Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Craft / Exercise Room ... complete!


Spent a few hours on my Craft/Exercise Room last night, and it's all nice and clean, and smells good too! This is also the home of my Persian kitty, Ashlee. She doesn't like the other animals in the house, so we moved her upstairs to the Craft Room so she could have her own space. She is much happier.

My environment has a direct impact on my ability to work and/or create. When it gets disorganized, I just can't concentrate. It distracts me, and I get all bogged down. Now that my entire second floor is clean, I feel like I can create. AND I can make use of the lovely treadmill again. I have made use of it, quite a bit, just not recently ... because the dreaded Looming Room was in direct sight, which affected the state of the Craft Room. Now it's all clean, sparkly and magickal!

And with the addition of lavender and bergamot essential oils to the mop water, it all smells soooo nice!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Return of the Magick Room

Ever have something you know you need to do, but it's a huge endeavor, so you put it off? And you put it off and you put it off, and then it becomes this huge thing hanging over your head? By then, it just seems impossible to accomplish, so you keep putting it off, and it becomes this huge weight hanging over your head.

This is what my son's old room was like for me. It was a HUGE mess, and I'm talking seriously gross. I won't go into details of parent vs child and all that stuff, because it's just plain more complicated than a simple "Go clean your room!" So for nearly a year, his room has been upstairs, unused, laying in wait, it's closed door looming at me each time I passed it. I don't know how the kid could stand to sleep in there, it was seriously disgusting. It got so I was avoiding the Looming Door, and because the Looming Door opened off my Craft Room, I began avoiding my Craft Room. Then my Craft Room started getting messy with me just throwing things in there rather than taking the time to organize, thus adding weight to that yoke already weighing heavily around my neck.

On top of the grossness, though, was the fact that the room was in an unusable state. Real estate is expensive, and this room was occuping nearly $9000 worth of square footage. Add the Craft Room, and that's nearly $40,000 of unused real estate! The room had been my Magick Room several years before I moved my son into it, and I really wanted to restore it to that - though it will also do double duty as second guest room. I had to get some motivation, so I scheduled a party. When it comes to my friends and parties, people stay the night. And not just any party, we're talking Samhain. I just needed to get started.

So, I called up my good friend Esther, and asked her to please, please, please help. Then my good friend Shawn volunteered, and the three of us got in there this past Saturday and started digging it out. They helped me get about half the trash out before we were all disgusted enough to need a drink and a good hand washing. That was the end of that for Saturday, but I could actually see the floor of the room! Progress! I woke up on Sunday totally motivated. I ate breakfast, had some coffee, cracked a window in the room to let out all the icky nasties, and went to town. It took me another three hours to get the rest of the trash out of the room, for a total count of 10 full bags of trash (tall kitchen bags). I found a few dishes and silverware I didn't know I was missing, and an assload of laundry, which included a ton of Rick's and my socks Luke had 'borrowed'. The sheets nearly stood on their own when I took them off the bed. Then it was another three hours of dusting, vacuuming and scrubbing, all the while my washer was doing overtime on bedding. I finished at about 6pm last night ... and here it is, my Magick Room!

Magick Room

Once I got the room done, I realized the weight of that room was a lot more than I thought. I noticed how much it really affected the rest of my house. I had avoided doing the deep cleaning, and the main floor is starting to show it. With my Magick Room restored, the weight has been lifted, and I am motivated to continue getting my house clean from top to bottom. It's hard to describe just what a great feeling it is. At the same time, I experienced a feeling of loss. My little boy is all grown up. There's no "Luke's Room" anymore. So, I left the window cracked to 'air it out' so to speak, and tonight I will smudge and bless it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Plum sauce, a success story

A full service, local foods co-op, Main Market Co-op, opened in our city about a year ago, from which my lovey, Rick, obtained a membership. We had hardly used it, as he kept going to the deli there to buy lunches of salads, etc., most of which were food/herb combinations I just couldn't palate, so he gave up and we stopped going there ... until this summer when we discovered their local produce boxes. $30 for a large box, $15 for a small box. Check out the list at the link above, and you'll see how truly great a deal that really is. The two of us go through a large box in about a week to 10 days.

One of the fun things with the produce boxes is getting vegetables and fruit with which I haven't cooked, either at all or not much, so I get to explore new recipes and ideas. As I've said before, I've only recently discovered how much I like to cook, and I'm enjoying experimenting, especially when the dish comes out really, really yummy, as was the case last night! We had received about a half pound of plums in our produce box, and I had some pork chops in the freezer. I thought, hmmm ... I'm forever seeing pork paired with fruit sauces, but I've never tried them. So I googled 'pork chop plum sauce', found a recipe for pork chops with ginger plum sauce, and naturally proceeded to change it to suit my own tastes and the ingredients I had available. It turned out FANTASTIC! I'm talking lick-your-plate-clean good.


Here's what I did:

1/2 to 3/4 pound plums
1 1/2 large garlic clove
4 pork chops (each about 1 inch thick)
vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp peeled & finely grated fresh ginger root
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp red-wine vinegrar
2 tbsp honey, plus 4 more or to suit your taste
1/2 tsp tarragon
1 tbsp all purpose flour

Quarter and pit plums and mince garlic. Combine soy sauce, red wine vinegar honey and tarragon in a bowl, set aside. Pat pork chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch heavy skillet heat a few turns of the pan of oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown pork chops about 2 minutes on each side, transfer to a plate. Add a turn of oil, then add the garlic and gingerroot to skillet and sauté (don't worry about the bits stuck to the bottom - leave them there!), stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, honey, and tarragon mixture and bring to a simmer (it'll probably boil as soon as it hits the pan). Return pork chops to skillet and arrange plums around them. Simmer mixture, covered, over moderately low heat 50 minutes, or until meat is very tender. Transfer chops to a platter. Sauce will be at a simmer, sprinkle flour into sauce, about a half tablespoon at a time while stirring constantly until you reach the desired consistency (for me it was about 1 1/2 tbsp). Pour sauce over chops and garnish with scallion and plum (optional).

This turned out sooooooo yummy ... tonight I'm going to make Turkey Leek Burgers with Apples and Sage Mayo.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Giveaway at Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom

Mrs. B over at Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom is doing a great giveway right now. She has set up a drawing for Raven Grimassi's book "Old World Witchcraft". To quote the product description on Amazon:
Old World Witchdraft reveals rarely discussed topics such as the concept of Shadow as the organic memory of the earth. Readers will learn rooted techniques that possess power because these ways have always been connected to it. They will learn methods of interfacing with the ancestral current and with the organic memory of the earth. Through these they can connect with the timeless arts and learn methods of empowerment directly from the ancient source.

Totally new information about familiar tools is presented. For example, the mortar and pestle is a tool for spell casting, a device that creates interfacing with plant spirits and with shadow, and a focal point for veneration of the Plant Kingdom. Grimassi also presents the art of using plant ashes for magical sigil work.

If you haven't visited Mrs. B's blog before, you should correct that right now! Mrs. B writes offers a lot of excellent and practical information on her blog, delivered with a voice of reason touched with magick. Whether you're single, married, single with kids, married with kids, or whatever, you'll find some useful information over at Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom.

To put your name in her cauldron for the drawing, enter in her comments, and do it before noon EST on October 11th!