Practical Solutions

IMG_0177

Maggie informed me that I can’t afford to spend any more money. So she says, Mom you have to stay home. You will be tempted to buy yarn at that store in Belfast, I know you will. So don’t go ……. don’t put yourself in the path of that horrible temptation to bring more yarn home for our stash (it is Maggie’s stash too ….)

Since traveling to a yarn shop is out of the question, what else can I do? What else do I do on a lazy Saturday with no pressing engagements? I bake and I cook.

I have my largest mixing bowl full of dough ……. for bagels. It’s on its first rise and there are two more so this will take most of the day. Not to mention the forming the little boogers into circles, sticking them in boiling water for 10 seconds and then baking them. This could take forever.

And since I need lunch, I decided a little Miso Soup was a good idea. I chopped half a carrot and 1/2 a cup of kale. I put the vegetables, a generous sprinkling of wakame flakes and 2.5 cups of water to boil on the stove. To that I will add noodles once the carrot is soft and a tablespoon of adzuki bean miso ………. yum.

I always solve the what to do problem in the kitchen ……. I kill time and get things to eat all at the same time. Plus my son will love me for the bagels ……… I’m hitting all his food favorites this week.

Lazy or Busy?

B0lsvinIcAEf7ky.jpg-large

Relaxing after you’ve torn up a roll of paper towels is so refreshing. I haven’t torn up any paper towels lately, but I think I could use a lazy day ……… splat out on the couch.

On the other hand, there are a few projects on the back burner that are calling my name. I’m ready to start another sewing project. I just can’t decide if it should be silk, and I have a lot of gorgeous silk print fabrics …….. or if it should be a knit jacket, a tee-shirt or ……. something else.

My sweater, which looks like fire opals in the light, is almost to the point of separation. I have an intense urge to finish this quickly. Who knows, I may be able to wear it next month. This morning was cold again. We seem to fluctuate between muggy and cold. There’s certainly not been a lack of humidity or precipitation. My poor basement …….. leaks.

My Tempeh Hash went over so well last night with the youngest member of the household, he just heated some up for lunch. He told me it’s the best meal he’s had in a long time. I wonder what he wants now? No, I guess he really does like it. I will have to wield magic again tonight. I think we’re talking tofu and rice or tofu and something ……… tofu.

It’s noon ……. and I have no plans. No planned visit to the nursing home, no planned visit to the resale shops (thank God) and no planned trips to the ocean. Hmm. That last one could be an idea. A short 40 mile drive and I could be sitting on the beach, looking at the birds, the marsh grasses, getting a little peek at the Atlantic. Now that sounds pretty good ………

schoodic-0712

Mask On

eclipse_maximum_768x768We’re less than a week away from Halloween! If you had to design a costume that channeled your true, innermost self, what would that costume look like? Would you dare to wear it?

Ah I would need three quick costume changes ………. the Maiden, the Mother, the Old Crone.

There are planets in my chart that keep me eternally young, hopeful, expectant. And, most obviously to me at least, there is some energy in my karma that makes me the Earth Mother, the ultimate maternal caregiver, the nurturer, my purpose to love and care for everyone that I can. And then, it happens – the Old Crone appears, the Wise Woman, past the first blooms of youth, past any blooms of youth, all-knowing and all-seeing.

Since I love clothes, I will describe my costumes for you. I will enjoy this.

As the Maiden, I wear a gown of pale blue, pink, lavender and green …….. it floats around my body with a low-cut bosom, to land in folds at my feet. I wear a chain of daisies in my hair and I am barefoot because it is eternally spring in my incarnation. I attract much attention from the men who see me. They follow me with their eyes. I am the promise of womanhood …….. my eyes are clear, my face is unlined by life and my hair is a black veil ……..

And then it is time to change to my Earth Mother garb. Here I am in colors of the Earth, browns and greens and golds …….. and oranges and reds and yellows for the sunsets and sunrises I keep hold over. I carry with me my magic wand of caring. I hold everyone I meet close, assuring them of unconditional love. I smile into their eyes and they forget their suffering and feel only peace. I give them all the gift of motherly love.

And now, before I wanted it to be, I must change to the Old Crone. There are a few wrinkles just around my eyes, in the corners. I have a calm, searing gaze. I wear black as befits a woman of my great age. People flock to me from miles around, wanting my wisdom, needing my wisdom for their lives ……… they see me as old, beyond romance and love because they do not know, but I still am giving, as the Maiden gave and as the Mother gave.

My costumes are all three of me. I am still, even at my age, these three aspects of Woman. I am still the Maiden, fresh and new and willing to take a chance with love. I am eternally the Mother, always caring, taking care of and nurturing those around me. And yes, now, sooner than I thought, I am the Old Crone. I am wise beyond my ken and I share my wisdom with those who want it as well as with those who don’t. I am the embodiment of the Great Mother …….

I have no choice but to wear these costumes …….. because this is who I am …… I can be no other.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/masks-off/

Real Food

IMG_0332

Tonight’s supper is true, real, down to earth, excellent, tasty, piquant, beautiful and luscious FOOD. There isn’t anything in it that’s bad for us. Nothing. And it is going to be delicious. Tonight’s supper is Tempeh Hash.  We ate a lot of it already – the wok was full ……

Here’s how I do it – you can adapt this recipe to suit any sort of ingredients you want to add. You can change out the variety of the potatoes, add leeks to your onions, get crazy with scallions – you can do anything. This is my basic go-to recipe for Tempeh Hash.

  • Eight oz. tempeh
  • 2 onions
  • 1/4 cup tamari or organic tamari
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil and toasted sesame oil (for the end)
  • roasted red peppers (I use the Greek ones from the grocery store)
  • pepperocini as many as you like
  • salt and pepper to taste

I slice or cube the tempeh and place it in a saucepan with 2 cups of water, one onion quartered and the soy sauce. Bring it to the boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the onions and dice the potatoes. I’m using fresh Maine grown potatoes and I’m not peeling them. I like potato peels a lot.

Put the onions and potatoes in the wok and heat this over high heat until it begins to fry well. Then put the lid of the wok on and turn the heat down to medium. I let the potatoes soften up this way and they caramelize well.

Stir the potatoes and onions every now and again – there’s no rush. You want them crispy on the bottom – that just adds to the flavor!

Once the potatoes are done, I chop up two of the roasted red peppers and about 6 of the pepperocini and add them to the wok. I also add the garlic at this point and the drained tempeh. Give everything about 7 minutes to blend and cook and voila’ – you have an awesome supper. If you’re lucky they won’t eat it all and you can have some for lunch tomorrow!

Stand back when you put this on the table – my family has been known to almost knock me over to get to it. :)

The Boring Hour

25175My son and I call it that. It is actually longer than an hour. It’s more like two or three. It’s the time between 2 pm and supper time ……… when everything slows down and you don’t quite know what to do.

I’m really good at filling up those hours if I’m working on a project. When I’m not, or when I don’t feel like working on something I’ve started, they can truly be boring.

This is the best time in my day to take a nap – even if I don’t sleep, me and Kindle take a break together. I’m reading a lot of heavy spiritual books right now, but those aren’t on my Kindle. And those are the ones I have to be particularly sharp for, with it, on top of my game. I want to understand those books …….

So I take a nap with Kindle and I read my “trash” reading. I was on a kick with Gladys Mitchell mysteries there for a while. They were written in the 1930s and I think she was one of the most talented writers of her time. She’s even better than Agatha Christie, but just not as popular or well-known. She had it in spades.

Now I’m onto a series I’ve read for over 20 years. I’m re-reading all the Richard Jury mysteries written by Martha Grimes. I’ve forgotten most of them and I love the characters she brings back in every title. Like Melrose Plant, a friend of Jury’s who he met in the first mystery set in Plant’s home village. And Mr. Plant used to be an Earl and gave it up, just gave up his title and said no thanks. There’s a good reason why he did it, but we don’t know that for many books …… we just know he did it.

There’s Marshal Trueblood, a somewhat gay antique dealer living in Long Piddleton. I say somewhat gay because he has been known to go with women also. His “gayness” helps his business, so he puts emphasis on it. He doesn’t emphasize the women in his life.

And then there’s Vivian Rivington. Someone that both Jury and Plant are mesmerized by and someone both of them would marry, if they had the nerve. They don’t so she gets engaged to an Italian Count ……. and much hilarity ensues as her friends from Long Pidd try to keep her single, being sure that the Italian Count is just a fortune hunter.

I like a little humor with my murder and Martha Grimes provides that. And she keeps the boring hour away ……..

Out of Breath and It’s Raining

rain-249872

We all seem to insist on how busy, busy, busy we constantly are. Let’s put things in perspective: tell us about the craziest, busiest, most hectic day you’ve had in the past decade.

Funny how everyone insists they are too busy and yet for me, as I sit here trying to write about a day in the last decade that was hectic, I can’t think of one.

I know why I can’t think of one day that had me running around scattered, busy, erratic. It’s because I don’t have those kinds of days. Crazy, huh?

I have a natural up and down personality. I used to be up and down often, staying down for months and up for months. Now I’m not. Now, if I get down, a little depressed or a lot depressed, I’m out of it in a day or less. I get back up, I get back to being me.

Years ago I limited those things that created busy days for me, hectic days. Instead I chose time to myself over busy-ness. I chose to purposely be aimless.

I had an acquaintance on PEI who lived across the road from me. She was a nice woman whose name was also Jennifer and who was also named after Jennifer Jones, the actress. She also had breast cancer.

She went by Jenny. We would talk from time to time and she was an interesting person. She had moved with her partner from British Columbia and they had bought, fixed up and sold a beautiful house on Route 3. It was gorgeous. It was an old two story home with almost navy blue siding and white trim. There was a lovely perennial garden in the front yard. Guy, her partner, had made an old English style kitchen in the house. When they sold it, they got enough to buy a rental property and the log cabin they lived in.

We socialized a little. I didn’t socialize much because I frankly hate small talk, hate chatting. It takes up time I could be doing something else. I already had a friend who took up a lot of my time talking on the phone ……….

They ran an antique business out of their home, in their back shed. I was also selling antique quilts and linens and old books. So we had a connection there. Jenny was always telling me I needed to do this, or that or how to grow my business.

I explained to her that I didn’t want to grow my business, that I didn’t have any major life goals, that there was nothing I wanted to attain or reach for that I could find in a material existence. She didn’t get it at all. I had no ambition beyond making lovely meals, sewing a little, reading and meditating. I was happy with my life the way it was.

And so, you see, my life hasn’t been hectic or hurried or crazy for many years. And certainly not in the last decade. The only times I can think of when it got a little too busy were times when I was making something, which gave me more joy than busy-ness.

I consciously make decisions now about who I let in my life. I want my relationships to be healthy, a genuine back and forth of caring about each other and relationships which add to each other’s life, not take away.

If there are days when you are too busy, take a look at why you are too busy. Is it to get something you really don’t need or to help someone who you really can’t help? If either of those things are true, take a break. Give yourself permission to be calm, peaceful and happy. Believe me, your life will thank you for it.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/out-of-breath/

Incarnate Spirituality

Six images that combine Chandra data with those from other telescopes.

Enlightenment. Enlightenment has been my sole goal for as long as I can remember. I have had unbelievable moments of extreme joy, moments where everything clicked for me, moments when I knew that I was close ……. to something.

When I first started to see the light at the end of a multi-decade spiritual path, I was reading Vasishta’s Yoga. This is a marvelous beginning, but I took it as the beginning and the stopping point. I needed to go further …….. for Vasishta taught me how to live an enlightened life away from temporal reality. I needed to know how to bring that enlightenment into the temporal reality. In other words, i need to be enlightened while living my life in this incarnation. I will spend quite enough time in the great realm of spiritual nothingness when I no longer carry around this body.

I sought out someone I knew, someone whose reputation was so great that I knew years ago I wanted a reading from him. I never did it and I’m not sure why. Years ago I could have afforded it quite easily. Years ago my husband was still working, still bringing in good money. So I didn’t get that reading because I couldn’t afford it. There must have been some other reason. I think that reason was because I wasn’t ready for it. I hadn’t even gotten the point of nothingness at that time, of analytical meditation, of inner peace or the need to live in the moment. I just wasn’t ready.

Last night I listened to the reading Robert Thibodeau did with me on October 8 again. He recorded it all on CDs and my son burnt them on his hard drive and transferred them to my computer. It is amazing how much I remembered and wrote down and how much I didn’t remember.

I can say, although I am supposed to get over feeling sorry for myself according to Robert, that my life over the last decade has not been easy. There were many trials brought on from outside sources and many trials in my family life. The biggest trial has been my husband’s illness, when everything I was working on involving myself and my spiritual growth slowed and almost stopped. Where I had to concentrate solely on him and not on anything else. That was the first time transiting Pluto hit my natal Sun position in my chart. It’s been going back and forth ever since.

For three years, I’ve been my husband’s caregiver. For the last 1.5 years, he’s been in the nursing home, but still my responsibility. I still have to be there, make decisions, visit him as much as I can, just be there. For the first year I saw him every other day. I was wearing myself out. There wasn’t enough alone time for me to be here at home, doing things I need to do for myself. Last summer I hit a limit and I couldn’t visit him as often. I was definitely burnt out. Seeing him in the state he is in is difficult. It is more difficult to know that he will never get better, only worse, until he dies.

During that time this summer, I didn’t spend a lot of time meditating or reading or learning. I skimmed along the surface of life, just getting by, doing things I wanted to do but not going deep. Not growing, not learning, not assimilating information.

I had my reading with Robert, finally, at just the right time. I knew I had some heavy aspects in my chart, work I had to do on myself. Everything came together and for years I’ve been walking around on hold. My life could have ended then. It was like it did and then I kick-started myself.

And now we’re coming to the end of my husband’s life. I know that he can’t live much longer and I also know that although I’m prepared for his death, nobody can really be prepared for what they will feel after it’s all over.

Over the winter, while all the heavy aspects in my chart are working themselves out, moving off, going away …….. I am going to be expanding my spiritual knowledge. There are 7 books that I am going to absorb, not read, but absorb. I am going to read them with intent, with concentration and with meditating on what i read. I want to assimilate this knowledge to further my spiritual enlightenment. It is a great project for my winter, when things are still too up in the air to be counted on as sticking around, when life is still too fluid.

Robert said that everyone with a higher spiritual goal has to spend some time alone contemplating what they learn. Christ had his 40 days and 40 nights, Buddha sat under a tree, Krishna led the battle on the battlefield of the mind and the body. We all need to spend time absorbing what we learn.

My first book is Transform Your Life by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. It is described as a practical guide to transforming one’s life by understanding the nature of love. I like that. There were so many choices of books to read that I couldn’t decide which to do first. So rather than read them one at a time, I’m going to read them all simultaneously, a chapter or two at a time …….. getting something here, something there ……. and then meditating on what I’ve learned, taking it inside and letting it nourish me.

A fine goal that. And I’ve already learned one thing ……… to not procrastinate when it comes to spending time developing oneself spiritually. After all, as Gyatso says, we may die today. When I die, I want to be as prepared as I can be – for my next life. I want to accumulate more good karma so that even if I can’t change the world and make it a better place in this lifetime, I will have a head start on it in my next lifetime ……….

So Far ………

iStock_000007042359Large-zen-curved-rocks

So far today I have managed to actually get the AquaThane on one countertop. Not wanting to challenge myself with where to put everything at once, I did just the one countertop by the sink. It’s the one that gets all the action and therefore all the stains. The other countertop is directly across the room and is separated by my moveable kitchen island and a baker’s rack from the other countertop.

That’s done. It’s drying and actually it’s pretty far dry. I’ll let it sit overnight before I put anything on it.

And before I did that fun thing, I baked a blueberry coffee cake. A large blueberry coffee cake because I was going to do muffins until I found out I don’t have any PAM and you all know what a mess getting muffins out of a muffin tin can be if you don’t have PAM. I said heck with it and put it in a 9 x 13 pan and baked it. It must be good because my son at a huge piece already and he’s not much for food before 1 or 2 pm.

And then I cut his hair. See here’s the problem with being an ex-hairdresser. I only worked at it for less than 2 years. I hated it, with a passion. All these little old and not so old ladies who wanted to look like Farah Fawcett and had no hair. Jeez. It was horrible. Anyway, since I was a hairdresser, I have been cutting the guys’ hair for years. I don’t cut my husband’s hair any longer as he’s at the nursing home and they have a hairdresser, thank God. But Ben? I still cut his hair. His hair is so flipping curly – bushy even …… I have no clue who had curly hair in mine or my husband’s genetic code. It sure isn’t me – my hair doesn’t even bend well. It wasn’t his Dad, his hair is straight too. So who? I have no idea.

Cutting his hair is like wading into the rainforest with a machete. It doesn’t matter how I cut it really as long as it’s shorter than what it is. I think it must have been 5 months since his last cut because it was looking terrible. I just grabbed him when he walked out of the bathroom from a shower and said guess what? Haircut time. So that’s done ……… and he looks human again. He’s a nice-looking kid, provided he would keep his hair cut and his beard trimmed. I am ready to introduce him to a barber for future haircuts, I really am.

And now it’s play time. I’m not sure what that’s going to mean …………. but we’ll just see.

The Canadian Parliament

http://video.foxnews.com/v/3854785532001/standing-ovation-for-hero-who-stopped-ottawa-attack/#sp=show-clips

You all heard about the Islamic radical that made it into the Canadian Parliament after shooting and killing a soldier standing guard.

He was killed by the Sergeant at Arms, Mr. Kevin Vickers. If it hadn’t been for Mr. Vickers, many other people would have died.

Today the parliament was back in session – this video shows how the members honored Mr. Vickers. It is a very emotional scene – as he looks like he’s thinking I was just doing my job – and the members think he did more than his duty. It is a beautiful thing to see people appreciate someone so much for doing what they had to do.

It is immeasurably sad to see my former home of Canada go through these terrorist attacks. They were there for us on 9/11 – many planes landed in Canada and the passengers were treated royally. They are a non-violent country, nowhere near as populated as the United States, but also nowhere near as violent. We should all be dismayed that the terrorists have chosen to attack Canada. They only do this because they can and we must stop them doing these things in any country at any time.