Friday, August 26, 2011

Douchery Vs Persecution

Blessings, Darlings!

Why is it that in US history, Jews have come here, built temples, openly lived as Jews, handled prejudice, but so many neopagans don't seem to be able to, thus huddle in broom closets?

Are the Gods of such neopagans weaker than the Jewish God?  Are the magical abilities of those neopagans as powerful as tissue paper?

Zoning laws getting you down?  Whoop di do.  That's douche baggery.  Persevere until you win.  Others have.

You are not delicate flowers.  You are kin to the Gods.

I'm sure I've posted this before - but what you are experiencing is 'loss of privilege'.  You have left your at least nominally Christian upbringing and now are being treated LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.  Get over it, put on your big boy/girl undies, and get on with life.

Frondly (or not), Fern

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Four Wonderful Years

Blessings, Darlings!

It's almost exactly 4 years since my hysterectomy.  I posted on that sometime before, under the title "Uterus-free womanhood". 

But even without a uterus - and what ever gender or combination of genders we all are - we all have hormone cycles.  Even after menopause.  Even when on hormones (since the body still produces its own), and despite the best work of anti-androgenic meds for those on them.

This afternoon I realized that I was experiencing what would be PMS if I was still menstruating

I had what I've learned over decades of cycles are my classic symptoms:  I was up most of the night Catastrophizing (over bills now, when I was in college it was over grades, when I worked for others it was over job reviews/performance), and I spent the day crabby and practically looking for fights.  Finally I realized what was happening.  I had gone over EVERY bill by then. 

I don't have a clue about how fast or slow my hormones cycle any more.  I'm gonna note this on the calendar and try to keep aware of this more in the future.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Growing Up.

Blessings, Darlings!

I just had an interesting little interaction on Twitter.  One of the folks I follow tweeted that she wanted parents to not let their children call stores to ask questions (about their hours, if they carry certain items, etc). She, as an employee, didn't like to take such calls.  Rather than saying "fuck you, they are your CUSTOMERS, take their calls and do it with respect", I asked how she expected anyone to learn how to make such calls without, well, making them?  She told me she expects parents to handle all that until the kids are teens. 

Just  Now we're going to have totally screwed up teens, who don't even know how to make a simple phone call to a store to ask about products/hours.  Just because an employee doesn't want to do their job and help customers.

By the time my spawn was a teen I expected him to have PERFECTED the skill of using a telephone.  And mowing the lawn. And doing dishes, cleaning bathrooms, etc.  But now someone expects me to parent HER and protect HER as an adult from doing HER job, and thinks I should RETARD my own children.

Nope.  Not gonna happen.  I expect MY children to grow up.  And I expect all people interacting with customers to grow up, too.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Farmers, not markets

Blessings, Darlings!

We got paid by a client and two of our distributors yesterday (well, checks came from two of 'em and money was deposited electronically by the third).  Thus I had to go to town to deposit checks and buy some staples.  All well and good: shopped at one German-owned store, a Big Box store, gas from unknown country of origin, another Big Box store, finally hit a chain grocery store - damn, it was HARD finding canning lids!

But there was one more stop to be made.  A family run farm stand.  Where a half-bushel of peaches - seconds, and not organic - is $10.  Way less expensive than at a farmer's market.  Way WAY less expensive than from the store.  And, obviously, as local as they come. 

Tomorrow I shall be back at canning.

There were other fruits and veggies - LOVELY grapes! Lots of tomatoes - I bought two (yes, seconds).  I may get a half or full bushel of tomatoes for canning next week.  Alas, no corn, the drought plus deer have pretty much totaled the sweet corn.

I love food!

Frondly, Fern

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Git Your Biscuits In the Oven.....

Blessings, Darlings!

I have a history of making really really lousy biscuits. No matter what I did, they came out heavy and flat tasting. Not worth the calories.

Which is a shame, since unlike big ol' loaves of bread (which I now rock at), biscuits can be cooked on a balcony or patio or porch in a toaster oven.  A great plan for summer baking without heating up the house.

This changed last week.  Since I was still working on the half-bushel of peaches I had bought I figured I'd that) so I figured I'd do a peach cobbler. Because they are 'just quickly cobbled together', you know.  Well, usually they are, but I went with the Test Kitchen recipe which has you par bake the cobbler and biscuit topping separately.  So I had to make biscuits.  Intimidating!

BUT these weren't the type of biscuits I had tried to make before. I had always tried making cut biscuits - THESE were drop biscuits.  And they turned out AMAZING.  I also added two pinches of freshly-ground cardamom to the peach mixture, which kicked it up too.

So, tonight, dinner is soup from leftovers.  Fundamentally a beef barley soup.  Great soup, but it needed a little something something to make it special.  How about drop biscuits?  Husband said - how about cheesy drop biscuits?  Okay! 

They SO rocked. I made a dozen and I don't know if there will be any left by the end of the evening. And there are only three of us. 

Since I love you folks, I'm going to share the recipe.

                                             CHEESY DROP BISCUITS

2 Cups all purpose flour                                       1 tsp dried wild green onions 
1 tbs baking powder                                            1/4 cup shortening
1/4 tsp baking soda                                              3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt                                                               1/4 cup cheddar cheese, small dice
1/8 tsp garlic salt

Oven on, set to 450. Baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
All dry ingredients plus the cheese into bowl, stir.
Melt the shortening.  Mix it into the buttermilk.  The lumps are a GOOD thing.  Add liquid to dry ingredients, stir 'till just mixed.  I had to add a smidge more milk, you might not have to. 

Use the 1/4 cup measure you used for the cheese to dole out dough on to baking sheet.  Bake.  In my oven it took 10 minutes - it could take up to 15 in yours.

Eat.  Smile. Repeat.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Working Thru' Pain

Blessings, Darlings!

There are a LOT of obstacles to self-improvement.  It doesn't matter what type of self-improvement it is: educational, emotional, physical, business, spiritual, whatever. 

They all take work.  They all require overcoming inertia.  They all require that you do that incredibly scary thing - change. 

There is pain associated with work and growth and change.  On the whole, we humans don't like pain.  Thus, we tend to get into patterns that limit the amount of change we have to do.  Which means we don't grow, we don't improve.

But facing the pain, working thru' pain, overcoming inertia, is the only way to improve your life.  The only way to grow and become more of your ideal self.

Mundane example: I've written about my knee before, arthritis and now torn meniscus that I can't afford surgery on (and, yes, we're working on the finances, painful as THAT is, and things are somewhat better thank you for asking).  If I don't do my exercises (physical therapy PLUS biking and walking) not only will it not improve, but it gets worse.  Walking and taking stairs HURTS if I blow off exercising (which I admit I hate doing) for as little as 3 days in a row.  And if I give in to the pain that starts when I don't exercise, then the knee continues to get worse - I could end up just sitting on a couch, my leg extended, having trouble even getting up to hit the bathroom.

That's not the life I want.  So I exercise.  And if I do hit times when I miss too much exercise (because I have screwed up my schedule!), then the BEST thing I can do for the pain is work thru' it.  Do the physical therapy routine. Walk a mile and a half, tho' it hurts.  Get 20 minutes in on the exercise bike, even if I have to do it in 5 minute segments.  Because if I don't avoid the pain, if I work thru' it, then quickly I'll see improvement. 

If I complain that my knee hurts, my husband will ask what he can do to help.  The WORST thing I could ask for is for him to take over things so I can stay on that couch.  Instead, if he handles answering the business phones while I exercise, THAT is the help I need to improve myself.   Patting me on the head, saying "oh, you poor dear, stay right where you are" would SOUND supportive but would in FACT be undermining my health.

It's no different for others types of healing or growth.  You don't need codependents working to keep you where you are.  You need to work thru' the pain.  You need to celebrate the challenges - roar at them take them on with vigor.  Make challenges your bitch.

Am I able to do this 24/7 right now?  Nope.  Is it what I am working for?  Damn skippy I am!

Join me.  Rawr!

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Can It.

Blessings, Darlings!

It's canning season again!  I've been doing fruit so far, but tomatoes (okay, technically a berry) and corn and beans are going to be canned soon.

It's hot and time consuming work, but not exactly intellectually demanding.  Which means I have time to do magic and to ponder things.  I'll talk about the magic in this post.

Back in the day, when I was a kid, one of the stories we were told about Benjamin Franklin was that he and his father were putting up barrels of pork (no doubt layered with salt).  Ben, who was NOT impressed by the long time spent at each meal saying grace, reported said something along the lines of "Dude, why don't we do the grace thing now, over the whole barrel, and get it over with?  We'd get our eat on faster at dinner..."

Well, I'm not taking quite that approach to the canning, but I AM invoking the blessings of the Gods on each batch I can.  Working for health. For wholeness.  For it to feed us body and soul. 

I layer flavors in my cooking (even the peaches I just canned had added cinnamon), it's time I started layering blessings in all I do.

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Playing With Fire

Blessings, Darlings!

As some of y'all know, I have some issues with depression/Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  It started when I was very young, around age 10 or earlier.  Over the years I've tried a large assortment of therapies and drugs, and currently it's pretty well controlled with Effexor and having set up a system of accountability (so I don't try to duck/ignore anything that makes me anxious, a 'solution' which of course causes more problems than it solves).

Still, there are times when stress is high and it kicks in, and I have to change or increase medications or add some talk therapy for a while.  When that occurs ... I cut down or completely cut OUT doing deep spiritual work.

You may be asking 'why' - why would Fern 'turn from the Gods' when she seems to need them the most?

Well, I don't turn from the Gods - I still talk with them (and they get their messages across to me).  Same with the nature spirits, and the ancestors.  And I still meditate, since that helps (as does exercise, for that matter) But I do respect the intertwining of body/mind/spirit.  And I've found that it's best to work with one variable at a time.  

J. H. Brennan wrote about this in the introduction to Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki's WONDERFUL book "The Ritual Magick Workbook".  He talks of having nervous breakdowns after starting his occult studies, and goes into why esoteric training easily and often increases depression to such an extent that it will push you over the edge.  The short reason is that MOST spiritual/occult things you do - in any system - are DESIGNED to influence all of your energy systems.  And all of your energy systems (physical, mental, spiritual, chi, endocrine, emotional, sympathetic and parasympathetic, kundalini, etc - ALL OF THEM ) interact in ways that are intricate and powerful. 

So, the last time this happened ... probably not coincidentally while the coven I'm in was doing a year of Kabalistic workings (and I was prepping the working on Binah, for goodness sake!) .... I took a leave of absence from the coven I'm in that allowed me to have space to adjust drugs/therapy without the added variable of continuing the Kabalistic (and other) coven work.  I felt it would be detrimental to MY mental health to continue at that time, and unfair for me to burden my High Priestess with mediating any effects my out of control spiritual/occult energies could have on the coven's Group Mind.  (For the record, I'm SURE she could have handled doing that!)

And I bring this up now .... why?

I'm so glad you asked that!  I bring this up because lately I've seen a whole lot of folks who have depression or other emotional and mental challenges who really really want to work on their spiritual development ... whose depression or mental illnesses are not currently under any control at all.  And I'm scared for them.  These paths we walk are dangerous even for those who aren't pre-disposed, and for those who are pre-disposed but controlled and aware of the dangers and early warning signs of trouble.  For those whose mental/emotional issues are NOT in control - on this path lies madness. 

Literally. Madness.  Dousing yourself with gasoline and jumping into bonfire madness.  Not peace.  Not initiation.  Not MORE control, but LESS control. 

Stop.  Don't do it.  Don't do energy work.  Don't do trance work.  Don't do Pathworkings.  Don't attend 'transformative workshops'.  Don't attend Pagan festivals, where folks get ungrounded as it is from all the energy darting about. 

Pray, yes.  Talk with the Gods.  Make offerings.  Honor the cycles of nature.  Attend generic public rituals. Stay grounded with exercise, good food, good air, talking with real counselors, try on the appropriate prescribed drugs.

Frondly, Fern