batches. This is the Cosmos saying, “Yes/Do this/Go this way/Keep going”.

4) If one is engaged in the wrong way, with the wrong task, at the wrong time, synchronicity will virtually disappear. This is the Cosmos saying, “No/Stop/Let’s pause and reconsider a moment/This will all end in tears, I just know it, and so should you by now…”

Now on to the conversation proper–

Last November, apropos of nothing really, I decided I needed to make a rabbit/hare costume for myself for next Halloween/Samhain. I didn’t know why, out of all the animal energies there are to work with (and that I have worked with) that I suddenly decided to go with Bunny-ness, but because the feeling was both strong and sort of out of left field, I decided to run with it. I started by designing a mask, which I then decided would be too unwieldy to wear, and I opted to construct a set of ears married to a sort of flower-crown, and a tail that I could tie on over street clothing. This was so that if I wanted to wear the costume to work (at the Public Library, as library staff winds up dressing for Halloween because of the kids’ programs we run), it would not interfere with me safely lifting book-totes, processing books or helping library patrons.

The ears took two-and-a-half months to sew (by hand, as they involved shaping multiple layers of heavy interfacing with plastic corset-boning), and I am at present still working on the tail. During the process of making the ears, I started having dreams about rabbits, and I started to see them everywhere, even when I was stuck in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic on work commutes– on one morning, I inched along to work behind a van advertising the ‘Jack-Rabbit Locksmith and Key-Cutting Service– We Dash To You Fast, Wherever You Are!’, and on one commute home, I drove along for about half an hour behind a large trailer-truck plastered with gigantic images of the Nestle Quik Rabbit.

I also– without meaning to– began to find rabbit-themed reading material popping up at work. In the space of one week, I ran across two books that featured young women involved in learning either midwifery or hedge-witchery (or both) who meet Hares as Spirit Guides– Limits of Enchantment by Graham Joyce, and Hannah’s Garden by Midori Snyder. The books in turn prompted research into Rabbit/Hare symbolism, and also triggered a somewhat melancholy remembering of an old, frayed denim jacket– now long gone– which I had hand-embroidered in several places with leaping hares, dandelions and dog-roses. The jacket seemed very magickal to me, and I wore it to school a lot, until I had a 4-inch growth-spurt, and passed the jacket along to a friend because I no longer fit it.

At this point, I will pause momentarily to introduce a thread into this story which will become pertinent to it a little ways ahead– that of me being one of four care-givers for my 90-year-old parents. Their care-giving is a story in and of itself, which I do not wish to go into here, except to say that a) it is a mind-numbing, soul-sucking grind to be in their presence over the course of a 14-hour day, because both of them have dementia-issues on top of their other health problems, and b) because they both have dementia, old familial/personal issues which flare up from time to time can’t really be resolved because they now lack the marbles to really understand what’s going on. Patience is of the essence, as is distraction from the general ambiance of their slow deterioration, so on my alotted days with the folks, I bring upbeat and/or novel (to them) DVDs to screen, along with some craft-project or other to work on (i.e., the Hare’s Ears and Tail) during any quiet moments that might happen along. Now, back to the Bunny-riff–

By mid-December 2011, I had done enough internet and book research to know what Tinners’ Rabbits were, and I had reacquainted myself with Hare-in-the-Moon mythology, Nanabozho stories, and a diverse scattering of tales involving rabbits as psychopomps, witches’ familiars and/or as shape-shifted witches themselves. Additionally, I was now the proud owner of a sterling silver ring in the shape of a rabbit’s head, and a silver pentacle with a Hare leaping across the star. I was also in the process of ordering a Three Hares pendant from a place called Taitaya Forge over in Cornwall as a Yule present for myself, as well as spending some time on more mundane activities, such as making plans regarding meals and holiday-themed entertainment for my parents, as I was to be over at their place care-giving on Christmas Eve afternoon/evening and all day on Christmas Day.

By this time, I was also thinking about the Hare-energy as something I probably needed to be communicating with directly, so I started actively calling it in whenever I meditated, as well as calling it in at night, before I went to sleep. The result of this was a spate of highly erotic dreams and an intermittent sense of presence during waking hours of a large, shadowy silhouette that looked mostly human, but had rabbit’s legs from the knees down and long ears topping its head. When it finally spoke to me, the conversation was interesting–

Me: Who… no, what are you?

Shadow: A Puka. I’m sent to ask you if you will be our Queen.

Me: Since I haven’t the least idea what Pukas do, or how you all live, I will only be Queen if I don’t have to actually rule over you, or do anything in an official capacity.

Shadow: That is agreeable to us. We like the name ‘Thorn’ for you. What will your Royal Title be?

Me: How about, The Queen Who Is Not A Queen…?

Shadow: (Laughing) This is also agreeable to us. Rabbits and Hares are both quick-witted, but Hares alone are smart-mouthed. You will make a good Hare-Queen because you disrespect both what we offer and what you would be if you sat on a throne. No rabbit’s flesh will you eat, no rabbit’s foot will you own…

Me: Are you laying a geas on me?

Shadow: Only partly. We mean to say, you are a Hare-foot, not a rabbit’s foot, but you still will eat neither, and yet you will.

Me: I think I know the answer to that one– I will be baking a rabbit-shaped cake, or loaf of bread.

Shadow: You can also eat chocolate bunnies without sin…

Me: And carrot cake is a holy sacrament, no doubt. Puka, what is your name?

Shadow: The Puka.

Me: Was I rude to ask?

Shadow: No, but you are sad, and you are angry, too. This is because your parents still have your baby. You must take her away from them. Then she will be happy, and so will you.

Me: How do I get her back?

Shadow: Give her back what they took away from her.

Me: My old security-blanket… I still do remember having it forcibly taken away from me and thrown out in my presence. So… I should buy myself a blanket?

Shadow: Yes. A nice one. A soft one. And a toy. A stuffed rabbit, because she did not like the yellow duck with the plastic beak. It was ugly, not meant for hugging. It was not nice to give our Queen an ugly duckling...

Me: But the ugly duckling eventually turns into a swan.

Shadow: Did they give her an ugly duck that could turn into a swan? No, they gave her an ugly duck that could only stay an ugly duck. Besides, she didn’t want a duck or a swan. She wanted a rabbit.

Me: Why didn’t they let her have one?

Shadow: Because rabbits know things that people think they have hidden, and don’t want reminding of. Rabbits notice things, and say things.

Me: They don’t like smart-mouthed Hares…

Shadow: They pretend to misunderstand, and take great pains to be offended, knowing all the while in their own hearts that the smart-mouth they despise is not a sassy-mouth, but a clever-mouth, and one a great deal more able than their own. Buy your child a toy rabbit, My Queen. There is much at stake here.

I did not act on the Puka’s suggestion immediately, mostly because it was too close to Christmas and I had last-minute stuff to do. On Christmas Eve, I screened the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol for the folks after I had given them their dinner, and I brought more Christmas-themed DVDs with me the next day, as my youngest sister and her husband were going to be coming over for a visit, and I thought everyone might want to watch ‘something holiday’. Things got a bit hectic, and some of the get-together plans changed, so the dinner that was slated for 1 p.m. didn’t happen until 3. I was busy peeling a bunch of potatoes in the kitchen for the belated meal when I suddenly became aware of a presence behind me and to my right. At first, I thought it was the Puka, but then it began to speak. It sounded exactly like George C. Scott doing General Patton, complete with the bad language, but the subject of the speech was People Who Have The Nerve To Be Ungrateful At Christmas Despite Their Every Need Being Met. I almost dropped the knife and potato I was peeling in the sink, and I bit my cheek hard to keep from laughing out loud. In my mind’s eye, I looked over my shoulder, and there was GCS, dressed as Ebenezer Scrooge (post-Christmas-enlightenment, in that bright red vest) cursing a blue streak, and he just kept getting funnier and funnier. The last line of his deranged monologue was, “…and I sincerely hope that the prune juice in the Spiced Beef kicks the old fart’s transverse colon wide awake at 4 a.m. in the morning so that he’ll remember his Christmas dinner going through him like crap through a goose!” Thank you, George!

Of course, being sensitive to the reality-needs of others, I said nothing about my little kitchen visitation, but I was in a much better mood for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I got back to my place about 10:30 Christmas night, jumped into the shower with about a pound of salt-scrub (the recipe for and ritual use of which will be the subject of the next blog entry after this), had a serious wash, a bit of a cry, and then became aware of a presence for a split-second in the shower with me. It came and went so fast that I did not hear the message that the presence spoke until after it was already gone– it was GCS speaking again, and he said I “should feel free to use a Campbell tartan throw” to replace my long-gone security blanket. (In case someone reading this does not know, the “C” in George C. Scott’s name stands for “Campbell”.)

The next day, I slept in until 10 a.m., and then logged on to Amazon to shop for a plush rabbit and a blanket. I wound up finding 2 very cute bunnies that I could not choose between, so I purchased them both, and although I looked at a pile of Campbell tartan afghans, I opted to buy a two-tone green (my favorite color) cotton blanket that will make a very nice afghan to stay warm under whenever I am too lazy to get up and turn the heater on in the middle of a movie I’m watching. Even though the stuff I ordered did not get to me until after the New Year, my New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day care-giving stints over at my parents’ place were much quieter and far less problematic than Christmas was, and my mood was better as well.

I do indeed think that the magick easement of my situation was activated by my willingness to seriously look for and buy a fuzzy bunny and a new blankie for my far littler self, and I hope she feels free to put the blankie over her head and hide with her bunny whenever I am having to help our mutual, ever-more-decrepit father to toilet properly on the closest commode. I would end the story here save for one more funny synchronicity-twist– it started with me going to Wikipedia two days ago to research the Clan Campbell (a.k.a. Black Watch) tartan. In the Clan Campbell article on Wikipedia is a portrait of one Archibald Campbell, First Marquess of Argyll, who bears more than a passing resemblance to his (obvious!!!) descendant, George C. I have a long-time friend from college, who like me, is a GCS fan, and I copied and sent the picture to her to see what she thought. This woman, whose privacy I will protect on this blog by dubbing her “Prunella Flynn”, heartily agreed that GCS and old Archie must share a lot of common DNA between the two of them.

Since I was still thinking about the offer of the Campbell tartan as a comfort-blanket, I went back to Amazon to do some more looking, but I wound up buying two George C. movies instead– Jane Eyre, and The Changeling. Then, yesterday morning, Prunella sends me an email in which she says, “You know, one of these days, I’ve really got to get myself a copy of George C. Scott in Jane Eyre…” As if this isn’t enough synchronicity, also in my email inbox were two more emails. One from the folks at Taitaya Forge, telling me they got my payment for the Three Hares pendant mentioned at the beginning of this adventure, and that it had been dispatched by airmail just that morning, and the other was from the library system where I work, letting me know that a book I had reserved had come in. The title of the book? Liber Novus/The Red Book, which is a sort of illuminated spiritual diary by Karl Jung, the very man who invented the word synchronicity.

The synchrony-conversation didn’t stop there, however. While on a break at work yesterday, I looked up George C. Scott’s natal horoscope information, just for grins, and I found out something about him that I had not known before. He was born in 1927, which according to the Chinese Animal Zodiac, is a Fire Rabbit year. So now the GCS sightings join the synchronicity-parade of rabbitude leaping through my life at the moment, and the offer of a bit of clan tartan from a Hare-spirit to a hare-brained witch actually does make some roundabout sense. The latest synchrony-jolt arrived this morning in my inbox– another email from Prunella, saying that GCS must be twitting us both, because when she tried to buy some flannel sheets online today, the only sheets that were halfway close to what she wanted were ones done in a Campbell tartan. I did a quick internet search, and, yes indeedy, there are Black Watch/Campbell tartan yarn-dyed flannel sheets out there…

To finish my tale, I’m heartily sorry to tell those people seeking rational explanations for how the Universe works that She will tell you nothing of importance while you have your la-la-logical fingers in your la-la-learned ears. However, if you are heartbroken about watching family members slide head-first towards a piecemeal death you can do nothing to allay, and if you are burned out from having to deal– literally– with mountains of parental shit, She knows just what to tell you, and just who to send with the message–

It doesn’t matter if things are filled with hurting or with bliss; everything is connected, we are all one, and you can just drop the pose of being objective about any of it, if you know what’s good for you.

…And I’m also thinking that if I can have two toy bunnies, I can also have two security blankets… or maybe one blanket and a comfy-cozy set of Campbell tartan flannel sheets…

The Alan Rickman GPS

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Figured the best way to start things off is with something silly. Having seen a lot of one-liners posted various places where the idea of an AR-voiced GPS has been discussed, I thought it would be amusing to actually script out a whole trip… so buckle up your virtual seat belts and enjoy this little AR-GPS demo–

**GPS on… Hailing frequencies have been opened, not that you’d really care… And where are we going this morning?**

**I said, where are we going this morning???**

**Give me an occupation, Mr. Smith, or I shall run mad!**

**Very well. Begin by making an immediate right turn onto Placer Lane. I repeat, “immediate“…**

**Turn around, you twit!**

**So glad to see you going Northbound… at long last…**

**At the next intersection, turn right. I will count to three. There will not be a four.**

**There will be no foolish lane-changes or silly u-turns for the next 2.5 miles…**

**You can avoid the traffic congestion up ahead by turning left at the next intersection, but why should you listen to me, let alone do it…?**

**Glad to see something is getting through to you this morning…**

**Make a right-hand turn onto Meadowbrook Road, one half mile ahead.**

**I’d tell you that you’ve gone too far, but since you’re not listening, why should I bother? Just make sure you turn right in one mile. Do not disappoint me.**

**Now that you’ve managed to actually find Fenton Parkway, Southbound, you’ll be looking for Exit 12, in 3.2 miles. You might try at least glancing to your right occasionally, since that’s where Exit 12 will be…**

**How grand it must be to have the luxury of not taking Exit 12. Turn around when possible, you bumbling idiot…**

**How extraordinarily like your father you are, Mr. Smith… he would have missed Exit 12 repeatedly, too. Take the next exit, go back, and let’s try it once more, if you can manage it…**

**Now bear right on Exit 12, onto West 395…**

**That crunching noise is you, hitting another vehicle. Now you’ll know why it’s always a good idea to attempt looking before merging…**

**You must be gratified that your vehicle has turned 360 degrees at 75 miles per hour and has not flipped over. You are both incredibly lucky and incredibly stupid.**

**Roadside assistance has been called, and an emergency vehicle is being dispatched to your location. Now that you’ve singlehandedly brought all morning commute traffic on West 395 to a complete standstill, stay inside your car, cowboy. That, at least, should not be beyond your limited intellectual capacity…**

**Emergency vehicle now on scene. GPS signing off… I was an actor once, now look at me…**

Planning This As Mirror…

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I am planning this as a mirror site to a blog I have over at Blogger, because at present, over at Blogger, I am experiencing the nasty problem of being able to post comments from others but I cannot reply to theirs or post a comment myself. If this problem isn’t rectified quickly and to my satisfaction, I will be taking down the Blogger site, and this will become the main home of my blog. Welcome to anyone taking a look– in the next couple of days, I’ll be mirroring the two posts and comments from the other incarnation of Thorn Harefoot…