Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
That being said, my mother is a fantastic cook and so I at least know what good food is supposed to taste like. My cooking career began with a Thanksgiving dinner. For my first Thanksgiving dinner here in Texas, we went over to a friend’s house (like always). Having spent the holiday before at my Mom’s house, I was very disappointed in the food. It was so nasty I just couldn’t eat anything.
I got back to the house thinking I just can’t do another bad Thanksgiving dinner. I spoke to my mom about it and she wrote up six pages of instructions for my very own turkey dinner. The next year I made my own Thanksgiving dinner. It took 7 hours and dirtied every dish that I owned but the food was GOOD. Real good.
My next cooking adventure when my boyfriend at the time starting grilling. He was fantastic on the grill but lousy in the kitchen. He was creating works of art for the meat but serving it with terrible side dishes. I picked up the cooking for morons book he had purchased, kicked him out of the kitchen and a foodie was born.
I don't know if it's genetics or upbringing but I cook like my mother. Throw some stuff in a pot, add lots of flavor and recipes are for pusscakes. Okay, I followed a recipe once. I didn't like it. The only problem with that method of cooking is when people asked me how I made the dish I get a blank look on my face..."um...I don't know...I just cooked it." Not very useful instructions.
So more than a decade later, I cook a lot. I love cooking for my family and friends. I get such enjoyment from being able to whip up something tasty & delicious…food is love after all. Thanksgiving is especially important. I have found memories of the food at Thanksgiving when I was a kid, and now I get to pass that on to my children.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
There, I've said it. And no, I don't want to join a support group.
I love Itunes more than I loved two of my three husbands. Okay, to be fair, I love athlete's foot more than I loved two of my three husbands.
Itunes is fabulous. Not only can you spend hours searching for music but it has the best recommendation feature I have yet to come across. It will recommend a long list of songs to you and you have the ability to tell it you hate it. Watch and learn Facebook!
I used to spend quite a bit of money on cd's. I used to have tons of cd's that I bought for one song only. Then, as a starving student, I discovered a wonderful used bookstore chain we have here called Half Priced books and I would spend lots of time and somewhat less money scouring their racks for used music. Then I discovered Itunes and never looked back.
My strategy is this: 1. Any holiday in which someone (to whom I am not married to) asks me what they can get me for said holiday, I respond with "an Itunes gift card." 2. Every month, $10.00 of my budget is dedicated to Itunes. 3. At the end of the month, if I have more than $100.00 in my bank account, then I can go spend another $10.00 at Itunes.
So, you are probably thinking that's not so bad right? And it's not, accept I've been doing this for more than 5 years now. Add my monthly budget to all of the gift cards I received over the years and that means I have bought over a thousand songs. I'm really not exaggerating.
Did I mention I LOVE music. LOVES it!
Not only do I have lots of new music, but when I split from hubby #1, I lost a ton of cd's that through the magic of Itunes I have been able to get back. And I have some pretty wide ranging tastes. Rock, pop, punk, country, new-age/world, classical, R&B, dance, 80's, Hawai'ian death metal jazz, you name the genre and I probably have bought a song or two.
There are actually two songs I have not been able to find on Itunes. The first is a cover of the song "Ain't gonna eat out my heart" by the Divinyls. It appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The second is "Rooms for the Memory" by Michael Hutchence off the Dogs in Space Soundtrack. Dogs in Space is a movie that came out in 1986 that like 3 people in the world have seen and I am one of them. I own the soundtrack on tape cassette but the cd (when you can find them) go for crazy amounts of money...the kind of money that would take away from my Itunes budget and we just can't have that.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
I am a creature of habit. Every morning I buy my coffee from the same gas station (bite me Starbucks). I’ve scouted every establishment on my route and I have settled on the one that has the best quality coffee, hottest temperature and the flavor of creamer I like. Oddly enough, they are also one of the cheapest…go figure.
So, all of that being said, I’ve been happy with this particular gas station for sometime now until this week. The regular overnight guy is no longer there (don’t know yet if he left or is on vacation) and there’s a new gal in his place.
On Monday morning, I go in and get my coffee refill and the new lady is kinda busy doing something and tells me I can have it for free. This does happen on occasion when the clerk is busy and doesn’t want to stop what they are doing for a coffee refill. I say thank you and get on the road.
Tuesday morning, I approach the register with my dollar in my hand and she tells me I can have my refill for free, again. I leave confused ‘cause she wasn’t busy and I had my dollar. Okay, I decided that on Wednesday morning, I would pay for my coffee and give a dollar to a charity thing they got going on there.
Wednesday morning, I have my coffee and my two dollars in my hand and quicker than anything, she tells gives it to me for free. I said no, it’s okay but she insisted.
I worked from home on Thursday so I made my own coffee but I brought it up to my husband. As my partner and my life-mate he wanted to be supportive but as an accountant he was confused as to why I was complaining. I told him that it was making me feel creepy. He suggested that on Friday I buy something along with my coffee. I thought this was a brilliant idea.
Friday morning, I purchase a Nutrigrain bar and my coffee refill. Hah! I’ve got her now…she is going to be forced to charge me! She rings up the Nutrigrain bar but not the coffee refill. AHHH! Son of a biscuit! You may have won this battle free coffee lady but you will not win the war!
I’ve come up with three equally plausible scenarios:
1. She was badly trained and she doesn’t actually know where the coffee refill button is located on the register.
2. She actually hates the company she works for and is trying to slowly bankrupt them one coffee refill at a time.
3. She thinks I’m cute.
Frankly, that last one bothers me ‘cause while I don’t put butter on that side of my pancake, I would be flattered if she was cute…but she AIN’T cute.
A co-worker suggested that I actually forget my cup on Monday and pay full price for coffee and see if that forces her hand.
I’ll keep y’all posted on the results.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Do other people my age feel this way? Did my parents feel this way? Has this always been this way?
Both my husband and I are very responsible people. We pay our bills, take care of our family, pets, plants, job responsibilities and our gods but yet we both still have fun and play. Neither of us can remember our parents having a lot of fun. Is that normal? Did our parents say the same thing about their parents? Did Mr & Mrs Caveman sit around their cave wondering why they seemed to have more fun then their parents?
Will this ever go away? I look around at the friends I have my age and they all seem to be fully in touch with their inner child. Are we going to be senior citizens playing video games with our grandchildren, reading Harry Potter and planning for the zombie-pocalypse? I hear the Wii is a huge hit with the over-60 crowd these days so who knows…Will they make game controllers with larger buttons and call it the Jitterbug for the PS15?
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The Texas Redbud, a small tree native to this area, produces a beautiful pink flower prior to leafing out. In full bloom, a Redbud is very showy and stands out for quite a distance. It serves as a wonderful announcement of spring.
The tree itself has a warm, inviting energy. The bright pink flowers are edible and have a slightly sweet flavor to them.
On my webpage, I link the Texas Redbud to the Pomba Gira. If you have ever met any of these ladies, you would know that they never enter a room quietly. They want banners flying, horns blowing and strobe lights flashing when they show up. The Redbud tree is the exact same way, she announces spring with loud music and jazz hands.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
That being said, something interesting happened today that I just want to share.
Yesterday, at the gym at work, 2 men were having quite the loud conversation about the health insurance bill that just got passed. Their tone was horribly disrespectful and so shockingly negative that I had to get myself out of there before I started screaming at them.
To be fair, yes, I am a left-leaning Democrat but I have many friends, family and acquaintances who lean the other direction and we are normally able to carry on serious political discussions like civilized people.
So, this morning, in my office, 2 older gentlemen that I work with started having a similar conversation, although their tone wasn't nearly as disrespectful. This time I couldn't run because it was my office.
I let this go on awhile before finally explaining my own personal experience. I told them that I was recently diagnosed with a serious health issue that had gone undiagnosed because for the five years I was a graduate student, I couldn't afford health insurance. I then told them that because my condition was undiagnosed and therefore untreated, it has probably shortened my lifespan. I then went on to explain that due to this condition, I will probably not be able to get health insurance coverage and unless something changes, I will have to stay with my current employer, whether I want to or not.
Both men went on to explain how they had family members with similar stories.
I asked both of the men if the had ever heard anyone talk about how much they loved their health insurance and both men said "no."
I then said, so we can all agree that the current system is terrible and needs to be fixed, we just don't agree on how it should be done. They both said "yes."
At that point, the two gentlemen quickly changed the subject. Maybe they were afraid I was going to ask a follow-up question like "So how should we go about fixing it?"
Hina is one of the ancestral goddesses of the Hawaiian people. She is queen of the female goddesses (akua) and watches over pregnant women and childbirth. Besides her connection to the moon, Hina is also connected with cloth making, the island of Moloka’i, the sea and medicines from the sea. She is often described as a very beautiful, smart and determined young woman who is pursued by men and other creatures. She has many forms including a coral reef and the leaves of the limu kala seaweed. Hina is normally linked with the god Ku and her yin nature often balances his yang.
Hina immediately grabbed a hold of me and spent the next several days working on my heart chakra. It was like I could feel her delicate fingers actually inside my chest cavity messaging my heart. This means, of course, that I spent about week crying for no reason.
Due to pain I suffered when I was younger, my heart chakra has always been a weak spot. I’ve worked on it through the years with limited success but she was able to heal more scar tissue in a few days than I have in a couple of decades. The interesting part of this story is I lived in Hawai’i when I was in my 20’s and spent 2-1/2 of the most peaceful years of my life there. I don’t think it was an accident that a goddess from Hawai’i helped me find a little more peace.
I’ve continued working on my heart chakra and whenever I have trouble getting that chakra to open, I just call on Hina. Other then my sincere gratitude, Hina asked for nothing in return so I have tried to share her spirit by performing chakra-healing work on other people.
Monday, March 22, 2010
After some research, I figured out that consuming large amounts of dairy products was a contributing factor so I switched to soy milk and greatly reduced my cheese intake. That reduced the migraines to 2 or 3 a month and frankly, I was happy with that.
Five years ago, my mate and I got memberships to our local gym. We incorporated regular exercise into our lives and I was surprised that regular exercise (3-5 times a week) reduced the frequency of my migraines even more, about 1 a month on average.
Over a year ago, I was diagnosed with a certain type of kidney disease. As part of my treatment for this I have had to change over to a diet low in protein (especially animal protein), greatly reduce my salt intake, eat lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains and pretty much eliminate fast food out of my diet. I can’t have any alcohol or ibuprofen and I have to get lots of exercise. And guess what…my migraines are gone, completely. Like I haven’t had one in over 6 months.
Apparently, all of the things that were causing them to begin with were the same things that I now need to do for myself and my kidneys. Isn’t funny how everything works out sometimes?
This last weekend, I was throwing a bit of a food tantrum and ate some stuff on Saturday I shouldn’t have. Sunday morning I woke up with the beginnings of a migraine. That gave me such a jolt that I immediately threw out the leftover bad stuff in the fridge and begged the health gods and my body for forgiveness.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
My husband (let's call him Greg) has many names for the alarm clock bird ("ACB") and most of them are not repeatable. Two years ago, we moved from the front of our apartment complex to the back. We needed a larger apartment and we were tired of being next door to the pool. For the most part, this side of the complex is quieter, except for the ACB.
The alarm clock bird wakes up at dawn every single morning and has a high-pitched call that consists of a series of three loud notes in rapid succession. Apparently the ACB's call is at the exact pitch and timbre to drill directly into Greg's brain and wake him up instantly, pissing him off to no end.
Now, I don't want you to get the wrong idea, my husband loves all animals and nature and he is not a violent guy however he has put out a hit on the ACB. He promised our cat the large can of t-u-n-a if he killed the alarm clock bird. The cat has so far not been interested in the deal so my husband suspects the cat may now be working as a double agent. Perhaps the ACB is a nip dealer on the side.
Anyway, Greg has been trying to figure out what species this bird belongs to (although he was almost certain the genus name started with the f-word) and we may finally have an answer. Greg caught site of an LBB (Little Brown Bird) the other day and after some investigation, the alarm clock bird maybe a Carolina Wren. Now that he knows what he is up against, he might finally be able kill the little bastard and get some sleep.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Several years ago, I got serious about working with plant spirits. I was able to make contact with several plant spirits including: honey mesquite, hackberry, lavender and chickweed.
Chickweed, Stellaria media, is a annual plant that thrives in cool weather. It creates mats and has small white, star-shaped flowers. Edible and nutritious, chickweed is often eaten in salads. There was a large mat of chickweed growing next to the apartment we lived in at the time so finding living chickweed wasn't an issue.
My first contact with the spirit of chickweed actually made my finger tingle for several minutes. I remember her (she felt feminine) hanging around for a couple of days. She had a airy, nuturing feel to her. The impression I got from chickweed was that she could help support a person (nutritionally and emotionally) as they face difficult times. I believe the energy of this plant can help you find your destiny. She was a very friendly spirit.
Like many people in the area, I lost a lot of plants this winter due to the weather so I have begun clearing out the dead plants to make way for the new. Imagine my surprise when I found bunches of chickweed in three different pots. I don't know how she got there but I'm gonna try to keep her going in at least one of the pots. Maybe this is the plant kingdom sending me some support in the form of a friendly star-shaped face.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I had come to San Antonio over a decade ago to visit a friend on my way back home. While I was here, my friend and I visited the the Alamo and the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio. For those of you who haven't been lucky enough to visit our fair city, San Antonio was founded over 300 years ago on the banks of the San Antonio River. The city grew up around the river. In the 1930's, development of the banks of the river itself began. Pedestrian only walkways with lush trees, waterfalls, fountains and landscapes were created. Many waterfowl (ducks, geese, egrets, etc) reside at the riverwalk. There are also bars, restaurants and lots of shopping. Now our famous riverwalk is a gorgeous paradise 1 story beneath our downtown area that gets visited by millions every year.
So, to recap...river+nature+partying+shopping=Oshun. Her and I immediately fell in love with the Riverwalk area and a 18 months later, we moved here for good.
With all that being said, whenever the mood strikes or I have company come to town, I head down to the Riverwalk. As many times as I have been down there, I am still amazed at how strongly the goddess energy flows through the area. Oya, as the breeze that constantly blows through the area; Nana, as the stately Bald Cypresses that stand peacefully by the river; Ochumare, who loves the tickle of the waterfalls; Yemaya, at the several popular marriage spots and Oshun herself, meandering through absorbing all of the fun.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Anyway, Baron replied that they are of the same wind. I thought that phrase was so beautiful that I had to immediately write it down. We are of the same wind. Oh my, that is poetic.
I never thought much about Pan until I read the book, the Findhorn Garden. In the book, Robert O. Crombie (“Roc”) tells of an encounter with Pan that greatly influenced his (and my) life. It’s hard to think about Pan without recalling the energy I felt when I first ventured into the plant spirit path. Many people talk to their plants but few of us wait to hear an answer. Unlike Roc, I have yet to have a conversation with Pan but I can feel him in the silent forest, when the smell of earth is thick. Pan smells like compost.
Pan is of the old, silent chthonic energies, the type of energy that really scares people. I never experienced true silence until I found myself alone in a thick German forest. The type of silence only allows for deep introspection and some find that silence to be terrifying. I admit, as I have gotten older I have more appreciation for silence.
While I enjoy walking around in any form of nature, I can only sense Pan in the forest. We are lucky in Central Texas that we don’t have to drive too far to find some woods. However, as development increases, we are left with fewer and fewer patches of woodland forest, pushing Pan further and further away from us. I seem to recall in the Findhorn Garden that in traditional gardens a part of the garden would be (and should be) left wild and undisturbed. This is probably to leave space for the wild things.
Leave space for the wild things. I think I’m gonna make that my new motto for life.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Now with that being said, I have one priestess, Amber, who has only learned the Orisha based systems. Chango is her father and the running joke is when you ask Amber for spiritual advice the answer is always the same. Chango. Feelin’ blue? Chango. Pimples? Chango. Broke? Chango. Hangnail? You guessed it, Chango.
A couple of weeks ago, Amber called and told me that she had some new Orisha show up in her life and was speaking directly to her. She then said that this Orisha was 6’4” tall, Irish, with red hair and red beard and a pretty thick Irish accent. I then explained to her that I really didn’t think she was talking to an Orisha. She was kinda confused at that point as to why an Irish god was speaking to her. It took a while to convince her that the world was a great big place inhabited by lots of different folks. She decided at that point she was just gonna call him the “Irish Orisha.” I can confirm at this point that he found her to be quite amusing and was in fact, laughing at her.
After some detective work and several phone conversations later, we were able to identify the Irish Orisha as Miach, son of Dian Cecht. Miach has a fantastic sense of humor and is a lot of fun, especially considering his story does not end well. His dad offed him in a fit of jealousy because Miach was the better healer. Miach was wearing a short, sleeveless white shirt with leather cuffs around both arms which showed off his hairy chest. Amber also described him as having an intense face with bright green eyes. Oh, and he loves the lesbians. Amber knows many lesbians so she suspected that may be how he ended up at her house.
So, in honor of all of the Irish Gods, Goddesses and Orishas out there, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Seriously. Would it have killed her to take some precious moments away from her what-is-tiger-woods-doing-now reading time to get her crap in place so the rest of us could move on with our evening?
Does this make me a bad person? I don't know. Is it better to think evil thoughts about a person than to ram my cart into her obnoxious butt accidentally on purpose three or four hundred times until my arms cramped up? Not sure.
Anyway, on a happier note, spring has sprung here in South Central Texas and everybody seems to be feeling it. It seems that everyone I know is planting something for a garden or getting out more or cleaning out the clutter in his or her life. This year it actually feels like spring. We should have a bumper crop of spring flowers this season so besides replanting my herb patio garden I also gonna try to get some great pics this season.
On the bright side, my cat is now trying to drive me crazy. Occasionally, he will start meowing very loudly at me and when I stop what I'm doing and run over to see what is wrong with him he looks at me is if I'm crazy. Last night, he came into the bathroom while I was trying to take a shower and started up again. I pull the curtain to see what was wrong and he would just stare at me with that vacant look. I would close the curtain to get on with my shower and then he would do it again. AHHHH!!!
Maybe he's in cahoots with the woman at the grocery store. Maybe there is a conspiracy out there to drive me bonkers and I am afraid it may be working.