Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Soup, Why Not?

I woke up yesterday with a hankerin' for soup. I winged it. Didn't turn out too bad, at all.

The players:
1 lb Great Northern Beans
1 lb Chourico (spicy Portuguese sausage)
1 Medium Onion
8 - 10 Baby Carrots
2 Stalks Celery
4 Cloves Garlic
Liquid/Stock of your choice

Begin by soaking the beans overnight, or by quick-soaking (place them in a pot with 8 cups of water, bringing to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and let sit for an hour before draining and rinsing). I quick-soaked this time because it was a last-minute souping.

Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside.

Chop onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and sausage.

Heat some olive oil and butter in a pot. Saute onion/sausage mix until onions are softened.

Mix in the beans, then cover the lot with liquid - I used a mix of chicken stock and water, enough to cover the solids plus an inch or so over. Shake in a little cumin - maybe 1/4 teaspoon or so.

Cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for several hours or until beans are cooked.

You can healthy it up a little by adding spinach, Kale, or cabbage at the last minute if you want.

Salt and pepper to taste. I served with corn bread. It was nicely spicy and flavorful, and hearty enough that I only ate one bowl.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Annual re-post freshened up with current info.
Happy Yule, y'all!

Wait, what? Yule - you know...Yule? The holiday that some people celebrated waaayyy before that poor wee baby was born in a pile of hay? Evergreens ring a bell? Holly? Ivy? Mistletoe??

OK, go get a snack and a nice beverage (eggnog on the right, pink punch in the center, pick a bottle from the high chair to spike it with)(yes, the high chair is our bar - the Evil Genius doesn't need it any more, Sprout is getting a new one that's a little more stable and able to handle her wiggling without that alarming creaking noise, and it's an heirloom that I want to keep on display - so why not??) and get comfy. All set?

Yule, or Winter Solstice, is a celebration of the returning light.

Yep, it's that simple.

The God is reborn today, and the days will lengthen with his growth, into the fullness of Summer. In some villages, way back in the past, hearth fires would be extinguished (a brave thing when you didn't have Zippos or matches or even two sticks to rub together). They would be relit from brands taken from a community balefire, lit by the sun himself with a little help from some glass (or a hidden coal or two - c'mon, we weren't above a little showmanship, back then), thereby bringing the sun (and, one hoped, his blessings) into the home. It also kept the community united, because everyone shared the same fire, the same light and heat. Cool, huh? Gotta love a religion that encourages playing with fire. Ahem.

The fir tree was (and is) a symbol of life lasting even through death, the promise of life and light renewed, and a reminder that beneath the snow, the Earth-heart beats on. Holly and Ivy were green, too, but they were also symbols of the Green Man, the Forest Lord, Jack o' the Green - the God primeval. The Holly King and the Ivy King, the old and the young, the constant, changing balance. Deep stuff, yo.

Mistletoe is still used in a fairly traditional way, although it wasn't always just kissing done under the stuff. I still use the leaves and occasional berry when I make love bundles for people (Note - a love bundle isn't a love spell, it is meant to strengthen what is already there, not coerce or sublimate the free will of another. I don't DO love spells, so don't even ask.)(I mean it.), and it's a terrific symbol. It was also a fertility and aphrodisiac herb, but only symbolically - even wigged out Druids knew the stuff was toxic!

We light a yule log, in our house one that's cut from the trunk of last year's tree (the rest of which is providing habitat and nutrients in the woods out back). Old tales say if it lights on the first try and burns for twelve hours, we'll have good luck...this year, I'm soaking one end in water, first. What? We need all the good fortune we can get...don't you??

This year we are spending Yule at Mum's, lighting the burn pile, celebrating the returning light with a little spark of our own. We'll collect some of the ash and bring it home to add to the ash jar and sprinkle around the foundation for a blessing.

Sometimes a group of us will get together and just spend a quiet day nibbling snacks, enjoying each other's company, and taking a break from the holiday insanity out there among the English. If we exchange gifts, we try to make them ourselves, or give things that encourage and nurture our spiritual or creative selves. Things will be a little sparse this year, and Someone and I have agreed not to exchange anything...we want the kids to have a nice holiday, although Sprout wouldn't know or care if she got a gift as long as there was a box and some ribbon to play with.

But mostly, it's a celebration of the returning sun, the waxing light, the cycle renewed.

Happy Yule - When the days be cold, may your hearth be warm. When the nights be long, may your fire burn bright. When the wind blows, may you find snug shelter. When tree and field are bare, may your larder be full. May you never know Winter's chill a moment longer than you care to, nor hunger nor want, and should you find you have all that you need and a bit more besides, may you find someone who will gladly take what you offer and live better for the receiving. Blessed be.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let the Caterwauling Commence!

Since we're so close to Yule, I thought I'd be ridiculous and re-post some videos of Yule caroling. They aren't top quality, but they're what I have - between cats meyowling along because they thought I might be injured, the clock bonging away, the TV randomly coming on, the Evil Genius randomly wandering through, and the phone ringing, I had to reshoot a number of times, and my voice went away after an hour or so.

Anyway, here are three for your amusement.

If you want the lyrics, I'll e-mail 'em to ya. As always, I shot these with my trusty Kodak Easy Share CX7525 (now with a new! rechargeable! battery!!). Kodak doesn't know I exist, do for FTC purposes, I ain't disclaiming anything.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pimpin' My Pal

Well hey there!

Ohmuhgoodness, look at the dust in here! I don't know what just brushed my face - it was either a cobweb or a gauze curtain.


Is anyone still here? Looks like my little shanty in Blogopolis has been abandoned.

Is that...wildlife...I see creeping in the corners? Augh!

I need to get this place back in order, huh? M'kay - while I'm out renting a Blue Nowhere rated wet-dry vac, how about I give you a link to follow?

Trust me, this is a good link. I don't share it with just anybody. No - you're special!

Looking for a holiday/birthday/special occasion/no reason at all gift? Go see my friend, sister of my heart, and a talented-as-heck artist K2: Unleash the Goddess. She makes beautiful, unique, wearable art - and sometimes she lets me play with her glass.

Glass, people, glass!! Geeze...

Meanwhile, I am going to find an air filter and a giant incense stick - this blog smells stale...

I'll be back soon, just in case you have missed me...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In case you were wondering...

...Bob the Wonder Computer has a full memory and can't get online. A friend has offered to try and help clear the hard drive, but until that happens I have limited online access, so not much blogging is going on around here. I miss the Blue Nowhere and y'all...