Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Looking for spare Change

Sometimes we have none of it - loose coin or change in a more general sense.

Sometimes we have more than we know what to do with - heaping bags that fall over in the back seat of the car and rattle as we hit speed bumps or a swirl of changes that bring fresh air and uncertainty.

Sometimes we go looking for it, because we know that something has to change or we'll go mad.

Now is one of those times.  Spring always does this too us, whirls us up and spins us around and charges us to DO something, CHANGE something, START something.  It leaves us with our hands in the air, head back, hair whipping in our face, screaming at the sky. It leaves us collapsed on the floor, tears streaming, voice caught in our throats, bunches of tissues in our wet palms. It leaves us, and we blink in the new light and wonder what the hell we're supposed to do.

Change come at us all crab, siding up with a smile.  It rips the floor out from under us, tears us apart. It brings us flowers and hands us a new situation with diplomacy and a smile.

It is vicious and beautiful and welcome and feared.

It's change.

So what is change when we go looking for it?  Well, it's all of the above.  When you invite change in, when you throw your hands up in frustration and go "NOPE.  Gonna change this now before I'm like to murder someone." you are doing the unthinkable to some - you're inviting change to you door, serving it tea.  You're bringing it in as an honored guest instead of a vagabond in the night.

So I'm looking for Change - I'm changing jobs soonish and the search starts now.  I have time to make this change, so I can do it thoughtfully and purposely, and with planning.  Scary, and nerve wracking, but change always is.

And here's a clover, for luck.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gooey Sweet Tart Lemon Bars

This is likely my most sought after recipe, and I can't even take full credit for it.  Like most thing, it evolved from something I found online, based on what sounded like something my mom made that one time, and became what everyone asks me to bring to a party.

This, and bread.  I make a LOT of bread.

Lemon Bars.

Gooey, tart, sweet, yellow lemon bars.

I top them with lemon ginger sugar.  (if you're not allergic, try it some time)

cookie base:
1 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all purpose flour

lemon goo:
4 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 lemons, juiced
1 tablespoon lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour over the baked crust.
4. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. 
5. Remove and top with powdered sugar, lemon ginger sugar, vanilla sugar or nothing! The bars will firm up as they cool.

And you know I don't leave it at that.  Oh, not a chance!  

Onto what is basically shortbread I draw runes, symbols, etc to help along whatever party I'm going too.  While I'm mixing and whisking I'm whispering my intent, my wishes, and my will.  The heat of the oven and the yellow of the bars - I invoke the heat of the Sun to bring warmth and light into the lives of all those who eat it.  

I make these a lot! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesdays, Desire, and Caution

It's that kind of Wednesday.  You know what I'm talking about... that Wednesday when you know if you go outside for lunch it's going to be a 30 min conversation with yourself about going back inside to work.  That Wednesday that reminds you of all the things you could be doing... like sleeping in a forest glen or reading beside a flower strewn meadow or, well, ANYTHING other than sitting in a stuffy office pretending to care about your job.

Yeah.  *That* kind of Wednesday.

So let's talk about desire.  The air is warm, the Sun is warmer, the flowers are blooming *everywhere* and we are swept up in the glory of Spring... so, desire.

Gather round boys and girls, while Auntie Aaradyn tells you a story about getting *exactly* what you asked for and why that isn't always the best thing ever.

A while back (seriously - years ago) I held a rite and asked for what I thought I really, really wanted.  And I got it.  And it was awesome for all of 3 seconds.  Then it was good.  Then it was ok.  Then it blew up in my face and went down like the Hindenburg.  Out of those ashes came a lot of tears, the repair of relationships, and a much stronger person with better painting skills.

Could all that have happened without the earth shattering kaboom?  Yeah, probably.  But it didn't, and now I have a story out of it.

It started with me, my altar, a really great song, and an idea that I knew what I really wanted.  I called the circle, lit the candles, pressed play on my iPod and started reciting the text.  I had the feeling that to call to me what I thought I needed, I needed to throw a little sexual energy at the situation.  So I did.  Being solitary is a wonderful thing sometimes.

I can tell you, honestly, that it was one of the best rites I've ever performed.  I felt the presence of the Stag as I haven't before, and haven't since, and I am glad that I had that experience.  That's not to say that I haven't felt His presence since then at all, I have and it's been wonderful, but nothing like that night.

I asked for a relationship that would blaze inside me, that would light up my life, that would burn bright and strong.  And I got it not all that long afterward, in a form I never considered but accepted none the less.  I got exactly what I asked for - the relationship started fast, went even faster and didn't stop till we were all on fire and running to the corners of the earth to be away from each other.  We collapsed, separate and smoldering in different states entirely, and haven't spoke since.

It was a bonfire that consumed me.  It wasn't pretty.

It left me stranded in a foreign place with no aid in sight.  So I did what you have to do in that situation - I made the most of it.  I scrimped and saved and with no small amount of luck I managed to survive.  I painted, I read, I embroidered and I meditated on what I did to get into that situation and how to not do that again.

It worked.  I haven't done that again.  (I've screwed up in other ways, to be sure - but never like that again.)

I got lucky, and I'll tell you why - I was penitent and forgave myself.  I didn't blame anyone for where I was or what happened to me - I did it to myself.  I didn't blame the Gods either - again, I did it to myself.  I asked for it, I got it and, it turns out, I didn't want it.  But, too late - I was stuck.

The story of getting unstuck was me finding a job, a very tiny apartment, a tight budget, and desire to change my fate.

Desire can go a long way when you have drive.  And being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no friends or family close??  That's some hella good drive.

It's a long story about my getting out of that, but the short version is this: I did.  I did, and I did it with some help and some favor and some grace.  I did it and I am very, very thankful.  Where I am now is a paradise compared to where I was, and I never forget how lucky I am.  I never forget the past and I don't dwell on it - I remember, and I build on that, and I move forward.

So, long story short - be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Bless our Mothers

I don't know about you, but I've put my mother through the wringer.  It hasn't always been rough, but I've had a lion's share of rough patches and, through everything, she's been there.

She's a wonderful woman, an artist, a chef, a gardener, a lover of good wine, and a lover of cheesy movies.  I came by my status as geek honestly - I learned it from my mother who has Star Trek ornaments on her tree in December and action figures on her desk at home.  I learned all the little things from her, and the big things, and the things I never thought I'd need to know but one day was overjoyed to remember she'd taught me.

She is, thankfully, still in this world for me to Skype with every Tuesday.

I don't want to think about a point in time that I can't do that.

Sunday many will gather with their Mothers, and will bless them in many different but equally valid ways.  We will take to social media and send well wishes and blessings to mothers that we know.  Some of those women will be friends, other will be our sisters and cousins and nieces.

No matter how you honor her, honor your mother.


Your human mother isn't the only mother to honor on Sunday.  Honor your Earth mother, your home and the womb you dig into when planting.  Honor Gaia with song or silence, but honor her.  Remember her and touch her with reverence as you would your human mother.

Mother's day marks the absolutely end of frosts up in New England.  It's the point in time where I'm sure the only threat to my plants will be the voracious squirrels that seem to think my planter boxes are their own salad bar, and whatever vicious rains the summer will send us.  (last summer we got a storm so bad it tore up buildings not far from my house.  Goddess bless - we were spared any devastation) So while many go to brunch with their mothers, I go to the nursery and collect the plants I will nurture and raise over the coming months.  I smile merrily as I pick tomato plants and herbs, and think fondly of the seedlings growing at home.  Sunday I'll get my hands dirty as I make room around the yard for the newest arrivals.

My grandmother taught me how to garden, my mother taught me how to capture what I grew in artwork - I am forever thankful to them both.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Stress, stress, stress, then...


Isn't that always the way?  Well, no, it's not, but when it is you sort of look around and wonder what happened that everything is ok now.

Large stresses and small stresses alike, it's never a good time when something turns and stares at you with an accusing eye.  Be it your all together too low bank account or a looming issue that you're dreading dealing with, that focus drills into you, worming its way into your very soul.  It drains you until you have nothing left to fight it.

We've all been there.  We all know that feeling.

Then it breaks, like a popped balloon, and you're left standing there feeling lighter than air.  Your soul relaxes (you can feel it) and the sun is a little brighter.


Having just gone through the amazing time that was Beltane, and carrying a little of that bonfire with us still, I think about the stresses that I carried with me into that morning ceremony on Friday, and through the rest of the weekend, and I wonder how that affected the ceremony as a whole.

The gods know we bring some of the pressures of life with us into the circle, no matter how much we try to relax before hand.   They know, and they understand, and we deal with it as best we can.

So in the coming week, remember your stresses aren't forever, and know the gods understand.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Today, focus on the warmth and sun! (even if you can't see it!)

Blessed Beltane!