21 July 2007

No Dogs

The update on the eagerly awaited dogs is not a good one, alas.

The dogs that were so quiet and easy-going at the Grove needed a LOT more room than the Beloved's house and yard offer. (We'd been concerned about that, but they spent all day sleeping at the Grove, and were reported to be couch potatoes. Not so much, when they got here.) The dogs that were supposed to be good with cats hunted them. The dogs that were house trained relieved themselves all over the rug, with complete unconcern. The dogs that were obedience trained recognized no obedience commands I've eaver heard of. No, wait, that's not entirely true. One of them had a vague notion that "sit" means something sort of. Occasionally for a second. The dogs that were best friends at the Grove fought badly -- in my years of living in the middle of a Norwegian Elkhound pack, back when my mom was in the dog showing and breeding life, I hadn't seen house dogs fight like that.

They couldn't be left by themselves in the house -- on account of the cat chasing and the relieving themselves all over the rug -- so The Beloved went and bought crates, and the crates worked for one of them but the other had hysterics.

We don't really know what happened to them, but our guess is that at the Grove they were ok, but that coming into a house with one person, and being the only dogs, took them back psychologically to the situation they'd been rescued from, and that situation was worse than anybody thought. They loved her, they loved me, they wanted to please, they're darling and bright and beautiful, but they can't be placed together, and they need a lot more time and work than anybody knew.

(I want to say very clearly that we don't think the Grove was at fault here. They'd had the dogs as puppies; they'd known them well then; the dogs had been placed for about 6 months or so and then had come back; we think that, very simply, the dogs are different dogs at the Grove than ehy are in a home, and that the reports of their training were greatly exaggerated.)

The upshot of all this was that we both pretty much lost a week out of our lives; The Beloved was living with the dogs, but I was over there giving her a chance to leave the house when she needed to, and we're both shattered about it. She drove the dogs back last Thursday, and we've thought about whether we could take either of them -- especially the less damaged one -- but we've come to decide that it's too much. Training a puppy takes a lot of patience and time, but it's a surer proposition than retraining a dog that's already been taught some bad things. And they just need more room than a small city townhouse provides.

So that's where things are. Thanks to those of you who contacted me about the exciting news that the dogs were coming. I wish that things had worked out. Just today I opened up an order from King Arthur and I see that I'd ordered dog biscuit mix.

The child and I are researching small dogs, one that would fit legally (and physically) into my apartment.

At present we're focused on the seldom seen Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

So maybe a puppy will be in the future.

But at the moment our hearts are broken.

05 July 2007

MidWest Camp

So I went to MidWest Camp out at Diana's Grove, and I'm back, and my report is, basically, that I thought it was great and I had a lovely time. I haven't taught at a full-week witchcamp in probably about 10 years, and I've never been to the MidWest camp. I thought it might be a good time to come back in, and I thought it might be a good idea to teach someplace closer to home, and the Dreamweavers hired me for MidWest, and so I went. And I loved it.

I had NOT been cheerful about the story line we were working with -- the Ring Cycle?! Were the Dreamweavers nuts?!

Well, no. What was problematic about the story line -- the infinite versions, the messiness, the seemingly totally retro value system -- all worked to make this what was one of the most powerful storylines I've every worked with. We focused on creation of alternate stories, on reinvention, on fluidity, on just plain walking out of a problematic story and creating a different ending. Lovely.

Also Diana's Grove is a real treat -- this is the first time I've worked in a place dedicated so thoroughly to mystical work, always, all the time, every day, and that makes a PROFOUND difference to the energy. (I've certainly worked in places which were, as venues, dedicated to realities compatible with mine, and that's better than working in rented Boy Scout camps; nevertheless, Diana's Grove is specifically empowered Wiccan. Very powerful.) Also, the dog rescue piece of the doings there has now changed my life -- I fell in love with a couple of the dogs, and they'll be arriving on Sunday, to live over at The Beloved's.

There had been glitches, though, in realms I have nothing to do with, and the result was that instead of about 60 campers there were about 15. Other than the obvious monetary impact this had, this had a major impact on the structure of the camp -- instead of the three teaching tracks, we ended up folding everything together. And this meant that, though everybody got to work with all the teachers and nobody had to decide what they WEREN'T going to do, if people had been focused on one track, and completely uninterested in the others, they still had to put up with all of us.

So there were problems for a while whilst things got sorted out. But I think that the smaller number of campers meant that we were able to work much more deeply, in a much more coherent fashion, than I've been able to do at a witchcamp before.

In the years since we invented witchcamps, they've proliferated. I used to wonder when the growth would start collapsing -- it seemed to me that there would be a point at which giant witchcamps going on for a week at a time would no longer be financially viable -- that the structures would naturally start to shift.

I've greatly enjoyed long-weekend intensives, over the 25 years I've been teaching witchcraft, for instance. They're smaller, easier to organize, less expensive, and the work can be deeper (though the high one gets with a circle of 70 people is of course very different). So I'm in favor of that.

And the camper-created structure makes sense to me, too.

In the meantime, though, I'm still willing to teach at regular camps, if they make sense to me. Or weekend intensives, if they make sense to me. Or facilitate at camper-created camps, if they makes sense to me. I'm not dedicated to one form or another. I like for things to shift and change. In a reasonable fashion.

On the other hand, now that I think of it, the Ring Cycle did NOT seem reasonable to me, but I adored it by the end of the week, and got an enormous amount of personal work done. So clearly, I should have an even more open mind than I've managed to create so far.