Saturday, January 31, 2015

Collecting pipes

This past year I decided to begin collecting pipes. I've always associated pipes and the smell of pipe tobacco with a cozy, grandfatherly feeling. Comfort, safety, trust. These are things I felt when my dad was alive, back as a young girl. I cannot recall if he ever owned a pipe, though. Pretty sure my grandfather did, however.

My dad died before my 7th birthday, but to this day, I think about him often and wonder how life would've been if he'd been in my life those later years. But I digress...

So, pipes. Thus far I have seven of them (if I have counted correctly). Claude, a dear friend of mine of over a decade, upped my collection by gifting me with four pipes for my 50th birthday last month, in December. Was a kick-ass gift, I must say! This is a friend who definitely knows me! Well, as best as you can, anyway.

One of my favorite pipes is the Churchwarden he gave me. I hate to play favorites, but I use this pipe most of the time. Here is a photo of me with it earlier tonight.

Now, I'm a newbie when it comes to all of this. As in, I have hardly any idea about the finer points of collecting pipes or anything related to it. So, feel free to comment with any info, links, tips, or advice you may want to share with me about cool pipes you own or may have seen. I'm open to any and all suggestions. ;-)

Finally, are you a woman who likes pipes, too? If so, let me know that as well. There are quite a few of us out there!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Viking DNA? Yes! More about my Norse and Scottish ancestry

DNA tests prove Scots clan are Viking not Irish

HOLY COW! Just ran across this article, and it's about Clan MacNeil, the clan that's connected to my birth mother's side. There is a Thomas MacNeil mentioned in the 9 generations of genealogy info I have from the family genealogist/historian. Because I can prove my ancestry from Clan MacNeil, if I wanted to visit the Isle of Barra, off of Scotland, I could visit there and also the clan castle. I'd love to do that some day!

The article makes total SENSE because I did my DNA ancestry and it came up with a shit-ton of Northern European, with Norwegian/Scandinavian. THIS is where that Viking/Norwegian link comes from! WOW. And I stumbled across this article by accident. Holy crap!

I was right all along -- that part of my DNA is related to this. I don't care if I'm not related to Irish royalty, because on my birth father's side, I'm related to two U.S. presidents AND a Russian Tsar.

This is so freaking exciting to me! Okay, now I'm ready to move to Norway or the Isle of Barra, where my Viking & Scottish ancestors lived.

From the article: "The clan was infamous throughout Scotland and beyond for its Viking-style pirating and great seamanship.

MacNeils raided the seas from their base at Kisimul Castle in Birlinn vessels – boats similar to the Viking longships.

Western Isles MP, Angus MacNeil, who also lives on Barra, said: 'The MacNeils were a notoriously pirating clan. It’s no surprise we have Norse DNA.
'Maybe we are the last vikings.'

The MP joked: '‘Conquer or die’ is the clan motto. Given the size of the island we ended up on we must have been better at the dying than the conquering.'"

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Yes, I'm Pagan. No, I'm not Wiccan.

No, not every pagan is Wiccan. I'm not Wiccan, for instance, though some people believe I am because I've mentioned I'm pagan. Paganism encompasses many paths.

I'm a pagan and a witch who follows a naturalistic path. You may also hear 'Humanistic Pagan' in place of 'Naturalistic Pagan' at times.

Not sure what that is? Here is a link with more explanation: 

Friday, January 16, 2015

[Dream Logic] Rats, snakes, and sex—oh my!

A couple nights ago, I dreamed of tussling with an alligator. I was thrashing about so violently in bed that Paul woke me up. My whole body was sore the next day.

Last night, I dreamed about a house that was filled with snakes and wild rats. I have no problem with fancy or pet rats, having owned a few in my lifetime. These were rabid, wild, intimidating rats. The place was overrun with them, in addition to the creepy, slim garter snakes.

[EDIT: I just looked up vipers, and the snakes were pit vipers instead of garter snakes. I found a photo that looked **exactly** like the ones in my dream. Shudder!]

Oh, except there was one huge snake -- black and deep purple in color -- that I wrested up on the counter. Paul took a butcher knife and cut it in two, killing it.

That snake, though, didn't seem as wicked or threatening as the smaller ones, though. Their sinister triangular heads (like vipers rather than harmless snakes), induced extreme fear.

In the dream, they were invading the home, slithering through cracks, crevices -- you name it. We could barely keep up with killing them all.

Again, my whole body was sore today when I woke up.

Battling snakes is a recurring theme in my dreams this past year. Between that and dreaming about battling demons, conducting exorcisms, and getting lost in strange cities or on high school or college campuses.

On occasion I also find my dream self in dark, foreboding warehouses that have been turned into underground sex clubs. Usually I'm the observer, rather than the participant. Though on occasion I've been involved. Most of the time, though, I'm taken aback by the debauchery I'm witnessing.

Mind you, I'm not a prude. However, I do prefer a sense of decorum in the bedroom. I don't like messy, disgusting sex that involves too much of an extreme. I'm more of the sensual type, with a love of oils, scents, candles, massages, kissing, foreplay, whispered words of love, and decadent sensuality. For me, pain doesn't equal pleasure. I want to feel good, not bad.

*Shrug* Each to his or her own.

At any rate, these are the recurrent themes in my dreams over the past year. Apparently, they plan to surface in 2015 as well. I'm aware of the dream symbolism of most of these things. I also understand how they each relate to my life, both past and present.

It's interesting how your mind works through things, isn't it?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New FB page: The Art & Science of Life


The Art & Science of Life is a page that celebrates both the art and science of life, here on this planet and beyond. Art and science are integral to the growth and education of humanity. Without either, we are intellectually impoverished.

**This is NOT a religious page. Please do not post scripture or religious quotes of any kind. People of all faiths are welcome, as are atheists and agnostics. We will not tolerate preaching and/or proselytizing. If you appreciate and are moved by art and science, this may be a page for you.**

This page will celebrate the natural beauty and wonder of all aspects of the experience of existence. To us, science is art and art is science. Let us admire and all the gifts we are given and shown. Feel free to share, discuss, and discover.

Any questions? Drop me a line at with The Art & Science of Life in the subject line of your message.

Bev Sninchak, Page Owner & Moderator

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Je Suis Charlie: I'm a writer, and I will *not* censor myself

Here's the deal: I do not follow your religion (I'm pagan, so I do not follow any of the Abrahamic religions). Therefore, I am *not* bound by your religious beliefs, and I do not have to respect your religion. You damn sure haven't respected my beliefs! In fact, plenty of pagans have been hanged and tortured throughout history and STILL ARE in parts of the world.

Yet, I'm expected to be sensitive and respectful, no matter how many insane or murderous acts are carried out in the name of a jealous, bloodthirsty deity of your making? No, just NO.

I will not sanction such absurdity and vile actions by trying to understand belief systems or zealots who have warped them so they bring nothing of value to this existence. Instead, they bring only acts of pain, death, and inhumanity into this world.

Nor will I censor my thoughts, speech, or writing. I'm a writer, and I shall write whatever I damn well please. If ink must turn to blood in order to fight for the rights of expression, then so be it. As a writer, I will not cower, I will not cave, and I will not censor myself to satisfy the masturbatory spiritual delusions of mad men and mad women.

If we cave to these kinds of acts and threats, they will become more insistent and severe until free speech and expression disappears. I will never be quiet to assuage your sense of false entitlement. I will not be silent in order to keep others comfortable.

I hope you will join me in pledging the same, fellow scribes and artists.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Things other people like or understand, but I do not

There are many times when I just don't get the attraction of certain things the majority of people (or a large share of them) enjoy. Examples: "Seinfeld," "Friends," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and various talent competition shows like "American Idol," "The X Factor," or "The Voice," etc. And if you ever catch me watching "Duck Dynasty" or "Honey Boo Boo," lop off my head. Yes, I know the latter is cancelled, and that's a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

Obviously, to each his or her own, but the one that surprises me the most is my "Meh" reaction to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel." I tried, but I can't get into them. By all indications, you'd think I would. But I don't. *shrug*

I'm also a bigger fan of "Torchwood" than I am "Dr. Who." Yes, I DO like "Dr. Who," but something about "Torchwood" resonates with me more. Perhaps it's John Barrowman's FINE ASS. And yes, I *know* he's gay. He makes me want to be a gay man. That man is HAWT.

Speaking of hot men, David Tennant is a hot little toddy as well. I loved him in the remake of "Fright Night." Initially I was opposed to remaking that movie, but I saw it and approved. As if Hollywood cared, right? ;-p

To be fair, I'm sure many people don't get my rabid interest in corvids, slinkies, collecting coffee cups, the paranormal, exorcism, sociopaths, smoking pipes, eye patches, vintage candy (like red wax lips or Mallo Cups), spontaneous human combustion, Dr. Demento, peeling dried glue off the palms of my hands, hentai*, pretty male Japanese rockers who sometimes dress like women, or any number of other odd things. Yes, I've a weird bent to my personality. However, after five decades on this planet, that won't change in the future. I'm likely to get stranger!

*Please, don't ask me what hentai is; if you're over 18, look it up.

This is yet another entry in Bev's "what you didn't care to know about, but she told you any damn way."

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Answering Marcel Proust's Questionnaire

Here are my answers to the Proust Questionnaire, which was used in Victorian times by Marcel Proust. It was brought back into popularity by Vanity Fair magazine in 1993. 

Give it a try, post your answers, and comment with the link to yours, if you wish!


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A cozy autumn evening with my husband on a beautiful Victorian couch in front of a fireplace. I would sip mulled wine while we watched movies, then I'd spend time reading and crocheting before we snuggled into bed.

What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Living life the way I wanted, even though it's caused me difficulties on occasion.
What is your greatest fear?
It's a tie: heights & the moment of death.
What historical figure do you most identify with?
I'm not sure why, but I'm fascinated by Mata Hari. I identify with her because of her unconventionality, seductiveness, and bohemian nature. I see myself as secretly having the temperament of a double agent (spy). 
Which living person do you most admire?
The Dalai Lama. Love him! He doesn't take himself too seriously.
Who are your heroes in real life?
All the writers, musicians, artists, and other creatives who continue to follow their passions in a world that is constantly trying to tell you to give up your dreams and 'be sensible.' 
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Overanalyzing every. single. little. thing. to the point of madness.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
What is your favorite journey?
The one I take when I'm reading books.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Which word or phrases do you most overuse?
The F-word.
What is your greatest regret?
Marrying (the first time) at 20 years old. 
What is your current state of mind?
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
More understanding and fewer assumptions about people, events, circumstances; although they may think they have full story and historical narrative from all parties, they don't.
What is your most treasured possession?
Mac laptop computer.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
To shackle oneself to life of drudgery and mind-numbing routine, only fulfilling duties and not taking the opportunity to find joy, happiness, and passion when the chance arises.
Where would you like to live?
Highlands of Scotland, Norway, or Japan.

What is your favorite occupation?
Writer. DUH!
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?

What are your favorite names?
Alexandra and Peter.
What is your motto?
Vita sine libris mors est, which is Latin for "Life without books is death."