Monthly Archives: March 2015

Eat Down the Larder 2015 – Pre-Game Post

So it’s the last day of March. Full moon is coming up in a just a few days. The snow is melting (and, occasionally, falling again, but mostly it’s melting) and there are early, early flower stalks poking their noses above the muck. Spring is springing, as it’s supposed to do.
Which means that it’s Eat Down the Larder Month again.
This is a Challenge put on by Erica over at NorthWest Edible Life, which I participated in last year with much flailing and whining and gnashing of teeth, but which I think is a good idea and a good habit to be in when it comes to not having your dry goods turning to dust in the cupboards year after year.
The idea is that you eat ONLY what you already have on hand, as of April First, in an effort to empty your preserves jars, clear out your freezer, and institute some turn-over in your dry-goods and non-perishables.
In my case, I cheat a little: I know going into this that I’ll be buying coffee (though I may not have to – it’s on my “no stocking up beforehand” grocery list – along with eggs, marmite, and white vinegar for Cleaning Supplies – anyway, so if I get that done today it won’t “count”), earl grey tea, and milk (I go through 3-4 gallons of the stuff every month) as needed. But as far as vegetables, fruit, meat, cheese, carbs, fats, pulses, and seasonings go… No. We’ll make do with what we’ve got.
Which is a fair bit, to be honest.
In addition to being gifted the Queering Power Party leftovers – we have a dozen or so clementines, a bowl of grape-tomatoes, two chunks of Fancy Cheese, half a litre of half-and-half cream, a couple of tubs of hummus, and a few other goodies, courtesy of the QP Organizers who know that buying groceries isn’t always an option for us, even when we’re NOT playing a voluntary austerity game – we’ve actually got heaps of food lying around.
800g of old cheddar (“cooking cheddar”, not the Good Stuff) that I picked up a few weeks ago when they were on for ~$1.25/100g; 3lbs of butter (same situation). A jar of pre-grated parmasan cheese. A litre of 3% milk. 1kg of plain yoghurt.
An unopened litre of sunflower oil plus some olive oil, sesame oil, plus a tin or two of coconut milk and a couple of pucks of lard still in the freezer.
We have half a dozen tins of tuna that we do need to start going through in short order.
Two big bags of rotini plus frozen perogies and half a jar of tube pasta. Probably have a heap of whole-wheat couscous hiding about the place, too.
2lb of cooking onions, a bulb and a bit of garlic, half a celeriac, half a dozen carrots, 4-5 beets, a 3lb bag of boiling potatoes, and a 3lb bag of cortland apples.
Copeous frozen veggies (beans, broccoli, edamame, eggplant, ruby chard, possibly kale) and fruit (berries of various kinds, mixed and single-variety)
A freezer bin containing: 1lb pork sausage (maybe more than that?), 2-3 packages of bacon. 1 whole roasting rabbit, a little bit of fish, 1 beef heart, 2 pork kidneys, a package (iirc) of smoked salmon or similar, and possible (I’ll have to check) a package of two turkey wings (or possibly drumsticks, not sure).
A bag of Great Northern dry white beans, 1L red lentils, 1C+ black lentils, 1L+ brown rice, a cup or two of wild rice, 1C+ pot barley, 2L red quinoa, 1L pearl barley, and maybe some whole amaranth. Not sure what else I have hiding about in the form of dry beans and grains, though
3-4 tins of beans
1 jar of peanut butter
5Kg white wheat flour, 2.5Kg whole wheat flour, ~500g fine corn meal
A jar of yeast for bread-making + plenty of salt, baking powder, baking soda, herbs, and spices
2Kg granulated sugar, 250mL honey, 4+ tins of maple syrup + 250g maple sugar, an unknown but present amount of brown sugar, and LOTS of half-cup jars of jam, jelly, fruit-butter. Also: Chocolate chips. Also: half a pint of rhubarb syrup still in the fridge (makes a very nice cocktail when mixed with vanilla vodka, fyi)
1L cider vinegar + a little balsamic + 500mL red wine vinegar
6+ pints of pickled cucumbers (I’m open to suggestions for how to incorproate this into meals as a vegetable option rather than a garnish, fyi), 1 cup of diced tomatoes, 4-8 half-cups of tomato sauce, 2-3 cups of tomato-peach salsa
Dried peaches, dried mushrooms (I got a pound of them the other day, and put some in a chili, but there’s tonnes of them left… dried mushrooms don’t weigh very much), dried peppers (one hot variety, one mild variety) and dried cranberries.
8+ pints of bone stock already in the fridge, plus 3-4 bags of actual bones that can be used to make more stock as needed.
That isn’t even all of it, I don’t think.
But it’s most of it.
So. With all that (all that!) available, here are a couple of meal possibilities:
Combine 1 tin of chick peas + reconstituted dried mushrooms + reconstituted dried mild peppers + 1 diced onion and some sesame oil in a frying pan and sautee like fuck. Make a sauce using peanut butter, a little more sesame oil, some cider vinegar, maple syrup, prepared mustard and red chili flakes. Combine the sauce with the sauteed mixture. Add in some cooked couscous (or cooked quinoa) and serve.
Make bread and use some of the dough as a home-made pizza crust. Top with apricot butter (instead of tomato sauce), left-over roast rabbit OR left-over roast turkey OR cooked pork sausage rounds, minced onion (possibly fried already), thawed frozen chard, and grated cheddar cheese.
Make cornmeal crepes. Spread with mayo and mustard. Top with tinned lemon-pepper tuna, tomato-peach salsa, frozen edamole (I have one bag left in the freezer), and plain yoghurt.
Fry some onions in butter in the bottom of a big pot. Add some grated carrot. Add a half-cup jar of tomato sauce, a pint of stock, 3C water, Half a cup of pearl barley, half a cup of red lentils, a dozen dried mushrooms (broken up into chunks and rinsed before adding), and 2 pucks of frozen diced eggplant. Season with a little soya sauce and a little ginger.
Fry some onions in butter in the bottom of a big pot. Add some grated carrot. Add a tin of coconut milk + 1-2 tbsp curry powder. Add 2-3 pucks of frozen diced eggplant + 2-3 pucks of frozen chard + a handfull of fresh grape tomatoes. Add 1C water + half a cup of red lentils. Serve over couscous or cooked brown rice. Mix in a little plain yoghurt if you want to.
Brine a beef heart for two days. Slice into thin strips. Combine some of it with reconstituted dried mushrooms, thinly sliced pork kidney, minced onions, grated carrots OR grated beets, diced potatoes, a pinch each of salt and rosemary, and a dusting of flour. Stove-top cook (or oven-braise) in beer, wine or stock. Serve with savoury biscuits.
Combine the rest of the heart with pot barley, black lentils, stock, water, tomato sauce, dried mushrooms, diced potato, celeriac, and frozen ruby chard stems. Cook on LOW in the slow-cooker for up to 48 hours (you may need to top up the liquid a little bit here).
Salad Nicoise ft fresh (or jarred) tomatoes, boiled potatoes, thawed frozen beans, boiled beets, hard-cooked egg (just one, diced fine), diced cucumber pickle, and a dusting of parmasan cheese.
Cook pasta. Top with home-made alfredo sauce (or tomato sauce) and frozen veggies of some sort. OR Cook perogies. Top with same + maybe a little plain yoghurt and fried onions. Sandwiches on home-made bread: roast-rabbit with apple, mustard, diced onion, mayo, & crab apple jelly; grilled cheese with spicy tuna (and probably a pickle on the side, because: pickles) and mayo; Bacon-tomato-and-cream-cheese (or yoghurt-cheese); peanutbutter and jam (of course); hummus and tomato (possibly with left-over edamole).
Pancakes, coffee cakes, brownies, and similar made with fruit butter and/or jam in lieu of some/all of the sugar and eggs. Yoghurt with frozen fruit, crumbled walnuts, and maple syrup.
Lots of options.
Lots of otions.
Just keep telling yourself that. 😉
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

The Spindle of Necessity

Another Witchy Type talking about the spiritual elements of hand-spinning! Go read! 😀

Knot Magick

I’ve made no secret that I think crochet is absolutely magical; Its good for body* mind and soul as well as being a useful tool in the witches toolbox, but I thought it was time to consider spinning both magical and mundane. As well as my own use of spinning in my magical practice I’m going to look as spinning and the spindle whorl fïrom the perspective of the Greeks and Plato. Although there are many other cultures around the world that utilise the drop spindle and have their own myths and beliefs that surround it the Greek culture dovetails nicely into my own praxis and interests, and means I’m responding to a kick from the Universe through a series of fortuitous circumstances.

In this post when I talk about spinning I am referring to the process of making thread using a drop spindle. As a method of producing thread…

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Brown Rice and Edamame Salad – Approximate Recipe #QueeringPower2015

Hey, folks. So I went to Queering Power this past weekend. It was lovely, if exhausting (this is pretty par for the course with QP, so hey), and I got a lot of compliments on the rice salad that I threw together for the potluck lunch.
Like most of the stuff I cook, it was tossed together improv-style using whatever I happened to have a lot of at the time[1]. This being late Winter (or early Spring, s the case may be), it uses a LOT of dry goods and frozen or jarred items, since the local landscape doesn’t have much (anything?) available just at the moment. As is typical, I managed to lose the list of ingredients while at the event (figures), so what follows is an approximation of what I made for Saturday’s pot-luck, though it might not be the exact recipe.
Start with 2C raw brown rice (long-grain and basmati both work, but I haven’t tried it with short-grain). Combine this in a LARGE pot with 4C water and 1 tbsp sesame oil. Bring it to a boil with the lid off. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to “low” and put the lid on. It should be finished cooking in 35-40 minutes (keep an eye on it – give it a gentle stir occasionally).
During the last 10 minutes of cooking, add 1C frozen edamame and 0.5C dried (sweetened) cranberries.
While the rice is cooking, fry 0.5C minced onion in a small skillet using 2tbsp each olive oil and sesame oil, and combine the following in a large bowl (I used a Bean Pot like this one because it has a lid, but you can use whatever – a mixing bowl, a 2L tupperware, you name it):
1 tin of black beans, drained and well-rinced
0.25C whole, raw (shelled) pumpkin seeds
1 pint jar of mild pickled carrots, drained and diced[2]
0.25C apple cider vinegar
1 tsp each (dried): basil, sage, and thyme
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp prepared grainy mustard
1-2 tsp prepared ketchup[3]
The above-mentioned fried onions
2-3 cloves of minced raw garlic

You can throw in 1 cortland apple, cored and diced, too, if you’re so inclined, but I didn’t. Cilantro would also not be out of place.
Mix everything in the bowl together well, so that the seasonings get all over everything.
When the rice is cooked, empty the contents of the bowl into the rice pot (remember, I said use a LARGE pot – this is why).
Mix the bean mixture into the rice mixture until everything is well-incorproated and well-distributed.
Chill in the fridge (covered – thense my use of a dish with a lid) over night, then serve.
So there you have it.
Give it a whirl and see if you like it.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] We’re coming up on “Eat From the Larder” month (April), and I’m eying my dry goods and going “Wow… What do I really want to get rid of?” and, yeah. Brown rice is not my favourite grain. I’m much more a fan of barley and quinoa and barley, at least, grows in Saskatchewan. So, having a tonne of brown rice lying around, I took this opportunity to use up a bunch of it in short order and make a tasty, gluten-free, vegan (but definitely not paleo – sorry) salad that can be served cold, but would also work as a hot casserole/pilaf if you wanted to use it like that.
[2]Alternative, since not everyone gets gifted jars of pickled carrots: 1 C steamed, diced carrots such as you might find in a bag of frozen peas-and-carrots. If you go with this option, I suggest adding an extra tbsp of vinegar to the mixture BUT ALSO using 2C frozen-peas-and-carrots in lieu of the frozen edamame that you’re throwing in with the rice.
[3] Yes, really. I admit, I’m a tad bit defensive about my “ketchup is a vegetable” standpoint, but it’s basically tomato-sauce with a sweet-and-sour component thrown in. Much like the soy sauce, it helps to give food – particularly vegan food, where this is sometimes an issue – a subtle kick of umami which tends to go over well on the palate.

Big-C Crafting, Little-C Crafting, Moving Your Body, and Unblocking Your Magic

As I’m writing this, people I care about are making their way towards my city (and, in a couple of case, my house) for a Leather Family Reunion of sorts. I’ll be bringing my handspinning with me (again, and along with a couple of big vats of food because: this is me we’re talking about) in order to soak up some of The Fam into the yarn I’m spinning (and spinning, and spinning… I’ve been doing this for most of a year now and, possibly because I’ve been deliberately felting the yearn when I wash it, I’m still not finished my various shawl stripes and keep needing to generate more yarn to get the lengths right…).
For a brief little bit (like a couple of hours – there was, to my relief, a bit of a crossed wire there) I was on the hook for a short-notice workshop/craft-and-chatter-session about the work of one’s hands and how it relates to Power (in the kink sense) and also Power (in the spirituality sense).
My personal unified theory of How I Function Best has a lot to do with how (and if) I move around. Given that I spend a tonne of my time ensconsed on a couch, or in a chair (less frequently), typing away at All The Things, this may explain why it’s so easy for me to become despondent and generally get bogged down the Swamp of the Psyche (if you’re familiar with Brene Brown, you will probably alreqdy know that this means Shame).
Doing things with my hands – and, more generally, working my body – is a way to combat/avoid this, yes. But It’s the WHY of it that gets my attention from a Witchy perspective. Dancing, singing, blending yin and yang (hatha) yoga, going walking, working in the garden, doing handicrafts, doing the chopping/kneading/general-prep of a slow-cooking meal, even hand-cranking our little, borrowed laundry pod… all of that stuff helps to get my Energy moving freely. No blockages. It shakes off the random, yet never-ending, tiredness. It helps me direct my own energy (practically and magically) towards whatever goals I happen to be wrestling with at the time.
I realize that this probably sounds pretty Artists-Way-y, but there it is. Move your body, make things with your hands, and you (or at least I) will find it easier to make things (create things, create changes, make things happen) with your mind and your magic.

Spring Equinox and New Moon – SnowMelt Moon Begins

Spring is springing, at least in the way it usually does around here with its two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of loping, unsteady dance. The buds on the magnolia trees are swelling and, in the spots near the west-facing walls (you know, where the snow is already gone) you can see the tips of snowdrops and scilla poking through the soil. Our patio is becoming a small lake – here’s hoping that our basement doesn’t do the same thing – and the glacier that has been our back porch since early December is slowly receeding.
We are plotting the garden that will be once the yard is free of snow and the raised beds can be built. My lovely wife has already decided that there will be a tiny steam engine circumnavigating the whole thing. C’est la vie. 😉
I ordered perfume oil from The Mermaid and The Crow and I’m putting it to use in a couple of different ways. For now, this is basically an experiment, but I’m Noticing Things, so there’s that.
Lovely Wife and I went out last night and wound up going home early (alas – because we are Old, and also Sick, apaprently?) and missed having martinis with some cool people because of it. Pity. Granted, I’m bringing this up because we wound up having a bit of a Radiomancy experience halfway between Event #1 and Event #2. Specifically, we stopped in at a pub to grab a little bit of a food and kill the hour between the end of Event #1 (Laverne Cox’s lecture in our neighbourhood) and Event #2 (martinis with the VE crew + Midori – what were we thinking, giving that a miss? I know!) and, as we nibbled on sweet potato fried, a song came on over the speakers with a chorus that went “Go home, go home!” over and over again. We looked at each other and decided to call it a night, because stuff doesn’t usually speak THAT clearly (at least not to me – they do it to her all the time).
So there was that.
I made bread yesterday (two loaves – I’m now out of whole wheat flour and running low on cooking oil, but supplies are holding up really nicely in terms of everything else) and bone stock today – eight cups from the first boil, but I’m running a second batch over night, which will hopefully get me as much again of more solid “meat jello” stuff (and that’ll be one more bag of bones out of my freezer – hurrah!).
I’m looking forward to a weekend full of friends, creativity, and flow-arts stuff, hopefully with some thinky thoughts about spirituality-type-stuff thrown in. (I have a pot-luck lunch to make – brown rice salad with cramberries, carrots, greens, beans, and whatever else I can throw in there) – and dinner plans with a cute lady + her partner + my partner (likewise a cute lady). It should be a good time. 🙂
By the time this moon is full (because New Moon and Equinox were both about a week ago at this point), it will be April. We’ll be four days into our Eat From The Larder Challenge for 2015, and I’ll hopefully have called the clothing shop to remind them that I’m still interested in working for them if they’re hiring in May (at which point, my lovely wife may be making a slight career adjustment – which would be helped by me having a similar career adjustment going on concurrently). Here’s hoping this spring will bring with it new growth, more wakefulness, and a general stretching forth in terms of what I can do both with what I have and with what I hope I can get.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Things I’ve Learned About My Own #Preserves – March 2015 Edition

Okay. So it’s mid-March. I just did a quick eye-balling of the freezers (yes, plural – one fridge-top and one SMALL chest freezer) and, damn, we’ve got tonnes of food! 😀 Including lots of stuff that I froze last summer & autumn (ruby chard, red currants, roasted eggplant, serviceberries, and even edamole), two recently-accquired dressed-and-ready-to-roast rabbits from the local Rabbit Lady who free-runs them in the clover patches on her Xmas Tree farm, and, oh, half a dozen big bags of bones that need to be simmered right the hell into stock as soon as I can swing it. (Maybe I should be sticking to boneless cuts of critter for the foreseeable? That’s a lot of bones…) I’m happy to say that my stores of preserves are holding up nicely, too, though we have perhaps too many (!) jars of cucumber garlic-dill pickles lying around. There may be a spate of giving stuff away in the next little while, if it comes to it (or, alternatively, I just won’t make cucumber pickles this year, and we’ll use all our cukes for salad-fixings).
I’ve got half a dozen tins of beans, a cup or two of pot barley & black lentils, half a dozen tins of tuna, a few big jars of stuff like red lentils, Great Northern white beans, wild rice, red quinoa, and pearl barley, plus more damn brown rice that you can shake a stick at. There’s a bout 5kg of white flour plus the usual salt, sugar, and baking powder supplies. There is peanut butter. There is honey. There’s a tonne of maple syrup. There’s even a tin or two of coconut milk.
Basically, my larder is quite well stocked.
Which is a good thing, because April will be Eat From the Larder Month again (let’s see if I can get through it with less whining this time…) and the goal, as it was last year, is to not buy stuff[1] in an effort to (a) save some money, but also (b) eat up the 2014 preserves so that there’s space (and clean, empty jars) for the 2015 canning season and so that we don’t wind up having jars of Who Knows What sitting around for five years at a stretch, not getting eaten.
This year, the Eat From the Larder challenge comes with a little extra incentive: I now have A Yard. Which means that, this season, I get to have an actual GARDEN. You know: Somewhere to grow at least part of the food that I’m planning on preserving over the course of next summer and autumn. My goal is to grow enough beans (snap and butter/shelling varieties), winter squash, summer squash, greens (kale and rainbow chard), and tomatoes to cover most of what I want to preserve for the winter and spring. Whether I’ll be able to do that is a different story, but it means I want to pre-emptively clear out the chest freezer in order to make way for the diced-and-blanched butternut squash that I want to put up, the snap beans, greens, and golden zucchini slices I want to blanch-and-freeze, just so I can say “I grew them, too!” when I haul them out again in the middle of winter. 🙂
Things I’ve learned (again):
I would much rather use bruschetta-mix or plain ol’ diced tomatoes than use tomato sauce. Most of the time. (When making bean stew, however, you can never have too much umami, so a one-cup jar of tomatoes PLUS a half-cup jar of sauce is a good way to go). Also, having acquired a nearby and rather dear friend back in October, who is badly allergic to All The Peppers, chances are good that my tomato sauce recipe will be changing slightly so’s as not to send her to the ER inadvertently (I have so far managed to not do this, fyi).
I’m hit-and-miss on how much frozen fruit I go through in a given year. Some years, I’ll go through a litre of frozen berries in a week. Other times, I’ll forget and find half a gallon of July-harvested red currants waiting to be turned into tarts (good thing, too, since we’re having people over for dinner next Friday).
I actually *do* like apple butter for baking and also for savoury dishes (mainly cheese sandwiches, to be honest) and missed it this year, since I didn’t make any. Also: Pumpkin butter is amazing BUT pear butter is probably a better way to go. I’m still planning on making pumpkin butter a regular feature of my larder, mind you, because I can grow pumpkins more or less like weeds around here, but I don’t have an apple tree of my own. Yet. But apple butter is going to have to be a thing.
Having only used my dehydrator the once… it hasn’t paid for itself yet. Basically, I’ve found that my home-dried peaches and nectarines… are mostly just really fucking dry. They’re not great snack-food, presently, is what I’m saying. So, while I’m hoping I can put it to work drying tomatoes and apples, or makingn snacky-snacky Kale Chips and similar, as and when I have kale, apples, and tomatoes to use in it, I probably won’t be going all out on dried peaches and similar next summer.
I may or may not do jarred peaches (or peach butter, or what-have-you) either. I love my tomato-peach salsa, and will continue to make that, for sure, possibly using nectarines instead of peaches (even though they’re more expensive), just ’cause I like the smooth skin better than the fuzzy, but I haven’t yet opened any of the apricot butter that I made, so I’m not sure that I’d bother making it again.
Seven weeks from now (or so), it’ll be Beltane, I’ll be on the hunt for groceries after a month of not bothering, and I may or may not (fingers crossed that I will) be started a new part-time job in the afternoons. Hopefully, hopefully, I’ll also be planting out the first of my cold-weather crops and rejoicing at a larder that’s ready to be filled once more.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] With some exceptions. I will totally still be buying milk and coffee. I may buy eggs or cheese, but would kind of like to not bother. (Alternatively, I may (break the rules and) buy 2 dozen eggs, a kilogram of coffee beans, and some Cheap Cooking Cheddar – provided it’s actually cheap when I get to the store – towards the end of March… and still buy milk as I go through it). But no veggies, baking supplies, fruit, meat, or similar since the idea is use up the preserved (jars, tins, frozen, and dry-goods) food that I already have on hand… And I have a LOT of it on hand.

It begins with sight

Particularly this one on honouring local landspirits. Things to think about: How do you honour these spirits when you’re occupying their land? #MMIW #decolonization #nopipeline When thsoe particular ancestors aren’t yours and maybe you’ll never be able to see them? How do you still do this important & necessary work? How do you Ethically and Respectfully Pagan as a settler?

Empires Crumble

Lotsa links about anti-colonialism & anti-racism in Paganism. Go check it out! 😀

Rhyd Wildermuth

empire crumble Patch by Alley Valkyrie (click image to see more)

Gods&Radicals is now open to the public!  While not ‘active’ yet, there’s plenty of stuff to see there.  I recommend particularly perusing the list of fantastic writers therein!

Also, Many Gods West has announced an initial selection of presenters.  Also, a fantastic list.

Sannion’s got a great (I mean very, very great) series regarding honoring the land and the ancestors of that land.  This piece is quite good, and this other piece is quite very good.  Few have done much work to compile the theoretical framework of an anti-colonialist localized worship, and he’s on it.

And speaking of anti-colonialism and anti-racism. did you read this piece by Brennos? I’m surprised it didn’t get much attention–it’s a great piece, and also points to some questions about the (de-)politicisation of religion, particularly Paganism.

Those questions are beginning to be asked…

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Full Moon – Cold Moon Crests

So, just as Cold Moon was cresting (I’m technically a day late on this post), we flipped over into March. We’ve only had one day where the temperature got anywhere close to 0-Celceus, but we’re getting there. All around me are people grinning and assuring each other that we’ve made it through another one. I keep watching the snow on the neighbourhood roofs, wondering how much of the melt-off is due to poor insulation versus how much of it is the noticeably warmer (and longer hours of) sunshine happening these days.
I got my honey-pot made (finally) last week, and did some magic to help me out with my job interview, too (it went well, FYI, though I won’t hear anything until about May, so…). At the moment, things are feeling pretty “up” – although part of that is that it’s been an employment-full week – four modeling gigs plus an easy day of answering phones near my house – and I’ve got a cupboard full of groceries and even some tasty treats (I got us cheap fizzy white wine + orange-mango juice for mimosas, for example, and a box of mini pain-chocolates as well – we’ll will be brunching this weekend, and I wanted to get in something kinda fancy. $25 for three people is… pretty okay, really) as a result, SO. Part of the “up” is just basic stuff like “we paid the gas bill” and “the rent cheque didn’t bounce” (seriously, that was a worry, however briefly, a few days ago) and “our freezer is full of sausages and ravioli”.
Some of it is also this: I got a new purse.
Which you’d think, if I’m simultaneously worrying about the rent, is not something I should be buying, but bear with me.
The zipper on my one remaining non-ratty purse broke, a month or two ago. All of my other purses are pleather, and – while they started out beautiful – they are now peeling messes with jerry-rigged handles and they just don’t look very nice. And I am trying to Look Nice, at least when I leave the house.
I did a gig today, a portraiture class where they like it when the model gets dolled up in something kind of thematic. So I turned up in my Leather (and my PVC, and my Unholy Harvest dogtags), some dark lipstain & black eyeliner, and a pair of German engineers goggles and gave them a deiselpunk aviator to draw. Thing is, I felt like Amanda Fucking Palmer in that outfit. It’s not something that I wear all the time – waist cinchers being what they are, and leather “airforce” caps being almost as impractical and hard to keep on as miniature top hats – but it was comprised (with the exception of the goggles) of my actual clothes. I felt like a million bucks, and I loved what I saw in the mirror! AND I was constantly fretting that my hair and/or stockings would fall down, that my hat would fall off, and that I’d slip right out of my sling-backs because, hello, you do not wear open-toed slingbacks with nylons, end of story.
Look. This is going to come as a surprise to nobody, but Looking Nice Takes Effort.
A lot of what I’ve spent the last, gods, eight years(?) doing, wardrobe-wise, is trying to do what boils down to “Glamour Hacks” where you front-load all the labour – investing (by whatever budget you can reasonably do so) in clothes that fit & flatter[1], shoes that look good and are gender-consonant but don’t destroy your feet[2], and something to haul your crap around in that doesn’t make you look like the Loblaws Lady[3] – so that when you have to drag your ass out of bed in the mornings, or convince yourself (MYself) to really, really, this time, leave the house… the part where you look Put Together is already done.
The goal, in my case, is to get my Stuff dialed in enough that I just have to pull something, anything, out of my closet, slick on the easiest possible makeup (waterproof Very Black mascara, tinted lipbalm, and if I’m feeling really ambitious, a scribble of eye-shadow pencil, which is basically a crayon for your face), slap on wahtever footwear happens to be the most weather-appropriate, and GTFO… looking Fabulous and Noticeable all the while.
The big purse – which I bought for $30 off ebay and which, alas, has a couple of design flaws that I’ll have to work around if I want this to be the functional Diva Bag of my only-somewhat-practical dreams – is part of that process. It’s basically my answer to the Loblaws Lady problem. It’s big enough to hold a notebook, a novel, and even a makeup case on top of the more typical “purse stuff” all at the same time and, while I can’t stuff a yoga mat in there, I can use it to carry a water-bottle and the rest of my (minimal) yoga gear. It’s about the right size to carry a book of sheet music, if I need it to. It has a handy outside-pocket with a BIG, decorative zipper-tab where I can keep stuff – like a bus pass – that I want to be able to grab without having to dig around or take off my mitts. It’s Black And Shiny And Buckle-Y enough to work with my “edgy”[4] stuff while being Basic Black Professional enough to be appropriate when I need to not look Scary or like some kind of a tramp[5]. It may not be Mary Poppins’ TARDIS-like magical carpet bag, but it’s got enough pockets to carry at least a little bit of magic around.
So that’s where I am right now. The same place I always am, though maybe a tiny step further along, trying to balance What I Want with What I Have and What I Can Manage on any given day.
Now I’ve got altar candles to light, wine to chill, and a chicken to roast, so I’m off.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] In my case, this means hitting up the local second-hand stores + getting good enough at sewing to taylor items at least a little bit and/or make simple stuff myself, because gods know I don’t have a lot of money to throw around.
[2] A constant work in progress, I’m afraid…
[3] This was a (brief) conversation on twitter, earlier today. My sister used to be a professional actress. She bought a hella fancy purse that was big enough to carry a small child (which, ha, she is about to birth, as it turns out) because she needed to (a) carry big old scrips and indoor shoes and so-on around all the time, but also (b) actually look put-together when she showed up for an audition.
[4] Ahahahaha… At the moment, this basically means wearing black eyeshadow and pinstriped skirts.
[5] These situations are getting fewer and farther between, granted (and also YAY), but it doesn’t hurt to be versatile.

Knowledge, Wisdom, and Gnosis – The Pagan Experience 2015

Knowledge, Wisdom, and Gnosis… They’re all different things, aren’t they. Knowledge can sometimes feel like theory, like book-learning, a fairly typical definition of what you accumulate while Getting An Education. the other two are… maybe more experiential? Maybe? It’s funny. “Wisdom” tends to show up, in my head, like “something you accumulate over years and years of experience”. It’s not formal learning, it’s “Street smarts”, and it’s usually the kind that you accumulate through learning from your own mistakes rather than from someone else’s. At this point, I don’t have much of that. A little bit, maybe, but I could be just confusing it for, like, Being Tired and Feeling Old more than anything else.
Knowledge is knowing which plants are safe to eat because you read about them in a (reliable) book or website or what-have-you.
Wisdom is knowing which plants are safe to eat because you’ve actually eaten them yourself and you know how to prepare them to neutralize the oxalis (or whatever) so that nobody gets sick to their stomaches and so that the plants actually taste good when you eat them.
Gnosis is… Gnosis is knowing which plants are safe to eat because they straight up told you themselves and you had the where-with-all to hear and understand.
Gnosis doesn’t happen much for me. I’m what sometimes gets called a “cement head” or, alternatively, a “natural ground”. I can bring people home when they get lost, bring them back to earth when they’re spiraling and can’t find their feet… but my radio signal is Not Receiving most of the time.
I do get this sometimes. Sometimes, my Intuition talks loudly enough for me to listen (this is usually within the context of modeling, where I’ve learned to listen to that little voice that raises the hairs on my neck). Sometimes I can feel the change in air-consistency that means a big heap of energy – whether we’re talking a wave or a non-corporial Person – is moving through or in. Sometimes I can actually hear the Gods & Ancestors talking to me – or at least pointing me towards The Thing (like it or not). But most of the time? Most of the time, I’m going on Knowledge, Wisdom, and Faith.
Wish me luck with that. 😉