30 December 2012

Holiday Slideshows (This is how I do holiday cards)

Greetings, earthlings,

Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak's A Promise is a Promise, based on the legend of the qallupilluit, stuck with me from when I was four or five and Mrs. Burns read it to the kindergarten class.  Since I was six, I used play out the story with various dolls of mine (Princess Gwenevere and Inuit Playmobil) every time it snowed or we had an early dismissal.

Without further ado, please enjoy Mice, Ice, and the Not Very Nice.

Mice, Ice, and the Not Very Nice

For more stories of the Gillian children, see also:

2007's greeting

2008's Halloween Slideshow
"Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat, the Bitter and the Sweet"

Blessings on you in 2013!

29 December 2012

Dolmades en Domu

I am American: my heritage is 5/8 Italian, 2/8 Finnish, and 1/8 Armenian.  One year, when visiting my dad’s side of the family as we do every New Year’s, we were introduced to dolmades at a Mediterranean restaurant called The Black Olive (since closed) in Tewksbury, MA. 

Dolmades consist of blanched grape leaves filled with rice and sometimes meat or nuts and raisins (trail mix?) which are then steamed to tenderness.  Last year, I made sushi for Christmas. This year, I made dolmades with the help of my mom and grandmother.  My grandfather took all the photographs of the assembly.

27 December 2012

Cookie Recycling and Transformation

For the last two years, I've ended Christmas with a pile and a half of cookies in January of which I'm bored by Marilyn Manson's birthday (5 January).  

There are, of course, worse problems to have.

I read this op-ed today in the New York Times where a Catholic priest gives his view of the world. "One true thing is this: Faith is lived in family and community, and God is experienced in family and community," Father Kevin O'Neil writes. We live in this earthly plane.  We regularly experience reality as earthly beings.  "I really do believe God enters the world through us," Father O'Neil said, and "[w]e need one another to be God's presence."

How do we show love to one another?  How do we show kindness to ourselves, our loved ones, our friends, our enemies, and our environment?

There is no one right answer to this question.  It's up to you to ask yourself and listen hard to the still voice in your heart.  That voice has the courage to speak up, and you have the courage to act.  Ask, and it shall be given.  Ask your higher power, set an intention, and create it.

Let's transform some cookies.

22 December 2012

Dark Cookies, Light Hearts

A cool, dark, yin-tastic mint cookie complements a cup of ginger tea while surviving the Virginia DMV and driving late on Solstice.  Interstate 70 East makes for a lovely late night drive because of its relative emptiness, with the lights of Baltimore polluting the sky to the east.  Spending Solstice with friends--and making new friends--truly welcomes the light to the world and helps me commit to allowing more light into my life.  Light, grace, positive energy--whatever you call it--is always available to us.  We work on letting go of all that we do and think that blocks its presence in our lives.

I modified the melty mints to make them a more balanced, stable cookie with dates and coconut sugar. Sure, they could probably replace a cup of coffee with the caffeine from the cocoa and chocolate, but they're rich enough to satisfy with just one cookie.

20 December 2012

Soup for Solstice

Soup is a tradition for Solstice (OK, so, fine--a tradition of two years).  The wife of one of my spiritual mothers makes a delicious vegan bean soup for their Solstice party.  It’s fortification for the late-night labyrinth walking and firepit gathering.

I brought the soup described below to new friends’ house and one of them suggested I bring it to their Solstice party.  It’s a bright, sturdy soup to celebrate the return of the light.

15 December 2012

Berry Berry Go Kickass

“I am my own leader” read one of the affirmations I received this week from The Virtues Project. 

On Sunday when I arrived home from my walk, my aunt’s copy of Watchmen, the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, caught my eye.  I began to read it, knowing that it’s one of those comics I should probably have read because of the gaming/sci-fi/geek/artistic circles in which I rotate.  One slogan graffitied on a wall in an early frame stuck out: “Who will watch the Watchmen?”

13 December 2012

Sweet Potatoes and Cats

Maximus, the male of my aunt and uncle’s pair of cats, likes to hang out with me when I meditate in the morning.  When I switched from exercising on the ground floor to the top floor of the house (gotta follow the WiFi, man), he became confused and meowed loudly at me.  Max caught on soon enough and knows to find me upstairs.

08 December 2012

Content, Conscious Celebrations Wrap-Up

Thank you to those of you who attended the “Content, Conscious Celebrations” class at the Lawrence Headquarters Branch on Friday!  I enjoyed the seminar-style class we had and I hope I sparked your curiosity about vegan- and gluten-free baking.

06 December 2012

Grateful Gratin

It's gratitude season, folks. I am grateful for greens and the wonderful people who grow them, especially the farmers at the farmers market.

01 December 2012

Tribute to Aunt Mary Crea

On Friday, when I left the house, I had Dropkick Murphys "Rose Tattoo" stuck in my head, and I considered, would I get memorial tattoos when my close family members die? I'd keep them skin deep. No, I laughed in the pale blue dawn as I walked to the Metro, I'd keep them six layers of skin deep, deep six them, keep them six feet under.

The ridiculous number of views on the aforementioned music video? I'm partly responsible; I've been looping it as a playlist of one for most of yesterday and today. Last night, I called my grandparents to chat, and my grandmother informed me that my Great-Aunt Mary Crea died on Wednesday at age 87.


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