Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thursday Musings

It's been a while since I've posted - life is busy!  The last few months have been filled with family happenings, a trip to Austin, Texas (which was amazing!!), my cat being diagnosed with mammary cancer and having major surgery, and co-facilitating the first Keyport Death Cafe.  I'm currently involved in the planning of the next Death Cafe in December, getting my felt goodies ready for a craft fair in a couple of weeks, and gearing up for Samhain - which this year has an even greater meaning to me as a new death midwife/home funeral guide.

I am also considering how I can take this blog into my new endeavors, but more on that another time.

Today I'm doing the menu planning and grocery shopping for the next week.  As the weather starts cooling down, I like to plan hearty, flavorful, simple meals.  This is what our menu will look like this week:

Friday: Turkey Pesto Sandwiches - I'm doing turkey because I can pick up a roasted turkey breast at the grocery store to shred.  We made and froze tons of pesto during the summer, so I just have to thaw that out.

Saturday: Cheesy Enchilada Skillet - I'll probably throw some chicken into this.

Sunday: Pedro's Special - This is a family favorite that my mom used to make, and I've been making for years for my kids.  My version uses pinto beans instead of kidney; Doritos instead of corn chips; and a lot of additional spices: cumin, garlic, Mexican oregano, a pinch of cayenne.  This is pure comfort food!

Monday: Spanish Rice - Another take on one of my mom's recipes.  It's basically stuffed peppers, but without peppers, lol.  A big pot of rice; ground beef browned with onions and garlic; tomato juice and tons of spices all mixed together, then baked for a bit.  Mmmmmmm.

Tuesday: 8 Can Taco Soup - I got the idea for the soup from the link, but made a few changes.  First of all, I double it, because we'll eat the leftovers for days! Instead of cream of chicken soup, I use one can of good quality tomato soup and one can red enchilada sauce (ditch the green).  Instead of plain diced canned tomatoes, I use the kind that has the green chilies added in; and instead of a taco seasoning packet, I season myself.  Sometimes I throw in a bit of leftover diced chicken as well.  Easy peasy!

Wednesday: Korean Kimchi Stew - Spicy, warming, delicious!  If you don't have Korean chili pepper, use cayenne - and a lot less if you don't do spicy well!  We love it hot, but we still only use a teaspoon.  You can usually find Gochujang in the "International" food aisle of your grocery store.  

What are you cooking up this week?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Update on Death Midwife and Home Funeral Guide Training

Wow, I can't believe it's already June!  I haven't posted in a bit, and it seems like I do much more "Pinteresting" and "Facebooking" than I do blogging these days.

And though I am obviously still on my same path as a witch,  I am spending a great bit of time these days on my studies to become a Death Midwife and Home Funeral Guide.  I have really developed a passion for helping folks pre-plan their end-of-life in such ways as creating an advance directive (everyone needs one, even if you are not currently ill) and having all of your paperwork and wishes in line.  I'm meeting a lot of interesting, helpful people and taking part in some great organizations.

I feel like practically everything I've studied in the past, from aromatherapy, to creating ritual space, to Reiki, to having been legally ordained so that I can visit folks in the hospital has been leading up to me finding this path.  I am constantly working on my class and researching further on my own.  I cannot wait to finish the class and get to work.  Most of what I'll be doing is volunteering to inform people on their rights and guiding families on how to care for their own during their transition to the next life, and teaching them how to conduct family lead death care.

It's amazing how much we don't know about our rights to care for our own beloved dead!  I could probably talk for hours on these subjects, but will spare you for now, lol.

I would suggest to anyone who's curious about this work to explore it!  While participating in a structured class can be helpful, there is a mass amount of information on the topic online and in books. If someone really wants to do it, self-teaching is a definite option!  I have a new Pinterest board just for these topics.  Feel free to explore!  And I'm always happy to answer any questions.

Hope you are all well and enjoying the beginnings of what will soon be the summer season!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Visit Pagan Families Today!

I was asked by the wonderful Pagan Families website to answer a read question about household protection symbols.  Read my answer here:

Monday, March 31, 2014

How you can help me certify as a death doula:

I know times are rough, so truly appreciate all donations in any amount and all the shares on social media!  Thanks, all!

 It has been my goal for some time to work as a Death Doula (aka Death Midwife) and Home Funeral Guide.  I've done all the independent learning (via books and videos) that I can.  My goal now is to take the next step and participate in a certification class.

If you aren't familiar with what a Death Doula is, the word "doula" means "woman who serves".  A Death Doula serves the dying and their family, easing the transition and working as an advocate when dealing with hospitals, hospice centers, funeral homes, etc.  A Home Funeral Guide is someone who can help the dying and their family create a funeral and/or vigil at home, helping to create a meaningful ritual in the arms of the people who care for them the most.
Because few educational experiences are cheap (lol), I've chosen to start a "Go Fund Me" campaign in the hopes of helping me reach my goals.

I have three goals, depending on the money I raise. 
If I can manage to raise $189, I will enroll in an online Certification in End of Life Care via Middlesex Community College. Read more here: (I've reached this one!  Thanks to all who have shared and donated!!)
My second goal, should I reach $465 is to take the online modules of Beyond Hospice's certification program for midwives to the dying and home funeral guides.  A really great start to my official training!
You can read more about this training here:
If I reach my full goal of $1,500, I will be participating in both the Beyond Hospice training for midwives to the dying & home funeral guides online modules and the  the residential training in Austin, Texas.  This goal includes the cost to fly from NJ to TX, where the training takes place.

Completing any of these goals will give me the ability to be a positive resource for my community at large, and specifically for the local Pagan community, who has a lack of folks who can  care for the dying, plan a funeral ritual/vigil and be compassionate to our general set of beliefs. It will also give me the ability to help train more Death Doulas, so that they will one day be readily available for everyone who wants a more personal, caring transition to their next adventure.
This is post copyright to the author. It may not be reposted, reprinted or distributed in its entirety without express written permission of the author. Links to the article can be freely shared and are very appreciated!  Printed copies are for personal use only.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kenny Klein Arrested and Charged with Child Pornography

Photo via Wiki Commons
This morning an article came up in my news feed that I knew was going to have a big impact on the Pagan community.  Author and musician Kenny Klein has been arrested on charges of child pornography.

I'm not going to rehash the details, but here are a few links to articles.  I will say that according to the police report, "Klein admitted to detectives that the computer was his and that he had used the computer to share and download the explicit material".*

What I will say is that I, as both a Pagan and a parent, do not condone the abuse of any child or adult by anyone.  I will not push the story under the rug for fear of how it makes the "rest of us" look.  I will not shy away from the fact that this man is a Pagan - abuse happens in every group, we are not immune.  I will not try to deflect what happened by bringing up abuse by any other religious group and how they "got away with it".    I will not complain about how the media uses the word "Pagan" to describe this man (which, as of this writing, only Pagan media has done - I've seen no mainstream media sites commenting on his religion at all).

A Pagan was accused (and seemingly admitted to) a bad thing.  

What we do and say from this point on matters.  All morning I've heard a variety of people talk about accounts of abuse that they know of by Klein.  People that I know, people that I trust not to try to get on the "how can I get some attention here" bus.

How have become a group where victims of abuse have not felt comfortable coming forward and speaking out?  From this moment on, we need to start a dialogue.  As groups, circles, covens, etc., we  need to consciously create space for discussion for those who are made to feel uncomfortable in any way.  I believe all the stories I've heard today.  For the sake of argument, let's say that only 1/4 of them are true.  That's still too many for something not to have been done long ago about a predator so publicly moving from festival to festival in our midst.  We need to do everything possible to make sure we have a place where abuse survivors can tell their stories and work on healing.

Here are some articles about what is going on:

New Orleans man booked on 25 child pornography charges:

Prominent Pagan Arrested for Child Pornography:

Prominent Pagan musician arrested on child pornography charges (this article is being regularly updated with information):

Kenny Klein Arrested for Child Porn:

Why We Need to Talk About Kenny Klein:

*Klein's admission aside, everyone is, of course,  innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

This is post copyright to the author. It may not be reposted, reprinted or distributed in its entirety without express written permission of the author. Links to the article can be freely shared and are very appreciated!  Printed copies are for personal use only.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Canning: Salsa Verde (or Tomatillo Sauce or Green Salsa)

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Yum. That's all I have to say about this. Green salsa or "salsa verde" is some amazingly wonderful stuff. As a dip for tortilla chips, scrambled into eggs, as a condiment for plain chicken or in enchiladas de suiza, it adds a spicy bite and a layer of complex flavors.

As always, when you are canning, start with freshly sterilized jars, lids and equipment. Start your canning pot to boil enough water to cover your jars (I'm using pints for this batch and tripled the recipe below. The actual recipe makes 4 (1/2 pint) jars) by a couple of inches.

The most important things to have for this recipe are these:

How to Pick, Store and Cook Mussels

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For picking mussels, you best tools are your eyes and nose. The mussels should be tightly closed or just barely open. If they are wide open, they are dead or close to it. Pass those by. Ask to handle a couple and take a sniff. If they smell like the
sea they are nice and fresh. If they smell fishy, they're past their prime. Pass those by as well.

To store those nice fresh mussels, take them home and get them out of the bag they are packed in. Any live shellfish will suffocate in plastic. Just simply place them in a bowl and cover them with a damp towel then pop the bowl in the fridge. If they are fresh when you pick them, they will last for 2 days stored this way.

Fusilli with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Grilled Chicken

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We had this for dinner last night.  So yummy!  What's great about this recipe is that it's pretty quick to throw together, it's full of really good, healthy ingredients, and that leftovers store and travel well.  Great dish to throw together at the beginning of the week and have for lunch all week!

Yogurt Chicken Salad

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This recipe is a my take on a fruity, crunchy, creamy chicken salad incorporating a few of the traditional foods of Imbolc: dairy, poultry, and seeds.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Grilled Corn on the Cob

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This is a pretty standard, simple way to cook corn on the cob - but man, it's got such a great flavor when it's done on the grill!!

What do you need?  Simple.  Corn with the husks still on and a hot grill!  Easy peasy.

First things first.  The corn needs to be partially husked.  I suggest laying out a few sheets of newspapers for this, especially if you are doing more than a couple!

Pull down the bigger leaves, taking off anything that looks bad and taking out all of the "silk", and save a few of the thinner pieces of husk.  If there aren't some stringy thin ones, cut one into a few strips.

When the corn is pretty cleaned off, pull the outer leaves back up, and use those strips to tie it up at the top!  Just a quick tie will do, you don't need anything fancy.

When you have all your corn cleaned and tied up, soak them for about an hour in a tub or bucket of cold water.  This will keep the husks from burning right up on the grill, and will keep the corn all nice and juicy!

When the corn is almost ready to come out, start your grill to heat.  You want it to be about medium heat - if you have a really hot grill, move the corn over to the side where it won't overcook too fast.  You don't want flames hitting the corn.

Remove the corn from the water and place it on the grill.  Turning frequently, grill the corn for 12-15 minutes, turning every so often so that it cooks evenly.  When the husks have almost completely charred or turned a nice brown color, the corn is ready to take off!

Pull the husks off, butter it up, and you are ready to eat!

If you want to take it a step further, make a nice herbal butter to put on the corn - just soften a stick of butter, add a handful of fresh herbs, chopped well (basil is really good on grilled corn!), a pinch of salt and pepper and mix well.  Slather on the hot cooked corn - delish!!

This is post copyright to the author. It may not be reposted, reprinted or distributed in its entirety without express written permission of the author. Links to the article can be freely shared and are very appreciated!  Printed copies are for personal use only.