Time to Make the Doughnuts

Bear with me while I prattle about my kids for a minute. It’ll be like getting caught in a neighbor’s post-vaca slide show – except that you can log off.

The Adopted is coming over today to show off her baby-bump,  have lunch, get some Bad Witch lovin’, make crafties, and have a long-overdue lesson on energy wrangling. I forgot about how wild some of our energies get when we are pregnant.

The excitement over this impending visit (mixed with yesterday’s mention of The Mentor) has me thinking about birds and pastries. Not the four-and-twenty-blackbirds variety of birds and pastries, mind you. The Bad Witch variety.

You see, in a particularly heated game of Dirty Santa, TBW ended up with one of those new-fangled doughnut makers. I finally opened it last week and glanced at the recipes. “Hell naw,” I thought. “I can do better than that.” I replaced the call for vile-white flour with spelt and sour cream for Greek yogurt, made a few changes in the (half-a-freaking-cup) vegetable oil, odious-granulated sugar, and other processed nastiness.

Let’s just say that, unlike most of my kitchen inventions, this did not work.

The Bad Witch is loath to chuck a full batch of donuts, no matter how inedible. After reviewing the ingredients I used, I decided that a shmear of peanut-butter or bacon-grease (which ain’t happening in this house this week) and a roll in some unsalted nuts and seeds – I do believe I have some millet in the pantry – toss in an orange round – would be a fine road-side snack-a-roo for the migrating birdies.

And a great opportunity to do a little practical magic.

The Adopted is having a hard time with her energy, needs a little mothering of her own, and needs a whack in the magical ass. Poi-fect. Arts and crafts and affection and learnin’ and energy-balancing birdfeeders it is. Happy Monday. I’ll tell ya how it goes.

But I wanted doughnuts for me too. So I grabbed the (razza-frazza-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this) all-purpose flour, more granulated sugar than I use in a year, and that half-a-freaking-cup of vegetable oil. And then I shmeared them with (. . . let the choirs of angels sing . . .) Nutella. The kids thought I had lost my mind.

Now breakfast at my house is always a little weird. My kids are morning people. I am not.

Typically The Bad Husband (also a morning person – who does that?) makes breakfast, gets TBW caffeinated, and shuffles everyone out the door. But TBH is in China where it’s lunchtime – tomorrow.

At one point, TBH lived a thousand miles away from the rest of us for about ten months. I was in grad school, taking my grad exams to be exact, we had just bought (what, at the time, seemed to be) a ginormous house with a rainforest for a yard. During this time, the children (aged 5, 7, and 9 at the time) loved to spring bewilderment on me prior to my morning caffeination ritual. Once, Eldest decided that if she had been a German in the late 30s and early 40s, she might have “bought” what Hitler was selling too. There was a particularly politically savvy soundness behind her logic which was based in an understanding of both post-War jingoism and Hitler’s charismatic allure.

But it was, like, seven AM. And she was, like, nine.

Son, seven at the time, liked to discuss their ongoing debate about the operatives of pi.[1] I can’t even tell you what that was about, let alone pick a side. I always felt better when the conversation turned to poetry and Son called Robert Frost a “big fat liar” who often engaged in “self-revision.”[2]

They also had arguments about taxonomy: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. Where are jellyfish? Who has a nucleus? Are viruses at all like bacteria? (Turns out, no, not really).[3]

Youngest shares few words. She was late to language and even later to consonants.[4] Even now, she prefers body language, facial expressions, and other non-verbal cues to actual words. But when The Fairy-Child does speak, listen – it’s worth it.

So you shouldn’t be at all surprised when I tell you that one morning Eldest’s crepe[5] cracked and she saw it as a representation of Austria and Germany. Here’s a basic script of that morning:

Eldest (9) – “Oooh lookie mommy! My crepe broke into Germany and Sweden.”
TBW (34) – “Wha?”
Eldest – “No, not Sweden. Switzerland.”
Son (7) – “Looks more like Austria.”
Youngest (5) – “It’s a matter of perspective. Turn it around.”
TBW- “What are we looking at?”
Son – “It’s Austria.”
Eldest – “It’s Switzerland to me.”
Son – “But you put all that powdered sugar on it”
Eldest – “Exactly. The Alps have snow. The terrain of the mountains in Austria is entirely different. This is Switzerland.”
Son: “If I were to put jelly on mine would that make it a Berliner? Get it. Berliner!!”
Eldest – “Shut up you dork. That’s an urban legend anyway. Kennedy never called himself a jelly donut in real life.” [Under her breath] “How can one man be surrounded by so much conspiracy?”

I nearly wrenched my coffee. They go back and forth for a while before I tell Eldest to just shush-up and eat Central Europe. Of course, they don’t. There are a few poopy-name-calling incidents before (kindergarten-aged) Youngest gets fed-up and pokes the already broken crepe and says dryly: “There. Lichtenstein.”[6]

This is just to say: breakfast pastries at my house when The Bad Husband is away on business = funtimes.

I remembered this story this morning while, finding I had an extra hour or so, I was trying to come up with a fictional name to apply to First Mentor (a.k.a. the-former-nun-who-took-me-under-her-wing-while-I-was-an-undergraduate-at-a-Jesuit-university-and-taught-me-a-brand-of-witchcraft-I haven’t-yet re-encountered). I chattered out-loud to my coffee and homemade doughnut: “Bird. Her name means ‘bird.’ Duh. Of course it means ‘bird.’ Just listen to it; it obviously means ‘bird.’ What other names mean ‘bird’?” Glancing down the list, I saw Youngest’s name. “Humph. For a smart girl, I sure am dense.”

Little did I know that Youngest’s name and First Mentor’s name both derive from “bird.” When I named my baby, I was simply thinking, “Gee, that’s a combination of two family names.”[7]  I turned to Youngest, now reading over my shoulder (she had homework for me to sign before she bounced off to school), “Did you know that your name and Momma’s first mentor – the first woman who taught me ‘real’ real Witchcraft for the first time both have names that mean ‘bird’?”

Pointing out the elephant in the room, like she does, Youngest said, “Um, yuh. They both mean ‘bird’ and ‘bright and shining.’ I always thought you did that on purpose.”

“Funny how so many bird names also mean ‘bright and shining.’”

“It’s because they aren’t ‘real’ birds, Mom.”

Oh, Lichtenstein.

Coffee, please.


This post is part of a year-long project, The Pagan Blog Hop: “This isn’t your typical blog hop! We’re here to help you get the most out of your blog hopping experience. Instead of weekly hops that tend to be over long before you get through the whole list, we offer a whole month of hopping! And instead of endless links to varied posts and sites, we give you categories to place your direct-post links! So as a blogger you know whom ever is looking at this hop will find what they are looking for and hopefully that’s you! As a reader, you get to skip all the others and go right to what interests you most! It’s blog hopping made easy, organized and fun!” (http://paganpagesbloghop.blogspot.com/p/about.html).

[1] Now he just wants me to tell him about what it was like to “live” through MegaDeath and Thrash Metal as a new musical experience. “I don’t know; I listened to Tiffany!” (Not really, but it buys me enough time to drink my coffee.)

[2] That was the day the kids started making weird noises in the car and I got annoyed and said, “hey, let’s talk about poetry again! that’ll be fun.” And Youngest, five, struck a Garboesque pose and said, “Yeah, let’s stick pins in our eyes cuz that’ll be fun too.” I almost hit the car in front of me that day.

[3] I try talking to other mommies and daddies about this and they all find it very amusing. Most kids argue about coco-puffs versus Count Chocula. Don’t get me wrong, my kids argue that stuff too — and use it as a gauge of intelligence, “Of course you think Churchill’s ‘With Great Power’ speech is better than Kennedy’s ‘Ask Not’ speech, you like Trix better than Lucky Charms, you doofus.”

[4] In grammar school, she had a speech therapist from Birmingham who over-annunciated her last syllables. She called me in for a meeting to tell me that she couldn’t understand why Youngest, “really-ya over-uh pronounces-sah the-uh last-ta sound-dah of-uh each-cha word-da.” When I realized that my seven-year-old daughter was openly mocking her speech therapist, I removed her from the program.

[5] In our house we call them “craps” because when Momma tries to flip them she yells, “Crap!”

[6] When I tried telling this story at work, I found no sympathy. The other mommies just said that I was crazy for making crepes on a school day. When I told the story to one of the daddies and he said, “Yes. That’s crazy. Everyone knows that crepes are more a dinner food.” The next day we had Pop-Tarts.

[7] Well, sort-of. I was hell bent for leather that I was going to name that child Olive  (her twin was going to be named Lillith). Then, at the moment she was born, pink and alone, I changed my mind. The Bad Husband had little say in the matter.  He rarely does, poor fellah. But the name I settled on didn’t come to me over deliberation and time, it shot into the delivery room like a third child raring to be born from a body that knew what it was doing. I just moved over and said, “OK.”

A is For Apple

“What’s in a Name?”

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1)

I have been trying to work my way through a number of Q&A posts on Heathenism to little avail. One of the questions I’ve tried to address is this: “What are Heathen dietary restrictions?” [1] There are as many answers to this question as there are Heathens to answer it. For instance, Wyatt Kaldenberg, author of Perceived Heathenism & Odinic Prayer, argues that Heathens have no use for any chemicals as entheogens aside from alcohol:

Northern Heathens did have a shamanic drug that is referred to many times in ancient literature. Our shamanistic drug is called alcohol. . . . Marijuana, peyote, opium, and most other natural drugs aren’t native to Europe. . . . alcohol, not drugs, is our magical doorway to our Gods. (Kindle Edition. CreateSpace. 2011. 143-145)[2]

But this leads me to a different question. How about coffee? Chocolate? Jasmine tea? [3]

And, in my typical stream-of-consciousness style, this leads me to a completely different train of thought.

The question was asked by a reader, a seeker – but who is giving the answer, The Bad Witch or the real me?

The person typing on the keyboard drinks a lot of coffee. The Bad Witch might say, “Hell no, that shite is terrible for you, you should never partake of the brown-devil-of-caffeinated-lusciousness.”

Though, then again, she might not. One never can tell with TBW, can one?

A few of you know me in real life and know that Ehsha Apple is my nom de plume. The rest of you, I’m sure, know that my name is not The Bad Witch. The Bad Witch is a persona adopted after a bit of evolution in this blog. I started out “reporting about” bad witches and, in a perverse transformation, I accepted The Bad Witch as my nomenclature. Referring to myself in third person was my (the real me) way of distancing myself (the real me) from the things The Bad Witch does and says (she is often very naughty and foul-mouthed, indeed). To take it a step further, I use the acronym TBW to draw further attention to the visage.

According to Narrative Theory by Ismail Talib, there are three personages necessary to create a narrative: the real life person behind the keyboard (or pen) – the real me, the presumed author – the Ehsha Apple, and the narrator – The Bad Witch/TBW. In this case, The Bad Witch is your narrator. She is not (exactly) the real person behind the writing. Ehsha Apple is the presumed author, but because she too is a false persona, she too is not (exactly) me.

I have an author friend who uses a nom de plume and has another persona. While I didn’t develop my methods based after hers, I’d be glad to steal any ideas from Momma and Homegirl! [3b] Momma, imho, is the fucking bomb.

The Bad Witch is fond of her too.

This is just to say, as pen names go, it’s done in creative writing circles. It’s not weird, it’s not “out there.” It’s certainly not devious.[4]

A, perhaps extraneous, side note about “Ehsha Apple”:

While I can’t give you all of the ins and outs, I can tell you that Ehsha is a derivative of my maternal grandmother’s name. In Mvskogee, it means “blood” (feminine). In Sanskrit Esha/Eesha/Isha (E/sha and I/sha) means “pleasure” or “desire” and “Lord” respectively. (Think: Ganehsa, Raveesha, Venkatesha, and Umesha).[5] In Hebrew, Isha means “woman.” And Eshmai is “I am She” in reverse. (You can see more about magical names at Open Path.)

Apple, on the other hand, is a little more convoluted. Rather than it choosing me, I chose it.[6] In the moment, it was a nod to Eris and the Apple of Discord and then later it was a reflection of Idunna’s Apples. But it turns out that, aside from being the typically depicted Edenic taboo, apple is also a racial slur. Particularly in the American Southwest, Native Americans refer to those who are “red on the outside and white on the inside” as “apples.”[7] Ironic, no? My whole upbringing – the “white sheep” in a “red” flock, I was teased for my blue eyes and “pale face” – reinforced my desire to be true to my Native heritage. And, what do I pick to signify myself? A frickin’ apple.

This is all to say that when there is thought and consideration taken for psudonyms, they can be powerful and revealing.[8]

Of course y’all know my name is legally Angela–or Dr. Farmer, depending on who’s speaking.

In the end, my point is that I don’t always practice what I preach. I don’t have to. Because I’m not the one doing the preaching. The Bad Witch is a much more bad-ass chick than Ehsha (and Ehsha is a little nicer than the real me). The Bad Witch is here to call me out on my own shit and Ehsha is here to keep me from going postal.

“Schizophrenic?” you ask? As a fan of Deleuze & Guattari, I say, “Abso-fricking-lootly.” I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This post is (make up work for) part of a year-long project. Rowan Pendragon’s The Pagan Blog Project; “a way to spend a full year dedicating time each week very specifically to studying, reflecting, and sharing . . . .    The project consists of a single blog post each week posted on prompt that will focus on a letter of the alphabet” (http://onewitchsway.com/pbp2012/).

[1] Most Heathens don’t consider “restrictions” but think more about consequences in the standard, “You are what you eat,” philosophy. Some Heathens are steadfast in insisting that there are certain foods we should never ingest (especially if we cannot pronounce them) and some Heathens are Vegan, Vegetarian, or Pescitarian while others insist that humans are Omnivores and should consume meat.

[2] I’ll read just about anything on my Kindle.

[3] I’m not condoning drug use, I’m simply questioning the logic of something I formerly took (a little) for granted.

[3b]  ISBN: 9780956665881 – Just buy a copy, wouldya?

[4] The issue comes to blows when an author doesn’t understand the function of noms de plume (noms des plumes? I mean, we all have our own pens, right?) and tries to hide behind a persona and simultaneously claim authenticity. (Check it out, my introduction and my first post, “The Bad Witch at the Watering Hole,” clarifies that while I am the character called The Bad Witch, I am not a bad witch.) If a pen name is about distance and an acronym is about further distance, how can either speak to authentic voice? They can’t. A City Girl on MySpace can’t be A Country Mouse on WordPress and have both be authentic. Both are avatars, and that’s fine. But let’s call apples “apples,” shall we?

[5] Now, I didn’t do this on purpose, it just happened. I was going on a Creek term. I am not of East Indian descent and it didn’t occur to me. I guess I’m just lucky it didn’t turn out to mean “slovenly drunkard.”

[6] There had been a mythological party, there was a snubbing and a (Golden) Ass – it was all about vanity, an nitwit passed out apples, there was a dispute and a stream of competitiveness, I shouted “Hail Eris” and got the eff out. It seemed reasonable at the time.

[7] I’m not fooling anybody – I’m absolutely white on the outside, like my daddy instead of my momma. So what does that make me? “Human,” I’m told.

[8] Some names are just grabbed out of the air or put on for airs. These names can bite my – – shuchyomouth.