DNA Relatives

I was put up for adoption at birth and adopted fairly quickly. I grew up an only child and never knew anyone I was genetically related to until 1995 when I first met my birth mother. Turns out our paths had crossed a few times in very peculiar ways over the years, but never in such a way that I knew who they were nor they I.
Blank family tree
Just before our “big” wedding in 2014, I had submitted a DNA test through Ancestry.com. When results came back there were a few DNA connections, many of whom I knew at this point, which grew as the weeks and months passed. 200 grew to 600. Then to 1,000. I was already in awe of the concept that I, a person who was an only child and grew up not having any known genetic connections to the people in my life, now had proof of a genetic connection to over 1,000 people. The idea was a bit overwhelming and I admit I didn’t know what to do with the information. I tried to reach out to a few folks, but when there’s no reply it can get discouraging to try further.

Every now and again I’d work on the family trees and get a bit gleeful when little green leaf hints would lead to genuine information.

Today I went onto Ancestry only to discover my DNA connections page no longer lists how many connections in total because apparently there’s too many. So I looked further… 513 pages of connections. There are 50 people on each page, except for the last page which has 9.

(512 x 50) +9 =25,609

Wait… 25,609 people? People whom I’m genetically connected to and also have an Ancestry.com account. Holey guacamole, dude that’s amazing! Of course, I realize I’m related to even more than that because not everyone that I already know of has submitted a DNA test or is even on Ancestry, but just that number alone is mind-boggling.

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MistressPrime & BuzzFeed

So, this happened over the weekend…

Well, not exactly “happened”, more like, this was released over the weekend. The actual filming took place weeks ago.

About late July or early August, I was contacted by BuzzFeed producers to see if I’d be interested in participating in a video series they were considering doing where they explore various religions.

I am often asked to do similar projects and while some have been wonderful experiences (such as with BuzzFeed) others aren’t exactly sincere in their requests and were just looking to capitalize on the sensationalistic nature of having a Witch in their media project during the month of October without affording the basic respect to a religion as they might to a mainstream religion. As such, I tend to be cautious with media requests.

After a couple of phone calls and several emails back and forth we settled on a date to film. I went to their Los Angeles studio and we filmed for about 6 hours. They interviewed me extensively about various aspects of Wicca, what it is and what it’s not, gave me the opportunity to dispel some of the more popular misconceptions, and discussed the wide variety that exists in the hundreds of traditions of Wicca. For my part, knowing that traditions can be so different in their practices, I made sure to explain that my representation is only one perspective.

I’ve done many interviews for the media, for nearly 20 years now, and through all these experiences I’ve learned a few things, one of which is that despite the fact I am only one of many different perspectives I could be held as an example for the entire Wiccan, Witch, or Pagan community so I try to choose my words and attire wisely. Essentially, I decided to tone down my personal aesthetic so that what I was sharing and doing was the focus of the interview.

This is the second time I’ve done a ritual on camera for media (last time was on a national tv network; Women’s Entertainment TV). My ritual was crafted to both address the requested goal from the producers, and again I was careful with the language and the whole process to accommodate an inexperienced audience. I had condensed my original ritual down to 16 pages, so while I had much of it memorized there was still some things I needed to read. A tip I learned after doing public ritual for such a long time, always have your script. Things happen and having the pages there to ensure you have all the info is just smart. Also, there were parts of the ritual that the participants needed to read. The whole ritual, once we got started, took approximately 45 minutes overall.

It was a long day (2-hour drive there, 6 hours on set) and I did fret a bit over how the whole thing would be edited. It was a 2 ½ hour drive home in late afternoon traffic. I spent the time completely second guessing small things I could have done differently.

I wasn’t sure when it would be released and while I knew it would be near the end of September I was never given a definite date. It was released while I was in a meeting. My friend was driving us back and I received a message from a woman in London on my public figure Facebook page mentioning she was contacting me because of the BuzzFeed video. I quickly went to YouTube to search and found it. I started to watch it, but decided I’d wait until we got home so I could watch it on a bigger screen. My husband arrived back home at about the same time we did so all three of us watched. I sat there very tense as the video played and when it ended I was mad at myself for even being worried about it. Hahaa! In the end, I think it was well done and I’m comfortable and proud of my part in it.

Cybersecurity: Russian Hackers, Privacy, and You

WordCamp

In 2016 I attended my very first WordCamp Orange County. Since then I have been able to attend 3 more; Los Angeles, San Diego, and again this year at OC. This year I was invited to give a presentation about Cybersecurity at WordCamp Orange County, I chose to discuss privacy aimed toward the average user. It was my first WordCamp presentation.

WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.

Cybersecurity Presentation

Much to my surprise the organizers had scheduled my talk just before lunch on Saturday. This maximized my opportunity to have people attend my event. However, there were other presentations and talks going on at the same time. Because of this I was surprised to see the room was so packed it was standing room only. I have so much gratitude to have received a lot of positive feedback. The WordPress community is very encouraging.

Here is the video of my presentation:

References

PARADOXPRIME INFORMATION ASSURANCE

“Women dialog differently with each other.”

Last year, after attending Social Media Mastermind OC (#SMMOC) a group of us got together for lunch. The ladies present were all very active and involved in WordPress. A discussion took place about creating a Meetup for women who use WordPress. We were all very inspired by this concept and thus a new group was created; Women Who WP.

For the last year I’ve spent far more time involved with the WordPress community in ways I never previously imagined. I attended my very first WordCamp last June at WordCamp OC, then WordCamp Los Angeles in September. Both were extremely informative and wonderful experiences. Next weekend we’ll be down south for WordCamp San Diego. I’m looking forward to another fantastic weekend learning new things and spending time with amazing people.

One of the more interesting things that I observed at WordCamp OC was how many women attended. It was nearly 50/50. This was very encouraging. Most of the tech related events I had attended previously were male dominated, especially in the security topics.

This month Women Who WP celebrated a year. We had a large turn out for our monthly event that included dinner at Mimi’s Cafe (sponsored by DreamHost) and a presentation on Flexbox by Jacob Arriola. One of the Meetup organizers, Bridget Willard, interviewed two of the regular attendees for WordPress TV: Carin Arrigo and myself.

Perhaps one of the best parts about getting so involved with WordPress are the friendships I’ve formed with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met.

“Women dialog differently with each other.”

“There’s nothing like being with people under the same roof.” Carin Arrigo https://videopress.com/v/JLBb1T6Q

BLOT – my way

This is a post from one of my favorite blogs to follow.

BJØRN ANDREAS BULL-HANSEN

During the recent few years, everything Viking has become more popular than ever. And while I think this is great, some of us are still struggling to get used to what best can be described as that feeling you would get if you’ve anchored in that secred, secluded bay you thought only you knew about, when suddenly a bunch of cabin cruisers full of loud people arrive. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that we are now seeing what I like to call a Second Viking Age. It’s just that sometimes I wish people could consider the fact that some of us have been living the Norse way of life for decades, long before it became fashionable. That said, 99% of you are perfectly understanding and respectful. But there is always that 1% who has a need to “educate” other people and to discredit their efforts. I…

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Observations & Opinions from Outside the Broom Closet

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