Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!

Here are my bat and mermaid kitty heading out to trick or treat. It was windy and warm; Rob spotted a frog hopping across the road and Georgia ran and caught it! She was thrilled! You can see its squirmy foot in the photo.

Lily was a bat and as we stepped out of the house a bat was flying over us in the sky; it was such a weirdly warm night.

Rob was a zombie, although his wig started to itch him and give him a headache, so he took it off and looked like a strange mime.
I had my stand-by witch costume and was glad for my
long sleeves when it started to really rain on our way home.

Lots of candy to torture us for weeks to come.

Reiki crystal grid

Here is the Reiki crystal grid I finally put together today.

The level three Reiki class I attended a couple weeks ago gave us information on setting it up.
The symbol underneath the crystals is an antahkarana, which is an ancient symbol that is said to focus energy and stimulate healing.

It is a lovely sight on my windowsill; hopfully the children won't flip the whole thing over.

There are 6 clear quarts crystals facing the center stone which is a quartz stone called and Isis crystal. Silver Moon Adornments in Brattleboro sells crystals and feng shui items. The woman who owns the store is very kind and welcoming; she has an elderly beagle there named Buddy who amuses the children while I admire the stones, crystals, candles and jewelry.

She told me about the Isis crystal and I looked it up on-line when I got home. It is a crystal that puts you in touch with the Goddess and feminine power. Sounds good.

The grid will allow me to send Reiki continuously, which is exciting. I love sending distant Reiki to the kids when they are at school, Rob is at a bike race or a to varying people in need. It can be hard to get to everybody and I often feel spaced out after I send it; it can be hard to then get back to work or clean the kitchen and make dinner.

This will allow me to send it non-stop if I do a re-charging of the grid everyday.
I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Video capabilities

Georgia's school had a Halloween party on Friday at 8:30am. It seemed like a good idea until I was falling to sleep late on Thursday, secretly hoping the girls would forget (8:30am is early!)
Of course they were up at 7am getting their costumes on and pouncing on me in bed. Off we went and lucky we did, because my friend was there who has the same camera (Her savvy friend who works at Google recommended it to her as a decent entry level camera and I decided to skip research and just trust the stranger.) I have liked my camera once I read the manual, but I guess I didn't read it too closely because I didn't know it had video. Today my friend showed me the button and I got a clip of Georgia trying to eat a bagel off a string.
I have been pining for a digital video camera because our camcorder is ancient.
It is a thrilling development.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's only as hard as you make it.

Was a quote about weight loss that I read in an email from "Our lady of Weight Loss"

and I realized with horror that it was true!
And not just about weight loss and fitness but about everything.
So much of my suffering is just ME making things difficult.
I keep thinking of this quote when I feel burdened about something.
What is really the problem and what have I just created?


Here's last week's Free Will Astrology that really got me thinking about money.
"The average middle class person alive today has more goodies than the kings and queens of times past. In fact, even during this time of economic retrenchment, most of us have a higher standard of living than 99 percent of all the humans who've ever walked the planet. In pointing this out, I don't mean to discount the suffering of those who've lost their jobs and homes. But I think it's helpful to keep our collective deprivations in perspective. Similarly, I like to remember that no matter how much our personal trials may test us, they are more bearable than, say, the tribulations of the generation that lived through the Great Depression and World War II. Keep this in mind, Sagittarius. As you wander in the limbo between the end of one chapter of your life story and the beginning of the next chapter, it'll really help to stay conscious of how blessed you are. Halloween costume suggestion: a saint tending to the needs of the dispossessed and underprivileged."

Our second car loan will be paid off in a couple months and I have been planning on snowballing that extra money with the just-paid-of- student-loan money (finally!) to get out of debt. I was getting greedy and wanting a bigger house and more room for my stuff, but then I remembered I'd rather have more time, less debt and less stuff.

Here's to paying down credit cards and keeping cars forever!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why I don't go to the gym..

It's so damn ugly!
It is an enormous room with really high ceilings littered with pipes.
I feel lost and overwhelmed.
The TVs are on football or terrible news channels.
Music is really loud.

OK, OK enough griping, I know.
I had 20 minutes to run in and do some weights before work today and I didn't!
I sat in the car and spaced out instead.
It seemed like getting to the parking lot had some virtue; next time through the door!
It's a good thing it's only $9.95 a month.
I'll try again next week...


from a lovely patient at work who didn't speak much English.
There was lots of nodding and smiling and hugging when she handed these over. Part of what is draining about my job as a nurse is the need to be open in vast range of potentially painful and difficult experiences. But that is what makes it so deeply satisfying when it works and I make a sweet connection.

These smell like cinnamon and jasmine; I could eat them up.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Farm pick up

Went to Picadilly Farm for our pick-up today. A killing frost two weeks ago really changed the terrain.
No more flowers.

The sweet Italian peppers were gathered in the barn waiting to be send to their respective drop-off sites.

Lily pulled up a chunky carrot from the soft soil.

The rooster was cock-a-doodle-dooing the entire time. Such a pleasing sound, deeply ingrained as satisfying in the agrarian recess of my brain. It makes me feels calm and happy (but probably wouldn't if I was sleeping!) The rooster's comb glowed in the afternoon's setting sun. It's dark so early now!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Zipline adventure

Canceled due to 60mph winds on top of the Mountain.
It was 38 degrees and raining so it would have been quite a trial.
But I was feeling ready for an adventure.
We six potentially very brave ladies had a lovely time talking, eating and laughing at a cozy condo.
The power went out and we all kept talking until it started to get dark.
Yikes! Then candles and fire were lit, flashlights were found and we made out way to the hotel

where they had generator power.

We had dinner and I drank coffee to prepare for a three hour night ride home.

There was a fire alarm at 10pm as we left the hotel, people in Halloween costumes poured into the lobby.
It felt like we were on a strange Titanic.

As we drove away into the pitch black night, power still out for the entire region, we looked back and the hotel looked like a huge bright ship in a dark ocean.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Buttternut Squash

What a gorgeous vegetable!
That color!
That marvelous meat inside, smooth and firm!

Nobody loved my leek and butternut soup, but damnit! I love slicing the heavy squash in half like an orange geode.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Reiki Training

Had a wonderful weekend at the hospital getting some new tools for my Reiki practice. It was sort of surreal to be at my hospital meditating and talking about crystals in an abandoned empty unit. The hospital has a program to teach Reiki and provide it to patients, but I got my earlier training years ago in a quiet farmhouse with Libby Barnett

This weekend we were taught how to do psychic surgery and make a crystal grids that continuously send Reiki. I must admit I was unsure about the psychic surgery. We were all a bit nervous and our teachers told us they themselves had laughed hysterically the first time they did it. So, with that relaxed and curious attitude; I told my fellow student about my back pain; gave it a color, shape and sound and described those characteristics to her. Then she pulled it out of me using a technique that made us giggle. I "knew" it wouldn't work (my disk is herniated and the vague burning pain has become my norm.) But when she was done, my pain was gone! I was amazed. I heard other people in the room exclaiming about shifts they felt in their bodies.
I can't wait to try things out and learn more.
I want to set up my crystal grid, but I have to find a place where the children won't knock it onto the floor within 20 minutes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Here's my Lily being a Cuckoo.
The other day she told me the four jobs she wants when she grows up and I figured I'd better write them down.

They are:

Scuba Diver

Sounds like a nice combination!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Chicken Coop

has appeared in our yard!
(Actually it took planning, a borrowed truck and a large group of kids and grown-ups pushing this huge lovely coop up a ramp and into our friend's truck.) Luckily it rolled down the ramp off the truck easily because there were only three of us to get it off the truck.
The coop was homemade by my friend Carrie, her husband Tom and their kids. .

Carrie and Tom passed it onto us after their grumpy neighbor forbade anymore chickens from entering his yard.
I'm sad for their loss, but so excited to get chickens in the spring.

Apparently I am not alone. I just read a delightful article by Susan Orlean in The New Yorker The It Bird about the dramatic increase in backyard chickens.
Rob brought the magazine home to me from the gym with trepidation. He admitted, "I think you'll like this article, but she brings her chicken to the vet and I don't want you to get any ideas. Chickens don't go to the vet." He waited for me to agree, but we clearly have some thinking to do, which is why I'm glad to have the winter to learn about the birds and figure out are we farmers or are we pet owners.? Do we make soup of them in the winter when their egg-laying slows or do we give them cozy fluffy beds with warming lamps?
I'll keep you posted.

I couldn't get the full article on-line but there was a sweet video of Ms. Orlean with her chickens.

There was another chicken article in the NY times about Jan Brett the illustrator and her chickens. The image that stuck with me was "At night, when the chickens are sleepy, she’ll let one sit on her shoulder while she paints."

How pleasing is that?


This morning it snowed.
The flakes were white falling from the sky but as soon as they landed they melted into cold drops of water.
Here is my New Dawn rose still blooming as snow melts on its pink petals.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Literary Mama!

Good news! My essay "Third Baby" just got published on-line at Literary Mama

The ladies there were so friendly, supportive and responsive. It was a great experience working with them. I hope to do it again soon.
Hope you like the essay!

First fire of the season!

We were glad to get home Sunday night and make our first fire in the woodstove.
I forgot how HOT the house gets and how delicious it is to sit by the stove and read books before bed.

Even though there is no food, messy bags cover the floors and there is a rat cage to clean(stinky!!)

it's still nice to come home.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


We saw these fish at the Botanic gardens Sunday afternoon before heading home.

A story from bedtime Friday night:
Everyone was worked up and anxious, sleeping in a new place. Would we be able to sleep? Would we be able to find the race in the morning?
It was 9pm and I was worried the girls would never go to sleep. Lily was pouting, lying on the bedspread on the floor, insulted because she had been accused of kicking in her sleep (she does) and feeling sad. Georgia was squirming next to me.

I tried to pull it together and do some Reiki. I decided to send healing and calming energy to the entire room. I used the symbols and then visualized snow falling gently from the ceiling all over the room- not cold- just peaceful quiet snow. Something new and sort of concrete for my tired brain.
Then Lily was wiggling onto the bottom of the bed, bouncing it while Georgia was just starting to quiet.
I settled them again.
Rob was lying there (with his C-pap machine for his sleep apnea droning rhythmically) already half asleep.
I lay back down and went back to imagining the snow drifting down, sweet and silent.
Georgia was getting sleepy. Lily finally beside me.

Georgia then rolled over and asked (out of nowhere- I hadn't said a word about my visualization or snow or cold or any such thing)

"Mama. How do you spell snow?"
I was shocked!
I spelled it for her and before I could think too much about it, we all slipped quietly into sleep.

Weekend in Rhode Island

Rob had a weekend of races so we packed up and the family stayed at Motel 6 in Warwick Rhode Island. We got hideously lost with our mapquest directions on Friday night then got stuck rush hour in traffic through Worcester, but we made it to our highway hotel room where the girls were suprisingly impressed by our cheap hotel digs. "A shower!! Towels!!! A TV and Two Beds!! An Ice Machine in the lobby!!"

Here's Lily checking out the phone and inadvertently talking to the guy at the desk telling her to come pick up our hurriedly packed toiletry/grocery bag we'd left in the lobby.

Rob looking pretty happy after his first race of the weekend!
He's in the middle of the pack now throughout the races, which is an enormous improvement from last year (not that I care; I just want him to survive intact!)

Thanks goodness the forcast was wrong and it didn't rain.
It was sunny and 65 degrees.
Here's Georgia getting chased by Rob and Lily while we wait for the next race to start.

So much for the Primal diet. We ate at Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds and the Food Court at the mall. I felt yucky after my mall Chinese food, but couldn't resist.

There was a Carousel at Roger William's Park so we gave that a try. Lily loved it and moved from her static sea monster to a moving horse mid-ride. I was impressed. Georgia didn't want me to let go of her and had no intention of getting aboard that thing more than once.

It was really beautiful. I loved the white rabbit, the giraffe and the horses moving smoothly up and down with the crazy music.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Chicken hat

Georgia's hair was wet this morning so I told her to grab a hat to wear to the puppet show. She pulled this hat from an old chicken costume of Lily's out of the box and was elated.
She wore it proudly.

Crow Lady Herbals

I am letting my inner herbalist a bit out of the bag and making some holiday presents. I worked on dream pillows at my mother's sewing machine and ironng board this weekend. Amazingly I have connected with this wonderful graphic designer through blogging and she is designing a "Crow Lady Herbals" label for me!
I am so excited!
She'll be sending me some ideas soon..

The dream pillows will contain hops from my garden but I'm going to order the rest of the herb ingredients from:
Mountain Rose Herbs

I just got paid today so I might do it now.

here's what I'm ordering
Lavender flowers

Orris root (a fixative)


Rose Petals

Jasmine and

Lemon Verbena.

I'm also making some therapy pillow to warm in the microwave so I'll buy some flax seeds, too.

I want to buy glycerine to make rose petal and lemon balm tinctures for kids but I missed my chance to pluck the fresh leaves and petals. Next year I'll harvest all my weedy plants.

I do have plenty of St John'swort oil so I'm going to make some salves mixing it with beeswax, coconut oil, and some nice essential oils.
I've picked out some pretty blue bottles from the web

Oh I get so excited.

I can't wait to see my labels, too.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My seven year old self

I went home looking for a bit of my 7 year old self. I really can't remember much. Someone asked me what I was like and what I liked to do and I wasn't really sure.
Now that my Lily is 7 it seems important for me to dig around for my younger self.

Here's some things I found..

I loved this quilt backing on my bedspread. My great grandmother made it. I would make a fort with my knees and tuck the blanket under my head in the morning when the sun shone in. The colors were jeweled and glowed like candy. I loved the reindeer and the bright colors.

I read alot, many of the photos I have of me I was reading. I found some of the books I enjoyed, read again and again.

I know I loved my guinea pigs and stuffed animals. Neither of them are around anymore. I gave the remaining guinea pigs away as a teenager, how sad! Some of my stuffed animals were quarantined in a black plastic trash bag for 2 weeks when I got lice in grade school and were never heard from again. There was a big tiger from Disney World and when I think of it I can still muster up the thrill of bringing it home on the plane.

These ribbons amused me while my mother was in the basement sewing. I remember being enthralled by the patterns and its tangled opposite on the other side. They were always too precious to put on anything transient, like clothes. They still hang there on the lamp near the machine.

The field was where I would go exploring. I loved to be out there and I really was drawn to birds. I always said I was going to be an ornithologist. I wanted to love, study and be an expert on birds. I stood out in the snow trying to get the hungry chickadees to eat from my mittened hand like they did in my Ranger Rick magazine. I was furious when they didn't.

Part of what I love about Reiki, the hands-on and energy healing/prayer vehicle I use as an adult, is that you can send loving healing energy to anywhere in time and space. So, I have been visualizing sitting in the bed beside buck-toothed and awkward me, getting to know her and sending her Reiki and lots of compassion. I think I really despised alot about myself back then and that's why I don't remember much. I know my family loved me, but what I remember is feeling uncomfortable and self conscious about my teeth that stuck out funny and my knobby knees. It breaks my heart now to see I could have felt sad about such foolish things, felt lonely in a world filled with so much love. So when I sit with little me I send her love and imagine it helps her feel fuller and stronger. It is sweet.
I like to thing of the line from a Hafiz (the 14th century sufi mystic) poem,

"Love kicks the ass of time and space."

And so it does.

Upingill Farm after a fall rain

Georgia and I went to Upingill Farm where we have been buying raw milk in beautiful glass bottles (more on that in another post). The rain had just stopped and there was blue sky and geese above the cornfields.

Everything was drippy and bright.

Georgia was disappointed she didn't find any cats. Her role of Cat Whisperer has been called into question lately because it does seem like all the farm cats flee when they hear her voice.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cyclocross in Gloucester

There's Rob racing in the plastic raincoat on Saturday morning and the spectator girls in their damp pink. Georgia was really cold and wet; Lily's coat is lined with fleece so she fared better.

Rob race this weekend was in Glouchester so we stayed nearby at my parent's. The girls and I were very devoted fans who got there at 8:40am both Saturday and Sunday to see Rob ride a big muddy course in 3-4 loops in 40 minutes. We shook cowbells and blew horns. I generally feel very nervous he's going to wipe out on some muddy pass (which does happen to riders alot in these races!) and get a concussion, but I try to be supportive and not wince or look overly frightened.

There's him and his bike after the race.

Here he's dried off and hydrated holding Georgia. My parents and their dog Lefty are in the backgroud.