Dec 30, 2009

Success - It's Not Just A Little Word!

Anastasia, from Deep Inside My Broom Closet, posted something today that inspired me. She picked up an idea from Ali Edwards called "One Little Word" where you choose a single word to focus on over the course of the coming year.

My word is "Success."

I feel like 2009's word was "Growth" and I am very happy with where this year's journey led me. But I have always had a love/hate relationship with success. I think the word has always weighed me down. I felt like, to be successful I had to be what everyone else wanted. I had to be society's version of what success looked like.

Now I realize that I can make my own success, and what it looks like to me - in my home, business, love life, and other places - may not be the same as how it looks to everyone else. And that's okay.

There have been a few bumps in the business planning with my sister in law about the store we are buying and I've been becoming increasingly dissappointed. But I am starting to realize that our visions of success may be different. We either have to find a way to make those visions co-operate, or we may have to find our individual successes in different places. Time will tell.

I think that meditating on this word, and what it means to me, will be a great way to grow in 2010!

I wish you all so much Happiness and Success for the coming year!

Dec 27, 2009

Cleaning Out the Old

One of the things I like about the days between Christmas and the New Year, is the urge I get to re-organize. (Yes, I'm a Virgo.)

There's nothing that makes me feel better than to go through my place, tidy up and find space for my Christmas gifts, which often leads to completely re-organizing closets, cupboards and arrangements.

I'm not a happy pre-Christmas cleaner. Some people use Yule as a good time to sweep out the old, and make room for the new, but I just can't do it. With all the Yule and Christmas planning, it's all I can do to make sure the house is swept and dusted, and the bathroom cleaned. I don't have time for a cleaning ritual, or a full-home re-organization.

But after Christmas, as the dust settles - literally - I find the time and the inclination to be able to look at things in my home and the clarity of mind to make decisions. Do I really need all these wine bottle openers? Are these items just dust collectors, or do I appreciate them? How can I make better use of this space?

This year, as I move into my new place this week, I am looking forward to the ultimate in re-organization. Although moving is a pain and a hassle, I am glad that I didn't end up trying to set up house before Christmas. Now I can take advantage of the energy I have this time of the year, and channel it into furnishing my new home.

I am planning a blessing ritual for my new living space, and setting up my home altar immediately. Unpacking will be my organization for this year.

I also enjoy things like adding essential oils to my bucket of hot water for cleaning. Lavender for peace, Clove for mental stimulation (not in the bedroom!) and Lemon to lift spirits. Singing a little song or chant while I sweep to get rid of the stale energy and lighten up the atmosphere in the home is fun too.

There are so many things you can do to get ready your home ready for the new year's energy. Linked to the above photos from Martha's site, are eco-friendly cleaning tips and organizational ideas, respectively. And, of course, using your magical know-how to add a little something special to your work always helps!

Dec 23, 2009

Wrapping It Up

I've finally finished wrapping gifts...well...almost.

I've also had to slap myself a few times. I actually believe that I am "over" the commercialism of the Holidays, but the truth is, I felt guilty several times today that I didn't buy more for my neices/parents/sibling & wife/friends/garbage man. Sad, but true. Luckily, a few cuffs to my own head, and I seem to be snapping out of it.

My best friend and I are exchanging baking. She loves my Amish bread and Gingersnap cookies. I love her Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies and her Toffee Shortbread. This is the gift I'm most looking forward to. The real question is, why can't I do this with everyone? Exchange something homemade, or a service. Even my massage therapist offered to trade me today for some Reiki.

I would really like to do something about this for next year. Perhaps I'll send out cards just after Halloween, and let everyone know that I'm not buying gifts. That I would happily offer a Reiki session or cater a lunch, or bring baking.

Of course, next year I'll be the owner of a shop, and everyone will expect that I have no excuse not to buy presents. least I can buy them at cost!

Wishing you all a stress-free Christmas. I hope you have an abundance of good cheer!

PS - You may have noticed, I'm rather fond of these bunny comics. I do post the link on each one, just in case you want to check out Shoebox and their clever website.

Dec 21, 2009

A Mist-Shrouded Yule

The mist settled in today. The snow has melted, and the light rain has been falling for two days now. The Valley is full of grey, like a teacup filled to the brim. It seems appropriate though, with the shortest day having arrived, that the sun wasn't admitted at all and the light of day was fairly short-lived.

It reminded me of the description Dickens gives of London on Christmas eve, in A Christmas Carol.

"The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already, - it had not been light all day - and candles were flaring in the windows of neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that, although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were merely phantoms."

I have no doubt, that if I had a keyhole in my door, the mist would have been pouring in here too.

Still, I have perservered today, even going for a walk this morning and watching the horses in the field by the river jumping around as though they knew the Sun was coming again.

I would like to stay up all night, with candles lit, waiting for the light. But I haven't been sleeping well and need the rest. So I'm off to do my Yule ritual, and then onward to bed, with a few pages of Dickens for good measure.

Thank you all for your well-wishes regarding the store. I am very excited, although there is so much to do. First, I must make it past Christmas. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't sent my cards out yet - perhaps tomorrow, and haven't wrapped a thing. A bit more shopping tomorrow and I may finally be done. I swear I will be more organized next year (which I'm sure is the same thing I said last year.)

Blessings of love, health, prosperity, and much joy to you all on this Yule night!

Dec 18, 2009

New Beginnings

I've survived the last few days of snow and ice, and am now watching as the rain turns the lovely snow into lakes of water along the roadways and yards. I'm hoping we get a spot more snow for Yule and Christmas, but I'm not doing a snow dance or making any wishes. Those things tend to backfire, and produce much more of the white stuff than we need!

On an exciting note, I am in the process of buying a small metaphysical shop (not the above shop - I just enjoyed their pic, and attached the link if you are curious.) The shop that I am purchasing, is the little store where I buy most of my supplies (candles, smudge, books, meditation cds, crystals, etc.) The two ladies that own it want more time to do their own projects and don't have much energy to invest in it. My sister in law (a groovy Buddhist and Tarot reader extraordinare) asked if I wanted a partner, and now we are shooting for February 1st as a takeover day. I am SO thrilled about this new project!

I will definitely do a nice giveaway when I'm an official store owner!

There is still so much to be done with family coming for Christmas, trying to get my painting finished in my new home, then moving, and buying the store. Not to mention, keeping my sanity during the next few months. Luckily, I have wonderful blogs to read that make me smile, and take me out of my own head for a while! Do forgive me if I'm a little late posting comments on your blogs - I'm in a rather constant state of "catch-up" right now.

Looking forward to Yule this Sunday/Monday and to hearing how you are all going to celebrate. I've got some baking to do, and a Reiki share on Sunday, with a ritual planned for that night.

Blessings upon blessings to all of you, and a very happy Yule!

Dec 15, 2009

Be Careful What You Ask For (Or: Where The Hell Is My Snow Shovel?)

For the record, I didn't actually ask for snow. I was merely feeling a little blue with the cold, cold weather and the grey skies. And, perhaps...while helping to put up my parents tree last night, I might have whistfully sighed that "it didn't really feel like the Holidays" to me....


A foot of snow later....

Unfortunately my neighbour called to say that although the highway was clear, the roads in the next town aren't great. I have to go in this afternoon for a meeting and to get my new tires tightened. There may be a long line, because there are always those people who insist on waiting for the first big dump of snow to get proper tires on - so I'll be sure to bring a book.

At any rate, there is no hiding from it. Off I go. I do hope everyone else that was hit by this weather - which from the look of the cloud cover on the weather map on tv, may be the entire northern hemisphere - is safe and warm and getting out and about with little trouble.

I have a feeling this is going to be a Grande Peppermint Mocha day.


Dec 12, 2009

Holiday Fun

Sloan over at Whisper Woods was ever so sweet, and passed this game of holiday fun on to me, that was originally created by Heather. I know it’s made it’s rounds, and I’ve enjoyed reading what everyone has to say about their holidays and traditions.

Here are the rules:

- Copy and paste the questions to your blog.
- Then Tag 5 or more of your favourite blogs and leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged.
- When you post your blog, please spread some Holiday Cheer, and leave a link back to Heather's Blog as well as the one who tagged you.

Here are the questions:

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?
Just a little...I am really behind!

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions.
My parents, brother and his family, and as many friends as want to join us, go up into the hills for a campfire to roast hotdogs and marshmellows, and go sledding.

3. Are you a Black Friday Shopper?
Afraid so. But I have to drive 3 hours South (I live in Canada) to get to the city with all the sales. It's a yearly tradition for my best friend and I.

4. When do you put up your Tree?
I'm helping my parents put theirs up tomorrow. I'm moving, so no tree for me.

5. Do you Travel at Christmas or Stay home?
Travel to my parents - only 10 minutes away!

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?
Probably the year my Uncle and Cousin (2 tough cops) put on a play that required them to act like women.

7. What is your favorite Christmas Movie of All time?
Too many to count. The original Grinch. Christmas Vacation. The Muppets Christmas Carol.

8. Do you do your own Christmas Baking, what’s your favorite treat?
I bake ginger cookies and something called "Amish Bread" which is something the Amish would never make, because it's far too rich and sweet!

9. Fake or Real Tree?
Real tree. Recycled to the fire dept. with a donation to their equipment fund. The trees get mulched and the city buys the mulch for it's gardens.

10. What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
I'm not a mom (yet) but I was in panic mode a week ago. Now I'm just numb.

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
Usually - yes.

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?
Watching my neices open their presents.

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?
Throwing the cinnamon stick in the cup of rum and eggnog. What? That's not a craft?

14. Christmas music. Yes or No, and if yes What is your favorite song?
Yes. A toss up between "River" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping?
Ugh - this year....on Christmas Eve.

I am tagging:

Jen at Chasing Domestic Bliss

Kikibird at Why Bother?

Jessica at the Magical Mundane

Tori at Tori’s Path

Hippie Witch

Dec 9, 2009

It's Beginning To Look Alot Like Yule

We had a bit of snow today - just a skiff - and it was lovely. I had a rather productive day....or rather....I did very little work and yet still feel like I made some headway. Which is nice, considering that somedays I work like a dog, and feel as though I've done nothing.

I picked up a few more gifts for no one in particular. These are sometimes my favourite because I find really neat things that may go to someone for a present...but may just be left over on the gift shelf after Christmas - which means I get to keep it!

I've also been reading "Yule" by Dorothy Morrison. It's a sweet little book that runs through the gamut of how Yule is celebrated all over the world, a spot of history, fun facts and superstitions, charms and little spells, recipes, decorations and crafts.

Did you know that it was believed that animals could talk on Christmas eve? And to ensure good health, you should eat an apple at midnight.

And to bless a toy for your kittens:

"Goddess Bast of feline friends,
Your powers to this treat, please lend
I ask you now to bless this toy
And fill it full of kitty joy."

Giggle - I think I'll use this on whatever fun things I get for Daisy and Dex!

Also on the agenda today was working on my meditation exercise for lesson 2 in my online course with C.P. Unfortunately, I didn't sleep well last night so there was a lot of head bobbing and not too much meditating!

I'm still wondering how I will get everything done in time for Yule and then Christmas, along with a move and working on a new business venture. I just need to work on one thing at a time...

I hope all your holiday plans are going smoothly and you are able to take some time to give yourself a break too!

Dec 3, 2009

Marley Was Dead, To Begin With.

"Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that."

So begins my yearly tradition of reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I never seem to grow tired of this story (or trying to read it aloud in a poor excuse for an English accent.) Every year I read a page or two each day in December, trying to stretch it out so that I finally finish "...God bless us, every one!" on Christmas eve.

There is a town, not far from here, where the theme is old English, and there is a town crier. They often decorate and have Victorian-type Christmas displays. I like to visit at least once each season. I don't think I'd have survived the Victorian ages (too much drama, too little health care) but I can appreciate our modern view of it's charms.

If you are looking for something to read this season, do try this little treasure. It never ceases to put a smile on my face!

Dec 1, 2009

Wish You Had All Been There!

Pictures of our resort Ocean Maya.

The view from my favourite palm tree:

A massage area on the beach (they had a spa too.)

Xelha means "mixed water" - the ocean meets freshwater here.

Palm trees and coconuts everywhere!

We went to Xcaret to see a show about the Mayans and Mexican people.

It was held in a large arena. Sorry the picture isn't better.
If you ever are in the area, this is a must see!

It was a wonderful vacation!

Nov 29, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

I have decided I'm not a good traveller.

I really want to be. I fancy myself to be very worldly, in fact. But the truth is...I suck at air travel. Which means, I'm not particularly worldly at all. Just fairly road-worthy. I do incredibly well in a car. Can find my way by map or highway marker with ease. I'm happy to drive up to 14 hours at a time with very little complaining. But fly? Oh, no. No ease. No happiness.

Having said that, I did have a great time in Mexico. I came back tanned and full of red welts from their giant mosquitos. I bought bug lotion on the last day. Tip for travellers: bring the bug lotion with you - even if you think you won't need it.

I do apologize for the lack of posts. I tried to use the resort's computer (even pre-set a post here - hence the date on the last post, which was in fact written on Nov. 25th) but their wireless was on the fritz and I couldn't upload the post to my blog.

I will also get some photos uploaded in the next day or so. I'm suffering a bit of jet lag and my brain seems to still be on vacation.

It's also going to take me a while to catch up on all your posts, so bear with me. I can't wait to hear what you've all been up to.

Also, for those who were wondering:

-Yes, I drank Margaritas all day - every day. Also, Pina Coladas and Dirty Monkeys (coffee liquer and banana liquer - yum!)

-No, regardless of the copious amounts of booze, I did not get drunk. Which either means they water down their booze, or I was just sweating out the alcohol faster than I imbibed it.

-No, I am not pregnant.

-No, I did not bring home a house-boy named Jesus. Or a donkey. Or a small child.

Thanks for all the well-wishes. That, combined with many pleas to the elements and the gods, I had a nice trip and got home in good order. Blessed Be!

Nov 19, 2009


I am here, in the land of sun and sand, and...rain. Yes, it's raining today, pushing the humidity from a constant 90% to about 200%. Still, it's hard to be disappointed in a place like this. I am not a summer person - don't care for the heat - but I am happy to be here nonetheless.

We went shopping in Playa del Carmen yesterday, and I wasn't fully prepared for the! I stuck to the middle of the street though and watched as the weary tourists got dragged into shops and stalls. We found a gorgeous little open restaraunt and had the first 'real' margarita of our trip. I don't know what we are getting served at this resort - but holy hell, it's sure not the same as downtown. One margarita and we had a hard time walking! We can drink them all day here at the resort and be just fine. I think there's some discrepencey in regards to how much alcohol is served from place to place...

Our group also went to Xel-ha (sounds like "shell-ha") which is the place where they filmed "The Blue Lagoon" and is a stunning representation of Mexico's natural water features including caves and cenotes (underwater rivers and pools.)

We also have an excursion planned to Xcaret, a Disney-like park that showcases Mexico's heritage and wildlife.

For's more margaritas and a good book.

Catch you soon!

Nov 18, 2009

Elemental Greeting

I thought I would share my morning greeting of the elements. I endevour to do this daily, after lighting a candle and some incense. Hopefully a pre-yoga and meditation moment, but when there isn't time for the full-meal-deal, I'll merely speak my greeting, and be on my way. I do feel the difference in my day when I don't greet the elements in the morning.

This isn't a circle-casting - just a moment of thanksgiving to the elements and divinity. Although I've felt the elements from time to time, and my hands tend to heat up a bit while saying this, it's merely a balancing of sorts for me. A reflection and a moment of gratitude.

Please also note - my observations on the elements and their directions are merely mine alone. Some subscribe Fire to the East and Air to the South. The Southernmost end of the Valley where I live is desert, so I have a definite atachment to fire in the South. Also, some find that Water is intuitive, where others sense that trait in Air. Each to their own.

A big thanks to Happycrone, who inspired me to do this, a little more than a year ago now!

I say Good Morning to the East, and the element of Air.
Thank you for your breath of life. For birthing the sun and the moon. For your knowledge, your intuition, and your knowingness. Thank you for your winds of change, your winged friends, and your blessings blown in on the breeze. Blessed Be.

I say Good Morning to the South, and the element of Fire.
Thank you for your refining flame. Thank you for burning away the chaff in our lives. Thank you for your passion and vitality, for your celebratory nature and for the heat that warms our hearth. Blessed Be.

I say Good Morning to the West and the element of Water.
Thank you for your elexir of life. For your hydration and healing touch. Thank you for your wisdom of the deep. Your emotional fathoms. Thank you for washing away my cares. Blessed Be.

I say Good Morning to the North, and the element of Earth.
Thank you Pachamama for your stability, fertility and groundedness. Thank you for your abundance. For providing us with the harvest. Thank you for being our strong, safe place. Blessed Be.

I then greet the element of Spirit in the way that it reveals itself to me (guides, nature spirits, etc.) and then, lastly the Goddess and God, whom I spend some time with. In this case I don't call in a particular Goddess or God - I am merely giving thanks to the Divine feminine and masculine.

So - this is a bit of a peek into my daily practice. I change up the words too - I say what I am moved to say, so sometimes I am more tuned in to Water and have more to say about that - and sometimes it's Earth, etc. I hope it gives you one small idea on how to incorporate a moment of thanks into your day.


Nov 15, 2009

To Do...Or Not To Do...That Is The Question!

Well, the Mexico trip has been booked and I'm leaving...Thursday! Yes...this Thursday. I have so much to do I don't even know where to start. Work is piling up at the office and I'm still doing some Christmas production work for a friend. Something has to get tossed - I just don't know what.

I'm sure it will all get done - I'm just feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. Yes, I know. Suck it up. I'm going to Mexico. Have I mentioned that I'm terrified of flying?

A few other things on my mind this weekend:

1. "Eastwick" has apparently been cancelled. Bummer. I tried not to like this show - but I really did like it. Especially that dark Canadian boy-devil Paul Gross.

2. I'm looking forward to reading the half dozen books I'm bringing on my trip, including Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.

3. I just bought 3 turkeys at 40 cents a pound and I'm not sure what the hell I was thinking. But for $5-ish each, I can give them away as hostess gifts. Or bat mitzvah presents. Or something.

4. I have to actually leave the country to be rid of my Halloween candy. I still have a cookie jar full of it and I can't seem to stop eating those damn chocolate bars. I tried freezing them - but I've just about broken a tooth chomping on frozen Mars bars. I can't bring myself to throw them out. Perhaps if I vow to hit the gym while in Mexico, I won't feel so guilty....

5. Having just returned home from a wonderful dinner out with friends and being serenaded by a boy who looks like tennis star Rafael Nadal, playing spanish guitar, I'm feeling rather smooshy.

Here's hoping I don't dream about my to-do list!

Nov 13, 2009

Nov 12, 2009

Almost Gone...

I've been running around with my head cut off these past few days. I received a call from a friend who said "do you want to be in Mexico on Monday?"

We have been planning to go to Mexico, but decided to wait for seat sales, and now we have 5 deals to choose from, and possibly another 5 if we want to arrive Monday the 23rd. I'm hoping we get another week here, as I have quite a bit of work at the office, and could use the time.

Then, my brother and his wife called to say that they would like me to move into their basement suite in December (a week after I get home from Mexico.) The suite is larger than the one I've been living in here for 8 years, but of course, I've had the run of the backyard for all that time, and have some nice garden plots. I am able to take some of my favourite plants with me - but I can't take them in December. I'll have to come back in the spring and hope that the offer is still there.

My brother and his wife have a large backyard that is pretty much open space except a cherry tree. Even though I'd have to start from scratch, I could build some lovely gardens there. Also, there's the benefit of having my nieces so close. Now that they are tweens, they don't want to spend every spare moment with Auntie (I know...shocking!) so it would be good to have them around.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I haven't dropped off the earth...yet. I'm catching up on your blogs slowly. I've had some long days at work, and a few nights out at meditation classes and hockey games, so my computer time has been minimal.

I'll get my act together soon....and then I'll be in Mexico! I am expecting to have internet access there, so I will definitely be posting while sipping margaritas. But I'll keep you up to date on what's happening as far as plans, and where I'm going to end up.

Wishing I could bring you all with me - wouldn't that be a party!

Nov 8, 2009

Pick A Card...

I've been trying an exercise to work on my intuition. I shuffle a deck of cards, pick 10 (face down so I can't see them) and try to guess if they are red or black. There are numerous exercises to help you work with your psychic mind, and those of us taking the Inner Temple course with Christopher Penczak are encouraged to try several of them. But I've been working with the cards.

I had tried this exercise in a group setting a few months ago, and only guessed one card right out of six. My partner guessed all of them correctly. To which I replied "wow - I'd never be able to do that." Of course, I didn't. You would think I would know better - being someone who puts alot of stock in 'intention' - saying or thinking something like that would ensure it would come to pass. Which it did.

Flash forward to yesterday, when I took 10 cards and held them one by one, in my left hand. I asked "is this card red?" and if I got a light feeling, the answer was "yes." If I got a heavy feeling on my left side, the answer was "no." I got all 10 cards right. To which I instantly said "Wow, I'll bet I couldn't do that again." Sigh... You'd think I'd learn. Because, of course, I didn't do it again.

I tried several different ways: listening for an answer, making quick, snap decisions based on gut feeling, and re-trying the original approach. I got anywhere from 30-70 percent accuracy. But not 100 percent again. Grrr! Blast my negative mind!

Today went a bit better. I tried 3 pulls of 10 cards, and managed to get 70 percent accuracy.

Still, that little seed of doubt was planted. I'm going to have to work on digging it up!

Do you do any kind of exercises to encourage intuition, or are you just naturally gifted?

Nov 7, 2009

Things to Ponder...

Why is it, when I wear white or cream, Dexter - my black beauty - always wants to cuddle? And when I wear black, Daisy - my grey, black and white kitty - gives me a nice snuggle.

Also to ponder...

Why does Dexter come running when I do any sort of ritual or magic-working, and Daisy leave the area? Does she find the extra energy in the space too much? Does he revel in it?

Ahh...if cats could talk...

Nov 5, 2009

Late Autumn At the River

I had a wonderful walk by the river today....

I saw this wonderful thing...a funny seed pod opened up and it looked like Einstein's hair!

The once green grasses by the pond are all golden...

A deer munching on fallen apples from a tree that was left to grow wild on some abandoned property.
These grapes were green and surrounded by leaves the last time I took a photo of them. There are only a few sad little ones left, and the birds will find them.

The wind came up while I was walking and it turned the stroll into something out of a fairy tale, with leaves blowing around me like I was walking in a snow globe. It was lovely, and I watched two crows catch the updrafts and twirl and dive with the gusts. Even the trees seemed happy, dancing this way and that.

Of course, tonight a full-on storm is blowing outside my windows. The temperature has dropped and the wind has gone from playful to agressive. I imagine the last of the leaves will be gone from the trees tomorrow.

I'm supposed to be going to a movie - the new Bruce Willis flick - but I'm wondering if a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate (and Bailey's) isn't a better idea....

Nov 4, 2009

If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them!

Okay....I know I just said I'm not ready for Christmas. I know. But...but...have you tasted Starbucks holiday line up yet? I mean...Peppermint Mochas! Creme Brule Lattes. And egg nog too! I was at the bank today, and got sucked in by the shiny sign, promising warm things inside... I can't help myself. I'm a latte whore.

I'm still standing firm on the Christmas carols and the snow! Not yet!

PS - all you crafters and artisans out there - I know you have to start early. All that work - you'd never get done otherwise! Create away. I'll be hitting the local craft shows again this year, so I do understand and appreciate your situation. Especially because I can't sew a straight line, or use a child-safe glue gun without somehow burning myself. You are my goddesses!

Nov 2, 2009

More Autumn Please

Now that October has passed on like the ancestors, I am trying to buffer myself against the onslaught of Christmas and all it's shiny, happy, mass-marketing.

Don't get me wrong - I like Christmas, as far as it's a lovely time with family and friends, and copious amounts of special dishes my mother only makes once a year. I celebrate both Yule and Christmas, as my family is primarily Christian, and I have no issues with purchasing a few gifts for my neices (whom I shower with gifts year-round - so really, what's the difference.) My brother and his wife, my parents and I give each other small "stocking-stuffer" items, and instead spend our money on 'adopting' a local family through the Helping Hands program (buying them gifts, a turkey and other food items.)

I also take no issue with a certain (small) amount of snow. It's pretty, and brightens up our dark Winter in the Valley. I enjoy decorating with natural items -some boughs from a neighbour's cedar tree, pinecones, and other cuttings from the garden centre.

What I am trying to hide from today is Walmart.

I shop at Walmart. I'm sorry. But I do. Now, I do buy locally. I support the Farmer's market for the entire season it's open. I buy from small shops and pay extra for local products. But I just can't pay $10.00 for 6 rolls of toilet paper at my corner store. I just can't.

The problem is, that on November 1st - a few short hours after Halloween has ended - the entire Walmart store is filled to the brim with Christmas trees, Santa, Nativity scenes, bright bulbs and glittery snowflakes. And Christmas music. Lots and lots of Christmas music. I do like Christmas music. Just not on November 1st. Or 2nd.

Couldn't we just wait until December? I'm still mourning the loss of October. I'm trying to get in every spare moment I have with the leaves that are left on the trees (of which, there are few.) Can't we just wait a little longer for Winter and reindeer?

I've been spotting Christmas commercials on television for two weeks now. Christmas catalogues have been coming the mail for a month or more. I really don't mean to sound like a Scrooge - but can't we just have a few more days of Autumn? A few more days of pumpkin pies and walks in the falling leaves. Another week of apple picking and the smell of turned-over earth in the garden?

Maybe I should get my Christmas wish in to Santa early...

"Dear Santa - I've been a moderately good girl this year. Please send me more Autumn.

Love Rue."

Oct 30, 2009

Upon Each Samhain

I miss you most upon each Samhain
When the boundary turns to sheer
I wait until the veil is parted
At the ending of the year.
Sweet spirit, as you walk among us
At the tolling of this eve
I see your face beyond the sunset
And hear your voice upon the breeze.

In the glowing of the candle,
From the shadow on the wall
I watch for you in every movement
And hear your footsteps in the hall.
Can you sit and spend the evening
As the portal opens wide?
Ancestral dead, I bid you welcome,
Most recent dead, I pray, abide.

When you come I sense your presence
I put my hand out in the air
A moment, then, we stand united
Palm to palm while waiting there.
I miss you most upon each Samhain
When the boundary turns to sheer
We share these hours until the dawning
Then bid farewell until next year.

David O. Norris "Upon Each Samhain"

Oct 27, 2009

The Sweet and the Bittersweet

Today, I'm feeling better (mostly) so I decided to make a showing at work for a few hours before running back home at lunch. I oh-so-mindfully ate my lunch hunched over the kitchen sink while simultaneously mixing up a batch of my famous sugar cookies. Okay, they aren't my famous cookies - they are from the old Betty Crocker cookbook. But I make them several times a year and pass them off as my own. No, I don't feel guilty.

Here is the easy-peasy recipe:

2/3 cup salted butter (this takes out one step - I don't add salt!)
3/4 cup white sugar (no, these aren't good for you.)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
4 tsp milk

*Cut first 2 ingredients together with a pastry cutter. Add egg and using a hand mixer, beat until fluffy. Add vanilla, baking powder and flour, 1 cup at a time. Add milk when needed to moisten dough. Separate into two balls, refridgerate for an hour, roll, cut, and bake at 350 for 10-12 min (depending on how dark you like them.)

So easy!

In other exciting news - I received my Jack Splat figurine from The Whimsical Cottage - click picture below (which was borrowed from her) to check out her wonderful blog! He is perfectly charming and is now sitting on my altar, guarding a large quartz crystal. Thanks so much D!

Some sad news - Ted Andrews, the author responsible for Animal Speak, has passed. I am a fan of this book, although I know he wrote more. This book is the reason my interest was stirred in Shamanism and the symbolism of animals as messengers and guides.

Now I'm running off to pick up my neices from school and to do a dress rehearsal for Halloween. I can't wait to see them in their costumes!
Blessings to all!

Oct 26, 2009

On Colds and Candy...

I officially have a cold. Yuck.

Turns out, all that self-care was needed...but didn't actually prevent me from succumbing to the random virus that grabbed me. At any rate, I'm staging a rather agressive attack with Vitamin C and D, Manuka honey, Zinc lozenges, tea, Elderberry syrup, salt water for gargling and my neti pot, and plenty of sleep. Oh, plus a mustard poultice and a rub of eucalyptus for the congestion. Whew! It's a full-time job just keeping on top of the treatments - but I'm feeling better than yesterday, so something has to be working...

Although I was feeling rough, I did make a short stop at Walmart yesterday. The only good thing about a cold is that I don't feel like eating chocolate. For now...

Today, I am taking advantage of my day off to get going on my Halloween goody bags for my neices and my friends kids. I always make them special bags each year. When they were smaller I made these crackers that Martha suggested.

They went over like gangbusters, but that was when the kids were smaller. Now, the goody bags are much larger!

So, in between naps and tea, I'll be organizing the ridiculous amount of candy and Halloween trinkets I have into piles for the little goblins that are going to show up on October 31st.

Oct 24, 2009

Taking A Time Out Today

We've had brief moments of sunshine this week. A little here, and a little there. Punctuated by entire days of low cloud and rain. Our glorious Indian Summer faded into a lovely Fall, which then immediately turned to a November-ish gloom.

I'm hiding inside today, getting little done. It's a reading day - one I've wanted for a while now. Nothing to do (although I did sort through my freezer and tossed the unrecognizables) and nowhere to be. A nice change after such a hectic week!

I've fallen rather flat on the Halloween activities these past few days (not for lack of trying!) My non-work time has been used for more 'self-care' than celebration. Which, honestly, is what I'm needing right now.

I gave my Reiki teacher a session on Wednesday, which made me feel really good as well. (The great thing about Reiki is that you receive some nice energy yourself when you are working on someone!) On Thursday, I took a few hours off work and hit the bookstore for some un-necessary shopping (the best kind.) I came home with a book on Reiki and one on Chakras. Yesterday I had an hour-long massage with my therapist which was amazing. I think I left my body at one point...

I've also managed to do a bit of yoga and a meditation each morning, which has made a world of difference on how I feel going into my day. Pulling a Tarot card each day has also been on the 'to do' list, and I've had some interesting cards!

The only 'lack' right now, is some fresh air. I find with the cooling of the season, I'm more drawn inward, but it does lend itself to a bit of hermit-ism in my case. I could easily not leave the house until Spring if left to my own devices.

But I'll work on that tomorrow...

Oct 5, 2009

Welcome "Haunted Blog Tour" Patrons!

It's a pleasure to meet you! My name is Rue - welcome to Rue and Hyssop!

I'm a rather ecclectic Pagan, with all sorts of leanings here and there. But I do enjoy some of the finer things in witchy life, like my herb and veggie gardens, my cats, celebrating the seasons, my small circle of "elemental" sisters (you know who you are) and the joy of reading all the wonderful blogs out there (Pagan and otherwise) in the 'blog-verse.'

These are my 'kids' (left to right) Dexter and Daisy. They are brother and sister, rescued from a barn on a farm, where their mother had abandoned them.

I also spend quite a bit of time with my wonderful neices, one of whom is a little witch-in-training.

You'll find posts here about wine and vodka, farmers markets and gardens, moons and Sabbats, and whatever else is on my wandering mind! I do hope you enjoy yourself - feel free to stay and put your feet up.

Special thanks to Mrs. B for leading the tour!

Hoping you all have a wonderful month of October, and a fabulously fun and spooky Halloween/Samhain!



Oct 4, 2009

Farmers Market Saturdays

This is the famers market in the next town that I attend. It runs from May to October and spans two blocks of Main Street that is closed off to traffic, so we can wander the booths full of beautiful fruits and veggies! There are also bakeries, artisans, musicians, and performers. And, it's a great time to pop into those Main Street stores I've always wanted to check out!

I've never seen an artichoke flower before. Now I want to plant them, just so I can have some of these on my table next Autumn!

Heirloom tomatoes in a rainbow of colors - yum!

We stumbled upon this motley crew of Morris dancers. They call themselves the "Black Sheep." (Sorry about the photo quality. It was freezing yesterday, and I was being a lazy photographer - preferring to try to keep my hands warm than take a great picture.)
Although I hauled home quite a bit from the market yesterday - it didn't stop me from going shopping today for more Halloween decorations and treats. I found a fab skull and a black cat candy dish (which I will not fill....yet.)
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!