Mama Ladybug’s Bucket List

Hi friends!  Yesterday, I went sailing for the first time (Loved it!) and got to check something off of my bucket list.  So, since my bucket list was just rattling around in my head rather than written down, I thought I’d actually write it down and share it with you all!

What’s on YOUR bucket list?  Have you tried anything on my list and want to share?  Want to do any of these with me?  Please comment below!  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

  1. Go sailing in the SF Bay.  Woo!  That was AWESOME!

  2. Go snorkeling somewhere with lots of colorful fish.

    couple snorkeling with pretty fish

    Image courtesy of Angelique800326

  3. Attend a yoga intensive retreat somewhere lush and gorgeous for a week.

    Sunset Dancing Pose by Kate Stephens

    by Kate Stephens

  4. Grow my hair out to my waist.

    Waist-length hair

    Waist-length hair. Image from Hair Stars.

  5. Do king pigeon pose.

    King Pigeon Pose

    King Pigeon Pose. Photo by Jeffrey Cross

  6. Do upward bow pose.

    Upward Bow or Wheel Pose

    Upward Bow or Wheel Pose. Photo by Chris Andre

  7. Do upward facing two foot staff pose.

    Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose

    Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose. Photo by Jeffrey Cross

  8. Learn to bellydance.

    Rachel Brice, at the Tribal Umrah festival, Rennes August 2012

    Rachel Brice, at the Tribal Umrah festival, Rennes August 2012‎. Photo courtesy of Trizek

  9. Learn to bhangra dance.

  10. Learn to hula hoop dance.

  11. Learn to fire dance.

    Fire Dancing by Golden Gate Bridge

    Fire Dancing by Golden Gate Bridge. Photo courtesy of David Yu

  12. Get my teeth whitened.

  13. Get eyeliner tattoo.

  14. Learn to edit audio and video well.

  15. Become a regular vlogger with lots of subscribers.

  16. Become a regular blogger with lots of readers.

  17. Be an excellent soup maker – that is, be able to make consistently excellent soup from scratch without needing a cookbook.

  18. Have a super organized, ergonomically sound, pretty kitchen with all sorts of Pinterest-worthy crafty awesomeness.

    Julia Child's copper pans.

    Julia Child’s copper pans. Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

  19. Paint a mural.

  20. Own a tropical wool, custom-tailored, high-end business suit ensemble (skirt, trousers, jacket, sheath dress).

    Ann Taylor suit

    Ann Taylor suit

  21. Get to a healthy waist to hip ratio.

  22. Paint a sexy portrait of Cernunnos.

    Statue of Cernunnos

    Statue of Cernunnos

  23. Paint a portrait of a lady with an elaborate updo and lots of jewelry, using metallic paint for the jewelry so that it looks real.

  24. Write a novel.

  25. Go into outside specification sales.

  26. After that, hear words of affirmation that I’m a high-caliber salesperson from bosses.

  27. Have a dog (black great dane).

    black Great Dane

    black Great Dane

  28. Become a high priestess in the Wildflower tradition.

  29. Become a Biomimicry Specialist.

  30. Earn my LEED AP.

  31. Earn an MBA in marketing/sustainability

  32. Live in an ecovillage.

  33. Create a garden goddess statue with living hair and integral lighting effects.

  34. Have multiple streams of income based on prior work that sustain my family’s basic needs without any current work.  For example, earn royalties from a great novel or a great painting.

  35. Enjoy a leisurely visit with my friends Julia and Jason at their house in State College, PA.  By that, I mean visit for a few days without having to rush to be anywhere else.

  36. Know that Avery is doing well in school, getting good grades, enjoying himself and making friends.

  37. Know that Lily is doing well in school, getting good grades, enjoying herself and making friends.

  38. Re-learn how to play the alto recorder.

  39. Learn to play the xylophone.

    xylophone with different mallets

    Image courtesy of Roumpf

  40. Learn to play the piano.

  41. Learn to make beautiful rugs out of old t-shirts and clothing yarn.

    t-shirt braided rug

    Image by by suzelac

  42. Learn all about tantra with a lover who is patient, attentive, empathic, skillful and who treats me like the Goddess that I am every single time.

  43. Be a grandmother.  (Yikes!  That’s a new one for me.)

  44. No longer need a CPAP machine – be able to both breath and sleep normally.

  45. Take my kids to the ballet.

    Photo of Shirley MacLaine (center) and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo from her 1977 television special "Where Do We Go From Here?"

    Photo of Shirley MacLaine (center) and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo from her 1977 television special “Where Do We Go From Here?”

  46. Take my kids to a musical.

  47. Take my kids to a play.

  48. Learn a martial art.

  49. Avery learns a martial art.

  50. Lily learns a martial art.


Thanks for reading!  Let me know what you think below…

♥ Mama Ladybug

Aphrodite’s Altar

At the last dark moon, my personal work involved a lot of general moving-in activities like cleaning and organizing, but the part where I focused the most energy and intention was specifically towards setting up an altar to Aphrodite in my bedroom and manifesting bedroom decor worthy of her.  That way, I can think of the whole room as being hers, like a mini temple.  Of course, when I say “hers” I don’t mean it first belongs to her and then to me.  What I mean is that she is the patron of the room.  It’s energetically under her auspices.  The way that I live in that room is a reflection of who I am as her priestess, and it’s a place for her and I to relate and blend on a daily basis.  It’s a place for me to feed her and for her to revitalize me.

As most people reading this already know, I am single at this time.  I left my marriage back in November.  It’s been nearly 5 months now.  Emotionally speaking, I still have a long way to go before I can entertain the notion of any, ahem, visitors to my bedroom.  Therefore, all of this meditation on joy, beauty and love that I’ve been pouring into this space is actually, truly just for me.  It’s not to impress a lover or to accommodate anyone else.  No one else’s needs or demands are at play here.  I don’t even let the kids leave anything of theirs in my room.  It’s just me, my goddess, and the exploration of what I want the room to look and feel like – a way for me to show devotion as well as heal.  I feel that after I live here for some time, however long that is, I will have found my way to a centered wholeness in myself that will ready me to love again, with good, healthy boundaries and a bone-deep sense of self-respect that will ensure I remain in my honor and power no matter what.  To visit me in my room will be to sit at the foot of the Goddess.

Creativity is often the child of logistical constraints, and that is certainly the case here.  After measuring the room and determining what furniture would fit in there, I discovered that a dresser would never comfortably fit.  The non-negotiable items – the queen-sized bed and two matching nightstands – take up too much room for there to be much else.  Since I don’t share the room with anyone, it really wasn’t much of a problem to figure out how to get most of my clothes in the closet.  I bought a closet doubler, some hanging drawers and some vertical shelf dividers, and that pretty much took care of my clothes organization.  However, I still had nowhere to keep my jewelry, and I’ve always wanted a nice place to keep lingerie.  That led to the realization that what I DO have room for is a lingerie chest.  While browsing the Ikea website, this one had popped out at me several times as a beautiful piece of furniture:

Ikea Hemnes chest with 5 drawers in red

Ikea Hemnes chest with 5 drawers in red

Then, I realized that it was the perfect place to create an altar to Aphrodite.  I’ve always wanted a nice statue of her, and this was the perfect place to put one.  It’s up high enough that the kids are unlikely to bother it, but low enough to be easily visible.  So, on the dark moon, I packed the kids up, made a journey to Ikea and bought the dresser.  Just as the moon was turning new, I set up the dresser most of the way, dedicated it to Aphrodite and ordered her statue.  The reason that I picked this statue is that I’m a member of The Rose and Dove Society, which is CAYA’s special affinity group of priest/esses devoted to the Goddess of Love and Beauty.  Since she is blissfully interacting with doves, this statue was perfect.

Statue of Aphrodite with doves

Statue of Aphrodite with doves


Here are some pictures to show you the process:

getting parts ready

getting parts ready


poppy wall decals from Ikea

poppy wall decals from Ikea


Part way there!

Part way there!


Apollo helped...

Apollo helped…


the dedication - hidden on the inside of the dresser

the dedication – hidden on the inside of the dresser


the inside of the dresser

the inside of the dresser


halfway built - one view

halfway built – one view


halfway built - another view

halfway built – another view


Aphrodite statue and fancy perfumes shown on altar/dresser top

Aphrodite! Yay!


Thanks for reading!  Please comment below…  Do you have any questions?  How do you make YOUR bedroom special or sacred?

♥ Mama Ladybug



Montessori-Inspired Yemaya Toddler Mirror

Hi, friends!

Today, I’d like to show you a project I made this week.  It’s a mirror for my kids.  See, I’d like for them to be able to take care of their own hygiene and self-care needs as much as possible, to promote self-confidence and good self-esteem.  The Montessori method of teaching and raising toddlers asks us to consider the world from their point of view and do what we can to set them up to succeed at daily tasks by creating an environment that fits their little bodies.  For instance, that is why you’ll see kids at a Montessori school sitting at small tables on small chairs, with tiny glasses and place settings, because, ergonomically speaking, it’s silly to expect a 30″ tall human to grapple with adult sized furniture and tools.  They learn much better and perform tasks more gracefully when they can use implements that fit their size.  One time, when I was attending a parent educational session, the Montessori teacher had us try to eat with giant platters instead of plates, serving forks instead of normal forks, and pitchers instead of glasses, to illustrate her point.  I never forgot it, and now try when I can to accommodate the tiny sizes of my kids when expecting them to learn life skills like brushing their teeth or washing their faces.  Putting my own face at their level,  I noticed that Avery can see into the normal mirror when he stands on the step stool in the bathroom, but not when he’s standing on the floor.  Lily can’t see into the mirror either way.  So, I decided to get them a little mirror that would allow them to see themselves while performing bathroom routines.

The bathroom, though, is Yemaya’s altar.  The whole space is hers.  I’ve heard and read that, traditionally, her altar is usually in the bathroom.  Oh, wait…  Some of you reading are probably wondering who is this Yemaya?  She’s the Goddess of the ocean, the mother of us all, of all life.  She takes special interest in children and sees to it that they are well-cared for.  She’s often depicted as a mermaid, or sometimes a woman in flowing white robes standing on the edge of the sea.  She’s originally from the Yoruba culture in Africa, but has traveled with her people through lots of other places, especially Cuba and the American South.  I’m dedicated to her in the Wildflower tradition as my all-encompassing mother Goddess.  Her colors are blue, white and silver, and she likes dimes, the number 7, pineapples and sea-related offerings.  In my personal Yemaya path, I see her personified as an artist and business woman who lives by the sea and creates the colors of and in the ocean, so I like that my bathroom has lots of bright, tropical colors like what you might find in a coral reef.

There’s more work for Yemaya that needs to happen to finish the bathroom, but for now, here is the mirror.  I think it’s appropriate that it’s for kids, too.  First off, here are the supplies I used.  The blue rhinestones and pearl stickers each came in three sizes.  I bought these at Beverly’s (a craft store) in Alameda.

round mirror, blue rhinestone and pearl stickers, and mounting squares

mirror supplies


I arranged the stickers around the mirror in alternating fashion, blue-pearl-blue-pearl, starting with the largest ones.  When I used up all the largest ones, I used the medium ones until those were also gone.  Then, I almost used up all the tiny ones, but not quite.  I really like the effect of the gradation, as it reminds me of a beautiful mermaid necklace fit for a queen.  Unfortunately, these stickers are not sticky enough, so they are easy to knock off of the mirror.  I’m going to have to return to this project at some point and re-affix them with better glue.

round mirror with alternating blue rhinestones and pearl stickers all around the circumferance

completed mirror

mounting squares on the back of the mirror

mounting squares on the back of the mirror

Lily woke up as I was finishing the mirror close to midnight.  Rather than immediately put her back to bed, I let her watch me affix the stickers to the mirror and then the mirror to the wall.  She was half-asleep and a little cranky, but she also had fun.  She wasn’t particularly impressed by the mirror at first.  However, the next morning, I saw her making faces in the mirror and leaning into it to see better.

Lily's first glance into the mirror

Lily’s first glance into the mirror

Here’s what the mirror looks like by itself.

mirror affixed to the wall

on the wall

Here’s what the mirror looks like in relation to the regular mirror/medicine cabinet above.

both bathroom mirrors, adult and toddler

big mirror, little mirror

As a side note, I found this cool nightlight at Target and thought it was a good addition to the Yemaya bathroom/altar space. It slowly goes through a light show of various colors and looks really spectacular in the dark.

fishy nightlight - on in the darkness

fishy nightlight

This Google auto-awesome (which is an animated gif – not a real video – just a “flipbook” if you will of still photos) captures some of the colors but not the smooth transitions that happen in reality.

animated gif of the nightlight going through some of its colors


So, there you have it! A Montessori-inspired Yemaya toddler mirror fit for tiny mermaids. I’ll show you more of the bathroom soon, since there’s more cool stuff going on in there for Yemaya (and us, of course).

♥ Mama Ladybug

Moving into the Parlor

Hi friends!

Based on the last poll, it looks as though the majority of you want to know how it’s going moving into The Parlor.  So far, I experience these feelings regularly:

  • Gratitude/relief combo:  My first night there, I literally sprawled out on the floor as though I were making a snow angel and just reveled in the comfort and freedom of having my own space.  This is mine!  It was such a weight off just to have a home, to spread out beyond the confines of one room, to have privacy… but also to be the Queen of my own domain.  It felt and feels so great just to know I completed the circle, from deciding to move in the first place to finally landing on my feet in my own place in a great location, ready for a lifetime of fun and choosing my own adventure, on my own terms.
  • Panic:  Oh shit!  I don’t have any… xyz.   There’s been a lot of moments of realizing what I don’t have in the way of household items.  Then that leads to worry about money, paying for new stuff, and worry about how long will it take before I feel comfortable in the knowledge that I have everything I need for my home.  By and large, I cope pretty well with these waves of distress.  None of these moments of lack have led to any serious consequences.  Oh, I don’t have a baking sheet?  Whatever.  I’ll order delivery for now and order some baking sheets on Amazon Prime.  Problem solved.  As you can see from the floor plan, there’s quite a bit of furniture that we still need.  My family will be helping me in that regard, for which I am extremely grateful.  I see an Ikea binge in my near future, which is very, very exciting.
  • Frustration/self-criticism:  Self, why have you let the laundry pile up like this?  Self, what the hell, why haven’t you gotten to those dishes yet?  OMG look at the kids’ room – it looks like a toy bomb went off in there.  The kids will never learn to keep their things tidy if I don’t deal with this right away!  Self, why haven’t you finished unpacking yet?  Where is my underwear?  Why can’t I find anything?  Argh!  What time is it?  Why don’t I have a clock?  Where would I put a clock if I had one?  Now I’m late for work…  You get the idea.  I just have to try to keep my sense of humor and not take myself too seriously in these moments, and then take comfort in the moments when things do get organized and the kinks all work out, bit by bit.
  • Dreamy optimism:  This is where I’m having lots of fun.  I get such a thrill out of planning the furniture layouts, deciding where to put things, and envisioning what The Parlor will look and feel like in the future, when there are curtains, furniture, pretty art glass lamps, nice meals, old-fashioned parties, etc.
  • Therapeutic Pride:  I am responsible for this home.  I found it, I pay for it, and I create the systems and procedures here.  This place is relaxing and beautiful because I have made it that way.  These feelings are important to me at this point in my life, because they help me heal from the sort of feelings I had before I moved from LA, which involved a lot of despair around not feeling able to create a comfortable home with practical routines that work.  It’s not about status or snottiness.  It’s about developing my sense of confidence and ease within my own skin, so that I can face the whole world with my chin up and shoulders back.  I can do this!  I make good decisions.  My visions lead to beautiful realities.  I am a smart and capable woman, and my home is proof.  If you’ve ever left a marriage, you may recognize the need to re-discover, or discover for the first time, these sorts of feelings about one’s self and one’s own abilities.  It’s not about comparison to others, but about being able to create an authentic life that feels right.
The Parlor's Floorplan

The Parlor’s floorplan: Red = not there yet. I should have made both sofas red. To the left you can see that I was contemplating a shelf system in the dining area, but I’ve since measured to discover that there really isn’t room for that idea.


Here are some pictures of how things are looking right now.  I’m showing you the honest state of things, hoping that you understand that… this is as far as I’ve gotten at this point…  First up, the living room.  Here you can see where I’m planning to place two sofas or loveseats and a coffee table – right where the painting and the cushions are currently:

south corner of living room

South corner of the living room

Here you can see where I’m planning to put a nice secretary and bookshelf – right where all the boxes of books are.  Also, you can see I’m behind on folding my laundry.

East corner of living room

East corner of living room


Just for fun, here’s my issue of Mermaids magazine on display!

Mermaid magazine

Mermaids magazine


Then here is my dining area.  It’s not that exciting, but there it is.  The folding table is actually growing on me.  I think the shape of the legs is elegant, and it’s nice to not have to worry about the surface getting destroyed.  You can sort of see the beautiful lavendar wreath that my friend Jonathan gave me on the door.  I’m not allowed to put anything outside the door, so that’s why it’s on the inside.

dining area

dining area


That’s all I’ve got pictures of right now.  My bedroom and the kids’ room aren’t exactly ready for display in any case.

Thanks for reading!

♥ Mama Ladybug

Lucky Mercoon

Looks like the mercoon won!  I’m delighted that a reader suggestion was the winner.  Y’all are my navigators here.

poll results - mercoon got 9 votes

Mercoon is the winner!


So, by popular request… here is your mercoon.  Since this drawing was supposed to have a St. Patrick’s Day theme, he is holding a shamrock.  Oh, and keep in mind, I only had my lunch hour from start to finish to do this and get it scanned and online.  Happy St. Patty’s Day, everyone!  ☺

lucky mercoon

Lucky Mercoon

♥ Mama Ladybug

Hey, Lassy! Draw us a…


Image courtesy of PollyDot on Pixabay

Hi, friends!

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up soon, as you know.  In honor of the day, I will draw you all a picture on my lunch hour on Wednesday.  What should it be?  You can vote in the poll below, which closes at noon on Wednesday.


“The legend goes that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. I was thinking… that must be hard to put all the tiny seatbelts on all the snakes.” – Ellen Degeneres



Thanks for playing!

♥ Mama Ladybug



Moving Out, Moving In


ducks swimming in pool

These ducks were swimming in the pool at my apartment on moving day.


Saturday morning, I woke up at 4:30 am naturally, ready to start my day.  I do not normally wake up so early, much less without an alarm clock, but my mind was excited to get my move on.  This is exceedingly rare for me.  Left to my own devices, I’ll normally sleep forever.  Rabbit also woke up early, as she often does, and greeted me with a serene but twinkling smile, saying, “Happy March 1st, Ladybug!”

I puttered around and then got the kids ready.  Webster picked them up at 7:30, and from that point on I was doing laundry and getting packed.  Around lunch time, the fun began!  My friend Jonathan arrived with a well-loved, borrowed pickup truck, and my friends Molly, Yansumi, Jack of Bears, Barry and Orin all arrived to pitch in. 

Before we moved any furniture or boxes into the apartment, we performed a new home ritual.  Since it was the dark moon, it was an excellent time to cleanse and bless my home.  Here is the outline for our ritual:

New Home Blessing
adapted from Magical Housekeeping by Tess Whitehurst

  1. Introduction:  I explained the ritual I wanted to perform to my friends.  They helped me fill in some details and we divided up roles before beginning.
  2. We walked in a line, sort of like “follow the leader” widdershins (i.e., counter-clockwise, the banishing direction) all the way around the apartment.  We each toned and hummed as we walked, and we each also carried out a job designed to get rid of any unwanted energy, anything that was “less than great” in order to make lots of room for the new and wonderful:
    • I dipped a spray comprised of lavender, rosemary and jasmine branches into a bowl of saltwater and sprayed the walls, paying special attention to the corners, with the solution.  It smelled wonderful.
    • Molly rang my magical bell.  Ringing a bell or clapping hands is a traditional way of eliminating bad energy.
    • Barry carried a magical rock which was a gift from Raven of the Redwoods meant to bless my new home.
    • Jack carried a magical “seed goddess” which also was a new house gift from Raven.
    • Yansumi, who has a gorgeous voice, toned like an angel.
    • Orin, who is a child, frolicked and helped shift energy.
    • Jonathan’s ankle hurt, so he sat and made himself comfortable, invoking a sense of ease and comfort into the living space.
  3. Then my friends called in the directions/elements using wording that expressed how nature does away with the old and brings in the new.
  4. We all pronounced, “Hail, The Parlor!” – hence giving my new home its name, officially.
  5. I called in my ancestors and the ancestors of the land.
  6. I called in all my deities in a musical montage of snippets from their individual songs.  Then I welcomed them to The Parlor and asked them to make themselves at home and stay with me.  The montage lyrics were something like this:

    Papa, Papa, Papa, Papa, Papa, Papa, Papa, Papa, Papa…
    Hestia, Keeper of the Flame…
    Lady of the Wild Woods…
    Hey, hey, Mama Oshun…
    Aphrodite of the Sea…
    (I think the Yemaya song might be a secret, so I’ll omit it here just in case.)
    Om hrim shrim Lakshmi bhyo namaha…
    Om mani padme hum…

  7. We expressed out loud our thoughts about what a comfortable, charming, inviting home The Parlor is and will be, and everyone pronounced variations of, “Mama Ladybug is the queen of her realm.  She is the queen of The Parlor and the mistress of her destiny.”
  8. We sang and danced for a while, riffing on this song (I don’t know who wrote it):

    Sing through my voice, play through my hands, Let the way be open…

  9. We ate some snacks and then moved in everything that had been in storage.  This was a fantastic crew of friends to help.  It was all done so quickly!  Once everything was in, I realized that The Parlor is actually bigger than I’d realized.  Score!

So, that was it.  I didn’t want to devoke any of the deities, ancestors or elements, since I was asking them to set up shop in my home permanently – well, until the next time I move.  We had to keep it pretty simple, too, since there was work to get done.

It was a delight to sleep in my own place that night.  Webster kept Avery overnight and I had Lily, who actually slept in, which is almost unheard of, since my bedroom is so much darker than we are used to.  We slept late enough to miss the beginning of the Sisters of the Huntress ritual planning call Sunday morning.  Oops!

Sunday was a bit rougher.  Poor Jonathan’s ankle was really giving him trouble.  Jonathan and Molly were steadfast, however, and helped me get just about everything out of Rabbit and Albert’s home that belonged to my family and moved it to The Parlor.  They deserve medals, seriously!

Sunday night, after the kids were asleep, I felt like a contented cat.  I felt so at ease, so warm and happy, so grateful to have room to spread out and relax.  To be honest, I felt a bit proud, too.  Looking around me, I knew I’d gone through a long and difficult process to get to this place.

One phase of life is now completed and another begun, fresh and full of promise.  Blessed be!

♥ Mama Ladybug

Here is a gallery of pictures from moving.


I’ve Got a Home!

Hi friends!

Thank you so much to everyone who voted in the last poll.  Here are the results:

Poll Results

It’s a tie!


There was a 3-way tie between documenting my new home, writing a fiction novel about mermaids, and painting a portrait of a deity every month.  Like I said, unlike most polls on this blog, I couldn’t make this decision happen by popular vote, but just wanted to know everyone’s opinions before making my final decision.  Also, I mentioned that Rabbit’s vote is weighed most heavily, since she’s my teacher.  Here’s how she voted, along with the explanation she gave me.  She voted for three choices:

  • Document my new home.  This is a good project to last a year and tie in with my personal magic work.  She said she felt I’d enjoy this work and get a lot out of it.
  • Put CAYA songs on YouTube.  This would be more like a side project.  CAYA now has a clergy track named “Education and Information,” which is full of people who are great at recording, editing, etc., or are learning.  Rabbit asked if I wouldn’t mind acting more as a project manager to see to it that our songs get published on YouTube over time, letting the E&I clergy focus on the actual tasks involved.  I agreed to this.
  • Keep this blog going. This is pretty self-explanatory, and what I was going to do anyway.

I decided that working on a novel or trying to paint a portrait every month are both things I’d really like to do, but this year isn’t a good one for that sort of commitment.  However, I have to create a home no matter what, so I’ll make it as sacred as I can and explain what I’m doing along the way, documenting the process with words, pictures, and hopefully some videos, too.  That will be my monthly offering as part of my Advanced Wildflowers training.

I bet some of you who have read to this point are thinking, “Yeah, but the title of this post says you have a new home.  Spill, Ladybug!  Tell us what’s up!”  OK, OK…  ☺

This past Tuesday morning, I woke up and went to work as usual.  Around 10 AM, an apartment went up for rent on Craigslist (no, I am not allowed to check CL at work.  Shh!).  Let me tell you, inexpensive but nice apartments in Alameda VERY RARELY ever go up for rent, especially ones that will allow three cats.  I’ve been checking almost daily since November, so I know.  I’ve attempted to acquire quite a few apartments already, all to no avail, since someone was always faster than me.  The market here is extremely hot and competitive.  I had to fail many times before I learned how incredibly fast one has to jump on these ads.  So, I called the landlord and was there touring the place with my application filled out, a letter of introduction and a copy of my last pay stub all in hand within an hour and a half of the ad going live.  Finally, I was the first person in line!  The landlord got many calls about the ad while I was there.  It took a few hours for the company to check my background, and then I was accepted.  Within 24 hours of the ad going live, I had signed the lease and had keys in hand.  Whew!

Photo of Mama Ladybug with keys in hand

I have keys!

I now live in a teeny tiny little apartment one block from the beach in Alameda.  Here is a link to a gallery of photos of the place.  Prepare to be underwhelmed… it’s nothing special, but it’s mine!

Alameda is something of a mystery to a lot of people.  It’s an island just West of Oakland and East of San Francisco, in the San Francisco Bay.  Here’s a map:

SF Bay Area map with an arrow pointing to Alameda

The arrow is pointing to Alameda. Original image: Bay Area Satellite MAP from USGS

When I walk from my door to the beach, I am facing out over the water towards San Francisco.  It’s gorgeous!  Of course, it’s the Bay Area, so it’s always roughly 50-60 degrees all year and usually kind of windy, but it’s still the ocean and it’s still right there.  There’s a lovely trail right along the water for walking, jogging, etc.

Alameda Beach

Alameda Beach. Image by gunther



Tomorrow, I will do the official home blessing ceremony.  Stay tuned!

♥ Mama Ladybug

Help! It’s Time to Transform. ☺

Cinnabar Moth

Image by Quartl

Hi, friends!

Today I need help sorting through a personal and spiritual dilemma. I’m hoping that, with your feedback, I’ll be able to solidify where to go from here. It’s actually an exciting problem – not a bad or stressful one, but, nevertheless, I could really use your collective input, since it’s just as much about YOU as it is about me.

First, it’s important to explain the context. I am currently undergoing a year-long clergy training within CAYA Coven, called Advanced Wildflowers. When I’m done, I’ll be a High Priestess of the Wildflower tradition, where I am now currently a garden variety (ha ha) Wildflower priestess. This sort of training is very DIY. The goal for those of us in this training is to undergo a significant personal transformation that uses our creative talents in a visible way that is educational for others. We’re supposed to shine our light, so to speak, and become noticeable in our community, inspiring others to seek their own evolution through our examples. We’re supposed to present something to the world once a month (or more if it makes sense) that works to that end. It could be a cumulative project, like writing a book, or it could be different every month.

It’s pretty safe to say that I’m undergoing a personal transformation this year regardless of how I choose to implement my training. As my cousin Ramona so kindly put it, I’m starting a new chapter of my “wonderful life,” — due to leaving my marriage, moving back to the Bay Area, starting a new/old job and a new way of living. One could argue, I suppose, that keeping this blog going would fit the bill for the work, and so I’m already doing enough, especially since at least once a month there should be something of educational value happening here. However, I’m not convinced that it really is enough. I started this blog just because I wanted to, not for any particular end goal other than to leverage support from my community to keep me writing and creating. If I know that there are people out there who’d like to read a particular story, for example, I am much, much more enthusiastic about writing it than I would be if I were just alone in the exercise.

So, here are my ideas for how to do this work, along with some pros and cons that I can see. You may very well see other pros and cons, and I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

  1. Document my new home. This would involve spellwork to find the new home (still haven’t found it and am now noticeably more gray around the temples, folks), blessing and warding the new home, setting up all my altars, magical housekeeping and that sort of stuff. This would involve pictures, writing, shopping trips and potentially some videos.
    1. Pros: This would be really fun for me. I read home organization blogs all the time and am an avid Pinterest addict. I feel like I could pull this off really well and enjoy it.
    2. Cons: I don’t actually have a new home yet and don’t know when I will. Maybe next week? Maybe in a month? Maybe longer (I hope not)?
  2. Write a fiction novel. I’ve had a fun novel kicking around in my head for a while about a Pagan woman who is a professional blogger who meets a tribe of mermaids on Venice Beach and gets wrapped up in their lives, culminating with them wanting her to join their tribe and make babies for them. This book would be partly her blogs about hearth-related witchcraft and partly the drama of her story. It’s sort of like a vampire novel, but with mermaids instead. After finishing it and editing it, I’d put it online as an e-book on Amazon. Hey, that’s how 50 Shades of Grey got started, after all.
    1. Pros: This would go a long way towards personal healing for me. I’ve always wanted to write a novel. I actually would like to be a novelist at some point. This is a book I’d really like to read, but the only way that will happen is if I write it.
    2. Cons: It’s hard to find time to write. However, my job has days where I have very little to do. That’s how I’ve managed to create this entire blog so far, so I could conceivably write a book and put out a chapter a month without too much stress. The other con would be that I’d essentially but putting out a raw version every month. After the whole thing is finished, I’d need to go back and revise/edit/re-write. Therefore, what you’d be reading every month may or may not be what actually goes into the final version. Are you OK with that? I don’t actually mind, personally, but that could be weird for you if you get attached to a certain part that gets cut.
  3. Paint a new deity portrait every month. The likely candidates would be: Papa Legba, Hestia, Diana, Oshun, Aphrodite, Yemaya, Lakshmi, Oya, Olokun, Ganesh, Gaia, Durga and Sarasvati. That’s my line-up of deities I work with and admire most.
    1. Pros: I love painting. I need new paintings for my new home. I can sell prints, cards, stickers, magnets and the original work to put towards a nest egg for owning a home someday or towards the CAYA ecovillage (which is only in conceptual stage development right now).
    2. Cons: It’s hard to get time to paint with the wonderful, delightful little people in my life. The end result would be quicker, more off-the-cuff artwork with more personality than technical skill, since I may not be able to put more than an hour or so into my work at a time, including set up and clean up.
  4. Record original songs written by CAYA folks and make YouTube videos out of them, with the footage being altars, nature scenery, or whatever goes with the song.
    1. Pros: People world-wide get to learn our songs. I learn how to do video editing. Win!
    2. Cons: I can’t actually think of any right now. I guess it wouldn’t really involve a ton of personal transformation to do this project, other than learning a great new skill.
  5.  Just keep this blog going… and really pour myself and my creative energy into it.
    1. Pros: You get to help decide what I write about and what adventures I undertake. There could be elements of all of the above projects mixed in however we like. I can fine tune my writing to fit whatever questions or concerns people new to CAYA (or any of y’all) have in mind. I’ll be doing this anyway, whether or not it’s specifically for Advanced Wildflowers, so it might be smarter to simplify in this way.
    2. Cons: I feel like it’s cheating, somehow. Is it? I don’t know. I’m going to do this anyway, just like I’m consciously transforming anyway. Would you rather see me do this blog AND write a novel, say? I’ll do it if you want me to, or at least give it the ol’ college try.

What do you think? Here’s a poll for you to weigh in with your opinion. Please also feel free to write in the comments whatever further thoughts you have. I will ultimately have to make this decision myself and may need to go with something other than the majority vote in this particular case, but it would help me immensely to have some feedback here. Naturally, Yeshe Rabbit’s opinion counts the most, since she’s my teacher, but it’s also true that I’m supposed to be turning into a teacher/leader myself by doing this, so she is likely to support whichever of these options feels best to me.

The poll closes tomorrow at 5 PM PST (that’s 8 PM for those of you on the East Coast).  Thanks in advance!

♥ Mama Ladybug


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