I made some really good tomato soups last week using whole organic tomatoes pureed in the blender.
Posted by Ms. Kathy on October 12, 2008
Posted by Ms. Kathy on June 17, 2008
Well. I have had my own page (www.girlenstein.com) for almost a year. I have learned some stuff but the need to save money and the amount of time I already spend in work-related blogging makes me want to just let the whole personal, venty blog go. I really don’t want to give it up totally. I just don’t want to pay for it. Sooooo. I am deciding which free platform do I go with.
I have the most experience with Blogger and I use it for work but I don’t want to get in a rut.
I have a friend who loves Live Journal but I can still play with that account if I want to.
I have been using a WordPress.org platform with my paid subscription I can continue to learn about WordPress if I use WordPress.com.
I think I will just go with this WordPress freebie cause it has lots of storage (according to TechCrunch)and because I am already using this same layout (Cutline by Chris Pearson).
Now I just have to move all my blogroll links and stuff…. wah wah wah.
Further on up the road ….
I have imported all my stuff!!!! (posts at least) Unbelievable. WordPress, I think I love ya… (think Troggs).
Posted by Ms. Kathy on May 11, 2008
I totally crashed this blog by jimmying around with the folders of my host. It is like a freakin’ Rubik’s cube or one of those shell games. A couple of file switches and you can’t find where you started and the whole thing is flaming and falling apart. But thank goodness I downloaded a backup file before I started fiddlin’ with the gears and I was able to revive the site.
I want to modify my template ( I got a new one, Cutline) but it won’t let me do what I want, which is to change the tabs and add some new ones among other things. Guess I need to do more research….
This blog is definitely a learning experience for me! It is a lot easier to blog on blogger but I wouldn’t learn as much.
Posted by Ms. Kathy on March 29, 2008
Well I just read more good news about my lovely home state of South Carolina (“Smiling faces, beautiful places.”) Turns out we have no laws against hate crimes. Turns out that the 18-year old kid that got murdered in North Charleston in January by another 15-year old kid was transgendered and maybe the victim’s sexual orientation had something to do with the murder but since there are no hate crime laws here, oh well, nothing will be be done by North Chuck’s finest to tackle this issue as a motive for the killing. Don’t ask, don’t tell.
Personally I have gay family members and friends and, you know what, I don’t think Jesus would give a rat’s ass whether or not someone is gay. Jesus said to love everybody so what is the big deal. Killing, trashing, hating other people for any reason is wrong according to the Jesus I know (that would be my own personal Jesus of choice, the one who loved all the little children of the world. Sing with me now, “…straight, transgendered, bi, and gay, Jesus loves them anyway. Jesus loves the little children of the world”.)
The good news is that I saw the documentary, For the Bible Tells Me So, and it was a beautiful indictment of the heinous kind of thinking that leads to the abuse of GLBT people. (I cried.) I appreciated the way the people in the movie spoke out against our national hate-monger, Dr. James Dodson, whose Focus on the Family is destructive to lots of families.
I have been big time turned off by Dr. Dodson since I read a couple of years ago that he is all for trying and executing teens as adults. Don’t abort ‘em, oh no, that is a sin. Just wait till later when they are big ugly teenagers and they don’t turn out the way you like and then you can kill ‘em, no problem. Good thinking Dr. D.
Maybe James Dodson would be in favor of reprieving the 15-year old murderer since he killed another teen with sexual orientation issues. Hmmm.
Fortunately for those of us who actually believe that all people are created equal and have civil rights, we have a few legislators in SC willing to take a risk and try to get some hate crime legislation in place. Thanks to State Senator Robert Ford and State Representative Seth Whipper for taking on this critical issue. Maybe SC won’t be the last on this issue.
More good news! My church, the UU Church of Charleston is almost approved as a welcoming congregation. Yeah religious liberalism!! Woo-hoo! Got to keep moving forward. To quote another doctor (Samuel Johnson), hope is necessary in every condition.
Posted by Ms. Kathy on February 5, 2008
Happy Fat Tuesday!
This is a week of celebration for people around the world and for me personally, too. I joined the UU church on Sunday. I joined the Presbyterian Church in my late teens at the behest of my family, particularly my Methodist grandmother, whose response was something to the effect of , “at least she’s not Catholic or worse… Baptist”.
This time I joined for me, because I was ready to join.
I had attended this church before, beginning in 1985. The birth of my oldest child prompted a search for a church that I, a somewhat unorthodox, WASPish Christian with Taoist leanings, could attend with my child that would not upset my (now ex) husband, who was on the Atheist cradle roll. My attendance was sporadic with breaks of years between visits. The last time I attended in the early 1990’s I decided to quit going because I thought the UU church was just not Christian enough. I had not become Nicene-freed at that time and still had a personal relationship with the Miraculous Water Walking Jesus.
I visited the church again last fall with my youngest child. We started attending regularly because he liked the youth program and I wanted, as I have heard that many parents who were raised attending church regularly do, for him to experience the fellowship of a spiritual community. Thanks to the writings of the Jim Pym, Llama Surya Das, the Jesus Fellowship, Richard Dawkins, Karen Armstrong, John Shelby Spong, Robert Price, and other great liberal thinkers, religious leaders, Friends, and seekers, I have been able to move beyond the fear/faith of my youth and become a born-again Taoist/Buddhist/Secular Humanist/Mystic follower of the radical thinking human Jesus, whose primary message is simply to love others whether you like them or not; to look for the light within each being.
Now I really am a Unitarian because I no longer believe in the Trinity as anything other than a thought construct. I no longer find the Unitarian “message” (it is really more of a chorus or a fugue) in conflict with my core beliefs. In fact, the Unitarian message resonates with my beliefs quite nicely. I like to say that I had to become a better Buddhist in order to become a Unitarian.
I am enjoying many celebrations this week: Imbolc on Friday, February 1st; Ground Hog Day, Saturday, February 2nd; becoming a UU member on Sunday, February 3rd; Fat Tuesday/Super Tuesday (Go Team Obama!!!), February 5th; Ash Wednesday/Watangi Day, Wednesday, February 6th; and the beginning of the Spring Festival/Chinese New Year (Happy Year of the Rat!) on Thursday February 7th.
My lenten pledges to myself:
1. Buy only absolute necessities and
2. To eat out/get coffee only in Mom and Pop places like GNS Subs and Muddy Waters on a limited basis (no chains) because small is beautiful.
Posted by Ms. Kathy on January 28, 2008
I have been reading a lot of books lately on the Christian Right trying to figure out what the hell happened to the days when they were just another kooky piece of the American political patchwork. I am still laughing even though I find them to be a really scary, oppressive army of mindless zombies led by power-mad, firey-eyed zealots who seem to be leading them in lock stepped toward some rapturous oblivion, heedless of the ways our country’s mindless consumerism is destroying the earth and the lives of millions of the earth’s inhabitants, animal and vegetable. (Whew!)
The pieces of the puzzle that I have come up with include the theory of Dominionism, espoused by Irving Kristol, sire of Bill, a pundit, that fundamentalist Christians have a right to rule the USA and to use its might to subjugate the earth in order to spread their rigid perception of Trinitarian Christianity across the globe and to maintain dominence over all the other citizens of the planet who do not share their narrow religious dogma. This dogma includes the following ideas:
that women are secondary citizens, who are urged to marry in order to avoid being dangerous, single temptresses and must, once married, submit to their husbands in all things;
that homosexuality is a choice/”illness” that can be “cured” or corrected;
that all other theologies are wrong and those who espouse them and refuse to accept the party line are dangerous and less deserving of rights and protection than the true believers because, after all, they are going to hell;
that the children of believers belong to the Joshua Generation or Generation Joshua, an army of youth programmed to be right wing fundamentalist foot soldiers through the use of militant language and imagery;
that graft-like feeding at the, what to me is clearly un-Constitutional, Faith Based Initiative trough by fundamentalist social service agencies like the Heritage Foundation is consuming vast amounts of federal monies that have been siphoned away from legitimate social service agencies;
that discrimination based on religion and sexual preference against non-believer employees and job applicants by the Faith Based agency recipients of federal monies is widespread and no redress seems forthcoming from our justice system;
that the teaching of real science is being undercut by the attempts of creationists to include or to substitute the teaching of intelligent design, which manipulates science into something unrecognizable in order to make it consistent with Biblical literalism.
Personally, I can’t go for any of this kind of crap, and I hope there are more folks like me out there who are willing to vote against this kind of craziness. It is ok for people to have their own religious views, but when they start stepping on my toes, I get up and take action. I was really heartened to hear Barack Obama refer to stopping those who would drive a “wedge” in the education system. The “wedge strategy” is the name of one of the plans of fundies to get ID taught in school by acting like Darwinian evolution is just some kind of nebulous theory (on par with ID) instead of the Newtonian-Einsteinian marvel that it is – it actually explains stuff.
Maybe if the fundies just opened up a little and checked out Buddhism and the concept of non-attachment, evolution would be less threatening. Be here now. Attachment to the past (evolution) is keeping you from being here now in the present, the only time we really have. Fundies have sort of painted themselves into a corner, IMHO. I prefer to keep my options open like my mind, but that’s just me.
The best books I have found so far are The Reason Driven Life by Robert Price, a counterpoint to fundie pastor, Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life; American Fascism: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges; Invasion of the Party Snatchers by Victor Gold; and Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg.
The film Jesus Camp is also excellent.
Posted by Ms. Kathy on January 22, 2008
Everyday I make choices that determine whether or not I will live the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I catch myself sinking into the mire of prejudiced thinking about other people, any kind of people, and I stop myself and change the pattern of my thoughts. I consciously decide to look a different person in the eye and smile and greet them in passing. I make decisions about where to go, what to buy, what to eat, what to wear, and on and on. The dream lights my way. I choose to let the dream inflame my heart. No matter what happens outside, the dream is alive within, as long as I choose. It grows bright when fed with love, with hope, with faith, that there is a better way, that all people have worth, that justice matters, and that peace is possible.
Posted by Ms. Kathy on January 14, 2008
I have been using my Llewellyn Witches’ Datebook 2008 to keep up with the phases of the moon. I have been interested in moonlore for more than half my life but never tracked its phases this closely. I previously studied the moon’s symbolic aspects, effect on tides and menses, and the linking of the moon with the feminine in Western literature, occultism, etc. I ‘m starting to learn the astrological signs and take note when the moon is “void of course”(I think this means between astrological signs), supposedly not a propitious time to start anything.
I am going to a class for prospective new UU members on a day and time when the moon is “void of course”. Will the moon affect my progress in the class and whether or not I become a member? I tend to think not. I like Dumbledore’s view that our choices ultimately decide the direction our lives take.
Random Note: In my recent studies of Japanese mythology, I discovered that the sun is ruled by a goddess, Amaterasu, rather than a god, as in the west.
As part of my esoteric studies, I also picked up a copy of PanGaia magazine yesterday, while grocery shopping. The editor, Elizabeth Barrette, was listed as one of the major contributors to the Witches’ Datebook, so I thought I would take a gander. I purchased the Autumn issue (#47) with Oberon Zell Ravenheart in full wizard regalia on the cover. Ravenheart is a major figure in modern Paganism and is currently engaged in overseeing a real-life online school of witchcraft. The fees for his Grey School seemed quite reasonable.
The magazine contained some interesting articles and even a reference to one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors, Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. I especially liked the article by Judy Harrow under the section, Mind & Magic, called “Beware the Spiritual Bypass”, which was full of practical information about spiritual exploration that had, I felt, universal application.
I also encountered references to polyamory practices and skyclad ritual. Call me a big ole’ prude if you like but I have to say the (clutter) buck stops here for me. I have no interest in getting naked or down (except with my husband). It would only distract me, I think, from psychic/spiritual growth. I tend to get pretty involved in physical relationships and, yeah, I am self-conscious, about participating in group activities in the buff. The nudity thing would be more of a possiblity for me in a women-only group but I still think it would still distract me a bit and take time to get used to. Not that there is anything wrong with it.
I noticed that the issue of whether or not Paganism is “male-friendly” had been covered in of PanGaia’s back issues. Apparently man/woman tension is present and accounted for in Paganism as well as mainstream theologies. The focus on feminine energy is the thing that most attracts me about Wicca and Paganism. I see it as a girl thing kind of like the Maenads but with maybe some good coffee and converstion mixed in. I really enjoyed Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon and Phyllis Curott’s Book of Shadows. Adding a male component to this in a sexual way or with sexual tension makes me feel somehow turned off and diminishes the energy for me. The naked Gardnerian style of Wicca gives me a feeling of pervy creepiness, which I know is probably a product of my own inhibitions. Still I have to honor my gut feelings. This is an intrinsic part of my exploration of intuitive spirituality, including Wicca. I strongly feel that I don’t want to be messing about with chakra two when I am trying to get my Anahata crunk so I can roll out, spiritually speaking. I want to keep my outward religious activities above the waist.
Maybe I don’t have the right stuff to join a group that engages in skyclad ritual and/or polyamory and/or has a sexual component to their group practices. I think that would require a tremendous amount of commitment and focus and I am not feeling it. I can dance around naked by myself if I like but I don’t feel like doing it with a group. Actually I don’t think I have it in me to be rigorously ritualistic or to commit to a group that is engaged in ritualistic practices of any sort. I guess I am more of a hedgewitch than a practicer of high MAGICK who is too busy sampling spiritual appetizers to fill up on one heavy entree.
Posted by Ms. Kathy on January 1, 2008
Between the Winter Solstice and today, I decided to try something new in my life this year; I am going to practice witchcraft. I don’t plan to join a coven or do anything particularly drastic. I am completely committed to spending a fair portion of my time reading and writing and am not inclined to engage in anything too ritualistic and time consuming if it takes me away from reading and writing. This includes watching TV series (except for The Office). I want to just explore Wiccan/New Age/Shamanistic spiritual pathways and see where they lead me as well as continuing my ongoing explorations into Quaker spirituality, Christian history and exegesis, Sufism, Kabbalah, Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto, archetypal consciousness, Ainu, Native American, and other shamanism, etc, etc. This is just another piece in the mosaic mandala of my spiritual path.
I feel supported in my decision because I have begun attending a Unitarian church, which has a strong Pagan element. I also feel that engaging in an Earth-based spirituality, which is self-nurturing as well as planet-friendly, is the right direction for me now and in tune with my veganism, feminism, and other isms. I’m really drawn to this woman-friendly spirituality and the idea stepping further away participating in the rituals the patriarchal dominant culture that I was raised with and have to coexist with daily. I plan to commune with my inner crone.
I have already have several books on hand to use on my journey; Judika Illes‘ Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, Angeles Arrien‘s Tarot Handbook, The Complete Idiots Guide to Shamanism by Gini Graham Scott, and a Llewellyn 2008 Witches Datebook as well as two tarot decks, a Radiant Waite and Crowley Thoth. (In the last year I have come to favor the Crowley Thoth when used with Angeles Arrien’s handbook. They work really well together for me. I haven’t found a comparably effective book for use with the Waite deck. The Radiant deck is quite lovely, though.)
So here’s to a new year and new outlook! Peace and joy to all the world! Namaste and Blessed Be!
Posted by Ms. Kathy on December 28, 2007
I lapsed from the path of veganish-ness over the last week. I ate dairy and *gasp* turkey, which I actually cooked myself. I decided that I was celebrating Midvinterblot, a lovely Norse pagan winter Solstice holiday that involved an animal or human sacrifice. Why not a turkey, some cheese, butter, cream, and eggs?
Actually I felt really crappy the following day after major animal product indulgences. Examples: Cheese Pizza on Friday = Mondo Headache on Saturday; Mega Turkey/Dairy-acious holiday meal on Sunday = total craptaculatious “hangover” on Monday (Christmas Eve). In fact I felt crappy on Monday and Christmas Day (Tuesday) when I ate leftovers. I have to say that this was not low-grade stuff that I was eating. We’re talking $40.00 free-range mostly natural turkey breast from NC (it was not organic BTW), organic dairy products, etc, not Stovetop and Banquet Family Size Frozen shizzle. However, I felt so *blech* that I was quite excited to eat a vegie sub yesterday and give the turkey a miss. Tonight I dined on a Tofurky roast, with some lovely onions, carrots, and potatoes added, that I had originally planned to cook for myself to eat while my family ate the bird. I think I will stick to the Tofurky next year cause I feel perfectly fine after going back to veganism (except for that glass of eggnog and slice of pecan pie) for 24 hours.
I must admit that another culprit may have played a part in my holiday dietary malaise; an excess of refined sugar. I also ate a surfeit of Christmas cookies and treats, too. Still, I am putting my money on the animal products as the major cause of my physical discomfort (lots of headaches and sinusy stuff). But just to certain that all my bases are covered, I am backing away from the processed, starchy, dairy-inundated sweets, too, cause it definitely can’t hurt! Mmmm…back to Clif bars and Green & Black Maya Gold Dark Chocolate.