This is what I call weather. Sixty degrees, sunny, sky as clear blue as Mary's mantle. Thanks to Son and G/Son and my madcap friend R. and to the hours and hours and hours that I spent last Autumn, the yard clean-up this Spring consisted of about an hour of gathering sticks. I'm transplanting crocus and bluebells and daffs in Spring instead of July to accommodate the landscaping that's going on. Everything, from the lilacs to the Japanese Maples to the rhododendron to the day lilies to the azaleas to the hostas to the woad to the fig trees is budding, budding, budding.
The male cardinal keeps demanding more seed and my squirrels who should, by rights, be skin and bones, following an Autumn of NO acorns, are fat as pigs, sitting on the deck railing calmly opening the peanuts with their little fingers, scarfing the sunflower seeds, feasting on kernels of corn. They chuff and scold Miss Thing whenever she dares to venture onto the screen porch. She turns her nose up at them and heads back inside. "I didn't want to associate with riff raff, anyway."
If I can just eat breakfast out here for the next 7 months, I'm happy.
Turns out, Obama won't be going to Fifteen to eat. Instead, Jamie Oliver, the chef at Fifteen, will be cooking for Obama and others at 10 Downing Street.
Jamie Oliver will be cooking a feast celebrating the best of British food for the G20 leaders this evening, the celebrity chef revealed today.
The politicians and their wives will begin their meal at Downing Street with a starter of organic Scottish salmon served withsamphireand sea kale, and a selection of vegetables from Sussex, Surrey and Kent.
For the main course, Oliver has plumped for slow-roasted shoulder of lamb from the Elwy Valley in north Wales, with Jersey Royal potatoes, wild mushrooms and mint sauce.
Vegetarians at the meal will be offered a goat's cheese starter followed by lovage and potato dumplings for the main course.
Pork has purposefully been left off the menu to avoid awkward moments with the Muslim guests, such as the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Only the contents of the bread basket have a vaguely foreign flavour – Oliver has chosen to serve Irish soda bread.
Oliver said: "I'm very, very proud of my country and its food traditions and I know that the guests at Downing Street will be in for a real treat." . . . At the dinner for spouses, the US First Lady, Michelle Obama, will be seated between the Harry Potter author JK Rowling and Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.
There are several ways that I could drive to work, but I use one that, while a bit longer than the others, takes me through the woods along Spout Run, past the rocky cliffs, and over the beautiful Potomac River.
Tonight, the river and the misty rain were having sex. You couldn't tell where one began and the other ended and they were both only partially disrobed, surrounded by leaves of the brightest Spring green and the white bridal blossoms of the Bradford Pear trees. My spirit wants to swim in that pearl-grey rain, floating just above the river and penetrating it so gently that it's all at once imperceptible and maddenly delicious.
A daily practice can involve many components. For me, one big one is to pay daily attention to the Potomac River, the lifeblood of our nation's capital, the source of the water I drink, the baths I take, the water I pour on my flowers and herbs.
Ground and pay daily attention to something "outside" of yourself (Rumi would laugh at that use of the word). That's an excellent beginning of a daily practice.
Ladies! Listen up! Detecting breast cancer early is the key to surviving it! Breast Self Exams (BSEs) can help you to detect breast cancer in its earlier stages. So, on the first of every month, give yourself a breast self-exam. It's easy to do. Here's how. If you prefer to do your BSE at a particular time in your cycle, calendar it now. But, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
And, once a year, get yourself a mammogram. Mammograms cost between $150 and $300. If you have to take a temp job one weekend a year, if you have to sell something on e-Bay, if you have to go cash in all the change in various jars all over the house, if you have to work the holiday season wrapping gifts at Macy's, for the love of the Goddess, please go get a mammogram once a year.
Or: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pays all or some of the cost of breast cancer screening services through its National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. This program provides mammograms and breast exams by a health professional to low-income, underinsured, and underserved women in all 50 states, six U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 14 American Indian/Alaska Native organizations. For more information, contact your state health department or call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.
Send me an email after you get your mammogram and I will do an annual free tarot reading for you. Just, please, examine your own breasts once a month and get your sweet, round ass to a mammogram once a year.
I think that I owe several of you readings. If you have a deck, pick three cards and e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll email you back your reading. If you don't have a deck, go to Lunea's tarot listed on the right-hand side in my blog links. Pick three cards from her free, on-line tarot and email me at email@example.com. I'll email you back your reading.
It sounds as if it should be: get together for brunch every couple of weeks and really get to know each other. But, it's not. Not in DC, not in today's world, not in my experience. My circle is made of career women, one of whom is posted to Europe for the foreseeable future, two of whom are in government, one of whom is in associations, one of whom is raising young children and involved in education, one of whom is in law, and one of whom, now retired from the WH, is busier than any of us. Each of us has other interests: family, politics, gardening, writing, alternative sexuality, dance, bridge, tv scripts, blogging, life, that take up our time.
To meet on every Sabbat and on either the full or dark moon means 21 meetings a year. Add to that 12 meetings to just have brunch or coffee or whatever and get to know each other and you're at 33 meetings a year. That's almost 3 meetings a month. Not easy to find 3 times a month when our schedules can congeal. Sure, if you attended a "traditional" xian church, you'd go to church 52 times a year, and that's before you attended choir practice or the church council or taught Sunday school. So, on the one hand, what we ask is impossible. But, on the other hand, it's really not to much.
In the end, it comes down to whether or not the time spent is worth it. And, IMHO, that's the rub. It often takes six months, nine months, twenty-four months spent with a group of women before you "really" know whether or not it's worth it. When do you realize that it deepens the magic or that it wastes your time?
How do you decide when it's time to cut your losses and move on or time to stay and start investing for the long haul?
Claim to fame: University of California, Berkeley, journalism professor, activist and author of bestsellers The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food.
Why he matters: Pollan's exhaustively researched books explain to the masses how food gets to our table, and it's not always pretty. He is a critic of industrial agribusiness, which, he says, has lost touch with the natural cycles of farming. He is also an expert on the Western diet.
What he says: "A health claim on a food product is a good indication that it's not really food, and food is what you want to eat."
Claim to fame: Chef-owner of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., and founder of the Edible Schoolyard project at a middle school there. The students grow some of their own food and help prepare it for lunches. The project has been copied around the country and the garden re-created in 2005 on the National Mall in Washington as part of the Smithsonian Institution's Folklife Festival.
Why she matters: Waters nearly single-handedly changed the American palate by creating "California Cuisine" in the 1970s, which has since spread throughout the country. The hallmark of the movement is eating local, preferably organic, food in season. Credit her for introducing goat cheese and baby greens to our dinner tables.
What she says: "You buy from the right people, you support the right network of farmers and suppliers who care about the land and what they put in the food. If we don't preserve the natural resources, you aren't going to have a sustainable society."
Claim to fame: Farmer and chef-owner of two New York restaurants, Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Farms in Westchester. He also appears occasionally on the Bravo series Top Chef.
Why he matters: His devotion to sustainable agriculture and eating close to the land has made him a go-to source for many food journalists. He frequently writes about food himself and is an adviser to Harvard Medical School on health and global environment issues.
What he says: "No one wants farmers to suffer, especially chefs. But if we're spending $20 billion or so a year on farm subsidies, we ought to invest in the foods we eat."
Claim to fame: Prolific writer of novels, short stories, poetry and essays and a farmland philosopher from Kentucky who is a staunch supporter of agrarian values.
Why he matters: At 74, Berry has been writing about America's relationship with the land for decades and warning about damage to cropland from large-scale farming. He writes eloquently about how industrialized agriculture has fundamentally changed what we eat and moved us further from what he believes should sustain us: real food and a connection to where it comes from.
What he says: "The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing, responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope."
There are, let's not kid ourselves, a million ways to do magic, a million ways to grow spiritually, a million ways to be a witch. But, for me, all of those things happen best within a circle of women. And I need to KNOW those women before my magic will be most effective with theirs under the bright full Moon, or on the windy dark Moon, or at one of the 8 great Sabbats. There are public rituals made up of mostly-strangers that work, that are transformative, that change the world. But that path is not for me. I have loved, after my own fashion, every woman with whom I've entered Circle, dropped my masks, faced the divine. And, I like to know my lovers. My circle does brunch once a month, no rituals, nothing too serious, just coffee, and food, and stitching hands, and chatting, and bitching, and laughs. IM not so HO, that's a crucial ingredient in the lost art of creating a magic circle of women. Do you have a version of this?
In Goddess Feminism, ritual is the most privileged way of learning and embodying individual and group thealogies and ideologies. Rituals are “body techniques which harbour the powers and potentialities of both our own subjectivity, as an embodied way of being-in-the-world, and those of the social world” (Crossley 2004: 46). Each new ritual re-creates and more fully develops Goddess thealogy. As such, Goddess thealogy is never static but always in flux, always being re-thought, and, importantly, performed and embodied. The emphasis on continual re-thinking and re-enacting Goddess, especially through ritual but also in everyday life, leads me to suggest that Goddess Feminists utilize what I’m calling “performance thealogy.”
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."