Saturday, September 29, 2012

Overload and Overwhelmed

I've got a multitude of projects going on for the month of October and I seriously don't need to involve myself in anything else. Yeah, that's not going to happen.

I've been visiting some of the blogs I follow on a regular basis, reading the newest entries and finding some I've overlooked some how. In doing this I've come across quite a few things I hadn't been aware of. And now I'm on overload...

Quite a few of my actual friends (Kourtney hosts one too!) participate in blog hops, and the one that seems to be the most popular is No Ordinary Blog Hop. I figured I'd check it out and see what all the excitement is about. Silly me, I am not able to just peruse the information...NO I have to ABSORB it like a freakin sponge. And now I have another obsession...

I honestly don't know how I'm going to accomplish everything I already have on my plate for the month of October, (I wouldn't change ANY of the things I'm already committed to) and now I'm comtemplating an additional adventure. I signed up for their emails and added No Ordinarty Blog Hop to my google reader, I'm going to watch this blog for the next couple of days and then decide Sunday night if I can join this blog hop without spreading myself too thin, or put them on the back burner and go live with them in November. Which is actually what I'm leaning towards at this time...

What ever decision I make, I can still read all of the information they have to offer and let me tell you, they know their stuff...

Why couldn't I have found all these cool new things last month when I had time on my hands?

Friday, September 28, 2012

I Was Wrong and I Can Admit It...

Ummm, you know that post I made a few weeks ago about the Blog Hops and Never Ending Memes? Well, this is me biting my tongue, and taking back some of the things I said. I was wrong.

What?? Vickie admitting she's wrong? Hold da phone and find the crash cart, someone's gonna have a heart attack. Breaking News! Vickie admits she's wrong...

Yes, I was wrong. And here's why. I subscribe to MANY different blogs and more than a handful are blogs to help us bloggers write... and attract readers. On more than one of the helpful blogs I've found many people suggest using a daily theme for their posts. I already use Monday Munchies and Ten Things Thursday and was afraid if I wrote more along the daily *theme* type posts I'd bore you to death, thus causing you to stop following Aoibheal's Lair.

But according to those nice helpful bloggers who have over a bunch of followers and dedicate their blog to giving out blogging advice, this is the thing I need to do. So, I'm going to give it a shot ... try it out for 31 days and see if I can actually follow through with my plans to write every day and to see if you my Darlin's like what I have to say or not so much. I AM counting on you for feedback... don't let me down!

I've also been encouraged to join NaBloWriMo. This is a month long event for the month of October where each participant writes a blog entry and posts it every day for the entire month. That's 31 posts! On top of that I have Samhain's Sirens for the month of October too!

Sheesh... I'm gonna be BUSY next month! I have one thing to say... Bring It ON!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ten Things Thursday ~ My 10 Favorite Things to Eat or Drink

Everyone has their favorite things to eat or drink, and I'm sure I am no different. I love to eat and luckily I also love to cook. So it's pretty safe to say I have probably made some of the things on my list. There are a few I won't cook myself, I'd rather go out and just enjoy the meal instead of worrying about if I cooked it right or not. Here we go with 10 things I like to eat or drink... 

1. Seafood ~ This includes but is not limited to lobster, crab, shrimp, Mahi Mahi, salmon, and sea scallops. I can and do cook shrimp and scallops here at home, but enjoy eating out for lobster and crab. When we lived in MD we used to go to Annie's for brunch where they have a killer cream of crab soup. And don't get me started on the places to go for fresh crab, YUM! Yet one more thing on my list of why I miss Maryland...

2. Mexican Food ~ The real authentic Mexican food I haven't been able to get since we left Arizona. I have gotten pretty good at substituting things when I make a dish here at home, but so far the ONLY place we have found even somewhat close is a little restaurant in Odenton, MD called Pachanga Grill. Their food is the  closest to all we left in AZ. And let me tell you we have searched everywhere we live to find good and authentic Mexican food. When I cook at home my favorite thing to make is Green Chili Chicken Enchilada's with sour cream and queso fresco...YUM! Add home made salsa, guacamole and a Mexican Mojito and call it a meal. 

3. Fried Chicken ~ My Momma's recipe with a cajun twist, LOL! My Momma taught me how to cook many dishes, my second mother in law is Cajun and I learned to make quite a few dishes from her. I still remember them, how to cook them and have shared some of these dishes with many friends. The Cajun twist to Momma's chicken is adding just a little cayenne pepper to the seasoning and then frying it in crisco in a cast iron skillet. Spicey, brown and oh so yummy.

4. Gumbo ~ Chicken or seafood, it doesn't matter as long as it has that deep dark roux and spicy flavor that just won't quit. Add in a little Boudin sausage and you got a meal fit for a king! I am SO looking forward to cooler weather so I can cook up a big pot of Gumbo and rice...

5. Spiced Apple Cider ~ Around the holidays sometime beginning in mid fall, I'll drag out the crock pot and whip up a batch of spiced cider. I make mine from fresh apple cider, unprocessed when I can find it and then add cinnamon sticks, cloves and a little brown sugar. Simmer for about 6 hours, and then drizzle home made caramel sauce in the mug before adding the hot cider. Top with fresh home made whipped cream and you can't go wrong.

6. Mulled wine ~ A few years ago I believed I had an allergy to the sulfates in wine and wouldn't drink it to save my life. Then I found I could drink Mead and figured I'd try the wine again. If I did have an allergy, I've either outgrown it or it doesn't manifest any longer. I am happy to report I LOVE WINE! A couple years ago I ran across a bunch of recipes for Yule celebrations and many of them included a mulled or spiced heated wine. I was skeptical at first, and asked every one I knew for their favorite mulled wine recipe. I got a ton of responses and set about reading each of them. Many were pretty much the same and a few were more challenging than I figured I was up for. I did find one I fell in love with and now I try to make at least one kettle full each Yule. 

7. Coffee ~ Hi my name is Vickie and I am a coffee addict... LOL! Not just any coffee either. It MUST be Starbuck's Verona blend. I go out of my way each payday to buy 2 pounds (sometimes 3) of this blend for home brewing. Then I set the coffee maker up each night before going to bed so I can either have it already for me if I know what time I'm getting up or I can just push the brew button on the way through the kitchen as I'm taking the fur babies out first thing. Jimmy drinks his with some half & half and I use either Amaretto or Cinnamon Vanilla creamer. I will also confess to having an addiction to flavored coffees, and right now the fave's of those are Kahlua and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Pumpkin Spice (staying with the season here).

8. Chocolate ~ Yes, I am a chocoholic too. But here again I must be the difficult one in the family. I prefer dark chocolate, and sometimes the darker the better. 

9. Red Velvet Cake ~ Not everyone likes Red Velvet cake, and I'm OK with that. But if I have a choice for any type of cake I'd like to have for a celebration or just an ordinary day, I'll vote Red Velvet all the time. I'm not even sure exactly *why* I love it so much, but I do and when I see it on a menu as a dessert choice, I'll cut back on my entree just to get a piece of cake... 

10. Tea ~ Even before I worked for Teavana I had an affair with tea... I just didn't know all the health benefits associated with this heavenly brew. Now, I've been called a tea snob. That's more than alright with me. I will not use tea bags, nor the Kcups for my Kuerig. When I make a cup or pot or pitcher of tea, I use only whole leaf tea, and the water and brew time is monitored as well depending on the type of tea I'm making. I have a couple favorite blends and flavors, Six Summits Oolong has a very subtle raspberry flavor to it and I've grown attached to one called Hot Cinnamon Spice. Perfect for the cold winter nights.

OK, there you have 10 of my favorite things to eat and drink. I most definitely could have made this list MUCH longer, but I want to save some for a later time. And besides, I was afraid I'd bore you. What are some of the things you enjoy eating or drinking? Leave a comment and let me know. If you have a favorite recipe I'd love to try it...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I've Been Pretty Quiet Lately

And I can only chalk it up to being sick. On Sunday September 16th, I drove our brand new to us SUV to Raleigh to see some of my friends. It was raining and chilly. I knew I'd catch a cold but I threw caution to the wind and played anyway. Alas, you play, you gotta pay. And that is exactly what I've been doing ever since. It began as a cold and quickly morphed into bronchitis. I've had no energy, congested and runny nose, a temperature of over 100* for most of the week, sore muscles from coughing and the worst part is NO VOICE!

It's been nearly impossible to sit up for any length of time without my head feeling like it's going to explode, but laying down brings on the coughing so, I've *propped* myself up with pillows and slept more than I thought possible. BTW, I dislike my bed right now, I'm sore from spending so much time in it and where I used to be in love with the damn thing, I now want to toss it out the door.

I haven't been able to take care of Ravyn, and that bothers me too. But the poor baby has her own health issues with her allergies and needing to use an inhaler twice a day and take liquid Zyrtec on top of that, I just didn't want to run the risk of her catching my yuckies as well. Yet one more thing that has made this week so quiet.

I have however managed to finish the class I was in the middle of, and now I have a week off before I begin the next one. We have been without cable for a little over a week, we are changing providers and couldn't get the new service connected until tomorrow. So it's been overly quiet, which has bored Jimmy to DEATH while he's been home this weekend, but he's going back out tomorrow...just in time for the new install, LOL!!

Next week on Monday starts the Kick Off for Samhain's Sirens and the big blog and give away party. There is a button over there in my side columns >>>> You probably ought to click on it and follow the blog and the FB page and Twitter because there is going to be some FREAKIN AWESOME blog entries and Give Away's that you aren't going to want to miss out on. This event runs the entire month of October with the grand finale give away on November 2nd. So you will have plenty of time to enter not only the daily give a ways but the big final prize too.

I've also signed up to participate in NaBloWriMo for the month of October, I'll be writing and posting an entry each day for the entire month. Yes, I'm going to be EXTREMELY busy next month...and I LOVE having been invited to be a part of so many things.

In the midst of all this excitement, I'm also getting ready for a HUGE Thanksgiving dinner and celebration here in the Lair. If everything works out we should have about 12 people for dinner. I am SO excited!! And before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, WE do not celebrate Thanksgiving as the traditional Muggle holiday. Our Thanksgiving is all about family, friends and celebrating life.

So there you have the Reader's Digest of what's been going on here in the Sand Hills. Anndd... I was just invited by my Granddaughter Alanna and Daughter in Law to help manage a new page over on Facebook. Alanna is speaking out against bullying... GO Rockie!! (Alanna's nick name from me, LOL).

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Munchies ~ Fresh Apple Pound Cake


Keeping with the Harvest and Mabon theme here is another of my favorite recipes for this time of celebration
  • 2 cups sugar                                        
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil                              
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs                                          
  • 3 cups firm apples, diced
  • 3 cups plain flour                                    
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Mix together sugar and oil.
  2. Add eggs and beat well.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add to oil mixture.
  5. Stir in vanilla, apples, nuts, and mix well.
  6. Pour batter into a greased 9 inch tube pan
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until cake is done.
Icing:
  • 1 stick margarine                                          
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup light brown sugar                                  
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat margarine and sugar together over low heat. Add milk and let come to a full boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Drizzle over the cake.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cough, Hack, & Blow My Nose...

Today I usually post the Ten Things Thursday meme, but this week is either going to be extremely late in coming or won't be done at all. I've been sick all week with a nasty head cold which has now decided to manifest into bronchitis. Sitting at the computer for longer than about 5 minutes at a time is impossible and that is why my posts and time on line are few and far between this week. I'll try to come back later and give you this week's edition of Ten Things Thursday...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Our New Acquisition...

To say it's been crazy here in the McNeely-Lesperance household would be an understatement. This past week was just another typical day in our out of control life.

On Thursday, I woke up to a pleasant happening in the bank account. The deposit for this academic periods stipend disbursement had arrived 2 days earlier than I had thought it would. So I call Tanya and ask her to come get me so I can go get a NC ID card. While we are at the DMV I get a call from Jimmy saying he's coming home after putting in over 3,000 miles in just 4 days. 3,000 miles in 4 days? Yep, that's right. He went out on Sunday evening and is back Thursday afternoon. OK COOL!

We pick him up, and by this time my tummy is telling me it's time for food, so off we go to get something for a late lunch. After lunch we decide we are going to go see if we can find a car to buy. You all know we haven't had a car for over 2 years and have had to rely on someone else (mostly Tanya) to cart us any place we needed or wanted to go (or we rented a car, which got real expensive REAL FAST). Jimmy knows of this place where he's pretty sure we can get approved. Anyone with less than perfect credit can understand what I'm saying here... most large dealerships won't even talk to you if you have any type of credit issues. Off we go to the other side of Fayetteville to this car lot where they have every type of vehicle imaginable. I'm looking at some of these and thinking to myself only a midget would be able to drive this thing comfortably. Thank Goddess they had cars that were full sized as well, LOL!

We walk the lot while talking to our salesman and find one we think we might be interested in...so did another couple. And they were there before us so they got first *dibs*. We look at it anyway, and decide to go inside, sit down and see what else they may have available. While we are inside, the other salesperson brings the keys to the  vehicle in question and tells us the other couple didn't have all their ducks in a row (didn't have all the documentation that was required) so the vehicle was still available. It was an 03 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. In the mean time we have all the documents the dealership needs to get us financed and into a car. We take the Jeep for a test drive and find there is a problem with the air bag safety sensor. Not a huge problem, but it will need to be fixed. And since it's 6PM by now, the electrician isn't working any longer, I give them a deposit and go home for the night. With a promise they will call tomorrow (Friday) and let us know what's going on.

Friday comes, they call and tell us it's going to be a few days before the Jeep will be fixed. And we can't have it until it is fixed because this could be a real safety issue. To say I'm upset would be an understatement, I'm pissed. My plans for the weekend have fallen apart by now and I'm having to work through something I wasn't in any way prepared to deal with. Our salesman calls us back and asks us to come in on Saturday to sign all the paperwork, in case Jimmy is out on the road when the car is ready I can go over and take delivery of it. We agree and I spend the rest of Friday pouting.

Saturday afternoon, Tanya is off at 3PM and off we go to the dealership to sign the papers for the Jeep. However, when we get there, Jimmy sees a car that wasn't on the lot when we were there on Thursday. He goes over and looks at it, finds it is the SAME price as the Jeep and as he's walking towards the door, our salesman comes out and Jimmy says we may have changed our minds. The sales man is good with that, hooks the new choice up for a test drive, (ya know that special dealership license plate and all that jazz), hands Jimmy the keys and off we go...

This one drives like a dream, it's WAY more comfortable than the Jeep, is a year newer (it's an 04) and after spending about 30 mins driving it on both surface streets and the expressway, we go back to the dealership and decide this is the car for us. BTW, we didn't find any issues with this car, nothing that would post pone delivery. Our salesman is ready for us, he has the paperwork already begun and we finalize the transaction.

We are now the proud owners of a 2004 Isuzu Ascender! (When Jimmy & I began talking about buying another car, I told him I wanted an SUV of some type). Here it is parked in the covered parking spot outside our back door:
It has seating for 7, with removable third row seating, the middle seats fold down out of the way, the back cargo area is huge, the AC blows icicles, the stereo is banging and it drives like a dream! It gets about 22MPG on the highway, not the best, but it certainly is better than some. We went right away and bought a car seat for Miss Ravyn so if I want to go someplace while I have her, I don't have to worry about not having her car seat from her Mommy's car. I drove it to Raleigh on Sunday and couldn't have been happier. And it used just a little under half a tank of gas for the round trip from Hope Mills to Raleigh and back.
After not having a car for such a long time and not driving anywhere for over 2 years, I was a bit worried about getting behind the wheel. But as my oh so very wise husband says: It's just like riding a bicycle, you never forget... and he's right. When I first got behind the wheel here in the yard, I was apprehensive, but by the time I got onto the highway going to Raleigh, I was very comfortable. 
I've saged it and added a vehicle protection spell. The only thing missing is the protection talisman I had for our Taurus. I need to make another one to hang from the mirror. You will have to take my word for this unless you've been in my shoes... I now have such a sense of peace and absolutely feel I've been liberated. This is going to make it much easier to take those little day trips we used to love to go on, and going to visit MD will be so much easier and more frequent too. I'm more than excited to have our own transportation once again and all I gotta say is look out North Carolina, Vickie has her wheels back! 

Monday Munchies ~ Corn Pudding

This is a great quick and easy side dish you can pull together in no time flat.



Sweet Corn Pudding

2 cups fresh corn (or 1 large can creamed corn)
1 large can Carnation Evaporated Milk
¾ cup sugar
½ stick butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 large eggs
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Blend flour and sugar together

Beat the eggs in separate bowl, and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Mix all remaining ingredients together.
Pour into a small lightly greased baking dish. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown and firm. Cut into small pieces and serve. 

Serves 6

Thursday, September 13, 2012

You Gotta See This...

Because I know someone who is a victim of bullying.... 

Ten Things Thursday ~ Favorite Music

Last week we went through some of my favorite Pagany books, and since I'm trying to keep you all interested in this meme, I'm thinking I need to give you a different topic each week, but still keeping with the same idea of Ten Things... SO here we go, this week I give you ten of my favorites songs in random order and a short reason why I love them so much.

1. Devil's Candy by Gary Alan: This song is about addiction and as some may know devil's candy is another name for cocaine. No, I don't use drugs of any kind. This song and album came out about the time Jimmy & I got together and ended up being sort of a *theme* song for us. One line goes "I've always had a sweet tooth for the devil's candy". From this line Jimmy told me I was his addiction... that he couldn't get enough of me. I guess it's pretty much spot on, we've been together for going on 12 years so I figure I'm still feeding his addiction, LOL!

2. Man to Man by Gary Alan: Same album, same time frame. This song was a message to my ex husband from Jimmy. "You're throwin' around a lot of serious accusations, Ain't too hard to tell what you're insinuatin', You think I'm the one who stole her away, And if not for me she'd still be yours today, We're both men here so why play games, Why don't we call a spade a spade". To say the least my leaving the ex was a challenge for everyone involved. Our marriage and life was over long before Jimmy came into the picture. The ex couldn't see it even though I had been very plain when I told him he had to leave, so he blamed Jimmy for our problems.

3. Melodramma by Andrea Bocelli: If you haven't heard this song, you really need to. This man's voice is so beautiful and powerful at the same time. This song and entire album (Ciele Di Toscana) is one of our favorites. It holds many memories of our first Christmas together and the trip we took to Sedona AZ where we stayed at the Poco Diablo resort. I can enthusiastically recommend any and all of the music by this incredible man.

4. Fairy Night Songs by Gary Stadler: There are actually quite a few songs by this artist and I use them on a daily basis for meditation and more often than not just for basic relaxation. I highly recommend anything by Gary Stadler.

5. Alive by Omnia: This song gets my blood pumping and makes me want to move. I haven't known about this group very long, but from the minute I first heard them I was hooked. This can be classified *Pagan* music and at one time I have a couple tracks in the music player I had here on the blog.

6. Away with the Faeries by Inkubus Sukkubus: It's very hard for me to choose just one song from this band. They are a Pagan rock band from England and when I first heard them in 2003, I was immediately a huge fan. Their music is graphic and pumpin. I don't think I've heard anything in this genre that comes close to their sound. Check them out and let me know what you think.

7. Faithfully by Journey: What can I say, I LOVE me some Journey, who doesn't? Faithfully is a song that you either love or hate, I love it and can listen to it over and over.

8. Rhiannon by Stevie Nicks: Stevie Nicks is probably my all time favorite female artist. I've seen her in concert multiple times and she gets continues to wow each time I see her. When we lived in Scottsdale, we actually lived on the same street she did and would occasionally see her in the grocery. She's as down to earth as you'd imagine and has such a huge heart. Rhiannon is about a Welsh Witch and even though Stevie tells everyone she's not a Witch or Pagan, there is just something about her that makes you think it might be possible.

9. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) by Trans Siberian Orchestra: This song blows me away every time I hear it. It's another I can loop all day and never get tired of hearing. If you haven't seen TSO in concert, they are more than worth the money and I'll endorse them any time.

10. Cathy's Clown by Reba McEntire: This is a remake of an old Everly Brother's song from back in 1960. I love the version by Reba and the video that goes with it has Bruce Boxleitner as the male star who the song is supposed to be about. Reba did the song and video in 1989 and was her 30th number 1 hit. I love Reba, and there isn't much of her music I don't like. This was a toss up between Cathy's Clown and She Thinks His Name was John...

So there you have it, 10 more things about me you may not have known before and probably aren't any more excited to know now, LOL! As with everything else in my life I have a very wide and eclectic taste when it comes to music, movies, books, food and anything else you could possibly think of...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Munchies ~ Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

I have to be honest here... these are going around on Facebook, I don't know who they originally belonged to and I have NOT tried them...yet! They looked cute and sounded yummy, and since it's beginning to feel a bit like Fall, I figured I'd add them to Monday Munchies. Besides, this is a great way for me to easily find them when I DO want to make them, LOL!!


Ingredients

  • Preparation
  • CRUST:
  • 20 crème-filled chocolate sandwich cookies 
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • FILLING:
  • 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch-square pan with foil so that foil overhangs sides. Mist with cooking spray.
  2. 2. Make crust: Process cookies in food processor until ground. Pulse in butter. Press evenly into pan. Bake until firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly.
  3. 3. Make filling: With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin, then eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in vanilla, flour, spice and salt until just combined.
  4. 4. Pour mixture into pan. Put pan on a large rimmed baking sheet; place in oven. Pour hot water into baking sheet until it's nearly filled. Bake until cheesecake is set around edges but jiggles slightly in center, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove pan from sheet; cool completely on rack. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours.
Note: Pipe whipped cream onto bars in a circular motion. Use mini chocolate chips for eyes.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Blogoversary

My friend Stardustt over at Musings of A Magical Mom is having a give away to celebrate the one year anniversary of her blog. Go check her out ... You won't be disappointed!

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Just Don't Understand It...

This is me being highly opinionated and it's going to be LONG... so if you plan to continue reading, take a bathroom break now, get something to drink and settle in... go ahead, I'll wait for you to come back.

Here we go... I have friends from many walks of life, they are as individual as each star in the night sky. I love each and every one of them and their diversity makes our discussions more than interesting. However I am a bit confused about the political stance of some of the friends both male and female in two categories. Not only confused but also somewhat frightened, and worried. Have these friends actually researched their stance? Do they really not see what is happening around them? Or are they among the many who have determined to make it the *goal* to have President Obama as a *one term president * as many of the GOP politicians have been very vocal about bringing to pass?

I realize the *promises* our President made to this country back in 2008 when he was running for office haven't all come to fruition. I know he hasn't been able to keep his word on everything he vowed to do for us. But I see every day some amazing changes he has made. I also understand our country was in such poor condition, it would have taken Moses himself parting the Red Sea (think miracle here) to even hit the tip of the problems we were facing. I don't wear rose colored glasses. Jimmy was unemployed for over 14 months because the economy was in such sad shape. I know how hard it is to survive on less then $250 a week.

Here is where I get to the point of this entry. First, I'd like to address the GOP's stance on women. It is my understanding from listening to speeches from the GOP convention, commercial ads on both TV and radio and articles posted all over the internet that members of the GOP believe with every ounce of their being that women are mindless creatures who "need to be taken care of" in every aspect of their lives. I cannot for the life of me understand why any woman living in the real world of 2012 would stand for this but also actually vote for the republican candidate for president. The GOP want to severely limit our intelligence by not only deciding how we live or make a living, or by defining how we take care of our own bodies, but they also want to redefine the word RAPE.

On top of redefining the meaning of rape, they have also determined that abortion even in cases of rape or incest should be illegal, and if a woman is *legitimately raped* there is no way she can become pregnant because the female body *shuts down the reproductive enzymes* that causes pregnancy. Where in the hell do these people come up with this crap and how can a person with any sense of intelligence and decency even think about believing their dribble?

Next they want to do away with birth control of any kind, as well as making it illegal to have an abortion. Doesn't this take us back to the time before abortions became legal? Back to the time where there were too many women dying after having a back alley abortion? I'm not condoning abortion as a form of birth control. I want legal birth control methods and I want legal abortion practices. I believe in abortion in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger, NOT as birth control. I feel if you want to play, you need to woman up and pay if you find your self in an undesirable condition. There are more than enough people who can't have children who are trying desperately to adopt.

I avidly support birth control for health reasons. From personal experience I have to say, birth control pills were the saving grace for me. I had horrible periods that led to monthly bouts of being anemic and needing extra iron supplements. Along with heavy duty drugs for the pain. After I had my eldest and was put on birth control pills, my periods evened out, the bleeding and pain lessened and I was able to stop living on prescription pain meds and iron supplements. Both of my daughters have also had these same experiences and thanks to doctors who actually listened and then gave them birth control they live a less debilitating life each time their moon cycle comes around.

I'm also very confused about how anyone would feel it's right and fair to not pay women equally for the same work they do that men also do. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act give all women the right to receive equal  pay as their male counterparts. This is yet one more thing the GOP has vowed to overturn if they are elected. I don't know about you, but that is more than discriminatory. It is also unethical, but then again the GOP isn't known for their ethics. (BTW, remember I used to be republican and I also worked in Senator John McCain's Arizona office for a time when I was younger. I remember many of the things that were discussed during that time of my life.)

Are you still with me? I'm still on women's issues. The other day Jimmy & I were talking about how the current GOP is bent on destroying the progress we have made (even the little progress made under the Bush administration is better than what we have to look forward to if this candidate is elected) and trying for the life of us how anyone with any common sense would actually want to live the 20's, 30's 40's and 50's all over again. I don't want to have the need to fight for civil rights, we have come too far as a country to go backwards. I for one don't want to have to wear a dress everywhere I go, if I'm allowed to even leave my house. I have the right to wear pants if I want, to not wear a bra if I want and to VOTE. I refuse to let anyone take these things that women before me have not only fought for, but gone to prison for and yes, even died for. The blood of my predecessors is too precious to let their fight be for nothing.

Now we are moving on to how it seems the GOP wants to re write the US Constitution to *return the US to a country with God as the central focus*. Ummm, in all my history classes I NEVER saw, heard or read where our country was a Christian nation. As a matter of fact Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli plainly states  "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution "prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion."

So again, I want to know if you have actually studied our American History, how anyone can justify their belief of the United States is a Christian nation? This country was founded on the premise of freedom of religion, the freedom that many of our ancestors not only fled their home country in search of, but MANY actually died in search of. Our country is so diverse and so educated, I am having a very difficult time grasping where these backwards thoughts are coming from.

Don't get me wrong, I am completely alright if you want to worship as a Christian, you have that right as an American citizen. But I also have the right to worship as I choose, and so do many other people who also call themselves American. I honestly have no problem with how anyone worships, and I'll fight with my last breath to uphold that right for you. In return I want the same rights and privilege as any other American. I want to be able to make my own decisions within the constitutional provisions. I want to have the freedom of choice in religion, health care, or marriage.

I'm going to borrow something Jimmy posted on his Facebook Timeline the other day, and with this I'm stepping off my soap box and putting it away... for this time.

"Please take the time to learn about the candidates for president. STOP using your vote for someone you know nothing about simply because he's along a certain party line and that's the way your mommy or daddy voted. A woman voting for Romney simply has no mind of her own. And any man who votes for Romney has no respect for the women in his life. I know that my life will never equal my dreams and ambitions... I screwed that up a long time ago. I did have the same chances as anyone else maybe even more than many. I do however have grandchildren that have dreams and goals and mighty ambitions...so I will be voting for Barrack Obama".

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ten things Thursday~My Favorite Pagany Books

This week I'm going to give you 10 of my favorite books in the Pagan genre. Some I've had for many years, others are recent acquisitions and for one reason or another they are books that I actually have used and continue to go back to for reference or just a refresher if I've forgotten something. These books are the *actual* books, not downloaded for my Nook or Kindle. When I buy a Pagan type book I want to be able to highlight and underline and make notes in the margins as I read. So, here we go...


1. The Spiral Dance: This is one of the first books I was given many years ago when I began my journey into Paganism. I love this book and highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for a connection with the Goddess.


2. When God Was A Woman: What can I say? Merlin Stone is/was an amazing person with such great insight into the world of Paganism. This is another book I believe every person should read no matter how you believe.


3. To Ride A Silver Broomstick was actually the very first book I purchased. It was recommended to me by my daughter who has been a Priestess of Isis for many years. Yes, I know there are those who say Silver Ravenwolf is *fluffy* and controversial. In part I agree, HOWEVER, this book is very easy to read and understand and I would and have recommended it for someone who is just beginning to seek their path in Paganism or Wicca. I do not endorse all the things Ms. Ravenwolf stands for, but for a first book, this is a great choice. 


4. The New Book of Goddess and Heroines is a book that gives you so much information on any of the Goddesses you may be searching for. I found pantheons I didn't know existed and learned so much about the Goddesses of the Celtic path. Celtic is the first path I walked upon and even though I have altered my direction a few times, I still lean towards all things Celtic. 


5. Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs is the MUST have book on my shelf. I use this book for everything, from planting, to cooking and everything in between. There is so much information about each plant and herb and the properties of each and how to use them in spells.

6. FaerieCraft: When I was called by the Fae to begin my journey with them, I was very unclear how to go about working with the Faerie. I asked everyone I came in content with for books about the Faerie path. There are a few out there, but this is THE one. This is my *bible*, I go to this book for everything related to Faerie. I've learned so much from this book and the authors speak in a language that is easy to understand and makes you want to keep reading. If you work with Faerie, this is the book I highly recommend as a first book.


7. Paganism an Introduction to Earth Centered Religions: I belong to a Pagan book club in the Raleigh area and this is one of the books we as a group chose to read for 2010. The Higginbotham's give you a LOT of useful information in a way that makes you want to keep turning the page to see what's next. I have given this to people outside of Paganism who aren't clear what it is we believe to help them get a better understanding of what Paganism is. 


8. ChristoPaganism: When the book club decided to add this to our reading list I was more than excited. Most of you know Jimmy is Christian and I am Witch. Many people said there was NO way we were going to be able to continue in our relationship because it would be like mixing oil and water. After growing up in a Christian home, but having more questions than anyone wanted to take the time to answer, I became disillusioned with that spiritual path. Jimmy just came into his faith in 2008 and I was determined to make not only our marriage continue to work as it had before, but to also find a way to meld our faith. This book gives so much information and insight into how the Christian faith actually took many of it's roots from the Pagan faith. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is searching for answers in a multi faith relationship. And BTW... Jimmy and I are STILL together, still strong in each of our Spiritual walks and fully support the other in the path they have chosen to follow.


9. Book of Shadows by Phyllis Curott: This is a personal accounting of one woman's journey into the Craft. She gives us a up close and personal look at how she went from not believing or understanding the changes she was going through, to her initiation and on to becoming a Priestess in her own coven. Her journey is amazing and I have read this book over and over and over... it's well worth having in your library.

10. Goddess Initiation: Anything by Francesca De Grandis is a must have as far as I'm concerned. Yes, she is another who you either like or don't. I happen to like the things she has to say. I have this book as well as Be A Goddess. Both of these books are also on the recommended reading list of many in the Faerie Faith. She also gives you month by month exercises and lots of humor. 

Well, there you have 10 of my favorite Pagany books. Not to say they are my TOP 10, but they all have a place in my life, in my journey and on my bookshelf. Please understand, I have many books, read everything I can get my hands on and some books resonate more clearly than others. I hope I've given you a few you can explore. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday Munchies ~ Howling Jack Honey Pumpkin Mead

The other day, my friend Renee who writes over at Confessions of A Modern Witch posted these recipes in one of the groups we both belong to on Facebook. I've had these very same recipes in my BOS for a number of years and had honestly forgotten about them. After seeing them again, I wanted to share them here. Some I have tried, some I haven't... These are more for Samhain, but can be used for any Harvest celebration you may be having.

First up... (and I have not tried this recipe, yet) because it takes the longest to prepare is:

Howling Jack Honey Pumpkin Mead 
(I used the picture Renee had on her post)
 
This mead is the color of a ripe peach and smells like autumn leaves - perfect for a Harvest party or Sabbat.

1 sound, hard-rind pumpkin (approx. 2 quart capacity)
Paraffin wax
1 1/2 quarts of water
4 lbs. honey
2 each oranges and lemons
1 pkt. wine yeast
1 tea bag (black tea)

Prepare yeast starter.

Sterilize honey and water by boiling for 10 minutes, skimming the froth as it rises.
Remove from heat; stir in sliced citrus fruits, including skins.
Cool to room temperature; pitch yeast.
Allow to sit overnight.

Prepare pumpkin by cutting off the top with a sharp knife. The top must "mate" with the bottom so cut carefully. Clean out the seeds, strings, and membranes of the pumpkin. Rinse out with water.

Pour the must into the pumpkin, leaving an inch of air space between the liquid and the rim of the opening. Replace the top.

Prepare the paraffin/water bath: Fill a plastic bucket with hot water, melt the paraffin wax and float it on the water.

Dip the pumpkin, bottom first, into the warm paraffin until it is coated up to its lid. Once the paraffin begins to harden on the pumpkin skin, seal the lid by carefully pouring paraffin over the top, making sure to coat the seam.

Set the pumpkin in the middle of a shallow dishpan full of water to keep thirsty pickle worms at bay and place it in a dark, quiet spot.

Allow to sit for two months, and then siphon off and bottle.

Note: It is probably a good idea to rack the mead into a glass fermenter, fitted with an air lock, for evaluation prior to bottling. If the fermentation is not complete and you bottle prematurely, the corks and glass may blow.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

~Polyamory~

From Merriam Webster: poly*am*ory noun \ˌpä-lē-ˈa-mə-rē\
the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time

I have to admit I've been watching the new Showtime special series called Polyamory: Married & Dating. I wanted to see if it was any where close to my understanding of the poly lifestyle. This is a reality (documentary) show about the relationship of 7 (K, M, J, T, V, A, & L) main characters of which there were 7 episodes of the first season, and up until episode 3, I was shaking my head at not only the people but also some of the situations they found themselves involved in.

Wikipedia defines polyamory as: "Polyamory (from Greek πολύ [poly, meaning many or several] and Latin amor/love) is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved". You can find more information here. After watching the show, reading the wiki information as well as a few other websites AND from my own experience both personal and from very close friends who live this lifestyle. I have some things I need to say.

From personal experience and the experience of close friends I know the first unquestionable *rule* in polyamory is complete and total honesty in EVERY situation. During the season finale of P:M&D this is brought out very clearly. One of the partners (T) in the family foursome *pod* lied to the other 3. The situation was simple, he had promised his legal wife (J) to always be in their bed at the end of the night, and wake up next to her. He broke this promise by sneaking out of their bed after the wife was asleep and went to join the other couple (K&M), telling them J knew where he was, that it was OK, and ultimately fell asleep not in his own bed. When confronted by J the next morning he at first tried to lie once again, but quickly found he had no one to back him up as the others called him out on what he had said the night before.

Sounds pretty complicated, right? Not really, IF you live by the one ultimate unbreakable *rule* of complete and total honesty in every situation. I can't stress this enough! If you want to live in any alternative lifestyle, there absolutely must be 100% communication and honesty from each person involved in the relationship, no matter what their role may be.

From personal experience I know it's very difficult to find someone who is and will continue to be honest in all matters. If you are married, but also in a poly relationship with a 3rd single male or female party, it takes many months and into many years to know if there is complete honesty coming from all 3 parties. For example, a few years ago Jimmy & I were in a relationship with another female. We gave her complete unwavering honesty and shared everything with her we would have shared if we were in a monogamous relationship. Unfortunately, she didn't give back to us even a fraction of our trust. She lied to us, repeatedly. And when we called her on it, she'd cry and say she was sorry but the lies didn't stop and were just compounded. Eventually, after being repeatedly hurt and having arrived at the decision we couldn't continue to be hurt by her, we ended that relationship. It was devastating...  Again, full and total honesty...

Sometimes it's more difficult for the male in a relationship to accept anything that has to do with the poly lifestyle. When I told Jimmy I am bisexual, he didn't even bat an eye. Like most men, he has jealous tendencies. I can live with that. However, I made it perfectly clear I do not have any interest in having a relationship with another couple where I would need to interact on a regular basis with the male half.  On the other hand, if I *had* wanted to have a relationship with another male, the honesty rule would still be the most important thing for us to live by. I would not have put my relationship with Jimmy at risk by double talking and out right lying about the things I was doing.

The following part of the story may sound a bit sexist or even discriminatory, it's not meant to sound this way. I'm giving you personal experience, not generalizing any situation.

We had a male friend (P) who wanted to have a relationship with the female half of another couple (also friends of ours). The male (P) was married and his wife knew nothing about the *other* lifestyle her husband was wanting to live. As far as the wife knew their marriage was great, no problems or reason to worry. Because (P) wanted to pursue the other female, he told her and  her husband he was getting a divorce and even though they still lived in the same house, they were not in a relationship of any kind, just room mates in order to keep the house and bank accounts. The other couple and especially the female half believed everything P told her. Eventually the husband began questioning the story and having issues with what he felt were lies.

These lies compounded, and the wife who by now thought she was in love with P and believed everything he told her, made her primary relationship a living hell. She found fault with everything her husband did, from the hours he worked at his job, to his diet and fitness habits. She began calling him lazy, no good and pretty much deflated her husband to the point he honestly thought he was as worthless as his wife told him he was. She also began sneaking around to spend what ever time she could with P at the expense of her relationship at home, she neglected not only her husband but her children as well. She lied to her employer, her family and friends. She even made plans to travel to China where P had gone on a business trip all the while passing herself off as P's wife.

I'm not clear on the things that would eventually happen in the lives of this couple. We moved away before she came back from China, and rumor has it BTW, P's employer found out she actually wasn't his wife, which caused him to lose his job, leaving him stranded in China. I do know if they had just been honest and told the truth in all of this mess, there wouldn't have been any reason for the things that happened.

It's unfortunate that some people have no concept of the truth. But it's even more devastating when the lies they tell affect so many different people. In this one case there were 6 people (two of them children) plus a major employer who had direct contact with the lies told just so someone could have sex with someone other than their spouse.  I'm sure in the end this was one of the most difficult things anyone can go through. And it all could have been avoided if all parties involved would have remembered the most important rule of being in a polyamorous relationship or any alternate lifestyle for that matter. Complete 100% honesty to everyone involved.

So there you have it. I know I didn't get into much detail on my findings and experiences in living a poly amorous lifestyle. This one point has been bothering me for a few days and I just felt the need to get it out there in case there is someone who may or may not be thinking about investigating polyamory. Keep it real, keep it honest and even though honesty is sometimes the most difficult thing to do, do it. You won't be sorry...

Blog Hops and Never Ending Meme's

It's a bit disconcerting to log into my Google reader and have it be flooded on a daily basis with a never ending stream of gibberish in the form of a Blog Hop or Meme focused on that particular day. I'm not against either one and have in the past participated in a few. They quickly become old and actually turn off more readers than they bring in. Some say they are a great way to find new readers, make new friends and add to your popularity posts. Others wonder what in the hell you are thinking and do you ever have a thought you can say is your own.

Here at Aoibheal's Lair I have Monday Munchies where I share a recipe I've either made quite often or one I want to try but haven't found the time to do so. Thursday's gives you Ten Things Thursdays, something new I'm trying and there has been 2 weeks of this Meme. I will also be participating in Pagan Pages Blog Hop for the month of September, submitting ONE entry for the entire month. However, I do not and will not clutter this space with the constant repetitive nonsense found in some of the blogs I follow.

In my opinion, if you are going to take the time to write a blog and post your entry for the entire world to see, said blog shouldn't be so full of nonsense that it makes the reader wonder if you have any common sense at all.  Or if you must do the blog hops and meme's because you honestly can't come up with enough original material to keep your audience entertained and anxious to come back to read what you write. This just shows your ignorance and unwillingness to actually have something original to say.

I follow quite a few blogs and many of them do not participate in this * phenomenon* called blog hop. And I look forward every day to the things they have to say. I also worry about the two Meme's I have adopted for Aoibheal's Lair. So far I haven't gotten any negative feed back on with one of them, and some of the recipes have actually been implemented by readers who have left comments about how good they were or even giving a twist on the original recipe.

I want to make sure the things I write about are interesting enough that my readers are going to come back for the next post to see what I have to say about any given subject and not waste their valuable time with repetitive garbage ...