First tea of the day: Iced Chai (I totally took myself to Panera Bread on the way to the grocery store)
Theme song of my week: Stand, by REM, was suggested by a new PF member, as a sort of “Spiritual Bioregionalist Anthem”…I think I like it!
And…its time to be thinking about Imbolc. Or, as we call it in our house…Candlemas. Ugh…still too soon, I’m not feeling it yet.
Moving on now.
Thal’s PBP Reads of interest for the letter B:
B is for Breath
B is for Baddies
Blogging is hard
Buddhism has a place in Paganism
B is for Bona Dea
B is for Book
Bear, companion of winter
Brigid–finding our fire
Book of Shadows
B is for Books and Blogs
Learning to Walk in Beauty
…and more to add next week!
#firstthrityone update! (please excuse the photos taken on my cell phone…I’m sure you can figure out which ones those are!!)
Random Recipe to try: Alton Brown’s Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
8 ounces unsalted butter
11 ounces brown rice flour, approximately 2 cups
1 1/4 ounces cornstarch, approximately 1/4 cup
1/2-ounce tapioca flour, approximately 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
10 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Once melted, pour into the bowl of a stand mixer.
In a medium bowl, sift together the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, xantham gum, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
Add both of the sugars to the bowl with the butter and using the paddle attachment, cream together on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the whole egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, approximately 1 hour. Shape the dough into 2-ounce balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating the pans after 7 minutes for even baking. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on the pans for 2 minutes. Move the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely. Store cooked cookies in an airtight container.
Thoughts about wheat: I’ve been trying trying TRYING to be gluten free for the past month or so now, in a sort of allergies experiment. I’ve managed to get to about 80%. I can do really really well for a week, and then something comes in as I backslide for a meal or two. Like brownie making with the kids, and Chinese buffet (I love steamed dumplings). And then there is crap like GLUTEN IN SOY SAUCE. Seriously? WTF! And, I guess…since I haven’t noticed any asthma-allergies difference, I’m sort of ambivalent about it. I *want* to do this, but it sucks so much. And I don’t HAVE to (like my Dad who has Celiac disease). But then again, my tummy and guts are so much happier when I lay off the bread and the pasta and the pizza and the brownies.
If I am going to survive this, I must find a brownie recipe.
Herb of the Week: Wax Myrtle
Wax myrtle (AKA southern bayberry or candleberry), or Myrica cerifera, is one of my favorite local plants. It is an evergreen shrub native to the mid-Atlantic and southern Atlantic coasts of the US (also in the Gulf) that prefers saltwater marshes and freshwater wetlands. The wax myrtle is an early colonizer in a disturbance regime, and is also a major winter food source for birds in this area. The root bark of bayberry has historically been used as an herbal treatment for fever, diarrhea, gum problems, and infection (and is to be avoided during pregnancy). Early colonists used the wax myrtle to make bayberry candles (it takes about 15 lbs of berries to make 1 lb of wax). Magically speaking, the wax myrtle is a feminine herb, corresponding with Jupiter and useful in rituals and spells dealing with prosperity and luck.
Tarot Card of the Week: Nine of Wands
In a nutshell, this card comes down to one thing–persistence. If you’ll forgive the mixed metaphors, the Nine of Wands is about keeping your chin up and hopping back in the ring for another go, no matter how battle weary you might be. Depending on the placement and position, this can be positive–resilience and hope for success in the willingness to try again…or it can be negative–getting beat up, for what is ultimately no good reason. When you get the Nine of Wands, it is important to figure out which is which!
A prayer for the day: The Homeric Hymn to Gaia
Earth (Gaia) is a goddess who teaches justice to those who can learn, for the better she is served, the more good things she gives in return.
What’s Brewing: Well, the hubby is in San Diego for about 6 weeks (and missing Sharkbait’s birthday, my birthday and our anniversary), with the possibility probability of being extended there until Yule…or maybe longer. Sort of funny how he’s missed more of those as a civilian than he did when we were both in the military.
I let Miss February borrow my car for the morning, so we were stuck in the house (which really needs to be cleaned) and I was feeling sorry for myself. Fortunately, that didn’t last very long–it was a gorgeous day, and Sharkbait and I took a walk to the farmer’s market a couple blocks away (Chickadee was at a sleepover). I picked up some peppers, green beans, and fresh mozzarella (or, as the kids call it, squeaky cheese, since it squeaks when you eat it). Have yet to get a pumpkin…we’ll probably wait til that weekend.
I am still, wholly in blog-cation mode. I though I might be transitioning into slow blog mode when I last posted, and then I spent a very enjoyable month with minimal internet time. There was even a week in there where I think all I did on the net was check my email once. I’m not sure if I’m going to pick the posting pace back up yet or not…while my list of projects and things has gotten shorter, this is also the time of year where I try to step back and slow down with the cycle of nature.
Unfortunately stepping back and slowing down seems like it might not be an option this year, since I’m single momming it again, lol. And I had forgotten to factor a Halloween costume into the mix…Chickadee wants to be a mermaid, and we traditionally make our own costumes. I’m thinking this year might be an exception!
First tea of the day: Lemon Lift (Bigelow)
Moment of Zen: Mealtime is an excellent time to incorporate simple spirituality into our daily lives. First, try a prayer before eating. It offers us a time to pause from the hectic pace of the day and reflect on our inner state of of being, and our connection to humanity (how many hands did it take to produce our dinner from farm to table?), to nature, and to the Divine. Secondly, it offers a place to bring spirituality to the table, literally by way of mindful eating. So often we rush and rush and rush through life and though really living–like a hamster on a wheel, that we forget to stop and take notice and enjoyment of acts we treat as mindless, like eating and drinking. This is the time for harvest–the time for thankfulness and for winding down…which makes it good time for reflection, simplicity and for tuning in to our inner selves and motivations.
Practical tips for Spiritual Eating
- Turn of the TV, computer, cell phone, NPR, etc. Put the book down. Mealtime shouldn’t be multitasking time!
- Consider a mood-setter, something you do differently from a “normal” hurried feeding. We often light candles and an oil lamp and turn off everything electrical.
- Eat at a cleared, clean table. Seriously, if you are like me and your table tends to collect *things*, the last thing you need is spying a bill for something or a list of things you were supposed to get done or whatever as a distraction.
- Say grace or have a moment of reflection or thankfulness, etc before eating.
- Focus on flavors. Pick better ingredients–quality over quantity.
- Savor your food. Eat slowly, chew, use a knife and fork and put them down each time you take a bite. Most importantly, sniff it. A goodly amount of what we perceive as “taste” is really “smell”. Eating is an act of sensation–foods have appearance, texture and even sound as well. Use all of your senses.
If you’ve ever wondered what to do with apple peels and cores, wonder no longer!
DIY apple cider vinegar! (we are trying this right now)
Make apple jelly, no pectin needed!
Apple tea! (I totally want to try this out)
Happy Birthday Navy! Today was the Navy’s Birthday, and she’s turning 237. With that in mind…
Deity of the Week: Check out these deities for sailors!
Tarot Card of the Week: King of Cups
Call him “The Godfather.” A kinder, gentler, more loving man you’ll never meet. His “kingdom” is his family, and his one dream is to be sitting at the head of a huge table filled with kin, kids, grandkids, serving up food to them all. He is paterfamilias, the father as capable of rocking babies to sleep, bandaging hurts and telling bedtime stories as he is at coaching a sports team or offering fatherly advice. His family always comes first; for them he’ll work, sacrifice, do just about anything; and, yes, like the “Godfather” he will consider doing terrible things to anyone who causes them grief.
Speaking of tarot…this is a freaking gorgeous deck! One of these days, I’m just going to own enough decks to pull out my favorite images for each and have my own mismatch deck!
A Very Cool Animal:
Last tea of the Day: White tea with saffron and chamomile
Round about the caldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark;
Root of hemlock digg’d i the dark;
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips;
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,—
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingrediants of our caldron.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1
First Tea of the Day: (freshly picked) Sassafras with orange slices
Why, oh why am I up and showered before six in the morning? Oh, yeah…because I have so much to do today, starting with driving the hubby to a reenactment for the weekend. Ugh.
In good news though, one of the many things on my plate are about to be over today! We have finally reached the hourly count down for the Luau at the UU fellowship we attend. Somehow, many months ago, I got conned into heading it up…and thankfully, it is finally here! One less thing on my plate!
Officially, I am still in Slow Blog mode, but not a total blog-cation. I’m limiting myself to 1 or 2 posts a week, so I make sure I work on all the other stuff I need to get done (some of which I really don’t want to) in a timely manner. If I’m totally honest here, occasionally I use blogging as a means of procrastination.
I want to go back to sleep.
Evidence of my nerditude: The hubby and I have been on a Star Trek: Deep Space 9 viewing spree for the past few weeks in our down time…and we are now in the middle of season 6–The Federation is getting ready to strike against the Dominion and the Cardassians to take back Deep Space 9 and free the Bajoran people from certain conquest. Yeah, we’re Trekkies.
Deity of the Week: The Danaids
Once upon a time the twin brothers, a man named Danaus had fifty daughters, while is brother (and king/founder of Egypt–at least in Greek myth) Aegyptus had fifty sons. Ageyptus wanted his 50 sons to marry Danaus’s 50 daughters, but Danaus was not fond of the idea and built the first ship escaping to Argos, from which his ancestress had originated. Danaus was chosen as the successor to the king on Argos, in a vote by the inhabitants of the island. Some time later, his brother came to threaten Danaus to honor his request for their daughters and sons to marry. This time, rather than cause a war that would cause hardship to his people, Danaus outwardly acquiesced. Privately however, he instructed his daughters to kill their new husbands upon their wedding night. 49 of the daughters followed the instruction of their father, and one did not. Depending on the source, that rebel might have been Amymone, or perhaps Hypermnestra (though they might have been the same person), who chose not to murder her husband because he promised to honor her choice to remain a virgin. Upon her disobedience, Danaus had her arrested and tried by the people of Argos, where she was allowed to go free after Aphrodite’s intervention. Depending upon myth, her husband (Lynceus) may have later killed Danaus in revenge. Allegorically, early versions of this myth (which end here) can be viewed as possible historical commentary of an ancient conquering, while later versions become tale of morality and cosmic retribution as well. The 49 daughters that murdered their husband end up in Tartarus with a decidedly sysiphean task–to eternally carry water to fill an urn with holes in the bottom (or alternatively to carry water to fill an urn with containers that have holes in them.
Tarot Card of the Week: Six of Wands
To sum up this card’s meaning in one word…VICTORY!
If the five of wands symbolizes the heat of battle or the fierceness of competition, the six of wands symbolizes the moment of victory where the champion is recognized in adulation by the people. It is a card of victory (or success) as well as the recognition of that success by the public or one’s peers. The six of wands highlights (to borrow a marketing idea) the importance of networking and personal branding, but carries the pit falls of arrogance and an over-inflated sense of self-importance. Reversed, this card may symbolize a loss of public support or a lack of recognition.
While sassafras is available all summer long, paw paw season is right now at its peak here in Virginia. Both of these plants are native to the Eastern US and are common Southern plants. Also, they both have a long history of use that starts with the Native Americans, and continues in the culinary traditions of today. Sassafras also has a long history of medicinal use, as well as a tradition of use to ward off the evil eye in Appalachia. Pawpaw on the other hand, may have has some medicinal and mystical qualities, but I have yet to run across any traditional uses for these things–and I have yet to figure out the best way to use it as well (other than to eat)…
Parting Quote: Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.
~Mary Anne Radmacher
A couple weeks ago, after our Broom and Brew meeting, we had a Wine and Tarot night and the topic of alternative tarot came up. Seeing as people have made a Hello Kitty tarot and even a Barbie tarot, I was a bit surprised to discover the lack of a Winnie the Pooh tarot. We made some wine-fueled effort to rectify that, though we only got about half-way through the major arcana. Does anyone have further suggestions?
The Fool: Pooh
The Magician: The Narrator
The High Priestess:
The Empress: Kanga
The Emperor: Owl
The Heirophant: Christopher Robin
The Lovers: Rabbit & his garden
The Hermit: Eeyore
The Wheel: The Bees (sometimes you get honey, sometimes you get stung)
The Hanged Man:
The Tower: The Heffalump Pit
The Sun: Roo
The World: The Hundred Acre Wood