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?  

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!

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.