Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Snow Day

Blessings Darlings!

We have about  6 inches of snow, and it's still falling.  Spawn got an 8:00 call from work, telling him not to bother coming in, they wouldn't be getting enough business to justify paying him.

Therefore, it's an official day of Spring Cleaning in our household.  I'm mostly just doing the kitchen and breakfast nook myself.  Spawn is doing bathrooms, and since HIS knees work he's scrubbing the sides of the cabinets and outside of the fridge/oven/dishwasher.  Vacuuming and shampooing carpets is well under way.  Chubby Hubby is going thru' his accumulated papers, and cleaning the laboratory.  I'll clean many of the cobwebs, but one of those taller people will have to deal with some of them.

By the end of the day I expect we'll all be tired, but we will have a nice clean ready-for-summer-and-having-people-over house.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Magick for Beginners, by J.H. Brennan

Blessings Darlings - it's time for a Book Review!

I must have bought J. H. Brennan's "Magick for Beginners" a decade ago.  I don't recall WHY I bought it, I suppose it's because I know that Brennan did at least one book with Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and I like her classes and books.  Earlier this month I decided it was long past time for me to read the book.

I did not enjoy the book.  I do not think it is a particularly good book for beginners at magick. I THINK he intended it as an intro to Ceremonial magick, but it's too disjointed to be that, and it has so little 'how to do' magick in it that a simple spellbook would be more practically useful.

The author says that he's starting readers off with 'low magick'.  However .... he actually starts readers off with the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram - pure theurgy, not practical, low-magical thaumaturgy.  Then he moves into chapter after chapter on the 'clairs' - clairvoyance and such.  Those, in my world view, are not magical skills, rather they are psychic skills.  The one 'practical magical' working is to bring in $100 ... but he drags the reader thru' 'inadequate explanation and knowledge of the Kabala" to do it. 

Then it's off to how magic isn't really magic, it's psychology, and we head to theurgy for the rest of the book.  But not just any theurgy - it's Intro to Enochian, where one is supposed to do invocations in a language you don't know (and he doesn't always include translations).  Then ... off to assumption of Godforms, the Rose Cross ritual (with no explanation of any of the Divinities the reader is calling!), etc.

Nothing practical in it's thaumaturgy.  Nothing beginner in its theurgy.  I simply cannot recommend the book.

Oh, let me look at how long it would take to 'work' the book, given it's exercises.  Two weeks of doing the LBRP.  Tatvva work - no clear idea how long that is supposed to take. Several weeks of the color version of the Middle Pillar. Then add the 'fountain of light' for an unmentioned amount of time.  So - two months, THEN you spend a month on getting that $100.  Total - over three months on what he calls 'low magick', only one of which is actually doing low magick.

Onward to High Magick - several exercises of self-awareness given, no time frame for how long they will take.     Then a ritual to charge a Talisman, which requires the reader to prepare for two months (but anyone the reader gets to join in .... doesn't have to prepare that long?  Because it's really only about the reader?  very odd....), etc.  No preparatory times given for these rituals, nor any word on how long to take between them or if you should/could do them all in one day.  So, let's say another over three month period for theurgy. 

Bah.  And Humbug.

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Inducing Sleep

Blessings Darlings!

Among the many and varied things I've taken on lately, I'm finally getting around to something I should have done decades ago - programming myself to fall asleep on cue.  I often have issues with insomnia (both type - delay in falling asleep and waking in the middle of the night and being unable to fall asleep again easily).  Thus, the need to program myself.

The plan is to put in place a two-part program.  One part is a specific physical relaxation technique (and I've had to pick one I don't use for other purposes, like for astral projection preparations or other things); the other part is to pick/create a mantra to repeat just for falling asleep.

I'm still working on the mantra part.  I DID hit one of the 'quotations' websites to select a bunch of quotes that might work (some with some adjustment) as the mantra.  The quotes I'll be selecting from are:

So, next time you see someone sleeping, make believe you're in a science fiction movie. And whisper, 'The creature is regenerating itself.”  George Carlin, Brain Droppings

“Sleep is my lover now, my forgetting, my opiate, my oblivion.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

“Sleep my little baby-oh
Sleep until you waken
When you wake you'll see the world
If I'm not mistaken...

Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

“Man is a genius when he is dreaming.”
― Akira Kurosawa

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”
― Homer, The Odyssey

“I crave the sweet surrender of sleep and my dreams' uncensored communication: no tiresome small talk, sucking up to impress, or tiptoeing around charged topics. Dreams are the naked truth; get ready for it.”
― Judith Orloff

“Eat healthily, sleep well, breathe deeply, move harmoniously.”
― Jean-Pierre Barral

The message of the lullaby is that it’s okay to dim the eyes for a time, to lose sight of yourself as you sleep and as you grow: if you drift, it says, you’ll drift ashore: if you fall, you will fall into place.”
― Kevin Brockmeier

“I breathe slowly and deeply. I make my eyes still under eyelids, I make my mind still, and soon, Sleep, seeing a perfect reproduction of himself, comes to be united with his facsimile.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled,’ she said. ‘Tonight you shall sleep in peace.’
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“We sleep, allowing gravity to hold us, allowing Earth- our larger body- to recalibrate our neurons, composting the keen encounters of our waking hours (the tensions and terrors of our individual days), stirring them back, as dreams, into the sleeping substance of our muscles. We give ourselves over to the influence of the breathing earth. Sleep is the shadow of the earth as it seeps into our skin and spreads throughout our limbs, dissolving our individual will into the thousand and one selves that compose it- cells, tissues, and organs taking their prime directives now from gravity and the wind- as residual bits of sunlight, caught in the long tangle of nerves, wander the drifting landscape of our earth-borne bodies like deer moving across the forested valleys.”
― David Abram, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology

“And then, despite all these concerns, Arnette felt her mind begin to loosen, the images of the day unwinding inside her like a spool of thread, pulling her down into sleep.”
― Justin Cronin, The Passage

“Sleep is closing your eyes and trusting you will heal.”
― Danielle Barone, Releasing A Toxic Person

“Whatever it may bring, I will live by my own policies, I will sleep with a clear conscience, I will sleep in peace.”
― Sinead O'Conner

 She falls asleep like someone yielding to the gentle tug of a warm tide, and floats with confidence till morning.
― Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters

 He was sleepy. He felt sleep coming. He curled up under the blanket and went to sleep.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Nick Adams Stories

I like so many of the quotes!  But, by the end of the day, I shall decide on one and start programming myself tonight.

Frondly, Fern

Friday, March 15, 2013


Blessings Darlings!

So, I'm slowly getting better.  But now the Chubby Hubby is ill.  At least it got him after we made some progress on consulting projects in the business, and we have enough money to get thru' the the next month.  I'm quite fond of being able to pay the rent and utilities and such you know.  And our grocery spending will only be $100 below food stamp levels.  Whoo hoo!

I even made it to the stores for the 'big monthly shopping trip' yesterday.  I wasn't able to buy everything I'd have liked to (you can check my ideal monthly shopping list here) but I also hit the corned beef and beer on sale for St. Paddy's day and got wine to cook with, all for my $100.  I'm really low on sugar, but, let's face it, until I'm better I'm not likely to bake.  I've even been relying on store-bought cheap styrofoam bread since getting sick.

Being able to rely on the pantry while sick is of course making life easier.  We rely on apple juice when sick - it's sort of a family tradition.  When the Spawn started this round of illness I grabbed another bottle as insurance, even tho' we already had bottle here.  We're opening that bottle today for the Chubby Hubby.  The Spawn, who is working a 12-hour double shift today, won't have to drag his sorry butt to the grocery store after work to help his Dad out. 

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Extra Meditation

Blessings Darlings!

One of the things about being sick is that, having cut out as much physical activity as I could from my life (the better to rest and heal - being unable to breathe is exhausting!), I have more time to meditate.  So my daily meditation has risen from once a day to 3 times a day.  I increased the meditation as soon as I got sick, so by the middle of this week - when I had two regularly-scheduled workings to do (Commune With Divinity and a Coven Crystal Charging) I was in a particularly good space to do them.  I may have gotten past my problems binding with the new crystal, and I got a moon cycle (at least!) worth of tasks from the Stag.

And goodness knows what the wind is blowing in and out today, and for the rest of the month of March!

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Exercise While Sick

Blessings Darlings!

I'm not over the pneumonia yet, not by a long shot.  But I'm breathing much more easily.

So I started back with light exercise today.  Upper body weights, using the shoulder/arm muscles I keep getting tendonitis in.  I did this because I really really need to keep those muscles in play now that they aren't hurting on a daily basis.  I used the lightest weights I have, and not many reps, and only 3 sets.

Felt GREAT.  But after a week on the couch ... it was absolutely all I could do without having to take breaks.

Maybe Friday I'll be able to do a moderate bike workout!

Frondly, Fern

Monday, March 11, 2013


Blessings Darlings!

So, yeah, I have pneumonia.  They gave me an impressive assortment of drugs for it on Saturday, and I'm getting closer to feeling functional now that there is more oxygen in my bloodstream.

Uh ... about those drugs ...  They gave me three types of steroids and an antibiotic.  The steroids - one long-acting/slower onset one by pill, one nasal spray for my sinus', one fast inhaler for my lungs - are aimed at opening my airways so I can breathe.  And the fast ones HAVE worked fast.  There was improvement within 6 hours.  But HOW do steroids do it?  Wait for it .... wait for it .... wait for it ....

They do it by inhibiting my body's ability to fight infection.  So I'm breathing better, and the antibiotic is doing it's part about the infection, but my body is no longer as fully involved in the battle. 

I'm seeing if I can stop the fast-acting ones today, as per the Dr. instructions, and take the pills two more days.  The antibiotic I get to take for 7 more days.  Oh, and remember, there's no alcohol allowed while on antibiotics, because the liver, in the face of both alcohol and antibiotics, quickly breaks down and excretes antibiotics.  So I can't take my elder extract while on the antibiotic even after the steroid phase ends.

Tis a mad, mad world.

Frondly, Fern

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Double yuck

Pneumonia. I expect I'll be taking at least a few more days off.....

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Sick. Crabby. Coughing. Whining.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Too Windy to be Green

Blessings Darlings!

The wind is killing me today.  I'm one of those traditional types who prefers to do laundry on Mondays ... and dry it on the line.  But in winter/early spring, I can only get one load dry on the line on a GOOD day.  So I end up doing laundry pretty much every available day of the week!

So I hung today's laundry - linens.  Big top and bottom sheets, which catch the wind.  And boy is there wind today!  I had to come in to the house to put gloves on, because the wind chill while handling wet laundry was killing me.  In the 2 hours since I hung the laundry I've been out there twice to recapture what has blown off the line (and I put a LOT of clothes pins on each piece) and re-hang them.

And the wind hasn't just been screwing around with me on that.  The newspapers and cardboard I used last week to help smother grass in the area I plan to garden in have had their protective heavy mulch blown off - I've been chasing after them in my 3 acre yard (and I think I see some in my neighbor's yard as well). 

The weather folks promise that the wind will die tonight ... if I make it that long.  And if we get the promised snow storm on Wednesday, that will help settle the garden, but with rain starting on Tuesday and the storm on Wednesday, those are at least two more days I can't hang laundry. 

I'm going to get a nice HOT cup of tea now.

Frondly, Fern

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tomato Talk

Blessings Darlings!

I've been looking at my tomato planting options today.  I'm not 100% happy with the variety of seeds I bought.  Unless otherwise noted, all these tomatoes are open pollinated, tho' not all are considered 'heritage'.

I bought Beef Steak tomatoes - a GREAT large fresh-eating tomato.  I will happily use them for that.  But they aren't a great variety for canning and drying, as the seeds/goo are spread thru' the tomato and not in a few large, easy-to-emply cavities. 

The selection of cheap seeds also had Mortgage Lifter tomatoesI don't want those - they are way too large to can easily, and are low acid tomatoes so they can't be water-bath canned unless you add vinegar. These were developed in southern West Virginia, which has a pretty significantly different climate/growing season than we do here in northern West Virginia.

Often I grow Roma tomatoes, also known as Italian tomatoes.  They are great for canning, drying, and sauces, with thick flesh and easy to remove seeds/goo. They are also a determinant variety, unlike the previously listed tomatoes, which means that all the fruit on the plant ripens at about the same time, rather than continuously producing over the season - this is one of the things that makes them great for canning. OTOH, their flesh is grainy and their taste peaks when cooked, so they aren't great for fresh use. These were developed close to where I used to live - at the Agricultural Research Station in Beltsville, Maryland (same place they developed modern big-breasted turkeys!).

Rutgers is another of my go-to tomatoes.  Developed at, yes, Rutgers University in New Jersey, they were one of the first Wide Spread Industrial Farming tomatoes.  Meaty without being grainy, thick-skinned for their time (thin skinned for our time!) for less problems when shipping, good flavor, easy to can, nice size for canning at about 8 ounces each, and determinant. 

Juliet tomatoes are a variety I'm fond of - but, alas, are a hybid. They are a large grape tomato - I'd call them between grape tomatoes and Roma tomatoes in shape and features.  Nice flavor.  Great for drying. 

Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes - what a great taste!  But how easily they split! And another hybrid.

What I'm going to do is use the Beefsteaks, and also see if I can get my existing (but old) Rutgers seeds to sprout.  If not, I'll see if I can get more of them or some Roma seeds, even if I have to pay Burpee prices for one packet. 

What are your tomato considerations, and favorite types to grow?

Frondly, Fern