Thursday, March 27, 2008

To Honor A Sacred Memory

Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."
And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The "B" Word!

A couple weeks ago I was talking with my friends Magdalena and Pheonix. The three of us are quite alike in many ways, so this is always an enjoyable activity! On this occassion, for some reason not understood by me, Phoenix tells me I should get a wax. She was referring to the very painful kind that requires Lidacaine and Liquor! :)
The three of us spoke for quite a little while about this, and I think we're supposed to be getting together for a spa/torture day to make this all happen, for the 3 of us together.
Naturally, when I got home, I wanted to share this conversation with Master. It was not going well though, as I was explaining to Him that the 3 of us were going to get together for a Bavarian Wax. He seemed so puzzled, so I tried very hard to explain the whole thing to Him, telling Him that it wasn't a Belgian wax, the ones that are a regular wax followed by a Belgian Waffle Treat, like the one described on Friends.
He remained very very puzzled, and I was getting rather frustrated at my inability to make Him understand this Bavarian wax. Finally, He asked me if I was sure it wasn't a "Brazilian Wax"?
OMG - even now as I write this, I forgot the right name, started laughing at myself, could barely ask Him the name of it again, laughed even harder as He sighed and slowly explained all over again, helped me spell it, and then asked me if I'd like a Brazilian cream pie, or a Brazilian waffle!?
So, tears running from my eyes, tears of laughter that is, I just had to share this - especially with Magdalena and Phoenix - you guys got nothing on me in the ditzy department! :D
I bet there aren't too many other people who can keep up with me either...there is blonde deep inside my brain!
By the way, are we still going to do this? ;;)


Learn From The Past

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson
Chapter I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost...I am helpless
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter V
I walk down another street.

Which Chapter are you on?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Let Go!

Here is an excerpt from one of the weekly inspirational emails I receive. I felt this so often applies to so many of us that I decided to share it here. If you're interested in the entire email instead of just this excerpt just visit THIS LINK where you can also sign up to receive these weekly doses of reality for yourself if you like.

Often monkeys are captured by the "yam in a jar technique." People who wish to capture them do so with the knowledge that once the monkey sticks its hand in the jar to retrieve the yam, it will not let go. The neck of the jar is sufficiently narrow so that the monkey's empty hand can enter it, but its full hand cannot exit the jar. The monkey is effectively trapped and must suffer the consequences when it stubbornly refuses to let go.
As humans, we have sufficient intellect to recognize that we continue to trap ourselves when we refuse to let go. We have control over the choices that we make.
Choose to let go of the yam!

Affirmation for the Week:
“I will learn from my mistakes and then let go.”


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hoppy Easter!

We enjoyed a lovely weekend, dinner with my family last night, leisurely breakfast for the three of us this morning, dinner with Sir's family tonight. In between we managed to get both our driver's licenses renewed, some shopping taken care of, my toenails painted, I took the dog for a nice walk, and our son got the house cleaned up.
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend, and that the celebration was just what you wanted it to be, if you celebrate.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Santa Anastacia

O/our favorite beverage store, "Wine World", publishes a weekly newsletter to inform customers of the weekly tasting table (every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,) and to share other information. This week the owner, Elizabeth, shared one of her favorite recipes and the wine she chooses to serve with the dish. The wine is "obviously" named for a dear friend ;) so I had to share it here! The owner, Elizabeth, goes into great detail to describe both the dish and the wine, and I am enthralled with the description of the wine which also describes parts of the personality of its "namesake" (in my opinion.) I hope you enjoy the following article, and if you try the recipe and/or the wine, Bon Appetit!

Wine with Food

Today's Recipe:

Santa Anastasia "Contempo" Nero D'Avola
Penne Pasta w/Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

I have been accused of being something of a "foodie". Since I have to eat anyway, I won't deny that I'd rather eat fresh, tasty food that is better for me than most prepared foods and certainly most fast foods. (I think that last one simply is misunderstood - people are just using the wrong definition of "fast"!)
I am constantly amused at the way food choices have changed. Just in my lifetime what was once considered "peasant food" is now called the "Mediterranean Diet"! Today's recipe falls into this category - a simple, hearty and tasty one-dish meal that was a staple in my ancestral home of Sicily. I remember my grandmother making it when I was a child.
This recipe is one I found years later that came very close to her version. It comes from a 1992 issue of Food and Wine. (Yes I do hold on to the good ones!) It's a great springtime meal, but with the emerging popularity of Broccoli Rabe - sometimes called "Rapini" - you can find it just about year round!
Broccoli Rabe falls into the category of "bitter greens", but don't let that worry you. It's not that bitter, and we won't be using the more bitter parts, the heavy stalks, anyway. It's rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, and is a great source of phytochemicals, thought to offer protection against cancer.
Look for bunches that are crisp, bright green and loaded with florets. If you see any yellow buds, this is an indication that it is getting ready to "seed", and therefore has passed its prime. Either keep looking, or change your menu - it's that important! My personal favorite brand is "Andy Boy" since I can usually count on excellent quality and full florets. And it's easy to spot - it comes with the stalks wrapped in pink paper.
I also prefer to use Roma brand sausage. First it's locally made so it didn't have to be frozen. Also I appreciate the consistent application of their spices, so I am confident in the flavor. I use the hot sausage - this meal works very well with the extra kick - but if you prefer yours a bit milder, by all means use the sweet version. And if you have a personal favorite sausage maker, feel free to substitute!

Here's what you'll need:

1 lb Penne Pasta (Barilla is my choice)
1 lb Italian Sausage
2 Bunches Broccoli Rabe
1&1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
½ Cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano Cheese
3 Large cloves of Garlic, chopped
2 Tsp Butter
¼ Cup Olive Oil
¼ Tsp Crushed Red Pepper
¼ Tsp Salt

The first thing to do is cook your sausage. Since mine usually comes in links, I remove the casing and crumble it into the pan. Brown the loose sausage - you can use a little olive oil if you like - and then set it aside. We'll get back to it in just a little bit.
Next, start heating some salted water for your pasta, and while it's coming to a boil, prepare your broccoli rabe.
If you've never cooked with this before, it's not as daunting as it might appear! Since we don't want those bitter bottom stalks, they will need to be trimmed away. The easiest way to do this is to just pull the whole bunch from the wrapper with one hand and cut the bottom part off about 2" below where the leaves start with the other.
Then place it in a bowl of cold water, swishing it around to make sure it's good and clean. If you notice any leaves that have lost their color, just remove them, but keep all the florets! Any thicker stalks could be cut in half. Now you see why you needed 2 bunches!
Okay, now we're ready! In a large deep skillet, heat the oil and then add the chopped garlic - cook over medium heat until golden.
Take the broccoli rabe from the water giving it a soft shake so you don't drip, and add it to the skillet along with the crushed red pepper and salt. Put a lid on the pan and let everything steam together for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, once your water is boiling, cook the pasta until al dente. It will be added to a hot pan later in the process, so don't overcook it! When it's just right, drain it well. Sometimes water likes to hide inside the Penne "tubes", so give it an extra shake! Set it aside for a few minutes allowing the steam to come off.
Back at the skillet, stir in the chicken stock, sausage and butter and cook over high heat until the sauce reduces slightly. This only takes about 3 minutes.
Now add the penne to the skillet and toss gently. Sprinkle half of the Parmigiano on top and toss again - this will get that cheesy goodness all through the dish!
Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese on top and ring the dinner bell! Enjoy immediately. (1.)

Now for a wine to bring this one together!
I wish you could have a bottle of my uncles' homemade wine! That was always the best! But, regulations being what they are, and the extremely limited quantities of their wine, we'll just have to make do!
Kidding aside, I do have an excellent suggestion to accompany this meal: Santa Anastasia "Contempo" Nero D'Avola. We have this wine on our shelves for $14.99.
The Nero D'Avola grape is one of the few varieties native to Sicily. It is such a deep dark purple, the color is just a few shades lighter than the black olives grown nearby. It's also a grape that many people have not discovered yet, but is certainly one that you will remember!
The intensity of the aromas is one of the first things you will notice. It has been described as "brambly... reminiscent of berries and red fruit". The structure of the wine is full-bodied and sturdy enough to work very well with both the sausage and the broccoli rabe, and the concentration of flavor is truly amazing. By contrast, the tannins are surprisingly soft, making it a perfect chioce with many dishes!
The grapes are grown at about 1,500' in the foothills of the Madonie Mountains near the north coast town of Cefalu. The vineyards benefit from Mediterranean influences, providing a soft lushness to the fruit as it ripens in the Sicilian sun. Here, the soil is rich in potassium, which may account for the exceptional balance in the finished wine.
The winery was once an Abbey, and has remained isolated and undeveloped since the monks left in the 1300's. This pristine and unspoiled backdrop was converted in the 1980's by the new owner, Francesco Leno. He is a firm believer in his authentic Mediterranean heritage and painstakingly restored many of the medieval buildings to be incorporated into the current Santa Anastasia Estate Winery. He also employs organic techniques in the making of his wines.
I hope you will try both the wine and this dish, and discover what has been known in Sicily for centuries: simple traditional food paired with wine made from native grapes is a natural!

Until next time, ciao!

(Owner of O/our favorite beverage store "Wine World" .)

1. Food and Wine, Jan, 1992, pg. 38

The wine and the recipe certainly sound yummy, I think it will have to be on O/our menu soon, with or without dear Anastacia joining U/us. ;)


Friday, March 21, 2008

Sometimes It's Better To Say Nothing At All

A difficult mother, an abusive husband (now ex), and many years of therapy have taught me what I should tolerate and what I should reject in the behavior of other people. And as the cool sign pictured here indicates, I do not need to tolerate nastiness. I'm not of the belief that anyone should tolerate nastiness, but I certainly will not.
For me this includes the above-board out and out nastiness some people display, as well as the behind the smile, cattiness that other people display. I think it's the difference between aggression and passive-aggression.
Sadly, in recent weeks I've encountered both active aggression and passive aggression in the behavior of other people within the local BDSM community. The very people from whom I expect courtesy, politeness, tolerance, and the ability to agree to disagree, I found just the opposite. And oh so much drama. Good heavens, just grow up! Different situations on 2 different message boards, and 2 very different groups of people within the lifestyle, and still I have to read this bile. :(
I lived with enough of this type of thing in the past, and I don't choose to live with it now or in the present. It's at times like this when I recall one of the sayings my Dad employed with my bothers and sister, "If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all." Sounds like a polite way of telling your child to shut up, lol, but really, pretty good advice if you think about it.
I have a dream, and while there will always be nasty people in the world, I know there will, I am not required to tolerate such poor behavior. So perhaps a change in the sign above is required, Be Nice, or I'll Leave.

Friday, March 14, 2008


The other day I was cleaning out boxes, drawers, and other containers of acculmulated trinkets and what-not when I came across a key chain that belonged to my Dad. When he turned 60 we threw a surprise party for him, and one of the guests gave him this little keychain, engraved with his name and the occassion.

Dad immediately put his car key and house key on it, and used it everyday, until the day he died 9 1/2 years later. At that time Mom gave me Dad's vehicle, and the keys for it, which were on the keychain, along with his key to their house. So when I found the keychain, it still had a copy of Mom's housekey on it, even though the car key was long gone like the car.

I have my own key to Mom's house, so I thought I'd give that key to my son, and figured I'd just let him have the whole keychain, knowing that he'd treasure it - his grandfather was perhaps one of the greatest loves of my son's life.

As I thought about this, and held that keychain in my hand, I could "feel" my Dad. He had touched that keychain so often, and kept it in his pocket when not in use. It was worn smooth, and held his aura.

When the time came to let my son have the keychain, I could barely stop myself from crying. Never did I dream this would affect me so strongly, or that I would want so badly to hold onto this little piece of my Dad.

Tonight, as I drove my son to his own father's house for the weekend, I told him to be sure to take his house key since W/we wouldn't be home on Sunday. And I watched him put my Dad's keychain, now containing the key to this house along with Dad's key to his and Mom's house, into his pocket, and I choked up all over again.

There must be some pretty powerful ju-ju or something in that keychain. I'm convinced it's because he held it so tightly and so often and so close to himself everyday for almost a decade. I don't really want the keychain back, I really do want my son to have it, I just want my Dad back.

But everyone who ever knew him feels the same way, for there was no greater man of honor and caring and compassion than my Dad.

Next Wednesday marks the day my Dad entered the hospital for the last time, and a week from tomorrow (Saturday the 22nd) marks the day he left this earth - back in 1999. And yet I can still hear his voice, the way he cleared his throat, I can still smell his skin, his scent, and feel his presence. Truly I was the luckiest little girl on this earth to have had a Father this wonderful.

Thank you Daddy, I miss you, and I love you.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Parable of the Day


I bought a bird feeder.

I hung it on my back porch

and filled it lovingly with seed.

It was indeed a beautiful bird feeder.

Within a week we had hundreds of birds

taking advantage of the continuous flow of free

and easily accessible food.

But then the birds started building nests

in the boards of the patio,

above the table, and next to the barbecue.

Then came the bird shit.

It was everywhere;

on the patio tile, the chairs,

the table ... everywhere!

Then some of the birds turned mean.

They would dive bomb me and try to peck me

even though I had fed them out of my own pocket.

And other birds were boisterous and loud.

They sat on the feeder and squawked and screamed

at all hours of the day and night and

demanded that I fill it when it got low on food.

After a while, I couldn't even sit

on my own back porch anymore.

So I took down the bird feeder

and in three days the birds were gone.

I cleaned up their mess and took down

the many nests they had built all over the patio.
Soon, the back yard was like it used to be ... quiet,

serene and no one demanding their rights to a free meal.


Sometimes we need to take down the feeders in our own worlds in order to be able to live in peace and health. If it doesn't work for you, no matter how good your intentions were when you put it up, then take the feeder down.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Thanks Anyway

To all my friends who in 2007 sent me best "wishes", chain letters, "angel" letter or other promises of good luck if I forwarded something. NONE OF THEM WORKED!
For 2008, could you please just send money, chocolate, movie tickets, or gasoline vouchers. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Only Silver Lining I Can Find Right Now

Just remember, if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Visualization Works

"The future you see is the future you get."
-- Robert G Allen

This may sound trite, and if I had not experienced this to be true I would think it trite also. But in fact, I know it is true. It's not always easy to keep believing that you will have the future you desire. Sometimes current events seem like impossible obstacles that can never be surmounted.

But when I've remained strong, believing in the impossible, even though I didn't understand how, the future I saw was indeed the future I got. And this has happened more than once in my life.

So, trite saying, feel good platitude, or honest down to earth truth; you decide for yourself. But I would challenge any nay sayers to keep an open mind. It really has worked for me.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Perhaps I Need A Massage

January 17, 2008
Healing Our Bodies

Sometimes we might concentrate so much on our spiritual lives that we overlook the wonders of being present in our physical form. When we are more aware of the fact that our bodies are also important in terms of our personal growth, we may find it easier to nurture them. One of the most powerful ways to do this is through human touch, for a loving, comforting touch allows us to access the part of ourselves that yearns for a sense of oneness with the world around us. Even simple forms of touch connect us not just to our bodies but also to the energetic presence of other people.

There are so many ways to incorporate touch in our daily lives, one of the easiest being a heartfelt embrace. Just making a point to hug someone on a daily basis and really feel our energy pass between each other can strengthen the bonds that keep us together. Hugs help us heal any hurt or upset we may have recently experienced by letting us release into the moment of the embrace and realize that no matter what happens to us, we have someone in our lives who supports and cares for us.

Another nourishing form of touch is massage. While we may think of massage as a luxury, it is actually an ancient form of healing that enables us to open up our energetic pathways in order to receive unlimited energy from the universe. It doesn’t matter whether a simple massage comes from a loved one or a massage therapist, but by giving ourselves the gift of massage every once in a while, we are doing something healthy and beneficial for our bodies. Massage helps our bodies activate their own restorative powers, creating a wonderful way to engage fully in our own healing.

Letting ourselves take advantage of the healing nature of touch creates space where we can truly live in and experience the world through our bodies, allowing us to completely immerse ourselves in the loving sense of joy and wonder that is our life.