Thursday, January 27, 2011

To Do List for a Snow Day

Well, Philadelphia has been hit with 16" of snow and that means a SNOW DAY for me! Hooray!

I happened to start my day off quite pleasantly with three hours of my morning spent talking on the phone with my two sisters and my newly married daughter. How lovely it was to just chat on the phone instead of through text, email or some other electronic medium or network. I haven't done that in quite some time, so even though I am not really a phone person, it was a fun change of pace.

I really do love snowy days and have no objections to winter spreading her white mantle upon the earth, I mean, it is winter after all. If I didn't like the seasons I would be planning my move to the southern states. No, the biggest challenge is to spend my day wisely and not fritter it away online. This has become terribly easy for me during the past few years and I have to say, I don't like it.

What I have decided is the best thing to do, is to compose "To do" lists. I did this the last time I had a snow day and I got quite a bit accomplished including putting up more tinctures and writing on my blog.

So today's list of things to accomplish are:

~Set up the large triangle loom and start shawl
~Finish one of my wrist warmers
~Create my herbal journal for my herbal ally, Lavender.

I will let you know later how that turned out so stay tuned for further updates!

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge

So, I discovered this over at Dancing In a Field of Tansy and decided it would be a great way of really learning and discovering more about herbs and focusing on one in particular.

The steps she has listed so far are as follows:

After reading the first two links she has posted regarding having and finding an herbal ally, it has become a bit hard to choose. There have been several plants that have spoken to me in my life, dandelion, lemon balm, lavender, yarrow and plantain. They seem to be the ones I am most drawn to. But I suppose if I had to choose just one, I would have to go with lavender since I can never resist brushing my hands past a lavender plant when I am going by. There has also been some tremendous emotional moments in my life when it comes to lavender.

I became obsessed with the scent of Lavender when I lived in Maryland and discovered Crabtree and Evelyn had wonderfully scented lavender soaps. Soon after, I discovered English Lavender and found and bought fragrances that made me swoon. The love affair was sealed as such and I fell completely and utterly in love. I first planted lavender back when I lived in Lancaster and I so dearly loved it. I got the courage to plant it because of one of my favorite scenes in the Jane Austen BBC (2007 with Kate Beckinsale) movie adaptation of Emma where Emma is walking through a courtyard filled with lavender and she is brushing her hands over it. Mr. Knightley is about to arrive and propose and the whole scene made my heart skip a beat I tell you.

(if you want to see the scene click here and wait until 1:48)

When I moved to Philly, I was sad to have to leave my beloved lavender behind but soon bought new plants. I really did not know much about caring for them and they became leggy and woody and so one winter I decided to prune them back. Too late, I discovered my grave mistake. spring came and my lavender did not bud. I looked up all kinds of reasons as to why this might have happened and discovered my folly had cost my lavender its life. As dramatic as this may seem I sobbed as if I had lost my best friend. I was truly heartbroken and could not believe I had been so careless. I promised myself to be more conscious of my herbs in the future and now have several lavender plants growing quite well.

That same year I reaped a lovely bounty of lavender from and obliging neighbor who was quite eager to have her three large bushes trimmed. Let me tell you that was quite a joyous time for me!
Whenever I want to gift something to friend I often snip some lavender and wrap it in ribbon to bless them and just this past year, my dear friend Angelique gifted me with yet another lavender plant. I imagine myself sometimes being Miss Rumphius, the Lupine lady, but with lavender planting it every where I go.

Well, after all this writing I have done I am quite settled that my ally for this year will be lavender. I will be posting all that I discover and learn about Lady Lavender. I will be creating a journal to record my discoveries and musings in. I will do my research and record my findings. I will write about her, poetry and prose. I will create with her, edible, medicinal and decorative goodies. Most of all though I will let her teach me all that she can and find how this gentle, small yet stately plant speaks into my life.

You are welcome to come along with me on my journey or better yet find your own and share your adventure with me!

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Free Printable Owl Calendar

I found this lovely link via Dancing in a Field of Tansy, so cute! Being a lover of raptors and owls in particular of late, I was delighted to stumble upon this. I am sure you will be too!

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snowy Day Wanderings

Today I woke to snowy shabbat. By nine o'clock the snow was falling consistently and had beautifully cloaked the city in a white mantle. By 9:30 am I began to get restless and started to debate whether or not a walk in the snow would be helpful. The child that I can be and who loves to play convinced me that it would be criminal to not avail myself of this winter wonderland and I quickly got dressed for the occasion. Once I had assured myself I would not freeze to death I began my trek. I stood outside on the patio for a few minutes taking it all in. It was cold and the snow felt lovely as it fell on me. I was amazed at how very quiet it was, very few cars out and about on this snowy morning, it all felt so surreal. Not even the juncos I had noticed earlier in the bush in front of my home were tittering about.

I started my walk not exactly sure where I was going then quickly deciding I desperately needed to see the woods on a snowy day. It occurred to me that I have never been there in winter and so off I went. The one mile walk seemed so much longer in the snow but I enjoyed every minute of it. The sound of the snow crunching under my boots made me smile and the silent city soothed my mind.

When I finally arrived at the Park I stopped myself. I wanted to really take it all in, soak up the seaonal change and observe all I could. Immediately I heard the titters and chips of birds. I looked up to try and spu them all out. I spotted cardinals, and black capped chickadees busily hopping from brancn to branch. Then I began to hear the tap, tap, tap of what I recongnized as some kind of woddpecker searching for food. I looked in the distance searching in vain for the wood pecker. Suddenly a sentence from the latest Charles deLint novel popped into my head that went something like "folks are always looking down when a whole world is happening right above them". Inspired by that thought I simply truened my eyes to right above me and, as if by magic, I saw the lovely red bellied woodpecker. It was hopping and pecking away at the tree in from of me. Then suddendly I was rewarded further by seeing several red headed woodpeckers! That was really a thrill for me and I was tremendously happy that I had ventured out into the snow.
Photo from

I decided to continue with my walk and observed the creek still flowing slowly and frozen a bit in parts. I meditated on the ice and the water flowing freely beneath it. How often my own heart has felt this way. I leaned on a nearby tree and in fact embraced it to keep me stable on the snow. As I stood there I began to feel a sense of love, deep love that seemed to warm me from the inside out. Can't really explain it, other than that is simply what I felt.

I took my leave of my new friend tree and walked deeper into the woods. Following the creek I felt so alone and at peace with the woods. I found a place to stand and look and tried to take in every aspect of the woods I could. I had never been there in the winter so the experience was so new and wondrous to me. The silent beauty evoked the same emotions that I feel when I am in Maine. That surprised me a bit, as I was certain I would never feel that way outside of Tsfat or the cabin in Maine. I found another accommodating tree and found myself hugging this one too. Only this time I *felt* the tree and *knew* it. I breathed in the green smell of it's bark and what I had always know logically became heart knowledge. I felt deep love yet once again. The tree was ALIVE! In spite of the snow covered branches, the absence of leaves and the emptiness of the woods, the tree, all of them were very much alive. The woods were sleeping beneath the blanket of snow and this was simply a season. Spring would sooner than I realize make her return and the trees would wake up again.

A season, just like the seasons of my own life. Tears began to fall and prayers began to well up in my heart. I cried out to the Universe, to the Holy One and felt my prayers were being heard. It had been awhile since I felt so free and close to the Divine. It was a blessing indeed!

I found a nearby bench and sat for bit watching the snow fall and thinking to myself. Suddenly the desire to make a snow angel came over me. Silly, I know, and as I debated the wisdom of doing such, I finally gave into my childlike desire and plopped myself in a nearby snow bank. I laughed inwardly and swished my arms and legs back and forth to create my angel. Finally I carefully rose up and admired my creation. Brushing the snow off my coat and clothing, I laughed and tears of joy came again! In the distance I heard children playing and I knew it was time to go home. My heart filled with gratitude I made my way out through the snow and out of the woods.

It is my plan to continue.

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" ~Kohelet Ch.3 v1

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Monday, January 3, 2011

The Leaky B@@b: A Fairytale

Here is a link from The Leaky Book Blogsite telling her story. After you read it and if you are on facebook, go like the new support page.

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Another Word on Feeding Nurslings in Public

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Facebook and Twisted Sensitivities

This morning I read this article which states that four nursing students, who posted pictures on Facebook of a human placenta, have been kicked out of nursing school.

I then learned that Facebook deleted the page titled: "The Leaky B@@b" as it was considered offensive.
Uh, yeah. This coming from a Social Network that has a plethora of hate groups and pages devoted to prejudice. (obviously not devoting a link to any of them)

They have time and time again removed nursing babies photos, birth and placenta pictures but that wide array of drunken ass photos, not too worry, they are still proudly up.

Apparently stupidity and ignorance is not deemed offensive.

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File Under: Strange but True Labrador Adventures

This morning I was making my healthy low calorie breakfast, (why yes, I am on the eat well/lose weight New Year's bandwagon) and getting quite excited about it! New year, new beginning blah, blah, blah. I was even planning to enjoy a bagel because I have decided to stop demonizing carbs and simply learn to eat like a person and not two. So, there I was happily cooking away when suddenly from the back room I hear my daughter cry out, "Oh my g*d!" I leave my stove top and quickly run over to the hall where I ask her what happened.

Daughter: "The Dog!"
Me: "What?!"
Daughter: "The Dog got into the fridge and ate the bagels."
Me: "WHAT?!?!"
Daughter:"He got into the fridge and ATE the bagels!"

I simply cannot believe it! Even as she is bringing me the empty bagel package I still can't believe it. Ah, but there is indeed the rub, because you see I should have believed it. We had recently just began to store the bagels in the fridge because my clever pooch had figured out a way to open the bread box drawer (don't ask me how) and steal them from there!

I took the empty offending package and stuck in my dog's face demanding, "WHY?!?!"

He just looked and me apologetically, as if he had really done me some kind of favor, all sad eyed and sweet and I gave up trying to understand.

So here are my options:

1. Try sticking the bagels on TOP of the fridge and see if that works. Unless of course the Cat is in cahoots with the Dog, which in that case it's hopeless.

2. Give up on carbs completely because they are actually demonic delicacies that will only continue to ravage and ruin my body.

3. Eat bagels out.

4. Install hidden video cameras.

My stealthy ninja dog. Don't let that grey haired face fool you. This Old Man apparently still has some tricks up his sleeve er...paw.

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