Pagan Wings

Hey, Guess What?

You’ll never guess, so i’ll just tell you.  =)

I’ve moved! Come see my new blog at PaganWings.Wordpress.com.

Many Thanks,

~Rose

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Closing

So, it’s the final day; the end of my first autumn term of Second-Year University Courses. I thought now was a good time to update on my University experience.

Challenges Undertaken:

  • 5-a-day-for-14-days

And for a week after I did this without thinking twice about it! 5/5

  • Daily Meditation

Find weekly meditation easier to feel effects of now I do it each evening too (four weeks of daily practise and counting). 4/5

  • Daily Physiotherapy

Mixed results here; but I agree doing any form of exercise daily is good. 4/5

  • No chocolate [3 days]

No real difference noticed except by day 3 it was actually EASY to do [but hard as HELL on day 2]… Only ate it day 4 to celebrate anniversary with husband and forgot to get back into it. 3/5

General Health Lessons Learnt:

  • Use a MUG for ALL drinks – instead of PLASTIC cups [water actually DOES taste different]
  • Rice isn’t THAT hard to cook; not worth microwaving
  • Pasta Bake, Frozen vegetables and Potatoes CAN be re-heated in a microwave
  • Some days soup and toast really is the healthiest/best option
  • Fresh fruit is surprisingly easy to consume
  • Missing my daily iron tablet DOES have an effect
  • Five-a-day is EASIER with Fresh vegetables than frozen
    • Because I bother to cook; I get a variety: That bag of beans/peas/sweetcorn/carrots are getting on my nerves now.
  • Sometimes cucumber tastes bad no matter what price you pay [time of year maybe?]
  • I do CHOOSE healthy food sometimes
    • When I’m aware that the junk will still be there after a healthy meal; I feel no pressure to eat it now and often don’t have it after the healthy option in the end. Knowing I can eat junk whenever I want means I eat less of it.
  • Even healthy habits are hard to break; so make them.
    • Kept getting at least 4-a-day from habit.
  • There’s no such thing as “too many leftovers”
  • I never get sick of tea, so need to learn to limit it
    • Been having up to 26 cups on some days! This brings our energy/water bill up due to toilet trips thus MUST cut down.
  • Eating apple cores/the dry end of a cucumber won’t kill you
    • I was brought up with crusts cut off my bread, apples already cored and only the smoothest breast of chicken… I now find it VERY difficult to eat certain foods and am deliberately pushing myself to eat a bit more of the apple/the exposed to air end of a cucumber that’s been freshly cut/food I drop on the counter (if raw – just a rinse and cooking it will kill the germs)
  • Being too clean harms my skin
    • Found this with my ears and now with my hands too.
  • How to measure dry foods
    • Place raw portions of rice/pasta/vegetables to ½ fill your plate/bowl (water will increase it’s size)
  • Canned sweetcorn beats frozen
  • Breaded Chicken Breast tastes nicer than chicken nuggets; but turkey dinosaurs still beat turkey mince
  • Trying to be simple/healthy/clean/environmentally-friendly in a house with students is difficult!

Speaking of the environment,  I need to update you on my Green Goals for 2009: and plan some goals for 2010.

So, let’s begin.

Halloween Intentions:

Daily Spiritual Practise [or at least weekly] –ticks-
* 30,000 words by 30 November –ticks-
* Blog Weekly –ticks-
* Ritual for each festival  –In Progress-
* Cut down on junk food
* Keep taking 5-a-day -In Progress-
* Some for of weekly movement [dance, free-weights ]  -Bellydance, Hillwalking & Nia tried-

GREEN GOALS:

The enboldened are completed, the italic in process.

In 2009:

* Cook more from scratch
* Eat more fruit and vegetables
* Increase my hand washing load as it dries on my radiator.
* Continue to recycle [re-use spare cardboard box to house it all between emptying].
* Use my re-useable bags more often.
* In the summer I want to grow some herbs

* Keep my radiator off at certain times/wear more clothes.

* Knit myself a scarf.
* Find a fitness routine and STICK TO IT.
* Use the Lemon Bus – this is an amazing phenomena. It’s CHEAPER if you want more than a one-way bus trip and runs on chip fat.
* Donate bric-a-brac and clothes to charities twice.
* Be diligent about electric and water usage – bottle/use cooked water in tea.
* MAKE SOME SMOOTHIES (or ANY food) with my whizzer.
* Keep room organised/clean/tidy. (never going to happen but I still aim for it)
* Re-use glass jars. (Good idea from TopHat; so Thanks to You)
* Get re-usable cloth Sanitary pads.

So I get 8/16 which is exactly 50% which was my aim.

Shall work on some 2010 goals and let you know; thanks for being so supportive and I’d love some new ideas for simple but effective green goals/changes.

~Rose

Meditation&Song

On Wednesday, during our weekly Meditation session at University, Karasu introduced us to the Tibetan Wheel of Life. For those who don’t know about it, it’s a wheel of human consciousness (or at least that’s our interpretation of it) and Yama is wrathful impermanence; spinning the wheel to keep us on it.

My very first thought: “Aww cute dragon!!!”

Guess I’m not a natural, eh? =P

I’m not going to explain each of the realms and sections, because we only had a fifteen minute discussion on it ourselves; and I’d never even heard of it, but I’ve included some links at the end of this post in case you’re interested.

Thursday night we attended a second session of the singing workshop in preparation for a small Christmas showcase next Wednesday. We’re planning to sing ‘Bambalela (Never Give Up)’ and ‘Freedom is Coming (Yes, I Know)’ in front of people. Other than signing in the street/while I’m sitting on the green, I’ve not sung in from of a specific audience since I was six.

Tonight was much more freeing. I felt that though I’m still not brilliant at some of the notes, they were slightly easier to reach this week; so I guess that’s a good sign. I’m hoping to get some pictures/video footage next week to share it with you.

If you want to hear the woman who runs the workshops (Susie):

http://www.myspace.com/susieroandayla

[my favourite song is As The Ivy Grows Tall]

Sources on the Tibetan Wheel of Life:

http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/symbols/wheel_of_life.htm

http://www.exoticindiaart.com/article/wheeloflife/

Have a blessed week,

~Rose

Voice

In the Summer of 2006, I found my voice. I started to speak my opinions, I found my feet; though shakily and I began to sing. My friend and I would sit at the pond by the community centre and sing duets. We got reasonable praise, and thus started my career in song. Aged 9-10 I’d sung in the school play. I sang a whole solo of Patsy Cline, and duets of Abba and that song by Annie Oakley (wow, having never seen the original before tonight, I can now say we didn’t sing it like that! =P).

I’m still intrigued that I sang such low parts. When I started doing duets with my friend, I used a second soprano or mezzo-soprano vocal range. I sang as I walked to and from College; came to University and got mixed results and as time went on, I lost my faith and then re-established it many times more.

From November 2006-July 2007 I had reoccurring bouts of tonsillitis/glandular fever and my vocal range shifted. I lost my power and confidence in many aspects during winter of 2006 and when I dip back into that hole, my voice is one of the last things to go. You know I’ve hit bottom if I stop voicing my opinion and you spend 2 hours in my company without hearing me at least hum.

 

Tonight, a couple of us from the Sussex Spiritual Society (which I co-run) attended a singing workshop. The workshop included some really good warm ups, two African apartheid songs (freedom is coming/ Bambelela (Never Give Up)), “We are walking on sacred ground” and a song dedicated to Peace; all with some dance and clapping/marching/ foot tapping moments.

I got to use my voice in all the ranges as we all learnt each part (Tenor, Bass, Alto & Soprano) and I got to try out a couple of differing methods of voice projection.. and lost my confidence. All these wonderful voices and then hearing my own voice miss the timing at odd moments, lose it’s power (need to breathe) or be totally out of tune. I even managed to earn/endure a smile/look from another soprano which said to me “let’s indulge her; she’s trying”.

And I felt like that 11-year-old who’d proudly put her hand up, enthusiastic about learning French and come out with the totally wrong answer. (To be honest, my French teacher loved that I wasn’t afraid to be wrong (and I often was wrong) and it was great to “see such enthusiasm”…)

It’s been a tidal week. That’s likely the best term for it. I fell apart of Monday night and I’m still kind of in pieces over the causes of that. I’ve had amazingly uplifting moments, such as chatting to my best friend online, sending a hand-written letter to my oldest friend and feeling at home at the Pagan Pub Moot on Wednesday night.

And even tonight, I found a glimpse of some amazing feelings; of the freedom and for a bit I even let my hair down. I actually relaxed to the point where I panicked. “Woah.. This has NEVER happened before.. I’m not consistently going ‘what does that person think, mine’s not like theirs, I should have worn a skirt’, I’m hungry”. And then I lost it. But for possibly thirty whole seconds, I was free.

This week I’m still focusing on Choosing Kindness and I guess I need to be kind to myself in this particular area. Anyone know of any useful vocal exercises for strengthening the voice/projecting/how to learn to be in tune etc?

Stars Above,
~Rose

 

Currently Listening: Evanescence – Whisper (live) [love the starting scale bits]

 

P.S. Thank you Yana for letting me know that I was out of time. I wasn’t strong enough to thank you in person, as I took it personally and got all offended for a bit. But you were right and I’m glad you told me.

Hundred

Welcome to post 100. Yeah, my 100th post. Woot.nonawrimo
I really want to write something hugely profound but something tells me that’s unlikely to happen.

Scratch that. Yesterday I did something AMAZING.

Well; it depends on your definition of Amazing, really. I signed up for NaNoWriMo.  This stands for National Novel Writing Month and involves writing 50,000 words of garbage between November 1st and November 30th. The idea is just to churn out 50,000 words. There’s no editing, it will likely be a load of shit comprised of padding description instead of a decent plot all the way through and after editing (in December-March) you’ll find the decent novel STARTS on page 73 (of 175).

A few years ago I started reading Kami’s story for this and it inspired me to go back to writing. This year, I’m signing up in good time. I have a few phrases as inspiration (which I came upon as I walked to University this afternoon), and really want to start writing it now.

 

The rules suggest “outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine” before the November 1st beginning so I may be okay to type up my ideas. One’s my perceived first sentence kind of idea; but it’s basically the plot for my entire novel, so I’m going to write about it now anyway and map out some ways of building and key descriptive phrases. If that’s against the rules, I’ll state that I’ve done it so I can be judged fairly. However, as long as I re-word and expand on it, I think it counts as an “outline”.

From the NaNoWriMo Website:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

However; during this term (now to December 11th) I so far know I have to complete:

4 assignments (around 500 words each)
3,000 word extended essay
1,500 word essay
500 word summary
1,000 word report
2,000 word report

A lab report
An exercise
The last two have no current word-limit mentioned so far; though nearer the time I’ll be given them.  That’s over 10,000 words of academic writing and I usually go over the limit and then edit it to cut down the word count. Thus, if I achieved the full novel, I’ll end up writing around 65,000 words [depending how many of those pieces of work are due in November/early December]. 

I understand all other writers in this have jobs and activities they do as well, but I know that, according to my own limits, this will be a huge challenge.

 Wish me luck? I’ll likely add Word Count to each blog post, similar to my 5-a-day count at the moment: 5 days down, 9 to go!    [I had an apple and some carrot last night so got my full 5-a-day]

 Please also note that I’ve updated my blogroll: some minimalist, frugal and healthy living blogs have been added for your viewing pleasure.
 When did you last set yourself a challenge?

[reach for the stars]

~Rose

Does the ‘credit crunch’ exist?

Does the ‘credit crunch’ exist?

I’m not sure where this post’ll go; but I enjoy talking about current topics, though I hate knowing about what’s going on in the world and don’t get off my chair to find out. I’m happy in my bubble of ignorance. I can handle living a life of lies as long as I enjoy it.

Anyway; back to the topic at hand.
The.. state of economics in the world at this time has changed from this time last year. Food costs have risen, my tuition for the next however many years (min of 2.5 at the moment) I stay learning will soar and my bank account won’t give me as much interest as I’d wish it would.

I want to share something someone close to me said earlier.  We were discussing something totally random and Poof! New topic.

 

* The euphemism “credit crunch” is used too often by morons as an excuse for being in debt.

 

* Food prices changed but im not a retard, i can live on what i have,   So long as you can hold a job down, There’s no problem.  If you cant, then get welfare and that should be able to tide you over until you find the job…

 

* I don’t understand how this is a problem aside from debts people shouldn’t have been in in the first place (and if they did they should have insured themselves) and mortgages, which i know are inevitable, but again im sure there’s job security insurance.

 

My understanding on this topic revolved around:  

People plan ahead; Changes to life means there plans are shifted, People panic.

 

* They panic because the media tells them to.  Which is why the terms used by the media are pretty much annoying buzzwords that people repeat like mantras of the inevitability of the degradation of society.

 

This is my bubble of ignorance. Without the news, newspapers, gossip magazines, television I don’t get these horrifying messages. I don’t worry about money or war or terror. I read blogs about raising kids in safe, natural environments, about being eco-friendly and helping others in need. I don’t NEED to know about who’s in parliament or what the name of the main actress in Miss Congeniality is (Sandra Bullock for those who want to know). My friend doesn’t understand why people go along with the media and I don’t understand why people even expose themselves to so much hatred, pain and desperation.

 

Have a think next time you look at your finances – has anything really changed? Yes; your plan to pay off certain amounts of debt each month may have changed – but isn’t the amount of debt still similar? Aren’t you still earning around the same amount you were before this all struck everyone down?

 

As I’ve said; I don’t know anything about this. I understand that people in America have been affected differently to us here in the UK.  It is my opinion that those living frugally already shouldn’t be affected majorly by this. If you have an opinion, please; I’d love to hear it. Your feelings and reasons.

 

But do any of you think that perhaps it’s just the media’s influence?

 

Stars Above,

~Celestial Rose.