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I've been on a diet of late, trusting that I will lose the extra pounds that crept on over this past winter. It's pretty clear that my weight increases when I don't exercise, especially now that I'm in my 50's. Thanks to Chris, I eat healthy foods that are delicious since he's the main cook in the kitchen...and an excellent cook, at that! But now the weight has got to come off. To do so is healthier for me overall and economically smart because soon I will be able to fit into all my clothes again. BTW, my diet-of-choice is to count Weight Watcher points. I don't go to any WW meetings or anything. I just rely on my own 'usually' strong will to stick to the plan.
Whenever I diet I often ponder food in general. Chris and I have been talking about some of the foods that I like to indulge in at least once in every blue moon or so. They're my childhood comfort foods. He says he doesn't really have 'childhood comfort foods' like I do. He finds it interesting that I do. I find it interesting that he does not, or at least cannot think of any. Childhood comfort foods are the foods that remind me of times past; remind me of people I miss. In the parentheses that follow, I've included the people and/or memories I undoubtedly think of when I eat these foods. Included on this list is: cake, especially with buttercream icing (my Ma); tuna noodle casserole (my Ma); potato salad made with Hellmann's mayonnaise...NEVER imho-yucky Miracle Whip (my Ma); eggs over-easy (my Dad); large California oranges (my Dad); hot cross buns (being raised Catholic); Russell Stover's pink with yellow flower, strawberry cream Easter egg treats (my Dad, Easter); large, shrimp with tangy cocktail sauce (my Dad, New Year's Eve); pickled relish and tiny pickles (Aunt Loraine)...and no doubt there's many more such foods, tho' what I've listed are the biggies in my life.
Often, when I think about or eat these foods, I remember particular incidences. I remember that Ma would let me lick the beaters and use a spoon to scrape the bowl when she'd make icing. In fact, the actual bowl she'd use was mauve-red with speckles, fashioned out of melamine. She had a set of two bowls, one smaller than the other. I so hankered to someday have those bowls, but alas, they either got thrown out or sold in a garage sale by one or the other of my brothers. Funny, but often the things that are most meaningful to me are things that others cannot even fathom being priceless. In any case, I now realize that this was the way Ma tried to show her love and that's what I equate cake with. Cake = love.
I remember my Dad with egg yolk that got stuck to his grizzly whiskers when he happily devoured over-easy eggs. Over-easy eggs = love.
I think of my Dad's fondness for oranges, especially what he termed the really good ones, which usually meant they were huge, expensive, and that we probably couldn't afford them too often. I still cut my oranges in half without peeling, just as Dad did. Oranges = love.
So, it's obvious that certain foods = love for me. Nothing fancy. Nothing outlandish. Nothing unusual. Just the pure pleasure of eating foods that help remind me of people and events, giving me comfort throughout all my years in this body on this planet. What are your favorite childhood comfort foods? Inquiring minds want to know! Thanks!!
Now that I've finished with all my homework and can look forward to simply enjoying the last two sessions at FOTS...graduation/ordination included...I've begun traipsing down the astrology road again. Why astrology, you might ask? Well, it goes back to childhood. My Dad got two papers delivered to our home every day, "The Detroit News" and "The Detroit Free Press." Once in a while Dad would ask if I had read my horoscope for the day. Sometimes I had, and other times I had not. Dad always felt it quite important to do so when it was one's birthday. In fact, even after I was married he would clip out my horoscope on my birthday and save it for me. This became such a ritual, that when I moved away from Michigan, I would ask my Ma to send my clipped birthday horoscope to me. When the internet came into being, I would look up the Detroit News or Detroit Free Press and see what my horoscope had to say on my birthday...as if Detroit was the only place I could get such information...lol! Well, my actions were more sentimental than anything and always made me feel my Dad was a bit closer when I did so.
Despite this rather elementary early view of astrology, I somehow knew that there was MORE to do with it than just funky newspaper horoscopes. Over the years I've read a few books on the subject, and about two or three years ago made a concerted effort to settle in and delve farther. Alas, I was still writing my book, "Spinning Around," at the time and got caught up in all that had to be done to complete that project, so astrology was put on the back burner again. Then I began my wonderful, two-year program of schooling at Fellowships Of The Spirit - FOTS,, in Lily Dale, NY and assignments given to us took precedent over self-study of astrology.
But now is my time to jump right in and finally learn that which I somehow know has been waiting for me, and I it. I must admit I was more than a little worried about how I was going to successfully tackle the math that's involved in astrological study. Yes, nowadays one can get a computer program that whips out the answers to any astrology math problem you feed it. But I want to eventually become a certified astrologer, and all the places one can get such certification require that the astrologer be able to cast a natal chart and more from scratch. Besides, I rather like the challenge of learning such math, despite my math 'disability.' So, I have armed myself with a variety of used books and a few DVDs to help the process of astrology-self-study along...
Here's what I'm reading and working with presently:
I'm reading "Astrology for Dummies," by Rae Orion. I love this book! The author is very knowledgeable, and funny, to boot! It's a great way of easing back into reading about astrology. Having natal charts of folks you know when reading any astrology book is helpful to learn what is being discussed. I got my charts for free from Astrodienst. This is a GREAT site, with all sorts of free stuff, including a daily horoscope that's not just based on your Sun sign (like in the newspapers), but instead on your actual birthdate, time of birth, and place of birth. I did purchase a few years ago their "AstroText Personal Portrait," based on my natal chart...highly recommended and very reasonably priced.
Astrology math-wise I'm working with Terry Lamb's,"Beginning Astrology - Just the Math! - On DVD. This comes with a math workbook, as well. This was just the hand-holding I needed, making learning astrology math rather fun. Also, I purchased a used copy of "Astrology Math Made Easy," by Kevin B. Burk, just in case I had further questions.
Chris, too, was wondering, "Why astrology?" I told him I'm a spiritual counselor and the best way I know to help people is via readings. In fact, my favorite way to serve humanity is to give pyschic mediumship and Tarot readings. I explained that astrology will be yet another tool that will help me to facilitate healing, loving, and compassionate readings.
Perhaps there are readers of this blog who are into astrology. I would love to hear of your favorite books, websites, etc. on the topic. I'll be sure to occasionally post about anything more that is helpful as I continue my self-study. Thanks!
Every now and again I post about my dreams. I've been keeping a journal of my dreams for some time now and find it very enlightening to go back and re-read. It's amazing how the rich symbolism of my recorded dreams have provided helpful insight on many things I consciously ponder. Here's the latest installment of dreams:
6/20/11 (actually occurred whilst in meditation)
In morning meditation all was the same as usual EXCEPT, about three-quarters into the Sutras I found myself sitting at a 6 foot table with Rev. Elaine, one of my teachers at school. It was SO REAL. She was there. She told me all sorts of stuff which while I don't remember everything, I know I absorbed it somewhere in my being. Then she got all excited about the "magical number 9." She cut a metal staple (the kind one would use to staple papers together) and used a pliers to curl it into a spiraled number 9. From there I was brought back to the Sutras. I don't think I was quite ready for her info on 9...OR...it, too, got absorbed. Then I finished the Sutras, as per usual. At the end of the meditation, my guide, Ken, appeared and as we chatted I told him I missed meeting with my Dad, my dogs, and going places with him (Ken) in my meditations. Ken said that was as it should be; that I have progressed. He said that I know full well I can be with Dad and the dogs and any other loved one who has crossed over at any time. Ken said that when I was learning to meditate, Dad and the dogs came through to "keep me interested." Ken also said I can travel around with him whenever I wished. I argued a bit but in the end I knew he was right.
Our sons, David and Alexander, were younger and still living with us. They were diligently learning how to spit. Each was trying to outdo the other by seeing who could spit the farthest.
I was searching for my son, David's, pile of carrots. The dream went on and on and on, and even continued after I had gotten up and gone to the bathroom. The carrots were the small type that one might find in a home garden. I never did find David's pile of carrots.
I went to a party at friend, Maureen's, house. All sorts of people were there, including school mentor, Marie. Marie was growing a beard and mustache that was salt 'n pepper in color. Maureen was in a foul mood, engrossed in something very-non-party-like. I got insulted from something Maureen said or did and left on foot, trudging homeward in the snow. I left this way even though my home was decidedly far away, figuring someone nice would eventually give me a lift.
Chris and I were in New Orleans. We were taking on a job to be gypsies, employed by a small company. But later that day we ran into other people who wanted to pay us for being gypsies. Chris said "yes" to that second offer, as well. When I questioned him, he said the first company never has us sign any final papers. Also, I was dubious about the long, straight, black wig the first company wanted me to wear. I woke up before I found out which company we ended up working for, or not.
All night it seemed I dreamed about my friend, Loraine, in Florida. No details remembered.
Chris and I were watching a large movie screen that was more like an outdoor billboard. On the screen was Richard Nixon, before he became President of the U.S. He had a strange accent and was bobbing back and forth as he spoke. The screen panned to a crowd that was watching Nixon, and the whole crowd bobbed like Nixon was doing, as in fun mockery...like a wave at a stadium. In fact, the crowd looked like it was at a football stadium. Nixon was apologizing for his accent when the camera showed a Christian Orthodox procession of priests on the field, in old-fashioned black garb, all carrying religious icons and objects. The priests were from the same country Nixon was supposedly from - Russia or Eastern Europe. They were Christian but the camera showed documents about Jews. The narrator talked about how the Orthodox priests were in charge of material items, like cars and homes, and how this would make it easier to keep records and track of these items in the U.S. Even tho' this all took place before Nixon had become President, somehow I knew abut the Watergate scandal, etc.
Went back to sleep for an hour in the morning and had this dream: (Only remember the tail-end of the dream). A dog, a Golden Retriever, and a cat were playing in some family member's or friend's backyard, where there was a swing set. They were playfully chasing each other all over the place. Amused, I followed them. They ran to a large sand mound which turned out to be a beach by an ocean. I heard intense crying and looked up. The daughter of a friend was about 12, lying on a wooden bunk bed at the top with my friend's aunt. The aunt had black-ish hair, short and cropped, with short bangs. The aunt was trying to calm down my friend's daughter. The daughter blubbered that it was her mother's birthday and she won't be able to see her. The aunt replied, "There, there, it'll be OK. She (my friend) knows you're thinking of her."
All the things that could seemingly go wrong when teaching a spinning/dyeing class went wrong in this dream. It was held in a large school gymnasium. I forgot all my handspun, knitted pieces for display. I asked another spinning teacher, who was teaching in another room, if she'd take me home to get these pieces on break, but she was evasive and obviously did not want to help me. I found it hard to get control of the class. One student started a dyepot in disgust. I got mad at her and told her to pack up and leave the class. She looked like she was going to cry, turned off the burner, and went back to her seat in the class. Groups of elementary students from the school came into the gym to play basketball around us. I kept trying to get the class to introduce themselves to each other to no avail. There was some kind of sheep and wool fest held throughout the school. I ran into a fellow spinning friend. This friend was talking sternly to another person about it being unsafe to dye fiber in her kitchen. I told the person that my friend was talking to that she might do well to get my book. The two women snidely looked at each other, and my friend picked up her nose as if I was a snob. I told them I ordered three of my books recently and that I would even give one of the books to her. I asked her to at least promise that she would wear a face mask when dying.
I was at an X-Games hill for a type of sliding/sledding, but folks could also go down the hill on a snowboard. David, my oldest son, was about 15 and was with a friend named John, though I had never seen John outside of this dream. I was worried but I knew I had to let David go down the hill, even though I had a fear of heights and speed. A teenage girl helped me maneuver better in the icy conditions and was holding my hand. I did not know her. I had the distinct feeling that I had to let David do this...let David live his life. I worried that John and David would not remember to rent helmets to wear. In the end, David did not have a helmet on, although John did. David stopped mid-way down the hill and the dream ended.
I was in the Bible Belt of Iowa. I was asked to "make better" and "touch up" some paintings that were going to be used in a play. I was to do this work with oil pastels. This worried me somewhat because I wasn't sure if my artistic skills could improve the paintings. In one street scene, it was pointed out by someone that I had painted over all the people, which was not such a good thing. All the paintings seemed very light in color and impressionistic. I took part in the play, using these fixed paintings, and all seemed to come off OK.
Chris and I were living in the building that was Regina High in Harper Woods, Michigan (where I went to high school in the 70's). There were apartments inside the building and we were resident assistants and teachers. The building was being evacuated permanently, and we had to get all our stuff out. It was as if we couldn't work fast enough. Every time we thought we were done there was more stuff, mostly things from our boys' childhood...wooden puzzles, Cabbage Patch dolls, etc. I said that we HAD to get it all because everything was important. As we were working, a Russian troupe of actors/singers/performers came through to entertain us. Children and adults were in the troupe dressed up in old-timey costumes and vaudevillian-like make-up. I woke up as I was listening to their favorite tune/number, all in Russian. Two older members of the troupe danced to the tune, arm in arm. (I was even able to hum the tune to Chris when I woke up. Chris said it sounded like something out of the 60's sitcoms, "F Troupe" or "McHale's Navy." This got me laughing and a little perturbed because what I witnessed in the dream was not a joke.) One new gal to the troupe was not Russian and could only somewhat participate. When asked by the director of the troupe to do more, she said she wasn't ready. I asked if I, too, could join the troupe and the director said, "Yes!"
Chris and I moved to a new location and were living in a small apartment. I decided to go out and check out the town on foot. I came upon a group of gathered women. I tried to befriend some of them and was somewhat successful. A group of these women formed a circle with their chairs and I joined them. A wooden chest was given to me and I opened it to find all sorts of treasures...crystals, beads, and rosaries. A lady near me was watching what I was doing and I told her to take what she liked and she took ALL of the crystals. I thought this rather unfair and greedy of her. This bothered me in the dream from then on. I found a type of "rosary" item from the 13th century. It was ivory and had two figures on it that looked like saints and/or martyrs. A sliding string came from the bottom of each figure with a little bead at the end of the strings. I wasn't sure how to use the piece but I figured it was quite valuable. I went to pocket some rosaries but it was as if they disappeared in front of me. I woke up feeling bad that I was mad/jealous that the other woman had taken all the crystals and acted like nothing was wrong at all.
Chris and I were sleeping and living in a house that's not the house we're living in now. As we slept we heard trucks that were spraying weed killer out in the alley, behind our backyard. Our windows were open and I could feel drops of weed killer on my skin. Horrified, we got up and realized that the weed poison had saturated things in the window...including my stuffed bear, Ronnie, from my childhood and Horace, a Cabbage Patch doll that belonged to our oldest son, David, when he was young. The poison got all over a baby cradle and other things that were in our bedroom. I gathered all the bedding to wash the poison out. This dream morphed into another dream that had me caring for folks who were dying.
It occurred to me that silence can be thought of in many ways, some of which are seemingly opposites of each other. Contradictory. Which reminds me of a fave poem:
"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then
I contradict myself
I am large, I contain multitudes."
~ Walt Whitman
Silence is golden. Silence speaks louder than words. Deafening silence. Blissful silence. Heartbreaking silence. Restful silence. Screaming silence. Etc.
There's a bucketful of proverbs about silence:
"Silence is a fence around wisdom." ~ German Proverb
"Silence is medication for sorrow." ~ Arab Proverb
"To silence another, first be silent yourself." ~ Latin Proverb
"Silence was never written down." ~ Italian Proverb
"We must have reasons for speech but we need none for silence." ~ Proverb
"Silence is also speech." ~ Proverb
"When money speaks, the truth is silent." ~ Russian Proverb
"A silent mouth is sweet to hear." ~ Irish Saying
And a plethora of quotes about silence:
"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content." ~ Helen Keller
"Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment." ~ Henry David Thoreau
"You will find that silence or very gentle words are the most exquisite revenge for insult." ~ Judge Hall
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." ~ Abraham Lincoln
"Silence is one of the great arts of conversation." ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
"The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak." ~ Baruch Spinoza
"Silence is the wit of fools." ~ Anatole France
"Let us be silent, that way we may hear the whispers of the gods." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Some days we just need to turn the quiet up." ~ Dr. SunWolf
"We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls." ~ Mother Teresa
And the beat goes on...
I have personally related to silence in many of the above ways at various times in my life. Meditation is one of my favorite ways to partake in blissful silence. Walking and simply spending time in nature is another.
But looking at silence in a way that's particularly poignant for me right now is the realization that just because I've been invited (even unto being goaded) to argue, debate, or join in on something that will result in nothing short of a negative confrontation does not mean I have to. I can choose to stay silent if that's presently the best route for me. I can even walk away. Kenny Rogers' tune has been ringing in my ears of late: "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run." Learning discernment is one of my many lessons I continue to learn about in this lifetime. Speaking only for myself, sometimes silence truly is the best way to react; the best answer. Silence gives me time to think things over. Silence gives me a chance to decide if silence is the best answer AFTER thinking things over.
I'm an Ordained Spiritualist Minister and graduate of Fellowships of the Spirit, a Spiritualist Church in Lily Dale, NY;
a Certified Metaphysician; a professional Psychic Medium; and an Astrology student. I have spent 30+ years of my life as a handspinner, natural dyer, and knitter - writing and teaching in all three disciplines. I consider myself a lifelong student and enjoy learning techniques that incorporate fabric, beads, embroidery, etc.
Please feel free to contact me either via e-mail or phone: firstname.lastname@example.org 802-368-7217
"Never, says the gamekeeper Hagrid, irritably, "try an' get a straight answer out of a centaur. Ruddy stargazers. Not interested in anythin' closer than the moon." ~ J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
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My Other Blog is: Knots In The Spider's Web It's a blog that focuses in on my continued fiber artist journey. Whatever makes my heart sing at the time will be discussed. That may include micro-macrame, beading, wirework, spinning, dyeing, punch needle embroidery, tatting, crocheting, knitting, Kumihimo...
This not to be missed blog is written by my spiritual teacher and friend, Janice, from Ontario, Canada:
The Healing Room. Please be sure to go back into the archives as true gems of information reside there.