Deborah J. "DJ" Martin

A Witch and a Bitch with an Herbal Itch - and an overactive imagination

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Month: November 2011

What Makes Your State Great – Georgia

If you didn’t read my posts on “What Makes Your State Great” or the great state of Minnesota, please do. That way I don’t have to explain it all again. I’m lazy that way.

Today I pay homage to my adopted state of Georgia. As much as I bitch about living in the backward South, Georgia really does have some great things going for it. I moved here more than 25 years ago and am still discovering new things.

One of the things that’s great is in about five hours, I can go from forested wilderness to big city to seashore. We live in the middle of the woods, on the side of a mountain. No street lights; no traffic (unless you count having to wait for the deer or turkeys to cross the road); no light pollution in three directions. It’s awesome.

If I were really crazy ambitious, I could start my trip up the Appalachian Trail. Its southern terminus is Springer Mountain, just a half-hour drive from here. Other hiking trails abound within an hour or so. Do you fish? Trout fishing is big here and a couple of the local lakes host professional bass-fishing tournaments on a regular basis.

With less than two hours’ travel, I can be seated in the historic Fox Theater in Atlanta (which is a must-see on its own), enjoying a Broadway play or a ballet performance. In that same two hours’ time, I can be viewing a world-class art collection at the High Museum.

A little over three hours farther on, I can be taking in the historic sights of Savannah or frolicking in the ocean at Tybee Island. Just a little farther and I can scare the pants off myself in the Okefenokee Swamp (it’s eerie in places).

Yes, I live on one of the buckles of the Bible Belt. The directions to my house really do include “turn right at the church”.  In some ways, living here reminds me of the movie “Smoky and the Bandit”. For years, the local economy was based almost solely on logging and moonshine. (The remains of a still are tucked into a “holler” just up the hill from us.)  I keep expecting our Southern-to-the-core sheriff to say, “You in a heap o’ trouble, boy!” to someone. But all the Georgians I’ve met practice true southern hospitality and always greet friends & strangers alike with a smile.

The best part? We get all four seasons without winter being interminably long. I still get to watch and feel the turning of the Wheel of the Year. We do get snow here, but it melts quickly – no shoveling required. My herbs grow almost year-round and the only covering I have to do is the Rosemary which, like me, doesn’t enjoy the cold.

Georgia truly is a great state!

New Orleans: What Fun! (& Learning Experience)

I’m still recovering from my whirlwind trip to New Orleans and the 2011 New Orleans Witches’ Ball. What a blast! My hat’s off to Cairelle, Sarah, Camille and the rest of the committee. Didn’t make it this year? Save up for next. It’s worth it! They had a couple of bands

An interpretive dance

Folks dressed in really cool costumes

A “non-denominational” ritual at midnight (which, of course, I didn’t take a photo of), and too much food & drink.

A few things I learned this weekend:

1.  Never, ever again use spray-on hair color.  The last time I dyed my hair for a costume (20-mumble-mumble years ago), I used a temporary rinse. It washed out in 2-3 shampooings. I tried to get the same stuff, only to be told it was no longer available and “use this spray-on. It’ll work the same.” Yes, my hair was black. So were my hairbrush, hands, ears, anything that touched my hair even after the spray had dried. I was taking a shower at 2am, washing, rinsing & repeating so the white pillowcase wouldn’t be completely black five minutes after my head hit the pillow. (The white tub was black. I felt bad for the housekeeper.)

2. Wear flats to the Ball! I usually go barefoot or if I’m in heels, am mostly sitting. Walking around socializing did nothing more than kill my toes. (I finally noticed yesterday when unpacking that the lining in those particular shoes is rotting out. They’re old. Shopping, I think, is in order.)

3. Plan a couple more days in New Orleans. I only had Sunday to do the tourist thing and it definitely wasn’t enough time. Some friends and I made it to Café du Monde for coffee & beignets

and I did some walking around the French Quarter, ogling all the Hallowe’en decorations

I tried to pay my respects to Marie Laveau but no one, and I mean no one I spoke with knew that the cemetery closes at noon on Sundays. I got there at 12:15pm. Now you know.

4. Bring diluted vinegar & my “Skin Soother” cream with me. I was impressed with the hotel I stayed at but think its water is salt-softened. By last night, I was (and still am) a rash from head to toe. The last time this happened was when I visited my parents at their old home in Minnesota and they had a water softener. One shower: OK. Two: I start itching. Three: I start breaking out. The vinegar cuts the salt left on my skin; the cream keeps me from scratching & hastens the healing process (some of the herbs I use in it are chickweed, plantain & calendula – look ’em up).

5. Strengthen my shields before bed. Saturday night (Sunday morning) I slept fine as well as I usually do in a hotel. Sunday night I saw a couple of spirits in my room but hey, it’s New Orleans so I didn’t think much of it. However, my dreams were very disturbing, meaning I was rather groggy yesterday morning. I couldn’t sleep in because I had to head to the airport. I don’t know if the two incidents are related but I’m not going to take the chance.

I will definitely be returning … forewarned & forearmed the next time.