Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tomorrow, a new calendar page

and the opportunity to grab hold of the dragon's tail of cosmic consciousness and pretend that this arbitrary "change of date" day can be the beginning of a new cycle of life changing decisions if I want it to be. Note the assiduous avoidance of the "r" word.

But when so many on the planet are "r-ing" to change, as a magickal person, I'd be a mite foolish to not try to piggyback on some of that good energy and implement a few small changes of my own. For starters - we are leaving the year of the Wheel of Fortune card (numerotarotlogically speaking) and entering the year of the Strength Card. I will write more about that in a separate post. But for now - acknowledging this shift is enough.

And all of this ties nicely into our new year of Studies in the spiritual group of which I am part. We are re-examining a teaching I am developing called "the Spiral of Life" - we held a Retreat based on it a few years back, and now it is becoming the tree trunk upon which to hang various and sundry ideas.

The first level is all about the basics of every day life - taking care of the physical needs that sustain our lives, and becoming better, faster, stronger, more resilient, more physically and fiscally fit, more balanced etc in the physical realm. This makes us better metaphysicians (metaphysician, heal thyself! shall be the whole of the beige level law).

So I read with great joy a post in one of my favourite new blogs "Awake at the Wheel" called "Too Tired to Succeed?" While the author is focused on more secular pursuits, I immediately drew a comparison back to some of the recent conversations we have been having in our Tradition Classes at the Witchery.

One of those pesky "laws of the universe" is that "you get out of something what you put into something". This is true for me especially in my religious practice. In order to empower my prayers (read: spells) I have to put energy into their manifestation - at the very least making room for the manifestation of my prayers to appear in my life, in whatever form the Goddess decides is best for me (read: no cherished outcomes). But if I am unable to raise sufficient energy, due to being too tired, too stressed, too physically unfit, too lazy, too < fill in the blank > - then I'm hooped.

My favourite quote from "Too Tired to Succeed" is

The ancient Greeks came to the same conclusion, viewing intense daily physical practices as a necessary element of the pursuit of scholarly success thousands of years ago. The yogic sage Patanjali codified a similar realization in the classic Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, revealing the need to follow the yamas and niyamas, their version of the 10 Commandments, exercise and meditate in preparation for pursuit if higher level thought and awakening.

The lustrous little-men in loincloths (I’m sure to be drummed out of the yoga world for calling them that) remedied this by prescribing a set of fairly simple daily practices that, done regularly, would bring the body and mind into a place of optimal health. They called it yoga.

Others call it exercise, meditation, movement, visualization, breathing exercises, relaxation-response training, mindfulness and on and on. They are all points on a continuum of practices that, done daily, profoundly enhance your physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual states.

I see Tai Chi and a treadmill in my future. And a little Chi Gung for dessert.
yup. sure. uh-huh. you betcha. right-o. I'll get right on that.

I wish to end this culturally marked solar cycle and enter the new calendar year with a recognition of Ike Neutron's Laws of Magick as defined by me. (misspelling intentional)
  1. The Law of "In-Nerd-ia" - A Pagan body at rest stays on the couch in front of the TV, or with an open book, or with game controller in hand. A Pagan body in motion around a ritual fire is often out of breath after a couple circumnavigations of the circle. I will strive to be a Pagan Body in Motion more often so I am not winded and invoking Air to return to my gasping lungs at the first expenditure of energy. Are ya with me?
  2. The Law of "Moment-ummmmm" - If the net force of an object is equal to the mass of an object multiplied by its accelleration - then my ability to have a positive impact on my inner and outer worlds (net force) is equal to me getting my sh*t together (mass) and doing the right thing in a timely way (accelleration is the obtuse inverse of PROCRASTINATION). Are ya with me?
  3. The Law of Unintentional Consequences - I have a whole new year to ponder the diametrically opposed statements - "cause & effect" and "every action has an equal and opposite reaction". This means that, like Bernie Botts Beans, life is going to contain a myriad of flavourfilled possibilities. Sometimes peppermint, sometimes earwax. Let's make for sweeter consequences where we can. Are ya with me?
So there you have it. My last post of the calendar year. Thanks for joining me on this little journey called Wiakia. It still isn't a knitting blog. But it has been a place where I could unravel a few ideas, and see what shape they take. Let's end with a song, shall we?

Make it a good one - without any fear. I wish you Peace.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

TT# 25 - Ikea Comes to Winnipeg. Yawn.

Thirteen Thoughts about the New Ikea Store

So - there is going to be a new Ikea store in Winnipeg by 2012/13.  Buckle Up, Pilgrims.

  1. Nicholas Hirst wrote a great article in todays Wpg Free Press on the contradiction in the thinking of our civic leaders.  I may or may not refer to some of his points, and expound on them - but the subsequent rant below has been brewing for days. Our city needs more than a big blue building full of stuff.  Our civic leaders need mental floss to remove the congestion of old-thinking and to make room for a clear cool breeze of forward-thinking progress.  Paging Glenn Murray... at least he knew where to buy a clue (Montreal).                                                                                                              
  2. Do we REALLY need another big box retail store - especially one filled to the rafters with low priced mass-made furniture?  Aren't we over-mega-retailed as it is? How many more small independent businesses need to close as consumers flock to the foreign made imported goods that populate the big box stores? Count the empty storefronts on your next drive down any major street.  You'll need more than both hands and all your little piggies too.                                                                        
  3. Don't we really need to do something about the rampant consumerism that is crippling our society - both morally and economically? Is buying more stuff - or new stuff - going to lead to happiness, or is it just going to put another debt-laden bandaid on our collective culture of self-negation and self-worth issues?  Can we spend our way into wellbeing? I think not.  Say it with me now - I AM WORTH MORE THAN MY STUFF.  MY WORTH DOES NOT DEPEND ON MY STUFF.  MY STUFF DOES NOT MEASURE MY WORTH. I NEED LESS NOT MORE STUFF. and used stuff is good too.                                                                                                                                                
  4. Is someone going to put a plan in place to deal with the mountains of perfectly good furniture and household goods that will be "liberated" from their current homes but have years of usefullness left in them but are now destined to be sent to the landfills?  We need a plan, people - cause it won't all find its way to Value Village or other Thrift Stores.  Some cities have a curbside "citizen-reclamation" program - where furniture, etc is put on the curb on a certain day each month, and it is "open season" for people (not businesses) to pick it up.  Then arrangements are made to have it hauled away by whatever charity wants it.  Yes, enforcement is a problem - but at least it gets neighbors talking (about each other's bad taste in home decor).  We need to start actively promoting freecycle, kijiji, etc... or just rent trucks and go around yelling "bring out your dead" and furnish homes in the inner city.  Hands of Hope needs truck drivers - and trucks to deliver what they already have and can't find a way to distribute.  Can you lend a hand? strong back and four wheels - all that is required.  Or cash to buy gas for the trucks they have. More stuff, they don't need. They got lots to give away.                                                                                                                                                                  
  5. 400 jobs are nothing to be sneezed at. 400 jobs is a good thing. Good thing lots of local furniture retailers (and manufacturers too) have closed down in recent months so there will be no shortage of skilled and experienced labor - who deserve more than minimum wage and crappy shifts.                                                                                                                      
  6. will said jobs be minimum wage jobs? More than likely. It's hard to raise a family on minimum wage.  Hells Bells, its hard to be a student on minimum wage.  Min Wage is below the poverty line.  Can we rethink the meaning of the word "minimum"?                                                                                                                                                                                    
  7. will said jobs give benefits to both full time and part time workers? After how much tenure? The new "retail standard" of two years? People need benefits. Esp. if they need medication, or want to see a chiropractor, or wear glasses.                                                          
  8. what kind of working hours will be expected - what kind of crazy hours will the store be open (I remember when Chapters opened, it tried to be open from 8am to 11pm - which made for many unhappy staff. Bad enough we have Sunday shopping - and now we have to contend with 24 hour shopping). Retail employees have lives too. (I will someday write about how retail is the new slavery.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  9. How will these workers get to work? The entire Kenaston Mega-Shopping Mecca is WOEFULLY under-served for transit (read: none) - for shoppers but most importantly for employees.  So we can miraculously commit to widening two major streets because a RETAILER is moving in - but not just because we're building houses for families?  Where's the commitment to easy transit access for our citizens to help with climate change? AND _ How will the homes in that are be affected? Lots of people bought "out that way when it looked like the edge of the city. Now it's the middle of suburbia.  More cars. More traffic. More time spent idling at the railroad tracks - higher emissions.  Yummy.  Good thing most of these kids are driven to school - the walk just wouldn't be healthy. (sorry, can't find the link to the article with the stats, but will add it when I find it).                                                                                                                                                       
  10. And speaking of the environment - what about the impact of this store (and the whole Kenaston MegaPlex) on the environment? The geese are already confused enough when they fly over and see all their wetlands turned to parking lots.  There are deer - and other woodland creatures to consider.  How big and bad will the big blue box footprint be? Will they use solar generated energy? Have a wind turbine?  use composting toilets? recycle? Are there any minimum standards being negotiated, or have we rolled over on this completely?  Care to write a letter to Ikea and Mayor Sammie?                                                                                                                                  
  11. Do we really need another reason to spend money that most of us don't have? Really? honestly? Talk about seeing salvation in terms of increasing consumer debt.  Most of us are trying to spend less - and now the pressure increases exponentially - because we are lemmings and go with the herd.  We are trend followers, not trend setters.  The advertising blitz will be incredible.  People are already thumbing through the catalogue and post-it-note-ing themselves into a frenzy.  Highlighters are being worn down to tiny little nubs of felted inky yellowness.  Ikea is obviously an ancient Scandinavian word for "Furniture Religion".  Just wait til the grand opening. You won't believe your eyes. Trust me.                                                                                                                                                                         
  12. let's be honest. Their stuff isn't that great.  Now your living room will look like thousands of other people's living rooms. Wow.  Bet I know where you bought that lamp. People People People - true style is based on individuality - not conformity.  Dare you to be different.  Double Dog Dare you.  Yeah. Think of me when your foot crosses the threshold.                                                                                   
  13. Retail will not save the world. It will not save our culture.  It will not build communities.  It will not bring families closer.  It will not bring peace to the planet. It will not reverse climate change (not even MEC can do that).   Only we can - one choice at a time.  I choose to not get caught up in the Ikea frenzy, and to raise some of these points at every opportunity.  Join me.  We can't stop the river, but we can be a pebble in the pond. or in their shoe.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

TT #24 - Thirteen Great Blog Articles You Should Read

Thirteen Great Blog Articles You Should Read

  1. The Best Moment of Your Day - from The Simple Dollar
  2. 8 Tremendously  Way Important Ways that Gratitude Can Change Your Life - from Zen Habits.
  3. Use Only What You Need - from Wise Bread
  4. Accountability - from The Simple Dollar
  5. Want to Save the World? I'll Tell You How - from Zen Habits
  6. How to Improve Morale and Confidence - from Bad Language
  7. Squaddies - from Between The Ticks
  8. 3 Tips to Make Writing Less of a Struggle - from Copyblogger
  9. Aligning My Values With My Clothes - from David Seah
  10. Does Recycling Paper Really Save the Rainforest - from The Frugal Wench
  11. Grocery Shopping In New Dehli - from Get Rich Slowly
  12. Gravity is Just a Theory - by Seth Godin
  13. Treehugger - everything related to environmentalism from hard science to warm fuzzy good feelings.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TT#23 - My Yule-tide Gift List

13 Things I Want for Yule

This is not intended to be a shopping list for family and friends - more of an exploration of self. However, if you can find any of these tasty treats on the shelf - hey - who doesn't like opening presents and squealing with glee. Maybe some of these will resonate for you as well.

1. A Renewed Sense of Porpoise. I want to move swiftly and directly towards my goals, with an innate sonar that helps me avoid obstacles and dangers and make sure I don't end up in a "See, World?" exhibit jumping through hoops for the delight of a jeering crowd and being tossed the occasional raw fish. I do enough Stupid Human Tricks - thanks very much. I'll be here all week.

2. A Different Compass. The past few years have been a time of Immersion in Elemental Compass Mysteries as I navigate the choppy seas of life. I have no Earth in my chart - and for two years my Air sun sign (Libra), my Fire moon sign (Aries) and my Water Ascendant (Cancer) have been imprisoned by the limitations of the physical body (Everything you wanted to learn about the Earth Mysteries, but were afraid to ask). Now that I am a healthy happy Crone - there are still parts of me that haven't caught up to this new state of being.

3. A Room With A View - Part of my daily personal ritual is to do what we call "The Self-Blessing" - that reinforces a set of goals for the day - to see clearly, to hear with discernment, to speak truth, to do sacred work, to give and receive love, and to move forward on my journey. All of these things are to help me recognize that it is not "all about me" - each one is about integrating my inner world with the Greater World - and being aware of my impact on "all that is". I need to ensure I kick out the jams and increase my awareness of the impact I have - and the changes I need to make to have a more beneficial impact in my world.

4. A Sharp Knife - I want to de-clutter my landscape - and Jacinthe dances with joy every time I unload another box of "schtuff" - and while there will be more stuff that to be released, repurposed, or recycled - I also need to remove from my life all the things that get in the way of achieving my life goals. And - no fear dear hearts and gentle people - most of those things are within me rather than outside of me. And what it means, really, is accepting the answers to some "double jeopardy" type questions that tie in directly to point number one. Some of my bad habits and inner demons and old ghosts need to be "put down" in the veterinary sense of the word.

5. A Rolodex of Remembrance - As I have gone through this Wheel of Fortune year - and believe me, it has been spinning centrifugally and increasing its speed exponentially - I have had multitudinous occasions to look back on my life, and think of the people that have passed through the corridors of my heart. I ask the musical question "where are they now/how are they now". I would like to let those that I have known, loved, befriended, learned from, sat with, taught, shared time/space/joy/sorrow with - especially those that have drifted away never to return by their choice and/or my choice- that I think of them and hope they are well. Nothing more - no discussion, no drama, no re-visiting the past. To friends lost and found, near and far, warm and cool ..."hey - hope all is well in your world."

6.   A "WE-Fit" - no, silly rabbits, not the new fangled gaming contraption that plugs into the big black box that steals the soul and mascerates precious minutes into useless by-products - a "we-fit" - the manifestation of good diet, a bit more exercise, and a little less of the salt and fat that add flavour to food, and make "livin large' just a little too easy to do.

7.   The Arms of Durga - ah, Divine Multi-tasking at its finest. Durga has, in some of her incarnaitons, up to 18 arms. This means She can type (on more than one keyboard at a time), knit, eat, pat the cat, hold hands with Her sweetie, pat a different cat, use the remote control, scratch where it itches, pat yet another cat, clean something, and flip through the latest edition of Vanity Fair and still have hands to spare. The knitting and typing at the same time hold particular appeal. What would you do simultaneously if you had 9 sets of hands/arms to do it with?

8.  To Broker a Deal with the House Boggles - to return all the lost bits and pieces of my life - buttons, earrings, my favourite lipstick (oh stop - I do wear it now and then), the USB cord and power adaptor for Pilot Hal (disappeared when I left Chapters), my favourite pen, and my optimism.  Oh, yes, and my ability to relax and have pure, unadulterated fun.  Maybe they can even repair my givadam - which got broken and duct taped and broken and crazy glued and broken and stapled together and broken and ..... when it comes to coping with "Still Life With Fish".  Sadly, Boggles are not renown for their ability to fix things - but they can sure find things - usually because they took them in the first place.  Note to self: leave out milk and honey more often. 

9.  The Devotion of Enheduanna  - Entum and Priestess of the Moon Goddess, Nana, Ritualist, Liturgist, writer of Hymns to Her, daughter in Spirit and flesh of Sargon, King of Ur, who inspired the story of Moses.  As the first ever "author on record in the first person", she wrote the first great hymns of praise to her Divine Mother, and her image has been recorded on a clay disc, and her words of devotion on cuniform tablets.  Oh, to be an "ornament of the sky" as her name is translated, to shine brightly in service to the Great Mother of the Fertile Plains.

10.  A Cleaned Up, Greened Up, Sustainable Planet - cared for by the loving hands of humankind everywhere.  Its a lot to ask.  But if you don't ask, you don't get.  Wiling to do my part and to nag others into doing theirs.  Proof positive - Ask Mister Norris. He now recycles the paper wrappers from his take out straws.

11.  My Two Front Teeth - literally.  Years of stress induced bruxism have caused my two front teeth to thin and shale away - and this fall they both broke off after being accidentally smacked with an umbrella across the mouth during a big wind and rainstorm.  Eating a piece of fruit increased the damage.  My Good Dentist was able to repair the damage for a while, but they broke again, and had to be repaired again.  Next time, I think we'll be doing some major dentistry.  I hate the fact that my singing voice has changed because my teeth are now different. No staring. You probably can't tell by looking - but trust me.

12.  A Secret DeCoder Ring - all the better to understand the secret communiques sent by Higher Powers through their various mortal and celestial messengers, all the better to figure out the big picture.  I guess I need to save a few more boxtops and proofs of purchase.  The question then becomes - what am I buying in to? 

13.  Another trip around the sun, surrounded by family, friends old and new, healthy food, good coffee, decent Scotch, dark beer, lots of music, books, movies, and yarn.  This one, I'm happy to share with all of you.  Join me on the journey. It will be a great time. 

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

TT#22 - 13 Good Things To Do For Yourself this Winter

13 Things You Should Do For Yourself this Winter

Frugal may be the new black, but a little self-indulgence never hurt anyone.  Everyone should have a bit of secret decadence to draw strength from when the coldness of winter is clawing at the windows.  These are largely solitary or +1 pursuits - meant to be shared in the privacy and comfort of your own home (except for #1) .  Looking forward to  your comments and your additions to this list.

  1. Hot Stone Massage - If you can't see the Magickal Barbara here in Winnipeg - find a local practitioner where you are - imagine hot smooth stones gliding over your oiled skin, leaving heated relaxation in its wake as it obliterates tension. Blissful!
  2. Indulge in at least one bottle of very fine wine - or excellent scotch - at least once a year - on a cold winters night is a perfect time. Learn how to appreciate its mysteries. Learn to let it linger on your tongue and tantalize your palate and describe it using poetic words that border on the pretentious but actually define its multi-layered essence.
  3. Own at least one piece of clothing that is pure silk that you can wear in public.
  4. Explore the wonderful world of LUSH bath products - they have something for every gender and every taste.  Bubble or not as you may choose - but there is nothing like LUSH to wash the stress of life down the drain.
  5. Own at least one piece of clothing that is very high quality leather that you can wear in private.
  6. Bernard Callebeaut chocolate - as a true indulgence from your every day fair trade organic chocolate consumption.  Or - for Winnipeggers - Constance Popp on Portage Ave.
  7. Warm wooly socks - or warm bamboo fibre socks - toasty toes all winter long.  
  8. AND best paired with flannel pajamas.  and a mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream on top. (marshmallows are for sissies) - and a slug of brandy.
  9. a Duvet.  there are no words for how wonderful it is to sleep with a weightless warmth enveloping your flannel clad body (if you wear your pjs for sleeping in).  Flannel sheets for those who sleep au naturel and a duvet is all you need - in addition to your favourite sleeping companion.
  10. Really really good hot coffee with real 18% cream, no sugar.  Damn the heart palpitations and the clogged arteries.  Dark Roast Ahead!
  11. Silence.  no music - no video - no podcasts - no conversation - just silence. 10 minutes a day of blissful uninterrupted uncontaminated by anything louder than a cat purring or the furnace running silence. Sit and listen to yourself - or God - or the Goddess - or the sounds of your environment. Just be.
  12. I believe, with all my bookwormish soul that every person should own at least one leather bound hardcover copy of a book that has meaning for them - a book that becomes a sensual delight to read not only for the eyes and the mind, but also the sense of touch and the smell of parchment or vellum.
  13. Share a chair with your favourite canine or feline companion, and read 12, or drink 2, or 10 or 8, or enjoy 11 before you indulge in 9.  Many small decadences combined can make for a magickal winters evening - especially if daybreak means going to the Park Cafe for breakfast.
Happy Hedonism, my friends!  What are your personal and shareable indulgences that will help get you through the winter?  

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

... We remember them ....

Today is the most sacred day on the secular calendar - when the world in its glory and chaos hits the pause button for a few precious minutes to honor the sacrifice of so many lives over so many decades that bought us our freedoms.

As the descendant of veterans, who fought in every generation for their beliefs since mankind picked up the first pointy stick, I feel this day at the molecular level. This year has special poignancy as today is the internment of my cousin's ashes - James Arnal Hayward is number 88 out of the 97 Canadian casualties that are our country's most recent offering on the altar of freedom.

I was reminded again today of the reasons why good men and women put on a uniform, shoulder their weapons and kiss their families goodbye to go and fight what is truly the Good Fight. My dear friend and spiritual sister Jasmine RR very courageously posted her family's story of their time with their Nazi overlords in a post called "May They Shine On" on her brand new blog - Ink'd Indigo - which is a must read. I commented as well on this very brave and heart-rending post. Thank you, my sister, for telling your family story. Thank you. Thank you. I cry with you.

On this day, we remember. On this day, we honor the fallen. On this day, we pray for peace. On this day we celebrate our freedoms, and rights, and teach our children that their privileges have been paid for with the life blood of their ancestors.

Pipes will play Amazing Grace.
Trumpets will sound the Last Post.
Flags will be lowered, and 21 Guns will sound the Salute.
Fighter Jets will honor their Missing Man as they fly overhead.
Across this nation, grieving mothers wearing silver crosses pinned to their heavy hearts will lay a wreath, say a prayer, and say goodbye again.
Children will wave flags, and those veterans who can will proudly march in their Legion Finery, some rolling with their marching brothers in silver wheeled chariots.
Troops will form ranks and march in step - Army, Navy, Air Force, Special Forces, Blue Bereted Peace Keepers to the beating of the battle drums.
Chaplains will struggle to find words that speak to an ecumenical community, and to the nonbelievers in a Divine Power - to unite us in our national grief and our national respect.
Men in Ribbon Shirts will wave an eagle feather over sweetgrass and sage, and offer prayers to the Great Spirit of this Great Land.

The sun rises on my home and native land this Remembrance Day - 90 years since the War to End All Wars - and we are fighting still. The sun will set with our soldiers still deployed - and being redeployed - and put into harms way to fight for peace and to hold the line against terrorism. To liberate a people. To protect and defend the weak, the powerless, the helpless, the disenfranchised. Most of those people in uniform will come home. Some will not. Some will join their Ancestors, many of whom have fallen in the line of duty over the centuries of human conflict. And from the rising of the sun to its setting - we will remember them...

To every man and woman who has worn a uniform and fought under the flag of Justice, of Truth, of Freedom, of Democracy - I thank you. I live in the freedoms of religion and legal empowerment that you paid for. My grandfathers, my uncles, my cousins, my friends in uniform - I thank you. The tears I shed for you today, I shed for the future as well. May this be the last generation that offers up its best and brightest to the cause of war. May we find a way to open a Department of Peace to replace the Department of War. May we stand firm against those who would take away our freedoms. We need a strong military - because there will always be those who want to take away what we have. We must support our troops - even as we hate the idea of war - and we must never forget what they endure so we can live our daily lives in peace and security and comfort.

And as we grow old, and celebrate peace hard won and dearly paid for, may we always remember them who do not grow old. We owe them that much. We owe them so much more.

Write to your member of Parliament and insist that Nov. 11 become a National Statutory Holiday - with all non-essential services closed. As the veterans of the Two World Wars become fewer each year, we must ensure that this day does not lose it's importance on the National Calendar. You don't even have to put a stamp on your letter. Our veterans paid for that too.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Coffee Cup Revolution: Let's Take a Stand!

greetings on a balmy Sunday evening - for early November.

My extracurricular reading these days (when not reading books to write reviews about them, or materials for work) has been focused on two topics - Productivity / Creativity or Frugality. To that end, Wise Bread is always a good read about the latter, sometimes in ways which touch upon the former.

In tonights blogroll was a great article that echoes something I have been preaching for years.  The Curse of the Disposable Coffee-Cup.  Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Robin's, MacDonalds takeout cups litter the landscape, fill up the landfills, and are a completely unnecessary waste of resources.

In her post, The Coffee Cup Revolution: Let's Take a Stand, Nora Dunn speaks her mind about her personal battle to reduce the waste.  Reminds me of the time I suggested to a student friend of mine that she carry with her all her takeout paper cups for one week - don't throw anything out - and see how much garbage she was generating in 7 days simply due to her NOT carrying a reuseable coffee cup.  Or the "watch me pull an elephant sized amount of used cups out of my tote bag" trick that Gina performed at a conference on Earth based religions from the discarded drinking containers of conference attendees.  Nice to know we aren't fighting the good fight alone.

I particulary enjoyed her section called The Facts  - did you know that ...
  • When you purchase one cup of coffee (or tea) in a disposable container every day, you create about 23 lb of waste each year. -Ideal Bite
  • About eighteen percent of garbage we produce is composed of disposable containers, of which hot beverage cups represent a large portion.
  • Styrofoam cups are the worst culprits, as it never degrades. Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups every ear. Even 500 years from now, the foam coffee cup you used this morning will be sitting in a landfill somewhere. -The Recycler's Handbook
  • Starbucks just started rolling out new cups that contain 10% recycled paper. (Whoopee). 
And she goes on to detail some steps each of us can take on a near daily basis to make a difference - and why - stating the obvious, but going a bit deeper.

So, pour yourself a cuppa your favourite beverage in a reusable cup - and give her post a read (and a Digg, if you are so inclined).  

Enjoy the day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

TT# 21 - My Beloved Dead (some of them)

My Beloved Dead

As the sacred year comes to a close, it is traditional to name our Beloved Dead, and honor their memory. My list is so much longer than thirteen. Here are some of the wonderful souls that have blessed my life and given me the gifts of their love, their wisdom, their time, their laughter and their zest for living. Some are blood kin, some Bretheren in the Faith, some family of the heart.

There is a tangle of tales for each name on this list - and many more names that will be called tomorrow night, to honor those who have crossed the veil. May I hear their wisdom in the quiet of the Samhain night, and may they remember me with love as they journey on the other side.
  1. Leslie A. Hurrell & Margaret Ives Hurrell (paternal grandparents
  2. Agnes Reid Watson & Kenneth Hayward (maternal grandparents)
  3. a very long list of Aunts, Uncles and a few cousins.
  4. Lloyd Seaman & Marian Seaman (mentors)
  5. Ruby Miller (High Priestess and teacher)
  6. Melinda Shore (friend)
  7. Stephen Kendall (High Priest)
  8. Judy and Peter Dawson (friends)
  9. Stewart Farrar (High Priest)
  10. Harry Lehosky (visionary & activist)
  11. Kadabarah of Blessed Memory
  12. Ron Oswald (music lover)
  13. James Hayward Arnal (my cousin and a Canadian Hero).

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

TT 21 - My Favourite Holidays

Thirteen Things - My Favourite Holidays

1. Samhain (Hallowe'en to you lovely Mundane People) - when the darkenss is at its deepest, and the spirits of the Ancestors can draw close and whisper in your ear.  Always a blessing to spend time with my Beloved Dead, and to honor and thank my Mentors and Teachers. Grumps, Counsel, Dalukah, Stewart, QueenBee, Aunty Mugs, Mamman and DinDin - thank you all.  There's a place set at the table for you.

2.  Canada Day. I'm a patriot, and proud to have won the birth lottery and to live in this great land.  I also officiated my very first legal wedding on Canada Day, for two very dear friends - so that is a special memory, tinged with a bit of "that was then, this is now" wistfullness.  

3.  Remembrance Day.  I oppose the opening of non-essential services on what should be a National Day of Mourning.  No work.  No recreation.  Go to a sacred space, house of worship, memorial, cenotaph, Legion, civic gathering and give thanks for the lifeblood that has bought us our freedom.  Wear a poppy AND a Canadian flag on your lapel.  There are almost 100 good and current reasons that Canada should enshrine this day as something beyond the ordinary.  One reason is my cousin, casualty #88.  May the Gods protect our troops.

4.  Imbolc - the Festival of Brighid - the face of the Divine that speaks directly to my diluted Celtic blood.  Some day, I'll be at the Sacred fire in Kildare on Her day, and drink from Her sacred well, and tie a cloutie to a bush and make a wish/prayer on Irish soil.  May Her fire burn forever in my heart, and may I be between Her hammer and Her anvil until my life take a pleasing shape in the hands of the Creatrix.  Always smithie, sometimes healer, giver of words, and daughter of the Dagda - Brighid, you know my name.  Make my life a prayer to You.

5.  Yule - nothing says "welcome back, Sun" like a bonfire surrounded by snow and chanting witches.  Makes the neighbors wonder if you've lost all your marbles.  Almost as much fun as .....

6.   Summer Solstice - we've had men wearing Antler headdresses and long black capes performing the ritual blessings in our back yard in a circle cast in bird seed.  At sunrise.  I bet the neighbors wish we were bikers or something normal like that.

7.  Beltane -  the festival of "creative productivity" or is that "productive creativity" 0r maybe creative reproductivity and reproductive creativity.  All acts of love and pleasure are Divine Rituals.  I love the spring.

8.  Good Friday - because I get a day off - and we do a whole day Book Study every year.

9. September Long Weekend - for 8 years, it meant "Going on Retreat" - and now it means "leaving for Quebec three days early".  All gifts of the Goddess are double edged, they say -and I believe it.  

10. Christmas & Boxing Day - because after 25+ years, I am no longer in retail, and I don't have to get dressed and be ANYWHERE.  I get to plan a daylong feast of decadence and indulgence, and usually a movie marathon.  Babylon 5 in two days.  Gotta love it.  Pass the popcorn.

11.  Both Equinoxes - I've always been a Gibbous Moon witch - so it makes sense that the two "balance of light and darkness" festivals speak strongly to me, and are a time of great and powerful magick for me, on a personal level.  

12.  New Year's - Calendar Changing Day - the day of cultural potential. I don't make resolutions, but I like to give myself a kick in the keester and try to be / do  better as the sun shines increasingly brightly in the sky and it is 40 frickin below zero for three weeks. 

13.  St. Valentine's Day - cause I get to do something special for someone I love.  Does it get any better than that?

Honorable mention - Lammas - who can not like a feast day devoted to Home Baked Bread?  Thank you, John Barleycorn for the loaf-mass, and for the glass of grain distilled uisce beatha (waters of life) - that makes all the work of the harvest so very worthwhile.  

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, October 13, 2008

yes - my TT is late - 3 days - but who's counting?

In the spirit of election season on both sides of the border - I've been crafting this for a bit - and had to step away from it for a day to let it gel - and then get it done.  I don't believe that good governance has to be as complicated as the status quo would like to have us believe.  The levels of bureacracy are a self-perpetuating controlled environment and our elected officials are merely figureheads in many respects, with the civil service having the real knowledge and power.  

Ah - politics - don't get me started.  I lack the intestinal fortitude to run for office - but I consider myself both a citizen and a patriot - and look forward to doing my civic duty on Tuesday.  

If you don't vote - you lose your right of complaint.  Your vote matters. Cast it wisely.  See you at the polls.

Enjoy the day,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

TT#20 - If Elected... 13 Pieces of Platform

Thirteen Things I Would Do if Elected

(on the assumption that I would have the power to do so - in no particular order)

1. Overhaul the tax system, making it more fair for working people, more balanced for corporations to encourage their re-investment in our economy and pay a fair tax on their profits,  penalize people/corporations who tried to hide their wealth offshore, and remove the B/S deductions system in favour of flat %'s based on gross income levels.  The higher the income, the higher the tax rate.  It just makes sense.  The bigger the corporate profit, the higher their taxes.  It just makes sense. 

2.  Overhaul family law to ensure that deadbeat parents cannot hide anywhere (but lose their drivers licenses, access to other civic services), that those spouses and parents who are abuse or use violence are treated as dangerous offenders and incarcerated - regardless of gender.  Make sure there are enough day care spaces available at reasonable costs to help people crawl out of poverty.  Subsidize ONLY those who need it.  Close loopholes that allow people to abuse the system - any system.  (Including EI).

3.  That voting become a mandatory activity to access public services like healthcare.  Even if the citizen spoils their ballot - they have to exercise their democratic franchise.  At all levels of government.  Citizenry is a two way street.

4.  That Parliament be reformed through proportional representation, and that the ridiculous petty bickering of "Question Period" be stopped, so that after elections, party politics stops wasting our time and resources and all elected members work together for what is truly "the best solution" for our country. That the Senate be reformed (not abolished) to provide guidance to the newly non-partisan House on how to move towards better legislation and policy as effectively and efficiently as possible.  Redraw how the Senate seats are awarded - no more patronage appointments to politicos - but not by public vote.  Teach government how to spell   t-r-a-n-s-p-a-r-e-n-c-y.

5.  Medical System Reform - graduates of Canadian medical institutions have to do 3 years as a GP in a major metropolitan area, or 2 years in a rural/remote setting.  They get significant tax breaks on their student loans for this period of public service.  A fee guide be set for standard medical practices, similar to the dental fee guides that exist in that industry. Up to 40% of any GP or specialist's practice can be for paying clients under the fee guide.  These paying patients get no special status or privileges other than access to those 40% app't slots on the daily calendar. Support technology (radiation, ultrasound, mri, etc) are run 24 hours a day, and these technicians are fairly compensated for taking the midnight shift.  Same for diagnostic labs, etc... medicine becomes a full time business in public service.  Diagnostic services can be purchased by any client willing to pay the full rate, but those privately paid appointments are scheduled during that later shift, so public health patients get their tests done first.  The paying patients are paying for the extra time/costs of running the overnight shifts, essentially.  If there are no paying patients, then public health needs fill up those slots.

6.  That some teeth be put into the justice system, that those convicted of crimes, as part of their incarceration,  do humanely managed community service work (fixing - building - doing whatever) as part of their reparation/rehabilitation/restitution piece, and that we have boards of review for judges, crown prosecutors, police forces and parole boards to ensure that a)vigilante justice doesn't rear its ugly head due to citizen frustration, and that b) tax paying law abiding citizens have a voice in the ongoing work of the justice system designed to protect them.  There needs to be a higher level accountability.

7.  That the murder of a police officer, or the death of a firefighter on the job, if the fire is caused by arson, would be treated as a capital crime against the nation and that the perpetrator would be executed, if convicted of their crime.  We MUST support the thin blue line, and the firefighters who stand between us and chaos and disaster.  

8.  That corruption be rooted out through the strategic implementation of a transparent system of disclosure at all levels of government.  In the words of my esteemed former "father-in-law" - "If it doesn't pass the smell test, something's rotten." We MUST honor the public trust.  No one is above the law.  Having said that - let's take a good hard look at the legal code, rewrite it into plain language, and decriminalize, reprioritize, and have the punishments fit the crime. Legalize and tax marajuana.  Strengthen drunk driver laws (lifetime suspension from driving).  Legislate protections for prostitution.  Strengthen the penalties for child molestation and rape.  Apply an abundance of common sense to the process.

9.  That the environment be a primary consideration in all decisions made by all levels of government.  I'm not talking about bullshit dollar wasting self-congratulatory environmental impact studies - I'm talking about true environmental awareness - and some pretty tough laws to significantly fine polluters and to rethink our economy and lifestyle as a nation. Canada should be a world leader in the preservation of clean water and wind/solar/tidal energy.

10.  That we find a way to improve the living conditions of the poor and working poor - all of them.  Through education, medical care, rehabilitation, training and expecting, in return, a commitment of personal responsibility that enables their dignity and diversity to remain intact - we can help those who need assistance to help themselves out of poverty.  And those who through mental or physical challenges, addiction, etc who cannot be assisted to change their circumstances - we must remain compassionate and care for them in ways that are reasonable and fair.  That vulnerable people receive the aid, training, support, whatever - as befits a compassionate society -and that those who can work and contribute, do so.  There is no job that is below the dignity of a worker who is properly honored for their contribution.  To that end, corporations who follow the 6-Step rule of organizational behavior (where the CEO earns no more than 6 times the wage of the lowest paid worker) should receive some corporate tax benefits for stimulating economic growth.

11.  That statutory holidays no longer be tied to an archaic non-culture calendar that does not fit a poly-cultural society, and be revised as follows:  Employees are able to declare 12 statutory holidays for themselves as individuals, to fairly cover their religious observances.    That Canada Day, Remembrance Day, Thanksgiving, and Labor Day be essential services only in all provinces, across all employment sectors.  That all Canadians get 3 weeks of paid holiday per year, and one additional day per year of employment.

12.  That our armed forces be given the ways and means to be a significant force for good within our boundaries - and that they, in peacetime, to acts of public service, assisting the local constabulary at times of civic need, and having a positive presence within our communities.  We must remain a strong viable defence force, and if needs be, to be able to go on the offense against terrorism, and to assist our allies in strategic tactics to preserve human rights, human dignity, and to stand against injustice and dictatorships.  We also need to pay our UN dues and support the UN in its initiatives.  We also need to teach the true history of this great country - the good, the bad and the ugly - and then learn from it.

13.  That the termination of a pregnancy at any stage remain the decision of a woman and her doctor, that those who are suffering with terminal illness be given the option of ending their own suffering in a medically monitored and compassionate setting (with checks and balances firmly in place to prevent abuse), that cruelty to animals be considered as seriously as cruelty to human beings, that all citizens are implicitly equal in all ways regardless and without explicit qualifiers that are subject to interpretation.  That we celebrate the qualities that set us apart as a Nation - and find some national pride and patriotism.  Gods keep our land glorious and free.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Buying In - Not Bailing Out

Passing on a message from the Avaaz Organization - they do good work in the world. 

Isn't the financial crisis worrying - and they're making it worse by bailing out the bankers, instead of intervening in the public interest to sort it all out. I just signed this petition supporting a "buy-in" rescue package instead -- it'll be delivered to the world's top finance ministers at the end of the week, so you might want to do the same: 
Watching the markets freefall, we know this crisis will utterly change our daily lives -- we're not just spectators any more, and we’re seeing something new –- people and governments directly intervening in the chaos that until now was controlled by reckless and greedy financiers. 

Today and all weekend, extraordinary choices will be made by the world’s most powerful finance ministers, meeting to decide our response to the financial crisis. Together, we must make sure that governments don’t just use our money to bail out the banks, but claim a share of public ownership in these institutions for our future, and oversight powers to fundamentally fix the wider system. 

We'll deliver our call for a global buy-in package in 36 hours to G7 finance ministers and again to a bigger Global Crisis Summit planned for November -- please sign the petition at the link below, and forward this email to everyone you know. The decisions made this week will shape our lives for years to come: 

Three weeks ago our petition to regulate global finance was waved by Denmark's former prime minister as the European Parliament voted.[1] Two weeks ago our US members bombarded Congress with phone calls for a buy-in not a bailout -- investing in the banks so they stop choking off capital, while giving the public a share for their money and the power to fix the system -- and yesterday, as Britain launched a bold buy-in of its own, word is the United States might finally change course.[2] 

Only concerted action by the global community can build a better system, and we can't leave it to the financiers -- so today, we're launching an emergency campaign calling on leaders for a global public rescue to save all our economies. This is what's needed -- a 'buy-in' to financial institutions not a reckless 'bailout', massive public investment stimulus to stave off global depression, temporary guarantee of loans/deposits, and strict new regulations to fix this broken system once and for all.[3] It's a sensible and public-spirited package supported by progressives and expert economists alike -- add your name here: 

Leading economists now agree that citizens and our governments are the only force powerful enough to solve this crisis -- only the public can mobilise the investment and oversight needed to fix the financiers' failings, get the economy moving and revive things on a sounder basis. The Great Depression of the 1930s teaches us that we cannot address this crisis with each acting alone -- only by acting together can countries head off disaster. 

How we respond to this crisis will shape our lives for years to come. We're still a long way from tackling the fundamental problems of the global economy, but the tide is moving in our direction. So let's take control of our future in the interests of people not financiers, and raise a worldwide voice across borders for a global public rescue. 3.4 million of us in every nation of the world will get this email -- that's a start. Click below to sign, forward this email to all your friends and family, and let's raise a voice our leaders can't ignore: 

With hope and determination, 

Paul, Ricken, Graziela, Pascal, Veronique, Iain, Brett, Milena and the whole Avaaz team 

PS Congratulations to all those who supported our phone and email campaign on Europe's climate and energy package this week -- it was a stunning victory, we won 95% of what we wanted and our sources say we made a big difference. More soon! 


1. Winning the vote on financial oversight and regulation in the European Parliament with Denmark's Poul Rasmussen: 

Rasmussen's Parliament speech: 

2. New York Times and NYU economist Paul Krugman on the UK plan and US shift: 

"This would essentially be the plan supported by most economists": 

3. 18 leading economists from across the political spectrum and around the world -- "Rescuing our jobs and savings: what G7/G8 leaders can do":

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vote for Goverment Change, Not Climate Change

Okay - no secret that I am politically opinionated.  No secret that I think the Environment is possibly the biggest issue affecting Canada's future - because it will drive the economy longterm.

I have voted "Green" (as in party) ever since there was one that I was aware of, and had a candidate to vote for.  But is it always the smartest vote - especially when we need to change the government to something that better represents the whole-ness of Canada's people and regions, and not a solid Reformist Conservative Agenda.  I debate about voting Green (where my heart is) but worry about splitting the vote when my vote might really be needed to upset the balance.

Look what I found - courtesy of my sister in song, Shivon Robinson.  To quote from her letter - forwarded via my other singing sister, Margaret Tobin (of Spirit's Call fame)...

Fortunately, voting strategically has just gotten a whole  lot
easier. There is now an amazing website,

that is tracking every riding in the  country and making
up-to-the-minute suggestions on how best to fight  Harper. It is the
coolest example of Canadian grassroots democracy  since the Free Trade
comic book.

 So that is the first thing to do: check out

You enter in your postal code, and they let you know how things are
looking for the various candidates in your riding -  very interesting
and useful info.) I was glad to see that in my riding, the
conservative doesn't have a chance of getting in, so I'm fine voting
for Denise. However, I noticed that there are several ridings in
Winnipeg where getting this information circulated could really make a

If enough of us  you contact your friends and colleagues,  acquaintances and list-mates, and let them know what you are thinking,  we could actually affect the results in some key ridings and, who  knows, we might even affect more than that. It’s worth a try.


Pass it on.  Check out your riding. Vote smart. Vote for Mother Earth. Government change, not climate change.  Make your best decision.  This isn't about supporting a particular party - this email is about supporting activisim for the change that Canada needs to protect the environment. (in my not so humble opinion).

Enjoy the day,

TT#20 - My DO NOT DO List

Thirteen Things On My DO NOT DO list

 1. DO NOT give in so easily to distraction.  Find a way to mitigate the interruption, and refocus on the task at hand.  AND - when I think I need to take a break  - take it. But time it and get back to work when "time's up".

 2.  DO NOT attempt to mulit-task constantly.  See point #1, without the interruption component.

 3.  DO NOT eat potato chips when there is fresh organic fruit in the fridge - though salty is always preferable to sweet when it comes to snacks.  

 4.  DO NOT give in to the inertia of "Comfy Chair and Computer". Earn it with some treadmill time.

 5.  DO NOT forget to blog at least three times a week.

 6.  DO NOT get distracted surfing the internet when I could be reading a book. Or writing a review. Or writing a book. Or editing a manuscript.

 7.  DO NOT be late for my writing deadline - or I'll have a very unhappy editor.

 8.  DO NOT  eat a meal without preceding it with a glass of water.

 9.  DO NOT  be so hesitant to let go of "stuff" that only reminds me of the past.  Let it go and make room for the future.

10.  DO NOT put the gravel in the jar first. (that one's for you, Dan).

11.  DO NOT have second helpings. (often).

12.  DO NOT apologize for my food choices. Butter is a good choice.  Bread is just a butter delivery device. (That one's for you, Ella).

13.  DO NOT go through the day without telling the truth to at least three people.  Not that I make a habit of telling lies (quite the contrary - I am often brutally honest) - but sometimes, taking the time to speak words of meaning make all the difference. Truths like "thank you - I couldn't have done it without you" or "you are loved" or "I am responsible and I am sorry"  or "I'm so happy to see you - its been far too long".  Truths that elevate, energize, empower or exclaim wonder.  I must speak my truth,and speak it quickly when the opportunity presents itself.  Chalk this one up to "Firewalk talk".

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Have I mention that I love Seth Godin?

Brilliant thinker - marketing whiz - author who walks the high wire of high concepts brought down to earth safely but without a net - and founder of Squidoo....

I got to meet him at the first SEO conference I went to, and asked him to sign my copy of his most recent book as a gift to my boss.  His dedication - "Dan - listen to Susan", Seth Godin.

What a card.  What an amazing person. He's one of those great communicators that makes me thankful that  I live in the digital age. (faster access to information).

His latest blog post just HAS to be shared - for two reasons.

One -because he is raising money for good causes - and asking for help in distributing the wealth


Two - He has shared a manifesto in point form to guide the online community to better behavior and a more complete expression of the best of what makes us human.

Read it  - and let it guide you.  Or not.  Up to you.  But who doesn't want to be a better human being?  Maybe that's how we evolve - we choose to change?

Enjoy the day,

Do - or Do Not - Prioritizing from the Bottom Up.

and a gracious good afternoon to you - wherever you may be.

As I herd my ducks into a row for Work Around Wednesday (read all about this great new trend that is sweeping the nation - or at least - my living room), I am of course checking my email with due diligence, and skimming through my daily dose of blog.

I love blogs. Good ones.  Interesting Ones. Helpful Ones.  Lately,  I've been reading a few more productivity blogs - to help me get some insight on bad habits, good habits, and tips, tricks, and hacks to get more done and cram more living into my allotted 24 hours per spin round the sun.

These great reads are chock full o'good ideas, helpful hints, and links to great tools - but today I read one that stopped me in my tracks cause it turned the whole "gettin things done" paradigm on its head.

Instead of making a list of "things to do" - Mark Shead on Productivity 101 suggests that from time to time, we create a list of "Things Not to Do".  His theory is that this helps you prioritize from the bottom up a well as the top down.  A worthy concept.

So - this makes me wonder - what do I do that I should put on a "do not do" list.  What would be on yours?  Might be a good "ponder rock" for a TT13 list - and wouldn't ya know it - tomorrow is Thursday.

Stay tuned, sportsfans, you don't want to miss a thing!

Enjoy the day,

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TT#19 - The Magical Earth

Explanation: I have joined forces with my lovely partner, and two of our best friends to leap empty-handed into void - okay - holding a microphone - to create The Magical Earth pagan quadcast (cause there is four of us). So I thought it would be a great TT topic.

  1. It was Cliff's idea. and Alex's. We got invited to join the party. But it is a darned fine idea. We're all pretty opinionated and have divergent points of view - and we have enough in common to create a container of conversation.
  2. I believe that there is a natural synergy between Spirituality and the Environment - and I'm not alone. In an upcoming episode, Jacinthe will be discussing an archival "What Is Enlightenment" article (an interview with Rabbi Michael Lerner) that talks about how these two forces are really one.
  3. Its fun. We laugh a lot - we pun off each other, we groan, we giggle, and did I mention we laugh? Not sure how much of the laughter will survive the final edits, though.
  4. We're doing it with dear friends. Who better to explore unknown territory with?
  5. We do it in sacred space - we start with our circle-casting liturgy (which will be expanded from quadcast to quadcast.) We are in temple space doing a wild and wacky form of sacred work.
  6. We get to hear what we sound like - and that can only help each of us become better communicators.
  7. I get to talk about Tarot - my grand passion in my occult life. Each episode will be brought to you by "THE CARD" of the day - attuned to the numerological energy of the date we do the bulk of the recording.
  8. I get to read Sacred Poetry - my second grand passion in my occult life. I love to collect (good) sacred poetry from all spiritual traditions - especially if it presents our relationship to the Divine in juicy, visceral, intertwined and engaged way. I love to read poetry aloud, and I love to teach people how to write Sacred Poetry. If I get enough interest, I'll do another round of "Valiente's Spirit" - my sacred poetry writing workshop.
  9. I get to honor people who inspire me - particularly the fabulous Mojo and Sparrow of The Wigglian Way who have, in my not so humble opinion, one of the top three Pagan podcasts going - the other two being The Crooked Path, and Druidcast. All three feature pagan music, which is a bandaid to my poor broken musical heart. I love music - and can never find enough good Pagan music out there. I'd love to feature more Pagan music - so if you are a Pagan musician with a recording - bring it on!
  10. This is new technology to step into the "space that is not a space and a time that is not a time" that is the Internet. Very Exciting.
  11. It enforces discipline - we have made a committment - we have to plan for it and prepare - and then we have to do it.
  12. I'll get to learn stuff about stuff and about my friends and about me and about my gods. win-win-win-win-win.
  13. did I mention the laughter?
Tune in and give us a spin - let us know what you think and what you'd like to see. We are all fellow travellers on The Magical Earth.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Friday, September 12, 2008

I Nominate Merlin Man for President of the United States of America.

Hey there Hi there,

I read dozen or so blogs on a regular basis - some for fun, and some that are more professionally focused to help me continue to scale the K2 that is my ever increasingly diverse set of responsibilities at work.  Love my Job. This is not the issue.  That it continues to expand exponentially with a myriad of big and small tasks, duties, responsibilities, details, projects, and the like that makes it the challenge I embrace every day with joy and anticipation.  Some days, though - its a bit overwhelming.  Weeks fly by faster than you can turn the pages of a Franklin-Covey dayplanner.  Every Monday starts with hope and a checklist of what needs to be done and every Friday ends with resignation (no, silly - not that kind!) that not all that needed to be done was done and that there is even more to do.  

So, I have found a few productivity writers that inspire me to use new tools, stretch my comfort zone, do things differently, or just feel some camraderie that doing the challenging job that you love may be a tossed salad of accomplishment and frustration - a little oil for the squeaky wheels, a little vinegar when things don't go so well, a bowl full of different items that somehow work togeher to be a feast for 40+ hours a week.  

One of my personal heroes is Merlin Mann - he of 43 Folders fame.  And he has realigned his focus on that blog to shift from "productivity" to "creativity".  He draws a sharp line of distinction between the two - and acknowledges that they are not mutually exclusive.  He new mission statement is 

"43 Folders is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work."

He would rather lose readers and focus on encouraging people to create things based in their heart's passion and finish them than to simply "produce more work" - and he won't contribute to the recycling of the blogsphere pablum of productivity hacks that has turned into the self-congratulatory cult of ADD style of "makin it work" "workin it hard" "tryin the next thing" style of what doo dad - gee gaw - greasey script - widgety fidgety - extendable extension - is the latest craze.

If we stopped reading ABOUT productivity and just got to work, I betcha we'd GET MORE DONE!  and - there's lots to learn from other people - but there's a question of balance.

There is something in the Air - I'm tellin ya... its the creativity zeitgeist comin atcha...

SO - about 10 days BEFORE I read Merlin's blog and his new focus, four of us decided that we needed to focus on creativity and completion.  Some of us are writers. Some of us are musicians/composers/arrangers.  Some of us are crafty or handy. Some of us are artists.  Some of us are many of these things - but we all have projects that we have started that need to be brought to completion!

We decided to meet every Wednesday, barring real emergencies, and to devote a minimum of three hours to working towards a goal of completion.  Believing as we do that names have power, we tossed around a few names, and landed on "Workaround Wednesday".  

We hope to inspire others to take the middle of the week day and make it a day of accomplishment - even if it is done in small bites each week to devour the elephant over a season - or longer.

Check out our collaborative blog - let us know if you're on board - and start your own WaW circle to focus on creation and completion!  

Enjoy the day,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

TT# 18 - What We Can Can - We Can Can! (somebody call Baz Luhrman!)

Thirteen Things that We Have Put Up for the Winter (okay, more than 13)

Apologies for missing last week's TT13 - life is messy.

But for this week - we have the literal fruits (and vegetables) of our labor! In the past month, my lovely "cuisiniere" (French for Mistress of the Kitchen, armed with ladle and Henkel knife) and I (her faithful assistant, obedient bearer of burdens and anticipator of needs) have picked, packed, chopped, sliced, diced, peeled, plucked, pared, boiled, saute'd , roasted, sterilized, certo'd, spiced, stirred, seasoned, taste-tested, wrapped, jarred, immersed in boiling water, and listened for the glorious popping sound from the cooling GEM jars - stocking our cold room and our freezer with the following:

1. Salsa - with 5 habanero peppers, 15 chipotle peppers and 26 jalepeno peppers (some like it hot - we like it on fire) and over 50 lbs of tomatoes - plus onions, garlic, and green peppers...

2. beet jelly - amazing sweet and tangy - great on hot buttered whole grain toast made from home-made bread.  Who would have thought the humble beet would gel so well?

3. hot pepper jelly (turns a warm brie into a meal best eaten with Carrs water biscuits)

4. home made chunky ketchup - with a bit of a bite - but sweet too. (like us?)

5. barbecue sauce - tomatoes and peaches and peppers and goodness! lambs are lining up to be basted with this wondrous concoction.  Gotta call Braggi to get more lamb for winter.

6. vegetable broth concentrate (frozen as ice cubes - why take the space to freeze water)

7. cherries (frozen) for ice cream making

8. strawberries (frozen) for ice cream making

9. raspberries (frozen) for ice cream making

10. blueberries (frozen) for ice cream making (we make our own ice cream - if anyone wants to hear the mint-chocolate chip story that made me buy an ice-cream maker - just ask).

11. rhubarb (frozen) for pies and tarts (we'll steal some strawberries designated for ice cream and create heavenly pies for discriminating palates)

12. tomato chutney - a relish for burgers, sausages, and grilled sharp cheddar cheese sandwiches.

13.  apples (frozen) plus apple pies already made and ready for the oven - we were gifted with 50 lbs of Manitoba apples - lots of peeling and coring - but hot apple pie with home made vanilla ice cream is a thing of beauty and a joy for dessert. Thanks, Viv for the apples.  The tendonitis was absolutely worth it.

14.  yellow beans (canned) - 20 lbs is a lot of beans.  It was a weekend that was truly "full of beans".  We weren't laughing so hard by the end of it.  20 lbs.  

15.  asparagus (frozen) - to be savoured with butter in the dead of winter to remember what green tastes like.

Next week - salsa verde (with green tomatoes), home made spaghetti sauce, sweet pepper jelly, mild/medium salsa (depends who you ask), and  the week after that - whatever we can buy cheap by the case on the last weekend of the farmers market the week after.  Any ideas? Suggestions?  great recipes to share?

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

TT17 - Thirteen Jobs I Have Had

Thirteen Things Jobs I Have Had

In honor of the impending Labour Day Holiday...

1. working the mini-cafe at the Minitonas Curling Rink that my grandparents managed. I was 12, and got to pour coffee, do dishes and serve my Grandma's famous Lemon Merangue Pie. So good people used to buy whole pies - in farm country, where everyone knows how to bake Blue Ribbon pastry. Service with a smile.

2. Summer Job ages 15 & 16 - recreation staff for the Community Services office in Swan River. Worked with underprivileged kids, adults with mental and physcial disabilities. Made me consider a career in special ed. The second summer changed all that. Too sad.

3. Waiting tables at the local Pizza Hut - too young to serve alcohol, but it paid the rent. Nothing worse than working as a waitress in a small community. No respect - and no tips.

4. Museum attendant - Swan Valley Museum - gave tours, washed floors, labelled artifacts, and sold stuff in the gift shop. Amazed I still took history as a minor at University.

5. Call centre - outbound calls, selling magazine subscriptions. I have great compassion for people who do this for a living - it is very tough work.

6. Ice Cream factory worker - worked on the assembly line making Drumsticks. Required great eye-hand coordination, and meant standing in one spot for 8 hours a day. However, my brain was free to ponder, and I did some of my best writing during that year.

7. Waitress - Dutch Maid Ice-Cream - did the breakfast shift and ran my ass off, serving bacon and eggs for $2.99, plus coffee. Met the most interesting people - some with very sad lives, some with real life challenges, and others whose lives could have been a major motion picture. Looking back - had a customer prophecy that I would have Ovarian Cancer. Thanks, Tony B - I hope you have been reunited with your beloved wife Helen, and all is well on the other side.

8. Cashier - Kelly's Stereo Mart - started on my 21st Birthday. Got to be around music, talk about music, listen to music, and go to free concerts.These were the days when there was a dozen or so music stores downtown. Anyone remember Opus 69 - Record Baron - Music City - Mothers - Pepper Records - Music Explosion - Records on Wheels - Impulse - Wherehouse - Autumn Stone - Sams - A&A - and others who have faded into the dim recesses of memory.

9. the 1980's - a Decade in Music - Ass't Manager/Manager - Pepper Records - crossed the street, and went down Portage Ave a couple blocks. What a long strange trip that was. A&A Records Madison Square - one of the first "big box" type music stores - a great concept that was doomed to fail nationwide. Did lots of instores with various musicians (Billy Bragg was the best - Mojo Nixon was too cool).

10. the 1990's - A Decade in Music Redux - HMV Eaton Place - the little store that could. Musiplexx - learned all about computers and the Internet and got to stretch my skills in inventory control and product buying. Finally, had to get out of the music biz for a bit. Tuesday to Saturday 2 - 11 pm is no kind of life.

11. Eatons Downtown - sold cosmetics at the Clinique Counter, and then became the Manager of the Shiseido Counter - and made more money than I ever had up to that point selling jars of $200 face cream (I swear it contains whale oil) to wrinkly women. Then friends started leaving copies of an ad at my counter - clippings in my mailbox at home - posted in the mail - and by email for ...

12. Chapters Indigo Bookstores - started as the Hear Music Manager, then ran the Arts section - then did Marketing - ending up as the Regional Manager for Outside Sales and Marketing. Met some cool authors (Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Brooks, Robert Bateman among many), met a few head cases (Liona Boyd, David Suzuki among many), and got to introduce Preston Manning at an event (I can hear my Social Credit /CCF grandfather whirling like a dervish in his grave). Then they moved my job to Edmonton. I didn't go with it.

13. I became an Earthling. Great job - challenges me every day. Great boss - challenges me every day. Great team - work hard, play hard. I hope to stay there until I retire, or Dan starts another venture and needs a Trusty Sidekick.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!