What I’m Reading (9.22.2020)

Happy Mabon
(aka Autumn Equinox)

Some indoor-gardening books (now that I’ve “got my Mojo back”):

  1. Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants
    by Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff, of Urban Jungle Bloggers (an on-line community I’m proud to be a part of)
  2. Decorating with Plants
    by Baylor Chapman, founder of Lila B. Design
  3. The Indestructible Houseplant
    by Tovah Martin
  4. The Inspired Houseplant: Transform Your Home with Indoor Plants
    by Jen Stearns
  5. n

  6. Backstage Pass is a follow-up to Face the Music
    by Paul Stanley
    – Read as more of a “self help” book. Face the Music was better.
  7. Cemetery Gates: Saints and Survivors of the Heavy Metal Scene
    by Mick O’Shea
    (Saints: Dio, Bon Scott, Cliff Burton, Dimebag Darrell; Survivors: Ozzy, Nikki Sixx, Mustaine, Slash – among others)
    – Introduced me to the bassist for Type O Negative, Peter Steele, who is no longer with us. GORGEOUS man. Will be doing a “Beefcake” on him.
  8. Practical Magic (’cause I love the movie so much!)
    by Alice Hoffman
  9. Under the Tuscan Sun (Another movie I watch over and over again.)
    by Frances Mayes
    – Came with recipes!
  10. Cher: Strong Enough
    by Josiah Howard
  11. Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir
    by Cyndi Lauper
    – This proved to be one of my favorite “rock star” biographies. She didn’t hold back anything; and in spite of hardships, she maintained her wonderful outlook on life. I now consider myself a HUGE fan!

A little bit of everything  (which should keep me busy…)

A house without books is like a room without windows.

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If You Hang It, They Will Come

The weather’s back to normal in Silicon Valley. We’ve had clear blue skies and temps in mid-70’s to 80’s, which is typical here for this time of year (and we’ve got a warming trend later in the week). Indian Summer.

Birds are particularly susceptible to particulates in the air, and now that the skies are smoke-free we are seeing their return – especially the smaller ones like finches and hummingbirds. One of our neighbors had a hummingbird feeder outside their front door but took it down some time ago. Not only are Hummers territorial, but they become accustomed to visitng a particular feeder regularly. If you put one up for these little guys, best do it with the intention of it becoming a fixture in your yard.

We figured it was up to us to establish a NEW Hummer Café. I prefer glass bottles to plastic because they’re easier to clean and won’t leach any nasty chemicals into the food. Amazon had a great selection, but I was sure we could find one nearby. The search was over when we found a really nice one at Lowers for $10. Love the shape and the little perches. The birds can “take a load off” while they slurp.

After giving the feeder a good rinse I got to work making Hummer Food:  One part sugar to four parts water. Boil for two minutes and let it come to room temperature before filling the feeder. (Any left-overs can be stored in the fridge.) Since the feeder itself is so colorful I didn’t add any red food coloring.

Once I filled it we hung the Hummer Café in the backyard (aka The Concrete Jungle). The colors just POP when the sun hits it. It’s beautiful.

Sitting in the living room (NFL Sunday) I wondered just how long it would take before we got our first customer. Answer:  less than 30 minutes.

Today we had the “battle of the Hummers”, with the first Hummer chasing away another. (Hey guys, there are THREE seats here. Plenty of room for all so belly up!)

P.S. The Hummer Café is also providing Ramses with plenty of “enrichment”. He sits at the back door chattering while the little buggers hover right in front of his face. LOL!

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Why I Write About…the Things I Write About

Before I get started, let me say that last night’s Virtual Fundraising Event, Comic Cat Relief: 20 Years of Purrfection, was wonderful fun! I understand that Heaven on Earth holds this gala each year, but since the rescue center resides in Hollywood, CA, many animal-lovers and supporters (myself included) would not have been able to participate. I hope they go virtual next year too!!

There was a Master Bartender showing us how to make the event’s signature cocktail Water-MEOW-lin Martini, several stand-up comedy acts (I particularly loved Zoltan Kaszas), a virtual auctioneer (Boffo the Bear), and a guest appearance by members of Steel Panther – who’ve partnered with Heaven on Earth on other events.

Tons of cool stuff to bid on in the Silent Auction, along with the option to donate money directly. As you can see, I couldn’t resist getting my name in lights (while supporting a great cause):

One of the items in the Silent Auction is a “Cuddle Clone”. (WTH??) Cuddle Clones will replicate your pet as a stuffed animal. Pure genius! You’ve got to see these creations. They are the spitting image of the real-life models. (I adore Ramses, but wouldn’t it be lovely to have “Diego” to cuddle with sometimes. Or maybe a LoniLoni. Maybe both…)

I digress. Heaven on Earth is keeping the Silent Auction open until 11:59pm this Sunday, September 20th. You can browse the items here OR make a cash donation in whatever amount you want right here. “No act of generosity is too small to make a difference.”

I love being back in Silicon Valley but, like everyone else, miss socializing. Last night’s gala was the first virtual event I’ve taken part in. (Since all my besties are within a few miles there’s no need to Zoom.) It was as close to being at a night club or comedy club as I can get right now. I know it was a fundraiser to benefit homeless felines, but being part of an activity…knowing there were others “participating” at the same time…was something I needed. Just didn’t know it.

Which kinda brings me right around to the main subject of this Post:  Why I Write About the Things I Write About. I’m not a part of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., but I do regularly visit a handful of Blogs. One gal who lives in Oregon publishes plant-related posts on a daily basis, and since she mainly covers the Portland area I get a good sense of what’s going on in her “neighborhood”. Another, who also lives in Oregon, discusses interior design and how to make a home cozy. She’s also written a number of books! Busy gal. Another blog covers design/living/food/plants, and several are related to the Hard Rock/Heavy Mëtal scene. No surprise that there are a couple of cat-related sites thrown into the mix.

None cover the diverse subjects I do – which suits me fine and I’m sure makes their lives easier.

My Posts might be compared to commenting on Facebook – I make note of whatever strikes my fancy or pops up on my radar. The only difference (and this is a significant difference) is that I like to go in-depth. I like to research. I like to probe. I like SUBSTANCE. Plus, it’s imperative that I have a visually-appealing site on which to expound my thoughts.

Back in 2017 I decided to organize this site to make it easier for visitors to get to the content they were most interested in. My 7 Heavenly Lusts. If someone was only interested in, say, plants, they’d be able to skip all the other crap and go directly to Plant Lust. Same with Cats, Rock/Mëtal, and so on.

I get visitors from all over the world, but there’s one Post that’s generated more comments than any other:  Aargh!, and another that’s gotten tons of hits since THE MADNESS struck:  Fishdom.

No matter what it is that brings them here, I appreciate people taking the time to visit. THANK YOU!

As I was going through my Posts recently (tidying up things here and there) I noticed something. I’ve not only been blogging but have created an online diary in the process. Since launching this site in 2015, my Posts have recorded my life. It has been unintentional. My topics of interest give me away. Most of the Posts deal with mundane stuff. They are entertaining. Sometimes informative. Others have been difficult for me to write. It’s strange, but these “tough” Posts have given me great comfort.

‘Kayso, I will continue to write about what I write about. Which is to say:  Anything and everything that I want to share with all of you – honestly, thoughtfully, and with an open-heart.

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Snakes, Swords, and Aspirational Clutter

At 3:30 this morning I awoke from a dream. In this dream I was lying on a couch in front of a fireplace within which burned a fire. There was a coiled rattlesnake on the floor beside the couch. It was not rattling its tail but was regarding me intently. Not wanting to get bitten and hoping the serpent would wander off, I lay very still. Suddenly it DID strike me. On the side of my head, but my thick hair acted like a helmet and deflected its fangs.

I’ve had snake dreams before but never a rattlesnake – and never with one striking out at me.

Reading-up on dream interpretations, I found that the dreamer should place high importance on any dream about snakes. As I was not bitten, I ruled out any explanations that focused on that. Most said that dreaming of a rattlesnake is a warning of something hostile or dangerous in the dreamer’s waking life. The danger may either be external or internal. In other words, the snake could represent wrestling with one’s inner demons or harboring irrational fears; or it could mean treachery at foot (I ruled the latter out as well.).

The more I analyzed it, the more I felt the creature striking at my head was a sign from the Universe telling me to “Wake up.”

Now I was wide awake and feeling a bit weird about the dream, so I got up and made myself a hot milk toddy. Then I decided to burn some incense to cleanse the air. Then I thought I might as well pull a Tarot card…as I was still feeling pretty funky.

While the Vampyress in the card is described as being “sorrowful”, I’ve always sensed a bit of REVENGE here. It’s there in the eyes and the tilt of her head. The phrase “cuts like a knife” comes to mind, with the knife representing the sharp intellect representative of the suit. DID she exact revenge? Has the Vampyress fed upon her pain for so long she’s allowed it to consume her?

Also referred to as “Lord of Sorrow”, the 3 of Knives (Swords) represents worries, heartache, and emotional pain. As Knives (Swords) rule the intellect and mental activity this unhappiness is being caused by stressful thinking and needless worrying. Denying or blocking emotions results in the inability to free oneself from the past. Release any emotional tension or negative energy by allowing yourself to experience it fully. Then let go of it.

Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster.
For when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

– Friedrich Nietzsche

Today also marks a New Moon in the analytical sign of Virgo. (Note: The Sun is also aligned with Virgo and will be staying there through September 22nd.)

At the same time we have Sun Trine Saturn (which shines a spotlight on authority figures) and Mercury Square Jupiter (focus on organization). Additionally, this New Moon is “”connecting with the North and South Nodes of the moon, which are known as the Nodes of Destiny. This means that the actions we take during this time will be key in shifting our future, giving this lunation even more relevance than any other regular new moon.” Reference link

New Moons are not only for setting intentions, they are usually a time of fresh starts and new beginnings; but with Mars still Retrograde (in Aries) this is not the time to start anything new. Virgo’s New Moon will urge us to Re-flect, Re-examine, Re-evaluate, Re-vise, and Re-organize. (This would be a good time to Re-visit any forgotten projects…)

Lastly, Virgo is connected to the Healer Archetype. Focus on your well-being and the well-being of those you love. Practice self-care. More than ever, this last point is vital to our mental and physical health.

Which brings me to “aspirational clutter”. Apartment Therapy has been posting daily decluttering tips and today’s was: Removing This One Type of Clutter from Your Life Is an Act of Self-Love.

According to the Post, “Aspirational clutter is anything you’re keeping for a future version of yourself. Clear it out if you need more mental or physical space for who you are right now.” Indeed.

I will go a step further and challenge each and every one of us to perform an Aspirational Declutter of our minds and spirits. Let’s get rid of everything that doesn’t serve us; that no longer benefits who we aspire to BE.

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