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Archive for April, 2010

Henna party

Last night I painted henna on my friend’s stomach and I did a few doodles on my feet. My feet didn’t turn out particularly fantastic, (I have a hard time getting only a thin line to come out of the henna tube) but the tree I did on my friend Adee – looks pretty good.

(Those are squirrels on either side of the tree – the one on the left has a top hat on – per her request)

It took me around an hour, hour and a half to do the whole design. I think it turned out okay – I mean it could be better, but then again it’s not like I do henna all the time either. I think it would be a lot easier if I used a paint brush instead of trying to get it with the tube. I wonder if that would work as well?

The other reason is the paste we were using was a little watery. The henna paste needs to be nice and thick otherwise it will displace on the skin, making thicker lines. That always seems to be the problem with any sort of henna work I do – the paste is always too thin. (I used pre-mixed paste in a tube for this adventure)

Those are my feet. Again, not terribly exciting, but still nice. My stain didn’t set as dark as I would’ve liked either because I had to wash my feet when I got home so I could go to bed. Ideally the paste would have dried and I would have dabbed a lemon/sugar mix over them to keep the paste moist and let the dye sink in. Usually I leave mine on for about 6 hours or so before I wash it off to get a nice dark stain.

I think I’m going to do a similar lotus on the inside of my right palm this evening. We’ll see.  I think it will be easier to do my hands since they’re a little closer to where I can see well and have good control. (If that makes any sense)

I’m excited about going camping, although Garry was in a rather foul mood this morning. :-/ I just hope he feels better later today.

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I know I’ve been straying from the actual real intent of this blog – to write about cooking and general kitcheny stuff, but I’ve been distracted (for lack of a better word) with just about everything else going on.

I haven’t done much in the realm of cooking fabulous meals lately in order to save some money. We were spending around $300 a month on groceries for 2 people. Yeah, that’s waaaaay too much. So I’m cutting it back a bit and cutting back the amount of frou frou recipes.

But, that doesn’t mean I won’t still post about food or other kitcheny things.

Like this – for instance – a local company around here called 13 Moons has embroidered kitchen towels ON SALE! They come in a variety of colors and designs. http://www.13moons.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=513_523&products_id=9793

They have some other interesting items on their site too, but I love the towels the best. Maybe I’ll start to review some kitcheny items… who knows.

Today/tonight is going to be super busy. I have a meeting here in about 45 minutes, a LOT of filing to do the rest of the day, lunch meeting, drop the car off to Garry, then to the station, home, make the chocolate covered strawberries (I know, you’re jealous!), and do henna painting on my friend Adee.

At some point I’ll need to pack for Beltane. I think when I get home I’ll just throw all the clothes and stuff I need on the bed that I’m packing and then let Garry deal with it while I’m doing henna. Essentially I’m useless once the henna is done (that is, if there’s enough for me to do my hands as well as Adee’s belly).

I also have decided that I’m repainting the living room. I know… but I realized that I don’t want to force the color scheme anymore. Apparently Garry and I aren’t bright aqua room people. We like muted neutral colors and jewel tones. I know, were boring. But, when you have a big brick red couch… well… somehow (to me) aqua just doesn’t “go”. I tried the slip cover thing and it’s just not working for me. I’m thinking a nice tan. (And to be honest, I’ll probably repaint the dining room as well so it feels like one big room) I need to restain my endtables (I FINALLY got my endtable back from my old roommate yesterday!) and I’m still thinking that I want to restain the table/chairs and buffet so everything feels cohesive. The molding needs to be finished as well in the dining room (and bedroom) and frankly, there are a few places where the molding in the living room needs to be redone. I think I’ll do all of this while Garry is visiting his friend AJ in Missouri for a week. It’s something to keep me occupied while he’s gone.

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This week has been full of distractions. Notably so because I’m well aware we’re in a Mercury Retrograde. *Joy!*

With Beltane being only a very few short days away there is a LOT to prepare. Did I mention I’m hosting Crazy Lady Night for the first time ever TWO DAYS after I get home from camping for a long weekend? Yeah, I know, I’m insane.

In the last week I’ve given the keys back to my old apartment and did the walkthrough and to be honest, I’m still a little sad about it. I guess that place, despite that Garry lived with me, was like my autonomy. Now that we formally (names on the mailbox and everything) live together, well, I kind of miss that feeling of autonomy – even if it is only just a tiny bit.

This weekend we went to the camp/ritual site and helped put up tents, prep the area and what not. Garry and a bunch of other guys cut an INSANE amount of firewood (and paid for it – Garry’s back muscles are still not quite right again) which should last us through most of the summer. YAY for being productive.

All of our work was finished by late afternoon which left the rest of the evening to enjoy the company of everyone there. We lit a bonfire and drummed a while until it started raining and everyone with a djembe ran their instruments to their vehicle. Since I play a bodhran (and Ulric and Billy had theirs with them too) the three of us didn’t have to worry so much about the rain (actually the skin of mine needed to be a little damp to sound right) so we contined playing for a little while until it really started to rain then we all went home.

I’m still learning how to play, I mean I can kindofsortof keep a rhythm, but I can’t do anything fancy – like triplets. I’m still trying to figure out that one. Ulric is a fantastic bodhran player and he said that I’d get it in no time. Heh… sure I will!

The last few days have been spent trying to figure out what the heck I’m going to bring for food when we go camping all week. Inevitably there is always something that someone brings that looks *really* tasty and I want to eat it. I rarely bring a lot of food, but this time I’d like to bring some special things to share with everyone.

I have two whole “days” to plan for. Friday night, Saturday during the day and Sunday morning.

Unfortunately we don’t own a cast iron griddle (although I’m thinking that might be a good investment) or anything we can really cook over. Okay, I lied – we have a stick that we can skewer stuff onto and cook it over the fire. The only problem I foresee with this is cooking meat. I always get a little wary about cooking meat over a fire (I know it sounds kind of stupid when I think about it too) because I never know when it’s done in the middle. I originally thought a few chicken breasts would be good with baked potatoes (we usually wrap them in aluminum foil and throw them near the coals of our cooking fire). Here’s what I’m planning for our Beltane camping weekend!

Friday

Dinner: Honey almond chicken sausages with baked potatoes and asparagus bundles w/ sweet white wine

Snack: Fruit dipped in chocolate with cream (to share)

Saturday

Breakfast: Muffins (and some sort of breakfast protien… still working on that)

Lunch: Cold cut sandwiches

Feast: (we’re coping out on this one) Fresh baked bread and rye dip (if I can get a good deal on produce I’ll bring some chocolate dipped fruit for the feast too) 

Sunday:

Breakfast: Same as Saturday. I heart muffins!

So that’s about all we’ll be bringing. There won’t be a lot of time to do snacking or whatever in between. I also have to find someone who can braid hair really well to put mine into plaits for the day on Saturday and bind them with gold cording.

I’ll make sure to bring my camera and take pictures – honest.

Garry is passing his May King crown on and I’ll be honest, he’s a little sad about it. Last night him and two of his guy friends made a set of runes out of river rocks and a dremmel (it was awesome!) and I guess that’s what they’re using to determine the new king. They look really cool and honestly, I think I may end up making a set of runes for him in similar fashion (or maybe woodburning since my skills in that are apparently awesome) for his birthday or for Yule. I could always do something with wirewrapping… hmmm…

Oh and my dress, well I really like the pattern – however because I was distracted while making it I screwed up something majorly and since I can’t find my seam ripper anywhere – there’s no hope in going back and fixing it. So yes, the pattern is definitely a keeper, however I think when I go to make it again I’ll just take my time and do one step at a time and not try too hard to work ahead. Also, a dress form would be helpful. *hint hint*

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At every turn I’m reminded that Beltane is only 1 short week away!

But why the excitement? Well, it’s an odd thing with our community. It’s still so cold up here in early spring, otherwise Ostara would be the “big deal” but with Beltane, with the people in our group, something really interesting happens that I can’t really explain.

My friends Adee and Laurie are running the ritual this year and I’m really looking forward to what they’re putting together and that I’m going to be a part of it.

But in lieu of all of this I’ve been doing some more research. I don’t know why I always pick this time of year in particular, maybe because being out in nature makes me feel like I need to do more in the way of research, but other than that I’m not entirely sure why.

Adee wants me to do a henna design on her stomach next Thursday – a few days before ritual and the day before her ultrasound. (She’s five month’s pregnant) and she’s hoping that if I draw something girlie on her stomach the ultrasound results will tell them it’s a girl (which is what they’re hoping for). We’ll see. Either way, I’m teaching their kid how to play football.

Today is a beautiful sunny day and I’m feeling a little optimistic despite the impending doom of my final walkthrough of my previous apartment. I always get a little nervous with these sort of things because well, I always imagine the absolute worst is going to happen. However, at the absolute worst they won’t give me my security deposit back (because I painted the living room and bedroom – because it DESPERATELY needed a fresh coat of paint and they’re neutral colors – bedroom is white and the living room is tan so… yeah) and frankly I’ve planned for them to keep my deposit – why? Because they’re a big company and well, big companies like that do that sort of thing I’ve come to find out over the years.

But, overall I’ll just deal with it whatever happens. I’ll be happy to just have it done and over with and have that baggage off my back.

I’m trying to decide what kind of food I should bring for Beltane. Some food good to take camping that won’t end up soggy or stale in a cooler (filled with ice) or a backpack. Next week will be the *cue apocolyptic music* cleaning of the closet and packing of the camping supplies. (I would have inserted music myself but for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the song I wanted to use – don’t you hate that!)

So it will be a long and tedious week of cleaning, packing and painting henna. Oh and I have a new sewing project:

I’m making that dress, but in a light peach/pink color. I had some broadcloth just hanging about the house so I figured I’d go ahead and use it. I’m almost done with the bodice and I might be able to finish construction tonight if all goes well. Not sure what embellishments I’ll add to it yet – that will have to wait until I get it fitted properly and make sure that it’s something that I can and will wear in public.

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There is a little store down the street from us that buys broken or unwanted gold and silver jewelry. For the last few weeks I’ve been meaning to go through my jewelry box and get rid of the pieces that I didn’t want anymore (like pieces from ex-boyfriends) and scrape a couple of bucks together.

Normally we’re in pretty good financial shape, but something happened last week that changed all of that.

Garry had two of his friends come in from out of town and I decided to stay with our friends Adee and Jeff because I had just gotten home from Florida and I really didn’t want to deal with having company over.

Adee said that her and Jeff were planning on going to the local Gem and Mineral Show (which most of my friends frequent every year) and I figured that I’d tag along for that too since everyone spoke so highly of it. I wasn’t planning on buying anything (I decided I’m going to desperately try to save some money for a new car) and I made it pretty clear that I wasn’t going to spend a ton of money or any at all.

Well, that was until I took 5 steps into the door…

I came across a booth selling cut gems. And despite being a girl, I’m actually pretty good at being impervious to shiny baubles. Mostly because I don’t really wear a lot of jewelry (save my pearl stud earrings that I wear all the time and occasionally a necklace or bracelet) and secondly because I don’t ever have money to buy said shinies.

But then something caught my eye as I was looking at the trays lined with the glittering gems. It was a sapphire – a gorgeous 1.1 ct, dark blue, trillium cut, sapphire.

I was transfixed in a way that I couldn’t even begin to explain. And for the first time in almost 3 years that voice echoed in my head “That’s the one.”

I stood there, a little faint, and just stared at the stone. It was beautifully unique. Something about it – that particular stone – just drew me to it.

But, knowing that someday in the not-too-distant future that I was going to need a new car, I walked away from the table with a slightly sad look on my face. I figured the rest of the show would be fun and by the time I finished looking at everything I would’ve forgotten about the gorgeous shiny sapphire and my bank account would still be intact.

Every few minutes I’d look back at the table where the sapphire lay, thinking, reasoning with myself…

Another booth had sapphires too, they were smaller, not nearly as nice and a lot less expensive. I looked over them for a good long while (probably an hour) and still, the first one just couldn’t leave my mind, nothing was as beautiful as that one.

Eventually the group of friends I was with made our way back toward the entrance. I crept back over the the table and stared at the gem for a while. The lady saw the look in my eyes and gave me a price for it – hoping that would encourage a sale. It was to the point where I couldn’t make the decision on my own… so I excused myself to the front of the building, went outside, and called Garry.

I explained my dilemma – it was the stone. I asked him if he felt awkward or upset by me purchasing my own stone, but he said that if I was absolutely in love with it – then I should have it because “the heart wants what the heart wants.”

Gleefully I trotted back into the building and stood infront of the booth so happy that I nearly cried. I looked over every stone there, just to make sure, but ultimately that sapphire was mine.

(This is what it looks like – only mine is darker)

The stone set me back a little more than I would normally be comfortable with. I went home and explained to Garry that we’d probably end up eating Ramen the rest of the month, but we weren’t in too terrible shape. He was happy with the stone, but I think he was happier because I was so happy about it.

Normally I’d feel a little guilty about making such a purchase (that’s ultimately for myself) but this time I don’t. I’m not as worried about our budget or anything else for that matter. I’m not even really sure why. Maybe because I am finally getting over the it’s going to be the end of the world mentality when we have to scrape by for a few weeks becuase honestly, we’ve been through a lot worse.

So last night I sat on the bed and untangled all of my necklaces that got knotted and jumbled together in the move. I knew I have a couple of gold pieces that I can sell (a few earrings that the mate has been lost for years, a few broken pieces that don’t have sentimental value enough to get fixed and a few pieces that I received from ex-boyfriends that probably should be gotten rid of) so I sat there untangling, lost in thought over each piece. It wasn’t until after I had untangled about 1 or 2 that I realized each of them had a story. I told Garry about each piece – some were just straightforward “I got this the first time I went to the Ren Faire about 12 years ago” and some were more complicated “Dylan gave me this necklace for xmas – just before we broke up…”

I decided I’d sell the necklace Dylan gave me. I’m doubtful I will get much – it’s 10k white gold with a five small diamonds (which I may see if I can keep to have set in a new piece of jewelry down the road). It was really hard to come to that decision, but I haven’t worn the necklace in years, mostly because I felt guilty every time I wore it. Maybe it’s my way of moving on, of letting the past be the past and focusing on the future.

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Vacation!

My brain still feels like it’s on vacation – no matter how hard I try I can’t manage to really focus on something completely without thinking “Gee, I’d like to be out in the sunshine now…”

But that’s the problem with Florida – I only have 1 friend that lives down there that consistantly gets to enjoy Florida (he’s a musician and plays at local hot spots on Clearwater Beach – yeah it’s such a rough life for him…) everyone else has the same ol’ work, cook, clean… etc. so I imagine it would be rather annoying having the beach and nice weather taunt you like that all the time.

Anyway, Garry and I had a great time while we were down there – and I promised pictures so here are some:

When we got to my parent’s house we were greeted by the dogs:

Becca – She’s 10 and a half. Honestly, she looks really good for her age. I’m still shocked because I always think she’s a few years younger than she is.

Gunner: He’s our old man dog – he’s 14 and a half. He’s wearing Garry’s fishing hat in this picture and isn’t too thrilled about it either. I’m glad that he was still there when I got there. For the last 2 years or so it’s always that feeling that this time will be the last time I’ll get to see him. It’s pretty heartbreaking, and one of the reasons that leaving is so hard.

Millie: She’s only 2 and just as goofy as her picture suggests. This dog wanted nothing more in the ENTIRE universe than to be cuddled and pet and loved on. Seriously. She adored Garry like they were soulmates. It was pretty funny actually…

Mom offered to send her home with us (she was trying to find her a home), but we figured that she would be too big for our little apartment… that and she might try to eat the cats.

One thing that was really nice is to see Garry bond with my dad. The only time I ever came close to having a guy that my dad felt comfortable talking with was Dave. Although take into consideration that Dave is only a few years younger than my dad… yeah. But my dad really seems to like him and that makes me happy.

 

My mom and Garry and I went to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa as well (that’ll be a separate post) and afterwards we went to Palm Pavilion restaurant on Clearwater Beach. Originally we were supposed to watch my friend Derek (we were good friends in high school and he moved to Tampa a few years ago) play, but as it was, the schedule was mixed up and he wasn’t playing there. Poo. We enjoyed the nice weather, girlie drinks and good food though.

(that’s my mom if you hadn’t guessed)

The next day dad took Garry fishing just off the shore. It was kind of cute actually – Garry was really excited about it. I’m not sure if it was more because he got to go fishing or he got to do some manly stuff while we were down there.

I think he caught more fish than my dad. Of course that was impressive for my dad I guess, in a weird tribal sense where Garry proved that he could provide or something like that (yeah but I’m the one that does the grocery shopping!) either way, I’m glad that they both had a good time.

OH! But Garry forgot to put sunscreen on his feet. For most normal people living in Florida it wouldn’t be too bad since they’re used to the sun. But we live in BINGHAMTON where we have almost as much rain as Seattle and a LOT of cloudy days. And… he’s a redhead. Needless to say – Garry couldn’t wear shoes for a few days.

Our last day in town we went to see Clash of the Titans in 3D. Before hand we stopped at the Johnny Rockets (I haven’t been to one in YEARS) and Garry and I shared a milkshake. It was reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally good. It was gone in less than 2 minutes. See that big metal cup next to Garry’s arm? Yeah there was more in there too – GONE. My mom giggled and said we looked cute – so naturally I opened my eyes and looked at Garry (expecting that he was making a weird face or something like he usually does) so that’s why I look like I’m going to fight him for the milkshake…

So Clash of the Titans. I’m not going to give out any real spoilers here so don’t worry if you haven’t seen it. I haven’t seen the original with Harry Hamlin, but the trailer kind of says it all. I was really expecting great things from this movie. Not so much in the special effects department (I was pretty sure that would be awesome) but along the lines of the story. Oh… why do I build myself up like that? I should know better really.

Anyway, since I have spent quite a bit of energy studying Greek myths over the years I was REALLY looking forward to this. However, after watching the movie and looking at Garry (who also knows his fair share about Greek mythology) and saying “What’s she doing there?” “I don’t remember Scorpions in the myth?” “What does Hades have to do with any of this?!” Well… let’s put it this way: Cinematically it was very good. The story (if it wasn’t based off of a Greek myth) was good and the special effects and character design (for the most part) were done well…

HOWEVER

Whoever wrote the script essentially did the equivalent of ate the original paper the myth was written on, excreted it, sanitized and made that into paper and then wrote the “new” script on top of it. SERIOUSLY! I’m all about artistic license and all, but there was a lot that was FLAT OUT WRONG. I can deal with different interpretations (like the thought that maybe in the King Arthur ledgend that Lancelot might have been kind of a slimy jerk), but… I promised no spoilers so I’ll just keep that rant to myself.

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Our Florida vacation went really well – it was actually relaxing! I got a good week of sun and relaxation in. The weather was amazing – not too hot not too cold – and we got to visit with my mom’s side of the family (that I rarely get to see), play with the dogs, and spend some time doing some other fun stuff too.

One of which was going to Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.

I have a TON of pictures from the zoo – I’ll post them sometime during the week after I get a chance to crop and change the lighting and photoshop my fat in some of the pictures. Although out of all of them I have a few favorites: the baby zebra suckling, up-close giraffes and the baby manatee eating.

A bit of a side note – my sister-in-law interned last summer at the zoo and worked with the manatees and with the river otters (also very cute) and in the manatee hospital. Something that people in the Florida area are pretty familiar with (but we don’t hear about much up here in the icy tundra that is upstate NY) is the plight of the manatees. They are constantly being hurt by boat propellers, disease, or in the case of this last year the very low temperatues in the ocean has caused a lot of manatees to die or become very ill.

When you go to a zoo that houses manatees it’s rare to see one without a propeller scar. And while seeing a faint scar is not really that bad (I mean lots of us have scars on our bodies from this that or the other thing right?) seeing the manatees in the hospital with gaping fresh wounds… well… that was something that was very emotional.

I didn’t take photos of the hurt manatees, one in particular had a terribly fresh flesh wound on it’s back from a propeller. The poor animal was floating in the water to keep it from submerging so the wound and other internal injuries could heal.

At the little gift store, we bought a little gourd trinket box with wood burned manatees on it. (I particularly love wood burned items) and donated a little money to the manatee hospital they have there. At that time there were I think 6 manatees being treated in the hospital.

If you find yourself in the Tampa area I would suggest visting Lowry Park Zoo. It really is a lot of fun for people of all ages.

We also had Easter dinner with my family which was… entertaining. I found a new dish that I LOVE – it’s an Italian Easter Pie (I don’t remember what it’s called) but OMG it’s SOOOOOOOOO good! I’m drooling just thinking about it! When I can get the recipe I’ll post that too.

Hope all of you that had a vacation this week had a happy one. I know I surely needed it!

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