one of these days, my extroverted nature will get the best of me

Can someone please explain to me how I managed to get roped into the Ann Arbor Pagan Pride Day event for next year? I barely identify as “pagan”, and generally only in contexts where I don’t have the time (or just don’t want) to explain to people what the word “polytheist” means (and whether I like it or not, the common use outside the Pagan Community tends to include what I do as “pagan”), even though you’d think it’s one of those words that defines itself to anyone who speaks English well enough.

At least one of the ladies behind the Pagans In Ann Arbor meet-up is on the local PPD committee, and like I said, the group itself is probably the best loose collection of local pagans I’ve met.

I just pray that this doesn’t end up the headache previous PPD events I’ve been to have been.

Ah well, time to go to the radio station.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Hiller’s Markets in Michigan

When I lived in Virginia (as brief as that was), I met one other person who was from this area, and we could tell we weren’t bullshitting each other on that point, cos we each had cards for a grocery store called Hiller’s. There are only a handful of Hiller’s Markets and they’re currently all in Michigan, though I think there used to be one in Indiana, too (though I may be confusing that with Marco’s Pizza, which is based in Indiana, though most locations are in Ohio, meaning, contrary to what some people in the A2/Ypsi area seemed to believe as few as 7-8 years ago, it’s not a locally-owned mom-n-pop style pizza place, it’s one of only a few surviving Michigan locations of what’s actually a major chain in Ohio and a “local chain” only in South Bend, IN, or something). I’ve since lost my original Hiller’s card, so I signed up for a new one when I moved back to the area, especially after I discovered that they’re the only place in Michigan where I can get real British-made Cadbury chocolate, which I can have, unlike the soy-laden stuff made for the American market.

Hiller’s is something of a cross between a local-focus and allergy-friendly Kroger and a poor man’s Nino Salvaggio1: There’s a lot of locally-produced stuff, a mix of popular and obscure national brands, a lot of stuff that caters to celiacs, food allergies, and veg*n stuff, and there’s also a lot of imported stuff that has considerably less-obnoxious prices than at most other places that focus on imports. It’s a tad too pricey to be my only grocery store for a lot of things, and for some stuff where there’s barely a difference in price, I prefer the Ypsilanti farmer’s Market, when that’s going, but Hiller’s is a great little store, and like I said, for its focus as a grocery chain, it’s probably the best for prices (which is why I made the comparison to Kroger rather than Whole Foods).

So, I brought this up cos of their card, and apparently they changed it since the last time I had a card for them.

The first major change to their card system is you can get the sale price with or without the Club Card, which is nice. The next change is that you have the option to load coupons, “clipped” electronically from the website, onto the card. This is cool, especially if you can get the coupon thing to work. The next thing is that you get automatically joined up into “clubs”, like the “Soup Club” where you buy four soups and get one free, and the “Chicken club”, where the same rule applies (buy four things of chicken, get one free), and the “frequent shopper club” where you make 12 trips costing $25 or more and you get $5 off your 13th trip.

Then there’s the “Community rewards”, where, based on what you spend, Hiller’s will donate a proportionate amount to local schools or charities.

This is where it will become more immediately relevant:

I used to save those Box Tops for Education things for the local Greek School, which is a weekly Greek language program for elementary children and adults through St. Nicholas’ Orthodox Church. I’ve never signed up cos it would actually cost a lot less to get the full Rosetta Stone program, and even that shit’s expensive, and I’ve never been able to find anything about a scholarship for adult students. Which is fine, especially as I’d kind of rather avoid churches, if I can, but donating what I can is still a nice thing to do, even if it’s through a corporate program looking for a tax-cut.

But I also noticed that Hiller’s will donate to the Michigan Animal Rescue League (MARL), which is the no-kill organisation that I adopted my last cat, Vermin, from. So now I’m torn –sign up to get more toward the Greek School, or sign up to get more money funnelled over to the MARL? As a no-kill rescue organisation rather than a shelter, MARL could always use more money, but giving to the Greek school had once been a devotional act to Hermes (as He Who gave the Greeks the alphabet and language), and I’m thinking it’d be a good thing to do with the task I’ve taken on with making alphabet tiles/stones for divination purposes…

…BUT KITTIES. I mean, look at this fucking kitty! Look at her!

…but MARL is a non-profit with some apparent corporate donation links (including Bissell and Pedigree dog food) and do adoptions from a couple PetCo locations in the Pontiac/Rochester, MI, area, and seem pretty savvy about getting donations. Through the Box Tops and Campbell’s Soup Labels programs, I get the impression that the Greek school might not be getting the funds they’d like, and I know some years ago, St. Nick’s had to relocate from their gorgeous 100+ years-old building near Kerrytown in down-town Ann Arbor cos the landlord decided to jack up the rent and when they couldn’t make it in full and on time for a few years (and I heard from the historical society that the landlord had been raising the rent way beyond reasonable on them every year for several years), they were kicked out and the building was converted into “luxury artist lofts” (what the fuck even is that??).

…BUT KITTIES!

I think my mind might be made up, and I’m just going to toss some bones to confirm it, BUT, if anyone wants to do a divination exchange with me over this, let me know. I could still use some practise with the Hellenic alphabet system, and it’s always nice to have this sort of thing confirmed from a second source, you know?

…but kitties.

That said, don’t let my decision sway you: If you live in a city with a Hiller’s, especially if you feel like you’re their target audience (which is Whole Foods-like selections at almost-Kroger-like prices), it’s a tiny local chain, so you should shop there. You can contribute to donations to the Michigan Animal Rescue League (and dozens of other local schools and charities) through your purchases made via your Hiller’s card. YOU CAN GET FREE SOUPS AND CHICKEN!!


1: People who’ve been reading my blogs since my earliest days on LiveJournal (we’re talking late 1999/early 2000), of which I think maybe only two or three people currently do, may remember Nino Salvaggio from the first year Scott and I lived in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and I tried for like, three days during a bizarre pumpkin shortage to obtain a pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern legally, but had to resort to stealing one from the display at Nino’s after-hours, which got me a thank-you from someone who identified himself as a representative from the Pumpkin Liberation Front.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.