Monthly Archives: September 2009

I’m doing all right

Mostly. There’s some other potential drama/news in my life that I’m not going to share until it resolves itself, and that is (literally) depressing me.

I’m on the verge of a cold, which means I am staying home from work to get over rather than give into.

I’m making progress on completing my will and medical directive. (Which aren’t *hard* to, but are complicated by my intellectual assets. And no, I don’t mean my brain 🙂 thanks for asking.) There’s a longer post coming, but the short version would be: what do I do with the Tradition I created, my magickal writings, my ritual implements, and my websites full of data? Particularly since my life partner isn’t pagan.

So I am doing well. Then a friend had the following video posted as a comment. And I bawled.

Kate Bush: This Woman’s Work (video)

Thoughts on Mercury Retrograde

(carefully saved until he’s gone direct once again.)

I’m thinking about mercury retrograde (MR) and how the 3 weeks it lasts can be full of missed and tangled communications — that’s the obvious connection. But it is also a time when connections get examined, and a lot of information gets uncovered.

You don’t get good compost unless you turn the pile every once in awhile. MR often turns the pile and a lot of things crawl out and more things get exposed to oxygen, to life.

Sunday Fun: Blueberry Jam

I like making my own gifts. Not because I’m cheap, but because I feel that something made is inherently more special than that which is mass-produced. Each summer I make a variety of food gifts — canned or preserved nummies that have been very well received by others.

This week, I made Blueberry-Lemon Jam. (Recipe is at the end.)

Here’s the ingredients.


Of course, the most important ingredient are the blueberries.


The recipe, as with most canning recipes, is incredibly simple. Wash your fruit. Put in a big pot. Add sugar and spices. Cook.

Here it is at the beginning.


The berries cook for awhile and start to thicken. You can tell when its getting towards the boiling point — the berries get very dark purple, almost black.


Finally, it reaches a boil.


You don’t want to boil the berries hard, so keep it at a high simmer. The bright purple foam will go away (although sometimes you have to skim it off) and the berries get very thick.


You can see from the sides of the pot that the mixture has really cooked down.

Now, just pour into hot sterilized jars.


Process in a hot water bath for the recommended time.



Recipe is here.

This n That

It’s a little after 5pm on Friday evening, and I’m watching a definitely-waxing moon climb into a clear blue sky above the vaguely pyramidically building that almost-but-not-quite blocks m view of Mt. Rainier.

My, that’s a long sentence.

It’s been a long week. We’re interviewing for a new EA and that is a busy business. We are fortunate, however, in that all of the candidates we actually meet are truly wonderful people. (Kudos to the process.) great personalities, excellent skills. . . its really tough to choose. Luckily, I’m not the primary chooser.

I had my regular massage last night, after breaking ‘The News’ to C. It felt good to get the cricks and creaks worked out, after tentatively working out how we’ll keep doing massage work post surgery. Fortunately, she has a chair. We think a small pillow against my collarbone will hold me far enough away to allow for work to be done on my back, but not cause pressure to my wound.

I need an MRI before I can see the surgeon, but the MRI can’t be scheduled until at least 7 days after the first day of my moonflow. And since I’m not chemically-timed (i.e., I don’t take birth control pills) that date is a little up in the air at the moment. Yes, thank you Mr. Mercury, I appreciate your input. So, I may have to cancel my current appt. and reschedule (which may be as much as another 2 weeks out), which then leads to a farther-away surgery.

I can’t seem to sleep enough, and my mind continues to go off in odd directions *all the time*. It’s really frustrating. It also indicates how much I take my brain’s focus for granted along with the amount of data I automatically process, sort, and file/discard (as necessary). It’s a tad frightening.

A friend gifted me with an utterly-unlooked-for compliment on her blog today and moved me nearly to tears. The outpouring of warmth I’ve received has been surprising. And yes, I have had a number of Sally Fields moments: “You all like me — you REALLY like me!”

Astrology Skeptic

You can continue to be a skeptic, but I’d like to point out a few lines from Susan Miller’s AstrologyZone.

First, on Tuesday, September 15, Saturn will oppose Uranus. Saturn, now in Virgo, rules responsibilities, respect for tradition, and upholding the tried and true. Uranus is now in Pisces and rules creativity, chaos, rebellion, and all events that are unanticipated. Uranus is the slower moving planet, so Uranus will dominate this confrontation with Saturn. Innovation will be necessary from everyone.

Because Saturn will be in your house of self and identity, and Uranus will oppose Saturn, you may be in the process of updating your self-image by feedback you get from others.

The Sun rules your 12th house of places of confinement, such as hospitals or nursing homes.

The questions that are presented to you first on September 15 and then again on September 17, 18, and 23 will reveal once and for all that you that you really can’t continue on the same path as you have so far. You may be hit by a personal crisis at this time, so if you’ve been hoping something would change by itself, without your intervention, you will finally see the truth that it won’t. The decisions you make at mid-month may be painful, but even so, you will benefit from what you decide, for from then on, you will be on a much better road.

This month will demand that you see things very clearly and unemotionally. If this month were to have a slogan, it would be “Reality bites.” No matter what comes up near September 15 to 23, take a courageous stand. With the moon, Sun, Venus, and Mercury in Virgo, you are holding the winning cards.

The 15th was the day I got the news that I have cancer.

Biopsy Results

Right. So I haven’t mentioned this, although I’ve known for a week. There were people who needed to know first.

I have breast cancer.

It is a very small group of cells — a milk duct about the size of a small pea (0.7 cm) has been invaded by cancer cells. The technical term is: invasive ductal carninoma. The ‘invasive’ apparently refers only to the fact that the cells invaded the duct, not that they are now going to spread (or have already spread) throughout my body.

A secondary concern, as is the case with all breast cancers, is the potential that the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes in my arm pit. If so, then all the positives go out the window and my case gets pretty scary. Or maybe that last sentence should read: my case gets even scarier. I’m not. Not yet.

I am going to have a lumpectomy, wherein they will remove the infected duct and about .5 cm of material from all around the duct. Before the surgery, my breast will be injected with a slightly irradiated dye. That dye will makes its natural way into the lymph nodes, primarily one: the sentinel lymph node. Before performing the lumpectomy, my surgeon will locate the sentinel node, excise it, and send it down to pathology. There it will be examined for cancer cells. If they don’t find any — all is well and they’ll just sew me up. If they do find cancer cells in the node(s), they’ll take out a lot (all?) of lymph nodes and they whole process gets more complicated, post-surgery.

Post-surgery, I’ll recover for about a month. When I’m all healed up, I’ll start radiation therapy. Apparently that will be 5 days a week for about 4 weeks. I won’t know more about that part until after the surgery, when I meet with an oncologist.

In one sentence my life went sideways. I was absolutely not expecting it. The numbers were in my favor: no history of breast or ovarian cancer in my family; 80% of biopsies come back negative. I am a healthy person with room to improve, but I don’t have environmental or nutritional issues. I was literally shocked at the news.

In the week since I got the news (and again, I apologize) I’ve been talking with family members, loved ones, friends, and people who need to know. Not in any particular order, one of my loved ones was at a retreat for a week and didn’t find out until he was back in civilization. Another was on vacation and although I could have told him, I decided to wait until he was back so that his days of fun wouldn’t be marred.

I’ve re-connected with family members I literally haven’t talked with in years, and already people are sending positive thoughts, prayers, light, and juju at me. All is gratefully received. The BIG energy work is yet to come — I’m at the beginning of a long climb up a big mountain of information, capped off with a surgery that is going to really be difficult to cope with (more on that later, but for now: I sleep on my stomach. Think about it. Yeah.). And then, just when I’m really starting to feel better, I start radiation therapy.

And I’ll be blogging about it all the while.

Sunday Fun: Stone Fruit Chutney

One of my summer delights is canning/preserving for winter yumminess (and gifts for special people!).  Since this is my blog, I’m going to show you how I do it. (The recipe will be at the end.)

First, start with a variety of stone fruit — this year I had peaches, nectarines, and plums.


I like to peel the fruit. this is partially to eliminate any pesticides or contaminants, but also becuase the skin can be pretty tough. To do this, I drop the fruit into the canning water (which is simmering) for about two minutes. I fish them out. I use a paper towel for a better grip, and slide the peel right off.


Soon my ingredients look like this.


I chop the fruit and drop it into a big skillet. Then I add the vinegar. The heat goes to medium and I start to cook it down.


Isn’t it colorful? Once its cooked for a bit, I add the spices.


From here it’s just a matter of cooking the fruit down. You can tell when its getting close to being done, the fruit starts to disintegrate and make a thick sauce.


From here, it’s just basic canning.




Recipe is here.

Cross Stitch Kits and Patterns for Sale

I am cleaning out my needlework collection.

Kits include floss, fabric, and instructions. (Sometimes a needle as well.) Each is brand new. All are unopened, except the Eagle.

The Watcher — $12.50   A wolf peers around a pine tree. (Finished size should be about 9×14.)


Buffalo Skull — $15  A painted skull with feathers hanging from the horns. Includes beads and fetishes for adornment. Finished design would be about 7.5×8.5 (New is $36)

vision quest

Eagle — $7.50  An Aztec-styled eagle (aka Thunderbird) striking a coiled snake. Finished size 6×6. (New is $12.95) (Its the one on the left in the picture.)


Irish Blessing — $15  “May the roads rise . . .” surrounded by an intricate Celtic border. No longer available except as a chart, in collections. Item is in the front, left of the picture.


I also have two charts. These are the pattern ONLY, no fabric, thread, etc. Each is $5.00.

The Star Maiden by the (now defunct) Witches Stitches. You can see a photo of a completed project at:

Astrology Sample, also by Witches Stitches.


I’m happy to mail these kits and charts, $5 for a kit, $2.50 for a chart. International orders will be at cost.