Thursday, February 22, 2007


I'm not one for magazines much... a friend gave me a recent edition of Chatelaine which left me feeling like I had ADHD or similar - the busy-ness of the pages and lack of depth to the articles left me wanting for something different. When advertisers are supporting certain products discussed in articles, I fail to see the objectivity of that article - like when I wrote for a national magazine the length of the article was severely cropped to make room for the supporting ads, unless of course, I wanted to buy space for the article - what? No way...

So when Angeni comes home with school programs for magazine sales, I cringe... I hate this form of school support at the best of times... pennies from every carton of lunch milk, bits from every pizza slice sold, and could we just donate stuff for the yard and bake sales? How about a poinsettia? I digress, so back to the magazines...

I do have my Canadian Quilters Quarterly, and the doll artist quarterly which come because I am a member of each organization. For the last 3 years my friend Phil has gifted me a subscription to "Threads" magazine, because I sew - all very nice. But, I've been looking for some others:

"Canadian Oriental Pig Decorating"
"Ontario Pork and Fly"
"Skid Steer Digest"
"Waffles I Have Known Quarterly"
"Wood Boring Insects of Labrador"
"Latin Algorhythmic Toning"
They must be out of those titles at Mac's... I've got the munchies something terrible today.... not sure what that's about. I think this is the dementia of PMS...


We watched a most moving documentary on Buddhism, shot in 2006, and sponsored by National Geographic. It was an interesting adjunct for the studying I've done (which is not vast) on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I was asked on a few memorable occasions to recite from the Book of the Dead for a couple of our AIDS patients in Guelph, who were near their transition. As an interfaith aboriginal minister, I have tried to broaden my understanding of world religions to be able to serve those I am responsible to, and for...

This documentary was not about death directly, but I observed the concepts in practice of meditation, and understanding the "science of the mind" as it relates to life journey. In the west we run around and live frantically, doing anything we can to cheat death - we fear death. Yet, Buddhists spend their whole lives preparing for death - the principle issue is transcendence of the suffering of daily life through their spiritual practices, and obtainable enlightenment. This enlightenment is available to everyone through simple means.

Brian was part of the Transcendental Meditation group (TM) for something like 15 years... he was a diligent practitioner of meditation, even moving his family to live in a TM co-op near Ottawa for awhile. When we met, he had not been actively practicing his meditation or yoga for quite some time, and has always spoken of a desire to do it again... He remarked last night that he and his ex spent an hour meditating in the morning, and an hour in the evening on top of working full time - this was a long-term lifestyle for them. They "found" the time that he can't "find" now... Finding is passive - "making" time is active and assertive... I asked him if the evolution toward the native way of thinking had quashed his meditation. He is processing that thought, but doubts that's a part of what stops him now... 2500 years of Buddhism, and 400,000,000+/- practitioners world-wide must be doing something right.

So I am pondering what similarities there are between native thinking and Buddhism... certainly modern First Nations peoples are still reflecting the hurts and disenfranchisement of contact - if I am to compare these two philosophies, I think I have to do that from a pre-contact perspective. The Buddha created 84,000 tenets of Buddhism - I know I won't find that kind of comparable formality within my own spirit walk - this should be an interesting exercise.

I'll keep you posted on what I figure are the main similarities and differences between the two perspectives... I welcome emails with your thoughts...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Endings and Beginnings

We finally signed off the purchase agreement for the llamas bought from us almost 3 years ago - we had to forgive a large amount of the contract because the people just couldn't pay, and we couldn't take the animals back... much of what they paid us was in spun yarn, and so I must now peddle this commodity to get back some income. This, coupled with the sale of the grade llamas last April, puts to bed the saga of the camelids. I'm glad we had the experience - Angeni enjoyed them, and learned a lot about animals and their care. We didn't really make anything on them, as a fair few died over the years, but we probably just did a little better than breaking even... In the camelid market, that's a bonus. Like emus, the bottom fell out of the luxury animal commodities after we got into it - I'm still grateful we did it for that 5 years, and grateful to move on... I guess I have some knitting to do!!

We've had a break in the weather - it got up to +4 degrees by noon today, allowing the snow to melt off the roof. It meant Spunky gets nervous with anything that roars like thunder, so the 5 or 6 rounds of cascading snow and ice jam made her upset through the night. What a difference from 4 days ago, when it was still -20 degrees when we were sitting in the rink watching Angeni skate. This is our January thaw a month late, because winter started a month late. So be it.

I'm making some beef stew today, and it has filled the house with quite an aroma... Angeni has decided she likes beef stew, and chicken corn chowder soup - that's in the crock tomorrow. Ever so slowly we are moving past "eeewwwww" over everything served here...

We were in town briefly over the llama thing, and to mail some documents. One document involves Indian Affairs and my status card... dredging up all my ancestry showed me I'm starting to forget little things like the spelling of middle names, and correct birth dates. I had to call my sister to confirm a couple things, which gave us an excuse to talk... I've registered Angeni, so hopefully she'll have her card soon.

Another friend had a car accident this month. Like Robert in early February, she felt the "bang" reverberating through her body bringing a great discomfort. For some unfortunate accident victims, that bang is the last thing they ever hear on this earth. It must have been that way this month for a carpenter friend Brian worked with - he and his wife were killed instantly in a car crash north of Hanover. That bang reverberates through the skeleton and can cause soul loss, something needing to be addressed by the shamanic group. I'm glad my friend wasn't seriously hurt...

It's one of the ghost show nights... mother and daughter will do their shower thing early, so we can roll up Angeni's hair in curlers (in an attempt to tame it) and hunker down for a night of ghost stuff - gives me a chance to teach her all about good and bad paranormal investigation. Ah, bonding...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Snowy Weekend

So we've had a bright, but snowy weekend. Angeni has suffered a bit of cabin fever, and I managed to catch up on some sleep, after a Saturday of seeing clients... Tonight we are watching a bit of Monty Python, to have a laugh, and finish our quiet Sunday, although Brian did a carpentry out call which had to be postponed from Friday, the snow day... Tomorrow it is back to regular routines, and I hope Angeni makes it to school - there is more snow forecast overnight. However if she needs to stay home, so be it - it is that time of year to be safe.

I've noted that even some of my learned spiritual peers still get bummed out by winter weather - not because of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) but because they can't do what they think they should be able to do... We have to remember that fighting mother nature in winter is pure folly, and can result in death. It is the quiet, introspective time of the medicine wheel, when we are supposed to craft, fix costumes, repair/replace our sacred objects and reflect on self. Avoiding that reflection time can be an avoidance of shadow. We can miss messages from the grandmothers - in fact this weekend we entered the moon of Weighs the Truth. Damned right - this is my birth moon, and I have been forced to wax reflective, which is tough for someone with Pisces Sun, and Pisces Moon... when I don't face my reflection I don't venture my moccasins on a better part of my path.

I don't enjoy the cold. I don't like the shortened daylight. I miss the flowers big time... but I respect the yin and yang of the wheel - for everything there is a season. Keep warm...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Surprise! Another Snow Day

Angeni is off school today - she's been to school 5 days out of a possible 12 so far this month. Oh well, although she's not happy about missing the ski trip this morning, the highways are closed, and she has some cold comfort knowing it will be rescheduled next week... at least there was skating yesterday... We had planned to go up to Sauble Beach to see my sister sometime this weekend, but it looks like that is postponed as well. Brian was up to the barn and ploughing the yard before I stumbled out of bed - it was nice to snuggle under warm covers for an extra hour or so.

I'm meeting some wonderful First Nations people on MySpace - it is good to chat with one's own kind, so to speak. We've initiated contact, but not much back-and-forth yet because of my schedule working on documents this week. I have housework to do today, in case they open the roads and our clients arrive tomorrow. Housework is not my "best thing" although I appreciate a clean home, just hate doing it... Brian was supposed to be in Flesherton today, doing some carpentry, but with the roads closed he can't go - so he can help with the housework (he always does the heavy stuff for me, God/dess love him).

Keep toasty warm!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

EEEEK it's cold

Minus freaking 20 degrees this morning, as we sat in a hockey arena in Ayton. Damn that was cold... best it got at noon was -16 and it has plunged from there. I don't remember such a long protracted cold spell as this one... We found one pair of ladies ski pants in all of Hanover - they are too big for Angeni but they'll have to do... tomorrow she goes cross country skiing with her class, and they're having a belated Valentine's party in the afternoon. This will be a 2-pair-of-everything day... More snow tonight - upwards of 8" overnight and she may end up with a snow day.

No results from my scans yet, but that is par for the course. No post-Valentines fall out, and that is a good thing. Although, come to think of it, I was propositioned on MySpace, but that was laughable...

Anyway, have a wonderful day, and a wonderful weekend...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Frozen Valentines

What a frigid day out there - but at least it's sunny in our neck of the woods... It's so cold, Spunky needed daddy to rescue her because her back foot froze in a matter of walking about 50' toward the barn. Poor dog - and she's part Arctic Wolf!! The younger dogs want desperately to be out chasing canned snacks (read snowmobiles) but it is dangerous to let them out. Pooky lasts about 2 minutes and has taken to peeing right on the porch - poor old thing, she tries... The recess time at the Ayton school has been shortened because of the risk of frostbite - this is a wise move. Kids are notorious for not bothering with mittens - my daughter is a perfect example of that idiom.

So it is Valentines... My husband procured a CD by Maria McKee (Live, Acoustic Tour 2006). This is an artist I never heard of before I started listening to Pandora. I have a station devoted to Laura Nyro, and Pandora chooses to add artists with a similar vocal style/range/category and Maria is one of them... I love music, and have waxed nostalgic this winter, so I appreciate his gesture. That, and a marabou feather light-up heart pen. Cool. I have yet to give him his card, as I prefer to let him suffer... Angeni gets her gift after school.

Today Brian and I have baked... 18 banana/honey/bran muffins, 15 chocolate fudge cupcakes and shortly we prepare a roast beef, with carrots, onions, garlic and potatoes around the roast, and some corn (to satisfy junior Valentine eaters). Normally I can't cope with anyone in my kitchen while I cook - I'm claustrophobic to a certain degree, and watching out for someone else in the way can throw me off... But we managed to have a lovely time... dinner will be wonderful and I'm saving back some of the icing from the cupcakes. I have a sinister plan for that - later baby. Anyway, we bought some froo-froo toppings for these cupcakes - the recipe said I'd get 24 cupcakes and I got 15, so these are a bit on the large size... I can whip up a vanilla cake in my mushy heart-shaped tin, if these are yucky. They smell great, though...

Have a wonderfully sweet, playful, Valentines, my friends..

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Brian and I had to go into town today for some groceries and general tasks - like getting the license sticker for the van before my birthday, and all that good stuff... it was -17 degrees Celsius until noon - with the windchill today, it felt like -27 degrees. Damn that was cold... At least Angeni got to school alright. This is a week of winter activities, from skating to skiing, and of course, Valentines parties. Her class doesn't get to celebrate until Friday, when all the sugar can be worn off on the bus ride home, prior to the weekend.

I'm starting to communicate a little with new acquaintances on MySpace. I don't have much time in the day for that sort of thing, but I am basically communicating with native women across Canada - I'm finding other artists and healers, which strengthens our lodge connections. I've even found a native lawyer and she seems like a dynamite person...

Still working on dates for the Aboriginal Healing Practitioner Program, which we hope to start in the late spring... could be a good turnout, or a major flop - we can only hope for good numbers as it has been awhile since we launched it last...

Better go to sleep...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ya Win Some, Ya Lose Some

So, I found out tonight that there aren't enough registrants to run the program at Sheridan on March 3rd, so that cancels my trip to Toronto... Kaaren and I shall have to figure out how to celebrate our respective birthdays in another way... However, I also found out today that my anthology submission was accepted for a First Nations Anthology being funded by the Ontario Arts Council... it is being released in July. So we get the yin/yang of the day...

Had a catscan today at the crack of dawn... had to be at the hospital so early it wasn't even daylight for the appointment. Mercifully the early hour meant I wasn't waiting behind a lot of other people, so I was home before 9 AM... I understood there wouldn't be any after effects, except some dizziness and perhaps a headache... The dizziness remains static, but the headache has been a doozy. I'm surprised that there were any after effects, but that's what happens when they irradiate your head. At least they found some brain matter in there. Well, I hope they did...

Angeni actually got to school today!! The second school day of February!! For her it was like having spring break a month early. We didn't mind, as she has the bronchial problems. So far she seems to be healing. Mabel and her mysterious leg wound are on the mend.

Our weather was actually great today, with very little snow accumulation. It looks like the snow may return tomorrow night, with a major storm heading into Toronto... I'm not sure if it will head this far north tomorrow night, but I do think we'll get the counter-clockwise streamers and squalls that have been plaguing us for more than 2 weeks, probably on Wednesday or Thursday. At least Brian hasn't had to plough for a couple of days - he ploughed every day last week.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Freaky Friday

And yet another snow day for Angeni - she's been in school exactly one day in February so far. It's alright though, she would have missed some of these days with her bronchial pneumonia, so being home is fine... Brian and I both agreed that we don't remember a winter here where he has ploughed every day in a week. Wild weather - we could have more buildup given the lateness of the winter, but so far it isn't too bad.

I've noticed that the less I do this winter, the less I want to do. I'm not depressed, so I'm either lazy or simply recovering from the health ordeals. Probably a healthy mixture of both situations. I've been a member of MySpace for awhile, and am surprised at the tenacity of some musical performers who want to be "your friend". Shameless music hustling is all it is - but I admire this form of social networking. I'm very poor at promoting myself, and thinking outside the box when searching for how to promote upcoming events.

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Psycho Oven Strikes Again

On the blustery winter day, I thought I'd bake some nice cinnamon buns... the dough has been rising for a couple days, and slathered with all good things. It went in the oven with supper for 25 minutes, baked at the required temperature, but 20 minutes less that suggested. Even with being rotated, the buns are burnt on the bottom. But only burnt on one corner of the pan and toward the middle. They look fine on top. I'm stymied...

Angeni will have been in school a grand total of one whole day this week. At the end of that day (Wednesday) Brian was called to retrieve her because the roads had been closed and the bus couldn't get her to us. The winds are wild and the snow blowing, so we're just going to keep her home tomorrow. Today we had a visit with the doctor over her chest infection, and she was put on a puffer, in addition to having an x-ray, and finishing all her antibiotic. She will be on this puffer for a month. Ever fibre of my being resists this form of steroid-based medicine, but I have to get her well - I'm not so jaded or biased that I can't embrace this form of allopathy. I hope for her sake she feels better soon.

We're dealing with someone who recently had a terrible car accident. He lives, and though his physical injuries were minor, the soul pain has been great. Shock still radiates off his body. We've been working with him on "the way of right relationship", the need to be still with oneself, and not "keeping busy". When we don't face our feelings we are afraid of ourselves. When we avoid our feelings to please others, we fear abandonment - what we do in reality is abandon ourselves. I see this so often, but in this case it could have meant death for our friend and the other driver. It may still cost him his driver's license. A terrible lesson indeed.

Keep cozy in the deep freeze!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Only 7 shopping days left until Valentines Day... and 22 days left until my birthday. My inner 3-year-old and I turn 50 on March 2nd. These 2 pending events require presents (prezies for the uninitiated). I do negotiate with the chief purveyor of prezies - if he gives me a really good one, it can cover both events... He knows this, and he knows me... He's a wary beast. He remembers that I have a short memory, and if he was to give me a blended prezie for Valentines, come my actual birthday the lower lip would drop and a pout the size of the grand canyon would form. The fallout from the prezies-in-absentia on that 50th birthday would reverberate for weeks. He's had 12 years of this reality now, and wants to keep the peace. Yet he doesn't realize that it wouldn't take much...

Brian is very poor at the gifting thing in that he feels what he buys is never right. It is like trying to force Jujube on the halter. The back legs dig in, the head drops and then the kicking starts... Brian hates having to acknowledge these events, although over the years he's had reminder programs to beep him about family birthdays, and has kept a log for dates to remember. None of it really helps - he reads his log, or gets beeped by the program, but it is in one ear, out the other. This, boys and girls, is the crux of male/female differences: Women like to be acknowledged in a romantic, timely way, and men just want to get on with... whatever. No moosh allowed. Men fear being labelled effeminate for being romantic and gifting.

I acknowledge his birthday royally - expensive tools, clothing, nice stuff - whatever he wants. This isn't one-way gift wrapping. Hmmm... I think my friends reading this should email Brian and remind him of his pending obligations... This new form of reminder could replace the log and the beeping date secretary... Since he rarely reads my blog, that would be a surprise. I'm laughing already...

Exploding Bananas and Other Fruitful Tales

My moratorium on cooking lasted 24 hours... A good blog vent and a discussion of same with the guilty parties elevated the situation to a new level... So last evening I ventured into making a pastry dish which intrigued me, the genesis being a vague comment on a cooking show which I overheard in transit from one room to the other. The premise: wrap ripe bananas in puff pastry, along with a generous sprinkling of pecans and chocolate. Wrap up like an enchilada and bake until nicely browned.

In psycho oven, "nicely browned" takes on a rather sinister connotation. I have to dramatically reduce the temperature and seriously shorten the baking time, or oven ventures could warrant a visit from the boys in the big red truck. We've been there, done that, and never again (I pray). However, in this deep cold spell, I could have probably let psycho oven run at the suggested temperature - the pastry didn't puff easily nor well, and the length of time this extravaganza was in the oven wreaked havoc with the bananas.

The resulting explosion wouldn't rival that of a good Die Hard movie, and Bruce Willis was nowhere to be seen in a fireman's uniform, but it was a mess. Before anyone could see the baking tray, I washed it. The pastry (read: incendiary device) looked like something the plunger suctions out of the toilet when it has backed up from too much paper flushed; I was embarrassed to serve this to our guest. After my rant, and with the fact my family isn't used to me baking extra treats (food stylists be damned), they ate it. Not a single comment....

That recipe won't be appearing in the Ancestor's Diet cookbook, and no photographic record remains of the event. If I had it, I'd post it. Then again, this is a family site, and the visual could be misinterpreted. (Sigh) Tonight's journey in lunacy - cinnamon buns!! Be afraid, be very afraid.

Monday, February 05, 2007


I've had an epiphany - much as I love cooking and baking, I've stopped. I had my last "what's that green stuff" and the "meat is too spicy" comment. They can eat sandwiches or cheese and crackers... For years I've juggled at least 2 or even 3 meals at every sitting with people's likes and dislikes.

I've tried getting my daughter involved in the cooking process - the professionals suggest the kids will eat what they make. Not my kid - she's happy to help, but defies the experts. This is hard to do when she's frequently ill - as a mother I want what is best for her well-being.

I have no patience for a psychotic stove that burns things at 75 degrees less than suggested, in half the time... It's what we get for being forced to buy the cheapest stove going when our old one died. Sometimes it really is true that you get what you pay for, especially with an item that you want to last a few years.

Interestingly, I want to finish my native cookbook, and that requires making samples of the dishes to tweak the recipes. Aboriginal fusion is not just a balance of old/modern but cultural re-interpretation, so I think this is an important thing to complete. We use the Ancestors Diet to help our clients balance blood pH levels, and for those who want to control diabetes with diet and not insulin.

For now, let them eat crap, and perhaps they'll ask for a home-cooked meal. Until then, my apron is retired.

What's in a Name?

So, in medieval times, a person often was named for the family skill or trade - the name "Shoemaker" is an obvious one... Think of Brewer, Smith, Wordsworth, Tinker, Plummer, Singer, Miller, Wright, Goldsmith - all these are names passed from parent to child denoting career. However, where, oh where does one inherit these names: Savage, Black, Green, Sexsmith and here it is LOVELADY? My oh my, where does my husband's family fit in that career box? (No pun intended... well okay, maybe it was intended.) He wonders why women are looking at his butt in the grocery store, and when we were first pregnant, neighbour women came up to him to rub his arm for "good luck" getting pregnant... (I hope they know other anatomy is involved.) In the village of Wolverton he was known as the Impreganator... So I guess he came by his name honestly - and I'm glad I didn't get to meet his ancestors Big Dick Johnson Lovelady, Big John Stud Lovelady, and the others. Bet they were vikings, or maybe pro wrestlers...

I've had people hear the name Lovelady and react with surprise - and in their spontaneity some snicker, but a couple of times women have gotten all soft and said "What a beautiful name - the Lady of Love". Being a minister that is a wonderfully suitable name... Unfortunately my birth surname, which I still tag into the equation, reputedly means "war mongering horse thief". Thank goodness one wouldn't know that up front...

Brian thinks I only married him for his "attributes". I beg to differ... It might have been because he comes from a family of jewellers. Unfortunately they were all out of the business when I came along... After reading this to him he thinks I am incorrigible. I beg to differ again... I call a spade a spade, and well, you know...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

As we near Valentines...

I'm aware of how fragile love makes me feel... vulnerable, indecisive, exhilarated, conscious of time passing, especially aging. I want to reach out in the middle of the night at the most annoying times and just hold my partner... love makes me aware of how silly I am, how inappropriately intense, and yet I can't do without it. For many years I was not a great partner, simply because I mothered well... when my needs weren't met, because they couldn't be in an imbalanced relationship, I ended things. I've paid for that dearly, time and time again... It took nearly 40 years to learn to be a partner, and an equal - and with the birth of my daughter, the opportunity still to nurture and mother someone...

Slowly I am touching the needs and the way of "right relationship", as my ancestors would say... I do much better relating with trees, plants, animals or crystals than I do with people, especially other women. I would have liked a better relationship with my mother, and to be a better mother than she was... nearing 5 years after her death I am realizing that, to be truthful, I am NOT a better mother, and I struggle to be in right relationship with my daughter. At least I'm doing better as a partner, although this is an ongoing work-in-progress too...

Intimacy is a strange dance. Living in the moment is hard for me, given the abuses of my past, and the threat/fear of pending loss. I've come a long way learning to live without waiting for the other shoe to drop, and be present, in this moment... Ruminating on past mistakes is futile, and wastes the moment, so I don't do it anymore - learned that one a long time ago. Being anxious over the future robs us of an opportunity to co-create with the universe. All we do with fear is manifest it, to be faced.

We are having a violently cold, blustery weekend... a dear friend had a head-on collision last night, after leaving here. He lives, but I have struggled with him today to help him to be present with the karma and shadow issues that have caused the crash. This mentor had no trouble staying away from "mothering" - perhaps in my harsh response to the stupidity of the situation my pendulum swung too far the other way. It was what it was, and we've worked through the situation although he has a difficult week ahead of him. How we can bring grief to ourselves sometimes.

I'm expected, as Nokomis of this lodge, to be compassionate, loving and to impart the medicine (which means teaching to us)... I don't do the loving part well, but I am learning. Perhaps, in looking back on my life, if I can love myself a little more, I can do better in the "loving others" department.

Waxing philosophical in this waning moon...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sheridan College

The previous post is part of the ongoing 10 day program at Sheridan college, and if there are enough participants, I'll be teaching on March 3rd... the link for this extravaganza is:

There are many workshops relating to textiles, so this could be quite a weekend for the needlers out there!!

March Medicine Blanket Madness

making a medicine bl...

Title: Making a Medicine Blanket

Description: This workshop was born from the discovery of a Metis medicine blanket in a family trunk, in Northern Ontario, in the early 1970s. These little blankets were started for children, but not used in their beds. Rather, both boys and girls were taught their birth position on the native medicine wheel, their animal dodems, family history, and the practical skills of stitchery. Over time, as the child grew, all the momentous events of life were somehow depicted on this blanket. Quite often, the cosmology of the medicine wheel is depicted. Baby teeth and hair from loved pets or relatives were put inside the quilted layers. If, as an adult, the child became a shaman or healer, the blankets were put out for ceremony, with sacred objects displayed on them for use during the proceedings. These blankets, if they survived, were meant to go to the grave with the owner.

Presenter: Rev. Kathryn Gorman-Lovelady

Date: Saturday, March 3, 2007

Time: 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Maximum Enrollment: 15

Cost: $85.00

Materials Fee: $0.00 (Bring a Sewing Machine)