Get on the VIP list and save 15% on your entire first order!Get Discount
Halloween costume challenges

Halloween Costume Challenges

Halloween costume challenges have always been the norm for me. For one thing, I can never seem to find the time to put much if any consideration into “what I want to be” each year. The irony is that I actually spend close to 80% of my time considering “what I want to be” in general, but I hardly think at all about what I want to dress up like for Halloween. As a result, I end up whipping something up at the last minute, and that has resulted in some pretty strange ideas coming to life.

Halloween Costume Challenge: I’m Not a Middle-Aged Dude

One year, I actually dressed up as Columbo. Yes, Peter Faulk, Columbo. I can’t really say why except that at the time, I’d had some interest in being a detective; in real life, not just on Halloween. Or, not at all on Halloween, actually. I can’t recall how successful I was at pulling the Columbo Halloween costume off, but I do recall that I purchased a trench coat, wig, and hat, and during the hours before I went out that evening, I lowered my voice a couple of octaves and rehearsed the line “one more thing…”, while pretending to walk away and then coming back to my bathroom mirror. Surprisingly, I did not have to explain my costume to anyone. In other years, I’ve had a lot of explaining to do.

Halloween Costume Challenge: Still Gender Bending, Nothing Fabulous

Like the year that I was fascinated with the idea of a chic dressing up like a dude dressed like a lady. I had hoped to go full-on drag queen. Lacking anything fabulous enough for a queen in my wardrobe at the time, I cut pieces of synthetic hair off of a dark-colored wig and glued the pieces of hair to the sides of my face as sideburns, and to my armpits as well. I put on the fanciest dress I owned, lowered my voice a couple of octaves, gave myself the name “Carlata” and celebrated Halloween as just a regular everyday crossdresser. I thought I sounded a bit like Chris Farley. As Halloween costumes go, it was kinda scary to my husband at the time.

Pirates of the Caribbean Goatee & Mustache Adult
I wish I had known about ready-made goatees and mustaches sooner!

Halloween Costume Challenge: Not Who, but What!

Another year, I decided to go to the inanimate object route and dress as a table. It was just a few hours before I was to attend the symphony orchestra’s Halloween show when I remembered I needed to “be something”. Frantically searching my attic for “something”, I found a large piece of square cardboard. I cut a hole in it and rested it on my shoulders. I taped a curtain rod on either side to hold it all up, put a table cloth on it. I added some drink cups with orange construction paper and straws, a loaf of bread, and my head became a roll of paper towels with eyes cut out so I could see.

Halloween Costume Challenges
There’s a photo to prove this one!

I hadn’t realized that there would be a costume contest and had I known, I wouldn’t have thought I would win. The grand prize winner would get to conduct the symphony orchestra’s final song: In the Hall of the Mountain King”. Hours later I found myself on stage, in front of hundreds of people, acting as a symphony orchestra conductor, dressed as a table. Crazy, I know.


For a very long time, I wanted to be Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill. I can pull off the Uma Thurman look, but never could find a costume that fit right until I found this one! Though my night as Beatrix Kiddo was actually rather uneventful, and I was unusually comfortable, I recommend this costume to anyone who shares my desire to be a badass on Halloween:

Present Day Halloween

Well, I now realize that the whole thing is an excuse to wear my lingerie outdoors, so I guess I’m all set for this year! But I love Maude Lebowski, or, to be more accurate, I like to speak like Maude “I’m the one who stole your rug” Lebowski so this is an option right now:

The Big Lebowski Maude Viking Costume

The Big Lebowski Maude Viking Costume – $44.99

Maude Lebowski is many things. She’s a feminist, an artist, and apparently in The Dude’s mind, a brilliant Viking warrior! She shows up in a dream sequence wearing a shiny set of armor and now you can become Maude by wearing this officially licensed costume. The Big Lebowski Maude Viking Costume recreates the look from the Coen Brothers film. It comes with a glittering gold dress that recreates the style worn by Maude in the dream sequence. It features a foam bust, with bowling ball-shaped cups in front. The costume also comes with the horned helmet, which even has a pair of braided pigtails attached to the sides. Once you have it on, you can check in to see what condition The Dude’s condition is in!

Three weeks until Halloween, I hope you’ve already figured out “what you’re going to be this year so you can avoid any Halloween costume challenges yourself.

Happy Trick or Treating!


It’s almost time to decide on an ugly Christmas sweater. Here are some of the ugliest, most deranged Christmas sweaters I’ve seen yet:

Shop Now
psychedelic designs flashback! swimsuit

Flashback!

Most Popular Design

This has definitely been a “GO” on the leggings, so I figured why not underpants, skirts…heck anything really. It’s fairly versatile…what would you use this design for?

Birthday Donations! Gonna Make It!

Thanks for the lovely birthday wishes! I have decided that my 43rd year on this planet is going to be positively absolutely epic! Happily accepting bets for or against me. Click below to place your bet! Cheers! 🙂

Thanks for the lovely birthday wishes! I have decided that my 43rd year on this planet is going to be positively absolutely epic! Happily accepting bets for or against me. Click below to place your bet! Cheers! 🙂

Like Gwen Stefani says, “It’s my birthday and I get one every year. And someday, hard to believe but I’ll be buried six feet underground.” Place your bets now! Will my 43rd year be positively epic, or send me to the streets to beg for crumbs? Stakes are high and it could go either way. Be a winner and put your money down now! Yeehaw!

A New Dream, A New Day

For the past couple years, insomnia has been the order of the day around here. I know that there are negative health effects caused by lack of sleep, however, I feel that I spent most of my life sleeping more than I needed, so it probably balances out.

Even in high school, I would come home, wherever that was at the time, and paint or draw for a bit and be in bed asleep by 8:30. In college, my schedule kept me busy from dawn until 9 or 10pm, but I always managed at least 8 hours of sleep each night. In adulthood, I have managed to sleep an average of 10 – 12 hours per night across 15 or so years, with the only exceptions being the first couple years here in Austin and the few weeks after my son was born. Even when I was in graduate school and working full time and taking care of Nate, I’m sure I still managed to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. My understanding is that most people are not so fortunate, so I count my blessings.

While I am aware of some of the effects of my recent insomnia, I also feel that it has been a necessary experience for me to get what I need from my particular journey. That said, I think I may be at a turning point.

Last night, without cause, I slept long and hard and all the way into 10 am this morning. As I slept, I was aware that part of my brain would wake up and think it needed to wake me up, but something kept preventing that from happening, almost forcing me to stay asleep against my will, in a way.


woman in garden at twilight

I had an interesting dream while I was sleeping. It seemed I had accepted a job and was at my workplace, where our desks were situated near a river. I got the impression that my relationship with my coworkers was comfortable. It seemed like we were having a disagreement about something, but we remained congenial even behind our furrowed brows. It was ok to feel frustrated and to express disagreement. Nobody asked “Why are you so frustrated?” Nobody said “Calm down”, which to me, can never be said, or at least I cannot hear without also hearing condescension.

I left my workplace by the river and was driving home, when I dropped a photo. I think it was of a man with a baby or something. A police officer stopped me to tell me that the photo wasn’t exactly what I thought it was. He didn’t seem like a normal police officer and in the dream I had the sense that he was masquerading as such but was really there to serve as a guide to me.

He told me that I can do something different now. He said that it is time to shift my focus. Not because what I have been focusing on recently has been wrong or bad or stupid, (in fact it has been very necessary), but because I have already completed this part of my experience and I have all the information from it that I need to move on to the next part. “It’s time to focus on something new”, he said “You’re free to go.”


A thing that has been bothering me recently is that over the past year or so I have not felt like dancing or doing any moving meditation. If you know me, you are probably shocked reading that statement.  You might even be thinking that had you known, you would have come to my aid. But not to worry, though it has certainly been uncomfortable for me, stillness is sometimes necessary, and I may not have been able to experience it without some measure of force from that which is bigger than me.

But today, for the first time in quite a while, I have been having a strong urge, just like I always have, to move and stretch my body. I don’t fully understand why that urge seemed to have left me for so long, or why it is back today, and I’m not sure what it was that seemed to have forced me to sleep to dream last night, but all of this is surely a notable part of my current experience. There will be time for deeper understanding later. For now, time to get a good long stretch in.


Platypus

Whenever I need to “pick an animal, any animal”, for whatever reason, whether it be for use as a game token, for the purpose of setting up an interactive joke, or to describe myself, I have always chosen the duck-billed platypus. That’s my animal!

Having spent a number of years studying shamanic practices, if not practicing shamanism, I was familiar with the concept of a spirit animal, it being somewhat central to shamanic practice; but had never identified my own spirit animal, nor had I felt any particular longing to do so. I have encountered spirit in it ‘s various animal forms during many journeys, who have offered guidance and direction, but there was no intention on either side to establish any long term commitments.

And yet, in daily life, in ordinary reality, I always choose platypus.

Firstly because I like to say “platypus”,. But when pressed further to explain my selection, my response has always gone something like this:

“Well, I just feel I can relate to the duckbill platypus because it is a mammal that lays eggs, and so it doesn’t know what it is, or what category it belongs in, or where it fits, and maybe it couldn’t decide what to be and has some identity issues.”

More recently, I was asked during a job interview to make some connection between myself and an animal of my choosing. After a few moments of imagining as many animals as my imagination could conjure under pressure, I, predictably, and unsurprisingly, landed on platypus.

However, on this occasion, my explanation as to how I relate was slightly different; the idea being that, like the platypus, I can fit in more than one category, or wear more than one hat.

It was the first time I had identified a different point of relation to platypus that didn’t involve identity confusion.

Platypix Designs Banner
Good name for a company for Miss Pix, maybe? no?

Without question, I would actually wear two or even a dozen hats, if that is what worked for me in the moment. I bet Platypus would too.

Then it occurred to me…

The platypus isn’t confused about itself. Even if it was at all aware of human categorizations, platypus would just laugh and shrug. Platypus is only a freak by human standards, not by nature’s standards. Platypus isn’t confused about who she is just because humans are uncertain how to classify her. And neither am I.

When I show up to work wearing a beanie atop a ten gallon hat, my coworkers may look at me sideways, and management might send me home to change my hat. The likelihood that my idea of fun casual Friday attire doesn’t align with the wardrobe policies adopted by 77% of American companies is 100%, but that doesn’t mean that I’m confused about who or what I am.

I understand myself quite well, in fact. I conduct enough introspective analysis to wear TWO fucking hats on a Tuesday without getting flummoxed about it.

eating cereal out of a hat
Platypus uses gravel as teeth, and I won’t hesitate to use a hat as a bowl.

One of my favorite things to do when I encounter an animal messenger is to conduct a bit of research on the actual animal itself, learn its habits and nuances. As well as expanding my general knowledge, comparing my findings with my experience of the animal messenger helps me to determine if I grok the animal’s message. So that’s what I’ve done here:

Facts about Platypus gathered from ’round the innerwebs, or mainly just Wikipedia and Mental Floss:

Is This Some Kind of Joke?

The first scientists to examine a specimen believed they were the victims of a hoax, and that pranksters had sewn the bill of a duck onto a beaver.

Flexible Thinking

A platypus is born with teeth, but these drop out at a very early age, leaving the horny plates it uses to grind food

In the same way that I can see that a hat can be a perfectly fine bowl, Platypus has long recognized that gravel can be perfectly good stand–in for expensive dental implants.

Along with worms, insects, shellfish, the platypus also picks up gravel from the riverbed. The platypus packs the whole lot into pouches in his cheek to carry it up to the surface where he munches away, using the bits of gravel as makeshift teeth to break up some of the tougher food. Seems tedious!

Follows Its Own Path

According to one story told by aboriginal Australians, the land animals, water animals and birds, all competed for the platypus to join their respective groups, but the platypus ultimately decided to not join any of them, feeling that he did not need to be part of a group to be special.[91]:83–85

The webbing between their front claws—a boon when paddling through streams—retracts, exposing sharp claws, when the platypus ambles up the riverbank..

Other Curiosities and Adaptations

  • Female platypuses don’t have nipples. Instead, their milk is released out of mammary gland ducts on their abdomen. The babies drink it up by sucking it out the folds of their mother’s skin, or her fur.
  • Platypus’ scientific name Ornithorhynchus anatinus is derived from ορνιθόρυγχος (ornithorhynkhos), which literally means “bird snout” in Greek; and anatinus, which means “duck-like” in Latin.
  • The female platypus has a pair of ovaries, but only the left one is functional

Platypus as Spirit Animal

Since I’ve been doing more study of shamanic practices than actual practice, some of the following will include interpretations of others who are perhaps currently practicing, and what they have to say about their experiences of Platypus in non-ordinary reality. I’ll add my experience of Platypus energy here in my ordinary reality experience.

A totem animal is one that represents your particular self and also acts as a guide through life. Some believe that you have only one totem animal, while others take a more flexible view and believe that you can have different totems at different points in your life.

If Platypus is your totem animal…

You are probably a rather solitary creature yourself, preferring to spend time alone. You may feel that you don’t quite fit in anywhere, even if others don’t view you this way. People who know you well are more likely to have witnessed your shy nature, whereas far-flung acquaintances may be surprised to discover your true reserved nature.

You likely take an interest in and research many things to get to the heart of the meaning of things. I know for me, I am always asking of anything: “But what does that actually mean?” The quest for, and ability to easily find, meaning in all things is central to who I am.

You are a person who can experience a great deal of growth through reflection. In looking back at event in your life, you may often experience profound insights and epiphanies, and develop deep understanding of the emotions and inner motivations of both yourself and others. It is important to be cognizant of the fact that reflection can easily become rumination, which is characterized by repetitive, obsessive, and unhelpful thoughts.

An animal needn’t be your Spirit or Totem animal to send you a message. You can receive messages from any animal that you encounter, in both ordinary and non ordinary realities. You will know when this happens as the sense that there is some meaning in the animal’s appearance to you is often quite strong. If you sense this, go with it and read up on the nature of the animal to discover its message.

As a guide, Platypus…

Platypus asks you to be true to who you are and not be afraid to be yourself entirely, even if others feel that you should behave or believe in a way that is more acceptable to them.


Until we recognize and accept the worst parts of ourselves, we cannot fully accept ourselves, and therefore we cannot answer the Platypus call to fully BE ourselves, until we have done the challenging work of seeing ourselves accurately, warts and all.

As Platypus tends toward solitude, and is a water animal and water represents emotions, his arrival in your sphere could suggest that it is time to consider looking deeply at yourself, and facing those challenging aspects of your own personality and accepting yourself as you truly are. Then, perhaps, what others think will matter a bit less, and you’ll be free to truly be yourself.

Platypus Spirit animal Word cloud
fairy statue and shaman drum

Shamanic Journey Experiences


Notes on various shamanic journey experiences I’ve had over the years.

Shamanic journey experiences - angel and drum

Fairy Statue and Shaman Drum

A Soul Contract Journey

At first, I began this shamanic journey headed south on the path. It felt awkward, and so, after a short time, I turned the opposite direction. The mountains were to the west, the river, east. Around a corner ahead, I found the meadow, tall grass mimicking the color of the sun. The mountains continued as a backdrop to the sunny golden meadow, and a great boulder, growing larger as I approached, stood before me. It was in fact, two boulders, a larger one set atop a much smaller one, like a lever atop a fulcrum. Had both sides of the boulder been equal, it could have pivoted like a see-saw. Instead, the west end of the boulder, facing the mountains, came to nearly a point, while the other end was large, round, and heavy. When it came time to climb the boulder, I was surprised to find it easy, and the topside was quite flat, so that I could walk to the point with ease. The boulder was so large, that I found plenty of room to sit there at the point, legs dangling into the vast space below.

The Guardian of the Contracts appeared, a dark figure, strong and capable, adeptly traversing the side of the mountain. As he got closer, I realized that he was not a man, but an ape. Before I even asked, he beckoned for me to come down to the earth. Without hesitation, I jumped, landing easily on my feet. Rather than asking or me telling, the look in his eyes confirmed that I was ready. I followed him back toward the mountain, and we came to a spot where the mountain had a door in it. As the Guardian of Contracts opened the door, an intensely bright light shined out, but when we entered there was a dark cave where there were what appeared to be statues of people I knew, and one I didn’t, a tall man, with dark hair, wearing what appeared to be some sort of military uniform; a combat uniform. I tried to will the statues to life with my mind. The Guardian of Contracts looked at me soulfully, and then, at the entrance to the lighted room past the first chamber. There I found The Librarian. He stood, waiting for me, a pleased expression on his face. It was my father, very young, younger than I am now; a strong, healthy young man. I began to cry, I was so happy to see him this way. “I’m here to clear a contract”. I said, not knowing what else to say. He nodded and headed into the thick stacks of my contract library. I waited with some trepidation… what would he bring back to me? As I waited I took in the room. The shelving was made of some warm golden wood, pecan perhaps? As I looked at the walls, they seemed to come out of the darkness, and it appeared that the room was actually inside a giant tree, the walls were knotted like a tree trunk. My father, The Librarian returned with the contract. At first he seemed to possess it, holding it closely to his chest, his face lightly apprehensive. Finally, after several quite moments, he stretched his arms out to me offering me a look inside.

On the first page were drawings of plants of all sorts. As I gazed upon them, they lifted off the pages and manifested before my eyes. A tomato vine, a cucumber vine, vines of all sorts made their way from the page to reality. The pages began to turn. On subsequent pages were blueprints for landscapes, details of the chemical composition of different soil samples, solar charts, temperature graphs, and pictures detailing the anatomy of insects. Strange things impossible to comprehend in such a short visit!

“This is the contract you want. If you do this, the other contracts, the ones you came to clear, will no longer matter.” There was no rewriting or voiding of a current contract that was evident to me. Instead, I needed to agree to this new contract, a contract of action rather than of words, and all of the contracts that no longer serve would void in their own due course. I accepted the newly revealed contract.
At this point things get a little fuzzy. I think I’ll have to do another journey to thank my Guardian of Contracts and The Librarian. I’m pretty sure I became overwhelmed and forgot. I think I ran home crying (like a girl). 😉

 

shaman drum on top of Mount Diablo, San Francisco

The drum that accompanied me in 2013 on a hike to the top of Mt. Diablo in San Francisco.

 

A Dismemberment Journey

I had a rather unexpected dismemberment journey last evening. It was brutal…but I can’t say that it hurt. I drifted into a tunnel of stars to the lower world. I arrived there flat on my back, atop a desert mountain. Falcon appeared, already with his talons in my thigh, pecking, pecking my flesh. The pecking became more insistent until all at once and quickly he was tearing away pieces of my flesh. I welcomed this, as much as I could. At one point, I was asked, I’m not sure by who, if I would like to be anesthetized. I turned the offer down with little hesitation. We continued. He tore flesh from me in what seemed to be larger and larger chunks. It wasn’t fast enough, and my one request was that we find a way to hurry the flesh removal more quickly, perhaps with a flesh eating bacteria entering my wounds. Spirit agreed, and this was done. My flesh dissolved until my bones were clean. I turned my body over and willingly offered my other side, which was summarily ripped into by Falcon. When my bones were fully picked clean, I lay prone. Just then, a herd of elephants came from behind. I felt the crushing force of the first, and then the rest of Elephant followed, stampeding, obliterating what was left of me into the earth.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is altar12.png

On the subsequent shamanic journey, a week or two later, I returned to this same place; only this time I came up and out of a ground full of worms. It was now rich soil instead of desert sand. It seemed like the worms writhing was somehow related to my body forming from the earth and eventually, I rose up on my knees and looked around.

Before me was Lion, whom I had encountered in my very first shamanic journey (not recounted on this page). I was grateful to see her and she came and sat next to me and let me rest my body against hers. Her pelt was damp and thick, yet comforting. And we sat for a while like that before I thanked her and we parted ways. From that point, I had a strong sense of having been reborn. It wouldn’t be the last time. 

 

A Shamanic Journey in the Here and Now

You maintain that your insistence on finding explanations for everything is something so deeply ingrained in you that it overrules every other consideration, that it’s like a disease. There are no diseases, there is only indulging. And you indulge yourself in trying to explain everything.
We both are beings who are going to die. There is no more time for what we used to do. Now you must employ all the not-doing I have taught you and stop the world.

Journey to Ixtlan, C. Casteneda

 

So, I sat down on the floor with the intention of doing nothing. Then, I decided to read, but nothing academic. I elected to read News of the Weird, because…well… As I sat cross-legged on my rug, spreading the Austin Chronicle out before me I thought “Yeah, because I won’t learn ANYTHING reading this!!”

About halfway through News of the Weird, I encountered a story about facial recognition software that online instruction programs can use that can tell if a student is disengaged, and will pause when the “eager” student looks away, or falls asleep. I also found a cool handout of Web 2.0 teaching tools, and a very interesting video suitable for presentation. What this means is that my deadline for completing my presentation on the subject of online learning, has been met. I actually ended up effortlessly completing a project by sitting still. Holy shit!

 

More to come as time allows..

 

non piercing-body jewelry

Non-piercing Body Jewelry

Love the idea of body jewelry, but not so keen on the piercing aspect? Check out these non-piercing body jewelry options. Everything from nose rings, belly button rings, nipple rings…you can jazz up any body part without punching holes in your skin!

Free Shipping on all Orders Over $19.99

If you are looking for options in non-piercing body jewelry, we’ve got ’em right here:

Browse All Pierced and Non-piercing Body Jewelry

Non-piercing body jewelry coupon

Get 15% off today's order

You know the drill...Enter your deets below to be notified of upcoming discounts and get and instant coupon for 15% off today's order. No spam.