Monthly Archives: November 2008

Weekly Silliness: Life Experience

The Life Experience Test

Overall, you have partaken in 108 out of 174 possible life experiences.
Your average life experience score is therefore 62%.

The average score is 51%, making your experiences more than 80% of the people who have taken this test.
The average for your age group (36-55) is 56%.

Broken down by category:
Art: 6/17 (35%)

Career & Work: 10/13 (77%)

Civics & Technology: 2/7 (29%)

Crime & Disarray: 5/11 (45%)

Education: 10/18 (56%)

Fashion: 12/15 (80%)

Fitness, Health and Sports: 4/7 (57%)

Life in General: 8/14 (57%)

Relationships: 11/14 (79%)

Religion & Politics: 1/4 (25%)

Social: 18/22 (82%)

Travel: 10/20 (50%)

Vices: 11/12 (92%)

Take the test and see how YOU compare

Interesting. There are some questions that were a bit leading, and its not nearly as detailed as it could be. but this is an interesting survey.

Thanksgiving Isn’t for Amatuers

I’ve got a pretty good family when it comes to working out the holidays. over the years we’ve all gotten comfortable with making sure we ask for what it is we really need, and make it clearly different from what we just want. (Which, I feel, is the secret to a good family gathering with a minimum of drama.) My sister had a very specific desire: to introduce her son C to Sasha so that she could begin her campaign to get a dog. (It seems that he’s had a few scary experiences with dogs coming right up into his face and he’s on the verge of being AFRAID of all dogs.) I had a desire to see the two of them interact. My mother wanted to spend time with the family as a group and with me individually. Overall, I think we succeeded, but the highlight was the boy-dog interaction. (And Sasha’s first trip to the beach, but that’s another post.)

C. was definitely weirded out by Sasha. Her head is literally at the level of his head, so he consistently gets a clear look at her big mouth of teeth. And he tends to carry food around in his hands, so he’s a big attractant for her. But C. pretty quickly got over needing Mommy to hold him whenever Sasha came near and on day two got pretty good at saying “Sasha, NO” when she got up in his face. For our part, J and I just paid a lot of attention to where she was and what she was doing. A gentle “leave him alone” was all that was needed to turn her aside, even when it was a plate full of his food. What she loved to do most of all was sneakily kiss him. She’d just lope quietly from across the room and then then — slurp! — lick him upside the face. At first, this freaked him out. (See comment earlier about the big mouth of teeth.) Then he got used to it, or resigned to it, and he’d just wipe his face and go back to playing. Breakthrough on day 3 — she went to sleep on her bed and he played at his train table while the adults had dinner.

Day four sealed the deal: C went right up to her, shrieked her name and then ran out of the room, looking over his shoulder to see if she’d follow. She did, staying right behind his shoulder, slowly loping along in the wonderful wolf-like way that her breed exhibits. C ran right into the hall and got ‘cornered’ by her. He turned, laughing and held his hands up to his face and she licked him right under the chin, which made him shriek with laughter again and run back through the house, with her grinning and following behind.

Fun stuff. I think I have some pictures (it’s sort of a blur to me now) and if so, I will post them soon.

Weekly Silliness: My Intelligence Type

Your result for Howard Gardner’s Eight Types of Intelligence Test: Linguistic

31% Logical, 25% Spatial, 51% Linguistic, 27% Intrapersonal, 16% Interpersonal, 25% Musical, 18% Bodily-Kinesthetic and 45% Naturalistic!

“Verbal-linguistic intelligence has to do with words, spoken or written. People with verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words and dates. They tend to learn best by reading, taking notes, listening to lectures, and via discussion and debate. They are also frequently skilled at explaining, teaching and oration or persuasive speaking. Those with verbal-linguistic intelligence learn foreign languages very easily as they have high verbal memory and recall, and an ability to understand and manipulate syntax and structure.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include writers, lawyers, philosophers, journalists, politicians and teachers.” (Wikipedia)

I’m including the info for Naturalistic as well, since that is so (relatively) close to my linguistic score.

“This area has to do with nature, nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings. This is the eighth and newest of the intelligences, added to the theory in 1999. This type of intelligence was not part of Gardner’s original theory of Multiple Intelligences. Those with it are said to have greater sensitivity to nature and their place within it, the ability to nurture and grow things, and greater ease in caring for, taming and interacting with animals. They may also be able to discern changes in weather or similar fluctuations in their natural surroundings. They are also good at recognizing and classifying different species. “Naturalists” learn best when the subject involves collecting and analyzing, or is closely related to something prominent in nature; they also don’t enjoy learning unfamiliar or seemingly useless subjects with little or no connections to nature. It is advised that naturalistic learners would learn more through being outside or in a kinesthetic way.

The theory behind this intelligence is often criticized, much like the spiritual or existential intelligence (see below), as it is seen by many as not indicative of an intelligence but rather an interest. However it might have been a more valuable and useful intelligence in prehistoric times when humans lived closer to nature.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include scientists, naturalists, conservationists, gardeners and farmers.” (Wikipedia)

Heaven in a Bowl: Lisa’s Winter Stew

A few weeks ago, I’d asked J. to pick up a mix of root veggies so we could have them with various upcoming meals. He got a couple of sweet potatoes, garnet yams, russet potatoes, yukon golds (about 1 lb) and a couple of butternut squash. The law of cooking being what it is in my household, we ate one butternut and just haven’t gotten to the rest.

(Yeah, I know “just haven’t gotten to it” is a very lame excuse. It’s only redeeming value is that it is also true.)

Yesterday morning I quickly glanced through our pantry and fridge to make sure we weren’t going to have a lot of rotting things greeting us when we return from SF. (Virgo, aka A/R, alert: We’re not leaving till Sunday, so this meant I could use up stuff over the course of 4-5 meals.) The sight of all that lovely starch made me very sad and I resolved to do my best to do something with all of it before we left.

At first I was tempted to just cook it and mash it, because $5 dinners did it. But then I realized I wasn’t sure how well it would freeze. So when I ran to the (fantabulous) Metro Market for lunch, I tried to think of something to make. A row of fresh-pressed apple cider caught my eye, and I decided to cook a pork roast with cider and use the sweet potatoes and yams (don’t you know its a fundamental precept of the universe that pork+cider+sweet potato = YUM? It is. Unless you’re a vegetarian.)

A quick chat with the lovely meat lady, and I was handed 4 pounds of pork shoulder. “Do you have anything smaller?” I asked, “it’s just my partner and I.” No problem, she just cut it in half. I added that cider to my basket and went home. (Lunch, if you must know, was lox, bagel, smoked gouda, and an apple.)

Once home I started looking for a recipe, but ended up combining two. One was a Pork & Pumpkin Stew (from Gourmet magazine, October 1991) and the other my old favorite Winter Squash and Chicken Stew with Indian Spices.

My recipe is this:


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups cider
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound garnet yams, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • In a cast iron Dutch oven heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Brown the pork, patted dry, in two batches, transferring it with a slotted spoon to a bowl as it is browned.

    Add the onions to the kettle, cook them, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, then stir in the garlic. (This keeps the garlic from burning.) Add the cider, the broth, and the pork with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Bring the mixture to a boil, and braise the stew, covered, in the middle of a preheated 350° F. oven for 1 hour.

    Stir in the sweet potatoes, yams, and spices. Continue braising, covered, for 45 minutes or until the yams are tender. Remove from oven and cool just enough to eat.

    This is a magnificent stew: rich, hearty, spicy and sweet. The starches have basically dissolved enough to make a rich ‘creamy’ sauce, and the pork is meltingly tender. So good. So very very good.

    Dribbling through my brain

    I’m feeling relatively incoherent this morning, but I also want to write. In an attempt to not actually sabotage myself (or bore you) I’m going to share some of the items that caught my attention as I was reading my morning round up of blogs and news this morning.

    I can’t decide whether this is seriously wicked activism in the style of Jonathan Swift, or just a sad commentary of our journalists (in general) and the lack of critical thinking in most of society today. To sum, an elaborate hoax created a McCain advisor who simply did not exist — but got a lot of media attention:

    Tolerance is more than what we say, its what we do. Kudos to this young woman for making a point about what defines acceptable in your local community. I’m particularly shocked at the death threats. It’s all summed up in one comment from the reporter, John Kass: “That’s when you know America is truly supportive of diversity of opinion, when children must whisper for fear of being ostracized, heckled and crucifixed [because of a t shirt].”,0,2881384.column?page=1

    For my daily irritation/angry-making moment, here’s the latest from the ACLU. Apparently merely showing up at a presidential speech with a car (presumably in the parking lot) counts as subversive. Or something. I would understand if they showed up in some kind of outfit that is in itself a political statement (like, blood stained polyester clothes), or carrying placards announcing their opinions for the TV crews to see. But, a bumper sticker? Please tell me the judge misunderstood. Please tell me the nightmare really is over.

    DINKs turned me on to a fascinating and serious audio piece by NPRs Fresh Air. Its a revealing (and disillusioning) look at how greed became the corporate mantra. Not that surprising for this former player on Wall Street, but nonetheless, it reminds me how angry I am that so many people made so MUCH money and now the larger group is paying for their mistake. Several times over. Check out the original article and see for yourself. (It also reminds me of the picture I saw a few weeks ago of the people praying over the brass bull at the NY Stock exchange — utterly oblivious to the irony. Link to that image listed second, below.)

    We live in interesting times. Now its time to get some work done.

    Facing North Update

    Seven new reviews posted and an article from the venerable Matthew Fox.

    Celtic Wheel of the Year
    Magickal Progressions
    Sekhem Heka: A Natural Healing &  Self-Development System
    50 Ways to Leave Your 40s
    Homeopathic Color & Sound Remedies
    Psychic Energy Codex
    Rock Your World w/ the Divine Mother


    Interviewing Morgan and Illes

    I have the opportunity to interview two Red Wheel/Weiser authors — Michele Morgan and Judika Illes — and I thought it would be a great chance for y’all to ask questions of them on your behalf.

    Michele Morgan is the author of Simple Wicca (recently re-released) and A Magical Course in Tarot. Her website is

    Judika Illes is the author of The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Pure Magic and the recently released Magic When You Need It. Her website is:

    Please spread the word and let me know what you want to know from these very intriguing ladies! I can be reached at: or (replace the _at_ with @).


    Fear and Optimism

    I am generally an optimist — I look for the positive in people and events around me and tend to stay away from making dire predictions. Its part and parcel of being a witch, I know how my thoughts can influence outcomes.

    But at times I can’t keep the optimism going, and there are some things going on right now that make me worry whether things will be as they are in my life this time next year. I’m doing what I can, I’m sending out the energy, but the key element is (as always) that the Deity sees further and more clearly than I — and so my life may be dreadfully shaken up and radically altered in support of that vision, rather than my own.

    This is what I woke up thinking this morning. And today’s ‘daily meditation’ for the class was “Letting Go of Fear” by Melody Beattie:

    Picture yourself swimming floating – peacefully down a gentle stream. All you need to do is breathe, relax, and go with the flow.

    Suddenly, you become conscious of your situation. Frightened, overwhelmed with “what ifs”? your body tenses. You begin to thrash around, frantically looking for something to grab on to.

    You panic so hard you start to go under. Then you remember – you?re working too hard at this. You dont need to panic. All you need to do is breathe, relax, and go with the flow. You won?t drown.

    Panic is our great enemy.

    We dont need to become desperate. If overwhelming problems appear in our life, we need to stop struggling. We can tread water for a bit, until our equilibrium returns. Then we can go back to floating peacefully down the gentle stream. It is our stream. It is a safe stream. Our course has been charted. All is well.

    Today, I will relax, breathe, and go with the flow.

    From “The Language of Letting Go” by Melody Beattie
    1990, Hazelden Foundation.

    Having written this out I realize that the answer is contained in my very words: the Deity sees further and more clearly. Anything that happens to me, anything outside of my direct control, is for the best. Ultimately, and in the end, but it is for the best. I have faith in that, I have proof of it (based on past events).

    So, I may still worry a bit, but now it is just ‘how is it going to turn out?’ not ‘what is going to happen?’

    Weekly Silliness: My Dewey Decimal

    I had a choice of three, the other two were 060 General organizations & museum science and 013 [Unassigned]. I chose:

    Lisa McS’s Dewey Decimal Section:

    441 French writing systems & phonology

    Lisa McS = 2991339 = 299+133+9 = 441

    400 Language

    Linguistics and language books.

    What it says about you:
    You value communication, even with people who are different from you. You like trying new things don’t mind being exposed to unfamiliar territory. You get bored with routines that never change.

    Find your Dewey Decimal Section at


    Unassigned (as it turns out) also describes me pretty well:

    Lisa McS’s Dewey Decimal Section:

    000 Computer Science, Information & General Works

    Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.

    What it says about you:
    You are very informative and up to date. You’re working on living in the here and now, not the past. You go through a lot of changes. When you make a decision you can be very sure of yourself, maybe even stubborn, but your friends appreciate your honesty and resolve.

    Find your Dewey Decimal Section at