Friday, March 21, 2014

Not quit "zero" waste.

This morning, my municipal delivered this baby, and took my old one. When I ordered it, the woman said: "Just so you know, you have to keep it at least 6 months, otherwise you will be charged!".

Not much confidence in me?

I have to admit, my first impulse to order a smaller can was to save money. I am on a mission to lower our everyday living costs, so everything is on the table.

I normally shop in bulk, or at the farmer's market, BUT, a few days ago, I went for a "quick shop" for dinner. Big mistake. As I was making our dinner, I realized that this one meal alone was generating: 3 plastic containers from cucumber, tomatoes, strawberries. 1 plastic bag from salad. 1 plastic bag from pasta, 2 styro plates from the chicken.

I was ashamed. First: Never shop on impulse & hungry.

Second, I thought about how much of my hard earned money is actually going to the "food", vs. how much is going to the packaging & selling? The package has to made, packaged, shipped, unpacked, filled with food, stickered, packed up again, shipped, and then put on a shelf. Every step has to be handled by a machine or person. Then I empty it, put it in the recycle bin, it has to be picked up, sorted, and recycled (if I am lucky, I hear not all recycles REALLY make it to a new life

Crazy, right?

Don't get me wrong, this is not the first time I have pondered on this.  Though I do not anticipate that we will become a "Zero Waste" family (see this family, who generates ONE QUART of garbage a year! Good tips :)..) over night,  I am taking the first steps to force my family to rethink garbage. Though we compost & recycle, we still generate a fair amount of garbage every week. We went from a 60 gallon can to a 30 gallon. That is still a tremendous amount, if you think about it. My family alone generated  240 gallons of trash a month that went to a landfill.

Now we have half the size of a can, let's see how inventive we get :).

Maybe in 6 months I will call our municipal again and challenge them to an even smaller can, or NO GARBAGE??

Live consciously.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Virgin, Mama, Witch, & Bitch

Dear Beautifuls!
This is an excerpt from the book that I published a few years ago, "Goddess in the Groove ~ Musings from the Goddess Within". The words hold true today, as they did yesterday. "Bitch" & "Witch" energy is coming up strong lately, so I find it is timely to send this out to you, and the Universe.

I am sharing this with a reminder that no portions of this may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without my permission.  I do want you to share, Beautifuls. Please do! Please just share from here so my words stay true :).

Much love,

Virgin, Mama, Witch & Bitch

  When a girl baby is born, she is already born into a world of “must be”. Women’s roles start at this early stage. Girls are supposed to wear pretty dresses and do “girlie” things. Goddess forbid the little girl child is not “cute”, since little girls are supposed to look like little dolls. How many times do you hear “I wish I had a little girl! I could dress her up and do her hair, they are so fun!”? Little girls that play with boy things, or are dirty, rough, and wear pants all the time, are considered “tomboys” from toddlerhood on, they are just not “real” little girls….

  Puberty comes, and we are confronted with the term “virgin”, but not in the sense of generations past, when being a virgin was a status symbol of high honor. Society has teenage girls believing it is a disgrace to be a virgin. Their peers and their society pressure girls into sex early, thinking it is the thing to do, and the one who actually “does it” is the one who ends up a teenage mama. To the lucky girls, the “virgin” is the stage of beauty and growth. Girls grow breasts, have their first menstruation, and slowly become women. In many societies and cultures, this stage is still honored with beautiful celebrations and rites of passage. We women need to give our girls the knowledge and self-esteem that helps them develop. We have to teach them that THEY have the right to decide over their bodies and their destiny, giving them choices. The “virgin” is a stage of purity and beauty, not just a metaphoric term whether you have had sex or not.

  For most women, the next stage is “Mama”. They get married and become a wife, and the new mama to their husband, or they perform the miracle of birthing a new human child. Some women choose to skip this stage all together; though I believe we all have the “Mama” instilled in us, and play this role for someone or something in our lives. No matter how well we try to prepare, we cannot study up on this role, but grow into it. Intuition and experience turn us into masters, nurturers with the goal of protecting our kingdom. We portray this role with fierceness, and mamas are often compared to tigresses protecting their cub. The variations “Mamas” are as diverse as women themselves: some women stand by their man till death does them part, some women refer to their career or business accomplishment as ‘their baby” and others protect and live for their children.

  The “Witch” is not as the word in the dictionary, but the spiritual side of a woman. Witches, before their discrimination and elimination, were women of great intelligence and honor. Their rank in society was high and powerful. They were healers, and women whose intuition and knowledge let them perform great deeds. They were not always Beauties, but their aura of power and self-confidence made them beautiful, no matter what the outer shell portrayed. When today’s woman reaches this stage, she is ready for change and self-fulfillment. She is ready to find her inner self and true meaning in life. She turns to meditation, psychics, aromatherapy, yoga, or other forms of “natural healing” to comfort her inner spirit. In this stage, a woman stops dieting, dying, and otherwise torturing herself to fit into society’s beauty ideal, she turns her back and starts to find her beauty inside. She becomes more confident, starts making changes, and the “Bitch” comes out.

  The “Bitch” is in us from toddler stage, we just don’t know it. When we discover her in us for the first time, we suppress her due to “etiquette”. But boy, when we need her, is she ever helpful! She is our “other self” that comes out when we fell threatened, cheated, or confronted. When we are in a bad place because something in our life is just not right, our first step to changing it is to become “bitchy”. Some women get stuck on this step for a very long time, but sooner or later they realize it and move forward. Others jump right on up! In corporate America, strong and powerful women are often referred to as “bitches” by their male counterparts or employees of both sexes, because that attitude is what keeps them above ground and in charge. People are intimidated, and of course annoyed, by bitchy women, but if you look at it as a stage of wonderful stage you will see your sisters in a much rosier light!

   Look at yourself, what stage are you in now? And the next time someone calls you a “Bitch”, you can just smile and say “Why, THANK YOU!” The circle is becoming complete.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

And THIS is how you raise a Barbie Girl.

My daughter is causing a stir :) I am so proud.

A few weeks ago, she wrote an article on the Huffpost Teen in response to the "Should there be a plus sized Barbie?" question, and the debate if girls should play with Barbie at all. If you have not read it, here you go:

Can you see it already?
Here is the thing. I raised this girl to be a GODDESS. She named herself Athena at a young age. And, I played Barbies with her. Alot. You see, I played with Barbies when I was a little girl, and there was no way in hell I was going to deprive her, or myself, from dreaming up imaginative, glittery, pink worlds. I got the evil eyes, the whole "but Barbie gives girls unrealistic body ideals" spiel, and more. I did not care, because quite frankly, "I" did not look to Barbie for health/body/training advice, ever. If society is looking for a culprit that is teaching our young girls unrealistic ideals or low self-esteem, it needs to look elsewhere. Honestly, the people who argued this point with me when my daughter was little looked like they could use some glittery pink in their lives.

Right now, I am tracking them down personally and sending them these articles my daughter wrote :).

You see, I have a 16 year old daughter that has enough self esteem for two countries. She is smart, outspoken, confident, glittery, down to earth, adventurous, ambitious, healthy, aware......who does that remind you of?? Me! And BARBIE?

Barbie is now in Sports Illustrated. Of course! She is gorgeous in a swim suit. She is about as "real" as the other models they feature. The debate is on. Should Barbie be featured in Sports Illustrated? LOL!! Yes, why not? My daughter will tell you why she thinks so:

Barbie is a doll. She is a super woman, and why wouldn't we want our girls to play with someone so fabulous? BTW, Miss Piggy is quite fabulous & "outspoked" too, and no on is worried about her ruining our girls. We women are responsible for raising strong, independent, and aware girls. It is not up to a doll, a celebrity, or anyone else to be the one they look up to.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Make a Wish ~ The perfect beginning

My Solstice night came and went without much fanfare. Low key. We had a make-shift Yule log in the fire, played cards, talk about what we wanted to release, and about the new opportunities waiting for us. We made Wishbread. Many of my friends stay up all night, we lit a candle and went to bed.

This morning I woke up to a giant Wishbread! In the oven it goes, and when my family wakes up, we will have warm, sugary, blessings on our table, paired with spiced coffee and grass fed butter.  The first day of the new year is starting perfectly.

I am taking these last moment of "quiet" time to write down the flood of thoughts I had when waking.

I am blessed, though not perfect in any way. I have flaws, make mistakes, am a bit temperamental. I love, laugh, cry, and learn every day.

Our world is full of opportunities and wonderful people.

My family is pure joy to me, even though there are moments I forget that.

Shit happens, and you deal  with it. Using it as an opportunity to learn & deal has kept me sane and made me stronger.

The people who touch my life every day, on the street and via my computer, are like treasure boxes I find while wandering.

Off to have coffee & bread!
Wishing you a wonderful NEW year.
Much love,

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Goddess Holiday Gift Guide!

It's that time of year!

I LOVE the Holiday season :). I also stopped buying expensive gifts years ago, and that seems to be part of the stress people feel. This year, I am your Goddess Elf, and I will help you put together some FANTASTIC gifts, or give you some ideas, incorporating my Witches & Goddesses :). During the month of November & December, you will also receive a sample of my favorite Root Tea to warm you up & nourish your body, and with each order you place on my Etsy store, you will receive a $5 coupon to use on your next order :).

#1 Vintage Dreams

Together with the lovely Adella, this makes a great gift for your lovelies that are intrigued by history, enjoy shabby chic, have an old kitchen like mine :), or are gypsyish.

A great place to find accessories for the Kitchen Witch of your choice is estate sales or thrift shops. You could find an old blue mason jar, and put your favorite recipe in, or some cool kitchen tools. Linens are always wonderful. I always check for rips & stains. Usually, a good soaking in Oxyclean & hot wash gets out any stains. Embroidered tablecloths are my favorite finds, just think of all the love that went into them :). The one in the picture was embroidered by my Oma.

"Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in the background is one of the early additions that I found in a garage box at a sale for $1! Remember to dig around at estate sales, the treasures are often hidden and waiting for the right person :). If you can't find it, you can always order a new copy :).

#2 The Green Witch

Do you have a Green Witch in your life? You can pair the crafty Louinda up with one, or all, of these great witchy items. Find some old herb books at the thrift store, or order one of my favorites:
1. The Real Witches Kitchen
2. The Way of the Green Witch 
3. The Book of Herb Cookery (this one is out of print, but it may find you at a library sale :).)

Add a mortar for grinding herbs (these come in so many shapes & sizes! I like stone or ceramic), or some wonderful packs of herbs & spices. Make a special tea mix for your Witch, or you can order my favorite Root Tea, mixed by me, via Herbmagik (when available!).

Each of these gift ideas could also be paired with a beautiful vintage apron. Just make sure it has pockets!

#3 The Fermenter or Health Nut

 Creating bubbly concoctions is the thrill of any Kitchen Witch, and if they are fermented, they are super fabulous for your health :). Pair the vivacious Frederika with some bubbly temptations!

1 . Wild Fermentation. Definitely a must for all new & seasoned fermenters. Love the simplicity of the recipes, perfect for first timers.
Must I say more? Another must have! Not only does it have fabulous recipes, it is full of valuable information & explanations. Plus, it is pretty :).
3. Share a Kombucha scoby and a recipe for your favorite kombucha!
3. Make sourdough starter and share a jar with your favorite bread recipe.
4. Add a tea mix you make, or order the Root Tea I mix here :).
5. All you need is cabbage & a mason jar, and you an make your sauerkraut! Pickle-Biotic Home Fermentation Kit  makes it simple.

#4 The Goddess!

I may be bias, but I believe every woman (and girl!) needs a Goddess!
A Goddess makes a wonderful gift for yourself, a young girl, or another woman that you love. While supplies last, each one will come in a cloth pouch (pattern is a surprise, I make them from beautiful fabrics I find on my treasure hunts :).)
My book, "Musings from the Goddess Within", has short stories, anecdotes, and musings from 3 generations of women. You can see excerpts here. If you order a Goddess, you can get a copy of my book for a special price of $8. Just add "BOOK" to the comments when you order the Goddess, and I will add it to your invoice & order.

Don't forget to check my Etsy store for other great treasures, such as vintage cowboy boots, angels, Vitches, & more! 

If you are sending a gift, I will be more than happy to include a card with a personal message from you. You can choose from a traditional Christmas card, or something more eclectic. Below are some examples.

I hope you enjoyed this gift guide, and don't forget to spoil YOURSELF!!

Much love,

**This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps support Goddess in the Groove. Thank you!**

Monday, November 11, 2013

Open letter from a daughter of a Soldier

Every Veteran's Day, I think about my daddy. Not because he is an Army Vet, but because I know, and lived, what being a soldier can do to a man. In my heart, I thank our soldiers today for their service & sacrifice, because I know from experience that they sacrifice, and serve.

I am 44, so I was a baby during the Vietnam era. My daddy was a soldier, and was gone for a good part of my toddler years. He came back from Vietnam a changed man. Loyal to his troop, angry, broken, devasted, heart broken, tough, knowing how to kill a man with his bare hands. He cried at night in his sleep, had nightmares all time, and broke out in fits of anger and pure paranoia at any hour of the day.

I remember like it was yesterday, seeing my daddy fall into fits, and change into a complete stranger within seconds. He would wake up, and throw a king sized, wooden bed (that took 5 large men to carry) up against a wall as barrier. He slept with a loaded gun beside his bed (until the day he died), and one day I stood in the hall forever, right outside his bedroom door. I was only about 8 years old. I was going to my room, on the opposite side of the hall. My father was sleeping, he sensed me, but did not know it was me, and said "STOP RIGHT THERE, OR I'LL SHOOT!" in his sleep. I stopped. I already knew then that there was something wrong with my dad, but I did not understand until I was an adult, and he told me the heart breaking stories of the things he saw, did, and experienced.

Over the years, our family deteriorated under the pressure,  my daddy drank away the memories, and the war was in our lives & home every day. I remember being a teenager when I found the letters he wrote to my mom from Vietnam. I also found pictures of my dad with a little Asian girl, and a dog. Both were killed to retaliate against my father, and he always knew who did it. Until the day he died, my daddy mistrusted those who were supposed to have his back, and anyone who digs deep in a soldiers soul will know why.

My daddy has passed away, but on Veteran's Day I remember him in a special way. I am astonished by the fact that on Veteran's Day, people play up the "Thank Yous" to our soldiers, instead of honoring them and thanking them every day. They sacrifice more for our freedom than you know. I am happy that my daddy never has to see protesters (often in the name of God) at a soldier's funeral, they make my stomach turn. I detest video games like Call of Duty, because aside from the fact that they let you think you can kill without consequence, they also will never let you experience the true  fear, heartbreak, and bullshit a real soldier faces daily.

My daddy, and am  I sure thousands of other veterans, will never forget what they experienced in war. To all those out there today, giving their opinions on social media on soldiers, war, etc, especially those who watch from the comfort of their "free" homes, I hope this gives you another perspective. We should all make sure our soldiers, and their families, are taken care of in every way. Take a look what is really going on, what the media feeds you, and then your next "Thank you" to a soldier will be heart felt & true.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chicken Poop for the Soul

The sun was out, the breeze was blowing, and I was shoveling chicken poop.

A glorious afternoon!

I realized, while scooping poop, that I was happy & content. You might be wrinkling your nose, wondering if I have lost my mind.

I see this hour that it takes me to rake out, clean, de-spider, fill up with straw/food/fresh water as a Zen moment. It gives my brain time to think about all kinds of things that are pushed to the back when I am on the computer, phone, or in conversation.

The physical side, though it does not entail much heavy lifting, gets my heart rate up and makes my muscles stretch.

My chickens are scratch, peck, pooping around me to keep m compnay :).

I have often marveled at the happiness of farmers I know, who work HARD and early, and yet are happy doing this every day. Their morning routine sounds like a marathon to a suburbanite like me. Yet, I understand now how the physical labor, the brain space, and the result (a clean coop to go in, both for myself and the chickens, who just LOVE to play in the clean hay!) can be highly rewarding & balancing.

Suburbanites: Instand of getting up in the morning, having coffee, getting dressed, then hopping on the computer, becoming a commuter, or going to some form of inside, man-made space for a big chunk of the day, you can be outside (You could just be taking a nice long walk!). What would that do for your soul?
In and out of cars, wading through wafts of email (which, I have to say, only 5% is relevant in my case), going shopping, errand running.....blech!

I'd rather scoop chicken poop.