Monday, November 28, 2011
Tigger and Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh series. Tigger is almost always happy, bouncing from place to place, finding the bright side of life no matter what's thrown at him. The result is that he sees the world as a happy, peaceful place and so, to a certain extent, it is. Eeyore, on the other hand, sees a rain cloud on every horizon and an earthquake on every nice day. Hence, he is always depressed, expecting the worst. Even if a good day happens, it's only a precursor to what will likely be a horrid day tomorrow. These become self fulfilling prophecies.
The other thing our pastor brought up was a lecture by Randy Pausch, done at Carnegie Mellon University just after his diagnosis with terminal liver cancer. It's called The Last Lecture but not because of his impending passing. The lecture series he was presenting for had held that name for many years, the idea being to present something that would be your legacy, as if you had only one last lecture that you could give to the students. As he puts it in the video, "I finally nailed the venue, and they changed the name!" I haven't watched the whole lecture yet (it's an hour and a half long, and it demands your full attention) but what I have seen is incredibly inspiring. Live in the day is the basic message. You can't change tomorrow, you can't change yesterday, so make today count. Enjoy it for what it is. How many of us can say we do that? And we're not dying.
Just as your average Hellenic polytheist doesn't believe that Zeus literally slept with and bred with everything that moved, and that Hera was a total shrew all the time, the average Christian doesn't believe that Yeshua lived the story as told. It is a mythology that is steeped in history almost as old as the story itself. It's been manipulated and changed by kings and popes and printing press letter setters until it's become a comfortable old favorite.
For me, this is a time of incubation. The colder weather keeps me indoors more often, and I'm cleaning the house for (and from) the holidays. I'm preparing prayers and services for my various gods. I'm counting the days until winter solstice. I'm creating presents for my loved ones, cooking and baking and otherwise nestling happily in my home. I see it as a time of "pregnant pause," time to think about my life and what I've done in the past year, and what changes I'd like to make in the coming one.
What is this the advent of, for you? What begins for you when the snow falls? What starts when mid-winter draws near? Where were you last year at this time? Where have you come to? Where are you going? Are you happy? If not, why not? Find your inner peace, the peace of faith, regardless of your religion (or lack thereof). Embrace it, sit with it. Take the time to breathe. After all, sometimes all you can do is keep breathing...
Saturday, November 19, 2011
It wasn't a total loss. Some of my papers went to the gods, but most of what was there turned out to be brass and silver, and a few fabric things that had to be thrown away because of the mold on them. My stole, thank heavens, was able to be saved (thank you @CT!!). As you can see in the above picture, though, the brass was in pretty sad condition. The silver and pewter wasn't much better. So yesterday, I sat down with both silver and brass polish, rubber gloves, a toothbrush, lots of paper towels and linen rags, and set to cleaning.
|My altars in their alcove.|
|For my ancestors.|
|Zeus and Hera|
|Long shot of altars.|
I'm very pleased with how my little altar area turned out. I wasn't sure what I was doing until the very last minute, when I asked @CT to help me drag that heavy bookshelf upstairs. It sits well there, though, and really completes the whole thing. I toyed a bit with putting it under the shelf altars, but realized that Hecate doesn't mind being next to the ancestors, and at least in my own mind there's a certain reason for her altar to be between the ancestors and the Olympians.
|Capable of shrouding.|
There, now it is done. I have enjoyed sharing these pictures with you, and I hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as I enjoyed sharing! Blessings to all!
Monday, November 7, 2011
|Slice your onion.|
One of my all-time favorite Hungarian recipes (yes, I know, I say that of all the ones I post up LOL) is Hungarian Goulash (also known as gulyas leves). Goulash is named after the herdsman (or gulyas, in Hungarian) who made it out of whatever meat they had at hand. My family comes from the north eastern section of Hungary, and pork is the traditional meat of choice for this recipe. There are quick ways of making goulash, but honestly, the longer ways are much better. This is NOT a good crock-pot soup, however you can make it a day ahead, and then let the finished product stay heated in a crock pot almost indefinitely without losing anything. Usually, I serve this with a nice crusty bread, hopefully hot from the oven. It's topped with a thick dollop of sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste.
|Onions and garlic and paprika!|
- pork (tenderloin or steaks, cubed)
- butter and/or olive oil
- broth (make your own from pork bone, or beef)
- 1 large egg
- 1 pinch salt
- enough flour to make a very stiff dough
|Diced pork tenderloin.|
Heat a cast iron or other large pan on the stove and melt a little butter or olive oil into it. While waiting for that to be ready, cut up your onion(s). I use one large onion per pound of meat usually. Take off the ends and peel the onion, then cut it in half, and put the cut side down on your cutting board. Cut the half in half (ie two quarters), and then slice thinly to make small curves of onion. Repeat with the other half, and slide the slices into your oil. Cover with one or two tablespoons of paprika and saute for a few minutes until the onions are soft.
|LOTS of paprika...|
While the onions are cooking, chop up two cloves of garlic and then add them to the onions. When the onions begin to brown a bit, or are very soft, slide into a soup pot. Dice up your pork into one inch or smaller cubes.
In the pan, drizzle a bit more olive oil or butter and add your diced pork, and coat it liberally with paprika (3 or more tablespoons!). Cook just long enough to brown all sides of the meat thoroughly, but not enough to cook it all the way through. You are sealing in the juices before making the soup, so that the pork will be tender and delicious when it is served. Add the seared pork to the pot with the onions and garlic.
|Carrots and spuds.|
Peel and coin your carrots, and add to the pot. I use about 3 large carrots per pound of meat, but you can adjust to taste. I also added two large potatoes, diced (skin on, but again, you may want to peel them). Now add in enough broth to just barely cover everything in the pot, and bring it to a full boil. When it is boiling, reduce the heat to a bare simmer, and then cover and cook for 3+ hours.
Usually, we also put little hand made noodles into this soup. In America they'd probably be referred to more as dumplings, but in Hungary they are called csipetke, which means "pinched noodles." They are pretty close to Polish spetzle, and are cooked right in the soup (although if you like them they can also be sauteed up with butter and onions and served as a side dish!).
|Everything in the pot.|
To make the noodles, crack one egg into a mixing bowl and beat it well. Add a pinch of salt, and then add a few tablespoons of flour. Mix well, and continue adding flour until you have a very stiff dough that can be turned out and kneaded gently on a table. Using both hands, flatten the dough until it is about a quarter to a half inch thick.
Bring your soup back to a boil, and then begin pinching off bits of the dough and dropping them into the soup. The "noodles" should be about the size of a lima bean, and it's just fine if they're irregular in size and shape. Once they are all in the soup (one egg worth of this dough is enough for a large pot of soup), lower the heat a bit and keep it at a heavy simmer for about five minutes to let the noodles thoroughly cook.
|The finished goulash.|
This soup should be ladled into wide bowls and have a large spoonful of sour cream added to the top. For visual purposes, you can add a sprinkle of paprika to the sour cream if you like, though it isn't necessary. Serve with hot bread and butter, and fresh dill pickles. The flavors blend well, and will keep people coming back for thirds and even fourths, long after they ought to stop.
A short note for those who may not have real paprika in their cupboard. Please consider purchasing some real paprika. Hungarian paprika has a distinct, smokey flavor that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the red powder that is American paprika. Hungarian paprika also comes in two kinds: sweet and hot. This recipe is made with the sweet paprika (though it has a tiny bite to it when used in the quantities called for here), but if you want more heat to your flavor, you can add a pinch or two of the hot paprika, too.
|The finished product, with sour cream.|
Friday, November 4, 2011
The Witch of Stitches is a blog I've been reading for a while. She's got quite the sense of humor, shares her beliefs freely, and is currently doing a give-away! :) Since I happen to be a priestess of Hecate, I decided I ought to enter this one. ;) Have a peek - I think you'll like what you see!
Written by Allyson Szabo at 4:23 PM