Word - Mise en Place

Written by Laura Brown

A phrase more than a new word for me. But, as read in the Instagram account of Jennifer Garner (US celebrity) of all places. She's been making some cooking video posts and this was a French phrase she used in one of them. I looked it up and found:

The preparations to cook, having the ingredients ready, such as cuts of meat, relishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components that are required for the menu and recipes ingredients measured out, washed, chopped and placed in individual bowls; and equipment such as spatulas and blenders prepared, and oven preheated.

My Mother taught us to cook this way. It makes things much simpler. No finding out you are missing an ingredient at the last minute, for one thing. I use the same idea in process of elimination way as I cook so things are put away and I don't have everything to clean up at the end.

Magic and Science Through history, science and magic, like science and…

Written by Laura Brown

Magic and Science

Through history, science and magic, like science and religion, have at been at best strange bedfellows and at worst bitter enemies. The battle lines have been drawn with the twin swords of rationality and measurability. On one side of the line stand those things scientists claim we understand, like evolution and matter. On the other side lie the things that science does not want to or know how to explain, such as god and magic.

Somewhat ironically, while the majority of scientists do have religions beliefs, a large number of scientists (probably a majority, though we know of no studies on this) vehemently believe there is no such thing as magic. Some scientists (notably Carl Sagan) go so far as to castigate religion as well because of its ties to the mystical, magical, or supposedly inexplicable. This position seems in some ways more consistent, but neither one takes into account one important fact.

Science doesn't have all the answers. Almost every scientist will admit this, when you push them into the unexplored corners of their own specialty. Physicists don't know why they can't find a magnetic monopole. Biologists don't really know what happened in the evolution from apes to humans. Astrophysicists don't know whether the universe will expand forever or collapse back on itself. Psychologists haven't got a clue about how most of the things our brains do for us happen. We personally find it amazing, then, that so many scientists are happy to declare as a fact that there is no such thing as magic or god.

It's not just that everybody's a critic... suddenly everybody's an expert too, in a field that very few people have really spent any time studying. Fortunately, there are some exceptions, or we'd have nothing interesting to present on this page. Among people who consider themselves scientists (rather than philosophers, or theologists, for example), there are two particular groups who are delving into the real questions. And despite one coming from orthodox science and the other often disrespectfully being called "pseudoscience," they seem to be converging on some interesting common questions.

The two fields we're referring to here are cognitive science and parapsychology. An interesting third voice has recently come from the medical community, who often are forced to approach things from a perspective that is more pragmatic than scientific.

Cognitive science is generally interested in understanding how the human mind works, but seems to keep butting up against the question of consciousness. What makes us conscious? How does this perception of consciousness differ (or how is it similar to) our ordinary perceptive modes?

Parapsychology studies powers of the mind that seem to lie outside the normal sphere of physical influence. Telepathy, precognition, and telekinesis are the main areas of study. But lately parapsychologists have been asking questions about consciousness as well. How do states of consciousness affect parapsychological effects? How do consciousnesses interact when multiple individuals combine their efforts or oppose each other.

Medicine, in contrast, is largely interested in mechanisms for healing. Within this there is both a conventional and a mystical track. Conventional medicine accepts that the human mind has a capacity for enhancing the healing process, and even accepts that belief systems including religion and magic can offer a way to convince the mind to help heal the body. However, there is also a small group within the conventional medical community (and a much larger group outside conventional medicine) that believes that there can be direct magical effects by another individual on the healing process. Bill Moyers' book and PBS special Healing and the Mind provides a nice introduction to some of the issues. Dr. Larry Dossey has also written a number of books about the subject.

I'm not sure who originally posted this. The site it came from was among many submitted to the Wiccan Online Book of Shadows category at the Open Directory Project, now Curlie. I'm an editor there, the last standing editor in the Pagan category after all these years.

I really believe in the science of Pagan and Wiccan ideas more than the religion. I even think the religion itself is based on a science, a psychological science about people being part of a group and creating explanations for things and believing in something together. No doubt there are lots of resources for this idea, other than myself. I'm quoting the above post because I don't often find others having much to say about Wicca/ Magic and science. Thank you to whoever posted it.

Give Yourself a Break

Written by Laura Brown

For those who can't see the image: "Do at least one stupid thing today. Even if it isn't on purpose. Don't be too good, or too correct or too perfect. Crack at least one joke too."

Wrote this for my niece today.

Facebook is Cracking Up

Written by Laura Brown

I posted this to Facebook a few minutes ago. Almost instantly it was pulled off the site as spam. The bot claims I'm being misleading, etc.

More than anything else... This may explain how my Mother's posts don't appear when she's sure she sent them to me. Thanks for protecting me from my 80 year old Mother, Facebook.

I think this is a clear sign that its time for me to stop using Facebook. My Mother just isn't that dangerous any more. I didn't think long dead silent movie stars were either.

Ruined Diaries by Rain

Written by Laura Brown

I began writing my own journals/ diaries as a kid in the early 1970's. There are at least eight books, most of them full of my thoughts, blabs, and so on. As I have moved from place to place along my life the books became collected in a plastic container with a lot of photos I'd taken from trips to BC, visiting my Aunt Emma and wandering around Vancouver, staying at hostels and hotels. Travelling on the Greyhound bus, which doesn't have that cross Canada route any longer. Family and cat photos too. the odd hand written page about this and that. Ephemera collected from my adventures.

I had seen the box, less than a year ago, stuck in the garage where my brother had put it. I didn't move it into the house, mostly because I live in one room and didn't have space for it. Of course, not every decision made due to laziness, indecision, etc. is not always the best choice. Earlier this year my brother began clearing out everything from the garage. He found the garage was infested with mice and rats from the past tenants leaving a lot of garbage in it, outside of the garbage put out in the regular pick up. I noticed the lid of my container was cracked, it wasn't before. But, again I put off doing much about it because I didn't want to figure out what to do with it. I looked at getting a new container for it, but didn't get one. So it sat outside in rain and I thought it was safe with another box on top of it to block water and it was under the roof of the garage, outside.

Today, my Mom opened it and found the water has gotten in. Mostly everything is damaged, some of it is ruined and it really stinks! I can see fungus/ mold on it. I can still smell it, even though I've washed my hands several times, changed clothes and left all of it out in the laundry room.

The plan is to sort through the photos and pick out what to keep. Most are ruined, all the ink/colour washed away from the paper. Some of them still have an image left in the centre. So, a few I have saved so far. Some (not many) are untouched by water. Ironically, most of them are from my wedding and I don't really care about them as much. There are a lot of them which were dripping wet still and hugely stink. I will try to sort them today. But, I have little hope for them.

I think I will bring my scanner out, hook it up to my laptop and scan all the old journals. Better than retyping them, I would have my original hand written pages, just made digital and less mildew and moldy. Then, sadly, I will throw away all those pages and books I've kept for so long.

The next thing is what to do with all those scanned pages. I guess I can post them here, as images with dates. That will make this a really long/ old blog. I think the earlies pages are from before the 1970's. One nice thing about scanning them is being able to see my penmanship over the years too. Retyping them can't do that. Plus, retyping them would mean guessing what some of them are. Instead of leaving it as original to figure out more than just once. Handwriting isn't as reliable as type, but its far more personal and artsy.

Anyway, that's what I will be doing over the next few weeks. I think it will be sad to dispose of the old journals themselves. All those originals. Some of them I still remember who gave me the blank journal or where I bought them from. I guess I can add that to the notes as I scan and post them.

Dragon Psychology "Hoarding"

Written by Laura Brown

I wish my family could understand this but I think there is a disconnect with people who keep saying "nothing really matters" when its about what someone else values. Anyway, its dragon psychology, now I understand.

Wind Like an Ocean in the Trees

Written by Laura Brown

The wind is like the ocean blowing in the trees. The green waves bend, and sway back again.

Wrote that on a receipt while in the car watching the trees on a windy day. Later there were tornado warnings.

Writing Prompt: What would you write about a windy day, or a snowy, rainy day, some kind of weather other than hot and sunny.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge…

Written by Laura Brown

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create".

Albert Einstein

Found on an abandoned free hosting Pagan site.

Whatever Happened to Clio SilverLove?

Written by Laura Brown

Quotes found on a forgotten Pagan site by Clio SilverLove. I don't often find someone who thinks as I do about being or becoming Pagan and the issues about goddess/gods, spells, and etc. I'm quoting from this site because its no longer updated and very likely to disappear from its free web host. I like what Clio wrote and I wanted to keep it around.

Why You Will Never Find A Spell On My Site.

When asked for a spell, a person I met in a pagan chatroom said, "I would rather give someone a nuclear bomb than give a spell to a beginner and I would feel much safer."

At the time, I found it a bit funny and witty but later, after considering what he said, I had to agree with him. Some witches and/or pagans may disagree with me, and I acknowledge that they have the right to their own opinion, but I can't imagine giving someone a spell when I can never know how they will use it. I would not even give my best friend a spell not knowing how they will use it.

I am a firm believer that spells can be likened to prayers. It may be the Christianity in my background that makes me say that but to me spells are a way of asking the Goddess to do something for you in a specific way. My belief may not be others though. Some may use spells I have written to manipulate someone else or cause someone else's downfall for their own gain. I cannot take that responsibility. Besides, the outcome of a spell for me may be very different for someone else. When I "cast" a spell, I do it with a humble, beseeching heart that is devoted to my Goddess. I could not imagine giving my personal spells, my "prayers", to someone who may pervert them.

My dear friends, I do not mean to discourage you who are searching for the meaning of Wicca nor am I saying that you would do such a thing but to me, spells are very private things. Please bare me no ill will if you were searching for spells. I am sure that you will be able to find them somewhere else but before you think of casting a spell, learn the true meaning of the religion you are researching and are interested in. Strive to understand Wicca and its components. If you find a spell, study it piece by piece but do not think of casting it unless you are ready to take the responsibility for your actions.

Make sure the spell does not:

  1. Go against the Wiccan Rede (Harm none do as ye wilt).
  1. Result in the manipulation of someone else's free will.
  1. Compromise your own judgement, morals, and feelings about what is good and what is not.
  1. Require harming someone else or causing someone else to suffer.

There are more that should be on this list (^) but I do not have the space to write them all down.

If you have a more experienced person or group who you trust, ask them about their theories on casting someone else's spells or giving your spells to someone else and see what they say. Do not take my own rules as cast (pardon the pun) in stone. I invite and charge you to explore on your own to form your own theories on this subject. The glory of this religion is that it is based on a person's right to think for him or herself, SO THINK FOR YOURSELF. Learn, read, ask questions, and think for yourself and form your own conclusions.

Dear Fellow Seekers,

Merry Meet to you.

First, let me say I'm honored that you have decided to read my page. It means a lot to me to see that my page is read at all, so thank you very much.

Now, I recently received a letter from a Wiccan who was very angry at me for misrepresenting Wiccans. My response to this is the same as I put on my Yahoo! Group page: I am a Pagan who seeks the Goddess in my life but I'm not narrowed by choosing a specific path. I am not a Wiccan. I have no name for my "religion" other than Pagan.

I have started this page for those of us out there who are tired of having different Pagan sects throw their beliefs in our faces every time we search for answers and are seeking to reconnect to the Goddess in other ways. Wicca and other NeoPagan religions are fine religions and this page is not about hating on them. I respect those who follow that path but there are others out there as well. This page is for those who are searching, like me, for their own way to the Goddess.

I'm not trying to say that I'm better than anyone else, or that I represent anyone but myself. I'm not trying to misrepresent Wiccans, Witches, or anyone else. I'm just putting my own beliefs and thoughts on the screen and letting others decide what they will.

To the others whose are reading this, remember only this: "Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe simply because it has been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is written in Holy Scriptures. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of Teachers, elders or wise men. Believe only after careful observation and analysis, when you find that it agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. Then accept it and live up to it." -- Buddha

May the Goddess (and the God) be with you.

Clio SilverLove*

The Campaign for Canadian Hockey Independence

Written by Laura Brown

The website I found this on is gone years ago. But, the idea is not. I have wondered why Canada doesn't have its own hocky league, not including teams in the US. Why is the NHL, not really the National Hockey League, for Canada instead of North America (not including Mexico, so far).

Here is what had been posted as the 'About' page on the old site:

The Campaign for Canadian Hockey Independence

WE - THE HOCKEY PEOPLE OF CANADA - are tired of waiting, paying and being ignored.... and, after much debate and discussion, on July 4th, 2009, the People came together to form a Revolutionary organization.

This organization - The Canadian Revolution - is a Campaign for Canadian Hockey Independence ... and we have a goal in mind. A cross-Canada, world-class professional hockey league that serves the interests of all involved: Owners/Cities, Players and Fans.

Our organization – at once both grassroots as well as connected – is comprised of a broad spectrum of Canadian hockey patriots. By agitating for our common purpose – and planning to deliver upon that promise – we are laying the foundation for Canadian hockey success stories written across this great land and for many years to come.

WE know that no task is easy. But once we have unveiled the plan – and we have all had a chance to debate and discuss the open and honest facts (for a change), the Revolutionary committee is confident that we will ‘fill the rink' with ease in terms of attracting interested cities (more than 25 cities in Canada have populations in excess of 100,000.... or almost 1,000,000 by American standards based upon a new statistical model, the Hockey Avidity Quotient/HAQ).

WE have heard the Players' Association lament the League's refusal to ‘pass the puck to Canada ' and we also know that the players, specifically the Canadian players, have been seeking a more equitable model of operation. The Plan will unveil a true partnership for all involved.

WE have heard the protests, the anguished pleas of the fine citizens of Winnipeg and Quebec City and we, the Canadian Revolution, avow to protect the rights of all Canadian hockey fans against the impartial removal of franchises (and, amazingly, the refusal to allow for their re-absorption back into the Canadian hockey hotbed).

WE are you – and YOU are WE. WE are all Canadian Hockey Patriots.

And, on August 1st, 2009, the Revolution will intensify as the Plan is revealed and, for the first time in our collective sporting history, Canadians will have the opportunity of controlling their own hockey destiny, clear of any undue or unwanted foreign influence.

WE THE HOCKEY PEOPLE OF CANADA STAND READY TO FIGHT THE CANADIAN REVOLUTION AND INVITE ONE AND ALL TO JOIN US IN THE CAMPAIGN FOR CANADIAN HOCKEY INDEPENDENCE !

The Communications Committee The Canadian Revolution July 8, 2009