"The flow of creativity feels like an avalanche of joy and wonder. Being open to that possibility creates connections with everything." - Feline Dreamers

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So Busy, and It's Not Even August Yet!

Summer is one of our busiest times, as a family. I've told folks for years that to try and schedule things in August is challenging, because there's already so much going on - lots of birthdays, the Maine Highland Games, our family reunion, and the start of soccer season, just to name a few. It's my busiest month. Well, we're not even into August yet, and we've been super busy! Today is the first day in a while when I've had time to post, and to really catch up with my online reading and networking.

Some of our recent summer adventures have included: hosting a Red Temple gathering, volunteering with my Mom and ElvenTiger at a local museum, role-playing game sessions, a fun day at the waterpark with the kids' Aunt Molly, seeing our friends in the play Narnia, celebrating a dear friend's 40th birthday (which included an awesome massive water fight with a posse of kids on one of the hottest days), a lake party with unschoolers, fundraising on the air for my public radio station, lots of swimming, hanging out with friends, and family potlucks. Oh my!

I apologize for not having pictures to post. I still need to get a battery for my camera. We've been relying on others' photos, and just living in the moment and enjoying what we're doing.

I'm also looking for some paid work to supplement our income. This is both a disappointment and kind of a fun process. Fun because I'm networking and exploring in order to find something that fits my quirky self, my needs for a flexible schedule, and my unusual skill set. Disappointing because I still haven't (yet) been able to create my right livelihood, a way to use my creativity to help support my family. However, it's an interesting process of discovery, because I'm feeling like a lot of the information I'm searching through is leading me back to those same creative talents that feed my calling. I'll let you know how it goes...when I have a moment!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dreamwork Transformation

The past few nights I've been doing some more new dreamwork as I sleep. Not like a dream in the conventional sense, but more like the dream healing I was doing last fall, which I wrote about here. This recent dreamwork is difficult to explain in words, but I'm going to try.

Oddly enough, it centers around part of the song "Kandi" by One Eskimo, a sort of bridge or chorus that was actually originally part of an older song, though I'm not sure of the history. The part I'm talking about goes "he called me baby, baby, all night long." I heard the song on The World Cafe on Saturday night, and since then it's been woven through my sleep.

As I rise up toward the surface, between deep sleep and dreaming, I hear that part of the song playing. And it feels like a spell or type of magick, and the word that comes up about it is "transformation." When the song-spell plays, I go through the process of transforming something within me...energy? old patterns? I'm not sure what it is, or how to describe it. It's a deep feeling, and it seems like a positive thing when it is happening. Last night I remember noting the fact that I was doing the "spell" backwards. The music was still playing as usual, but somehow it seemed like I had learned to reverse something, and that too was a good thing.

Sorry to be so vague, but I wanted to try and capture it here. The reason I recalled it was that I didn't remember any traditional dreams this morning, so when I was thinking about dreams, this is what popped into my memory. Don't look so puzzled - you already knew I was strange!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cake(s) of the Month: June

I'm way behind in posting about it, but don't worry, June was full of cakes! And I think I got pictures of most of them.

This cake was made, believe it or not, to use up the extra frosting from the past couple of cakes. I mean, otherwise it just sits around in the fridge feeling sorry for itself. And despite the yumminess factor, no one seems to want to eat frosting by itself. So I made a square 9-inch One-Egg Chocolate Cake, a recipe from my great-grandmother, Nana Drew.

Thanks to the wonderful response I received to a cake I made for a friend's birthday dinner party in late May (chocolate maple, and delicious if I do say so), I might have even gotten a couple of special orders for cakes! Which is a totally new thing. Here are some photos...

And finally, since it was my namesake Starhawk's 60th birthday on June 17th, I made some pentacle cupcakes, also using up some of the previously-made frosting (as you can tell by the powdered sugar on a few of them). Not that I know Starhawk personally or anything, but the folks at the Fireside Gathering that night loved them!

Let me know if you're local to southern Maine and need a cake for a special occasion!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday's Doings

It's been a pretty mellow day here today. It's been nice hot sunny summer weather, and the fans are going. Laundry, kitchen cleaning, and grocery shopping, along with doing some work on our business, Feline Dreamers. Lots of hangout time and conversation. BlackLion, ElvenTiger, and I took a lovely bike ride just a while ago, once the sun wasn't quite as intense.

Our late dinner is veggie burgers and potato salad; we were all too hot to be hungry earlier. We're using the last of BlackLion's sesame rolls to put the burgers (Morningstar Farms Grillers, Dryst's favorites) in, along with fresh greens, red onions, and tomatoes. I'll have to write out the recipe again for our Two Cats Potato Salad (made by us cats, not of cats!) - we lost the recipe when our external hard drive crashed, but I've been making it from memory.

Tonight there will probably be some Netflix watching on the agenda - Buffy and Angel, most likely. We're on seasons 5 and 2, respectively. I love those shows! It's nice to have a quiet start to the week.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Down to Earth Homemaking

Today I hosted a small gathering at my home, sort of an afternoon tea for women in the Red Temple group of Pagan women. I had set a batch of herbal sun tea out on the picnic table this morning to steep (Indian Spice flavor). I washed and hung out two loads of laundry, and BlackLion and I tidied up the house. I put a batch of strawberry-orange muffins in the oven just before the meeting, and set out plates and cups. Along with the muffins, I served homemade strawberry jam that a friend had given me, Cabot butter, and some homemade salsa with white corn chips. There was also local honey for the iced tea. One of my friends brought along some banana-walnut muffins she'd made.

During the meeting, as I went to the stove to check on the black beans I was boiling up for dinner, another friend asked about how I managed to cook beans from scratch without them ending up mushy. I told her about my methods for cooking beans, and then I had a little mini-realization - I should blog about my experiences as a homemaker and how I do things.

I haven't wanted to put myself in a category, such as locavore or vegan, because I really don't fit fully into any particular box. We are vegetarians, and we do eat dairy and (local) eggs, but we also eat a lot of vegan foods. We like to buy local veggies, but we don't focus solely on that. We enjoy organic food when it's possible, but sometimes it's too expensive for us. See what I mean? Purists from any of those categories would look askance at me.

But I suspect there are more families like mine, and some who would want to get tips and hints on how to do what we're doing. Our intentions are to eat healthy foods, make a lot of things from scratch, choose local and organic foods when we can, be kind to the environment, and keep to our budget. The things that, to me, are just part of our lives now, such as cooking with all kinds of dried legumes, making up our own recipes, and making more things on our own (like salad dressing, bread, and mustard), might be a new interest or goal for someone else. I guess I shouldn't assume that just because I'm not doing everything from scratch (yet?) that I don't have valuable information and wisdom to share. I don't have to be "finished" a process to share about how it's going. A revelation! Heh heh.

So, along the lines of one of the blogs I like to read, A Handmade Life, here are some photos of this weekend's projects.

BlackLion made these sesame bulkie rolls for Friday night's dinner, which was homemade falafel patties, kale salad, and oven fries.

These are the strawberry-orange muffins, adapted from my Mom's orange muffin recipe.

Indian Spice herbal sun tea. Some of us had it plain over ice, while others added honey. Mmmm!

Our family's semi-famous homemade salsa, a regular dish for us. This batch was made by Quester and I, with some help from the hungry and impatient kids.

Two loads of laundry today, plus the swim towels from the jaunt to the lake that BlackLion and the kids took during my afternoon gathering.

And just for fun, some roses from Quester's flower garden. These are "my" mini yellow roses - the original bush was a gift from my Mom. Quester has nurtured them along, though.

And finally, a red rose that Quester rescued from a friend's rose garden. It was small, but is doing well here.

Please comment with your feedback! Let me know if you'd like to hear more about this aspect of my family's life.

P.S. I forgot to mention (or photograph) the Cherry Chocolate Chip ice cream that I made (my own recipe). My friend said it tasted like Cherry Garcia, and BlackLion said it's the best he's ever had (and that's his favorite flavor). Wow!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Getting Fit

I've written about wanting to lose weight before, and my intuitive knowledge that, for me, it's more about the mindset than the practical aspects. I've been continuing my study and practice of mindfulness and presence recently, and that's helped me feel ready to move forward in getting more fit.

Part of my struggle, as I've written in the past (and I've actually gained quite a bit of weight since writing my post on Lightening Up), is with stress. And specifically, with the stress associated with poverty and financial insecurity. The presence practice is helping me with that, so recently I've felt ready to move forward. I've been doing yoga regularly (on my own, at home, an average of three times a week) since late March. We had a rainy spring, so I wasn't active as much as I'd hoped.

Now it's summer. Since our money struggles mean we can't afford a vacation, I decided that since we live in Vacationland already, we'd spend our summer doing fun things that don't cost (much or any) money. And lots of them help with fitness, as well. This last week we've been swimming several times (in ponds, the river, and the ocean), taken walks, picked strawberries, and gone bike riding. It's fun, the weather has been great, and I feel much better about my body.

Last month I overcame my fears that I don't look good enough to wear a swimsuit - well, my absolute love of swimming helped with that one. BlackLion and I just added push-ups to our daily sit-ups routine. Of course, I'm only doing five push-ups, and those are modified, but it's a start. We've been doing 100 crunch-style sit-ups every day for over a year, and those were a struggle at first but they're now second nature.

Now I just need to maintain my momentum. And that's a matter of practice. I haven't even been looking at the scale - that's not my priority at the moment. The main thing is just to move, to play, to feel good in my body. To improve my fitness on all levels - physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.