Saturday, October 31, 2015

After Apple Picking ...

... Or apple buying for that matter, though how the apples are procured really isn't important.  Just be aware that the sweeter the apple, the sweeter the sauce, so pick a palate-friendly variety because this is a no-sugar-added recipe, unless you like your applesauce to pack a pucker-up punch, of course!

Applesauce
In a 6 quart slow-cooker combine:
10-ish Cored, and sliced apples (Fuji is my apple of choice, skins on)
1 Cup water
1 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon ground Cloves
1/4 Teaspoon ground Allspice (optional, because of the use of the other spices many feel allspice is redundant.  I think it adds more overall body to the flavor.)

Cook everything on High for the first two hours, and finish on Low for the last 4 hours.  Let cool a little, purée, and serve.
Yields 72 ounces.

Seventy-two ounces?!  Whether cooking for large gatherings or just a meal for one, I do most everything in large batches.  I find that once I've got all of my equipment out, it takes less effort, and is a more efficient use of my time to make a larger quantity than dragging out all of my culinary accoutrements every single time I get a hankering for a small serving of something, which can make getting into my freezer a bit of a Level 9, B-Type game of Tetris, but I find it's worth it.  It's especially useful having extra applesauce on hand for anyone with dietary restrictions (allergies, food intolerance, etc.) who need to swap out oils, or eggs from certain baking recipes.

For me, this applesauce recipe is an absolute autumn must-have, and it makes my dwelling smell like a fairy-tale cottage, you know, like before the misunderstood lady tries to coax children into her oven ... Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Enough

Recently, I was asked to join one of those "live-streaming" events that's supposed to raise your personal vibration frequency, Love or Above by a woman described in her bio as an intuitive healer, and medium.  First of all, to me, live-streaming means "happening live, in real time, like, right-now" not pre-recorded, and spliced with other material (which this was), made obvious by the sort of canned, or scripted responses between the two hosts that made the entire flow of the recording awkward and leaving it sounding forced and unnatural, and the fact that 45 minutes into it, just after the guided group meditation began, the stream stopped, and when I pushed the play button to jump back in, the entire program started all over again, from the beginning ... Which I guess could be possible with a T.A.R.D.I.S. involved, but I don't have one, and neither did the hosts of the program, as far as I could tell.  But before any of that could happen, there I sat, headphones in place, my little .pdf worksheet open on the screen, switching gears back to the days of Nerd Girl note-taker-extraordinaire, poised, ready to pounce on every keyword mentioned.  If I wasn't yet completely sold on the program, I could at least take excellent notes, and maybe learn something new, or come to some greater understanding if nothing else.  Alas, this was not meant to be, as I soon realized, the worksheets didn't match the script, which made it increasingly annoying trying to fill in the notes, as the speakers sped through the mismatched content ... Undoubtedly dropping my personal vibration frequency in the process.  I decided to pack it in, sit back, relax, and just listen.  This, too, I learned, was a bit of a chore as well, trying to catch the actual content between all of the breaks, and pauses reminding the listeners — If you want to know more follow this address, go to the site, check out this link, don't forget our generous coupon code, and buy, buy, buy! — and the like.  It soon became clear that I was just listening to one extremely long (90 minute), not so cleverly disguised, advertisement to get the listener to spend hundreds of dollars on other products that will bring abundance to his or her life ... Uhm, ok.

It's certainly bringing abundance to SOMEBODY'S life, that's for sure!

When I think of "more" in terms of spiritualism and abundance, I think more peace, more love, greater connection with the source of all life, and more empathy for my fellow humans on Earth.  What I am not thinking about is more ... STUFF.  Don't get me wrong, the program I listened to, or rather, the part that I had access to, definitely sells the product under the guise of the things I listed above, especially highlighting trust, but when it came right down to it, what kept being repeated, and glorified were very shallow, egocentric topics that kept circling around objects, and types of success that appeal to our lower-selves.  I would've thought this just a tactic to keep the people who really "need" the program interested long enough to sock them with some mind-blowing spiritualism if  

A. That ever actually happened
B. They had treated the 90 minutes a lot less like one long commercial to get the listener spending more and more dough.

The more I listened the more it all started sounding like a snake oil campaign, and the more disgusted I became.  Then came the segment of selling romantic love ... Yes, if you develop within yourself a person who loves with abandon, and shares and gives selflessly, and loves yourself you are possibly going to attract more love, and positivity to you, including even a romantic love, probably.  This isn't rocket science, happy, loving people tend to dig spending time with other happy, loving people.  But I feel as though these programs dupe people (specifically those experiencing levels of loneliness) with delusions of grandeur: Follow steps X, Y, and Z and you'll be married in no time, with an amazing career, wad of cash, huge house, and a ton of babies spilling out of it, with the perfect dog that never barks or sheds — Act now, and all this could be yours!!!  All you have to do is meditate, and listen to my specially designed, and formatted compact discs available on my website for the low, low price of another couple hundred dollars ... I know it seems expensive, but you're investing in your future, and look at all these free downloads and worksheets I'm giving you!  I'm SO generous!  Do you trust me yet?

Isn't there some-thing more to life than just following steps, and acquiring stuff (whether human or inanimate)?  Shouldn't we be shifting our focus to whatever that thing is instead?  That's the "more" that I'm interested in discovering, and uncovering in my life.  That's where I found this program to be severely lacking, and quite disappointing.  It wasn't the technical hiccups, or generic life-coaching, it was the bait-and-switch approach that set my teeth on edge.  Preying upon people's weaknesses, and using the cloak of spiritualism to peddle products has got to be one of the lowest forms of commerce there is.  It's actually quite sad when people are led to believe they won't find the answers they need, or the freedom they desire unless they spend the money to get them.

That's not how abundance works, or is supposed to anyway, in my mind at least.  If abundance is a very large, over-sufficient quantity of something, how is it only available to a few, or the ones who pay a hefty fee for it?  Doesn't that seem to go against the very definition of the word itself?  According to the Online Etymology Dictionary:
abundance (n.)
mid-14c., from Old French abondance and directly from Latin abundantia "fullness, plenty," noun of state from abundantem (nominative abundans), present participle of abundare "to overflow" (see abound).
When something is overflowing, does it care who is standing there and how much money they have in their pockets?  Sure, those with more money could afford larger buckets to "catch" the abundance, but if it's true abundance does a bucket still matter?  Or is there just so much, all around, and available to everyone that a bucket becomes superfluous?  If abundance is a large, extremely plentiful amount of something, and it's not available, or enough for everyone regardless of station or situation, how can it even still be abundance?  It seems a little lacking to me.

What happens when abundance is not enough?

People start taking your money, in the name of spirituality, for answers you already hold inside you.  

xoxo

P.S. The love vibration frequency resides at 528 Hz.  If you so desire, go give yourselves a tune-up, and let your hearts sing!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Raven

 What's an October without a little American Gothic Lit., anyway?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mood Swings

So, I saw an ad the other day (how often does that sentence end well?) for something that actually looked interesting!  Skillshare is offering 3 months of access to over one thousand classes for 99¢ when you use this code at checkout SSFB99 ← I'm usually not into this sort of thing, but so far all 99 pennies have been very well spent.

Enter Exhibit A: Fall Cottage, a mood board of a few of my favorite images right now that, to me, evoke a wonderfully cozy feeling that creeps in as fall begins its chill, thrown together with the help of Meg Lewis of Ghostly Ferns, and her class, Basics of Photoshop: Fundamentals for Beginners. 
1. Rose Gold Lariat Scarf, 2. Books via Lovely Reveries, 3. Joy in a Bouquet, 4. Sheep, 5. Grandmug Sango Nova Black, 6. Knitting Needles by: Anne Greene, 7. Damson Plums by: Moi, 8. Botanical Print: Cicadas from Brehms Tierleben (Brehm's Animal Life) vol. 9 by: Alfred Edmund Brehm, 1893, 9. Halcyon via Dorothy Rosenberg, 10. All Hollow's Eve by: Paul Parsons, 11. West Highland Terrier via Lavender Summers and Lilac Dreams, 12. Font
Ok, so I didn't reinvent the wheel here, and I'm not exactly a beginner either.  I did, however, learn new-to-me tricks that will dramatically cut my time on future projects, and who doesn't love to be more efficient?  Meg breezes effortlessly through the use of guides, simple yet high impact photo editing, beyond easy steps to apply clipping masks, layer organization, and more.  The thing with Photoshop is that one person is never going to learn it ALL, we learn what we need for our respective uses, and with there being so many different steps to achieve the same end goals, each person develops his or her own quirky way of navigating the program so, it's helpful now and then to, if not brush-up, at least see how other people are using it, try their methods, and add what works for you to your bag of tricks.  I personally believe there can never be too many Photoshop tutorials ... there is always something new to create, and a fresh, undiscovered way to create it.

That's all for now, I'm late for class!  I've only got 20-ish (+/-) saved lessons (so far) to dive into...

 xoxo