Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sinful Peanut Brittle

Everyone once in a long,long while, my husband gets an enormous case of candy cravings and I head to the kitchen. I love making candy, but with only the two of us to eat it, candymaking usually waits for the holidays. Or when the Great Norwegian Gimme Candy Monster appears. Peanut brittle has been the focus of this fall's appearance and I've got it down to a no brainer recipe at last.

I even thought I had a million dollar idea when I decided to add cinnamon and cayenne into the syrup. Until the very next week on Good Eats, Alton Brown did exactly the same thing and now every Food Network host has also used the same combination in some way. I guess it was a cosmically brilliant idea floating around and we all grabbed it at once. Make it. This is totally addictive stuff. Join the rest of us addicts who will put ourselves at risk of losing fillings before we'll stop eating this sinfully sweet and spicy peanut brittle.

Ps...if you cook it right, I doubt you'd loose a filling. It's hard and has a great snappy crack to it!

Sinful Peanut Brittle

3 Cups Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Water
1 1/2 Cups Light Karo Syrup
3 Cups Raw Peanuts
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Butter

Put the sugar, water and Karo syrup into a deep 2 quart pan. Stir to mix, then stop stirring. Bring to a boil and allow to boil until the hot syrup reaches 300 degrees F, or a hard crack stage. Carefully remove the thermometer and add salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and peanuts. Stir to mix. The temperature will immediately drop. Continue cooking until it again reaches 300 degrees. Remove from heat. Carefully stir in the butter until it is completely melted. Next stir in the baking soda and blend well.

Immediately pour onto 2 buttered cookie sheets and allow to cool. When completely cooled, smack the cookie sheet on the counter to break into serving size pieces.

1. When you pour out the hot candy, it will immediately set up. If you like thin peanut brittle, give yourself some working time to spread it out by keeping your cookie sheets in a 200 degree oven while the syrup boils. Remove just before you need them and apply butter or spray with cooking spray. Warm cookie sheets will let you spread the mixture out as thin as you like.

2. If you like things on the spicy side, adjust the cinnamon and cayenne carefully. I am a medium bite person. I use a rounded teaspoon of cinnamon and a level one of cayenne. Keep in mind that you have to complete a batch before you actually know what it tastes like, no taste testing of the hot syrup!

3. Be sure to let the syrup really cook to 300 degrees.Cooking to 305 degrees is ok too. I know every website and most cookbooks tell you that you can recook candy that is just too soft, but don't believe them. How I know? Well, lets just say that it took a trip to see Super Son-In-Law and his trusty Dremel tool to have the rock hard burnt sugar wire brushed off of my favorite pan. My favorite pan that is no longer in the candymaking arsenal.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Spirit Photo

Here's something eerie in honor of Halloween. This is an aura photo that was taken in Atlanta, GA on 02/14/97. I have circled an area in the left of the photo that has something unusual in it. It's harder to see on the screen than in person, but maybe you'll see it. Just over his shoulder is what appears to be some very long fingers reaching through the aura cloud.

My husband and I were at a shop when this was taken. We entered a darkened closet with a solid back wall. Once I saw the photo, I examined the room immediately. There were no openings in the wall at all, no one could have gotten behind us and reached into the photo. We were alone in the very small space, and we are large people; no one could have slid in behind us inside the booth without us knowing.

I have always had a comfortable belief in the spirit world this photo did not alarm me at all, but I wonder who was trying to reach out. I have always wondered if it may be the spirit of my husband's mother, who passed when he was a young boy...that's the romantic in me on Valentine's Day.

I'd like to know if you see anything in the photo and what your feelings may be.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Good Bye Summer

The heat wave in Texas has broken or is at the very least, taking its misery further south. Over the weekend it was 106 and by Monday, it only reached 90. If you don't live in such a place, this may not seem like that big a thing to you, but let me assure you there is a huge difference in those 16 degrees. Like being able to wear one bra all day instead of changing your sweat drenched underclothing three times before dinner. Like being able to totally dry off after your shower and getting dressed before you're all sweaty again. Like contemplating cooking an oven meal instead of another microwaved delight. Like being able to work at your keyboard all day without having to stop and dry off the keys. And this is all living and working in an air conditioned house and rarely venturing outside. Best of all, it means that night time temps will actually start to go below 80 again and we can open the house to the night breeze.

For four whole days in a row, I have not been glistening without the aid of bodyglow gels. My hair has not been a hank of lifeless fiber plastered to my neck. I have been able to get out of a chair without leaving a moist back imprint. I have only used two washcloths a day instead of 6 and there are actually a few clothes to wash this week. When it's so very hot, there's usually not a lot of laundry other than undies and washcloths to do.

We may not be done with the heat for the year. This has been a rough summer. My area usually has about 18 days of 100 plus days. This year, we are at 45 and in all likelihood there will be a few more. I know there are places where it's hotter, my sister lives in one of them. By the grace of all that's good, I never will. This cool week is just what I needed to step back from the brink of heat induced start raving madness. I can feel the heat induced sluggishness leaving my brain and body, inspiring me to do something creative today for first time in many months.

So I am happy on my day off today. I had my breakfast outside at the picnic table...only 85 at 10 this morning! I read my mail. I played with the cat. I heard the summer noises of buzzing coming from the morning glories, several different bird calls,a woodpecker at work, grasshoppers in the grass and the melodies of my favorite chimes. Say good bye summer.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Absolute Write Blog Chain 4

This post is a link within a truly interesting writing exercise called the Absolute Write Blogging Chain. You'll never know where the next link may take you.

When this chain first started, the topics were focused on making the world a better place. I was pretty far down the list, so I had a few days to ruminate on this idea. Then I took a couple of days away from my computer to deal with real life and now it's my turn. The topic has totally changed and I'm staring another true confessional moment in the face.

Atomic Bear, the writer link ahead of me in the chain, has been evaluating his stuff. Stuff? Yeah, all the flotsam and jetsam that we all seem to leave in our wake. Frequent moving is one good way to keep it at a minimum. Well, if you move yourself that is. Nothing like the prospect of lugging all that stuff to make you reconsider its worth.

I have an excuse for all my stuff. It's an inherited genetic defect from my mother's family and I just can't help it. I have managed to keep my stuff more contained than she ever has, but the trait is still there. The house I grew up in had lots in common with a corn maze. My stuff fills bookshelves to overflowing and plastic tubs but there are still wide open spaces, just not too many of them. My stuff has value. I'm sure yours does too.

Last year, my craft room had to become a working office in a very short period of time. My craft interests had changed so I decided to try and sell some of my stuff on eBay. I knew I had lots of rubber stamps and assorted craft items and I really wasn't into stamping anymore so I started there. My estimate at the beginning of the craft room project was that I had about 500 stamps. So I started counting and bagging lots. eBay was very,very good to me over the course of the last year. Of course, it didn't hurt that the stamp count went closer to 2000...yeah, you read that right. A year later, I am almost done selling my stamping supplies. I'm about ready to move into the polyclay and beads.

Now, I am contemplating moving again within a year, so it's time to really reevaluate the stuff. I've already taken boxes and boxes of books to the used bookstore. I've used my local FreeCycle connections to move along some really good stuff. My non-genetically afflicted daughter comes over once in a while to assess my stuff levels and assures me that there is still more stuff that can be parted with. I dunno... maybe I need a recovery group.

Maybe I really am helping to make the world a better place by providing a home for so much stuff. It would be heartbreaking to have to pass some of this stuff on the street each day. Homeless stuff tugs at my heartstrings. Do your part; adopt some stuff today.

The next stop on your journey is Everything Indian, a very cool blog you shouldn't miss.

Want to read more? Here's the entire list of blogs in this round. Enjoy.

Pass the Torch
The Road Less Travelled
Fireflies in the Cloud
Even in a Little Thing
The Secret Government Eggo Project
Curiouser and Curiouser
At Home, Writing
Mad Scientist Matt's Lair
I, Misanthrope - The Dairy of a Dyslexic Writer
Beyond the Great Chimney Production Log
Flying Shoes
Everything Indian
The Hal Spacejock Series
Organized Chaos
Of Chapters and Reels
Just a Small town girl
Midnight Muse
Kappa no He

Saying Goodbye To George

Yesterday was very sad day at my house. It was time to help our boy George go home. If you're not a cat lover you probably won't understand the anguish and pain that accompanies that decision or the huge hole it leaves in your heart.

George was in our lives for 13 years. He adopted my husband and refused to be left behind after several attempts. The day he joined out household, we already had 2 cats and I didn't really think we needed a third, but the tiny black furball with the big purr was too irresistible to turn away. He learned how to ride on my husband's shoulder for fun. My daughter and husband taught him how to patiently wait by your side when you were eating a yummy snack and then gently paw at your hand when you were almost finished. He had a natural talent for turning somersaults. Not just the normal cat behavior of tucking their heads down and flopping on their sides. True somersaults, head down and tail over in a tight ball. As he grew, it was harder for him but he never quit doing them.

This past spring, George developed IBS and started losing weight rapidly. We tried courses of pretensions and antibiotics, he'd seem to be a little better and then relapse. Eventually he was down from his normal weight of 11 pounds to about 5. Nothing was helping and it was time for us to help him.

To the end, George was his inquisitive,trusting self. Purring contentedly, alert and loving. There were lots of tears on which George's soul could float peacefully home.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What's the Soundtrack of Your Soul?

There's been an emptiness and a yearning that I haven't quite been able to identify. For me, this is unusual because I spend a fair amount of time listening with inward ears. At last, it came to me. It's been too quiet in my soul lately.

Music is one of the top five things that I need to survive beyond the physical basics. No, I'm not a musician in the traditional sense. Can't play anything but the cd player. But music is a living thing that stays in my head, vibrates within my cells and keeps me in touch with me. It keeps me from being swallowed into the black hole of depression. It fuels my muse and excites the dormant idea factory. Music has soothed my young lover's aching heart, shown me the light in darkness, expressed political opinion, issued invitations, inspired visions, guided me through mysterious times and mended the unmendable. Some people keep their memories alive with photos, mine are completely indexed by the music I heard.

The main soundtrack of my soul is Crosby,Still, Nash and Young in all their various blendings. My first feelings of my identity, love and independence were underscored by 1970's Deja Vu and their first album, 1969's Crosby Stills Nash. I couldn't even begin to count the hours and events that are tied into these two.

CSNY are touring again this year and reporters say they have defined the soul of a generation and changed the culture. Music has power. It worries me to think of this and then think of the violent and demeaning music so popular today and what will become of the souls who have that as a soundtrack. Teach your children well.

Last night we watched a DVD of a new Neil Young concert, Prairie Wind. He's introspective about his life, like all the rest of us aging hippies. He's passionate, nostalgic, angry and still writing fine tunes.

We'll talk more about music in upcoming days. It's time to find my headphones.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Weekly Tarot - 08/05 - 08/11 6 of Cups

Six of Cups
Universal Waite

You may be on the verge of starting a period of serious work or starting back to school, but this week, it's time to relax and enjoy the simpler pleasures of life. You know the old saying, take time to smell the roses? That's the perfect summary of this week's card. The sixes in the tarot represent completion of a smaller cycle and you've earned the rest. This would be a great week to sneak in a couple of vacation days...days that you don't spend running adult errands!

Indulge in some of your childhood pleasures; go on a picnic, splash in the pool, take the kids to an amusement park or a cool dark movie theater for an afternoon matinee. Revist your fondest memories by organizing your photos in a scrapbook, journal about some of your favorite memories of games and friends from a 10 year old's point of view.

There's always going to be more work to do. You can count on that. What you can't count on is always having enough moments to savor the sweetness of life. Don't let it pass you by.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Weekly Tarot 07/30 to 08/04 - The Fool

The Fool
Universal Waite Tarot

The Fool is the first card of the Major Arcana. It's a significant card whenever it appears, as a sure sign that you are about to embark into unknown territories. The Major Arcana is about the powerful and universal themes that run through our lives. The Fool is the beginning of a new cycle.

The Fool stand on the edge of the precipice, apparently totally unaware and unconcerned that his very next step may send him plunging over the edge. His little faithful dog at his side, the Fool seems oblivious to the danger. But is it really danger that awaits the Fool?

Certainly the outcome is unknown at this snapshot moment. All of the options are still open. Take a step and fall. Glance down and carefully plant your foot in a safe place. Turn around. Stop, play with your dog and contemplate the choices. Or keep your focus on whatever you are watching above your head, and take that next step in trust. What are you focusing on anyway? The choice is yours. The one thing that is certain is that nothing is certain in this moment.

Keep your wits about you this week, aware that something new is absolutely presenting itself. It could be something as simple as a new job that you have been waiting to hear about or it could be as complex as a new dimension being added to a relationship you thought was pretty stable and predictable. Allow yourself to lighten up and playfully roll with the tide, stay open to what may happen. It won't last long.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Summer Fun at Scrap Artist

Well this weekend marks the first anniversary of the ScrapArtist web site. The creative team came up with some really fun challenges and games all bases on a pool party theme. It's apparently a huge hit, because they are experiencing all sorts of server issues.

They have my sympathies. In a former life I worked for a national retailer and we launched a new site design on Thanksgiving weekend. It was so hugely successful that no one had any time with their familes, we were all crazy trying to keep the site up and running! So, hang in there Scrap Artist gals, you've got a loyal and enormous following.

One of the challenges is called Belly Flop...remember this is a pool party... and the idea is to take a less than wonderful photo and make a fun scrapbook page with it anyway. My layout is here. It's intentionally rather child like, no shadows on the layers, etc and yeah, I know the photo is out of focus..that's what makes it a Belly Flop! I just love this photo, focus or not.

Another event in the pool party weekend is the After Splash BBQ. This one is for creating cool recipe cards to eventually go into a group collection. Mine is easy and too good for words.

So since I can't get them uploaded at ScrapArtist right now, I decided to share them here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lemon Honey Barley Water

First, the confession.... I am addicted to Alton Brown's Good Eats on Food TV. There is something about the food/science combo and his quirky personality that keeps me coming back. The goofy visual aids are usually worth the price of admission,too!

Anyway, yesterday the show was on Barley. I've always liked barley and it's truthfully my favorite thing in a big pot of vegetable beef soup. I've never done anything else with it though. Now, Alton advocates buying an expensive German mill to get the barley ground down and that's a little over the top for me. If you've been reading along,you know I'd be buying a new camera if that kind of money flew in my window! So I did some reading today on barley. I am completely amazed at how beneficial this little bitty grain is!

It's loaded with protein,fiber and niacin, seems to be good for all sorts of digestive issues, kidney cleansing, reducing cholesterol, prevents gall stones, helps heart health for menopausal women and diabetics better than oats! Who knew! I also read that drinking barley water can help stimulate the body to burn fat faster and prevent wrinkles.

This recipe for Barley Water is based on the one given by Alton Brown on Good Eats. Doing a search on barley water will show you lots of variations, which I have adapted here. It's suggested that you drink 1 - 2 cups daily to receive health benefits. I'm going to give it a try. Let me know if you do too and lets compare notes.

2 quarts water
1 cup hulled barley
2 lemons
1/4 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
Several slices of fresh ginger

Place the water and barley into a medium saucepan; cover, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Once the barley comes to a boil, decrease the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. While the liquid is cooking, peel the lemons, being careful not to cut into the white pith. Juice the lemons and place the juice along with the peel into a 3-quart pitcher and set aside. Add the cinnamon stick and ginger slices.

After 30 minutes, strain the barley water through a fine mesh strainer into the pitcher. Discard the barley. Add the honey and stir to combine. Refrigerate until chilled. Will keep up to 5 days.

I made this brew with a few changes, no ginger or cinnamon sticks around so I tossed in whole cloves. It's very good. I think I'll make mine just a little less sweet next time and add more spices, maybe some cardamom. It reminds me of cold chai.

And I didn't toss the barley. I mixed the partially cooked and drained barley with a little butter and about a cup of chicken broth. Then I added some italian seasoning and simmed another 20 min until the broth was absorbed. I tossed in some grated parmesan cheese and we had it as a side dish with grilled turkey. Pretty good! Considering the health benefits, I think I'll try to get more barley recipes in our meals.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Ice Cream Heaven

Right now it's 96 F in my kitchen. The AC is on and the landlord says its working perfectly. Right. Even my cats have taken to sleeping in the sink to try and cool off. I think I'll make them some ice cream. Vanilla is their favorite. I have a Doniver ice cream maker that's been chilling in the freezer, waiting for the mercury to peak. I think it's time.

If you like a little creativity with your ice cream, just before you pack it away to harden, swirl in some all fruit preserves or some chocolate chips, cracked toffee or go nuts and add a teaspoon of instant espresso powder.

Try this and see if it doesn't rock your world.

3 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
9 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the half-and-half and the heavy cream into a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about a third of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F.

Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees F or below.

Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.


Weekly Tarot 07/22-07-28 Ace of Wands

The Ace Of Wands
Sharman Casselli Deck

Been feeling a little uninspired lately? Good news! That funk is lifting and you'll be inundated with new ideas or a new outlook on an existing situtation. They've been incubating deep within you and are ready now to launch. This could take the form of a new business venture, a new creative project or something in the spiritual realm. If you're presented with an opportunity that interests you but seems a little out of your comfort zone, go for it! You'll be surprised at what you learn about yourself.

It's important that you pay attention to your intuition, learning to hear your spirit will help you to maintain your passion for your life. When you lose touch with your inner spirit, you lose focus, ambition and fire which leaves you feeling stuck, bored and frustrated with your job, your relationship and you life. Once you learn to listen, you'll be able to know when to take that leap of faith and when to let it pass.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sticky Buns for Breakfast

My family members know that I am an excellent baker with one huge exception. I can sometimes get the bread machine to cooperate, but usually, if something calls for yeast, you'd be better of buying it at Wal-Mart. Really. This recipe is the one exception. I have made hundreds of batches of these sticky buns. In the early 1980's, I had a toddler at home and supplemented our family income with these gooey treats. I woke up thinking about them this morning and finally found my recipe! Guess what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow!

Diamond Walnut Sticky Buns

1 pkg active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup boiling hot milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flout
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sprinkle yeast over warm water, let stand 5 min to soften. Meanwhile, stir hot milk, 1/4 cup sugar , shortening and salt together. When lukewarm, add egg, 1 1/2 cups flour, lemon peel, ginger and yeast. Beat on a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup flour to make moderately soft dough. Knead a few seconds to smooth out and round up dough. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled,1 to 1-1/2 hours. Prepare Walnut Pan coat.

When dough has risen, turn out onto floured board, roll out to an 8 x 12 inch rectangle. Spread with butter, sprinkle with 1/2 cup walnuts and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar mixed with cinnamon. Roll tightly, starting from long side of dough. Cut in 1 inch slices. Arrange cut side down in prepared pan, placing 3 rolls in center, 9 around edges. Let rise until doubled, approx 40-50 min. Bake at 375 F about 25 min until browned and baked through. Loosen edges. Invert over plate. Let pan rest on rolls 1 min so syrup drains. Serve warm. Makes 12 rolls.

Walnut Pan Coat
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon dark corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar, syrup and water. Stir over moderate heat until mixture reaches simmering and sugar dissolves. Turn into a 9 inch layer cake pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup large walnut pieces.

This recipe was published in 1980 in women's magazines as a Diamond Walnut advertisement.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

AW BLog Chain 3 - Confessions of a Geek Girl

This post is another link in the Absolute Write Blogger Chain,round 3. Here's the entry before mine, if you'd like to catch up.

Today we seem to be talking about our geeky-ness. At one time, I was a totally spoiled geek girl and if something was new, cool or beta, I had it. My husband was more than happy to indulge me as it was a real toss up as to who was the bigger geek. I always got the new shiny toy and he took the hand me downs. Being a geek early adopter has its drawbacks; new toys are always expensive and sometimes the initial offering of software isn't as awesome as rev 2 or 3. Another drawback is that once you buy something, it is impossible to, gasp, throw it out so you will end up with boxes and boxes of cables, cards and god knows what. I am also of an artistic mind and my biggest indulgences were graphics programs, scanners and cameras.

Case in point, digital cameras were new and incredibly sexy in 1997. My first camera shot an unbelievable 1 megapixel and was*only* $800. It was an Olympus and I was thrilled. It was silver, cool and pretty heavy. I took pictures of everything and thought I had bought my last camera. Ok, so the printed picture wasn't much, but we could see them on the computer and that was good. Before too long, it started seeming like an antiquated dinosaur as newer models came out that were smaller, lighter and has more features. Time to go shopping.

Camera 2, was a Sony Mavica. Ok, so I didn't get the light small version of my dreams, but it had FLOPPIES! I know, you're shaking your head on that one, but at the time it seemed like the perfect answer to taking lots and lots of pictures. Memory sticks were very new and very,very expensive. Floppies were cheap and no one knew that they have a nasty habit of self destructing in such a short time. Besides, we had a 4x CD burner and I could burn my pictures off on a CD. The theory worked well, we took it on a month long vacation, took thousands of pictures that archived nicely. At 2 megapixels it took a much better picture, had a great zoom,printed pictures were nice and now I was really convinved I'd bought my last camera.

Except, about 2 months after we bought the Mavica, the first 3 megapixel cameras were on the scene. They were beautiful, small, sleek and had totally jaw dropping features and quality for...get this... under $200. I shoved thoughts of the temptresses to the back of the closet and resisted for a full 3 years. One day, it became too much for me. I'd lost my job, I had a little severence cash and a new Cybershot Sony soothed my wounded pride.

My days of spoiled geek girl seem to be temporarily on hold. The job loss thing has really gotten in the way of being an early adopter. Like a smoker going cold turkey, I've stopped watching TechTV, going straight for the CompUSA ad in the Sunday paper and never, ever open the Dell mailers that they keep sending me. Lovely shrinkwrapped boxes of upgraded Photoshop call to me from time to time and I still lust after the newest goodies, escpecially a Canon Rebel XT, but hey, I really can do everything I want with the camera I have. Can't I?

If you're enjoying the randomness of this AW Blog Chain, keep reading...and comment, please. We all love an audience. Next up is Southern Expressions.

AW Blog Chain Round 3

Friday, July 14, 2006

Altered Playing Card for Arthur

Here it is a week later and I still have Sir Arthur on my mind with those fairies! This card was done in response to an altered playing card challange at Scrap Artist. My original idea was to recreate an "Authors" game card, like the card game I played so often as a child, but I couldn't find a good image to use. So I went with a regular playing card and tinkered with the fairies again.

His book about the Cottingley Fairies is entitled The Coming of Fairies and is readable online if you're looking for some summer amusement.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Witch of Pungo Exonerated

Grace Sherwood, The Witch Of Pungo

I read about the Witch of Pungo for the first time when I was in the 5th grade. Eventually, my life took me to Virginia Beach, where I lived not far from the area known as Pungo. When I became a HypnoBirthing practitioner, something in my brain ressurected her story for me as a midwife/healer who faced the witch hunt mentality and lost.

Grace is in the news again; this week she was officially exonerated by the state of Virginia and a statute will be commerate her memory. 300 years to get the record straight.

The Witchcraft case of Grace Sherwood is one of the best known in Virginia. She was accused of bewitching a neighbor's crop in 1698. Allegations grew over time until the Princess Anne County Government and her accusers decided she would be tested by ducking, since water was considered pure and would not permit a witch to sink into its depths.

Sherwood's accusers on July 10th, 1706, at ten of the clock, tied her thumbs to big toes, cross-bound, and dropped her into the Western Branch of the Lynnhaven River near what is now known as Witchduck Point. Sherwood floated, a sign of guilt. She was imprisoned, but was eventually released.

Sherwood lived the rest of her life quietly and died in 1740. Was she really a witch or was Grace a woman before her time? She was a healer, a midwife and a friend to the children and animals. On the 300th Anniversary of her conviction, Grace Sherwood's name will finally be cleared and her statue will be unveiled.

On July 10, 2006, Grace Sherwood, Virginia's only convicted witch, will be exonerated by the Vestry of Old Donation Church on the original site of the Second Princess Anne Courthouse, where her trial took place in 1706. The Vestry of the Lynnhaven Parish, present day Old Donation Church, condemned her so many years ago, and will now reverse their three centuries old decision and clear her name.

Thanks to Carol's House for the drawing.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Arthur Conan Doyle & Fairies

This is a picture of the infamous Cottingley Fairies, supposedly the first actualy photographic evidence of fairies. In 1920, Arthur Conan Doyle received word of these photographs and became convinced that they were genuine. Even after they were exposed as a delightful fraud by two creative teenagers, he continued to believe in their authenticity. Gotta wonder how any thinking person could have been taken in by this, but thousands were. It was an enormous hot topic in it's day. Today, the media frenzy would probably have been comprable to anything involving Paris Hilton.

Arthur Conan Doyle became a dedicated Spiritualist in 1916 and remained so until his death in 1930. He was an enthusiastic researcher and wrote 13 books on Spiritualism related material in the last years of his life. At one point, he began publishing his own works under the Psychic Press publishing house name. His beliefs could not be shaken and he was going to be published one way or the other! Of course, it didn't hurt that he was the world's most successful author at the time and had time, money and celebrity on his side. He approached Spiritualism as an investigator, working endlessly to advance the cause. In his first book on Spiritualism, he says

I seemed suddenly to see that this subject with which I had so long dallied was not merely a study of a force outside the rules of science, but that it really was a tremendous, a breaking down of the walls between the two worlds, a direct undeniable message from beyond, a call of hope and guidance to the human race...

Doyle has contributed enormous amounts of literature to the Spiritualism religion. I'm fortunate enough to own a first edition set of his 2 volume History of Spiritualism. His writing, although a little antiquated by today's standards, is still interesting and compelling. If you're interested in checking this out for yourself, it has been put online at the Spiritwritings.com site. His abiding belief in the fairies aside, Doyle gives us a great deal to think about.

He was frequently challenged by famous psychic investigators and debunkers, Harry Houdini and Harry Price, but he never gave up on some of his convictions, especially regarding spirit photography. I have lots more to say on the spirit photography topic and other physical manifestations, but that's for another day. Today, July 7, 2006 is the 76th anniversery of Arthur Conan Doyle's death, and I'll show a little respect. Everyone gets to have an eccentric side as far as I'm concerned.


Friday, June 30, 2006

Calling All Angels

Calling all angels
Calling all angels
Walk me through this one
Don't leave me alone

Calling all angels
Calling all angels
We're tryin', we're hopin'
But we're not sure how this goes.

I heard this long first on Six Feet Under last year. It's stayed in my head and today refuses to not be heard. As the song was sung by the characters on Six Feet Under it was poingnant and raw. This version is absolutely smooth as silk and no less powerful.

Whoever you are, reading this blog today, maybe you need to hear this song too. It's comforting and uplifting and truly beautiful. The artist, Jane Siberry, has made it available as a free download from her store. Go listen.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Inside the room of your soul

I saw this fun thing on another blog somewhere, I don't know what the heck the photo is all about, but it's a fun blogthing anyway. Eerily, relatively true!

What Your Soul Really Looks Like

You are a wanderer. You constantly long for a new adventure, challenge, or eve a completely different life.

You are a grounded person, but you also leave room for imagination and dreams. You feet may be on the ground, but you're head is in the clouds.

You believe that people see you for how you are, not how you look. But deep down, you know that's not exactly true.

Your near future is all about change, but in very small steps. The end of the journey looks far, but it's much closer than you realize.

For you, love is all about caring and comfort. You couldn't fall in love with someone you didn't trust.

Weekly Tarot - 06/24 - 06/30 - King of Cups

King of Cups
Sharman- Casselli Tarot

This weeks influencing card is the King of Cups. This King represents an opportunity to successfully take a risk on something that resonates emotionally or spiritually within you. He represents an awareness of an wise advisor who will serve as your guide if only you ask. He won't volunteer, but he is always there, waiting to be asked.

This King could be a person in your life whom you trust for advice. He's experienced in the world and is your rock. Always showing you the way by example, not lecture, in quiet assuredness. He may be an older male figure, a spiritual leader or an educator. He is deeply concerned with humanity and feels all the sorrows as well as the joys, but he keeps his distance and that allows him to make wiser judgments. He's a romantic, restless, an idealist and often, a dreamer visionary.

Within yourself you also have this king as an inner advisor, waiting patiently for you to call on him. He watches and waits, often giving you a small hint of his presence in unexpected insights or inspirations. Remember one of those genius thoughts you had and then let slip away? Try remembering next time and let this wise King begin to speak. Your inner self has connetions to all the wisdom of the universe and wants nothing more than to help you be enormously successful in your spiritual and emotional lives.

Give yourself permission this week to spend a few moments quietly allowing that wisdom to come to your consciousness. Consult with a trusted ally on the questions in your life. Look to your dreams to give you ideas about how to solve a dilemma or enhance an already positive situtiation. This King can guide or teach you by example, not words, how to become more compassionate, patient, and calm to fully commit emotionally to your goals or ideals. It's time to move forward with something you have been mulling over for a long time. No dream ever became reality without mature commitment and passion, all gifts this King brings.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


This post is a part of the Absolute Write Blog Chain, Round 2. I am following Peregrinas, which is always an interesting read. In fact, all the blogs in the chain are . I hope you'll spend a lazy afternoon wandering through the chain.

Anyway, from the blog ahead of me I was intrigued with the idea of names. Probably because I have an unusual given name, Wendelynn. Until the past years of the Internet explosion, I had never come across another Wendelynn. Even in the early days of the Net, I was pretty alone. Today if you Google the name, you get 618 entries, many of them are me but there are really lots of Wendelynn's in the universe.

My version of Wendelynn came about because I am a first child and my father is Wendell. The story goes that there was a weather girl that one of my parents especially enjoyed on TV and her name was Lynn. So I am named for an unknown TV weather broadcaster in Lincoln,NE and my dad. That's a funny combination. Oh, by the way, it's pronounced Wen-Duh- Lynn, not Wendy- Lynn and no one in my family ever called me by it. My dad was always called Wendy and I became Wendy Jo, finally an acknowledgement of my mother's contribution to my full name!

One day I came across this great numerology site with thousands of names in their database, but no Wendelynn. I sent them an email and they calculated my name. The opening sentence of the report on my full given name was "This is a name that should never be given to anyone?"

I usually go by Wendy, always feeling that Wendelynn was too intimidating. Just this last year or so, as I turned 50, have I become comfortable with it as a name. Wendy is an interesting one too, most people thinking that J.M.Barrie made it up for Peter Pan. Not so, says another Wendy.

You'd think that having grown up with an unusual name would have led me to naming my own child something unremarkable like Ann, Jane or Cathy. Unfortunately, the unusual name thing must have a magnetic pull on me. My first choice for my daughter's name was Cyan, after the color. My husband lived in fear that I actually was going to insist on that! We actually named our daughter Kira, after an unforgettable heroine in Ayn Rand's We The Living.

She has carried on the naming quirk too, having named one of her furry catkids, Turtle!

How do you feel about your name? Does it suit your personality? Have you ever seriously wanted a different name but still use your given name? Do you know how your own name was chosen?

Next up in the chain is Madderblue. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Scrapping The Past

I've been working on a themed digital
scrapbook project at the Digital Scrapbook Place. It's a multiweek project utilizing primarily one set of design kits to create an album. The colors are soft pinks and greens, they just screamed wedding to me!

This is my grandparents wedding picture. Their names are Clara Tollman and Archie Anderson, Married in 1932.

I tinted the photo to blend with the overall scheme and recolored a couple of other elements for the look I wanted. Full credits are on the gallery page at DSP if you see something you just have to have for yourself!

The wedding photo is the second page in the series for me, but when I assemble the album it will probably end up to be page 3 or 4.

Here's a page that will come after the wedding one. This is a picture of Clara & Archie's first daughter, my mother at age 2, I think! This one has the state of Nebraska incorporated and the little pearl indicates where they were living in 1936. I wish the focus was closer to her face, but I'm guessing it was a very basic camera and people always stand too far away when they take pictures, even today.

I'm enjoying the challenge of using the same elements repeatedly to create something new each week. If I can find a wedding photo of my mom & dad, I'll do a page for them in this series. My own wedding anniversary is this week, I think I'll do a page for myself too.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tag, You're It -AW Blog Chain

So, I've been reading all the blogs in the chain this week, wondering what on earth the topic was going to be like when it got around to me, the last player. My task is to relate this rambling to the previous post by Chaos and also the the very first post by Towerkel. All the prior writers had done a really good job, but I was sweating it a little with the 2 posts in play. At last, I got the Tag, you're it notice.

I should have this much luck in all the other areas in my life! Yippee!! I'm doing the Snoopy happy dance about this combination. You see, I have the soul of a gypsy and there is not much I love more than taking road trips. Get in the car and just go.

Chaos tells us about trips with her father and seeing her first oil rig in Oklahoma. I've been through lots of flat, brown places too with lovely, but deceiving names like the Painted Desert. After a while you'll stop at anything, even a huge meteor crator in the middle of nowhere, just to see something that's not flat. It was still rocks and brown, but it wasn't flat! We found the crater almost by accident as we were leaving Winslow, AZ, which had been the focus of that day's mileage. How could a die hard Eagles fan be in AZ not go to Winslow? By the way, do not blink or you will totally miss it. The rest of that trip for another day.

So how does the oil rig get into this story? Well, I saw my first oil rigs in Oklahoma, just like Chaos. It was on a trip which originated in Odell, NE and ended up in Mineral Wells, TX. There is a whole bunch of nothing between the two places, but you will see some oil rigs as you pass through OK. Everytime I see a tall one, I can't help but think of the Beverly Hillbillies. I am a child of the 60's, after all. They should remind me of my grandfather, whose life was dramatically changed after an oil rig accident in the 1920's or even of the ultimate Texas oil movie, Giant. But Hillbillies it is.

I have a new association with oil rigs now. Since I have lived in TX, they aren't so unusual. I was unaware of the distincitve noise that can be associated with them until one night on my first cemetery after dark ghost hunt. No one told me there was an oil rig pumper jack near by and the noise, coming out of the total darkness, really freaked me out!

I'll bet you're wondering how this is going to end up back at Towerkels blog entry, about Dunkin Donuts and MA? I'm getting there. It really is a small world, and this blog project is so much like a PBS show of the past, Connections.

Here goes.... I was in the noisy haunted cemetery with Blue Texas, who is a AW writer and my daughter. She led me to AW where I have joined the blog chain. The blog chain started with a post about Dunkin Donuts being everywhere, which they are in New England but not in Texas, and about drivers in MA. I grew up in southern CT, lived in NH and commuted to Lowell MA for a number of years. I can testify first hand that MA drivers are the absolute worst in the US. And that Dunkin Donuts will beat Krispy Kreme every time, especially when you get a DD cup of coffee, which by the way, in MA will be with cream unless you specify otherwise. And to get right to the point, cause you've all been bored long enough now, yesterday I was working on my digital scrapbook project, and came across some photos of The Kid sitting in front of the famous seafarers statue in Glouseter... you guessed it, MA.

And that is how this blog entry completes the circle.

AW Blog Chain

At the Absolute Write forum, we're having a bit of summer fun with a blogging circle. It's the internet version of the telephone game, where one person writes a post, the next one incorporates one element of that blog post into their own, and it continues on.

I'm the last on this round, so not only do I include something from the previous blog, I have to bring it on home by touching on something in the very first blog. That should be interesting!

Here's the players in round 1. Pay a visit and leave a comment. It's a great way to while away the afternoon...day....week.

Blue Texas
Forbidden Snowflake
XThe NavigatorX

Monday, June 12, 2006

Envelope Art

At Scrap Artist last week, the altered art challenge was envelopes. How could I resist? I am a long time altered artist, long before the art form had that name, I was doing it as Mail Art and before that as a kid, I was just totally incapable of mailing a naked envelope.

I did three envelopes and keep having ideas for more, but I'll move to the next challenge along with the group. This week it's tags. I've never done a tag, so we'll see what happens. The Imagination envelope is called DaVinci Meets Einstein, as the quote is Albert's and there is a definite DaVinci inspiration going on here.

The envelope to the above is called Mystery Mail. I've wanted to do something arty with a Ouija board for a while, and this is what came out. I think my favorite part is the letters floating in the background and the first line of the address...Whispers in your heart...makes me feel like there are spirit whisperings that maybe I'll hear one day.

The theme was envelopes and I did an ATC on the theme too. These are all real Civil War images that I "borrowed" from Civil War antiquities sites. Ever since I first heard it on Ken Burn's Civil War for PBS, I carry the Sullivan Ballou letter in my heart and it keeps popping into my art, as it did here, inspiring this piece. Not an altered envelope, but envelopes just the same.

It's been a pretty stressful week for me, lots of difficult family things happening that are out of my control at this point. I'm going to have to deal with the issues soon and it's not going to be easy. I read a book once about Vincent Van Gogh by Irving Wallace. One of the themes, heck maybe it was even spelled out in the book!, is remembered by me as " out of pain, beauty". I always find when something is very difficult in my life, my creative side explodes! I guess that's happening this week too.

Want to see more of my art?

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Weekly Tarot 06/10 - 06/16 : Ten of Wands

Ten of Wands
Hanson Roberts Tarot

Been a rough couple of weeks hasn't it? Feeling like you've been carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders and it's getting heavier all the time? That's the feeling of the Ten of Wands. Too much to do, too many decisions to make, too many things on your "To Do" list and you are the lynch pin holding everything together.

Whoa.... sweetie, you'd better lay down some of those wands and take a step back. See that fairy tale castle in the distance, you are never going to reach it if you continute to let yourself be the only one shouldering the load. Yes, you do have to keep going, and yes, everything is important, but you have to remember to take care of yourself as well as taking care of everyone and everything else.

Have you ever wondered why flight attendants say that if you are travelling with a small child, put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then tend to the child? It's the same thing this card is telling you..... you can't perform at your best for anyone else unless you are at 100%. So whether it's making sure you can breathe so you can help the child or making sure you stay strong and healthy so you can take care of all the other things clamoring for your attention, this card it telling you to evaluate your priorities!

Not staying sane about what you can or can't do, how much of the burden you can reasonably carry alone will lead you to overeating, depression, substance abuse, anxiety and all sorts of other stress realted issues. So, take some time this week just for you. Decide where you really need to put your focus and ask for help to manage the rest. Go watch a movie!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Help Keep The Internet Free & Open

Please visit this site and contact your Congress people to urge them to oppose current legislation allowing large cable and phone companies to control the Internet and our access to it.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Emily Dickinson Hope

Emily Dickinson has been my favorite poet since high school. I dreamed this card last night. I think it was a Spirit inspired message to me in answer to something I have been struggling with recently. So, here it is for you to see....maybe it's speaking to you too.

The format is called an ATC or artist trading card. They are all the rage now in the collage/altered art world. Small little playing card pieces of beauty to share. Most do thiers with real paper and glue; I play digitally.

I have only used part of the first stanza. If you don't know this poem, here it is. It's titled "Hope".

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune -- without the words
And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land.
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

If you'd like to see more of my work, visit this gallery.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Princess of Power

This little girl is about to turn 29 this year. She was 9 in this picture and it was the era of She-ra, Princess of Power! She- ra dominated our living room for a long time...she lived in a huge pink castle and had several equally powerful girlfriends that lived with her and they all had tons of stuff! If my own Princess of Power was not playing with the castle, she was running around being She-ra or watching the cartoon on tv.

I think we're all Princess' of Power at 9 years old. It's an exciting time of confidence and vision for a young girl. It's one of the most magical years in childhood; if you look closely at a 9 year old, you can see glimpses of the adult they will become. This princess was already writing poems and little books. Dreaming up complex stories of other lives. Reading everything she could get her hands on. Loving her pets almost more than herself. Helpful, loving and fiercely independent at the same time. Completely outraged by anything she judged unfair. Totally empowered to be herself.

The real trick in life, is to keep that Princess of Power alive. She has.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Absolute Write & Freedom of Speech?

I'm a relatively new member at the Absolute Write forums . After searching for a good solid writing resource, I discovered the intelligent, sharing writers at AW. One of the hallmarks of AW is its commitment to helping new writers avoid fraud - an invaluable service, and one that’s working. It's already saved me hundreds of dollars by helping me make wiser choices in workshops and training.

The forums disappeared last night, and I’m assured they will be back soon. In the meantime, check out what Teresa at Making Light has to say about it.

It’s all about how an agent, Barbara Bauer, got upset about being listed #3 on the 20 Worst Agents List at Writer Beware. Barbara Bauer called the hosting company for AW, and scared them, so the hosting company panicked.

Be supportive, bloggers, and check out Dawno’s call.

Until the forums are back up, we’re gathering here: http://www.starchat.net/chat/?chan=absolutewrite

More blogs getting the word out:

Monday, May 22, 2006

May You Be Blessed Movie

I am not an overtly religious person but I deeply believe in the power of spirit. If you are in need of a short time out from the Internet and would like to focus on spirit for just about 5 minutes, this movie is just what you need!


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Weekly Tarot 05/20- 05/26: The Moon

The Moon
Universal Waite Tarot

Ah the moon...the inconstant moon...what does she have to tell us? Interestingly, in the Tarot, the Moon is usually an indicator of something not quite nice going on in the shadows. It's a very emotional card and often read as someone keeping secrets or deceiving oursleves.

I see it more as a card of intuition, calling us to look inside and find the answer. Time to allow a situitation to fully play out as it should. You can safely stand in the shadows and be an observer, there is no reason to force action. Things may not be exactly as they first seem and your first reaction may not be the correct one. Trust your instincts when this card is present. You may find your answer in dreams this week. Remeber that every one involved in an event has their own perspective and goals.

If there is life changing event or decision facing you, don't act on it this week if you can avoid it. All the facts aren't in the open yet. In your heart you feel it, but your head may be pushing you to action. Resist that urge. Take some time to do some personal journaling about what is at hand. You'll find your own path in your own time.

The Coming of Wisdom With Time

The Coming of Wisdom With Time
William Bultler Yeats , 1910

Though leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

George Goes Big Time

Meet George. At almost 13, he's our second oldest cat kid. He was roaming around a Georgia Pacific paper mill and adopted my husband. George was just a tiny little guy when we got him. He's pretty sick now, hopefully it's just something that we can manage and he'll hang in there for several more years. It's really too soon to tell.

Last week the vet's assistant took this great shot of George and sent me a copy. Of course, I had to play with it! It was alot of fun and now I may just have to make covers of all the other cat kids. There are 7, in all... just like the dwarves... Secret, George, Frannie, Shadow, Gizmo, Luna and Molly. Not a one of them was chosen by us, they all came into our lives and refused to leave. I think our home has always had a glaring neon sign that only cats can see that says...PUSHOVERS .... in bright pink!

Secret and Frannie should have gone to live with daughter when she moved out, Secret was hers and Frannie came with an ex boyfriend. Molly came with the house we live in now. Shadow was about to be sent to the pound by a co-worker, Gizmo limped or crawled out of a garbage can in the middle of the night,scaring my son-in-law; Giz had been very abused, and Luna, who is the baby, followed daughter home from a walk and was only suppose to be in my house for a week or so. She was also in bad heath, and I'm a good cat nurse. Three years later, she's still here!

Once upon a time, my husband and I thought we'd join the ranks of empty nesters and get in an RV and see the world. Empty nesters? Hah!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Weekly Tarot 05/13 - 5/19 : 5 of Pentacles

5 of Pentacles
Spiral Tarot

This is a huge learning week. You may be struggling with your finances, housing situation or health and searching for the easy fix to the problem. Do you really believe the hype about that instant miracle? Really? I didn't think so. This is the week to really examine your heart and mind. Sure, it's easier to abdicate your responsibilities, allow the events to just play out, then you can blame someone else for your suffering. If you continually put off decisions, you will always find yourself wallowing in someone else's mess. Watch out for that pity party you like to throw yourself; it could become a way of life.

I know this sounds harsh. It is. Life can be unforgiving and hard. It's tempting to be seduced by get rich quick schemes and the promise of the easy fix. Sometimes, those solutions appear to be on the horizon, but they seldom materialize.

Why not take this opportunity to finally take some control of your own life? Ask for help from a trusted source and weigh both pros and cons of the situation. Have you been faced with this before? How did you handle it? How did it work out? Do you really want to keep repeating the same mistakes? What can you learn from that lesson to help you choose more wisely this time around? What have you learned from other aspects of your life that you can apply?

Remember that you always have the power within yourself to create change. Always. Make your own choice.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Weekly Tarot 05/06 - 05/12: 9 of Swords

9 of Swords
Merry Day Tarot

My, doesn't she look unhappy. Well, maybe not totally unhappy, but contemplative for sure. Things haven't turned out exactly as she had planned and now she thinks she know what the outcome will really be. Is she preparing for the real outcome, or is she living in her head too much and superimposing her fears on the situtation?

Whatever the reality may be, there is a definite sense of vulnerability and loss with this card. I also sense responsibility and burden as a part of the message. Notice the tear running down her cheek? Maybe she is remembering situations that could have turned out differently had she only made other choices. Living in the past so she doesn't have to see the present maybe?

The Merry Day tarot, designed by Lousia Poole interprets this card much differently than a traditional style tarot. In this deck, the numerological influence of the number 9 combined with the suite association, swords = air = mental activity, thoughts, communications and truth, is the overwhelming message. The card has even been labeled Clairvoyance.

More traditionally designed tarot decks often show this card with a woman sitting up in bed, holding her head in her hands with the 9 swords pointing at her. Classic thoughts on this card include nightmares, insomnia, migraine headaches and deep depression. Definitely a different focus than the Merry Day one, but today we are working with Merry Day, so here goes!

What does this all mean for this coming week? Evaluate situations that come up this week not only with your logical mind but with your intuitive mind as well. Making decisions based only on one thought pattern may not be in your best interest. It may at times feel like an overwhelming burden to just carry on, but but try not to allow yourself to become too bogged down in that. You are nearing the end of a cycle and will soon see it's resolution and have new choices to make.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Birds at my feeder

It's been a busy week at the bird feeder. This little guy is a Painted Bunting. I haven't been able to get my own photo, so I've borrowed this one from Cornell. They have a great birding site. The bunting has been at the feeder now several times for the last three days. He's a lone feeder and won't tolerate other birds landing while he's eating.

There's been another dove species that's found us this week too, the White Winged Dove. It's larger than the Mourning Dove and smaller than the Eurasian Ring Neck Dove, which I still can't get a picture of! I am on a mission for the Bunting and the Dove photos. Swallows have also moved in next door, the third year they have nested in the neighbors carport. They are interesting to watch as they swoop through the sky. We also have ScissoredTail Flycatchers who have come back into the area for the summer. I'm hoping to catch one of them too with my camera one of these days, they are so unique.

Bird watching....I must be getting old.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Weekly Tarot 04/29-05/05 6 of Swords

6 of Swords
Sharman-Caselli Deck

This is a brand new deck for me. I really like it's interpetation on the traditional Rider Waite, the colors and art really appeal to me. Let's see how it reads.

The couple in the boat look ravaged and tired. They've been through the wringer and whatever is waiting on the other side of the river has got to be better than what they've already been through. They are leaving the rough seas behind them and it looks like clear sailing ahead. Sixes always represent a state of balance, harmony, and the suite of Swords is concerned with our mental state. There's been a great deal of mental stress, tension and quite possibly even depression for these folks, but now they are at last free to move beyond that, releasing the negativity.

Look for situtations that have appeared stagnant and insurmountable to break loose this week. There'll be movement toward a better, more secure future. You'll not want to completely forget your past lessons ( you don't want to repeat them!) but you no longer are tied to them. Very possibly, this transition has forced you to leave something behind that you once valued, but you will find that you don't miss it. Something is changing in your world for the better. This could be something as simple as rearranging your furniture for a new look or it could literally involved moving or taking a trip. Don't get too bogged down in the packing.

Friday, April 28, 2006

3 of Cups Manifested

Last Saturday when I drew the 3 of Cups for the week, there were several irons in the fire and I was happy with the draw, expecting them to turn out well. There were 3 things in particular that I had in mind. One was a change of job situtation for me. It was in the bag. I was all excited. Then at the last minute, something changed and I chose to decline the offer. Bummed out most of the week. Then the second thing didn't come through. Two strikes on the tarot playing field.

But, as the week ends, some really good things have happened this week. An greatly anticipated event in my daughter's life is about to become reality. I don't know who's more excited me or her! A fantastic out of the blue event occurred when one of my two sisters discovered a previously unknown photo album of our ancestors, tracked it down and now has learned that she will be able to acquire the album. In a beautiful twist of fate, the whole adventure of the album actually began almost 5 years ago when my other sister ( sister 2 ) posted on a genealogy board. Her question was just a nonevent in cyberspace until somehow Sister 1 came across it this week. The album had already been sold and we were thrilled to just have scans of the photos. More than just the photos, this event has given us a chance to rekindle our friendships.

Oh, and tonight just at twilight, I saw the most beautiful bird at my feeder. A Painted Bunting! Hope he comes back for a photo op! So, this really has been a great 3 of Cups week.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Weekly Tarot 04/22-04/28: 3 of Cups

3 of Cups
Universal Waite

The planning and scheming is done and now it's time to celebrate! You may find yourself with invitations to family parties, bridal showers, baby showers or reunions this week. It been said that all hearts come home at Christmas, well they also come home for many other family events. It may not be your literal family that is rejoicing a triumph this week, it can also be your family of choice - those friends nearest and dearest to you. Your college roommate may have good news to share, someone from your church family. Plans you've been working on with someone else are falling into place. Look for happiness and a festive air to be present wherever your true heart lies.

If you've been distracted or a bit depressed lately, you'll notice that easing a bit. You'll find yourself better able to look outside yourself to brighten your spirits. You may even find an opportunity to help someone else who has been struggling. Take inspiration in music and the return of spring. If you haven't listened to your favorite songs in a while, do it this week. You will be amazed at how energized you'll feel!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Exciting news today! I was accepted into the allinfoabout network to develop a tarot site. I'll bask in the glow today for a few hours and then the hard work begins. I've been enraptured by tarot for 30 years, student, reader, teacher and now I can write about it and share my passion with even more people.

My card of the day today is the 2 of Cups from the Universal Waite tarot. This is the true card of the Lovers. So many people confuse the major arcana Lovers with the true intent of this card. The major arcana Lovers is about choices. The 2 of Cups is about commitment, renewed relationships, understanding the underlying causes of events and a decision to be cooperative. It's not about the wild hormone rush of a teen age romance in your life. 2 of Cups is acknowleding the long term passions that keep the creative and romantic fires going in your life.

This card is also about trust and compassion between friends and within yourself. It's a good card for starting a new creative professional realtionship.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Weekly Tarot - 04/15-21: Art

Voyager Tarot
Major Arcana IV - Art

In traditional tarot, this card is known as Temperence, which has a lot to do with the alchemy of creation. This has always been the most challenging card in the tarot to me. Voyager is my favorite deck to work with.

Art is represented by the Greek goddess Athena, the patroness of the arts. You may know Athena also for her intelligence, fierce loyalty and clear vision. Art and creativity serve to remind us that we are the ultimate creative force in our own lives. Our ideas, visions, dreams, emotions are all manifest into the physical by what we do with them. The lightening strike of inspiration is present at times for us all, if we do not close our eyes at the brightness.

Sometimes it seems as though our lives are like unraveling sweaters and nothing we can do will stop the rows and stitches from coming apart. Sometimes, all we are left with is a pool of tears or the fragments of something we've held too tightly. These are the time when we can become most magical, most creative and most in charge, by taking the pieces of what was and creating them into something totally new and our own. Choosing to recognize that nothing is static in this life and that we can be constantly and actively recreating our own reality...that is the real secret to living a creative and fulfilling life.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Number 9 & Tarot

You Are The Star

You represent the ultimate in truth and purity.
Insightful and illuminating, you provide guidance for others.
You also demonstrate unselfish, unconditional love.
You posses many spiritual gifts, including the ability to heal.

Your fortune:

Your future is looking brighter by the day.
The near future will be a time of both hope and healing.
Luck is about to come your way, perhaps the best luck you have ever seen.
Life is about to get a lot easier and much better!

What Tarot Card Are You?

Here's something fun, based on who knows what. All you do at this site is enter your name and you get your card. No silly quiz. I like quizzes. At first I thought it might be related to numerology, but it isn't. Calculating out my first name only, which is what I entered into the tarot thing, I am a 9... and that's not the Star. Nine in tarot's major arcana is the Hermit. I think 9 fits me pretty well.

Here's what I found about a 9 name at the
Numerology Guide.

Traits:generalist, multi-talented, teacher HUMANITARIAN, healer, artist, old-soul, actor

The number 9 symbolizes the principle of a universal philosophy or consciousness. It is the dreamer, and feels at home in the realm of the arts, medicine, religion, drama, and philosophy and metaphysics. It is a healer and educator, acting always for the benefit of others. The 9 looks for solutions from the inspirational, intuitive, and creative worlds. Its energy is loving, compassionate, diffuse, and global.

Gifts: Understanding, communicating, influencing

Challenges: Drifting, tolerance, losing focus, bad habits

Personal Goal: To make an impact in a big way; expansion

Fears: Restriction of any kind, losing control of emotions

Succeeds as: Minister, occultist, health/body worker, counselor, artist/craftsperson, world/community leader

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Personal Archeology Meme

1. Do you have a picture of yourself as an infant, toddler or youngster in your own scrapbook, picture album or shoebox? If so, how old were you? What where you doing?

Here's my Grandma Opal and me. It looks like a three candles on the cake. She would have had to be visiting us in CT from her home in NE. I recognize the background as Navy housing.

2. What is the oldest piece of clothing you have in your closet. What is it? Do you wear it or just keep it for sentimental purposes, or because you haven’t had time to give it away yet?

The oldest clothing I have stashed is more accessory than clothing. It's my Girl Scout badge sash, hat and patrol cords. I was a superscout. I'll never have anyone to give it to but I just can't bear to part with it. It represents the best of my childhood.

3. Do you have any souvenirs? If so, what is the oldest one, where is it from and how did you come to have it?

How can you not have souvenirs? Can't even imagine that. I have a couple of high schoolnotes that my 2 best girlfriends and I use to pass each other. We had made up names, in case we ever got caught. I was Cassandra. They were Josette and Junie.

4. Do you have an appliance, utensil, dish, glass, platter, etc., or cooking implement in the kitchen that you got from a relative when you moved away from home? What is it and who gave it to you?

Yes, measuring cups that I got from my Girl Scout leader at a bridal shower.

5. What’s the oldest thing in your medicine cabinet? (and maybe it’s time to toss out the expired stuff!)

Oil of Olay from about 5 years ago.

6. Was the place you currently live in occupied prior to you? Did they leave anything behind? What? If not, have you ever heard any stories about folk who lived there before you did and would you share one?

Lots of people have probably lived here before. It's 60 year old military housing. The only things left behind were some beer cans in the attic. We only discovered them when my daughter had to go up there to rescue some kittens.

7. Do you have any old IDs, business cards or other bits of old flotsam in your purse/wallet? What is the oldest thing there and why do you keep it?

Does my dresser drawer count? An Navy dependent ID card from when I was 10.

8. Do you have your yearbooks? When was the last time you looked at them? What is the thing you like most about your favorite yearbook? What’s the thing you like least about your least favorite yearbook? (I don’t know if this is a ‘global’ question – so forgive me if you are from somewhere that getting a yearbook is not a tradition)

High School yearbook 1973. I haven't looked at it in more years than I can remember. I only have my graduation year. What I like most is the sweetness of the inscriptions. All lies. :)

9. Do you have a(ny) old key(s)? Do you know what it/they’re for? Why did you keep it/them?

Old keys? Yep... a tiny jewelry box key. I think I still have the jewelry box somewhere.

10. 100 years from now, what would you wish someone had as a memento of you?

A memento of me? Something I have made, maybe a cross stitch piece or that Girl Scout Sash.