Holiday Traditions ala Me.

I’m somewhat Witchy these days and a lot of my traditions really stem from my heathen/pagan/nature worshippin’ ways. The older I get, the more “me” I become, which is most interesting because sometimes I look at myself and think – Who ARE you anyway?- Its most fun to become one’s truest self.

My Yule starts with the Solstice, which takes place in the northern hemisphere on December 21, 2018 at ohhh….3:23 PM. My first order of business:

Wake and thank Chaos and Order for bringing back the light.

Watch the sun rise, from beginning to end.

Light ALL my candles and do a happy dance at 3:23 PM. I always feel so grateful for the slow and steady return of longer days. I am a fair weather person with a wonky brain, the returning light means I’ll suffer less and enjoy more.

Enjoy a special meal, something “earthy”. For me this is anything with mushrooms but it has to be healthy. I was going to make a hot mushroom salad this year but my Hubs is not keen on that so we’re having mushroom pizza, ha ha. Sometimes in life you have to compromise. We’ll have the salad another day and besides I’d really rather have something I don’t have to cook, on a Friday night after grocery shopping anyway!

I watch the sunset from beginning to end no matter where I am.

In the evening, by candlelight, I have myself a sit, and then reflect upon the dark, the light and set my intentions for the next seasons. I promptly forget then five seconds after I’m done but still…I think they swim around in there and affect positive change somehow.

My dream for this day is to have a yard big enough to have a bonfire in. One day….oh! And while we’re dreaming, I’d also love a fireplace or woodstove for a Yule log too. Next year I’m going to make a buche de noel because … cake!! AND because the buche de noel takes the place of the Yule log which was kept burning all night on Solstice’s past. It has a really cool history. 

There all sorts of Pagan traditions mixed in amongst the Christmas stuff … a little fact I take great pleasure in, especially when I hear all the nonsense about the so called war on Christmas.

Little by little Yule is coming back to life in my family. More and more people I know are celebrating it as such too. We have to do the things that have meaning to our lives. Celebrating the Holidays as they are now was slowly killing off my soul. Screw that!

How do you celebrate? Are you a cultural renegade too? What traditions do you have that are not of the norm?


Best of October.

Hello November!

October was a challenging month for me. It was the two-year anniversary of a trauma that re injured my brain AND it was the first whole month in which I was not in Tanzania. Waaa! I had some readjusting to do, under stressful circumstances. BUT it wasn’t horrible. I’m here, alive and kicking in November. I learned some things and made it through. My goal for next October is to thrive rather than survive. But you know that’s my goal every month!

ANYway, I got thinking about it all and the good things that happened and really wanted to showcase that. Do a roundup exercise of all the awesome. Because our brains are wired for the negative, no problem there, ha ha but the positive…that’s a thing that needs cultivating. And that’s a thing that’s really, truly worthy of my attention 🙂

The Best Savoury Thing I Ate In October:

Tanzanian Pepper Beef Stew. I invented it based on my memory of a meal I ate whilst in Tanzania. I’m fine tuning it for my recipe book and will share it eventually, but if you want to make something similar, it’s basically beef and peppers with lots of black pepper and onion. At first bite, I was proud. So proud!

The Best Sweet Thing I Ate In October:

A banana crepe with Nutella at Cora, with two dear friends on a sunny Autumn morning.

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I’m not usually a sweets person but there was something about this warm, chocolate fruity glop of deliciousness that really hit the spot. A rare but welcome thing.

The Best Hot Drink I Drank In October: My last attempt at recreating spiced tea. It was almost perfect. Perfect spice, perfect sweet… I just need to tweak the milk – I’m going to try shelf stable milk – and see if that does the trick – but drinking it whilst reading a book in the warm sunlight, knowing I was so close was dreamy. At this point if the milk doesn’t make it so, it’ll be alright because it’s a damn fine cup of tea anyway.

The Best Outing I Had In October: This is a toss-up between two. The first one was a walk in the river valley with two friends. The sun was shining, there was a chill in the air, the leaves were crunchy and we were surrounded by birds and squirrels doing important animal things. I found the BEST sticks to add to my collection and there were lost of laughs and insightful realizations and just good fun.

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The second one was a surprise motorcycle ride with my man. He came home early on a sunny afternoon and asked me out. We didn’t go anywhere special, just out and back through an area close to the city but it was fun to be zooming along in the sunny air. There was a slight chill as we sped through traffic, turning into curves with total acceptance of whatever was to be. You can’t resist the turns on a bike, even as a passenger so I really had to surrender to them. Would we crash or remain upright and keep going? Only one way to find out. That was fucking scary and liberating at the same time.

Best Social Interactions In October: My fun and chatty conversation with a lady at the transit station who gave me doughnuts. I’ll detail it fully in another post but here I can tell you that it was really nice to have an honest, kind conversation with another human being, especially as we seemed to just click in seconds. People think it’s all weirdos on transit but that’s not true. I’ve met a lot of lovely humans as well.

Going to a new book club at my local library. Everyone was open and friendly, welcoming and engaging. Their words and their actions matched and it was just a really nice night.

Smartest Thing I Did In October: Get our wills made up! The sense of relief I feel is … well, relieving. I feel just a titch more grown up 🙂 One less thing to feel anxious about.

Coolest Thing I Bought: A Namaste Skeleton!

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The dead and dying in me see the dead and dying in you. Its perfect! I buy a lot of my regular home décor during Halloween sales. Ha Ha.

Best Shows I Watched: So yes I’m totally late to this but OH EM GEE …

OUTLANDER. 

I’d tried to watch it once before with the Hubs but just couldn’t get into it. I think watching it was my man was the problem because I had no issues revisiting it on my laptop with my headphones in! I’d read the books years ago and really enjoyed them. I’m happy the series is holding my attention the same way.

Salt Fat Acid Heat 

Is another one I’m liking. It’s on Netflix and its a fancy little cooking show -kind of, sorta – about how if one masters these four elements, Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat, one can transform their meals. I really like the host Samin Nosrat and the whole thing is just really interesting. If you’re passionate about food and people and places, this is a show for you.

What were some of your highlights in October? I’d love to hear all about them!

Love and squishy hugs!

Winter Weather Survival Guide

I went from this:

 

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to this:

 

to this:

cleared road near trees and light post during nighttime

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

I’m having a hard time adjusting.

BUT in my 16 years of long, hard winter hating living, I’ve learned a few things a person can do make the cold seasons, a little less shitty. Sadly, I don’t have a magic wand to make it ALL go away – you could move South?- but if you do a few of these things a day, you too can survive until Spring. (Spring, Spring. Not the date on the calendar. We all know Spring doesn’t really come to Edmonton until June. Ugh)

ANYWAY. Here we go!

  1. Ignore it. Seriously. Don’t look outside. Don’t watch weather reports.  Don’t complain about it. Don’t engage in conversation about it. Don’t even acknowledge the outside world. Pretend like it doesn’t exist. The weather is like a bad ex you see on the street. Avert your eyes and walk on by. You’re better than that! They don’t deserve your attention!
  2. We may be ignoring the -20c but we’re not stupid. Buy yourself some warm gear. Spend the money, if you can, on a good jacket. Buy those cute (warm) boots, buy a colourful scarf with hats and mitts to match. Hell, buy several! The dollar store is your friend here. The trick is to put as many warm things as you can between your skin and the asshole weather. I hear layering is a good thing. Do that!
  3. Remember the transition period is the hardest part. Once you acclimatize from Summer to Fall, you’ll feel better. Let yourself be grumpy. Take extra care of you during this time. Trust me, 5c is going to start feeling warm soon and then you’ll know you’ve made it! I’m only miserable for ten minutes until I warm up! Time how long it takes you to warm out and celebrate your success as week by week you acclimatize too!
  4. Drink warm liquids. Make an event out of it. Soups, teas, coffee, whatever. Add these into your day as a time just for you. Embrace the warmth of the cup, the flavours, the coziness of the break in your day. This is how we get by, sip by sip.
  5. Movies! Movies are your friend. Preferably in your own house so you don’t have to go outside. Movies are a great way to kill a few hours of yucky weather AND if you choose a documentary you’ll learn something too! You’re going to be a genius by the time this is over!
  6. Exercise. Yeah. Lame. I know. BUT exercise improves your mental health and in order to survive something challenging, we need good mental health. There are lots of things we can do indoors. Hell, sometimes on really cold days I just walk in circles in my home, like the caged animal I am. You could go to a mall or find a gym,or go online, or lift weights or do yoga or get yourself a treadmill…move that body. Your Spring self will thank you.
  7. Take advantage of the sun. No, no. I’m not asking you to go outside. All I’m saying is that IF the sun is shining, go get yourself some rays. Sit in the window. Let your body get some Vit. D. You may very well find yourself inspired to go outside. And that’s ok too! Just don’t become one of those smug assholes who does nothing but talk about how much they loooove winter while the rest of us sit there miserable. Gah.
  8. Don’t force yourself to go outside. Don’t force yourself to love Winter. You feel what you feel and that’s OK. You might even find once you stop shoulding on yourself you WANT to go out and do things. It could happen. Yesterday I chose to walk to the mall after choosing to hole up inside the day before. Balance people! Oh. And choice. You have free will. You don’t like the cold. That’s just fine. It doesn’t make you bad or negative. It’s just a preference and its yours. ignore those smug Winter lovers, I betcha they’re lying anyway.
  9. Have you heard of Hygge? It’s a whole thing about coziness and comfort and WARMTH and LIGHT and fun with an emphasis on well-being. It’s perfectly suited for the cold season. Go find out for yourself. And then hygge it up!
  10. Stay connected with the humans. It’s very tempting to isolate oneself ( I’m looking at you Lael) Resist the urge. It just makes these dark days all the darker. Get out there and be social. However that comfortably looks to you. Doing stuff with friends, even just coffee, makes the time go by faster. My friends are sometimes the ONLY reason I make it in a day and I love them for it. And hey! YOU could be the reason someone else makes it. You never know…Just get out there, at least twice a week and be social. You can be a hermit the other 5 days. Trust me, Winter will go by faster.
  11. Hang in there. Dec 21 is the Solstice AND the start of Winter. This used to depress me until I realized that on the Solstice, THE LIGHT COMES BACK! Sure, it’s still freezing ass cold but its on its way out. The light comes back and with the light comes more hours of sun. And with more hours of sun comes the heating. And with the heating comes the Spring. Before you know it, you’ll be saying “Winter? Did we even have a Winter?” Back in glorious denial but hopefully a little wiser than the year before and ready to face the cold weather once more. YOU CAN DO THIS.

Everyone Should Keep A List …(#2.)

of all the little things they love.

Special thanks to Leslie Nichole for the reminder.

Wont you play along too?

  1. Hot black coffee in the mornings.
  2. Old dogs snoring at my feet.
  3. Unexpected texts from friends.
  4. The feeling of relief and security once normalcy sets in after its absence.
  5. Snow falling but not sticking to the ground.
  6. Brisk Autumn days and warm cosy indoors.
  7. The squishy feeling after steam cleaning your carpets.
  8. Washing a really greasy face.
  9. Realizing a long time dream and it being everything you imagined and more.
  10. A cheese and sun-dried tomato sandwich on squishy cheese buns with sharp cheddar and homegrown/prepared sun-dried tomatoes.

Autumn To Do List

OK. NO fair!

I was all excited thinking Future Lael would be celebrating the Spring Equinox in Zanzibar today, as a Time Traveller! BUT dammit, according to my stupid and highly disappointing research, Spring in Zanzibar starts on September 23. What will Future Lael be doing on September 23?  Flying home to Autumn! I’ll be in the air 45 mins before the whole thing starts!

Boooooo!

Well, that’s if everything goes well. Life is uncertain, maybe Future Lael is trampled by an elephant or eaten by a lion. Who knows! I do know, I am very mad about not being able to brag about being in Spring one day and Autumn the next!

I do love Autumn. I think its my favourite season. There is just something about the warm days and cool nights, the way the sun sits in the sky and shines softer. The brilliant colours cannot be beat and the smells! Oh the smells of wood smoke and dying vegetation, warm tea and spicy everything. Big sweaters and boots. Cozy blankets and lazy days. Frost on the window and misty air…I am SO looking forward to honouring this new season upon us.

Remember when I was freaking out about Summer fading away? I really found that whole list making process so helpful in reminding me to savour every little thing. I don’t feel like I wasted my last days of Summer and was way more accepting of its end. (Like I had a choice!)

So I think I’ll do that again, this time for Autumn!

Autumn To-Do List

  1. Walk to 7-11 for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Seriously this is a thing. I hate PSLs anywhere else but 7-11 makes something so good, I break my own rules and have to enjoy at least one.
  2. Spend time outdoors, admiring the changing leaves, listening to them crunch underfoot and watching them swirl around in the wind.
  3. Spend a day under a blankey drinking tea and reading books.
  4. Make an apple pie.
  5. Decorate with rich warm tones. The dollar store is good for cheap finds you can set out year after year. Try to go no plastic.
  6. Pull out all the cold weather stuff and put away the warm.
  7. Buy a new sweater.
  8. Have a bonfire at a park that allows such things. Roast some weenies and drink mugs of apple cider too.
  9. Make a crumble out of any summer fruit you’ve frozen.
  10. Sunrises and Sunsets.
  11. Make and freeze batches of soup for those coming cold days.
  12. Make biscuits and eat them with butter and jam. Just because.
  13. Visit a pumpkin patch.
  14. Visit a Farmer’s Market.
  15. Try to maneuver out of a corn maze.
  16. Go for a drive in the country.
  17. Plant some bulbs.
  18. Set out bird feeders.
  19. Make candy apples.
  20. Make some chili.
  21. Celebrate Oktoberfest.
  22. Watch the birds fly south.
  23. Do a gratitude exercise.
  24. Knit a new hat,scarf and mitts.
  25. Honour your ancestors on Samhain
  26. Bring more light into your house by setting up fairy lights.
  27. Write letters to your friends…and send them!
  28. Get outside while the weather is still comfortable.
  29. Make homemade noodles.
  30. Read this bookThe Little Book of Hyggeand then Hygge it up!

What would you add to this? Please share!

 

Everyone Should Keep A List…

of all the little things they love.

I read this once, in a book written by a women living with ALS (Until I Say Goodbye. My Year of Living With Joy. Susan Spencer-Wendel ) And you know, I agree. I think a list like this can help you sort of fine tune your interests and show you what makes you, YOU. I think a list like this can help foster gratitude and appreciation for your blessings and privilege. I think a list like this can help filter out the wheat from the chaff in a world obsessed with things that don’t really matter in the long run. And I think a list like this can help you when you have a sad. Big or small.

I bring you part one of mine. and I want to see yours. Won’t you play too?

Part One-Little Things I Love.

  1. Every dog that lives or ever has.
  2. Ditto cats.
  3. Ditto any pet.
  4. Ditto any animal. Even the yucky ones like slugs and worms.
  5. Maps.
  6. Trees.
  7. Rocks.
  8. Wood.
  9. People who bring me rocks and wood.
  10. The colour blue.
  11. Peaches and nectarines.
  12. Cherries.
  13. Penticton, BC.
  14. Tilley Hats.
  15. Travelling.
  16. Old photos.
  17. Music.
  18. Water to drink and play in.
  19. Good memories.
  20. Waterproof jackets.
  21. Warm and gentle rain.
  22. Homegrown fruit and veggies.
  23. A well stock fridge, freezer and pantry.
  24. Grandchildren.
  25. Love and affection.

Now its your turn. Create your own list. Either share it on your own blog (and if we’re not connected yet , comment and share the link) or share the whole thing here, in the comments! I want to know what you love!

Love&Light

 

52 Days Left

Happy August!

I find myself in a bit of a panic today. We have 52 days of Summer left! August being our last full month. Eeek!!

I feel like I haven’t exactly been lazy…but I have sure been acting like Summer is never going to end! How about you?

I just know, come Winter I shall be kicking myself for all the time I’ve spent indoors instead of making the most out of these glorious months. With that in mind and as an excuse to write another list, I bring you:

How to honour Summer. Lael style.

  1. Eat meals outdoors.
  2. Bike rides.
  3. Go to the beach.
  4. Feed the chickadees.
  5. Collect rocks.
  6. Paint rocks and hide them for people to find in unexpected places.
  7. Read books lazily outside.
  8. Take photos of all the things!
  9. Weenie roasts.
  10. S’mores roasts.
  11. Watch the sunrise and sunset.
  12. Go for hikes.
  13. Grab a cool drink, sit where people gather and just watch the world go by.
  14. Enjoy a daily walk in new neighbourhoods.
  15. Have a few road trip adventures.
  16. Meals out with friends.
  17. Slurpees!!
  18. Ice cream!
  19. Lay out and watch the clouds float by.
  20. Lay out and watch the stars-The Perseid Meteor shower starts soon!
  21. Visit parks in other cities.
  22. Have picnics.
  23.  Preserve,freeze and create with the bounty of Summer fruits and vegetables.
  24. Wander up and down the “cool” areas of town.
  25. Take photos of EVERYTHING!
  26.  Visit gardens
  27. Blow bubbles
  28. Make lemonade
  29. Spend time barefoot.
  30. Play in the rain
  31. Go into the woods, sit really still and just watch.
  32. Make friends with all the neighbourhood animals.

Special thanks to my friends, Chantel and Carolyn for the inspiration!

How do you honour and enjoy Summer?