Hiking at Old Man’s Cave

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Yesterday we spent most of the day hiking in Hocking Hills, Ohio. I’d never hiked there, though I’d heard about it over the years. I’d seen pictures, but nothing prepared me for the breathtaking awe. When I got home and looked through my 134 pictures from the day, I didn’t see a single one that captured the place. I guess you’d need to take photos from a helicopter to show the scale. I mean, it just looks like some rocks, until you realize that those little things are people.

people hiking

Frugal spell candle hack

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Tea light candles are 50 for $3 at my local grocery store. Aside from birthday candles, this may be the least expensive candle there is. I was thinking of the possibilities. These have washi tape. You could combine with color magick and use tape that aligns with your intent. If you have narrow masking tape, words or symbols that would be carved into the candle could be written on the masking tape.

Caution: The little metal containers don’t like paint. I couldn’t get acrylic to stick and I was worried that it might be a fire hazard anyway. Washi or masking tape are the way to go.

Who says spellcraft has to be costly?

No one understands me like the internet

waldo india

Lately I’ve been seeing things online that could practically be portraits of me. Like, no joke, this girl’s selfie for real looks like actual selfies I’ve taken (which is why you don’t see lots of snapshots of me on my blog).

selfies

Or what about this picture that looks exactly like my face much of the time.

my reaction

There was that time I showed up to a writing group and left as soon as they said we were going to go around the room and introduce ourselves and talk about what we’re working on.

introductions

The internet understands my singing.

singing

It provides me with a workout plan I actually want to do.

my workout plan

It even knows what my husband and I do on the weekends,

netflix

and what it sounds like when my parents visit.

my family

The internet knows what the inside of my brain looks like,

diagram of my brain

and why my family doesn’t want me to try any craft or recipe I find on Pinterest.

pinterest

Not that cooking from a cookbook is any better.

cooking

I think we can all agree that was the wrong book.

The internet even understands my mornings.

coffee

No, I’ve never actually put the cup upside down. That would be silly. I’ve forgotten to put a cup there at all. Do you know what happens when you forget the cup? It doesn’t splash all over the counter like that — it fills the little overflow container the cup sits on. So when you walk back into the kitchen, you see no coffee whatsoever, even though you’re certain you just made coffee. I’ve done that, not once. Not even twice. It’s not a habit or anything, but…I’ve been there.

The internet also knows how my writing is coming along.

writing

You get me, internet. You really get me.

to do list

Indian English

So two weeks ago I wrote a post about some of the differences between American English and Indian English. This morning, I was surprised to find this very topic trending on Twitter. Check out #IndianEnglish.

indian english

The post I wrote on this topic was serious and not at all mocking, but the way Twitter is covering the topic is (of course!) intended as humor. Not sure how the hashtag arose, but I’m interested in finding out — I hate feeling like I missed something.

Bootstraps and the American Myth

This is not a post about politics or economics — it’s a post about what bootstraps are and whether you can pull yourself up by them.

I was reading a book with my morning coffee and the author said, “Come on, pull yourself up by your witchy black bootlaces.” This made me think two things simultaneously:

  1. The author doesn’t know what a bootstrap is.
  2. I need to blog immediately about the origin of that phrase.

The easy part: Bootstraps are not bootlaces.

bootlacesbootstraps

Now for the myth of pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps. If you’ve ever fallen, and reached for your boots to help you get up….wait a minute — you’ve never done that. You’ve picked yourself up hundreds of times and not once did you do it by pulling on a piece of leather at your ankle above the heel. Even a baby just learning to walk knows better than to try to get up by grabbing his own ankles. Because impossible.

(picture from Wikipedia's entry on Kasta sari) This woman's loins are girded.

(picture from Wikipedia’s entry on Kasta sari) This woman’s loins are girded.

Bootstraps are there to help you get boots on.(Between bootstraps and shoehorns, I have to imagine that people used to buy their shoes several sizes too small and then cram their feet into them.)

It would make sense if the term “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” meant to put on your boots and get to work. That would be similar to “gird your loins,” which refers to gathering up your skirt and tying it between your legs to make work easier (pants eliminate the need to gird your loins).

That isn’t the origin of the phrase, however.

Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps used to refer to attempting to do something that is not possible.

In 1834,

The earliest example…appeared in the Workingman’s Advocate in 1834: “It is conjectured that Mr. Murphee will now be enabled to hand himself over the Cumberland river or a barn yard fence by the straps of his boots.”

An 1840 usage says,

And the man who violates it in argumentation, is to the eye of enlightened reason guilty of as gross an absurdity as he who attempts to raise himself over a fence by the straps of his boots.

In 1860,

it appears in a comment on metaphysical philosophy: “The attempt of the mind to analyze itself [is] an effort analogous to one who would lift himself by his own bootstraps.” That is, it’s literally impossible.

In the early 20th century,

Even in the 1927 article…(“The Bootstrapper”, reprinted from the Times of London), the headstrong American belief in self-improvement is presented as rather preposterous.

Similar phrases that meant trying to do something that’s obviously impossible include “sitting in a wheelbarrow to wheel oneself” and “getting rich by taking money from one pocket and putting in in another.”

Why does it now mean, “Just get a job, you freeloader!”? It seems to originate in the Reagan era, with the myth of the welfare queen.

Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette

Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette

In other words, “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” is the American equivalent of, “Let them eat cake.”

So why did the French behead someone when they passed around the rumor that she said the poor could just eat cake if they had no bread, but Americans took on the myth of the bootstraps as fact? I think it ties into a few of our other myths: that you can be anything that you want to be and that you’re not helpless. Americans believe in free will, not fate.

I’m going to brew another cup of coffee and get back to the book I was reading. I know the author didn’t meant anything more by “pull yourself up by your witchy black bootlaces” than what she says later in the same paragraph, “Get back up, dust your magickal self off, and start working your improved mojo all over again — then ask yourself what you learned from this challenge.”

But next time you hear politicians throwing around the myth of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, imagine them dressed as Marie Antoinette. You’re the peasant in this story. Sorry you’re struggling. Just pull yourself up by the bootstraps and eat cake.

Mahayodha

I came across this game yesterday on Kickstarter. It’s already reached its goal and is supposed to be released this year. I showed my husband and sons (who all used to be in a Pokemon league together and are heavy gamers with a YouTube channel about video games) and they’re all interested in Mahayodha, a new card game that incorporates characters from Indian mythology.

Here’s some of their concept art:

Although the game isn’t out yet, here is a review of an advance copy:

Maha means great and Yodha means warrior, so the title means Great Warrior.