Saturday 26 February 2011

Book Review: The Last Lecture

Book Title: The Last Lecture
Author: Randy Pausch
Publisher: Hyperion
Format: Hardcover
Cost: $12.75
Pages: 206
How I got it: Borrowed from Library
My Rating:★★★★★
Erotica Rating:N/A
"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." — Randy Pausch A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy? When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living. In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come!!

My Review:
This book is a companion to the lecture that can be found on Youtube. I'm going to add it in here as well.  Be aware it's long but it's worth it.
As part of my Death & Dying class as a nurse I had to read this book & watch the lecture. I had heard of him, I missed the Oprah show he was on, but I heard about it, but hadn't watched it or paid any real attention to it.  For this class I sat down one weekend to read & watch and I have to say it was very transformative & inspiring.

When randy found out he was dying he created this last lecture. I personally loved that he wrote this for his children so they would know who he was, beyond just being a figure in the pictures.  During my Gerontology class we had to write a thanatology (the study of death & dying) paper based on the book. to say it was a scary paper to write is beyond words. I cried buckets watching the video & reading the book, and even more thinking of what life would be like without me in it. To say it rearranged some priorities would be saying it lightly.

Reading this book & doing that paper made us face our own imminent death & our feelings towards it.  We had to plan our funerals, everything we wanted to happen & then we had to condense it down to three pages.  it's scary facing this information & what you want from life, we have the belief that we are invincible & we will die only when we are old, but this book shows how to live your life with even the worse diagnosis bearing down on you.  It's an amazing book & I believe it should be recommended for everyone.  it's one of those that will stick with you.
 Buy on Amazon                            Add to Goodreads

Monday 21 February 2011

Celtic Tree Month of: White Ash

Ash Feb 18- March 17
With the Norse tradition, it is called the World Tree or Yggdrasil. this is one of the trees most sacred to the Druids along with Oak, & Thorn. 
In Magickal workings the Ash tree appears when you have walked your path for a while and slowly become bored (perhaps your not being challenged enough), it is here where one must pick up the Ash tree spear and 'check the peace' (not to start a war) but to bring yourself out of your boredom.   The spear as well as the ash symbolize  the magician's willpower

Irish: Gaelic Name    
Nion or Nuin
Ogham/ Rune: 
Nion, Hagalaz
 Ruling Planet: 
Marriage bed of opposites, quick intellect, clarity, inner and outer worlds linked; protective, prosperity, sea rituals, health
Seasons: Summer
God/Goddess:  Olokun, Eshu, Ogun, Ososi, Neptune, Mars, Uranus, Neptune, Thor, Poseidon, Woden, Gwydion, Lugh
Aspect: Masculine

Element: Fire
 Nion: is the symbol of connectivity, and creativity; transitions between the worlds
Hagalaz ( H, Hail) Wrath of nature, destructive, uncontrolled forces, especially the weather, or within the unconscious. Tempering, testing, trial. Controlled crisis, leading to completion, inner harmony. Hagalaz Merkstave (Hagalaz cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition): Natural disaster, catastrophe. Stagnation, loss of power. Pain, loss, suffering, hardship, sickness, crisis.

These are some ideas of how to incorporate Ash into your life

Old Healing Lore:
  • In early Britain, the juice of an ash stick was generally give to newborns to help protect them from harm. As the tree was linked to rebirth and new life, it was believed to protect children who passed through any splits's in the tree trunk.
  • the bitter bark of an ash branch was used to ease intermittent fevers.
  • the bark from the root was even more potent and in early medicine was used in treating arthritic rheumatism and liver diseases.
  • an infusion of ash leaves gathered when they give off their sticky substance in May or June and powdered after drying can be used to treat rheumatism
  • This is the best time for magick that focuses on the inner self
  • Ocean rituals and honoring of Ocean Gods
  • Prophetic dreams, place leaves underneath you pillow to encourage these dreams.
  • Spiritual journeys
  • Make tools (magical & mundane)  from this wood are said to work more productively than any other tools. Odin's spear was made from the Ash tree. 
  • it is also associated with magical potency
  • To attract a member of the opposite sex, carry the leaves with you.
  • place in a bowl beside your bed with water and some ash leaves to keep away illness change the water daily and place fresh leaves again in at night.
  • Seek balance between the spiritual world and the mundanes, as it all connects you to others.
  • make a protective charm by carving a solar cross (equal armed cross) into a piece of ash and wear it to protect against drowning while at sea
  • use as a spear to represent the power that resides in water in ocean/sea rituals
  • Hang over doors to ward off harmful influences from entering the home
  • use the leaves in protective sachets, and spells, as well as scattering them to     the four corners of your property to protect it.
  • use to make healing wands, cut the branches at midsummer
  • use the leaves in love rituals,
  • when out camping place the bark or twigs around your camp bed, as this will keep snakes away from your bed (as they don't like the tree)
  • burn at Yule for prosperity
  • You can carve puppets from the roots of the Ash tree
  • according to Scott Cunningham in the old days a garter was made from the bark of a green ash tree (a young tree) and worn as protection against the powers of sorcerers and conjurers.
  • In Maypole ceremonies, use an ash tree

In the Scandinavian mythology, the World Tree was where the Gods met and conducted their business.  The World Tree symbolized the Universe, and as such was highly revered, it reached the heavens, the middle world and was also of the underworld as it's roots spread out so far.  Odin hung himself for nine days as a sacrifice from the branches of the tree It is also from this tree that the first man was made.

Odin's followers the Berserker(s) were initiated by a spear consecrated to Odin and made from Ash.  Thor's followers who were less bloodthirsty than Odin's ruled the sky, crops, and the weather. Thor's power was symbolized by his Hammer, and his Ashen Spear. The Vikings were later called "Aescling" which meant Men of Ash, because of their reliance on the magic of the ash tree. Many of their sea faring vessels where constructed of oak, but had Ash for all of "magical" parts.

In Celtic myth the Ash is seen often at reflecting pools of wisdom or near wells. In the older legends the most famous spear belonged to Lugh of the Long Arm; which he brought from the Otherworld city of Gorias. 
 In the Irish tale of Saint Patrick he used an Ash tree spear to drive the snakes from Ireland. This probably is also why it's good to use the twigs to create a barrier around your camping site, since they don't like to go near the tree. When Christianity came to Ireland, many of the ancient sacred trees where said to have been felled, as a symbol of Christianity's power over Paganism, in fifth century AD.

In Greek myths the Goddess Nemesis carried a ash branch as a symbol of the divine instrument of justice of the Gods. Nemesis is the daughter of Oceanus, which strongly shows the correlation between Ash and the Ocean, and it's life sustaining abilities.

Fun Facts:
  •  the tree would also prevent other trees from growing around it by 'souring' the ground, which made it the only tree in a area. 
  • ash wood is quick growing, doesn't split when being worked and it the toughest and most 'elastic' of all timbers. An ashen joint will bear more weight than any other, which is why it was mostly used in wagon, coaches, oars, & furniture
Information gathered from a variety of sources including:
A tree in your pocket, by Jacqueline Memory Paterson
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
Celtic Tree Mysteries by Stephen Blamaires
Rune information from My Book of Shadows
Tree Legends

Happy new Month

Sooo... about that

I'm not relaxing Im studying

I was trying my best not to fall back on not doing any posts, (I'm knocking this one out during a study break), but it's beginning to look like I might not be able to do the blog, my vlog channel and study/keep up with my class.

I feel pretty bad because I have so many really great ideas, just no time, Classes are everyday (it's an accelerated course) and I have a full course load so that I can finish this program in 12 months.

There are a lot of books, articles, and such to read, and I can't really read for pleasure anymore (although I have been trying). This week along I have five exams (literally one everyday), the course is attempting to front-load all the work we need up front so that the last few months are all clinicals.  My next break isn't until mid March (ahhh i know just crazy) but I am super excited to be working on my dream, and slowly but surely getting there.

I have made up my game plan for the next five years (as long as the world doesn't end on 12/21/12) and I am so on track right now and just bursting at the seams to share but I want to wait until this semester is in the bag and no possibilities for my plans to become FUBAR (f**ked up beyond all recognition, it's military speak)

I have been sneaking in some religious study time (especially on the train or bus) but  it's not always guaranteed. One good thing about this? i have to be up pretty early in the morning so I get to see and appreciate every sunrise, including the ones when the ice storm happened that made all the trees like crystals. I have also been really good with my yoga and walking(especially up the hill near school so I can catch the bus).

I hope all your plans, made on Yule, and your resolutions made on Samhain are growing and beginning to bloom with Ostara's energy cause I know mine are.

See you when I see you
Be Blessed

Friday 18 February 2011

It's that time again

There are a new crop of babies coming this spring, and so many different gifts to make.  Here is one of the blankets I have made for one of the only little boys in the whole group.
 The Mom's theme of course is green and brown and so I made a blanket to go with it. The pattern is called the Circle of Life pattern, by Smoothfox, I have talked about her a lot because I test patterns for her pretty often.You can purchase the pattern on her etsy store for a small fee.
 Check out my ravelry page as well, if your on there link to me, so we can be friends.
Hope you liked the view of my blanket, Have any projects your working on? I'm actually working on a project now also by Smoothfox for my best friend's daughter who was born last year
Why not share about it in the comments section.
Be Blessed, Be Loved

Thursday 17 February 2011

“I’ll Take care of you”

And the Greatest of these is Love
In my job, working with the masses, you sometimes are treated to the dregs of society, you sometimes see great heartbreak, and feel such deep loss that  you have to learn to harden your heart or the burdens of the people will burn you out. So when I’m out and about I create the NY city attitude, with the “don’t mess with me” face, the “I’ll kick your ass” body language and block out anything I can.

Normally when I ride the public transportation I ride with my ears plugged, and my music loud enough to drown the noise, but not enough to damage my ear drums. this is because sometimes the humanity that takes the bus or train is just too full of ignorance, despair or are sharing way too much info for me. It’s also a good way as an empath to aide in blocking the overwhelming amount of info coming in off the masses.

Today was different, it's a balmy and gorgeous 50 degrees outside.  At my stop was a mother and her  seven maybe eight year old son and they got on the bus with me (it's a stop many buses come to) Once we get on the bus I notice something immediately, perhaps the melting snow has made others feel nicer because the people on the bus are calm today; I decide to read. The mother sits in the seat in front of me, and her son sits in the seat in front of her.
When I'm reading i like to take little breaks to digest what I have read just to make sure the info has sunk in properly so I'm not too overwhelmed or miss the really good parts (plus it's good to look up every once in a while to make sure you haven't missed your stop). 

A few stops later, they took a seat together and I sat behind them, somewhere along the way I stopped to look up and was pulled in my the most amazing feeling coming from them and was treated to this piece of beauty
" One day mom I'm going to take care of you and you won't have to work"
and then he hugged her, and she said "awww" and returned his hug.

In that moment, I felt a sweet deep rush of love, and of hope. Turning on the news, sometimes sitting on the bus, you are bombarded with these horrible images of the future,and of humanity. It's sometimes enough to make you want to hand in your humanity card and tell the world to 'eff off', while you bury yourself in some log cabin in the woods. Yet, here in this moment, on a cool 'spring' day, a young man reminded me that like winter comes to an end, so too must the strife. And here was a little boy making a promise, a wish, to a woman who is his Mother, who has worked, and sacrificed for him, that one day all her hard work will come to fruition and it will be his turn to take care of her.

This dear readers is love, it's one that can't be fabricated, can't be purchased, and is very easily lost it's the love of child to parent, this is true "agape", as the Greeks would say.
There is a feeling of hope, and I sent a wish, with his to the angels, and to the Goddess, that one day his wish will come true, that he would live a wonderful healthy life and be able to make this wish this promise come true. This day I felt a lightening and knew that his wish had been heard. And for me, the guarded empath on the bus, i was given a sweet taste of love, all with sincere promise of a child, and like the snow outside, a small part of my 'hardened' heart melted. I didn't worry about what would come for him in the future, here was a shining light, a ray of hope, a promise of tomorrow:
"one day...... I will take care of you..."
There is no better 'love' tale than this.
Be Loved, Be Blessed

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Book Review

Hunger of the Wolf by Madeline Montague
Dante's pack is hunting the rogue who keeps challenging him by trespassing on his territory. While going after his challenger Dante' notices the focus of the challenger, a woman who smells really delicious, and he goes after him, and discovers that even though she looks fragile, this human packs quite a punch"

if your going to purchase it would be better to get it from New Concepts Publishing, which has both the ebook and the paperback book.
This story is actually pretty good, it was one of the first i read from her, and I love it. Dante is struggling to hold onto his cool, until he learns that he is allowed to court Annemarie, and then all bets are off. Annemarie is so used to relying on herself that she doesn't take well to the concept of being helped out by Dante's pack. On the run from rogue weres and the government she has done her best to never form attachments.  When she realizes she could bring harm to the pack, she takes off for parts unknown. You already know I'm going to say I love her because she is one cool customer, she is actually telekinetic and this is what draws the wolves to her. She has stayed many steps ahead of the government, and that takes courage, and strong will. I enjoyed the story and the sex scenes were pretty hot.

"An elite military team is sent on what they think is a routine clean up mission. While there the men become infected with a parasite. Now they are on the run from the government they once worked for. "

Now this is a story and a half. Let's see it's got hot military men (check), werewolves (check), serious danger (check) and a slightly loony female character (ahh I guess check). I enjoyed this story as well. the female lead was ever so slightly on the ditsy side and well couldn't survive without the men, but then again she wouldn't be in any trouble without the men, so I guess it balances out. She sometimes annoyed me because she was so hung up on her age, but then again now I'm hitting that 'time' I'm beginning to understand, other than that she was a pretty good character. My one wish was that the male lead would share more with her instead of deciding what's good for everyone (then I snap back to reality, to be in the Military elite system you have to learn to keep your own counsel so yeah I get why he does it, doesn't mean I don't wish he would learn to share more though)

This book was different from Ms Montague's other Wolfen books in the fact that the men weren't born this way, and it's a pretty awesome journey to watch them learn to accept their gifts and even embrace them. The sex scenes are pretty freaking hot, and things move fast in this book, everything can be felt, I could almost smell the jungle air. This one is one of my favorites to re-read (pretty damn often if I am confessing everything). Definitely check this out on the page and get a sweet sneak peak before you purchase.
Alpha’s mate Leah Brooke
"Lacey Roberts is on the run, and she decides to make one last trip to see her Godmother. Lars, Damien,Wes, and Seth are half brothers there to visit their Grandmother when they realize that Lacey is their mate.  They were seperated as children and brought up to hate each other, and now they have to share a mate"

This is a really good book. The brothers having to learn to get along, Lacey's decision to leave them, puts them on the same side and made them fight to keep her there. Lacey is the kind of modern woman, she has made her decisions and nothing is going to stop her from meeting her goal. She's doing this to make a chance for her friends, and she slowly learns to let her mates in and accept their help. It's a long road to melding their lives together 

It's a journey and they work really hard at making their relationship work, and I love the situations that happen that force them to learn and grow. Definitely get this one. I loved Siren publishing, and the books they sell are pretty good..

These are the ones I have read so far, for the challenge
Enjoy the books, my loves
Blessed Be

Sunday 13 February 2011

February Lovers

Love recognizes no barriers
it jumps hurdles,
leaps fences
penetrates walls
to arrive at it's destination
Full of HOPE

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, the day we are supposed to let our loves know how much they mean to us. Sometimes we buy them flowers, get them pampered, purchase that expensive gift, or do that sexual trick that we save only for special occasions O_o.. Love is a many splendorous thing, but love isn't always hearts and roses.I wish to share with you my all time favorite love stories. Some are from myths, some are fictional, some are true, some are so awe inspiring that they change the laws of the land.  I will highlight loves that showcase the good, the bad and the ugly side of this thing called love.

There are many tales in which we grow up with which tell us, how to love, whom to love, and what love looks like, myths, legends, or our own family love stories, I wish to share as many as I can think of.

Here are a few I will be covering, if you know any others, leave a comment, and I will share them:

  • Tristan and Isolde (the real tale, not the Hollywood version)
  • Isis and Osiris (Aset & Asar)
  • Psyche and Eros
  • Echo and Narcissus
  • Cleopatra, Julius Cesar, & mark Anthony
  • Mr & Mrs. Loving ~ Post Here
  • Dr King & Coretta Scott King
  • Malcom X & Betty
  • Aphrodite & Hepaestus
  • Hades & Persphone
  • Zeus & his many lovers
  • Orpheus & Eurydice
  • Oedipus
  • Paris & Helen
  • Becuma & King Cunn
You only need to turn on the TV to Snapped to see the bad side of love or any true crime show to see that many times that feeling of love can go very very wrong. Some of the fables, can be seen as warnings or a what not to do post.
Take these tales as you see it
Be Blessed

Friday 11 February 2011

Seed Porn

I have decided what I am planting for this season in the garden.
Why seed porn? The title is something a witch I love to read calls her seed magazines, and I loved the idea; so that's what I am calling them now.

I have selected all my seeds for this year.
While doing this I have noticed something about myself, I am an excellent green thumb,( I get it from my Mom), but I have been growing plants that I really don't use sometimes. Especially in the herbs department. Sometimes I just grow them cause they look so awesome but then I have nothing to do with them. And then they go to seed, without me really using them or saving them.

So this year I have decided to only grow what I am surely going to use. I have already looked at many different menus, and have several different recipes, for preserves and jam. So with those in mind I decided on what I am planting.

So here are my plans for the year, I am going to do mostly mints for herbs:
  • peppermint (I plant this every year)
  • spearmint
  • catnip/catmint
  • lavender
  • basil
  • thyme ( I plant this every year)
  • rosemary ( I already have this potted in house)
  • chamomile
  • lemon balm
And some others are:
  • calendula
  • bergamont
  • stevia
  • sage (i plant every year)
  • feverfew
  • chives (i plant every year)
  • oregano (i plant every year)
  • parlsey (i plant every year)
  • goldenseal
  • pennyroyal
I also have onions, garlic, leeks, and my other garden veggies. I'm looking into perhaps getting some birds or a rabbit this year as well, I'll let you know how that goes.

Have you looked at your garden plans for the year yet? let me know in the comments.
Be Blessed

Monday 7 February 2011

Somethings I learned about myself:

There are many thing I have discovered about myself during the 28 days of Yoga,
1) I am a bit mean
2) I'm a bit of a bitch when my personal time is interrupted
3) I have a lot of unresolved anger
4) I'm just a little bit selfish
5) I tend to get defensive whenever someone talks to me

Look at all of that and people say yoga is only good for peace within. maybe this is my way of working towards my peace.

Number one I blame on being an older sibling, i have three younger sisters and sometimes the only way to get them to stop taking advantage is to be mean, yeah I know not the best of ways as a family, but it works.

Number two reflects back on number one, the reason I say this, I feel like my time is important, I give equally to friends and family all the time I can and still be sane. When I take time for myself, I would like for them to respect that and stop calling, texting, stopping by to see me, on the day i have off for myself or when I just sit down to meditate. i swear it's like they have radar "Oh shyt she's about to have fun let's break that up and piss her off real quick". I particularly HATE when they bug me with shyt they can easily resolve themselves. I mean REALLY must I do everything? or must you share EVERY thought that pops into your head?? Didn't we just talk five minutes ago, for like two hours, and I left you only 20 mins before that, because right about now I can use a little break from you. Stop stalking me (of course I won't say this to my family or friends, because part of being in a relationship is putting up with the small little pieces of the person that annoys you, as no one is perfect, and I know when I'm ready to vent, they better listen)

3& 5)I know exactly why this is as, I am constantly on the defensive with my family, particularly with my Mom, she is constantly attempting to get me to go to church with her and the 'save my soul'. Which after awhile can get annoying, so every time she opens her mouth in my direction, I'm already arming myself with a zinger to send back whatever she just sent towards me. This isn't a good way to live because I find myself getting into little tussles with people who haven't really done anything, take for instance my partner, He doesn't put up with BS well, so whenever we're together and I let some of my vitriol out He lets me have it (one of the reasons I love him, He doesn't let me get away with much). And I'm always expecting someone to criticize me so I'm always on the defensive, but this doesn't extend to work, or my education, there I know I am the bomb and don't put up with much BS there, but with my parents in particular?? Not much I can change about them, and sometimes talking to them is a waste of breathe as they are who they are and that's how they have been for over 50 years and that's how they're going to be for the next 20-30 years.

4) I have had to learn to be selfish, it's a good thing to demand your own time, your own things from yourself and for others to learn to respect your things. One of the things my sisters and I always talk about is the fact that we sometimes have similar taste (very expensive similar taste) and some of us are too cheap (not calling names at all, but it ain't me) to go out and purchase our own separate things, so some of the others will 'borrow', until 1) it's done 2) it becomes broken 3) it gets lost.  I recently relearned this lesson as a small black purse I have had since my 18th birthday, a classic Coach purse, was lent to one of the younger ones, and it;s missing and no one wants to claim who lost it, yet everyone and their damn 'events' needed to have the purse.  I'm getting tired of having to replace my shyt because they don't want to buy their own or don't want to use their own (which pisses me off, if you have your own why are you using mine??)
Which is why I have to really enforce number 1.

I have more 'epiphanies from the mat' but I think this enough psychoanalysis for one post.  I know something especially the way I interact with my family has to change, and I have to stop being such a wuss with them, but family dynamics is a hard thing to change. I don't want to give the impression that my sisters and I don't get along or that I'm a bitch 24/7, We get along the way most sisters who are close in age do, and we have had to learn to see each other as individuals with our own lives, which is different from when we lived all under the same roof, and were little girls picking on each other and playing hide and go seek.  Yes, they annoy me ( if you get along with everyone in your life ALL the time, your lying to yourself, or you aren't acknowledging your true feelings), I love my family and I love my friends, but it doesn't me I have to LIKE them all the time.

Each moment is a chance to change who I am, and I finally learning to embrace it.

What have you learned about yourself recently my loves? Anything good or bad? Something you already knew? Or has it made you stop and go ugh?
Share in the comments please

Sunday 6 February 2011


recently in the last few days I have been noticing something different about my body. I am beginning to think perhaps my doctors and I are wrong and instead of having an allergy to nightshade foods, perhaps its actually worse, maybe it’s actually IBS.

Now I'm not one to panic and run to the worst possible scenario, but I have been noticing the symptoms actually getting worse. I thought "hey maybe it’s a gluten allergy", but many of the foods I eat are gluten free, as I had gotten in the habit of purchasing gluten free because of my dad’s diet habits (he’s Rastafarian and mostly vegetarian)., Now I'm trying to think if I have changed anything in my diet, did I eat anything different? Drink anything different?

The only things I can think of is I went to target and had a small icee, could that be it?? This has never happened before that I recall (but then again we have established that as a lupus patient I sometimes suffer from the fog and sometimes forget what I just did five minutes ago). Then there are the grapes, those are the only other things I have had recently, maybe it was the subway sandwich? but I only got the regular stuff and never had this problem before.

Since it’s only been a few days since the symptoms have actually gotten worse, I'm going to do a diary entry of all the foods I'm eating everything, if it passes my lips then it gets written down, and I m going to watch and see, if the symptoms fon’t ease up, I might have to call my rhemotologist to come in sooner than my actual appointment.

I'm panicking because each time I think I have a handle on how my body is working it changes, and you would think I would get use to the changes, but I'm not.  Each drastic and scary changes brings with it the grieving process again, as I grieve the loss of another body system to this disease. I tell myself, don’t panic, be thankfully that it’s not as bad as the other’s in the therapy group I sometimes go to, or as bad as the young women who blog about their experiences, but I'm not thankful. I'm Fucking Pissed.  Why am I losing control even though I'm doing all I'm supposed to? Even with medical knowledge of how the disease advances and changes, I'm still in the mode of patient, and this shyt sucks big time. I had just been celebrating because I have had the most awesome time being in the longest of remissions and boom, something new crops up. This is BS.

Now I have a mode of action mapped out all I have to do is watch my food over the next few days. Im just praying its not IBS, I really can't deal with another problem on top of the others I already have, Yes Im grateful Im not as advanced as so many others, but Im happy with what I have I DON'T want it to change. I'm comfortable here I know what needs to be done and I can do this by rote now, this constant change shyt is not working for me. I want my life to be about more than worrying about where the hell the nearest bathroom is, and what is going to trigger an episode. I want to PRETEND to be "NORMAL"
Le Sigh, I know I'm 'normal' but when I have my disease under control I can pretend it doesn't exist too much, but each new symptom forces you to re-evaluate your grasp on your life and your goals, and give up something else to the disease. I want to have regular worries, regular 28 year old issues, about career, love and family, not worry about if my advanced directives are in the right hands, did I include the new big purchase in the will, are my meds all right. thats supposed to be when Im older, you know after I have had a good long life, and Im in my 90s or with the Goddess' blessing my 100s.
UGH the life a chronic disease sufferer, is no fun at all.
Sorry to vent, but if I don't talk about it here, who else will i talk to? No need to send anyone else in a panic, until we know what we're dealing with. Anyway thanks for reading(listening)
Be Blessed and Healthy or strong enough to deal with your issues, my loves

Friday 4 February 2011

What’s the price of beauty?

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about today other than the next installment of the Black History Month. Then I took a gander through the catalog of movies just added to Why yes I procrastinate regularly. Anywho, I happened on this film and thought hmm that sounds pretty good let's see what it's about.

I wish I could say I am surprised by what the gentleman in the film "America the Beautiful " discovered, but unfortunately I'm a woman living in America, a black woman living in America. There are few woman who look like me on the cover of magazines, and whenever they are, it's a 'weight-loss' edition.  Very few times have there been dark skinned black women, who were over a certain size or who are even not airbrushed.

One of my favorite actresses came out after her magazine cover came out and called them out on the airbrushing, perhaps you remember it? Kate Winslet, set the record straight, and pissed off a lot of people in the process, yet she was very brave to stay true to herself and to be honest with her fans, by letting them know, those were not her legs.   There have been many different instances where celebrity women have called the beauty editors out for their editing of the women and showing what is not a real standard of beauty, considering the average size of American women is 12 and the average Hollywood 'starlet' is a 0.

Recently there were reports of models collapsing and being rushed to the ER because they were having tachycardia (elevated heart rates) due to the not eating properly. There were several women who died, and a high ranking model who slipped away due to anoxeria.

Now all you have to do is google binge eating and you will find websites which advocate on ways that help you keep the weight off. these sites are run by young women who have no idea the damage they are truly doing to themselves. All for that 'perfect body'.

It's sickening that in  a country where so much food is available people are willing to starve themselves to death to have this 'perfect body'. Which is never truly perfect. yes I know for many of these women it's about control, there is generally something in their lives they aren't in control of and eating or not eating is the only thing they have control over.

Is this the kind of society we want? Where our daughters die because they are seeking an unrealistic image of 'perfection' that is re-enforced daily by tv, music videos, ads in magazines, even by their friends who have also being suckered into the ideal?? What is going to happen in a few years when or if these young women survive and realize that they have damaged themselves to the point of infertility? How many millions if not billions will they spend chasing the dream of something they had for free before they recklessly threw it away??

And let's not pretend it's just the girls, young boys are hurting themselves too chasing the dream of being 'buff and rippled' like the latest "Hollywood heart throb". I have had the displeasure of working with and helping young men who have downed Red bull with Viagra a the age of 20-26 and created an erection that has lasted well over the four hour limit, which means they are really dumbing down themselves as brain cells die off due to all the blood going in one direction, simply so they can 'f**k like porn stars'. @_@

Then there are the young men who are using steroids, and although it's not talked about in the press as much anymore it's still there, every once in a while we will get a young man who has a heart attack (also called an MI) out at 26, due to the elevated blood pressure and heart rates, massive swelling (edema), or they are bleeding out due to an accident, that should be relatively minor, but because their blood doesn't clot properly anymore, it's a big deal. Or they could be throwing clots like hell.  Not to mention the shrinking of the testicles which increases the infertility risk, but their not worried about that they are sexy.

"I pick things up and put them down"---planet fitness

Sigh the sad part, I rode the train into New York sitting in front of two such young men who were talking about it, about how much better they look now than before, how much more defined their muscles were, and until that moment, i must admit I was one of the women who had ogled their fine physiques when they entered the train, but knowing they got it from drugs killed any attraction they had for me.

i know there are no easy solutions to these problems, but we have to face them, change the way our advertisers are allowed to market to us, and we can change the way our children and ourselves are viewed, or view what true beauty is. Yes it's real nice and pretty to look at, but what it takes to get there is not. if you have signs or symptoms of any of the eating disorders, please seek help. if you recognize yourself saying some of these things in front of your children please stop, we are the only ones who can break the cycle.

Steroid image from ( I don't co-sign any of the shiggity they are spewing on their page,O_o but the image was perfect and i have to give credit where it is due so there I linked it )
Information about effects of steroids can be found on the Partnership for a Drug-free America website. More medical information can be found here.

Be Blessed

Thursday 3 February 2011


Ok Sorry about the comments section guys, I just got home and noticed that the Disqus widget is doing something hokey. I have taken it down until the problem is resolved, and that means the old comment form is back up. Comment away, and let me know do you like the new comment format?? or do you prefer the old blogger form??

Blessed Be

"The rebels old obeah woman"

In Jamaica we have what are called our National Heroes, people who are honored for their exemplary service to the Country, as freedom fighters, politicians, or simply those who’s voices carried deep to inspire our countrymen in their greatest times of need. The only woman among the original 7 National Heroes, is a woman, all women should take pride in. Her name is Queen Nanny.

No one is quite sure when Nanny was born, but she was a fierce young woman when she arrived on the island in c1686. She and several of her people, as well as several of her brothers were from the Asante' or Ashanti tribe of Ghana, West Africa; were captured and were brought across on the "Middle Passage" and dropped off in Jamaica, to a plantation in Saint Thomas Parish, where they were made to raise sugar cane.

Nanny, who many of her followers claim, was the daughter of the leader of their tribe, chose to run away with her brothers, rather than be a slave. They ran for the Blue Mountains, which is the interior of the island, there they created several free holds for other slaves to run away to.  These independent African societies were complete with towns, crops and armies, the ranks of which were constantly being supplied by newly freed runaways. Nanny Town, as it later came to be called, which was founded in 1720, by Nanny and her brother Quao, was a 600 acre parcel of land in Portland, which the Maroons took refuge. The other towns founded by her brothers included: Cudjoe who went to Saint James Parish and founeded Cudjoe Town; Accompong went to Saint Elizabeth Parish and founded Accompong Town.

Nanny organized small raiding parties which went to different plantations and helped to free the slaves; sometimes they freed the entire plantation. Mostly non confrontational in the beginning, this changed when the British took over the island in 1655 from the Spanish. During the vacuum created by the power exchange, many more slaves ran away and joined the different tribes of what was now being called the "Maroons", the freed slaves, intermarried with the remaining Arawak Indians who were native to the island.  The Arawak Indians, shared their intimate knowledge of the island with the Maroons, which allowed them to do guerrilla style hit missions.These missions entailed raiding the plantations of their weapons, and supplies, and freeing their slaves.  To survive the Maroons would also trade with nearby villages and market towns, for items they could not raise, hunt or make for themselves, such as weapons and cloth.

Once the British were in power, Nanny the leader of the Maroons helped to launch an 30 year struggle against them.The British however did not take kindly to the 'liberation of their properties' and Nanny became a marked woman. The activities of the Maroons sparked island-wide slave revolts in 1690 and 1734. Whole regiments of the British army were annihilated in battle with the Maroon forces. This was mainly accomplished by the layout of the land, the Maroon towns were placed in strategic positions of almost impenetrable fortresses. Nanny Town was in the basin of a mountain valley which had one entrance, a shear mountain pass which overlooked the Stony River, via a 900 foot ridge. This made it impossible for the British to do surprise attacks, but Nanny placed look outs anyway, they would alert the town of immanent attack via a horn called an Abeng. (much like the image in the painting above)

The British were never able to defeat them. As the Maroons were prone to ambushing the soldiers sent after them, by disguising themselves as the local fauna of bush and trees, they would then send an undisguised man where the British could see him; he would then run back leading the soldiers back to the hidden warriors. This method worked for years, especially for Nanny as the land she had chosen made it impossible for more than one solider at a time to pass, creating a bottle neck effect, and effectively making the soldiers easy targets.

In 1734, a Captain Stoddart attacked the remnants of Nanny Town, "situated on one of the highest mountains in the island", via "the only path" available: "He found it steep, rocky, and difficult, and not wide enough to admit the passage of two persons abreast." (Edwards vol. 1, page 525) 
He then fired on the remaining huts of sleeping villagers, as most of the Maroons had traveled to the other tribes of Nanny's brothers in the West of the island.

Several more years of battle took place before the British declared peace with the Maroons in 1739 (you read that right 1739), and recognized their independence and their right to large areas of the island, mostly within the valleys and mountains.
"Nanny and the people now residing with her and their heirs . . . a certain parcel of Land containing five hundred acres in the parish of Portland . . ." (quoted in Campbell 177, 175)
Nanny's death was believed to have taken place  in 1733, or so the rumors circulated.
"In the Journal of the Assembly of Jamaica, 29–30 March 1733, we find a citation for "resolution, bravery and fidelity" awarded to "loyal slaves . . . under the command of Captain Sambo", namely William Cuffee, who was rewarded for having fought the Maroons in the First Maroon War and who is called "a very good party Negro, having killed Nanny, the rebels old obeah woman" (Campbell 177). These hired soldiers were known as "Black Shots" (Campbell 37). It is likely that Cuffee was motivated by the reward, a common practice by plantations to discourage slaves escaping." Nanny's remains are buried at "Bump Grave" in Moore Town, one of the communities established by the Windward Maroons in Portland Parish. (taken from the Wikipedia website)"

In her time as leader of the Maroons, Nanny freed over 800 slaves, she is the blueprint for Harriet Tubman. Much like Harriet was a nurse, Nanny was the 'obeah' woman of her tribe. Obeah or Voodoo as it's now called was the Ashanti's religion, which allowed Nanny to be both healer and Spiritual leader to her people. Her knowledge of herbs, and the traditional healing methods, elevated her esteem among her people. 

You can learn more about the brave Ashanti Woman here, as well as here. There is information as well on the Jamaican National Hero website, Although much of what is known about Nanny comes from the oral history of the Maroons, the British letters and diaries of the military leaders in charge lend credibility to the stories.

Now you know one of the reasons Jamaican woman walk with their heads held so high, this is our blueprint of a strong woman.
Be Blessed my loves

Wednesday 2 February 2011

KWW: How to Make Mayo

Yes you read that right, this will show you how to make your own mayo.
 Why would you want to when you can stop in any store a get one? Well
1) it's cheap
 2) no preservatives
3) you can make it as organic as you want to.
1 egg yolk (i used an organic egg)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice

Directions can be found here, I followed the directions here and my may came out perfectly.
It's actually a simple trick and really great mayo can me had, the only problem being that if you don't eat a lot of mayo you have to make only the one egg, and it lasts for about a week. Another trick is to use white pepper if your going to make this, since the black flakes show up and look weird, learned that one through trial and error.

I loved the recipe, how quickly it whipped up and finding out that mayo is the basis of almost all white dressings was pretty cool. So if your a fan of blue cheese or ranch making this and using some for that is so easy. The links to make dressings are also located on the page of mayo directions

Have fun and enjoy those sandwiches topped with your own mayo
Be Blessed

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Imbolc Ritual

Today in the Northeast has dawned bright and dreary with ice storms and sleet raining throughout the day.  As a ‘weather maven’ or follower of weather patterns this for me means that winter only has a few more weeks of a hold. I don’t need the Groundhog’s prediction to let me know that. I simply followed the rhyme:

If Candlemas be bright and fair
Winter will have another year
but if it be dark with clouds & rain
winter is gone & will not come again
Traditional Edwardian Saying

Today is a good day to pull out and bless all your candles for the year.

Last night, I placed a Bride’s Bed with the God’s wand which I made in front of the fire place, I also did a small releasing spell and a meditation. I started at midnight and ended close to one, (the Goddess loves to talk). The how of making these items and the little installation ritual came from the Llewellyn Sabbats book.
To make the Bride Bed you will need:

  • blue and white cloth 
  • blue and ribbon
  • some yarn
  • corn husks
  • cotton balls
  • a basket or shoe box top to make the bed
  • white cloth to act as bedding
  • beading for the goddess
  • wand or branches for the wand

Follow Patti's directions here on how to make your doll. My corn husks were fresh because I just purchased corn to make soup. I started at 1130 making the doll and finished just in time to go to the fire place by midnight.
To Make the Bed:
I placed the white cloth in the bottom of the box lid, then placed extra fabric at the head to make a pillow. You can decorate it if you feel like with blue and white paint. 
Installation Ritual:
Place the bed before the fireplace or on your altar. Light the two white candles and your incense. When I placed the Goddess in the bed I repeated the words found in the Sabbat book:
"Welcome the Bride turned from Mother to Maiden
to rest and prepare fot hte time fo the seed
Cleansed and refreshed from the labors behind her
with the promise of spring she lays before me"
Then place the wand beside the Bride and say:
"How soon comes the Lord 
how quickly he grows
the season will turn
before we know"

For my little releasing spell, I made the following:
incense:  equal parts: benzoin, sandalwood, and lavender powder
Scented parchment paper: each paper was scented with lavender essential oil and peppermint essential oil. 
On one paper I wrote all that I wanted to burn away in the fires of the forge, and the other I wrote all I wished to manifest this year. I burned the first list without reading it and told them goodbye. Then I summoned the Goddess as witness as I read what i wished to manifest then i added that to the fire, and let it burn.
In all my years I have never really worked with the Goddess Brigid for anything other than inspiration at this time of the year, but for the month of Feb I wish to work with her and get to know her a little better, since I haven’t gotten any visitations telling me to back off from her I'm guessing Morrigan is cool with her. 

So I decided last night to do the regular meditation of visiting the forge, but this time the Goddess took over and man she wasn't what I expected. i sat infront of the Bride's bed, one of the candles seemed to dance more in the 'wind' than the other, and the incense smoke danced and wove it's way around the flame, as I gaze inside i found myself walking through my backyard in the snow, and before me was a bridge, below was a spring river with water so clear I could see the fishes as they swam, beside me were hooks and rope with netting, I knew this is were I placed all my wordly worries and fears. I placed them in the netting, hooked the netting to a line and lowered them into the water, where they would we washed away, and the heavy ones would be lightened for when i return. I turn to walk and noticed that this side of the bridge isn't a frozen tundra like the other-side behind me, there are green shoots, and small spring flowers, crocuses are pushing up from the soil, even with the small patches of snow. I can hear the birds within the deep forest and walk the path that seems to be laid out for me, it's a dirt path the goes deep within the thick woods, where massive trees guard the sides. 

Soon I can hear the clang of the metal being worked and when I walked into the forge the heat hit me, and i saw a tall person wearing the gear of a metal worker, they had long blond hair braided back into a ponytail, and wore the thick heavy gloves, apron and boots of a blacksmith. The body shape from the back was the only way to tell that the blacksmith was in fact a woman (that and her blue ribbons around the white leggings, like the bows on a ballerina's legs), we are alone in the forge, and I walk closer. She turns with a huge flaming piece of metal to the anvil and starts working it. After a while she acknowledges me, tells me to grab a hammer and work the metal with her, i follow the rhythm she has set, she plunges the metal back into the fire, then into the bucket of water, and then works it some more. She doesn't talk as she works and I follow her lead, after awhile I stop working as she is now doing something more intricate and doesn't need my help. I realize she is carving something into the metal, as I lean closer i realize it's my name. 

I stand up as she does the last letter, and puts aside her tools. She looks at me and I quickly tell her why I am there, she cuts me of and finishes with my hearts deepest desires what i wouldn't have said, not yet, when I stare, she laughs, a deep rich laugh, and I smile I can't help it. She talks and when I make a comment she interrupts and tells me " I'm not a child or a genie, I am a Goddess, I cannot be commanded or bent to your will"  ohh oh, I look into her eyes, and feel the weight of her age, she looks young but she is older than time itself, there is something alien there in those blue eyes, something that has never been human, and sees way deeper than I wanted her to.
it is then I notice the clangs of another blacksmith, and look up and see the God, his back is to me, but his forearms and shoulders flex with muscles, and a fissure of desire runs through me, she turns and smiles as she sees him, there is a fleeting expression across her face, I attempt to step closer to see what he is working on, she cuts me off. "You aren't ready to see what is there, yet". She then turns and leads the way out the forge, I walk beside her, her longer legs eat up the ground and she pulls ahead of me, as I walk I notice the changes around me, the green is brighter, the birds sing louder, the trees are beginning to breathe deep again and there is a warmer breeze. I realize She is bringing Spring as she walks, I run to catch up, knowing I have to keep up, somehow we are back at the bridge again " We have much work to do to complete your project, it may take a lifetime, but it will be done.." (she says more things I wish to keep close for now), but then commands me across the bridge, as I go to retrieve my line, she tells me to leave them there, as those worries are no longer relevant. I walk across the bridge and return to my backyard, enter my home, walk to where my body sits waiting and sink back in. 

I have much work to do. How has your Candlemas been so far?
Happy Imbolc!!!