Monthly Archives: December 2011

Things I Hate Doing (New Year, New You)

So. Today’s New Year, New You post from Deb is about our ability to do stuff we don’t want to do.

To quote:
I can promise you that your goals are crammed chock full of glistening gems that you would rather claw your own eyes out than address. If you liked addressing these things, your goals wouldn’t be goals, they would be called Items I Am Already Doing No Problem-o.

Yeah. That.

I like writing (usually). I like blogging. I like making jewelry and experimenting in my kitchen and doing tarot readings. I like modeling. I like making stuff.

What I don’t like is marketing.

1) I don’t enjoy shelling out table-fees and spending my saturdays smiling at people and trying to remember how to do retail sales while praying that I break even.

2a) I’m out and out afraid of Dealing With Money. I’m not entirely sure how to figure out my overhead when I’ve been buying materials for years (including before I started trying to sell my crafts) and my materials don’t divide into products in any kind of a formulaic way.

2b) I am also scared to death that, once I figure out how my overhead costs (and labour costs and actual product costs) get divided between pieces, I’m going to discover that I’ve priced myself too high and no-one will buy my stuff. I have a similar problem when it comes to pricing my services, actually. Hrm…

3) I also don’t like cold-calling people. I’m fine with answering casting-calls, and I’m getting much better at sending out those once-per-semester “Hey, hire ME!” emails to my various modeling-gig people, but out-right cold-calling someone – walking into a cafe and saying “Hey, can I do tarot readings here?” (for example) is just scary-as-all-fuck.

So, yeah. Those are my Things I Hate Doing.

Inconveniently, they’re also the things that will make my entrepreneurship a viable career option, so:

Possible Solutions:

1) Etsy store. Yes there are still Listing Fees and, yes, I need to “show up and take part” by updating my listings a couple of times a week and, yes, this involves getting Really Good with my point-and-shoot camera (and learning how to use the tripod, and fishing my CD out of the storage locker, and, and, and – none-of-which are things I like doing) and, yes, there are still things I won’t enjoy (yet) about doing this, but at least my “table fee” covers three months rather than eight hours, and I don’t need to spend entire days hard-selling at people.

2a) Ask Ghost – who has run her own business for ages – about calculating overhead. (Wow. Look at that. I can totally hear my brain coming up with Excuses about why this doesn’t work. Specifically “But carpentry is different! You don’t buy an entire skid of lumber because you need 8-10 two-by-fours!”)

2b) Ghost says that this won’t happen because there are tonnes of people who will always equate “more expensive” with “better” (or at least “more prestigious”). My friend, K8, says that in the world of being a gun-for-hire (she’s a freelance writer and editor, among other things), you basically throw a figure at the proverbial wall and see what sticks. Okay…
So this one’s pretty much a “suck it up and do it” thing. But maybe I can do some magical stuff in relation to it – like doing spells for drawing confidence (in)to myself, or something.

3) E-mail queries. I know, I know. Ghost would tell me that it’s much harder for someone to say No when they’re looking you in the eyes. Email can just be ignored. None the less, I find it doesn’t get ignored that often and it saves me the gut-twisting terror of having to convince someone of my worthiness as a fill-in-the-blank on the fly and in person. YAY! O.O
Confidence-drawing magic may help here, as well, but so will getting together a list of local cafe addresses and sending them query-letters about setting up to do tarot-readings once a month or something. Maybe[1].

Here’s hoping that my Getting On With It works well.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Okay, yes. I’m extremely wary of setting up a set-date to wait around on the off chance that someone wants to purchase divination services from me. I may do what Miss Sugar does and offer online divination-by-appointment or similar, and see if that gets me anywhere.

Bear-Talking – Early Morning Daydreams

Ice fishing on some tour or other – the kind for beginners who have no clue what they’re doing (e.g.: me). Brown bear – awake (which shouldn’t have been) breaks into the fishing shack (we don’t have fish yet, so this doesn’t make a lot of sense) through the wall. There are a lot of teeth and claws (holy crap) and addrenaline and I stab the bear in the eye (seriously lucky shot, that is all) with one of the knives my Ghost gave me.
This is follwed by shaking and more than a little freaking out.
I killed someone. I killed a fucking bear. I mean, I went out there to catch – and therefore kill – at least one fish of reasonable size. But this was different. This was a mammal, and a really big one, and a preditor who could have done me a lot of damage.
We (I am the only woman on this trip, there is a tour-guide dude and one or two guys in big jackets and the winter equivalent of baseball caps) drag (don’t ask me how) the dead bear off the ice, hang it from a tree and butcher it.
This is important.
I think I did something with the heart – piled rocks over it or something – though the brain went home with me so my partner could use it to tan the skin[1]. We brought the meat home and ate it, and I cleaned up the skull. It sat on my (not very big) coffee table. The skin was draped over our love-seat (and pretty much covered the thing).
And then the bear showed up in my head while I was sleeping.

Bear: You killed me.
Me: Yes.
Bear: You ate me.
Me: Yes. That was important.
[Something. I don’t really remember. Apparently bears have seven options for gender and this one was one of the 4 or so that I don’t have a translation for].
Me: So how, exactly, did you end up in my head?
Bear: Anyone can walk in dreams.
Me: But how do you get home again?
Bear: You killed me and ate my body. I don’t have a home.
Me: But what about, I don’t know, Bear Country? Where do you go after you die?
Bear (giving the serious impression that zi intends to take up residence in my head): I came here.
Me: Uh… This is my head. Don’t you have people you can go to?
Bear : I was a very solitary bear.
Me : Hrm… Well… I have your head. You could live there. Or maybe I could make you a house to live in[2]…?

…I think it was determined that we’d do the clay house thing. Certainly, later that day, while at my mom’s place, I noticed a little green vase she was getting rid of and thought “That would be perfect!” And I think there was going be some sort of exchange going on wherein the Bear would teach me… something. Possibly the bit about how to walk in dreams. Not sure.
However, around the point of making the vase decision is when I actually woke-up-all-the-way, basically thinking “Huh. So that was a weird story to make up. O.o”

So, yeah. I put it down to (a) seeing a Groupon for ice-fishing tours some time last week and (b) reading this post at Root and Rock. I don’t think anyone actually turned up in my head and brokered a deal about housing in exchange for education/technique. Gods know I’ve never killed a bear. O.O

None the less. I’m keeping an eye on this. It might turn into something. Who knows.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] She hasn’t done this for a while and, I gather, it kind of reaks. None the less.

[2] Meaning a clay vase, more or less, with a door painted on it and some dried blueberries and pine needles[3] and similar in it.

[3] The blueberries were obvious. The pine needles might have been for… bedding? There may have been very, very dried-out smoked salmon involved as well…?

Crafting Mission: Accomplished!

So it’s been radio silence for the past couple of days – big suprise. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in celebratory stuff and have been away from the computer. However. Friday’s annual Solstice Shindig went beautifully (a small, but significant, crowd full of people I like who mix well together). There was, as per usual, far too much food. Consequently, my Ghost and I are going to be eating like queens for the next week or so. (Tonight, we’re having shrimp alfredo, for example) and – even without the wine we got as gifts – we should be fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine for wine-with-dinner for the next… 6-8 weeks? So that’s just dandy. 🙂

My relatives liked their gift baskets – spicy peach-apricot chutney, balsamic fig chutney, apple-red-wine jelly (glaze), apple spice jelly (glaze), cranberry curd, pumpkin-seed-butter fudge (the kind you make with condensed milk), Winter Queen cookies, and chocolate-ginger drops, plus vanilla-orange soap and beeswax candles (one per household, granted, but still). It also appears that everybody liked their knit-wear, so YAY! 😀

Current crafty (as opposed to Crafty) projects include: Knitting myself a tam-like hat (it’s going to be purple, and I’m “Navajo-ing” the yarn so that I can do three-strand knitting without having to unravel and re-ravel the ball of yarn before starting).

I also finished a mini-scarft (for the plastic crow we have on our balcony – this is Scarf V.2.0. It’s tied to the railing so, hopefully, we won’t loose this one) and made something like seven pairs of earrings (out of mostly free, recycled-bits-and-bites materials) while loading up my very, very spiffy new beading caddy. But… yeah. I got all my crafting projects done.
Oh, there’s stuff on the horizon. I’ve got a couple of jewelry collections to finish, a LOT of photos to take (which will involve a trip to the storage-locker to find the CD that goes with my digital camera) and, y’know, an Etsy store to get off the ground.
But right this second? Right this second, I’m blessedly free of Must Get Dones. And I’m really enjoying it! 😀

In other news: I now have a (very spiffy) fishing pole to further my angling endevors. How cool is that? 😀

Anyway. That’s my exceedingly speedy update. More later, I’m sure.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Winter Begins – Now the Real Cold Starts

New Moon – Snow Moon Begins (and it is, indeed, snowing out).

What does Winter Solstice mark? I call it “midwinter” – and, in a milder climate like England or California, maybe that’s the case. Maybe the temperature follows the light levels (or the precipitation) really closely. In Ottawa, however, the longest night marks the point where the local climate switches from “early winter” in to “real Winter”.

The temperature dropped sixteen degrees over the 24 hours between the evening of the 22nd and the evening of the 23rd. The balcony – which I was using as a chilling space (the fridge being full) for the wine and the juice – well, my fingers tried to stick to the screen door, the door itself tried to freeze shut (lots of condensation inside), and the juice was slush when we brought it in. (I’m hoping the wine fared better, since it would be a damn shame to have that go frozen on us, but there was still frost on the glass when we brought the bottles in).

I can mitigate my SAD symptoms to a degree because I do office-work for half-days instead of full-days – which means I’m walking home at high noon rather than at (or after) sunset. Which makes a BIG difference, even when it’s overcast.

But the cold? That’s what makes January such a painful month to get through. When it’s -15 (which isn’t That Cold, but isn’t easy, either) and the wind is making it colder and you’re slogging over ground that’s alternating between soaking, salt-laden slush and out-and-out ice… That’s what really gets me down. By the time the days are noticeably longer in early February, I am SO ready for Winter to be done (and yet I know I’ve got another interminable eight weeks or so to get through before the cold is really well and gone).

So. Solstice has come and gone. Long Nights Moon is passed and Snow Moon has begun. We’re through the gate and into the territory of the Ice Queens now.

Bundle up. It’s cold outside.

Date with My Honey-Pots (the Saga Continues)

If this were on my other blog, that title would mean something entirely different…

Yesterday, between starting the root vegetable roast and cleansing the house (I used dragon’s blood), I re-did one honey-pot and made a new one as well.

The one I re-did was the careers-and-cash jar I did about a year ago.

Previously, it had included three different sets of instructions – not necessarily a bad thing, although potentially confusing. I decided that it was time to stream-line the types of income I’m looking for. (Who knows, I may be breading the seal again in a year and adding a new set of instructions, but we’ll see).

What I did with this was:
(A) Open the jar
(B) Take out the instructions (but leave everything else in there)
(C) Put the instructions in my compost[1] with a big thank-you for doing so well
(D) Top up the jar with: basil, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, crumbled pecans, ground almonds, barley, and a carefully shined-up penny.
(E) Add the new instructions (signed seven times by me, across them, without taking the pen off the paper; and then rolled towards me to roll it up)
(F) Add some of my hair
(G) Cover everything with pomegranate molasses and honey
(H) Re-Seal the jar
(I) Pour beeswax over top of it
(J) Set it on the appropriate altar and light a candle on top of it

The other honey pot I did was a new one, but it followed the same order from (E) onwards. What went into the jar was:
Three cinnamon sticks, three bay leaves, nine whole cloves, nine citrine chips, some ground allspice, slivered hazelnuts, a couple of sprigs of fennel, a little bit of ink (soaked into some paper towel), a thick twist of my hair, and some rosemary. After I added the instructions list, I covered the whole thing with lavender creamed honey and sealed it up.

Now, most of those ingredients (according to my attempts at research, anyway), are related to inspiration and creative work, and a lot of them have “added bang for your buck” worked in there, too. The ink was to encourage my writing, and the citrine chips were used – in addition to their correspondences – because they’re beads and one of my arts is jewelry. The fennel, I gather, encourages people to trust your words. And gods know I need to trust my own words, and my skills there-with, so I thought it was appropriate.

Wish me luck! 🙂

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Which is just how I roll. I figure any left-over energy/magic in them can now be composted and put towards my new, more specific goals.

An actual pigeon isn’t going to speak English in your head.

Winter Solstice, 2011.


Listen, she says. Learn to listen to body-language. Don’t assume that, if only you were a better witch, all the Other People around you would start speaking to you in English.
A Jade Plant doesn’t speak English, but it’ll tell you it’s happy, or not, needs water, or better lighting, or not, if you start paying attention to what it’s saying with its body.


Animals are easier, and mammals the easiest of them, because they’re working with the same body-systems that you are. But rocks and squash vines[1] and rivers will do it, too, if you know how to pay attention.

A pigeon won’t land on your balcony and literally say-in-your-head “Listen up. I’m your ally on this trip. I can teach you resilience, persistence, and how to thrive against great odds, but you’ve got to start listening to me.”

She might say that if you went into trance and asked your allies to swing by and formally introduce themselves and Pigeon was who turned up. Maybe. I don’t know how it works for you. But an actual pigeon (a pigeon, not The Pigeon) isn’t going to speak English in your head. I don’t think.

However. A pigeon (or a lot of pigeons) might land on your balcony, billing and cooing and checking out the space behind your snow-shovel, until you notice that, Hey, that chicky-babe there has only one foot, and she’s doing just fine. Or: Isn’t it amazing how – in spite of humans putting down poison, and raw rice, and road salt, and belching exhaust into the atmosphere, and throwing rocks at them, and cultivating them as prey birds in the first place – pigeons are so capable of thriving in urban environments? Or: Y’know, even though everyone says they’re ugly, parasitic rats-with-wings, pigeons are actually really, really beautiful. Look at how they dance together. Look at how they fly. And maybe you eventually take a lesson from that.

This is the thing I forget when I’m reading Starhawk’s books or the blog-posts over at Root and Rock or what-have-you. That asking Nature “How do I change the system from within?” and getting a reply of “Systems don’t want to change themselves” isn’t literally a Q&A. It’s more “observe –> realize”. (It’s a bit like divination in that regard?)

And yet, I wonder. My Ghost (who is the [she] mentioned, above) gets memories off of everyone. Including, like, fish. She has to work on consciously shielding herself on the regular. Me? I’m wondering what I can do to open myself up a little wider – in a controlled way, at times of my choosing, granted – to be able to hear/see/know/catch things a little more easily.


Cheers, and Happy Solstice,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Hail! :-D[2]

[2] Oh, how I love the squash. She’s one of my favourites. Spiky little thing when she’s freaking out, though. O.O

Oh, Holy Night

Winter Solstice, 2011.

It’s snowing right now – thought the high of 0C means that there’s a heavy possibility that this will turn to freezing rain[1] before the day’s done. I hope now. Do me a favour, weather-front, and stay around minus-seven today! O.O
This afternoon will be a flurry (ahaha) of activity – putting together the Midwinter Meal[2], making chocolates (I hope), and doing some ritual cleansing (and actual tidying) of the house, plus a couple of bottle spells[3] for good measure.

What is Winter Solstice – the celebration/festive-occasion, as opposed to the celestial event – for me? What kinds of magical things do I do in association with, or through, the Fun Stuff I do every year?

Divination (tarot – generally “year ahead” kind of stuff)

Warmth and light in the dark: Recognition that central heating wasn’t always an option by turning off the electric heat and lights and using candles for heat and light

Serving both The Traditional Foods of My People AND some Pagan-relevant goodies, plus sticking with the local-seasonal (to a point – this is a time of year when I bring in Clementine oranges and pomegranates, neither of which grow anywhere near here). A mix of stuff that’s less about symbolism and more about my connections to both the land I live on and the people through-whom I came.

Decorating with winter-themed stuff – icicles, snow-flakes, pine cones, sun, moon, and star imagery. Poinsettias, pine and cedar boughs, and the like. (I’m currently using a holly garland, but I could see switching things up to include spruce garland and maybe jars/vials of dried hawthorn (or rowan – maybe) berries as well. Or something…) It’s a way of making my house look “festive” in the manner in-which I was raised, while also letting me give a nod to the long nights, the cold, and the means by-which we survive it. (I’m so utterly tickled — I have a garland ornament that’s basically a pin-up girl with antlers: Olive, Goddess of the Woods. YAY! :-D)

Ritually cleansing my house with incense (cedar, dragon’s blood, white sage…), shooing the murky-crap out the balcony door to be whisked away by the wind, and re-strengthening the wards (it’s a very “shields up” maneuver, where I am – kind of Star Trek. ;-)) on the doors, windows, mirrors, taps, and drains.

What it’s for, though, what the point of it all is, is… joy. Joy and pleasure and being with the people I’m crazy about.

What about you?

Meliad the Birch Maiden

[1] Snow doesn’t typically scare me. You have to slog through it and, when it’s really heavy and wet, it can lead to everybody sliding everywhere and low visibility, and the walk home can be down-right dangerous. But by and large, snow is big fluffy flakes and thick on the ground, and if you have to, you can dig a cave into it and not die. Ice, on the other hand, scares the fuck out of me. Ice offers no quarter and no shelter, and leads to bruises and big accidents, both. Be careful out there!

[2] Not to be confused with the Solstice Shindig. My Ghost asked me why I’m doing a Fancy Dinner for just her and me when there’s all this Other Stuff on my plate to get done and I’m feeling a little bit in over my head. My answer was that I like to do Something on the Solstice-proper to mark it. But I also like that the midwinter meal (a) was developed to accommodate the kinds of food that I can – for the most part (and currently entirely In Theory) – grow myself, and (b) is a much calmer, more introspective affair.

[3] In part done to take advantage of the soon-to-be-growing light levels.

Bite Sized Goals (New Year, New You)

So, as you know bob, I’ve signed up for Miss Sugar’s radical-magical-transformation project. Not long ago, I stated my Big, Over-Arching Goal for the year (and the foreseeable future) as being:

I want my LIFE to be this glorious mash-up of art and sex and joy and beauty, I want my LIFE to be built on and fueled by, and in a symbiotic relationship with, pleasure in all its many forms.

So. Miss Sugar’s latest prompt pertains to taking that Big, Over-Arching Goal and breaking it down into bite-sized micro-goals that actually move you towards your Big Goal in manageable steps.

Good idea.

So. She asks what I can reasonably expect to accomplish by Valentines’ Day.
Fair enough.
Now, I look at that date and basically quail in despair. Because I’m temping until the end of January and, even at half-days, it eats a lot of my time.
I know that, right now, I’m just trying to get through the next week (or so) and, after that I can worry about this Radical Transformation stuff.

Which, of course, is garbage. I mean, (a) Why wait? and (b) I’m not actually waiting. Not really. I’m poking at fears, I have a date with my honey-pots booked (the questions is: Will I successfully keep it[1], cocnsidering it’s tomorrow and I’ve got a dinner to make…), and I’m doing More Reading (in the blogosphere, so far, with a book-list starting to grow) about hedge witchery – a subsection of (frequently?) solitary pagan practice that simultaneously fits beautifully with how I understand the world AND scares the ever-loving fuck out of me because, as much as I don’t want to get hit with Radio Silence, I think I’m actually more scared of getting an answer[2]. Particularly if it’s from someone I’m not expecting. :-\

But, anyway. Tangent.

Things I can do before Valentines’ Day that will – physically or magically – help to push me towards my Big Goal:

I can do my two honey-pot spells – one for career/jobs/money (that is specifically to do with the kind of jobs I want and enjoy and could thrive in) and one for drawing creative inspiration & activity (writing-wise and crafting-wise, but particularly wrt poetry and erotic fiction).

I can send out an email on, say, the 28th of December, reminding my various figure-modeling contacts that they should hire me for their January-April/June sessions.

I can make a point of actually using my scheduled afternoon non-blog-based writing time – rather than letting it slip away answering emails or running errands – to write fiction and/or poetry.

I can learn how to make soy-wax candles that don’t crack all over the place, and experiment with the essential oils I ordered to find useful combinations – with the idea being that I can (a) use my experiments to further my own goals, but also (b) when I get the hang of it, I can start adding drawing-in candles to my list of Crafty crafts that I can, potentially, sell online (or at, say, the annual Yule Craft Fair, or where-ever).

I can order up to two new books on Craftiness of one sort or another, and actually read them in a timely manner.

I can practice reading my tarot cards. (Maybe I can write poetry about each one of them, or something, I don’t know, to get to know them better).

I can routinely check out Kijiji, Craigslist, Charity Village, and the MM Casting Calls page for jobs/gigs that actually fit with my Big Goal, and apply for them.

I can wear perfume (or use other forms of glamour) to put myself in the right headspace and pull (good/useful, one hopes) attention towards me. I can write/think/read more about Femme (which is up to its elbows – at least for me – in sensual hedonism, feminine sexuality, AND feminine power). I can take baths full of epsom salts and essential oils (myrrh, sweet orange, and cinnamon?) and use the time to (a) de-stress and (b) shave my legs and do other routine maintenance that leaves me feeling more powerful and on top of things and more myself.

I can take to doing tarot readings in local cafes just to see if I catch the interest of anyone who wants to pay me to do one for them. (This has happened before. It could happen again).

Speaking of which: I did a tarot reading for myself today, with a fairly wide-open “what’s coming up, can I do this for a career” kind of question. The answer I got was, basically:

You learn by doing. It’ll be hard to break through the barriers you’ve put up to your own knowledge/understanding/sight but if you keep working at it, you’ll get there.

My signifier was the King of Swords (which, in my deck, is “Control”, and which I tend to think of as the Lord Domly-Dom card), and I’m not totally sure what that’s about, unless it’s something about me holding myself in a rigid position because I’m afraid of losing control by trying something outside of what’s familiar to me[3].
‘Cause, boy-howdy, is that ever the case! O.O

Miss Sugar’s fourth point in her post, the one about consulting with whichever spirits/deities you work with regarding the Stuff that’s preventing you from achieving your goals? That’s the one that scares me. I’ve talked elsewhere about being (slightly) more afraid of getting an answer than I am of getting radio silence if I hard-core reached out and went “Mamas, I have got to talk to you about something”.
Whenever I do this, I basically talk (half in my head, half outloud) to “the air” and remind them all that, basically, I’m really obtuse and if they want to point me in the right direction, they’re going to need the biggest neon finger in the world to get it through to me.
This works surprisingly well, actually.
Who knew?
(Granted, in this case, I think I know what’s stopping me: Fear. Because it’s pretty much always “fear” with me. Fear of failure. Fear of success leading to my getting in over my head. Fear of getting noticed in a way that leads to my being some kind of a target. Fear fear fear fear fear. I know that one).


That’s it for me this evening. Tomorrow, I’ll probably be on here flailing about getting the root veggie roast done on time, but for now I’m going to bed.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] How horrible is that? Canceling a date with your deities? WTF…

[2] This happened once, when I was very new to Paganism, and was wanting to do a blessing ritual and was working out the ritual poetry in class and… she showed up. Maia, I mean. She’s an alto, as it happens. She sounded both amused – possibly because it was obvious how surprised I was – and… and “Okay, kiddo. Now that I’m here, you’d better not be wasting my time…” Y’know?

[3] Which is, perhaps, reading things into a card that, really, I could have told you without the visual aid. 😉

Cookies for the Winter Queen

So, fabulous author Seanan McGuire has a recipe for dark chocolate pomegranate cookies.

Being me, I of course went (a) must try, and (b) more chocolate!
Because that’s how I roll.

Last year, I made gluten-free Winter Queen cookies using buckwheat flour and corn starch. They were tasty.

This year, I opted for a vegan (but not gluten-free) version, and am currently baking the first tray worth of a double-batch since my intention is to cart them all over the place (to the day job on Actual Solstice, to the table at my annual Solstice Shindig, to my mother’s place over xmas (as part of gift baskets), to my girlfriend’s NPPP’s place on xmas morning, and so on) for the next week or so.

This year’s version (doubled) goes as follows:


Winter Queen Cookies 2011

3 C wheat flour
1 C tapioca starch
1/2 C cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cloves

1 C granulated sugar
3/4 C lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 C pomegranate molasses[1]
1 C vegan margarine (or shortening, or whatever works)

1/4 C raw pomegranate seeds[2]
1/4 C small, non-dairy, semi-sweet chocolate chips


Pre-heat the oven to 350F

In a VERY large bowl, combine the dry ingredients

In a second bowl, combine the wet ingredients, creaming them together with a fork.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients – it may help to use your hands, eventually, and the dry stuff needs to be well-integrated with the wet.

Add the seeds and the chocolate chips and mix them (knead them?) into the dough until well-distributed.

Drop, by the table-spoon, onto a greased cookie sheet (you can get between 15 and twenty onto a large-ish cookie sheet and still have room for the spread).

Bake for 15-20 minutes[3]

Remove from oven and ALLOW TO COOL before transferring to a wire rack. (If you don’t do this, your cookies *will* fall apart).

Serve with hot chocolate, mulled red wine, or whatever your little heart desires.

Enjoy. 🙂


Let me know how they turn out. 🙂

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Available at Middle Eastern – or, I gather, Kosher – grocery stores. Deliciously tart and adds a certain something to white-chocolate-apricot almond cookies, too. 😀

[2] You will most likely have to shell and gut a pomegranate to get them. Give yourself the time you’ll need. Trust me.

[3] I’m guessing. I’m working with an oven with only one functioning element, so it tends to take 40 or so when I cook them.

The Longest Night – Terre d’Ange Style

So this will come as no surprise to anyone, but I’m a big fan of the Kushiel series. At least I’m a big fan of the first three books. So – being both a big Pagan and a big Sensual Hedonist – it will also come as no surprise to anyone that I want to throw a Longest Night party.

Like, a Big One.

And, of course, that involves things like venue rentals and finding a DJ and sorting out who’s playing what role in the (rather heterosexual, dammit) Solstice Play, arranging for crash space (or sex/play space, for that matter), dealing with the catering, and, y’know, actually paying for it all. O.O

Consequently, this is leading me to wonder what the Commoners in Terre d’Anges did for the Longest Night.

What I imagine is that restaurants like The Cockerel would be open even later than usual, with their best-looking and/or most-crowd-favoured staff members playing the roles. There would probably be (one glass of) joie on the house, the same way places around here give out (one glass of) complimentary champagne on NYE. A lot of people would go out to these and they’d Dress To Impress while they were at it.

Other restauranteurs (or anyone else who had the where-with-all to borrow/provide the materials) might do courtyard suppers – the kind of thing where you set out portable fire-pits (like chimineas?) in the squares and do a stone-soup style meal for anyone who doesn’t have anywhere else to go.

I suspect that people would hold family/phamily parties with non-catered food, gathering their extended families and/or their Community into which ever available house is the biggest, and maybe the most-recently married/engaged couple in the clan/community would get the roles of Earth and Sun. Or Maybe there’s a lottery dessert – a rich cake full of eggs and sugar with vinegar-brightened copper centimes and a copper ring, and whoever gets the ring plays Earth and whoever had it last year plays Sun.

I suspect people would shell out as much as they could to put on a Fabulous Spread but, while the Nobs are drinking Joie straight from the glass, the ordinary people might be more likely to use it as a flavouring in mixed drinks (mulled white wine or apple cider laced with Joie after it’s been heated, for example) or baking it into cakes and cookies.

People would wear paste-board domino-masks decorated with chicken/turkey feathers that had been dyed in as many bright colours as possible, or else they might do face-paint. There would be paper crowns and other party-hats in order to do masquerade on the cheap, and everyone would listen for the town bells at midnight, whether or not they owned a clock.

What do you think people of limited means would do to mark the Longest Night if we were in a culture where Winter Solstice, rather than something a few days later than that, was the Big Winter Holiday that “everyone” was presumed to celebrate?