Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Joy of Gardening....Between Showers

I didn't do much today thanks to the weather. I'm a little late in pruning the blueberries, so all I did was trim off any dead or scraggly looking twigs or canes. That alone was enough to make the plants look better, but I'm hoping it'll also allow the plants to put all their energy into the good canes and not into trying to resuscitate the bad ones.

I also pruned the Cape Fuchsia, which is huge. I didn't worry too much about how much I was pruning back because I have a feeling it's one of those plants that just comes back stronger. I didn't cut off all the new growth, but I cut a few stalks down to the ground and tried to shape it so it wasn't quite as overgrown. I also pruned a couple of branches on a nearby butterfly bush so it wasn't spreading into other plants as much.

I have this big patch of weeds (mostly clover with some other yucky weeds peppered through it), which is, of course, where I want to put my berry bushes. I hacked a big section out, dug a couple of holes, and put my berry bushes in. (Finally!!) Clover is pretty, and some argue that it's a beneficial plant (I certainly don't want to harm the bee population), but I also don't want to have to watch where I'm stepping constantly or have it spread around the yard. I'd also like a little sitting area in that spot someday. Maybe putting up a mason bee house will balance things out. ;)

My hubby was nice enough to do the mowing and weeding in the front yard (mowed the back yard a little while ago). Yay!

Next: spruce up the lawn and plan the veggie garden. The yard is still progressing even if the weather is creating some challenges!

Friday, March 28, 2008


Self is the true refuge of self.
-The Buddha

Take refuge in yourself this weekend.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Couple o' Contests

Just thought I'd share the love and pass along a few contests. It may decrease my chances of winning, but I'll win on the INSIDE for being such a generous person, right? ;)

My Inner French Girl is doing a contest for a $25 gift certificate towards her friend's store, Wired Originals. Read the instructions and post a comment for your chance to win! The only catch is you need a paypal account. Ends Monday the 31st.

NY $pender has this contest to win a pair of Kipepeo earrings. Just leave a comment describing what outfit you'd wear with those lovely earrings. Ends Friday the 28th.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Some Critter Pics

Here are some pictures I just felt like sharing after all the chatting with My Inner French Girl about critters in the yard. These were some of our friends at a previous house. We've already got hummingbirds and goldfinches hanging around, and I'm hoping to attract frogs again. They're such good (if a little noisy) neighbors. All the good hummingbird shots were done by the hubby, who has a much steadier hand than I do.

In Flight

Little one warming itself

Beautiful color

Can't I eat in peace??

Sexy redhead

Flock of Goldfinches


Monday, March 24, 2008

practice compassion

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
-The Dalai Lama

Very simple and true.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

I don't like to cook but I love to bake and make desserts. I was dying to make this easy little cake because I remember being excited about the bunny cake my grandmother always made for Easter. It's a tradition worth carrying on! My grandmother was happy with it. :) She said she always enjoyed making it for Easter, and I did too.

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I don't like Kevin Johnson any more than I liked Michael

Tonight's episode of Lost, "Meet Kevin Johnson," is probably my least favorite of the season so far. I'm sure the fact that Michael annoys the smokey outta me influences that just a smidge.

So what have we learned? We learned Michael has a death wish. We found out why Jack couldn't jump off the bridge. We confirmed that Mr. Friendly is indeed friendly with the Misters (not that there's anything wrong with that). We saw that SAYID CONTINUES TO KICK ASS. We learned that Sawyer still isn't getting the screen time he deserves. We now know that apparently not everyone on the freighter is on the same page. We still don't know who's in the freakin' coffin though.

So what's your take? Who shot at Rousseau and KyleIMeanKarl? Remember that the chopper left the freighter for a little "errand" - could that be it? Or did Ben send them into a trap?

Who do you think created the fake crash site - Widmore or Ben? It makes sense either way - both have the money and resources, and both seem like they could benefit from it. Maybe we'll find out Libby was behind everything!

Do you think the Captain was telling the truth (what he thought was the truth) about the black box, or was he feeding a story to Sayid and Desmond? Does Widmore really agree with Lapidus or is he just stringing Lapidus along because Lapidus knows it was a fake crash?

We ended the freighter sequences with Sayid tattling on Michael to the Captain. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if the Captain says "Yeah, I know." I was also quite interested in what Miles was saying - I wonder what the extent of Miles' abilities are and why he would know who's hiding what (or if it's just a simple hunch).

This episode definitely created way more questions than it answered. A good episode to break on, I suppose. Can't wait to see how they all get off the Island! I hope we find out what the Others have been up to this whole time. I wouldn't mind checking up on Penny and her search either.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

the life cycle

Birth and death are not two different states, but they are different aspects of the same state. There is as little reason to deplore the one as there is to be pleased over the other.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Meh and Yay

Meh: I got a sudden cold/sore throat thing yesterday that kept me home today and BETTER BE GONE TOMORROW. I used spearmint and eucalyptus shampoo and conditioner and lavender body wash to perk up my senses and clear my head a bit. I have discovered that hot water (with varying strengths of tea) is sweet nectar from the gods for me and will probably my exclusive sore throat treatment from this day forward. I've never been a fan of the menthol stuff that's cold and freezes your throat - even drinking cold or room temperature water is unappealing to me. I choke orange juice down. But warm water...oh man does that go down smooth. What do you use to feel better?

Yay: I watched the Charlie Brown Easter special! Yes, I am cheesy like that. But whatever happened to the rest of the holiday specials?? I have Halloween and Easter specials from Looney Toons, Garfield, and Charlie Brown on VHS that we recorded off the TV when we were kids, but I don't even have a VCR anymore! Put those bad boys back on TV! Does anyone remember that jingle that the broadcast channels would play when a "Special" (cartoon) was on in the evening? They don't have that anymore either. How sad. What is the world coming to?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More on Gardening

New Plants In The Family
There's nothing like shoveling dirt to get you out of a lazy funk! I purchased a Pink Jasmine today, which I put in the ground right away. I chose a middle-sized one with the idea that it will be somewhat showy and off to a good start right away. I tried the small pot once before and it went kaput. :/

I also purchased a Kangaroo Paw (Garnet), which I've learned is a great container plant and cut flower. It also attracts hummingbirds. It'll stay in the container (for now at least).

Now's The Time!
St. Patrick's Day is the time to plant Sweet Peas, so I've got mine soaking now so they'll be ready to plant tomorrow evening. I've chosen Royal Family for variety and Flora Norton for its lovely lavender-blue color and because it's an heirloom variety. I haven't had much luck with sweet peas in the past, but I'll just keep trying because they're my favorite flower!

Now (mid-March) is also the time for me to prune and care for the Blueberries and Cape Fuchsia (I don't know which one I have - it's one of the red/orange/coral ones).

Planning For The Future
I've still got the lawn and veggie garden to go. Instead of attempting to dethatch the lawn, I think I will do some localized dethatching, aerating, and weeding (along with a second dose of Weed B Gone), then seed and fertilize. I don't think I'll be able to dethatch, aerate, seed, and fertilize the whole lawn, no matter how much determination and gusto I have to do so, but I don't want to know how much it would cost to have it done professionally. Maybe a more "natural" lawn is a good thing! ;) I need to plant some berry bushes I have in pots and plan out my veggie patch.

Sunday Five (or A Way to Post Something Without Much Thought)

I'm ripping off Fabulously Broke in the City for gits and shiggles. Hope she doesn't mind. ;) It's just that kinda day, ya know?

Friday Sunday Five
Five things I can't live without.....
1. Husband, dogs, family, etc.
2. Computers
3. Seeing outside
4. Moisturizer
5. My bed

Five celebrities you can't stand.....
1. Tomkat (2 for the price of 1!)
2. Reality show "celebrities"
3. Matthew "alrightalrightalightalright" McConaughey
4. Mel Gibson
5. Denise Richards

Five books you enjoyed reading.....
1. The Red Tent
2. Frankenstein
3. Calvin and Hobbes collections
4. Mysteries
5. To Kill a Mockingbird

Five items in your purse.....
1. Wallet
2. e.l.f. case with lipglosses and lipsticks
3. Hanky
4. Cell Phone
4. Coach Fragrance sample

Five movies you like.....
1. just watched The Woodlanders which was good
2. Casino Royale
3. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
4. Sleepy Hollow
5. Pirates of the Caribbean 1, 2, and 3

What are your Friday Five?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Who Doesn't Enjoy Talking About Themselves?

I don't, actually. I just finally updated my profile to include some content.

Sometimes I wonder if people think that because I don't ask them questions about themselves in social situations, I'm being rude. I like hearing other people talk about themselves, but I don't inquire very often because I don't want to be nosey about the wrong thing or put people on the spot about something. Does anyone else think like that?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Fine Frenzy

I've been listening to A Fine Frenzy's album One Cell in the Sea a lot lately. A Fine Frenzy is a 22 year old girl named Alison Sudol from the West Coast of the US, born in Seattle and raised in LA. She graduated high school at 16 and has been working on her music ever since. With the red hair, poetic lyrics, and girl-at-a-piano style, she reminds me a lot of another favorite of mine, Tori Amos, but as far as I know, Tori's not one of her inspirations. My favorites off the album are Rangers, Last of Days, Hope for the Hopeless, and Come On, Come Out. Her writing is great, but it's the music and harmonies that makes these songs stand out for me.

Some of my favorite lyrics:

watching the sky, you're watching a painting
coming to life, shifting and shaping
staying inside, it all goes all goes by

a blanket unfolds,
a blanket to lie
the pieces of gold
they light up your eyes
and now we're alone
and now we're alive

-Come On, Come Out

like an apple on a tree
hiding out behind the leaves
I was difficult to reach
but you picked me
like a shell upon a beach
just another pretty piece
I was difficult to see
but you picked me,
yeah you picked me

-You Picked Me

melancholy phantoms eye our skins
poisoned apples falling with the wind
hear the sigh of the trees
those who enter here never leave


further in and on we go
sightless creatures tugging at our clothes
cutting through the twilight, sword in hand
strangers once, united against the land


through wars and harvest moons
I will wait for you

-Last of Days

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

pretend to be

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
-Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, March 10, 2008


There have been a lot of items in the news lately about animal abuse and neglect, both locally and internationally. I'm not going to rehash any of it here because, well, it sickens me. It sickens me physically to see and hear the disgusting and cruel things humans are doing to animals, just because they can. It sickens me emotionally to think that these people (if you can call them that) are capable of doing things that churn my stomach just to hear about.

As humans, we are fortunate enough to be in a position where we can act as stewards for animals (and the environment as a whole). We can protect them from the useless, pointless, cruel pranks we see in the news by seeing ourselves as part of the same natural world the animals exist in. We can teach our kids how to be kind to animals as well as each other. We can support causes and politicians that support the protection and humane treatment of animals. We can simply be an example.

On April 10, you can show your support of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals by wearing orange for ASPCA Day. If you don't have orange clothing, you can do what I'm going to do and buy a t-shirt from the store to show support in public and donate to the cause. Use the code ADAY08 to get 10% off.

Anyway, I'm not trying to be too preachy or "bleeding heart" because I know that puts a lot of people off to causes like this. I'm just trying to point out how easy it is for humans to be kind...or at least not animals. It SHOULD pull at your heart or make you a little queasy to hear about cruelty - we are not meant to be solitary creatures looking out only for ourselves. We get along best as a community when we look out for others, especially those who can't defend themselves as easily.

I forgot to mention another animal-related deal. I was notified by email that if you spend more than $25 at the Animal Rescue Site store TODAY, "you'll automatically vaccinate a homeless companion animal--at no extra cost to you! That's in addition to the bowls of food you fund with every item."

Other helpful purchase options:
Protect 10 Shelter Dogs with Vaccinations
Protect 10 Shelter Cats with Vaccinations

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Why I learn from Astarte

Astarte was the goddess of fertility, sexuality (love), and war for Semitic tribes. She was also known in other regions as Ishtar, Inanna, and later as Aphrodite and Venus. I love the duality: the combination of what we might consider 'feminine' (love) and 'masculine' (war) traits. I think everyone has some of this duality to some degree, and I don't think women should be expected to be all feminine, all the time (and vice versa for men). I also think it's better to see sexuality, love, and conflict as natural aspects of humans and deal with them accordingly in balance, rather than trying to suppress any one of them. Astarte is one of the lesser known of the aforementioned goddesses, in my opinion, and that's part of why I chose her. I wanted the emphasis to be on the goddess and the complexities that she represents, rather than a romanticized focus on love and beauty. I still love (sorry) that part of her though - I love depictions of Venus in art and have a copy of the Rokeby Venus in my bedroom.

I've always been interested in world religions and mythologies, as well as the anthropological history of women. It seems as though a lot of the ancient (and 'female') deities have been demonized or cast off by more recent cultures, so I think it's interesting to learn about the original meanings and beliefs in these deities. This is also why you might see me posting about the pagan (or other) histories of holidays. It's a good time to talk about the goddess of fertility, considering we're moving into the seasons of Spring, Easter, and fertility! Plants and animals will be seeing new growth and life, decorations with brightly colored eggs will be all over, and we'll all start to wake up out of our winter naps.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Other Woman

I wasn't planning to write about this episode of Lost because I didn't want to turn this into a blog about Lost, but I saw something in the episode that I haven't seen mentioned in any spoiler sites (so far) and it's worth noting!

When Juliet goes over to Ben "I Don't Know How to Woo a Woman" Linus' house for his 2 person dinner party, did anyone catch the painting on the wall as she walked in the door? It looked like a portrait of Ben's mom (and Juliet) - I think this pretty much confirms that the "her" Juliet looks like is Ben's mother, not Annie, as is being speculated. Oedipus Complex, anyone? Many people seem to think Harper was referring to Annie as the "her" Juliet looks like, but Annie had brown hair for one thing. Some people wondered how The Others would have known what his mother looked like, but I think that's part of the reason we saw the painting - to see that he did keep images of her in some form. He has multiple passports, money, files on people - finding information about his mother is probably easy peasy lemon squeezy. Interesting side note, the actress who played his mother is Michael Emerson's wife.

I don't know what Lost could have followed The Constant with that could have compared, but I like Juliet so I was happy with the episode. There were a few interesting things in my opinion: the Widmore video, giving the Island some Beano, Ben becoming "one of the guys," the Jacket kiss, and JULIET IS BEN'S. As I've seen other people comment, I think this was a story-building episode.

I think they should just stick to Jack/Juliet and Kate/Sawyer and forget this Jack/Kate garbage. But I know that's not going to happen so I'm not going to worry about it! :)

Lost Post - DONE. (shout out to Gordon Ramsay's The F Word)

The Banner

I'm playing around with the banner at the top. The picture is of a myrtle tree, courtesy of my mother!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Profile Pic

I whipped up a simple little profile pic. The 8-sided star is a symbol of Astarte. Then there's lil ol' me prancing around on the ground underneath it (and purple's my favorite color). In real life, I don't prance. Then again, I'm not long and lithe either. ;)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Yummy Torchwood

If you're a Torchwood fan and you haven't yet watched the latest episode ("Reset") - don't read this post.


The television gods were smiling down on me last week. Not only was I treated to a FANTASTIC episode of Lost, but I ended the week with a exciting episode of Torchwood called "Reset," filled with all sorts of goodies.

It started off with the return of Martha Jones (played by the beautiful Freema Agyeman). The banter between Martha and Jack was playful and flirty and made me wish that they would just make a Doctor Who with Jack and Martha as sidekicks all season. Martha was smart, cool, and confident, something the other two ladies in Torchwood could learn a little about. She made a reference to a "boyfriend" - would she have been referring to The Doctor or some other guy we haven't met yet? Last I saw, The Doctor was so not into her. She could just cut her losses and go for Jack - he's apparently very "innovative, bordering on avant-garde," as we learn from Ianto. Nice!

THEN...Charles Widmore! Alan Dale, known to many through his years on Australia's Neighbours and several American dramas, plays the omnipresent Charles Widmore on Lost, yet I got a double dose of him when he appeared on Torchwood as a scary researcher and professor. He certainly does a great job of giving me chills in whatever Scary Person role he plays.

AND THEN...OWEN!!!! Owen gets shot (by Alan Dale of course!) protecting Martha - I totally thought Jack was going to jump in the way, being as he can't die and all - but NO. I cheated and looked at Burn Gorman's IMDB entry to see what other episodes he's credited to, and it looks like he'll be in a few more...but will it be as a corpse? There are more episodes listed than what Burn's credited for so.... However it plays out, this was certainly a shocking ending.

Oh, and the episode's theme of resetting our bodies to "factory defaults" was interesting, and I love how Jack always stands up for humane (aliene?) treatment of aliens. :)

finding the divine

If you don't find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

We all have something, call it "God" or "goodness" or "the divine," that gives us the ability to be more. Finding that in everyone (including ourselves) is not easy.

Impostor Phenomenon

I've recently discovered an interesting phenomenon that I realized I was suffering from. I didn't know it wasn't "just me." Impostor Phenomenon, or Impostor Syndrome, is not officially a disorder (I do not think I have a physchological disorder by showing these symptoms), but appears to be more of a description of an observed trend. Basically, it means you don't feel like you deserve your successes and fear that others will soon discover you are a fraud. The part that really made me look twice is that it seems to be much more common in women, especially with academic and professional achievements.

Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes wrote an article (read the pdf here) describing their research on the topic. I don't really fit in to the general groups of who suffers from it because my parents never seemed to imply that I couldn't match my siblings intellectually, nor did they act like I could do anything I wanted with ease. This feeling in me definitely manifested itself in college, not within my family. It is true, however, that the more I achieved in school, the more I felt like an "impostor." I usually did fairly well in school, at least good enough for my own satisfaction, but where I go wrong is feeling like all the knowledge I accumulated in my studies disappeared as soon as I finished school. I would often feel that I "took tests well" and "was good at getting homework done" but not that I was increasing my own knowledge (i.e. as described in the article, it was based on a temporary quality - effort - rather than abilities inherent in me). I also think I look up to my colleagues TOO much and view them as way beyond me, intellectually.

On the other hand, the article does make it plain to me that my colleagues ARE smart and DO know that I am qualified because they see the work that I do now and know what I've been able to accomplish in the past. Rather than seeing them as far more intelligent than me, I should view them (and their greater experience) as what I'm working towards.

I hope I don't come across as a mental case! It's not as though I go to work everyday thinking "I'm an idiot and soon they'll discover it." I've just had those moments where I'll think to myself "one of these days they'll discover I'm no good or change their minds about me" or feel that I haven't worked hard enough to deserve the job I have. After seeing that this is such a common affliction - that's it's NOT "just me" - it certainly puts it into perspective for me and helps me realize how silly that type of thinking is for me. We should all be able to be proud of our accomplishments and confident in our work without feeling that we are being arrogant or false.

For more info and links, you can also go to the wikipedia entry on Impostor Syndrome.