Tuesday 31 March 2009

CCL Update

To bring you up to date on my ambition of becoming a Crazy Cat Lady, here are the latest additions to my CCL wardrobe and accessories:

(1) A lovely, very roomy pink nightie with tiny black and neon pink cats all over it (comfy!)

(2) A spiral bound notebook (a gift from my Rare One) that says on the cover "I am one bad relationship away from 30 cats." Hee hee! Apparently that joke originated with the Canadian comic Caroline Rhea who, come to think of it, I haven't seen much on TV lately. Perhaps she has retired to CCL-dom herself.

Monday 30 March 2009

Gardening at the White House

This picture made me laugh so I just have to post it! The media has recently reported that Michelle Obama has broken ground on the White House lawn in order to plant a big vegetable garden. She says that everyone will be made to take their turn weeding, whether they want to or not. It seems like they're planting every vegetable under the sun except beets, because Mr. President doesn't like them.
Speaking for all those who love borscht, I call upon every Slavic-American to write an indignant letter to the White House. Or better yet, send along a container of Baba's best soup to persuade the Obamas to become beet-lovers. How can you not love purple soup? Or pink soup, if it's summer borscht?
Mmmmmm, borscht . . . .

Sunday 29 March 2009

Earth Hour

My Rare One and I observed Earth Hour last night at our local time of 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. I know that turning off all the lights for an hour is a symbolic gesture only, but we still felt pretty virtuous. And it is kind of neat to participate in a world-wide activity.
So during our hour of darkness, we played two games of cribbage by candlelight. I got skunked the first game, but rallied to win the second.

Saturday 28 March 2009

Makeup, Now

Today, women are generally expected to wear full makeup on a daily basis. Certainly women in the workforce are culturally encouraged to wear it as part of "looking professional." I've known several highly educated and very accomplished women who could not take one step out of the house under any circumstances unless they had on full makeup.

I read once that we should not condemn the misogyny of societies where women cannot go out in public without hiding their faces behind veils, because in our own society women must always veil their faces in public as well, except here the veil is the virtually obligatory mask of makeup. In both cases, bare-faced women are not socially acceptable.

And nowadays, deeply religious Christian women wear the most makeup of all!! Tammy Faye Baker in her heyday springs to mind immediately, of course. But WTF? How did this profound reversal occur? One theory which I read said that the modern fundamentalist acceptance of makeup signals how these women incorporated into their lives the advantages and greater freedoms of the sexual revolution without adopting feminism and without alienating their men. Fundamentalist women use makeup to demonstrate that they gladly wear the veil, because to please men is to please God. An interesting theory, but who knows if it's correct? Still, it's the best one I've seen yet to explain this very puzzling development.

Friday 27 March 2009

Makeup, Then

When I was a kid in the 1960s, the women who surrounded me did not wear makeup every day, but only on special occasions when they got "dolled up" to go out. My mother's entire makeup collection consisted of one tube of red lipstick, a compact of pressed powder for her face and a small pot of rouge for her cheeks. My grandmother had a tube of pink lipstick which she kept in the refrigerator and used maybe twice a year. My teachers at school were similarly restrained and many wore no makeup at all. The most made-up person I knew was my Auntie Chick and that's only because she also used mascara and eye-shadow. But even she did not wear makeup on a daily basis. Wearing full makeup every day was the sure-fire sign of a trollop, everyone agreed. Respectable women were modest and sparing in their use of makeup. In fact, deeply religious Christian women (like the ones who lived down the street from us) did not ever wear makeup on any occasion. They told us girls that lipstick was a tool of the Devil and that our lips would be permanently stained an ugly brown if we used it.

Thursday 26 March 2009

Auntie Chick's Hair

When I was small, Auntie Chick's hair was jet black. She dyed it herself, of course, in the kitchen sink. But Auntie Chick was a smart woman and she knew to gradually lighten her hair colour as the years wore on. Dark hair set against an aging face only serves to emphasize wrinkles, she explained. Her hair passed through various shades of brunette and then lighter browns until, in her senior years, it was a pale beige. Once I made the mistake of referring to her hair as beige. "It's not beige," she said indignantly. "It's champagne gold!"

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Auntie Chick's Eyebrows

Auntie Chick grew up a poor farm girl during the Depression. She hungered for beauty and glamour, glimpsed only in magazines and movies. She always modeled her personal style as closely as she could on the Hollywood stars she adored. When she was young, pencil-thin eyebrows were all the rage. Therefore Auntie Chick plucked her eyebrows faithfully. But she did it so often and so thoroughly that eventually the hair did not grow back. That's why Auntie Chick essentially had no eyebrows. One was gone completely and the other one was down to a tiny tuft of hair near the bridge of her nose. Auntie Chick had to draw her eyebrows on with an eyebrow pencil. Luckily, she was quite artistic so her fake eyebrows were usually pretty even and well drawn. But she continued to draw pencil-thin eyebrows even when they were no longer in style. I think she did so on the assumption that thinner eyebrows could pass more easily as real than fuller eyebrows might.

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Auntie Chick's Mascara

When I was a little girl, Auntie Chick was the only one I knew who used mascara. She would show me the little red box of Maybelline black cake mascara purchased downtown at Woolworths. Auntie Chick would wet the tiny flat brush, rub it in the mascara and then apply it to her lashes. Of course, in those days, mascara was not waterproof so if she cried, sweated too much or got caught in the rain, it would run down her cheeks in two inky black rivulets. Not very chic, I know, but those were the times.

Monday 23 March 2009

My Auntie Chick

My Auntie Chick loved makeup, clothes and glamour. Whenever she saw a picture of a movie star wearing the latest fashion, she would sigh and say, "Oh, that's so chick!" She meant chic, of course. But in our world, you would never hear a fancy word like that spoken aloud or used in conversation. You might see it in a magazine or book but you would just have to guess at its pronunciation. So Auntie Chick pronounced chic the way it looked and assumed she had it right.

Sunday 22 March 2009

The Lord's Prayer: "The Message" Version

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best -- 
As above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

This version comes from The Message (2002), a modern American translation of the Bible by Eugene H. Peterson. The Message is not a word-by-word translation of the original Greek, says its publisher, but is instead an "intelligent paraphrase" designed "to communicate the style and flavour of the original." The publisher boasts that its reading level is Grade 4-5.

Understandably, this translation has come in for a lot of criticism, especially the complaint that its paraphrased style is "too New Age-y." While phrases like "three square meals" and "keep us forgiven with you" certainly do put my teeth on edge, I must admit that I like the ecstatic affirmation of the last two lines, "You're ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes."

Well, all the alternative versions of The Lord's Prayer that I've collected over the years have now been posted. But I'm sure that some other versions will cross my path eventually and I'll resume the series then.

Saturday 21 March 2009

The Lord's Prayer: Liberation Theology Version

Our Father and Mother
who is in us here on earth,
holy is your name
in the hungry
who share their bread and their song.
Your Kingdom come,
which is a generous land
flowing with milk and honey.
Let us do your will,
standing up when all are sitting down,
and raising our voice
when all are silent.
You are giving us our daily bread
in the song of the bird and the miracle of the corn.
Forgive us
for keeping silent in the face of injustice,
and for burying our dreams;
for not sharing bread and wine,
love and the land,
among us, now.
Don't let us fall into the temptation
of shutting the door through fear,
of resigning ourselves to hunger and injustice,
of taking up the same arms as the enemy.
But deliver us from evil.
Give us the perseverance and the solidarity
to look for love,
even if the path has not yet been trodden,
even if we fail;
so we shall have known your Kingdom
which is being built forever and ever.

I read this Latin American paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer many years ago in a church bulletin in Winnipeg. In true Liberation Theology style, it emphasizes collective solidarity among the poor and oppressed instead of expressing a concern solely for individual salvation.

Friday 20 March 2009

Spring Equinox

Today is officially the "first day of Spring," the Spring Equinox. Hear that sound? It's Canadians laughing from coast to coast to coast. Ain't no spring here yet, not even in Vancouver and Victoria. Calling it the Spring Equinox is a cruel joke in Canada but hey, we're good natured about it. We know that Spring will get here eventually, about a month or two from now.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Silly Meme, Cat Edition

I picked up a fun meme over at Thalia Took's blog, Amused Grace. This is how it's done: google your cat's name along with the word "needs" and see what weird phrases pop up, revealing your cat's secret life. Here's the results I got, along with my editorial comments.

Her Royal Highness needs:

--a crown. [got one already!]

--to be serenaded with songs. [especially the "Meow Mix" song, it's her fave!]

--to have her very own tableware set to learn proper table manners when guests arrive. [yes, she's a very messy eater, it's true]

--gloves for her regal hands, gloves to obscure her sinister deeds. [change "hands" to "paws" and yes, it's completely accurate!]

--to sleep. [23 hours per day]

--to catch up with the times. [yeah, like Rip Van Winkle]

--a big jet. [. . . 0kay?]

--gold to fund her lavish expeditions. [. . . okay?]

--your money! [hey, I detect a pattern here]

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Sherlocks Galore

Last weekend, my Rare One dressed up as Sherlock Holmes, complete with a cape, deerstalker hat, big pipe and magnifying glass. I dressed up as Dr. Watson, with a vaguely Victorian suit, top hat, doctor's bag and stethoscope. No, we were not engaging in anything kinky! We were attending a murder mystery which was part of a fabulous 60th birthday celebration honouring a dear friend. The murder mystery was staged by professional actors, but the guests had to come dressed as their favourite detective or mystery character.

Other guests included Miss Marple, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. Charlie Chan, Nora Charles with her (stuffed) dog Asta, Columbo and a couple of Dick Traceys. Although their connection with the mystery genre was not clear, Anne of Green Gables and Matthew Cuthbert also showed up from Prince Edward Island. Plus the world famous, khaki-wearing Cougar Hunter attended. She had rich pickings indeed in our crowd.

And there were Sherlocks galore, four in all! But there was only one other Dr. Watson -- the rest of the Sherlocks came stag. One Sherlock was in repose after a hard day of solving mysteries, wearing a silk dressing gown and pyjamas. The second Sherlock and Watson were very nattily dressed, on their way to a London opera. The third Sherlock had a lovely deerstalker hat purchased in Red Deer, Alberta. My Sherlock went around accusing the other Sherlocks of being obvious imposters.

My stethoscope came in very handy for checking the heaving bosoms of many damsels in distress. "Trust me, I'm a doctor," I assured them. "You're in good hands." A bit more subtle than the Cougar Hunter, I'd like to think, but equally effective.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Well, the grand day of paddywhackery is upon us. Green beer, goofy green hats, "Kiss me, I'm Irish" t-shirts, shamrocks everywhere, etc. etc. And don't even get me started on mass market Celtic kitsch like Lord of the Dance and Celtic Woman.

Boy, I'm grumpy today, aren't I? It's because I'm ambivalent about celebrating St. Patrick's birth. After all, he was the man who ended paganism in Ireland (or "drove the snakes out of Ireland," as it's usually expressed in mytho-poetic terms). And Christianity did not particularly bring peace or stability to that little island.

But then I think of the following quotation from Patricia Monaghan's book, The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog:

"Scratch a bit at the thin topsoil of Irish Catholicism," the saying goes, "and you soon come to the solid bedrock of Irish paganism."

Okay then, St. Pat, have your special day. We'll keep up appearances.

Monday 16 March 2009

The Lord's Prayer: A Third Goddess Version

Our Mother, who art within us,
We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come. Your will be done,
Unfolding from the depths of us.

Each day You give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits and we let go.
You support us in our power
and we act with courage.

For You are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us.

As it was in the very beginning,
may it be now.

This lovely version was written by Patricia Lynn Reilly and is found in her book A God Who Looks Like Me (1995). While the poem follows fairly closely the traditional structure of the prayer, it contains beautiful affirmations that will be particularly resonant with women. I especially like the image of the Divine Feminine as the "dwelling place within us."

Sunday 15 March 2009

The Lord's Prayer: Cockney Version

'ello, Dad, up there in good old 'eaven,
Your name is, well, great and 'oly,
and we respect you, Guv.

We 'ope we can all 'ave a butcher's at 'eaven
and be there as soon as possible.
And we want to make you 'appy, Guv,
and do what you want 'ere on earth,
just like what you do in 'eaven.

Guv, please give us some Uncle Fred,
and enough grub and stuff to keep us going today.
And we 'ope you'll forgive us when we cock things up,
just like we're supposed to forgive them who annoy us
and do dodgy stuff to us.

There's a lot of dodgy people around, Guv;
please don't let us get tempted to do bad things.
'elp keep us away from all the nasty, evil stuff
and keep that dodgy Satan away from us,
'cos you're much stronger than 'im.

You're the Boss, God,
and will be forever, innit?


I love this version! I found it on the internet. The Cockney Bible was written in Cockney rhyming slang by English school teacher Mike Coles so that religious studies would be more interesting for students in the East End of London.

Saturday 14 March 2009

The Lord's Prayer: Aramaic Version

Father-Mother! Birther and Breath of All.
Create a space inside us and fill us with your presence.
Let Oneness now prevail.

Your one desire then acts through ours,
as energy fills all forms.
Give us physical and spiritual nourishment each day.

Untangle the knots of error that bind us,
as we release others.
Don't let appearances make us forgetful of the Source,
but free us to act appropriately.

Age to age, from you comes the glorious harmony of Life.
May these statements be fertile ground
from which our future grows.

Aramaic was the language spoken by Jesus. A few years ago, an Aramaic version of The Lord's Prayer made the rounds, translated from the Peshitta Gospels. Some describe it as a profound translation that reveals the deeply mystical nature of Jesus' prayer. Others dismiss the translation as too influenced by New Age thought. (I suspect the inclusion of Divine Feminine imagery especially sticks in their craw).

I think it's an interesting version, but its poetry is kind of clunky and doesn't flow easily or particularly gracefully, IMHO. But I do love the first two lines.

Friday 13 March 2009

It's Friday the 13th Again!

Blessings to everyone on the Doubly Sacred Day of the Goddess! And just like any ordinary Friday, the weekend's here too -- yay!

Monday 9 March 2009

Be Back Soon

Well, I won't be blogging much this week but I'll see you again on the weekend. In the meantime, here's some deep feline metaphysical wisdom to chew on:

Sunday 8 March 2009

Happy International Women's Day!

I became a feminist the moment I heard that such a concept existed. That was in 1970, when I was thirteen. "Women's Lib" (as it was so quaintly called in those days) was just starting to emerge on the national scene. I learned about feminism from the media, of course. As soon as I heard that feminists believed that women were equal to men, I knew that I was a feminist too. In the 39 years that have passed since then, my beliefs have never wavered -- grown and evolved, yes, but never wavered from a basic belief in, and commitment to, the feminist ideals of equality and choice. I've always tried to live my life on feminist principles and I think I have succeeded in that.

And yes, I confess that in 1972 I bought a 45 rpm of Helen Reddy's I Am Woman and played it incessantly. It's still kicking around in one of my storage boxes -- I should get it out one of these days and play it again, full blast, for old time's sake!

Happy International Women's Day, everyone! We rock!

Saturday 7 March 2009

Infiltration of the Vatican -- A Continuing Conspiracy

I have previously written about how My Rare One and I infiltrated the Vatican last October and committed an act of Goddess worship on its premises. Well, the Conspiracy continues! I have it on good authority that Secret Goddess Agent "L" will shortly be winging her way from Edmonton to Rome and, once there, will infiltrate the Vatican again on Her Divine Behalf!

Secret Goddess Agent "L," may Hecate's Torch light your way and may Athena's Shield protect you! We look forward to a full report upon your return from the Belly of the Beast.

P.S. Here's a top secret tip to help get you past those savage Swiss Guards . . . "Lindt Bunnies." Okay, I've said too much already.

Friday 6 March 2009

Triple Blog Award

I'd like to thank the Academy . . . . No, really, I'd like to thank Edain over at English, Pagan and in Canada for sending a Triple Blog Award my way. I appreciate it! Now I must pay it forward, according to the following official rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude.

3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4. Let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

I'd like to nominate the following 5 blogs:

Poet-at-Large, because it features Patti's fabulous poetry and spiritual energy.

Feminist Wiles, because Blackened Phoenix's commitment to feminism gives me hope that at least some of the next generation of women "get it."

Julie Cornewell's Writer's Notebook, because she parties with squirrels. And writes good stories.

Evolutionary Tarot, because James writes with deep wisdom about both Tarot and the Goddess.

Mrs. Spit Spouts Off, because Mrs. Spit is sassy! And thoughtful and insightful.


roomful of Monets --
excited child runs to look
out the window

(c) Debra She Who Seeks 2007

This haiku of mine originally appeared in Blossoming, Haiku Canada's 30th Anniversary Members Anthology, 2007.

Thursday 5 March 2009

Nom Nom Nom in The Peg: Mrs. Lipton's

In the heart of Winnipeg's Wolseley neighbourhood, there used to be a funky restaurant called Mrs. Lipton's. It was the kind of place that featured a lot of batik and macrame. Mrs. Lipton's was located in an older converted house, so the restaurant consisted of a jumble of small rooms and weird corridors. The tables were handmade out of 2-by-4's by someone who was clearly just beginning an apprenticeship in carpentry. But it was okay because none of the other furniture matched anyway.

In the mid-1980s, my friends and I went to Mrs. Lipton's every weekend for breakfast. It was at Mrs. Lipton's that I first encountered Red Zinger tea, a delicious hibiscus blend that I still enjoy (when I can find it). And Mrs. Lipton's made a homemade oatmeal bread that, cut into thick slices, toasted and buttered, was (simply put) heaven itself.

I'm quite overcome by nostalgia now, thinking of that delicious toast and tea and those weekend breakfasts with friends now largely gone from my life. "Those were the days, my friends, we thought they'd never end," etc., etc., etc.

[The lovely watercolour of tea and toast is by Carol Gillott].

Wednesday 4 March 2009

Nom Nom Nom in The Peg: Jambusters

When I was a little girl, a huge treat was being sent to the bakery downtown to buy a couple of jambusters. They were lovely round doughnuts, deep-fried and covered in granulated sugar. Inside was sweet white dough with raspberry jam at the very centre of the bun. The bakery clerk would put the jambusters in a brown paper bag and I'd bike home with them. By the time I arrived, there would be a big translucent grease stain on the bag courtesy of the treasure within. Yum!!

Apparently, Manitoba is the only place in Canada (and indeed, the world) where these particular doughnuts are called "jambusters." Others call them jelly doughnuts, Berliners or Bismarcks, but those terms seem odd and inadequate to me. Now that I live in Alberta, I am slowly converting this province (one person at a time) to use of the correct term "jambuster." Incidentally, if you live in Edmonton, the absolutely best jambusters are found at the Portuguese Bakery, 5304 - 118 Avenue. They are as delicious as the jambusters of my childhood, which is no small feat.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

March Lamb

So March has come in like a lamb in this neck of the woods, which is great. Unfortunately, it also means we'll have a big blizzard at the end of the month when March goes out like a lion. But, oh well! We'd probably have a big blizzard anyway, so no big deal. It's easy to be philosophical about bad weather when you live in Edmonton. It just involves acknowledging the inevitable.

Monday 2 March 2009

The Lord's Prayer: Another Goddess Version

Our Lady, Mother of us all,
Goddess is thy name.
Thy will be done,
with harm towards none,
below as it is above.
Give us this day
the ability to see
with compassion, grace and truth
that we might offer
perfect trust and perfect love
to others in your name.
May our hands be thine
to do thy work;
may our voices speak your words.
For Thou are
the beauty, the light and the spirit
as we dance the spiral together.
So be it.

I found this version several years ago in a SageWoman magazine. It was written by a woman named Candace, from Sedona, Arizona. Unfortunately, that's all the information I have. But isn't it a lovely version of the prayer? I particularly like Candace's beautiful reference to dancing the spiral with the Divine.

Sunday 1 March 2009

The Lord's Prayer: Ceiling Cat Version

Praise Ceiling Cat, who be watchin yu,
May him has a cheezburger.
Wut yu want, yu gets, srsly,
In ceiling and on teh flor.
Giv us dis day our dalee cheezburger
And furgiv us for makin yu a cookie,
but eateding it.
An do not let us be leed into teh showa,
but deliver us from teh wawter.
Ceiling Cat pwns all.
He pwns teh ceiling and teh floor and walls too.
Forevur and evuhr.

Dis is found in teh Book of Matthew 6 an in teh Book of Luke 11, srsly. Dis beez teh Ceiling Cat Prayer. If yu wan to kno how to prai to Ceiling Cat wit yer pawz, gewt on yer nees and pray too zee almity ceiling cat up above and remebr cookez and remeber too donate 50 milz so i can buyz me a limo to go crewzin.

This prayer and ritual advice is part of the LOLCat Bible Translation Project, the goal of which is to translate the entire Bible into lolspeak. Of course the translation reflects lolcat theology as well, featuring Ceiling Cat and his dark nemesis, Basement Cat, locked in eternal struggle. I think this stuff is absolutely hilarious. Her Royal Highness takes it pretty seriously though.

This version of the Ceiling Cat Prayer dates from about a year ago; it has now been revised, but not for the better (I think), so I have posted the earlier one.