Fae Conspiracy Theory

Okay, this is where Hearth gets pretty woo-woo.  Strap in.

I has a theory.  I think that myths and fairy tales exist to tell us about truths deeper or stranger than the everyday.  Sometimes they tell us meta-truths (keep being virtuous in the face of discouragement, be nice to strangers, don’t trust too easily).  That’s what literature is FOR.  (See the last two blogs).*

I think that the fallen angels and their kids (Genesis 6) are hidden in our myths.  I notice that  the gods of the Mediterranean area (which includes N. Africa and into Scandinavia) are startlingly similar … different names on the same faces?  Sure, details vary – but the pantheons themselves have serious similarities.   And they’re brats.  They’re *not* virtuous, they’re selfish and mercurial.

I’ve heard myths here and there that those gods shrank and became the Fae.  Maybe?  Not to mention their kids… who I think make up the bulk of the Otherkind.  And in the old stories (including stories about djinn and similar level Otherkin in Africa and here in the US) all of the Fae are mercurial, selfish, mischievous, and sometimes downright evil.  They might help if it suited them, but not for free – and they’ll double cross you if they can.   They’re not fuzzy and nice.

And they’re not human.  They’re Other.  Long lives, most of them incapable of creation, few of them have many children (and usually those pair off with yet-lower-power Others or kidnapped humans).  If that doesn’t sound like Genesis 6, what does?   Your Bible will tell you that Goliath was a Nephilim… they did exist after the flood, although not in such numbers.

Our myths warned us about these guys.  Until very recently.

Let’s take vampires – the Biblical admonition that the life is in the blood, and we are not to partake of blood is stood on its head, and the creature that lives only on blood – and lives forever, damned and damnable… that’s what was originally written.  Beautiful, tempting – like La Belle Dame Sans Merci (although she was Fae), addictive… but not of us.

Now the vampires sparkle and make babies and the elves are heroes.  (Sorry, Tolkien – your elves were really more angelic, but… not a great precedent).  Why?

Some of it is our wandering away from Black/White and entering the eternal fog of Grey.  (Speaking of things I can’t abide in my reading material).  Misunderstood, not evil.  How lovely, to write a story about someone doing something awful because they have to… but they’re not evil.  No, of course that MetaStory doesn’t mess with the Christian world-view at all.  -cough, cough-

We killed our heroes and traded them out for those who walk in the shadows – and now those who walked in the shadows, trading in half-truths and trickery, they’ve come to the forefront and we call them good.

If you read the original Peter Pan – Tink wasn’t a nice creature.  Nor were any of her friends nice creatures.   Peter’s power came at a cost – all fairy gifts do.  Read Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Dracula was damned, a horror.  But now we see their perspectives?  No.  To rebel against God is to walk away from the Light.

Our literature reflects our time, and if we want to change hearts back, we need to reintroduce true heroes.

As for what happened to those Nephilim… I don’t know.  Do you?

 

 

*Christians*are* supposed to try to be Cinderella and Snow White like – gracious in the face of ugliness.  No clue why these are “weak” women – you want to cope with what they did?  Making the best of a bad situation isn’t a poor life-lesson, and it’s darn realistic.  Oh, and the true King will eventually rescue us… -ahem-  Big T truths hidden amongst singing rodents.

 

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Reading… Pt 2: Heroes and Choices

So, if you’ve read part one then you are up to speed on the “we read literature to develop our imaginations”.  But there’s a second part to that.  One wants, particularly for one’s children, to select heroes or heroines who *make good choices* in their problems.  (Or, more typically, learn from their initial poor choices and straighten out by the end of the story).

Because life happens, and how do you deal?  So, if you have those things in your imagination, where you have a huge problem and then your protagonist (aka your imaginary self) tries one solution and then another … maybe when YOU’RE confronted with bad stuff, you’ve already worked some of that stuff out.

What you don’t want is a hero/heroine who makes bad choices and then everything still works out… aka be wary of current YA fiction.

I used to love Tarzan books, when I was about 10/11.  Tarzan was a thoroughly unbelievable hero, insofar as his powers were concerned – but he had real emotions, and his enemies were pretty solid (yes, types – but hello, Tarzan started the types).  Everyone whinges about Jane being a wimp.  She wasn’t.  She was written fairly realistically, considering.  I mean, what do you think would happen to YOU if you were captured by a tribe of enemy warriors?  Are YOU going to stroll out?  I think not.   Simple things, but I was a kid.

My dad got me into Heinlein, and while I would warn anyone away from the “adult” Heinleins, the books he wrote for the Boy Scouts were great examples of competent kids getting on with things, using their math skills, using their life skills, to deal with big problems.   You want to raise little libertarians?  Feed them Heinlein.

And this is why I cannot bear to read adult literature, part 2.  I HATE the way most of the heroes/heroines deal with their issues.  I don’t respect their choices, they fill me with contempt and I don’t want to let them live in my head.   Take Anna Karenina.  Beautiful prose.  Incredible descriptions. But Anna and her lover were jerks.   Was I supposed to be sad when they died at the end?  I wasn’t.   Ever read “Vanity Fair”?  Ugh.  Protagonist was a horrible, horrible woman.  I don’t even want to be in the same room with her, much less spend days of my life in her head.

And those aren’t my problems, aren’t problems I ever expect to encounter.  I’m not married to a man 20 years my senior and rich and bored and unloved/unloving.  (The setting of far too many “great women’s novels”).  If I was, I don’t think adultery is an ethical way of dealing.  How exactly does it help your life to have your sexuality “awakened” (a dif book) if that’s not going to be a big part of your life?  -eyeroll- STUPID.

That’s why I prefer adventure novels.  No, I’m not likely to have to go slay a dragon – but I respect the hero’s choice to deal with his problems straight on, at risk to his own life.   That’s the person I want to be – the person who deals with their problems in an honorable fashion, does what it takes, and comes out on top.   Yes, I like a good redemption novel – you can start out a baddie and get right and that makes a good read.   But you have to choose good.  And, if I’m going to *enjoy myself*, you have to win at the end.  But that’s not a literary value, just a personal preference.

So, that’s why I think classic novels (where good and bad are clearly delineated) are better choices for kids’ literature in particular than whatever junk is in the YA section at your local bookstore.  Bad is labelled bad, good is labelled good.

And that brings me to my conspiracy theory about fairies and vampires, but I seem to be the only person interested in that subject.  🙂

Reading Levels and Life Levels

Els posted a review of Peter Pan (the book) and I disagreed with her adjusted reading level.  I’d like to go into that a bit here…

  1. The process of growing up seems to be a process of shocks.   What shocks come when changes from era to era, but shocks there will be.
  2. Good parents in our era try to protect our children from as many shocks as possible.  I’m not sure that this is beneficial, although I do it too.
    1. The reason I’m not sure it’s a good thing to protect them from shocks rather than letting them through in gradated bits is that if you protect them, they get all the shocks at once when they leave home.
  3. One of the functions of literature is to help you imagine situations before you have to confront them, either in your life or in the life of others

Let’s look at a classical reading list by grade, and consider the themes in the books (NOT the dumbed-down versions, the real books):   https://charlottemasonhome.com/2007/05/30/literature-by-grade/

In Kidnapped (6th grade, 11 for most kids) the protagonist is orphaned, gets himself to his ancestral home, and is betrayed by his uncle and impressed into the navy before he spends most of the rest of the book wandering around the Scottish countryside hiding from the army with the man who starts as his enemy and becomes his friend.   I don’t remember any sex… but family betrayal, loads and loads of violence, starvation, the political situation in an embattled country, spies, and revenge all play in.  It’s not a “nice” book.

Little Women is a “nicer” book on the surface – but we are (as usual) looking at issues of marriage, how to deal with life when your husband is off to war, class consciousness, charity when it hurts, and death.

Seventh grade brings us Anne Frank (WWII); The Prince and the Pauper (let’s get into detail about what being a “whipping boy” really entails, not to mention an abusive, drunken father); and Oliver Twist (orphaned, taken advantage of).

Has anyone read the *original* Wizard of Oz?  Suitable for elementary-level children to read.  People really died.  There were actual consequences and battles, and loads of prejudice and hate.

That’s what literature is… it’s the hard stuff, put on paper.  (This may be why many of us don’t choose to read it after a certain age.  Or maybe because all they want to talk about in adult literature is adultery and/or despair).  It gives us a chance to deal with this stuff, just a little bit, before we have to deal with it in our real lives.  And if you’re homeschooling, or if your kids talk to you (one of mine does, the other one doesn’t talk), you can help them deal with it, give them coping mechanisms.

And aside from literature… are you going to not teach your children history?  History isn’t very nice.

We’d all like a softer life for our kids, a life lived in innocence.  But I’m here to tell you from personal experience, that even if your kids are properly cherished and kept safe, someday their friends are going to start telling them about their lives – and reality is going to hit with both barrels.

Literature is part of how we grow up.

 

 

Learning to Market: Tribes, Weirdness, The Perfect Customer

Oh.  You thought I was going to spend the time I was elevating my foot taking naps?  Really?  Nah.  I’ve been working my tail off all week improving the pro site and learning to use social media to market.  (Lord help us).  And … I’m getting more hits on my pro site after a few days.  So, I guess this stuff works.  Who knew.

Can I start with “I hate marketing”.  I don’t hate taking pretty pictures and posting them on IG etc, but I don’t really like saying, “Hi hi hi hi hi LOOOK at MEEEEE” .  But.  Aint-a-gonna get customers if I don’t.   It’s a reality.

Inputs have recommended creating (on paper) an imaginary “perfect customer” and then writing all my content/marketing stuff *directly to her*, whoever she is.  Put stuff where she hangs out online, make it interesting to her, etc.   This is now a thing in marketing.  Seems odd, but okay.

But I don’t think that naming my new imaginary friend (IC) is gonna get me anywhere.  So, another source talked about doing psychographics instead – think about the things that IC is bugged by, loves, hates, etc. That makes more sense to me – I’m selling a service that solves problems for women.  I should probably find women who find clothing and image a problem, ja?

And then I picked up a marketing book by Seth Godin, recommended by a friend who doesn’t market but does like good books:

we-are-all-weird

One of the things that Godin said was that basically all of us are weird in some way now – because we are rich enough to choose to be progressively more individual.   We are forming up into tribes by interests, and those tribes are breaking into further micro-tribes as we get progressively more nerdy about our passions.   How do you market to microtribes?  Well, you could look at their outside characteristics – or you could look at the heart of someone who is passionate about the Thing.  Or you could market to individuals… (Or you can just mass-market to the dwindling piles of ‘normal’ people).

And that concept SLAMMED a pile of goo on the back of the mental stove right into concrete.  You see, I have absolutely zero interest in teaching women to look perfectly “fashionable” by whatever the definition du jour happens to be.  I don’t give a darn about status pieces.  You can get that ANYWHERE.  There’s a freaking formula.  Watch five episodes of “What Not to Wear” and don’t bother me.

What I really really REALLY want is to help women discover who they are, and then learn how to show their true selves off – to wear their hearts on their sleeves.  I want to help women embrace their individuality.   All of that incorporating their goals in life and physical realities, of course – but the idea is to make my clients all look like themselves, not like me, not like each other.

I *like* people.  I think they’re cool and interesting.  I want more individuality, not less.  I want people to be themselves.  If you want to change something about yourself, change it – don’t hide it under a rug.   I will NOT help you rug-shop.

So, so far my perfect customer looks like this:

  • Someone who is transitioning in life (career, relationship, etc)
  • mid 30s/40s/early 50s
  • Who likes clothes but is irritated because nothing is ever quite right
  • Who wants to feel pretty
  • Who enjoys shopping – if she could just know she was bringing the right things home
  • Who wants to find herself
  • Who is ready to be seen/make an impact
  • Who is open to joy and beauty

I don’t know if I care how many kids she has and if she drives an SUV or a sedan… I don’t have the knowledge to say that those things are irrelevant, but boy howdy do they seem irrelevant.

So.  I need to start writing blog posts to this imaginary woman and getting content on my blog that isn’t photographs of today’s jewelry.  (Hey, it’s PRETTY and makes for an interesting image).

This is a whole new ball of wax, peoples…. a whole new ball…

Anyway.  Interesting (veryveryshort) read, lots of thoughts.

The Monster in the Closet Jumped Out

Apparently my push for greater fitness in the new year was a little too much, too fast.   I had been doing barbell club 2x/wk (approx 4 hours/wk) in the gym.  I added a session of crossfit, and got out and started walking on my non-workout days (5 hours gym+ 2 hours misc).  On my nice steep hill.  Seems like a reasonable plan to get the pounds off, especially taken in concert with cleaning up the diet, yes?

My ankle started developing a weird bump sometime in December.  It didn’t like to be messed with, but I didn’t really think anything of it, until a few weeks ago (when I started the plan) and it started getting progressively more painful.   I haven’t been able to wear my normal workout sandals for two weeks, and this week saw me unable to wear any shoe that rubs on the back of my heel.

So I went to the doc.  Achilles Tendonitis… and arthritis in the heel and ankle.    The tendonitis is annoying – I have to take a couple weeks off of my usual workouts (and then, presumably, start back SLOWLY).  I can deal with that, even if the 800mg Advil they gave me makes me feel like I swallowed a rock.   I’ll do chest/shoulders/core and sit on the bike.  Doable.   I’m cranky about it – having goals and having to alter my plan of attack, and lots of time on the couch with my foot elevated.  But I can deal.  Life happens.    Taking away the fact that my “yeah, yeah, I’ll do mobility… later” is now “I *will* do mobility work, and I’ll do it every day” in order to stay in the game.  And I’m far too addicted to lifting to give it up easily.

That’s not the monster in the closet.  It’s the arthritis diagnosis that had me upset half the weekend.   I’m not quite over it… see, I can heal up from tendonitis.  I can take things more slowly and stretch and not get it again.   No prob.  Just a bump in the road.

But arthritis in my bad foot (yes, all this is in the bad foot) is the monster in the closet, the Big Mean Activity Ending Evil that I’ve been threatened with since the day I broke my foot.   “Eventually, you’ll get arthritis in that joint, and when the pain gets too bad to bear, we’ll do another surgery and freeze it, and you’ll walk with a cane for the rest of your life”.    I had a doctor who made me come in annually to get an X-ray to see if the arthritis had shown up yet.  (Talk about a stressful appointment).   Then the insurance changed and I went back to the man who did the surgery who huffed in irritation and told me not to come back unless my foot was bugging me.

Y’all *get* why hearing “you have arthritis in your foot” *completely* freaked me out, right?

So, the arthritis isn’t in the joint that broke, and we don’t freeze ankle joints.   My husband was careful to point this out to me – this isn’t QUITE the monster I was afraid of.  But it’s close… too close.   (He thinks I developed arthritis in my ankle because I use my ankle instead of the joint in the middle of my foot).

I’m going to have to change something, I don’t know what… maybe no more Oly lifting, just power?  Maybe something else?  I don’t know.

I do know that the Monster is officially out of the closet, and I was much happier when it wasn’t sitting on my lap.

Olympic Weightlifting vs. Powerlifting

This is for Bike, who wanted to know a bit about form and whatnot for the lifting that I do.  I don’t feel totally qualified, which is … weird… since I do this 2-3x/wk and have done for almost three years now.  But I’m not a coach.

That’s my first caveat.  For the olympic lifting, you NEED a coach.  I think you can get away with light/medium weight powerlifting without a coach, but you really don’t want to start throwing barbells over your head without someone there to make sure you’re doing it right, you could tweak your back out pretty hard.   We’re watched closely, we’re careful, we drill on form and drill and drill and drill – and we do core work that makes us all wake up at 2am and say, “why?”

There are only two Olympic lifts… not to say we only do two things.  But the competition is only two lifts – the snatch and the clean & jerk.

This is a snatch:

7120328361_fbe838d358_o

Only that happens in seconds.  And then you have to stand up, barbell over your head, before you can drop it.

This is a clean and jerk:

clean-jerk3

So, to do those two lifts, we  practice things to make our back strong, core work, things to make our arms strong, and a lot of things to make our hips/thighs/butt strong.  That’s where the momentum comes from to throw the barbell in the air – from the hip-snap.  (I get yelled at a lot for “muscling up” the bar instead of snapping it up – your arms are really there to control things, not to do the lifting).

Beginners generally start with “power” cleans/snatches … which is the same movement, only you don’t drop to a squat, you just get the barbell in the air.  Coach tells me that you can get a lot more weight up with a full clean/snatch, because you’re not lifting the bar as high, you’re dropping under it (see the second to right/top picture in the clean cycle.  It takes time and work to be able to drop to a full squat – and full squat under load isn’t easy.  (Then stand up!)

One of the lift preps we do quite a lot is overhead squats with a slow drop and hold at the bottom.  Even with a PVC pipe (which is what we start with, and what we work on form with every.single.session) this is a challenge.   If this becomes easy, get on a bosu ball and try it there.

If you follow me on instagram (amyrosehearth) I put up our workouts most of the time if you want to know what we do.  But seriously – get a coach if you’re interested in this kind of lifting.   https://www.teamusa.org/usa-weightlifting/clubs-lwc/find-a-club

My coach tells me that there is *nothing* you can do to get stronger than oly lifting… and it doesn’t bulk you up the way powerlifting or bodybuilding do.   Helpful tips?  Keep your weight on your heels as much as is possible.  Land your lifts with your weight on your heels.  Go *slowly* and focus on form.  Strengthen your lower back and your thighs/butt.

There is not a session that we aren’t using PVC pipes to warm up and then working on form with empty barbells.   If you’re concentrating, you can get an excellent workout like that, and that form is more important than adding weight.

We do a lot of airsquats – a LOT of airsquats – and if you think you’re sorted, do airsquats facing the wall.  With your nose to the wall.  Burpees seem popular (I can’t do them, no jumping for moi).  Pushups.

So, what’s powerlifting?  Powerlifting competitions generally have three lifts:  Benchpress, deadlift, and backsquat.  These are much simpler lifts.  Deadlifting – hold on, stand up.   Keep a flat back (very important), mind your feet are set properly (there are differences in stance, but you want to be happy with how your knees feel – I’ve been taught feet-under-hips).

Backsquat – again, you want to have your feet just right.  Weight to heels/outer foot.  Hold your core tight (oh, I hurt myself the last time I PR’d because my second-to-last lift was done without holding tight and I almost folded – 255lb is a lot on your shoulders!).  Keep a neutral spine.   If you can’t break parallel, don’t add weight, just keep working where you are.

Bench… I don’t know that I have a ton of stuff to offer on bench, I don’t feel like I have technique mastered at all.  Making sure that shorties have their feet solidly planted is important – I put a box under the bench for my feet.  Mind your breath.  Be sure to get a spot if you go over 75% of your PR.  Don’t put clips on your bar, just in case you have to tip the weights off.

For all of this – you care about form more than you care about weight, and it is not possible to do too much core work, or too insane of core work.  I know I look ridiculous when I do these things, and I don’t do them like the youtube videos, but I *do them* and it makes a huge difference.

Vicious core work examples: 

When I set 295 as my DL PR – a few months after starting BBC, 1.5 yrs after starting CF – my lower back hurt the next day.  I hadn’t done anything wrong, but it was sore.  When I set my 300 PR, my back hurt less than it often does after a heavy regular workout.  Why?  Because of that year of doing core, core, core, and more core.

And that brings us to the benefits… all that core, all that strength, that means that I’m substantially less likely to hurt myself in everyday life.  I’d say I’ve gotten back about 10 years worth of endurance (I feel more like a 30something when I’m doing yardwork than a 40something).  I can move bigger things – and to a woman who can’t lift all that much in the first place, that’s a big deal.  It’s easy for me to deal with a big bag of dog food or a case of water or … you get the idea.  Makes my daily existence far more pleasant.   I’m steadier, less tippy.  I can walk farther, even with my bad foot, because my legs are stronger.

So, why when I talk up the oly lifts do I like powerlifting better?  Basically I’m slow and not flexible, but I’m very strong.  I like doing things I’m good at 🙂  Like, I’m locked out where I am on the cleans, because my triceps need to come forward before I can put more weight up – and that means I have to commit to daily mobility work.  Daily.   And I’m slow – I don’t get the speed for the snap to move my snatch up much from where it is.  (All of these, full depth squats, are around 100lb.  Not weak – but they’ve been there a while).  Can’t jump really… you’re supposed to jump for those lifts … so, I’m kind of stuck.  Whereas I can feel that if I just get my form and bits and pieces sorted, I can throw more on my BS/DL/BP no problem.

Ask anything you want to ask.  I’ll do my best!

 

Best Workout Ever

My spirit-animal.*

odin-pryce-dog-cart__78124-1496717778

credit dogworks.com

Yes, I’m built to deal with heavy stuff.  I feel so GOOD when I’m moving a lot of weight.

I was the only one who showed up to barbell club last night, so therefore  I got to pick what I wanted to work on… and we did backsquats.

From memory (coach just had me do this as we went, it wasn’t written):

  • Barbell only, 20
  • 50%, 10
  • 60 %, 8
  • 50%, 8
  • 70%, 6
  • 60%, 6
  • 75%, 3
  • 70%, 5
  • 75%… as many as possible (which was 7, which Coach says means that’s not my 75%)
  • Take off the plate, do 10
  • Take off the plate, do 10
  • Take off the plate, do 10
  • Take off the plate, do 10
  • Barbell only, 30.

I feel so good.  I can actually feel that I worked that area today!

Then we got to do benchpress.

  • Bar only (I switched down to a 33lb bar for BP, I use the 44lb bar for BS/DL) 10 reps
  • 40%, 8 reps
  • 60%, 6 reps – then three sets of four
  • 70%, 5 reps – three sets
  • Bar only, 20 reps (this burned)
  • 10 pushups

Then we did core.

3 sets of 8 knees-to-elbows on the rope

3 sets of 8 barbell situps

And then I went home, feeling better than when I walked in the gym.   I still feel good.  Stiff.  But good.  🙂

 

 

*I don’t believe in spirit-animals, but it’s funny and it fits.