Friday, September 26, 2008

Today's Rainy Day Activity

DH and I made incense today. It was an experiment, as we had never worked some of the materials before. DH made pepper incense. I made saffron incense. That should tell you a great deal about the differences in how we work. (The actual project pointed out some other differences, which I will not go into here, in the interest of continued marital harmony.) The incense is shaped into cones, and will probably take a few days to dry thoroughly. I am hoping that the saffron cones will be ready to use by the new moon. Originally, we were going to try to make incense sticks, but my idea of squeezing the incense paste (there simply is no other way to describe it) from a pastry tube was not successful. DH’s blend was too loose and sticky, and considering the expense of my main ingredient, and the fact that this was an experiment, I made so little of my blend that it filled the pasty tip, but no more than that. So cones, it was.

The kitchen smells very interesting, freshly ground pepper, mixed with hand powdered dried saffron. I have no idea how much pepper DH used, but I used a total of 1/2 teaspoon of saffron-and the scent held its own.

This years saffron harvest will start in about 4 weeks, and I just got a delivery of another 40 saffron bulbs to plant. If the experiment is successful, I expect I will be making more. And, if it isn't, well there are plenty of other uses to put it to (besides, I love paella.).

At this point, my hands are an interesting collection of colors. Earlier this week, I had been experimenting with a leather dying project, in a bright Chinese lacquer kind of red. Despite my care, I still show signs of the dye on my hands. Saffron stains a bright yellow. Tumeric, with which I fill capsules, stains a duller, orangy yellow. Maybe I will have to start a trend of women wearing fashion gloves.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

An email forward from my father

Dear Friends:
You may have thought we wanted a woman on a national political ticket, but the joke has really been on us, hasn't it? Are you as sick in your stomach as I am at the thought of Sarah Palin as VP in control of women's right to choose in the United States...May I suggest the following brilliant alternative? Make a donation to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name. And here's the good part: when you make a donation to PP in her name, they'll send her a card telling her that the donation has been made in her honor. Here's the link to the Planned Parenthood websites:
Go to: Honorary and Memorial Donations

You'll need to fill in the address to let PP know where to send the 'in Sarah Palin's honor' card. I suggest you use the address for the McCain campaign headquarters, which is:

McCain for President
1235 S. Clark Street 1st Floor
Arlington , VA 22202

Feel free to send this along to all your friends and urge them to do the same.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mondays Full Moon

(I have made four attempts at writing a post about the Full Moon this past Monday. I've tossed each one in the trash in total disgust. So, here are the bare bones, short hand, notes)

There was a full moon in Pisces this past Monday morning (5:13 am, here on the East Coast). It was the first of the harvest moons and ushered in the start of the season of the new year. This may sound a bit counter-intuitive, harvest and new year, but I come out of several traditions that start the day at sundown, so why not start the year at harvest? Next Monday is the Autumnal Equinox, and the Monday following that is the New Moon. Two weeks after that will be the second Harvest Moon and the culmination (for me, at least) of the start of the year. (Of course, I will also celebrate the start of the calendar year on January 1, and the start of the solar year, when the sun enters Aries-I like to celebrate)

This first harvest moon is one of my favorites. School has started, which means that I can go into the circle before the middle of the night, and know that the neighborhood will be quiet. It is cool enough to discourage the insects, while still allowing me to go barefoot, without courting frostbite. I can feel the somnambulism of the summer ending, and with the cool evenings and mornings, I really do feel as if I am waking up from a long nap. Between this moon and the equinox, I can feel my enthusiasm and energy growing for the projects to come. But I will wait, and let the energy grow.

(Somehow, I've written nothing about this specific full moon ritual. I'm just having a very hard time getting it into words. Perhaps, I will try again, another day.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My reputation, restored

Earlier this week, my younger daughter could not figure out how to do her math homework. Alas, my reputation as the all knowing parent was destroyed when I had to admit that not only did I not have a clue, but I never even took pre-calc in high school (I was a victim of the open classroom movement of the 1970's). And, the fact that DH could not do the math problem, either, was no salve to my ego. Eventually, and with the assistance of a third party, DH did figure out the problem. (note to the mathmatically inclined: do not try to explain a math problem to a non mathmatically inclined spouse at 2:15 in the morning, the explanation will not stick).

Tonight, my daughter needed help with her music theory homework. Hooray! This I was able to do. Whew, and again, I say whew.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I passed the test, now what was the question?

Last night, I had a dream with snakes in it. In and of itself, this may not be remarkable, except that it was not a nightmare. Starting at the very tail end of 2006, going all the way through 2007 (that wonderful year) and into the beginning of 2008, I was regularly having nightmares in which I was being threatened by snakes. Not colorful diamondbacks, or sinuous cobras, the snakes of my nightmares were thick in body, dull black in color, silent and scary. They would appear out of nowhere, from under doors, through restaurant walls, from swamps that would suddenly appear in my yard, always going after me, and getting between me and whatever symbolized safety in the dream.

Whatever the message was, whatever the test or assignment was, I clearly wasn't getting it, because by autumn of 2007, the snakes were joined by alligators (or crocodiles-I never got close enough to see which they were). This went on through the beginning of the New Year. (Every now and then, when someone would complain to me about not remember most of their dreams, my response would be “sometimes that can be a good thing.”) And, then, toward the end of February, I dreamt of climbing through a brushy waste, and about to step on a log, realizing that it was an alligator (or croc). I stepped back, the alligator (or croc) looked at me, and left me alone.

Last night, I dreamt of releasing baskets of snakes in an animal preserve. The snakes flowed over the edges of the baskets, gracefully. They were beautifully colored and patterned. Their tongues tasted the air. Each snake looked at me, and then slithered off. I felt satisfaction for a job well done. It was only when I woke up that I realized that this was my first snake dream since January, and I didn't wake up trying to scream or cry out.

But it still leaves me with the question: what job was it that I had done? I realize the PTB (Powers That Be, to those of you who never watched any of the shows in the Whedonverse) have no requirement to make things easy for me. But if I've learned an important lesson, or passed a test, I would dearly like to know what it was. I know there will be others, I would love it, if the I didn't need that kind of “encouragement” next time.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Well, that was fun.

I got one of those political poll phone calls tonight. This one was from Marist College (isn't caller id grand?) All standard questions; Will I definitely vote in November? What if the election were to be held tomorrow? Which candidate do I support? Is my support strong or weak? Etc, etc, etc. And, then, the catagorizing questions. Age range, household income range, county within the state of New Jersey.
And finally, do you consider yourself Christian, Jewish or Muslim?
My response was "do you have an 'other' catagory?"
The pollster said that there was one.
"Fine," I said, "Other." (damn, this is New Jersey. How come Hindu wasn't up there with the big three?)
"What is your religion? I have to put something down."
"So it can't be just 'other?' OK, put me down as Judeo-Pagan."

Looooooooooong silence.
I get my fun where I can grab it, and something tells me that fun is going to be in very short supply this campaign season.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Another Old Joke

(I know, I know, stop me if you've heard this one...)

A Priest, a Pastor and a Rabbi are discussing "when does life begin?"
The Priest says, "Life begins at conception."
The Pastor says "Life begins when 'quickening' is felt within the womb."
The Rabbi says, "No, you are both wrong. Life begins when the youngest child leaves for college and the dog dies."

Well, the dog has been gone for a couple of years, but the youngest child isn't leaving for college yet. On the other hand, she did start school today (high school junior-how did that happen?), so I do feel that some of my own life and my own time is being returned to me.

So, now, back to my own projects.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Update on the circle

The circle, as it looked last week, when DH risked his neck and the gutters on the roof to get a good picture.

And, the circle, when it was first planted, 2 years ago. The angles of the photos are different, so its hard to tell, but the trees were all about 18 to 24 inches tall when we planted them, now the trees are all about 6 feet tall and beginning to fill in at the sides. In another couple of years, we will have to think about replacing the grass with a different ground cover. But there will be a lovely semblance of privacy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

For those folks who are badly affected by Merc Rx's

Tomorrow, Mercury will be the same position as it will be, when it reaches its most "backward" point in the coming retrograde. You may want to take notes.