31 May 2008

A Prayer for Working With Herbs

Written by my friend Fox on the druidry.org message boards:

By root and stem and branch and bud
By soul's song and heart's blood
Mother Nature hear my plea
And hold my love close to thee

By the Earth and Sky and Sea
(herb's name), hear my plea
We both are to our Mother leal
Teach me well, and help me heal

30 May 2008

Mullet Man

Today's blog post is a true story contributed by my daughter, who works part time at an area steak house. Enjoy! (And thanks, Bri-Bri!)


Let me paint you a picture.

Open scene: Me getting ready to put in an order. Out of nowhere enters a man, mid thirties. He has a mullet and an oversized Harley sweatshirt on. He flashes his mother-of-pearl teeth at me. All eight of them.

Mullet Man: 'Scuse me miss?

Me: Yes sir? Can I help you?

Mullet Man: I just realized that I ordered a mashed potatoes AND a baked potato.

Me: Why, yes you did sir, I was there.

Mullet Man: Huh?

Me: Never mind.

Mullet man: Oh um, well my wife is giving me an ear full about having too many potatoes, so instead of a mashed potatoes can I have some steak fries?

Me: *blinks* *cricket cricket*

Mullet Man: Is it too late to change it?

Me: *Realizes he's being completely serious* Oh, yeah, not a problem. You want fries instead of the mashed potatoes?

Mullet Man: Yup. Thank you, miss.

Me: *trying really hard NOT to do an eye roll* Of course, sir. Anything else?

Mullet man: Oh yeah, do you put sugar in your sweet tea?

Me: *walks away.*

See? You can't make crap like that up! It's moments like these that make me fear for the human race.

29 May 2008

My new addiction...

I'm really glad I waited to watch this show until the first season came out on DVD. I don't think my heart could handle the breathtaking cliffhangers from week to week. :)

28 May 2008

What Is YOUR Battle Cry?

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Yea, verily: Who is that, stalking over the wasteland! It is Carolan, hands clutching a meaty axe! And with a spectacular howl, her voice cometh:

"I'm going to pummel you past the point of no return, then bake cookies!!"

Find out!
Enter username:
Are you a girl, or a guy ?

created by beatings : powered by monkeys

26 May 2008


In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~ Lt. Col. John McCrae, MD
Canadian Army

23 May 2008

Go ahead...

Say "awwwww"!

My daughter, spoiling the dickens out of Heidi.

21 May 2008

What Shakespeare Play Are You?

Your Score: Midsummer Night's Dream

You scored 13% = Tragic, 56% = Comic, 34% = Romantic, 38% = Historic

You are A Midsummer Night's Dream. Blending elements of comedy and romance, A Midsummer Night's Dream tells the story of mischievous fairies who conspire to make everyone fall in love with everyone else, often with disastrous, yet humorous consequences. You are most likely haphazard in love, but good natured and friendly. While you may also have a mischievous side to you, it is most likely all in good fun. We have no doubt that you are an outgoing person, who may also be a bit of a klutz. And while you may not always get it right, you always try to do the right thing. We applaud you!

Link: The Which Shakespeare Play Are You? Test written by macbee on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(macbee)

19 May 2008

Celtophile Monday

Welcome back to Celtophile Monday, a hodgepodge of news and tidbits gleaned from the web. All sources credited. Enjoy!

Scotland's Top Ten Visitor Attractions
Figures published by the tourism agency VisitScotland show that the number of visitors to Scotland's tourist attractions grew by 1.7% last year, reaching 45.7 million. The most popular paid-for attraction was once again Edinburgh Castle (with 1,200,000), with Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum heading the table of free attractions, with 2.2 million visitors. Glasgow Science Centre did well, with an increase in visitor numbers of 17% but the Scottish Sea Bird Centre in North Berwick had the biggest rise in visitors, with 26% more than the year before, rising from 225,500 customers to 284,702. There were also increased visitor numbers at the Falkirk Wheel, St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh and the Shetland Museum and Archive. But the People's Palace museum in Glasgow saw its numbers dip by 18.4% - the largest decrease in the country. The VisitScotland figures show that English tourists account for the highest proportion of visitors to Scotland's attractions.
Source: rampantscotland.com

Scots Win Inventor of the Year Title
Three Scotsmen have won the title "European Inventor of the Year" awarded jointly by the European Commission and the European Patent Office. The three men have created a laser-scanning technology called Optomap which allows powerful but painless examination of the retina of the eye. Previously it had been difficult to scan the retina of small children because of the duration and discomfort associated with traditional eye tests. A child of one of the trio lost the sight in one eye because a detached retina was detected too late. That set him to work on the scanning problem and an engineering firm developed a non-invasive test that takes just a quarter of a second, using low-powered laser beams that produce a digital image of over 80% of the retina - compared with a scan of only 5% using conventional methods. This year's title of Inventor of the Year was based on inventions patented and successfully marketed between 1993 and 2002.
Source: rampantscotland.com

A View to Rare Sea Eagles
Visitors to the island of Mull off the west coast of Scotland will now have an even better opportunity to see the rare white-tailed sea eagles that have been nesting there since 1998. A new wildlife watching hide has been opened, the only location in the UK where these magnificent birds can be viewed from an organised hide. Overlooking Loch Frisa, it sits on wheels, making it easier to move into position each year, depending on where the sea eagles nest. It has a glass front for viewing and is equipped with two TV monitors showing live pictures of the birds from cameras placed close to the nest. Mull Eagle watch has seen the number of visitors increasing from just over 1,000 in 2000 to 5,500 in 2006.
Source: rampantscotland.com

Fuel Shortages, Credit Crunch, Binge Drinking
Some things never change... A complete archive of Scotland's Parliamentary activities recorded between the 13th and 18th centuries shows that major issues in those days included fuel shortages (Mary Queen of Scots banned the export of coal as a result), tolls over the river Forth (by ferry, rather than by a bridge), excessive drinking (those found in a bar after 10pm were to be subject to corporal punishment or imprisonment in a law passed in 1617) and Members of the Scottish Parliament faced scandals over expenses and falling standards. Researchers have spent the last eleven years turning 16.5 million words covering meetings, minutes and legislative acts discussed by the old Scottish parliaments, into an easily-accessible online archive. Some documents had to be translated from Latin, French and Old Scots to modern English. See Records of the Parliaments of Scotland.
Source: rampantscotland.com

Scottish Historical Calendar
May 18 1313 - Robert the Bruce invades Isle of Man.
May 19 1795 - Death in Auchinleck of James Boswell, biographer of Dr Johnston.
May 20 685 - Battle of Dunnichen (also known as Nechtansmere), south of Forfar in Angus, as a result of which the Picts stopped the advance northwards of the Angles of Northumbria.
May 21 1916 - Clocks and watches went forward for one hour as the Daylight Savings Act brought in "British Summer Time" for the first time.
May 22 1915 - Britain's worst train disaster at Quintinshill (near Gretna Green) in which three trains collided, with the loss of 227 lives. A troop train carrying the Seventh Royal Scots Regiment hit a stationary train and the night express from London then hit the wreckage. Two signalmen were later jailed.
May 24 1153 - King David I died at Carlisle and Malcolm IV crowned at Scone.
May 25 1713 - John Stuart, Earl of Bute, Britain's first Scottish Prime Minister, born.
May 26 1424 - The parliament convened by King James I approved the arrest of a number of the Scottish nobility - and also banned the playing of football.
May 27 1936 - Maiden voyage of liner Queen Mary.
May 28 1503 - Papal Bull signed by Pope Alexander VI confirming the marriage of King James IV and Margaret Tudor and the "Treaty of Everlasting Peace" between Scotland and England.
May 29 1630 - King Charles II born.
May 29 1660 - King Charles II returned to England. Royal Oak Day.
May 31 1727 - The Royal Bank of Scotland was formed from a company of debenture holders.

Bruce Festival
This year's Bruce Festival takes place in Dunfermline between June 6th and 15th. It includes "Warriors" a spectacular outdoor theatre performance by students of the local Carnegie College. Each performance will begin in the gardens of Abbot House to the sound of a harp playing. The audience will then move to the graveyard of Dunfermline Abbey, stopping briefly at the grave of William Wallace’s mother - to hear about her son's contribution to the cause of freedom. Lepers will then pass the audience and gather in the opening of the Abbey where the narrator will give a brief history of the Abbey before going into the historic Nave of Dunfermline Abbey. Later, actors will be involved in combat sword fighting. At the weekend of 14/15th June, a number of Scotland’s top re-enactment groups will take part in a spectacular pageant celebrating King Robert the Bruce. A medieval encampment will be set up in Pittencrieff Park and visitors will be able to view an authentic and colourful battle camp where soldiers will be preparing for war. There will be displays of the speed and power of the mighty longbow and crossbow and also falconry.
Source: rampantscotland.com

Spotlight: Wales

Rare Albino Tadpoles Uncovered
Conservationists have been observing a garden pond in Carmarthenshire after albino tadpoles were discovered there. The tadpoles have characteristic pink eyes and pale colouration and were first discovered when four separate blobs of albino spawn were spotted. The location of the pond has been kept secret while further research is undertaken. Conservation group Froglife said it was unlikely the tadpoles would turn into albino frogs. Source: BBC Wales

Panoramic Wales
Take in the sights through 360 degree panoramas of the region. Click here.

Welsh Maritime History
Wales' seas have been home to many adventures over the years. Ships have sailed far and wide from its ports for centuries, and others have ventured through its waters with tragic consequences. Read more.

Celtic Wales
Go back in time to the Iron Age when the Celts built forts and settlements all over this region. Visit the remains which form some of the most significant historic sites of the period. Click here.

For the Foodies...
Put your pinny on and try out some of these mouth-watering recipes in your own kitchen. Click here.

Dylan Thomas
Discover Dylan's links with South West Wales - from his home in Cwmdonkin, Swansea, to the more well-known boathouse that he and Caitlin shared at Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. Click here.

The Nature of Wales
Read about the Howardian Reserve, a wildlife oasis of woodland, wildflower meadow, ponds and reedbeds. Click here.

17 May 2008

Celtic Ogham Divination Series Continues on BtV

Click here for the latest in my series of posts about Celtic Ogham divination. :)

15 May 2008

Thirteen More Lesser Known Celtic Deities

Addendum to this post. The well of fascinating Celtic subjects never runs dry! Enjoy!

  1. Achtland - A queen whom no mortal man could satisfy. She solved the problem by taking a giant from the faery realm as her mate. Legend says that she took great pleasure combing his long, fair hair. Heh. Yeah. His hair. Riiiiight...

  2. Belisama - Goddess of light and fire, the forge, and crafts. Wife of Belenus and goddess of the Mersey River.

  3. Condatis - God of the waters. His sacred sites are wherever two rivers, creeks, or other waters meet. Like a door threshhold, these places are "in between" places that the Celts believe hold great power.

  4. Dia Greine - A Scottish daughter of the sun, or possibly a sun Goddess herself. Tales recount how she was a captive in the Land of Women (a.k.a the Otherworld), and escaped with the help of the Cailleach who turned her into a fox.

  5. Epos Olloatir - A horse God, either the male form of the Goddess Epona, or her consort.

  6. Henwen (Hen-oon) - An English goddess much like the Welsh Goddess Cerridwen. She brought abundance to the land by "giving birth" to gifts in various spots, such as bees, grain, animals, etc. But she didn't distribute animals like dogs, pigs, horses or other animals that "belonged" to other deities.

  7. Le Fay - Sea Goddess, and Goddess of Avalon. Drinking water she had blessed brought about healing.

  8. Myrddin Wyllt - A God of the forests who could grow feathers and leap from tree to tree. Often associated with the Irish Suibhne.

  9. Urien - A minor English God who married to Modron and fathered Owain and Mabon. As his wife killed him in a murderous rage (My guess? He came home after she'd had a hard day with the boys, and said the Wrong Thing...), he is associated with Samhain.

  10. Tannus (a.k.a Taranis) - Gaulish thunder god. Offerings were made to him so he'd influence the weather.

  11. Rosmerta - Gaulish goddess who was adopted into the Roman pantheon and given a husband - Mercury. She is often thought to be a goddess of hot springs, plenty, and fertility.

  12. Nantosuelta - Gaulish goddess of streams, often thought to be a fertility and prosperity goddess; aso associated with the concept of rebirth.

  13. Mala Liath - Could have been an alternate name for the Scottish Cailleach. She is said to have tended a herd of pigs that were sired by the wild boar of Glen Glass.

See more Thursday Thirteens!

13 May 2008

Spring Magic

What's not magical about spring? How seemingly dead plants come back to life in floods of color? As promised, here are some photos I snapped at the Toledo Botanical Garden last weekend. I'm still figuring out my new camera, but in spite of myself I think I got a few good ones. :) Enjoy!

09 May 2008

Rite of Spring

This year's visit to the Toledo Botanical Garden's annual plant sale yielded these treasures:

Spicy Orange Thyme
Silver Thyme
Sweet Woodruff
Golden Variegated Sage
African Blue Basil
Lemon Basil
Lime Basil
Orange Mint

I'm going to need to get a membership, because at least two herbs I wanted were all snapped up yesterday at the members' only sale - columnar basil and globe basil. *sigh*

Here's a piccie of my basket of goodies:

This was taken in my back yard - you'll also see our beautiful azalea, part of my little stone circle, and my guard dachshund. :) The plant growing behind the dachshund is sweet woodruff, one of the plants I've discovered that does well in our extremely sandy soil.

Who woulda thunk it - a beach in a Toledo back yard. Now if only it came with an ocean...

Lavender, one of my faves, is a bit of a challenge here. The two plants I have are still alive, but if they've grown an inch since I planted them last year I'll be surprised. Lemon balm - yeah, it likes it here. It'll be a monster next year. Chives and parsley come back every spring--in a different place each time!

None of my thyme made it through winter, which surprises me because normally you have to try hard to kill this stuff. But I'm told that no one's thyme has been doing well around here for a couple years now. So at least I know it's not me.

I took some other pictures of what's in bloom at the botanical garden, like trillium, azalea, rhododendron and lots of native plants. Their herb garden is only now beginning to awaken...in a few weeks it'll be magnificent.

Those pictures are forthcoming. :)

Friday Funny

In this bit of adorable-ness from the last night at RT Pittsburgh, Jennifer Dunne just can't take any more and looks for someplace to hide. The nearest safe harbor? Under Jo Christiansen's seat cushion. (Jo is a reader I've met at several cons - she's a sweetheart.)

08 May 2008

I'm "it!"

I've been tagged by Isabo Kelly to share six quirky things about myself.

So it's all HER fault you're shortly going to be looking for a sharp implement to gouge your own eyes out. Yeah.

1. I set off airport alarms. It's the spare parts, ya know... The annoying thing is that I never get the hunky young male patter-downers. Nooo, I get Helga the Ham-Handed.

2. I could literally eat an entire large bag of Sun Chips in one sitting. What do they put in these things, crack?

3. I have a phobia of calling people on the phone. I have no idea why.

4. Most dangerous things I've ever done... rapelling in Big Bend National Park, laying on my belly at the top of the Cliffs of Mor to look at the ocean several hundred feet below (my husband says he saw me from half a mile away and his heart almost stopped), and swimming in a tank of sharks.

5. I'm a rabid fan of Deadliest Catch. There's just something primal about men who still risk life and limb every day to make their living.

6. I have five big chunks of granite in my flower beds that, when I move, move with me. They're pieces of North Carolina, and they're a tangible piece of home.

Hmmm, whom to tag...

Jean Marie Ward and SJ Willing. [evil grin]

05 May 2008

Celtophile Monday

Welcome back to Celtophile Monday! All sources credited. Enjoy!


Scotland Wind Farm Rejected
The proposed wind farm on Lewis in the Western Isles would have been one of Europe's largest, with 234 giant turbines. The local authority and businesses in the Western Isles were very much in favour of the plan, but it also attracted 11,000 objections, with 84% from islanders. Because of its scale, the Scottish Government had to make the final decision and they have now rejected it because it did not comply with European law protecting sensitive environments. It would have had a serious impact on the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area, which is designated under the European Commission (EC) Birds Directive and protected under the EC Habitats Directive. Supporters said it was a lost opportunity to advance Scotland's renewables industry and the fragile economy of the Western Isles. The Government insisted that the rejection of the Lewis development would not mean Scotland failing to meet its renewable targets of generating 50% of Scotland's electricity demand from renewables by 2020. Currently, 454 wind turbines are operating in Scotland, with a further 203 approved. They are now becoming intrusive on many Scottish skylines and applications have been received for 1,700 others in 28 locations, including another two in the Western Isles. But many are snarled up in lengthy planning processes - the Lewis project was first put forward in 2004. Source: RampantScotland.com

Islanders Support Wave Power
Just days after the rejection of the wind farm on Lewis in the Western Isles, a planning application was lodged for a major new wave power station on the west of the island. Despite being sited close to communities that would have been nearest to the rejected wind farm, local residents are said to be backing the latest development. The scheme would harness power from the Atlantic waves in Siardar Bay, to generate up to four megawatts of electricity. It will involve putting a causeway out about 200 metres, and building a breakwater with 36 to 40 turbines. The breakwater will also help boats entering the sea at Siardar Bay. Source: RampantScotland.com

New Exhibit at Edinburgh Zoo
Edinburgh Zoo opened the largest chimpanzee enclosure in the world on Friday. The £5.65 million "Budongo Trail" is the first part of a £77.8 million investment to create enclosures that simulate more closely the natural environment for a number of species. The chimps enclosure has the world's largest man-made climbing frame for the apes. The enclosure has landscaped gardens with exotic vegetation similar to that found on a forest floor. The new enclosure can house up to 40 chimpanzees and will be a major new attraction for the Zoo's 650,000 visitors each year. Source: RampantScotland.com

New Farming Methods Put Ireland's Birds in Peril
The Republic of Ireland's Heritage Council has warned that many of the country's birds are under threat because of trends in agriculture. The corncrake, lapwing, barn owl, cuckoo and chough are all on the danger list, according to the official body that monitors the health of Ireland's wildlife.

In all, 29 species of birds and 120 flowering plants are in serious decline because of the introduction of more intensive farming methods that damage their habitat. Other wildlife, such as the marsh fritillary butterfly, is also under threat. Read more by David McKittrick

Web Sites
Irish Green TV
North Wales Wildlife Trust


Queen Mother Gates Unveiled at Glamis
Prince Charles has unveiled a set of new gates at Glamis castle which have been built in memory of his grandmother, the late Queen Mother. Glamis has royal links going back to 1372 and the castle was the her childhood home when she was Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, daughter of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Donations from home and abroad contributed to the cost of the new gates, which were built and designed locally. The gates are at a new entrance which reinstates the original avenue between the castle and the village and helps the flow of the growing number of visitors to Glamis Castle and the surrounding gardens and estate. Source: RampantScotland.com

Excuuuuse Me?
An international competition run by Whisky Magazine surprised many in the Scottish distilling industry when it voted two Japanese whiskies as the best in the world. Yochi is the first variety outside of Scotland to win the single malt award. Distilled near the city of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido, it beat dozens of other varieties, including last year's winner, Talisker 18 years old, produced on the Isle of Skye. And Suntory Hibiki scooped the prize for the world's best blended whisky according to the poll in Whisky Magazine.

That shock result in the whisky tasting competition hasn't had any impact on overall whisky sales by the Scottish distilling industry. Indeed, the value of export sales reached record levels last year, reaching £2.8 billion, earning £90 every second for the UK balance of trade. The Scottish Whisky Association has also reported that export volume was also up, to the equivalent of 1,135 million bottles. Exports to the European Union went up in value by 27% with Spain and France in second and third place in the league table of export countries - the USA remains substantially out in front. Following recent changes in duty imposed in India, whisky exports to there soared 36% last year. Source: RampantScotland.com

Protecting Scotland's Battlefields
Historic Scotland, an agency of the Scottish Government, has launched a consultation document aimed at protecting the country's many battlefields, initially by creating an inventory. In some cases, of course, it is too late for any protection measures while for others, even such pivotal conflicts as Bannockburn, the precise location is a matter of debate. The consultation document says that to be included in the "Inventory of Battlefields" the location of the conflict must be mapped and identified. Over the next three months the public will be asked to comment on how best to protect battlefield sites. A final paper will then be prepared by Historic Scotland for consideration by ministers. Currently there is no specific legislation to protect battlefields in Scotland. That has meant that many have been built over by urban developments. Source: RampantScotland.com

Stalemate for Lewis Chessmen
Attempts to persuade the British Museum to return the historic Viking chess set, found in a sand dune on the Isle of Lewis in 1831, have been rejected by the director of the London collection. There are currently 82 figures in the British Museum and 11 in the Scottish National Museum in Edinburgh. The British Museum claims that when they were found, the Scots involved at that time tried to sell them and the British Museum bought them as a collector of last resort to keep them together. They therefore don't feel under any pressure to return their chessmen to Scotland. Source: RampantScotland.com

Dates in Scottish History
May 4 1645 - Marquis of Montrose victorious at Battle of Auldearn.
May 5 1646 - King Charles I surrenders to Lord Leven and was later passed to the Parliamentary forces.
May 6 1941 - Last major bombing attack on the Clyde area by the Luftwaffe; Greenock was badly hit with 280 dead.
May 6 1959 - Icelandic gunboats fired live rounds at British fishing trawlers, many of them from Scottish ports, during the "Cod War" over fishing rights.
May 7 1890 - James Naysmith, engineer and inventor of steam hammer, died
May 8 1701 - Scottish-born pirate "Captain" William Kidd tried for piracy at London's Old Bailey. He was hanged on 23 May.
May 9 1860 - J M Barrie, author of "Peter Pan" born
May 10 1810 - Rev Henry Duncan opened the world's first savings bank in Ruthwell, near Dumfries.
May 12 1725 - The Black Watch regiment was commissioned under General Wade to police the Highlands.
May 13 1568 - Mary, Queen of Scots, defeated at Battle of Langside.
May 14 1754 - St Andrews Society of Golfers constituted. In 1834 it became the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
May 15 1567 - Mary, Queen of Scots, married Earl of Bothwell - at 4am.
May 16 1763 - Biographer James Boswell met Samuel Johnson for the first time.
May 16 1791 - James Boswell's "Life of Johnson" published.
May 17 1532 - King James V established paid judges to sit as the Court of Session, the highest civil court in Scotland.

Web Sites
The latest edition of The Bottle Imp.
Celtic Heartbeat - Wales
Celtic Art & Cultures


Scotland vs. USA Polo Match
USA will take on Scotland on Saturday, June 21st in the Newport International Polo Series. Scotland has a 3-1 record against the USA in this international series and are cheered on by a loyal band of supporters wearing kilts and waving the Saltire national flag. The Polo Series takes place on the polo grounds of historic Glen Farm, 715 East Main Road (also called Route 138) in Portsmouth , RI. Source: RampantScotland.com

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in the US was not only founded by Scots and named after Edinburgh, but they also hold an annual Highland Games. This year's games will take place May 16-18 both on campus and throughout the town. This year's musical guests include the Chelsea House Orchestra, Melinda Crawford (a former National Scottish Fiddle Champion), Maidens IV, and Bare Bones. There's also Highland dancing, piping competitions, a kilted mile run, heavy athletics, clan gatherings, sheep to shawl weaving, archery - and a fire eater. For more information, see: Edinboro Highland Games.


03 May 2008

02 May 2008

Your Daily Dose of Cute

One determined dachshund's quest to share slobber with her grandma.

Cast of characters:
Determined Dachshund: Fidget
Grandma: My Mom


01 May 2008

Beltane Blessings!

Beannachtaí lá fhéile Bealtaine daoibh go léir!