Dec 29, 2010

The Threshold of the Year


I was listening to a podcast yesterday that spoke about "liminal spaces" - those places that we think of as being between the worlds.  The edge of a beach where the water meets the earth.  The top of a mountain, where earth meets sky.  And it occurred to me that the time between Yule/Christmas and the secular New Year has always seemed like a liminal space to me.

The days after the gift-giving, the eating, the visiting and celebrating seem to be a threshold of sorts.  I feel as though I've left some things behind and am now stepping toward something new.  As a Pagan, I celebrate the new year at the end of the harvest season (on October 31st-November 1st.)  But there is something about breaking open a fresh calendar that just says 'new beginnings' to me.

I don't make resolutions, but I do spend some time thinking about how I'd like to grow in the next year.  There is often some bittersweetness around the holidays for me.  I love the gathering of the family, but it does force you to look back on how you've grown (or not) when people start asking you about what you've done during the year over turkey and stuffing.

Luckily I have grown in two small-but-important ways.  I don't feel like I have to impress anyone anymore, and I've learned to take some small moments for myself throughout the holiday madness.  Because of this, the last week went surprisingly well for me. 

I hope the holidays went well for all of you too - and that you had some very happy celebrations!

Now I step onto that threshold and think about the things I would like to manifest for this year to come.

Do you make resolutions or to-do lists for the new year? 

Dec 19, 2010

Winter Wishes



"It was a cold, bleak, biting weather, foggy withal, and he could hear the people in the court outside go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them."  ~ Charles Dickens

Yes - I'm reading "A Christmas Carol" again.  On cold, snowy days like today, it's a perfect companion.  Plus it distracts me from the teetering pile of unwrapped gifts in the corner, and the rolls of wrapping paper glaring at me with distain.

Like many of my fellow bloggers, I'm having a hard time keeping up with posting in the midst of holiday activities and the regular work and bustle of my daily life.  But I am still here.  I've planned a giveaway, but have run out of time - so it will be a New Year event.  I also meant to post some of the soup recipes I've been trying, but that too will show up in January when I've had more time to take some pictures and try a few more lovely soups.

I am looking forward to Yule and the lunar eclipse that is going to take place.  I'm hoping for clear skies Monday night!  This will be a busy week to come, so just in case I don't pop by - I want to wish you all the happiest Yule, and a safe and wonderful Christmas! 

May you have every good thing come to you!


Dec 11, 2010

Tree Trimming Essentials

Ornaments


Helpful cat


Candy Canes


Yet another helpful cat

Booze & Eggnog
(Hey - I drove home in a blizzard.  You're lucky I didn't just put a straw in the Bacardi.)



How is your tree trimming coming?


Dec 5, 2010

Decorating and Decluttering

Photo courtesy of http://www.shoeboxblog.com/

I've finally managed to get some decorating done around the house, and waded my way through some piles of items I've been meaning to sort.  It always amazes me how much stuff one person can amass.

The other project I'm working on is clearing my bookshelves of my Pagan/witchy books in time for my cousin's visit on Christmas day.  While my parents, brother and friends have been aware of my beliefs for a while now, my extended family has not been informed.  Primarily because my extened family consists of extremely enthusiastic Baptists.  And because I don't want to be the next contestant on "Inquisition" - sitting in front of a panel of my uncles (one pastor and two deacons) and Jesus.

I love my family.  Really.  And I do enjoy their company.  So making things awkward by loudly proclaiming that I don't celebrate the birth of Christ anymore while hoisting a pinecone above my head and giving a speech about how Christians claimed Yule as their own doesn't sit right with me.  Plus - my mother would kill me if I ruined Christmas.  So there's that.

The only issue is - what the hell do I put on my bookshelves once all the Pagan books are gone?  Some artful arragements of the hundred-ish angel figurines my cousin has been gifting me for 15 or so Christmases perhaps.

Is there anything you hide when family comes to visit?  (Aside from the naughty movies.)


Nov 30, 2010

I Spy With My Little Mastercard - Etsy!

I am somehow the last passenger on the "shop online for Christmas" train. I've been grumbling for years, while shuffling through crowded stores; having my ankles nicked by pushy people with shopping carts; being elbowed out of aisles by little old ladies...and on and on. I try to keep my Spirit light and remember that everyone is going through the same thing - trying to find the perfect gift.

Well, not this year! Thanks to Etsy and other online marketplaces, I can find the coolest gifts for my favourite people and I don't even have to leave the house! I really can't believe I've waited so long to do my shopping like this!
So here is what I've found so far:

Cottage Garden Studios has made these great fingerless gloves and matching coffee cup cozies!  A serious must for those who get cold hands, but need some dexterity!  The perfect gift for my office friends who suffer from cold hands in the Winter while typing away at their desk.

Check out Sarah's shop here.



And what would Yule be without a visit to our favourite domestic witch - Mrs. B!

I had to get a few treats for myself in her Etsy shop - but also commissioned a Voodude for my neice.  I know she will love it and can't wait to share it with her.  Check out Kris's shop - and if you are looking for a custom 'Dude, let her know!


Another dear blogger, The Whimsical Cottage had a grand sale on this weekend for the holiday and I managed to eek in right before the last minute!  I bought this wonderful little mushroom charm for my gypsy friend, and bought myself a handsome snowman ornament for my tree.

Check out Danni's Etsy shop here


I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving holdiay weekend!  I spent the morning on Thursday in front of the television watching the Macy's parade - which I've been doing every year since high school.  (My amazing mother would actually call me in "sick" to school on US Thanksgiving day so I could watch the parade!)

I did take a short drive across the border into Washington state and find a few things on Black Friday, but most of my shopping is done now - thanks to some talented people on Etsy, the glorious-magical internet and my dear, sweet credit cards!

Happy shoppping!

 

Nov 21, 2010

Dashing Through The Snow...Or Not


It's been snowing for two days here - light, ethereal little flakes.  Until today.  A quick, icy blizzard and now the roads are frozen with pretty, white ice.  Beautiful - but dangerous.

Ever the optimist (and procrastinator) - I decided to stay home from the office and piles of work that need attending to and snuggle in with a book and a cup of coffee and Bailey's Irish Cream.  The work will still be there tomorrow...

I'm also sorting out my Winter "Plans for Excellent Fun" - which is usually a large list that doesn't often get too many things checked off it.  Included are: sledding, ice skating, hot dogs & marshmallows over a campfire, snowshoeing and much more.

Also included is the sleigh ride I meant to take last year.

This clever little site (posted last year too) has listings of tree farms, Winter fun and sleigh rides in many States and Provinces.  Check out your area, and see if there's something for your Winter-fun list!  Or, you could just stay home with a good book and some coffee and Bailey's.  I won't judge.


Nov 15, 2010

I Spy With My Little Mastercard - Witchy Scents!

http://www.bayouwitchincense.com/

I know I should be Yule shopping for other people....but I've been drooling over Celeste's website for a while now.  If you don't know what I mean - head over to Bayou Witch Incense and you will be drooling too!  So guess who's got some incense, candles and oil coming her way?  Thank you Mastercard!  (Okay - I used Visa this time.  But the catchphrase can't be changed now!)

I picked up a candle from Dorothy Morrison's Wicked Witch Mojo collection:


And also some 7 Sisters powdered incense, which I've never tried before.  And so many more goodies!  Celeste is a dear and has a wonderful business here!  Do check her out for your witchy needs and you can also find her on Facebook.


I also received this wonderful package in the mail from The Traveler at Lost in Astral Space!  There are so many wonderful gifts!  She made the lovely (green-sparkly) BOS and the prayer beads hanging on the edge of it.  She also painted the decals on the jar and made me this cute little cornhusk broom.  Thank you so much Monica!


Have you started your Yule/Xmas shopping yet?  Or are you like me:  10 gifts for me...and one for someone else!

Happy shopping!

Nov 9, 2010

October Leaves, Squash Returns


October always flies by too fast.  This is something I believe and have heard from numerous people this week.  Usually accompanied by a sigh.  I'm not sure if it's because it's my favourite time of year, or because the month seems to perch so precariously between deep Autumn and early Winter, that it seems so delicate and temporary.  We appear to get just the most brief space of October, and then it's gone and the cold, biting winds and forecasted snow of November rolls in.

To distract myself from watching the Weather Channel for any local snow news, I'm looking over my haul of squash from the farm stands last week.  To think - I used to hate these wonderful veggies (or fruits - whatever you prefer!)  Now I cannot make it through a Winter without a good stock of squash.



A few hints for great Winter meals involving squash:

~ Pick squash that is unblemished and hard.  Don't bring any home that feel soft at all, or are bumped or nicked.  They won't last.

~ Keep your squash in a cool, dry place.  A basement or out of the way cupboard is perfect.

~ Unless you want to add extra sugar, try to find the sweeter varieties like Acorn, Dumpling, Celebration and other small squash.  You can roast these with a simple pinch of salt and pepper and a dab of butter - yum!  Okay - full disclosure: sometimes I do toss a teaspoon of brown sugar in there too!

~ Pick one or two easy recipies.  You are more likely to use up your pile of squash if it doesn't take two hours to prepare your dish.  I've had a butternut squash for a year - telling myself that I'm going to make Butternut Ravioli and it never happens.  It is possible that it is now solid rock inside - and will very likely find a new home in my compost in the Spring.  Instead I make a nice roast squash, or an easy squash soup. 

~  As the squash sit, their colours will fade.  As long as the skin is unpunctured, and the squash is firm, they will still be good to eat.


Enjoy this last bounty of Autumn - and stock up!

Nov 6, 2010

Oh - The Horror!


Just wanting to check in, and let you know I haven't been made off with by zombies from Sunday's super-fab Halloween/Samhain festivities.  Although...I did meet a few cute zombies...

I've merely been swamped by the mundane this week.  Working two jobs is starting to wear on my witchy nerves, but never fear - the extra work (and extra pay) will be over as of next Friday.  That means I will finally have time to sink into a good latte and read up on what you wonderful bloggers have been doing!  (Hopefully some of you got into some delicious trouble over the recent holiday!)

My treat to myself last night was a movie - but I chickened out on "Paranormal Activity 2."  I just couldn't do it.  So I went and saw "Due Date" instead.  A good laugh is always worth the $10 to get in and some overpriced, butter-drowned popcorn never hurts either.  If you like ridiculous comedy, Robert Downey Jr. looking all distressed, or Zach Galifianakis and his crazy hairyness - go see this movie.  Or, if you are braver than me, check out the horror movie and tell me all about it, so I don't have to go!



Oct 30, 2010

The Blue Lady and the Ice Cream Ghost


Every town has them.  Ghosts.  Hauntings.  Just about everyone I know has heard a local story, or knows someone who lived in a house or near a house that was haunted.  Whether you believe that these are just tall tales, or that a spirit or residual energies can stay behind when a person passes - ghost stories seem to thrill us.  Especially at this time of year.

Here are two from my area:

The museum in my town, is a fairly modern building.  Built in the 1960's, the building also houses the public library and a good sized meeting room with a stage.  The museum has it's own separate space, and archives many interesting items.

Between the years of 1990 and 1992 the museum went through eight janitors.  Each janitor supposedly quit after seeing a lady dressed in blue wandering through the museum at night.  It wasn't until after the bones of an unknown woman from the 1920's that had been stored in the archives for years had been moved, that the sightings stopped.

~~~~~~~

I have worked for a local gourmet food and gift company for 20 years.  The building that houses the store is very old and unique.  One evening in the Autumn, just after closing up for the night, I was in the back room when I saw a man dressed in a dark suit and a hat walk from the front door over to area where an ice-cream freezer stood.  I came around the corner from the back room to serve the man (wondering if I had made a mistake in locking the door) and found that there was no one there.

I relayed the story the next day to a co-worker of mine, who asked me what the man looked like.  I described him, and she laughed.  "Oh - that's just our ghost," she said.  Since then, a half dozen of our employees have seen him over the years, and a few of my more sensitive co-workers can always tell when he's around.  He doesn't show himself often, but when he does it's usually during the Autumn for some reason.  And he seems to enjoy setting the windchimes to swinging.

There are several more haunted places about, including the winery that my brother works at.  If you take some time and look into your own town's history, you might be surprised to find plenty of ghostly sightings in your area.  A haunted tour is always a fun way to learn some history about where you live!
Wishing you all a very Blessed Samhain and a Haunting Halloween!




Oct 26, 2010

So Many Thanks, So Little Time

Just taking a moment to breathe, in between trying to find pumpkins for carving, readying a hundred or so candy bags, working on month-end bookkeeping and preparing for the Ancestors Dinner I'm attending tomorrow night.

And in that breath, I must remember to be thankful.  Thankful for the busy-ness that is my life, because it means that I have a job, friends, a home to clean and fun gatherings to go to.  And thankfulness because in the few moments I have to sit and rest each day, I get to read such lovely, insightful blogs written by the most wonderful people! 

I haven't had much time to comment and post myself lately, but I've been here, and find it a joyful respite for days with too much 'stuff' crammed into them to sit and read, even for a few minutes. 

I'm also thankful for those who pass on awards to me - even though most of them know how painfully short I fall at re-posting them.  (Right now I'm thinking of Mar Zel and Debra who I'm sure gave me awards earlier this Summer that I never got to posting....)

And before another month goes by, I'd also like to thank:

Mother Moon for this Prolific Blogger award (which was created by Advanced Booking.)  Most of you know Janie, but if you haven't 'met' her - please stop by her blog.  She has the biggest heart and a beautiful blog, and I just adore her.



Last month Cellar Door at I Hope They Have Pudding gave me this Versatile Blogger award, and then Lady Cattra from Cattra's Magickal World and Jennifer from Confessions of a Kitchen Witch (who I've been following since she was "Barefoot In the Sand") passed this, plus the following two awards on to me, as a triple award.

So many thanks to you ladies - I enjoy your blogs so much and am thrilled that you wander into my little corner of the blog-verse too!

Please stop by and say hello to the bloggers listed in this post.  They are all so unique and talented, and are really great reads!



Oct 24, 2010

Blog Tour Giveaway Winner


The winner of the Smudging and Blessings Book and the Way of the Hedgewitch is:

Susan Erickson from The Mermaid Gallery!

Congratulations!

Please email me your address and I'll get this package right off to you.

Thanks so much to all who stopped by yesterday on the blog tour - it was lovely to see you!

Oct 22, 2010

Welcome Haunted Blog Tour Patrons!


A rousing hello and welcome to Mrs. B's Haunted Blog Tour patrons! But not too rousing...we don't want to wake the dead. 

For this tour, I thought I'd take a tour myself, so I set out to visit a local cemetery.  At this cemetery, the earliest residents of my hometown are interred.  The first residents, and oldest residents (at 107 years and 103 years) are here.  As well as the first mayor, first police officer and a surprising number of children for such a sparsely populated graveyard. 


Although no one has been buried here in more than thirty years, there are still visitors who leave all manner of offerings...


One of several children buried here.


Unfortunately, being the oldest cemetery in the city, and being that it is unused today, the grave sites have fallen into disrepair.  There are many monuments and headstones that have tumbled due to weathering and vandalism.  For the most part, the damaged stone is always placed back in it's rightful place, even if it is not repairable.

There is a definite energy in this place, and it is one of the sites visited on a haunted tour put on yearly by the local museum - which has it's own ghost named "The Blue Lady."



I hope you enjoyed my little graveyard tour.  Please feel free to poke around the blog - it's a rather eclectic place, but it's home!

And speaking of home; turning inward to our hearths for the season and in honour of the blog tour - I have a giveaway.  Two wonderful books that will have you settling in to your sanctuary and discovering wonderful ways to use and expand upon that great household energy.



All you have to do to win these two books is be or become a follower of my blog, and leave a comment on this post.  This is a one-day giveaway (starting late Friday night as this post goes up.)  I will draw a name on Sunday morning (after a suitable sleep-in) and post the name of the winner.

Best wishes, and thanks so much for stopping by!


 

Oct 20, 2010

Winning Wednesday


Congratulations to Alphabetsy who's name has been drawn as the winner in my Delightful Divination giveaway! 

I've left my email info at your blog so that you can send me your mailing address.  I'll get this right out to you so you can start divining!

Thank you to all who entered.  There will be another chance at winning something wonderful coming this Saturday when a certain Mrs. B stops by on a haunted blog tour....stay tuned!


Oct 18, 2010

Award Winning Monday


Today was a nice change of pace from a typical Monday.  A nice crack from the chiropractor this morning followed by a pretty gift on my desk at work.  Inside was a gorgeous journal from one of my co-workers as a thank you for doing a Tarot reading for her last week. 

Work flew by and then on the drive home I caught the brand new Pink song "Raise Your Glass" which had me jumping in my car and getting strange looks from passersby.

"So raise your glass if you are wrong in all the right ways..."  ~ Pink

And to top it off, Jessica from The Magical Mundane gave me this award:


I am a big fan of Jessica's, so please pop over and check out her blog.  Although...if you are squeamish like me....you  might want to skip today's post.  *shiver*

I have been shamefully lax on re-posting awards given to me in the past, so I'm going to play by the rules for once.  Which are:

1. Post the award and link back to the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Pass it on to other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
3. Let the bloggers know they’ve been chosen.

I have come across some new-to-me blogs lately which I'm enjoying.  Here are a few to check out:

~ A Witch In the Tea Closet
~ Burning Moonlight
~ Natures Cat
~ Sips From the Fire Hydrant

You all have very lovely blogs!

Hope everyone has had a great Monday!

Oct 17, 2010

Entertainment and Enlightenment


I've had another busy weekend - but this time there was not alot of that dirty "work" word involved. Instead of getting caught up at the office, or digging through my closet that desperately needs re-organizing, I spent the weekend doing fun and inspiring things.

First up was a shopping trip with my best friend during which we swore we wouldn't spend much money, followed by us coming home with a car full of bags. We've never been able to keep each other in line. I'm not sure why I thought this time would be different.  I also thought this might be the year I could buy the Halloween candy early and not open any of it until October 31st.  Wrong again.

Last night, I was off to the movies to see Bruce Willis kick some CIA butt in Red.  Along for the ride were a handful of the best actors around including Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and a stunning Helen Mirren.  It was a fun, action-packed romp and the scene where Bruce steps casually out of a spinning police cruiser was both ridiculous and totally worth the price of admission.

Today was a change of pace.  Instead of materialism and entertainment, it was all about ancestors and introspection.

I started off the day by going through some of my late grandmother's things that had to be sorted as my grandfather has finally been moved into a care home. At 97, he is only now showing signs of becoming an 'old man. Goddess grant me his good genes.

It was bittersweet seeing the vintage photos and cards and letters she kept. The photos should keep me busy for weeks. There is a wicker basket full of old black and whites, and I'm going to have to corner my parents to see if they recognize some of the faces. A few pictures of my grandmother will have a place of honour on my ancestor altar.

Then, I spent this afternoon with Deepak Chopra. Well...there were about 1800 other people there too. Deepak came to give a lecture on material he presents in his book "Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul." It was a fabulous and fascinating talk. He is very well-spoken, and has a quick wit. He kept us laughing as well as musing on the miracles of the human body and the global consciousness of the world and the oneness of our souls.

"Life is meant to be a complete experience. People keep struggling with problems both physical and mental, never suspecting the root cause: that the bond between the body and the soul has been severed." Deepak Chopra  ~ "Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul"

All in all it was a wonderful weekend, and exactly the right mix of fun and insight.  I hope your weekend was equally wonderful!


Oct 13, 2010

Delightful Divination Giveaway

  One of the many things I love about this time of year is that I find any meditation or divination I do is much more clear and effective.  Drawing inward, retreating to our home and hearths and the thinning of the veil, allows for much introspection and insight.

I've been doing quite a bit of tarot reading for friends and co-workers this week.  The readings have been a great practice for me as I learn more about the cards, but the first type of divination I ever tried my hand at was using a pendulum.  Although it is not always my first choice anymore, I still have a great fondness for them and have several in my collection.

In honour of the season, and it's ripeness for inspiration and divination, I am giving away a book and pendulum package.


This cute little book by D.J. Conway has information on the history of the pendulum, chapters on divination and dowsing, and some pendulum charts for you to use.


Also included is a Carnelian pendulum.  Carnelian is a great stone for this time of year with it's rich orange colour.  Carnelian is also said to be protective, energetic, guards against poverty, can offer courage and is great for digestive issues. 

As always, all you need to do to enter is be (or become) a follower of this blog, and leave a comment.  This will be a quicky giveaway, as I'd like to get the winner their gifts before Halloween/Samhain - so the draw will take place in one week on Wednesday, October 20th.

Best of luck!

(Photo of Carnelian found at: http://www.pelhamgrayson.com/pendulums-pendulums-pendulums.html)

Oct 10, 2010

Final Farmers Market

The final farmers market of the season was held yesterday, and although it was cold and grey, the rain held off long enough for us to enjoy the last day of harvest sales.

There were plenty of smiling faces and great things to bring home.  Gorgeous local apples and pears held court with mountains of colourful squash and pumpkins.  We snacked on kettle corn and a surprise crop of everbearing strawberries, while trying to keep warm.


A tall, friendly scarecrow wandered by....


My neice - trying to keep her nose warm - looks silly, and yet a little exotic...


And, as usual, no trip to the market would be complete without some dog-spotting.  This little guy was keeping warm in a puppy-snuggly.


And this little dear is a Pug-Pin.  A pug crossed with a miniature Pincher.  Apparently the Pincher draws out the Pug nose a bit and reduces the chance of breathing problems that are supposedly common with purebred Pugs.  I'd have taken this guy home immediately if not for his $650 price tag!

Afterward, my neices and I headed to my parents house for Mom's famous Feed-the-5000 Thanksgiving dinner.  Actually, there were only 18 guests instead of the 25 she was expecting, so all went well and most of us had a seat.  Two turkeys, a ham, cabbage rolls (the Ukranian in us comes out now and then,) and inumerable side dishes as well as five different desserts ensured that we were all moaning and clutching our stomaches as we headed out the door.

Also joining us for dinner were these three.  But they merely ate the rest of my mom's geraniums and sat down for a nap.


Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!


 

Oct 6, 2010

Festival of the Grape


On Sunday I went to the next town to tip my glass to Dionysus and partake of some of my Valley's best wines.  I spent two hours at the wine festival with my girlfriends and let me tell you - it wasn't long enough! 


There were so many fabulous wines that I had a hard time keeping track of the ones I liked the best.  It could have had something to do with the amount of wine I was drinking...

The wine glasses we were given for "tastes" were filled sometimes half-full by the generous winemakers, instead of the typical ounce or two generally given at a wine tasting.  It didn't take long to catch up with us.


I really loved some of the clever winery names, such as "Church & State," "Dirty Laundry..."


...and "Misconduct."  This "Massacre Rose" was my favourite red (almost-red) I tried.  I love the label!  They were also tasting "Misfit - White Blend," "The Big Take - Red Blend" and "Suspect Series." 


Who wouldn't want a little tast of "Forbidden Fruit?"


There was even a cover-band doing ABBA songs.  I snickered a little at first - but they ended up doing realy well and getting the crowd all worked up.  (Not hard after all that wine, I'd imagine!)


There were pretty big crowds there, and the wine tasting tents were swarming with people.  But there were also food and artisan venders there too that you could wander around to see.


We also did some faux celebrity spotting.  I wish I'd gotten a pic of the girl who looked exactly like Pink - it was uncanny.  This guy did seem to have a Robert Pattinson thing going on though - and that girl is looking at him like he sparkles!


We really did have a fabulous time, and then staggered off to a three hour dinner afterward.  There is nothing like a day full of wine, friends and silly fun! 

Cheers!