Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Holiday Planning and Consumerism


Hello Friends,

I hope you're all doing well. Yuletide is just around the corner. It's a fun time of year! I celebrate the Pagan holidays and the traditional ones. Since we're in savings mode, Alex and I decided on no gifts for the holidays - including our birthdays which fall in January and February!

So instead I'm celebrating with food. This really brings out my creative side. Not only for the menus, but for the cost - I need to be frugal!!

Most of you know I do a monthly shopping list. This means I plan a month's worth of meals according to the shopping flyers. Then Alex and I spend one grueling day a month in the "flats" shopping and driving; then we're safe in the mountains and free from being around society for another 30 glorious days! :)


I've pretty much planned every holiday meal so far:

December 21: Yule
December 24: Christmas Eve
December 25: Christmas
December 31: New Year's Eve
January 1: New Year's Day
January 2: Twelfth Night.

Lots of fun food, drink and sweets planned! What's your holiday season looking like? Alex and I don't have any family, nor do we really have close friends, so we spend all of our time together and with the furballs. This pretty much eliminates all stressors for us and we can enjoy each day as it comes. I hope you don't deal with holiday stress...it's not fun. I've been there and I won't do that again - EVER!!

Another subject I wanted to discuss is consumerism. Let's face it, though a lot of us would LOVE to live like pioneers, off the land, off the grid, self-sufficient etc...we were born in a modern world. I personally LOVE plumbing and electricity! :) And I love my internet. But...I still try to make do with what I have, not buy new things unless it's absolutely essential. Alex and I are striving for more self-sufficiency, but we will always rely on some supplier or another for something in this modern world.


I can give you countless examples of my beef with companies. I don't know how many times I opened up a container of milk to find it had already gone sour WELL before the expiry date. I write to companies all the time when their products are mediocre and I always get replies - usually in the form of a coupon or refund. In this case, I wrote to Quebon because of the milk going sour. I got the standard reply and some coupons in the mail. YES, it helps the budget and I am grateful for that...but what is really being done about this? The companies seem to be in this mind-frame that throwing money at people will just shut them up. Are they REALLY practicing sound quality control? I'm not an alarmist, but gosh...we really do rely a little too much on other people for safe products. 

Another great example I can give you happened this week. We only recently were able to drink the water here in our well. Before it wasn't in good shape and now it's testing fine. So before now, we had to purchase our water. To make life easier, we'd invested about $100 towards a counter top water dispenser. A few months after purchase, it leaked, so we had to fight Amazon to get a replacement because it was one or two days past their 3-month return period. 

We were drinking that - yuck!

Now, a year later, the tubes feeding the water from the jug started to deteriorate, causing little bits of plastic to float in the drinking water. Amazon wouldn't do anything so I actually wrote to the company asking them to look into the quality control of the plastic tubing in their water dispensers. I wrote a very thoughtful email, including photos of the deteriorating tubes, the plastic "floaties" and a description of our disappointment in the product. I honestly wasn't expecting much and didn't ask for anything either. This was their reply:

"Hello,

Your order for replacement unit is being processed. Please allow 5-7 business days for delivery.

Thank you"

No standard "we are sorry"...no "Dear Ms. Frances"...not even the name of a representative after the "Thank you" - just a "signature" of the company. Really? Are companies so used to complaints about their crappy items that they can't even bother to personalize a response anymore? And you're sending me an entirely new unit? How is this really going to change the quality of the item that will likely deteriorate in another year's time?

I have to tell you my friends, I feel weird about this. They are simply sending me a new unit that I didn't even ask for...to shut me up again? Of course beggars can't be choosers and I always appreciate replacement items and coupons, but this trend is bothersome.

It's almost like it gives the companies a free pass to sell crap because of their "very generous" return policies. 

As a Pagan, I try my best to be gentle with the Earth. I try to re-use, recycle, re-vamp or go without as much as possible. I try not to use non-biodegradable items. I'm not perfect by any stretch. But the continuous replacement of crappily made products...how is this honouring Nature and the environment? It bothered me to the point where I replied asking them NOT to send me a new unit. But I didn't get any response so I have no idea if it's been sent or not.

Anyway, that was bothering me and I needed to vent about it!! Any thoughts?

PS: I've noticed the "Followers" gadget isn't showing up at all on any of my blogs anymore, same with you guys?

Friday, November 23, 2018

Busy As A Beaver


November's Full Beaver Moon is in the sky! Do you feel that energy? I do! Alex and I did our monthly shopping yesterday and driving back, the full moon lit our way home. I felt like the moon was guiding us back to safety and comfort! :)

This has been a very busy week for us. We are trying so hard to be frugal, to save money and to use the car less than 10 times until the spring, so there is a lot of planning to do when it comes to the monthly grocery shopping. But...it's done for this month!

Rain and Alex (not actual photo)
This is how we feel today lol...I don't think I will ever get used to a bustling society ever again. We've become quiet homebodies over the years...hermits really. We get physically and emotionally exhausted when we're around crowds now. I'm happy to be home in the mountains, quietly listening to the dogs snoring! Did you know that beavers mate for life? :) I think I do too lol...

If you need a little inspiration this month, take your cue from the beaver who is hard working and determined to build his home through hard work. Sink your teeth into whatever project you've started, be flexible but don't give up!

Build yourself a firm foundation, but if it's not working, walk away and re-invent. Then remember to rest up after all of your hard work!


How about a little snow magick? Make some ice lanterns and light them at night. Gaze at them and make wishes! I make these lanterns every winter. All you do is fill some balloons with water and let them sit out and freeze. Usually I will chip away a little bit so the candles rest on the inside of the ice lanterns but today we didn't have any wind, so I set the candles on top. :)

Snowball magick: If I have any worries, I grab some snow and roll it up into a ball, imagining my worries are being absorbed by the snow, then throw that snow ball of worries away as far as I can!


Building a snowman is fun too. Ancient Pagans used to build snowmen and charge them to protect their homes from intruders or enemies. Not a bad idea! :) I'm still working on learning this digital painting program. I'm having fun with it! Are you trying something new lately?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

What Do You Want?


Is there something that you've always wanted to do but you haven't for one reason or another? Is there a way of life you want to live, but for some reason, you've chosen not to?

I've always wanted to travel across Canada in an RV. Not a big expensive RV, but I thought about buying a beat up van and restoring it into a wee little living space for myself and whichever dog(s) was with me at that time.

I really was THIS close in the spring of 2010!! But my older pug Winston developed very severe dementia and I couldn't put him through that constant change. So I decided to shelve that dream for a few years. In 2013, when I found my relationship, the dream got lost in the shuffle as I changed my life.

What about you? Is there a reason why you are not fulfilling a dream you've always had? Is it lack of money? Lack of motivation? Lack of skills? Is something stopping you from being YOURSELF?

Is it lack of support from someone you love; or is it that someone seems to be holding you back? Are you holding yourself back?

Deep thoughts! :)


Since I was very young, I never related to the Catholic upbringing in my family. Mainly because the way they practiced it was based on anger and fear. I was going to hell every day for some reason or another.

I remember at the age of fourteen, walking by a Buddhist temple in China Town, in Old Montreal. I was intrigued by the outside of the building. I just sat out there for a while as I saw people coming and going. I braved getting a little closer and even walking in. There was a meditation in progress and a light bulb went on over my head! There WERE other options!

During my teenage years, I secretly researched every type of religion and spirituality that my local library had books about. These were pre-internet days! Later on, I even took a few courses on World Religion at Concordia University in Montreal. Paganism always appealed to me because I was so nature-based in my thinking, even at a young age.

I was confused for too many years and at some point, decided I didn't believe in anything. But then when the internet became readily available, I learned how to use it and started to research more about Paganism, especially Kitchen Witchery and Cottage Witchery.

Everything made so much sense to me. All of the spirituality revolved around Nature and the Universe, the garden and the harvest. I did more research about all Nature-based religions and spirituality. I looked up ideas about Celtic Paganism and my ancestry. I felt really at home with these concepts and they made me feel safe and whole. I had faith for the first time in my life!


It took me a long time to "come out of the broom closet" so to speak - to admit publicly that I have different spiritual beliefs than a lot of people do. When I mentioned my spirituality to my family one day back in the 1990's...I was so ridiculed that I hid myself for another 20 years. I think this is one of the reasons why I didn't want to share my life with anyone, I was afraid I'd be made fun of just for being me.

Even in my relationship now, it took me years to talk openly about Paganism and my beliefs and spirituality. And despite the fact that I'm totally comfortable being myself - I always have a little bit of trepidation that maybe I'll still be made fun of.

We all have our soft spots. I know I'm very emotionally fragile. I will never have a "thick skin". When you've experienced humiliation from people who are supposed to love you, it's not easy to shake off. But I do believe in myself, I do know that what makes me happy is right for me.

I try to live MY best life now; and not let anything or anyone stand in the way of my spiritual lifestyle because I do cherish it very much. We only live once on this Earth, let's make the best of it.

*************
My other blogs:

Rain's Garden 
Latest Post: Painting and Pesto

Rainy Day Cheese Making 
Latest Post:  Wrapping The Cams

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

New Moon Intentions and Cherries


I believe in magic. Not the "I hate society and will seek revenge by conjuring a hurricane" type of nonsense you see in the movies!!  😲

For me, magic is all about intent and action. If I want something to manifest, I need to believe in my intention; then follow it up with action to actually make it happen. 

Of course, I am not too much of a dreamer. I know that I have limits to my intent and actions. I can't change the world, but I can change MY world!

I also believe in projecting my wishes out to the Universe and the law of attraction. If you are a negative, terrible person...you will attract negativity into your life. If you are a positive and happy person, you will attract positivity into your life. It may not happen immediately, but you will see the change when you make it! 

When I was younger, I lived a negative, bitter and unforgiving life and I was miserable. When I shifted my thoughts to positivity and started to live a meaningful life of gratitude, I got all of that back in return. That's not to say that all of my troubles disappeared; but life became so much better, so much so that those troubles and challenges were and are easier to cope with. I have faith that everything will always turn out in the end. I know the Universe has my back! :)

We are entering a New Moon phase of the lunar cycle. The moon is dark and quiet and her energy is weak - recovering from the immense energy of the past full moon. Now is a great time to set intentions and start the magical process of making your wishes come true. What you project out to the Universe right now sets your intentions into motion. As the moon strengthens over the next four weeks, her energy gets stronger and stronger...so keep those intentions in mind as you take action to manifest your dreams, goals or intentions.


I came up with a general charm for this time of the month because I believe in symbolic acts and rituals to make the intention stronger.

Cherries represent love and happiness. The New Moon's element is Earth. So this charm involves cherries and the Earth. When it comes down to it, all I want in life is love and happiness, so tonight I took a few cherries out to the yard and held them in my hands in the darkness of the New Moon. I voiced my intentions out loud as I buried the cherries into the Earth. I had to get through a little snow first though! :)  

I then sprinkled a little cinnamon on top for protection. There is a spot in my garden that gets full moonlight and that's where I did my little charm. That way when I look out my window, that part of the garden will be moonlit and I'll remember my intention and work earnestly towards achieving it.

My photo didn't turn out, this is a photo from the cookbook!

I also decided to do some kitchen magic! :) I made Cherry Cheese Blintzes with the Absinthe cherries that Alex and I aged in the summer of 2017. The filling is a mix of cream cheese, Ricotta and those delicious cherries among other things! They melt in your mouth!! As I made our supper, I had my mind on my intention. 

It's very easy to wish for something...but unless you have great luck, you need to take action to make that wish come true. These little charms I do help me to keep the intentions in focus. And it's fun. :)

If you're looking for a fresh start or to start/restart a project, now is the time to do it! Try taking some time every night to gaze up at the sky and feed off the energy and beauty of the Moon!

Monday, November 5, 2018

A Little Positive Post

Sometimes you just hear something you need to share. :)

Whenever I do my cardio workout on my little mini trampoline, I listen to music to help me keep a good tempo. One of the songs I was listening to this morning was called "The Middle" by a band called Jimmy Eat World.

I got this burst of happiness when I heard it...like an all-encompassing hug! I wanted to share a few verses with you, I hope you feel this gives you a little pat on the back!!  :))


I've met many a "bitter heart" in my life. It seems like their main goal is to bring you down to their level of misery!!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Falling Back


Okay, I'd like to say something positive about Daylight Savings Time...I got an extra hour of much needed sleep today and that's all I'm going to say!!! :)

I have many goals for the coming year. Some are big and some are small. I have a journal of monthly goals and projects that I keep. For the last ten months or so, I've forgotten about a few of them because I convinced myself that I found them too difficult. I'm disappointed in myself because they are goals I really WANTED to achieve. I gave up because other stressors in my life lead me to believe they were too difficult.

But all disappointment aside, today, instead of beating myself up by saying that I failed, I was weak, I was lazy, I gave up etc....I think of it more like I put those things on hold while I was able to get my emotional health back into a good state. Sometimes there's a curve along the road and we have to follow it to get back to the main path! We can stay in that curve or we can push ahead and walk the walk. My "curve" is now behind me and I'm on track for those "forgotten" goals and projects again.

One thing I really wanted to do was develop a solid daily yoga practice. I do a lot of yoga, but it's sporadic. Sometimes I'll do it daily for a week and then find some excuse or another not to take the time. But when I do yoga, I FEEL good. Again, why do I resist doing something that makes me feel good??? Because some mornings I just think it's too hard to get going I guess. That's what I need to leave behind...that FALSE belief that taking half an hour or so out my daily routine is just too difficult. It's not. I have to switch that bad habit with a new one - a new way of thinking that it's not too difficult. It's just that I'm groggy and tired when I wake up but that as soon as I start the routine, I'll instantly feel energy and peace.

Have you done this? Have you put certain projects and goals on the permanent back burner because your mind has convinced you it's too hard? Is it really too hard or is that just a mind game playing tricks on your logic and your drive? Do you just need to put it on hold temporarily while you take care of more immediate needs? Or are your priorities skewed? 

Are you afraid of something? Is fear stopping you from moving ahead? Remember, you thought about this particular goal or project at some point because you were excited about it, you really wanted to accomplish it! So it's worth making time for, or making an effort for.

Think about a time in your life when you accomplished a project or goal...how good that felt! Try to find that motivation again to get your butt in gear!! 

What is motivating me right now is how nearly a year of stress building up in my body makes me feel like I'm 50 years older than I am. My aches and pains have gotten worse where just a year ago, I was so flexible and to be honest, a few pounds lighter.

A big adventure is on the horizon and I need my body to be in great shape, I need to be flexible and not so fragile. I rejoined my favourite online yoga site today and I have chosen the first yoga routine I will do tomorrow morning. It's a Hatha yoga routine called "Yoga For Burnout". Hatha yoga is a good start for beginners. It's a slower type of yoga, focusing on proper posture and breathing. I have to be careful starting out again because some of those twists and poses can be hard to do and I've hurt myself before when I try to advance too quickly! My friend Dianna said once that yoga can be violent and I agree! But I'll be going at a turtle's pace to make sure I keep going!


For further insight and peace of mind, I drew a card from my Celtic Tree Oracle deck. I drew the Poplar/Aspen card. This is the message the card represents:

"The poplar and aspen trees are hardy, fast growing and strongly resistant. This card offers you the strength to endure any adversity and promise success after your difficulties have ceased."

How reassuring! :)

I'm really looking forward to this journey - even though it may be challenging at first, I know why I want to do it and nothing is too difficult for me when I want to better myself. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Achieving Your Goal


Hello my friends :)

Do you set goals? Are you the type who dreams big or are you a baby step type of person? :)

I used to dream big, but was never able to achieve the goals I set because I never took the proper baby steps to get there. I just wanted things NOW NOW NOW..and when I didn't get them I'd simply give up and pout about how unfair life was. Not quite a recipe for success is it? :) 

Now I do things a lot differently. I'm no longer about the destination, I'm all about the journey.

My biggest goal for the next year is home ownership. Well, let's just say "home ownership" when we all know it'll be me and the bank owning the home until it's paid off lol!!

I have had that goal for so many years. I achieved it back in 2001, but burnout put an end to that when my condo in the mountains was foreclosed. I was too proud to accept unemployment insurance, always doubting the doctors' diagnoses and assuming I wasn't as sick as I really was...I blew through my savings in less than six months. When I finally was accepted for disability income, it was too late. I'd missed several mortgage payments and as we know, banks don't have empathy! I learned a lot from that experience. It was very tough to lose my home, have to move back to a crappy apartment in the city and deal with burnout at the same time.


But I made it through the most difficult time of my life. I survived. I feel like I'm still rebuilding my life. But you know, if all that didn't happen, I wouldn't have met Alex and have the life I have now would I? There is always some kind of silver lining!

I read Tarot cards pretty much every morning. The cards always have a lesson. I call them "poor man's therapy"! My favourite deck is a Fairy Tale Tarot Deck. I wrote the Tarot spread above and I did the reading for myself this morning.


My first card was Goldilocks and the Three Bears. That little girl does NOT belong in the house of the bears! She is basically meeting her immediate needs without considering the potential consequences of her actions. I'd like to think that the cards are telling me I don't belong in THIS cottage lol...that I belong in my own cottage in the woods!!! But more realistically if I look at the fairy tale and the message it sends out, I think it's mostly about considering consequences. Every decision that I make for the next six months will beg the question...does this bring me closer to buying a home? If not...scrap it! :)


How will I achieve this goal? My card was The Elves and the Shoemaker. Hard work will pay off! :)


The third card, what hinders me from achieving my goal...was The Princess and the Pea. The poor girl needs to prove that she is indeed a Princess. This card symbolizes our genuine nature.  I think that the pressure to perform can get to me. This stems from always feeling I need to do something for someone to receive their love and appreciation, I never felt I could just be me. I am trying very hard to shake off the chains of my people pleasing nature and focus on me and my family. I need to stop fearing being that person! I remember during the summer, having a hard time because I'd basically stopped planning and making nice delicious dinners. Alex told me even if I never cooked again, he'd still love me. :)  But my whole life I felt pressure to please people...I do know this stems from childhood, but it's so natural to me now that it needs a lot of work to undo. I don't need to be Martha Stewart for anyone to love me! I just need to be me! It takes a lot of work to re-program what was drilled into us for so many years! :)


The last card asks what I need to let go of to achieve my goal. I drew Beauty and the Beast. The ultimate "transformation" message! I used to self-impose so many restrictions on myself, I was very hard on myself and I was plagued with guilt and anxiety. I have to embrace this transformation of self that I'm going through right now instead of fearing it and resisting it. It's a good change so why fight it? Because that's how I've been all my life? That's no reason not to change!!! :)

See what I mean about the cards?? :) A lot of people think that Tarot readings are all about premonitions and reading the future. I see them mainly as thought provokers and self-improvement!

The next six months are going to be good ones. I'm going to use this winter to make meaningful changes to my own life, habits and attitudes in order to stay on track with the biggest goal I've ever set for myself. What about you?