Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rumination, no. 8 | Good Omens

You get what you give, right.  Karma and all that.  But, also, I've said this before, and as time passes, I believe it more and more, we are our religions.  We are our spirituality.  If there are creatures in the air and sky, spirits and gods, it's because we put them there.  Tinkerbell's existence depended on the children of the world believing in her, yes?  The same goes for Allah, for the Marrigan, for Ganesh, whichever entity appeals to you, personally.  We have to be the answers to our own prayers. 

So, one afternoon, I am taking a walk and thinking about omens.  I'm trying to make a list of all the bad omens I taught myself, things I trained myself as a child to recognize as signs of some things wicked or sad on the horizon.  And I thought of poor child me as if she were a different person, and wondered, why didn't she have any good omens?  While I respect that without dark there can be no light, as a person who has suffered from bouts of depression in the past, I'm less interested these days in "embracing the dark."  The left-hand path holds no interest for me.  One day, I'll balance out.  But for the time being, manifesting positivity is my goal in meditation, prayer, magicks, whatever you want to call it (whatever I want to call it).  As I walked through the historic neighborhood behind my office building and considered good omens and contemplated our tight wallets this year and various concerns, there on the ground before me rested two crumpled up bills.  Aha!  Good Omen!  I'll take it! 

I wanted to put the bills in a jar along with my found pennies and nickels and save them, but alas, I am nothing if not practical.  They became the next morning's bus fare.  But, because I wanted them to be a good omen, they were.  And now, truly, things are looking up--in so many ways--in part because I made it so.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Photo Journal, no. 33 | Heat

Every year, somehow, I forget just how hot it gets here in the summer.  95 degrees with a heat index of around 100 is not a pleasant surprise.  I've resigned myself to being slightly damp with sweat, consistently, for the next three months (at least).  The things I remember pleasantly about summer: very short shorts, crisp, colorful salads, iced tea.  All of these things, however, are best enjoyed indoors, in front of an oscillating fan, lest ye melt into a puddle of smelly goo.  Photos above are from last year, as I'm suffering a very terrible, bratty kind of denial (and/or heat stroke) this week.  The melted crayons and scorched flower sum up my feelings on North Carolina summer better than I could ever put to words. 

But Michelle, you say, aren't you celebrating the Wheel of the Year like a good little pagan?  Shouldn't you be waxing poetic on Litha and the Green Man and the vitality, glory, and bounty of summer?  Yes, all that.  Look at that picture of that watermelon salad.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Photo Journal, no. 32 | Studio

Here is Wolfman's tidied studio late in the day, what may have been our dining room but that we never bought a dining room table and instead eat seated on the floor at the coffee table like the Japanese.  Some big changes are brewing here in the Wolfpeople household.  We'll be leaving our little newlywed bungalow soon--within the next few months, perhaps sooner.  I would be sad, but, like the Xena situation, I think this is a welcome departure.  This time it is we who have overstayed our welcome.  The house stopped feeling like my own around February.  I couldn't tell you why or how exactly, only that I've stopped feeling so connected to the place, so grounded, with my toes in the carpet and my mint on the back deck.  We're preparing ourselves for a sea change. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Photo Journal, no. 31 | Turf Grass Shark

Xena's gone, to which I was saying "good riddance" until I saw these photos from a couple weeks ago.  She snuck out of the house yesterday morning while I brought in a basket full of laundry from the line.  Not the first time she's managed to escape.  I believe, full-heartedly, in cats having time outdoors, but Xena is not yet fixed; we've been protecting the chastity of her and her litter-mate, Birgitte, (as well as our wallets; God knows we can't afford more kittens) by keeping them indoors (where they have been efficiently driving me utterly insane).  But, being more advenurous and calculating than Birgitte, Xena was in the habit of sneaking through our legs every once in a while--if the dog dawdled at the door, or if our arms were overburdened with groceries (or laundry baskets).

She came back, though, in the afternoon.  Wolfman called to her and she followed us inside--only to promptly shit on the carpet.  I yanked her up by the scruff of the neck as she circled about looking for a spot to piss.  Have I mentioned that Xena refuses to use a litter pan?  We'd been locking her in the bathroom during/after her meals, where she still refused to use the litter pan and instead would shit in the tub and pee in the sink.  But, at least that was manageable--easily washable.  On the carpet, however, is something I can only take so much of, before, literally, tossing her out the front door, and shouting (much to my neighbor's benefit), "My house is not your toilet!"  

I haven't seen her since, and something tells me I will not be seeing her again.  Wolfman looked for her this morning, his brow slightly wrinkled with concern, though he'd said to me, when I informed him of her missing status, "Good."  I'm not worried for her safety, unlike Wolfman (I know he is; Xena is so small, after all, and he is a nurturer).  I know very well that cats, even small ones, can take care of themselves.  I do feel slightly guilty about not having gotten her fixed (we couldn't afford it) before she disappeared into the great Suburban wilds.  However, I don't feel too guilty--I tend to view feral cats like squirrels or raccoons or possums.  Let them be, says I; they're wild.  

And Xena certainly was wild.  Never affectionate, only destructive.  And photogenic.  I'll light a candle tonight and pray to my spirits to keep her safe and let her live a long, wild, predatory life.  I wouldn't mind seeing her again--in a tree, or darting out from under a bush, or perhaps catch a glimpse of her globe eyes glowing out at me from the night.  But, she was never really mine--not my pet, not my friend; she was always just a visitor, I guess, and one who overstayed her welcome. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Domesticity Log, no. 10 | Zucchini Cookies

Zucchini season is upon us.  In the next months, undoubtedly, zucchini will be pushed into my arms by neighbors nearly every time I step out the door.  On my afternoon walk yesterday, I couldn't help laughing a little, aloud, as I passed several homes in a row with zucchini and yellow squash piled up on porch rocking chairs and in front of doors.  Luckily, squash is a versatile vegetable--it can be used in soups, of course, and roasted, and blanched, and all that, but it can also be used in place of pasta, and it can be hidden in baked goods.  The first and last thing I always do with summer's zucchini is make cookies. 

This recipe comes from Barbara Kingsolver (one of my lady heroes, and an expert on getting rid of zucchini) via her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, (a book I talk about incessantly).  Here, I'll post the chocolate chip version.  It's a spicy, fluffy, bready cookie, but very moist, very good.  Typically, I prefer my chocolate chip cookies crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle, but I still make these several times a summer, because I can trick myself into thinking they're healthy as I eat them (I'm eating vegetables!).  Last weekend, I didn't have chocolate chips, but did have a container full of frozen strawberries, so I used those instead. 

And a note on this zucchini, my first of the season: so fresh that juice beaded on its surface when I cut it, and after grating it, I had to wring it out with my hands over the sink like a sponge.  How fun!

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey (or agave nectar)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips of choice
  1. Combine eggs, butter, sugar, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in separate, small bowl.
  3. Blend dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  4. Stir zucchini and chocolate chips into bowl, mix well. 
  5. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon.  Bake at 350 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.
No, no pictures of the cookies.  They're not incredibly photogenic, but awfully tasty.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Photo Journal, no. 30 | Meals Lately

Breakfast: unsweetened apple sauce, fried egg and yellow mustard on whole wheat toast.
Dinner: Romaine & Kale salad with leftover grilled bratwurst, orange slices, radishes, & feta.
Dinner: Kale salad with grapefruit, strawberries, & feta.
Dinner: Kale salad with radishes, feta, & hard-boiled egg.
Lunch: Chicken salad sandwich from the Wilmoore Cafe in Raleigh (farm chicken with homemade mayo and pickled celery on a sun-dried tomato wrap) and fresh fruit.
Dinner: Cabbage salad with cucumber, strawberries, raisins, asparagus, & feta.
Breakfast: Bojangles chicken biscuit with 8th Sin Coffee.
Breakfast: Oatmeal with strawberries, honey, & butter.
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