Saturday, March 22, 2014

Enjoying a weekend in Boston....

     Enjoying a weekend in Boson while my poor husband is stuck in an electrical code update seminar. Poor man...happy me! He's almost free (2 hours to go!) and then we're off to dinner in my favorite city! While he's away, this mouse is not playing, but getting caught up on all kinds of writing projects: the Reiki ( ) page has been updated, a new post for SageWoman has been published on the PaganSquare blogs ( AND the final segment of the final chapter of a historical romance I've been working on is done. All I have left to do is write a synopsis and submit it to the publishers. Oh, what bliss is to be found in a quiet hotel room five stories up with only the sound of the wind for company! (Although there are no cookies to be had, so my bliss isn't as complete as it might be.) Happy weekend all!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day?

     Today is a day of remembrance for families like mine. While my husband and I, being of Irish descent, are all for celebrating our heritage...though the whole green beer thing seems rather odd, even to the Irish....instead we take a more serious approach to the day as we pay homage to our forebears, all the women, men and children that fell to the conquerors: the Romans as they tried to claim the entire world as their own; those that fell beneath the onslaught of Christianity as thousands were killed in the name of the Prince of Peace. (And please note I place no blame on that holiest of men; how could he ever have believed his message of peace would become so twisted and perverted to be used to spread hate?)
     Tradition tells us that Saint Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland. And while it may be true that there are no snakes in that country (don't know, have never been), the 'snakes' he and his followers drove out of Ireland weren't harmless little creatures that should have been left in peace in the first place, but Druids. The snake has ever been a symbol of wisdom and renewal: the Greeks and Romans used the image of the snake or of serpents, the Celts, in awe of the snake's ability to shed its skin and be reborn over and over, believed the snake to be attuned to divine wisdom. And so, when Christianity invaded Ireland, the keepers of the people's wisdom and spiritual tradition were slaughtered or driven away.
     My family prays for the lost souls that fell, believing in their gods to the end, and we remember the survivors who hid away, living in fear, yet continued the traditions of the Old Ways, so that today families like mine can follow the faith that calls most deeply to our souls. And while there is still hate and distrust today, thanks to the sacrifices of the ones that came before, we can live in peace, and share our love of humanity and of the earth (yes, I know I sound corny, but that really is the main tenet of our faith).
     Amid your celebrating today, please pause for a moment, to remember not my ancestors necessarily, but your own: Christians have faced persecution over the years; Muslims, Jews, Buddhists...every faith in the world has been reviled at one point or another, and someone has been willing to make sacrifices so your faith could continue to live on. Pause for a moment, and say thank you.
     May you be blessed on this All Snakes Day.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Being Thankful

     Having a moderately reliable signal means I can (attempt to) post moderately regularly! I am truly grateful for this small grace. How silly, isn't it, that I am thankful for the use of an available internet signal? I am of course thankful, deeply thankful, for the things that really count: my children, their good health, my husband, his good health, his love and support; my own health (who wants to be ill?); our home, food on our table, our friends and family; our pets, a tankful of fish whose antics send my littlest one into gales of laughter ten or more times a day. I am thankful for the people who stop in and read my random ramblings...and then come back for more! You all are simply wonderful.  
     Are we being frivolous for wanting more? Or greedy? I truly have all I need (even money. I'd like more, of course, but we have enough to pay our bills and feed our children, and that's more than some people have, sadly.) but I would of course like more: to go back to college and get my BA; the ability to purchase all the books I need to research my newest book project; internet that works with me instead of dropping out just when I need it (or when my kids need it. Poor Henry, trying to do research for history class. Grrr.)
      When do our wants transform from harmless daydreams and wishes to overt greed? Is it when we lose sight of the things that matter, or when we fail to fully appreciate what we have? Perhaps that's when. Of course at that point karma comes along and kicks us in the head to remind us that we should have been grateful for what we had, now we don't even have that much. So thank you, Mother of All, powers that be, Whomever You are, thank you for all You have given me, and I do truly appreciate the extras that You toss my today! Cool, gray, slightly's a spring morning!!!!
   Welcome, welcome, welcome spring! (Yes, I know we are to expect freezing rain grossness tonight into tomorrow, but I'm going to live in the present right now, and revel in the fact that it feels like spring today!) Ostara is next Thursday, and then, whether or not we can see the ground, it will truly be spring. So to everyone, everywhere: be thankful for what you have, dream about more, and when you receive it, remember to say thank you. And happy almost-spring!

This recipe isn't mine (I am woefully incapable of creating recipes...although my tuna and bean casserole is pretty good, and I don't like tuna casserole!) but is taken straight from kitchen maven Nigella Lawson. I've made my usual few changes, but left nothing out. The first time I made this my son Henry approached with trepidation, then polished off three bowls. Yes. 'Tis yum.
 Red Shrimp and Mango Curry

1 scallion, finely diced

1 Tbs diced garlic

1 Tbs olive oil

1 1/2 Tbs Thai red curry paste (1 Tbs, 1 1/2 tsp)

1 c coconut milk

1 c chicken stock

2 tsp fish sauce

2 1/2 c butternut squash AND sweet potato cubes

2 c frozen peeled shrimp (I used more, typical for me)

1 c mango cubes (ditto more)

1 tsp lime juice

3 Tbs chopped cilantro (I went light on this...I don't really care for it, but you definitely want to add it)


* Sauté scallions and garlic in olive oil 1 minute, then add curry paste.

* Whisk in coconut milk, stock and fish sauce and bring to a boil.

* Tip in squash and potatoes and simmer, partly covered, for 15 minutes, until tender.

* Drain shrimp under running water to remove excess ice and add to pan; let sauce come back to a boil.

* Add diced mango and lime juice and cook for another minute or two until the shrimp are cooked through.

* Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, and serve over rice...which of course means you should be making rice right alongside your curry, but start the rice first.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Books, books, BOOKS!!!!

     I really can't get enough. I love 'em. I love to read, I love to write, and if the books are just what I'm looking for, I love to collect. However, sometimes I like to share. Not often, I'm such a book hog, but every once in a while I decide to go on some crazy cleaning spree and when I'm done a pile of former loves is sitting on the floor by the desk looking for a new home. The library gets some; the local Little Free Library gets some, and lately,  is getting some too. Go check it out: it's free to join, easy to participate, and you get BOOKS!!!! Books you don't have to pay for! (Well, not with cash, but you do need to earn bookswap credits...but NO MONEY! What a magical phrase!) Drop by and check it out. If you're anything like me, you'll be glad you did. Excuse me for now. I'm off to browse.