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Tower Hill State Park, August, 2000


Research, research, research!. (smile) Hard at work staying current with the latest issue of PanGaia.
Okay, so this is a lazy afternoon at Tower Hill State Park, August, 2000
There's an updates section in this page, if you're interested.

Since fall of 1999, I've been partnered to Denise. It continues to be a wonderful and comforting situation. :-) She took that picture.

I've lived in Wisconsin since April Fool's Day, 1971. I spent the first 19 years of my life in Massachusetts. I turned 47 in November of 1998. I graduated from UW Madison with a degree in Industrial Engineering, in December of the same year. I went back to school in 1991. I realized I was a pagan in 1994. I realized I was a pantheist in 1996. Spirit Pathways went online (as a single page) in 1995. I spent almost the entire 90's decade in school. Getting that degree took just under eight years, three relationships, two cars, two part-time jobs, two bicycles, three apartments, two computers, two changes of majors (Civil and Mechanical - I understood the calculus but couldn't seem to come up with the right answers), and a couple pickup loads of notebook paper. Oh, and three or four therapists. My mother died just before I graduated and I'm several thousand dollars in debt. Since I spent the last seven years doing homework instead of working on my social life, my circle of friends now consists mostly of casual acquaintances. Now, about six months after graduation, I find myself rebuilding the network I had when I went back to school, realizing I had trained myself to live as a full time student and must now re-train myself to adjust to a "normal" adult life.
I don't regret a minute of it. It was pure hell at times, but it really was worth all the trouble. It's a little easier to adjust to stuff if (a) you're not worried about how the bills will be paid and (b) you enjoy going into work.

I'm a database and web programmer for the Division of Information Technology (DoIT), a University of Wisconsin department. I like it here, I like the work, and believe it or not, the IE degree actually gave me a lot of skills that cross over into this line of work.

I do some volunteer work for AvatarSearch. I like to camp, bike, and read, and I work on this website. Being a full-time student has limited all that to a bare minimum. The year of 1999 is going to be a good one. I will have time to check out some of the fine people who are listed here, and the money to afford the equipment I need to do most of the other stuff I mentioned.

My main interaction with the spirit is through Shamanic Drumming. I didn't choose it consciously, it just happened that it's how I feel most comfortable getting in touch with the ones who live around us.

I don't have much Native American blood in my veins, and in fact no one is certain if it's there at all. My mother's family is from French-speaking Canada, and her family history speaks of a trapper/trader several generations back who married a Native American and contributed to the bloodline. Her tribe is not mentioned. Given the way things were back in the 1700's, it may not even exist anymore.

People have said my features could be NA, but they could also be just your basic French-Canadian. :-) Regardless, I find myself drawn to the Native legends and Spirits, and the more I learn, the more comfortable I am with them.

I'm not a Shaman. In the little time I've had so far to study, I've come to the realization that I will probably have to begin healing work on others later on, if I keep going. I've accidentally helped others and found out about it afterwards, but I believe that is one consequence of attempting to take responsibility for our own actions - if one's intentions are benevolent, it is impossible not to help somebody else heal now and then. But before I even think of myself as a healer, my first task is healing myself. I need a lot of work. (smile) I'm making some progress. Not as much as I'd like, but I'm getting better. My friends at Drum Circle and my spirit guides are helping me find my path.

I have three power animals so far, but the one I met first, and who is always there when I journey is a white bear. Not a polar bear, just a basic bear, only white. Male. Extremely gruff and rather impatient, especially where my learning is concerned. I wondered if it was a quirk in my own makeup that created a teacher who was, while not exactly insulting, certainly full of that "Haven't you got it yet?" attitude. He doesn't ever walk away (except when he's dropped me off with one of his colleagues for a particular lesson of some sort), but his impatience with my slowness is his strongest trait.

Now, that's not saying he's hard to get along with. More than once my journey has consisted of falling asleep next to him and that would be it, and that's what I needed. It's just that when I ask questions, most of the time he makes it plain that I don't have even a partial grasp of the obvious. Then he points me in the right direction.

Like I said, I thought I had created his attitude myself. Maybe I wanted a teacher of infinite patience with the personality of a medieval sergeant-at-arms.

Then, when I was searching for something else, I ran across this little gem of a story. Now I'm not so sure.

I've heard the story in several different versions, but not this one. It sure explains a few things.


A scruffy white bear

Well, if you've made it this far, I guess you'd be willing to go further. A while ago I started writing down little life-slices that for one reason or other, have stayed with me since they happened. Here are a few of them.

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Last Updated: October 6, 2001