Chicago Witch: Witchy Living in the Windy City

A perspective of a modern, urban Witch who strives to balance faith with family and career.

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Lori Dake

Lori Dake

Lori Dake is a life-long native several generations back , is a mom to an adult son and married for over fifteen years. She is a leasing agent primarily serving the North Side and has also worked as a paralegal for several years. Sometimes, she’s a hardcore fashionista, and sometimes a concert shirt and jeans are more her style. Hobbies include painting while listening to 80’s metal, writing, participating in various forms of philanthropy and creating fabulous meals on a budget.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Preparation and Change

So this morning, the groundhog said we're going to have an early Spring. Later today, I heard claps of thunder for the first time in months, and the rain washed away all of the salt on my SUV. I started with a new agency a couple weeks ago, and I am now designated as "pre-license", as I am studying to move forward as a real estate broker. Ron even got me a new phone as a congratulations present - just the one I wanted but was holding off until I made more money. (I closed on my first lease with the new company yesterday!)

It has indeed been a whirlwind of preparation and change, which is just how I see the season. All year long, animals like squirrels store up food to get them by through the winter. By the time Winter arrives, a squirrel who did a great job will have the problem of too much of a good thing. They will bury nuts all over the forest, forgetting where many of them are buried. The following Spring, that mistake can become a blessing in disguise - planting unintentional seeds. Preparation and change. I hadn't planned on switching agencies as quickly as I did, but it was time to do so. The groundhog didn't plan on anything other than waking up this morning. El Niño is probably attributing to lots of change, including the storms around here instead of a blizzard. And yes, for people who pay attention to politics, a relatively no-name did a great job in Iowa. (Disclaimer: I am not much into politics, but that doesn't mean I don't pay attention.)

The thing is, the world is in a constant state of change. Some changes are subtle, like the first tiny knobs on a tree branch. Some changes are wildly noticeable, such as the first morning you step outside and see green grass everywhere after months of brown and white. How I handle the changes, big and small, determines where my life will go. It's certainly easier for me to adapt than it is for someone who's starting from nothing, or someone who has more hurdles. I just remind myself I know people personally who were given every opportunity, but because they were not able to adapt to change, they have problems I have a hard time envisioning for myself

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
2015 Samhain Resolution

Happy Halloween to you all, and a Blessed Samhain to my Witchy friends! Most site viewers already know Samhain is also known as the New Year to many Pagan folks, and I attribute the notion of New Year's resolutions to it. (You may recall my post from last year.) Basically, every year, I strive for self-improvement that will in turn make the world a little bit better of a place. It's not like the traditional resolutions like losing weight or quitting a bad habit. No, I  believe Samhain resolutions are much deeper than that.

Reflecting on my resolution for last year, I do believe I've done good on it. Last year, "I resolve[d] to be better at the whole green thing,", as well as continue to "be less judgy". Both I've done good, but both are ongoing. Coincidentally, this past August, the city of Chicago had banned plastic bags from big stores, though many have found enough loopholes that so far it seems to not have made a big difference. We're still miles away from even a decent recycling system, too. But that's on the city - not me. So, I just have worked a bit harder at figuring out my own loopholes, so to speak.

One big thing we do is simply bring our own lunches to work. Especially in summer, I all but live out of my car, so I have pretty much turned the back seat into a little pantry, as I don't always have time to actually make a lunch. (I used to have a drawer at work for the same thing.) Now that I have fewer showings, I do have time to make lunches, which mostly, Ron and I use bento boxes. (He calls them pendejo boxes haha.) We're not sushi people, so that's not what we put in the little containers at all. Mostly, it's variations of the Thanksgiving relish trays, a.k.a., nibbles, and different stuff all the time. Black olives, carrots, celery with cream cheese, crackers and cheese, thinly sliced radishes, peeled and sliced apples (dipped in a touch of lemon juice to prevent browning), green onions, grapes, hard-boiled eggs, mini sweet pickles (as well as sliced dills), lunch meats, ranch dip, hummus, and so on - all ready to munch on throughout the day. Sounds good, right? As long as we mix it up, we don't get bored.

The reason I started going back to making more lunches is multi-faceted: For one thing, even cheap drive-thru food isn't all that cheap anymore, unless you specifically order from the dollar menu. (And yes, we're Cheapie McCheapskates when it comes to food. We hate spending money on it.) For another, it gets b-o-r-i-n-g. Of course, even the healthier choices aren't as good as people think. And yes, there is always the issue of the trash that cheap drive-thru creates. Think about it: Styrofoam clam shells are the go-to container for most take-out joints anymore. I've noticed that even with pizzerias that sell by the slice. And the cups - if not the entire cup being Styrofoam, the lid and straw are probably plastic. (That poor turtle.) So it just made sense all around to go that route. We also do the bento boxes for another reason: Packing traditional lunches take more time, and sandwiches are boring. As a Dutch lady I met once commented about American food, "Everything is sandwich". If you think about it, she's kinda right: We do eat a lot of stuff wrapped around a type of bread (sandwiches, subs, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, tacos, wraps, burritos, and so on).

Another big thing I did was switch to vaping over smoking. Now for years, Ron and I have made our own cigarettes with the tube machine. They're better than what we can buy at the store, especially compared to price, and the tobacco isn't sprayed with a gazillion chemicals. When I was getting ready for PSG this year, I dreaded having to make myself a carton of cigarettes like I have been doing in the past. It's a chore for sure. That, and our son was coming with me, who has never smoked, so I knew I was going to get the nagging from him. So a week before, I got myself a vape pen and juice, and I got used to that instead of cigarettes. I will say, it's so much more convenient, I can smoke it with the windows rolled up (or yes, even in a tent) and I don't have to figure out what to do with the butts. Oh and the price? It's about the same as making our own cigarettes.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Communing with Nature Wherever, Whenever

One of the things I love about being a real estate agent (leasing agent specifically) is the freedom I have. I can set my own hours, I can go on vacation whenever I want, and I can tell people "no" without fear of repercussions. I find I work way past my normal availability and during the summer like it is now, I easily put in 75 hours a week - oftentimes 90. I actually force myself to stay out of my home office on Sundays, which is my self-designated day off, because otherwise I'd work every day of the week. I also take a "day off" in the middle of the week as well, but that's only a day I choose to not do showings. Instead, I schedule for other days and get caught up on paperwork. And lately, those showings have piled up so much I've been all but have been living out of my car.

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My Recounting of Pagan Spirit Gathering, 2015


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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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The holidays are wrapping up with the last fiesta just days away - New Year's Eve. Every year, I feel a tinge of sadness when January comes up, because things feel so final. Not to mention, I'm no fan of the winter months as a whole, as I simply hate cold weather. After forty years, people would assume I'd be used to it, but nope. I'd rather deal with those Texan summers than the Chicago winters.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
All topics can be divisive

With all that has happened in the last week regarding the Ferguson indictment decision, a lot of back burner issues have come to the forefront and is now boiling over. Everyone has an opinion. Some folks are clearly staying out of it for numerous reasons, some are tap-dancing around the root causes and others are bluntly stating their positions. I'm sure you have your own thoughts on the matter at large, the repercussions, the back story and so on. Even those I know who do not involve themselves with "other people's drama" and never watch the news or read articles, unless something directly pertains to them, will eventually have an opinion.

It is why I find it interesting a Pagan news source has stated they will no longer cover divisive topics. It seems to me when you use the word "News" in your name, you are expected to provide all the news and not just cherry-pick which topics will keep things civil. Not only that, but really, if you have more than a handful of people commenting on any topic, you are going to get a discussion, and discussions come from personal viewpoints - many of which can be divisive due to being based on opinion. Here is my example:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lady Pythia
    Lady Pythia says #
    I posted this there...for Pagan reasons. Enjoy an article I've found enlightening and great to use with Students as Witches and P
  • Piper
    Piper says #
    Yes, good post and warning, somethings need to be discussed, hiding them will either validate them or let them come back and be wo
  • Martin
    Martin says #
    That's a good post; let's not wrap everything in cotton wool as it's stifling.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
2014 Samhain Resolution

Samhain is sometimes called the Witches New Year, as it's considered the beginning of the dark half of the year. Back in the day, it was a time for the final harvest (animals) and bracing for the cold months ahead. I'm a city girl, so many of the ancient traditions just don't work with me. Bonfire? Not without driving out to the sticks and either renting a cabin or freezing to death in a tent. Slaughtering animals? Yeahhh... no. Jewel does a pretty good job of that, but we do thank the animals when we eat. Battoning down the hatches? Oh, do you mean like when the landlord sent guys over to replace our windows a couple of weeks ago? Does that count? Storing up food? I've got coupons and pantry for that! And yes, there's a first aid kit and a blanket in the trunk with at least a half tank of gas at all times, plus I have my AAA card, credit cards and some cash in my wallet. That's how I prepare for winter!

On the secular calendar, it's tradition for many people to make a New Year's resolution, which oftentimes fail miserably. Besides the fact many of the resolutions are impossibly vague in the sense the issue to resolve has no specifics in attaining them (e.g., "I'm going to lose weight!", "I'm going to quit smoking!" or even "I'm going to restart my life!"), many resolutions are made while tipsy and/or because it's the popular thing to do. Therefore, I believe a resolution made on a religious holiday holds more weight, simply because you're not just telling yourself and your friends what you're doing, you're making a promise to deities - you are oath-bound!

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