August 12th – “Mercury turns retrograde in the sign of Virgo today…”

You’d be wise to be more alert than usual when it comes to dealings with friends and groups, as well as business income and dealings with business associates….Fortunately, this is a great period for looking back and seeing things in a new way.”

The last time Mercury was in retrograde (back in April and May), things did not go so well. My health deteriorated, I was behind on work, and I had major communication issues with others. This time around, I planned ahead.

Yesterday, I handled all my important business transactions and mailed a signed contract. Now that that’s off my hands, I’m postponing all communication with new contacts until after September 5th when retrograde ends.

The timing is great for me because there are a number of things I want to finish up on before I put myself out there. I’ve made some decisions and haven’t worked out the details yet. This is the perfect opportunity to look back and see things in a new way. It will give me a chance to revisit, revise, and refine the steps I need to take to move forward with my next project.

I’m sure some of you don’t believe in Mercury retrograde effects, but I don’t feel like taking any chances right now. This morning, I went to harvest vegetables in my garden and found a creepy looking tomato. Every year there are some deformities with the tomatoes, but I never imagined I would find one like this:

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If this isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is!

 

 

July 19th – Content yourself with just working like crazy around your own home. Bet you’ll find quite a few things to get done, too.”

The garden was neglected for almost an entire week. I had disappeared for a few days for work and a short trip to Minneapolis.

There’s a big Scandinavian population there and I got to try their cuisine.

Herring with cucumbers, fermented apples and potatoes in buttermilk sauce

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Kropkakkor (dumplings)

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There’s also a big bunny population there.

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I arrived a day too late and found out that there was a Weird Al burlesque.

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By the time I returned home to tend to my garden, these giant things showed up.

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My partner watered the plants while I was away, but didn’t harvest anything.  I was only gone for 6 days! There’s no stopping zucchini’s once they start growing. I found quite a few things to do in the garden today. 

July 13th – “End a bad habit — pat yourself on the back as you take a step in a new direction!”

Ooops! Too late! I already had a maple leaf cookie sandwich for breakfast today! It’s one of my favorite cookies, so it was hard to resist.

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One of our customers sent us these cookies a couple of weeks ago. He does not live or work in Canada, but I guess he celebrates Canada day.

I really wanted to have another cookie, but I should end this bad habit today. Goodbye sweet maple leaf cookie. I’ll see you next Canada day!

May 28th – “You are what you do; own up to it instead of trying to separate your work from your life, and you’ll be much happier in the end.”

Yes, I am what I do. I don’t like to be defined by work, but it is a part of who I am whether I choose to identify with it or not.

For a long time, I hated being associated with my work because I felt that I was being limited. I had so many other things that I wanted to do. Well, that was the problem. I had things I wanted to do, but I wasn’t doing any of them! I’m happy to report that I’m no longer in that situation. Here is what I do:

Five mornings a week, I am a jogger. I tell people that I like to jog, but I really should give myself more credit than that.  I’ve been doing it for 20 years, so I am entitled to call myself a jogger.

A few days a week, I am an expert at work. I have knowledge that very few people do and it takes years to acquire the expertise that I have. My clients come to me for help and trust the recommendations I give them.

Every day, I am an intellectual who likes to over analyze culture and read books on history, politics, and theory.  Trust me, you do NOT want to watch a movie with me!  I like to watch bad sitcoms like Fuller House just to see how race, gender, and social status are portrayed. I think there’s something to learn in everything, even the crappy stuff.

Most days, I am a cook. I try new recipes, make things from scratch that many people would not, and prefer home-cooked meals than eating out.  

I am also a blogger. I document my experiments, thoughts, and feelings and share them with a few readers every week. By the way, thank you for reading! I’ve only been blogging since September and it’s great to know that someone out there reading my stuff!

Finally, I am a writer. Perhaps, this is the most difficult thing to call myself. I still struggle with my writing, rarely have perfect grammar, and am not a fan of proofreading. Nevertheless, writing is still something that I do and like.  Believe it or not, I even have some published articles out there.  Am I am a writer? Yes, I am!

May 24th – “You’ll awaken today with one question on your mind: How can I get my daily allowance of potassium without all the sugar in bananas?”

Really, that’s the one question I have on my mind? It’s not, “Why do I have to get up so early” or “Why do I have to go to work?” Whoever wrote today’s post has a funny sense of humor. Perhaps I should get that into the business of horoscope writing. I’m sure I can come up with some weird suggestions for readers to follow! 

Nutrients are the last thing on my mind and I have no problem eating all that sugar in bananas. I have a banana almost every morning with yogurt.

My horoscope further instructed me to have some celery because it “three stalks of celery contain the same amount of potassium as one banana without all that pesky sugar.. I hate celery, but thought that I should try something new for a change. I went to work with a couple of stalks of celery in lieu of my banana.

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It was pretty bland on it’s own, so I had the celery sticks with a side of raw honey I keep for emergencies like this. So much for skipping sugar!

May 23rd – “Nature nurtures your soul to its very roots.”

IMG_9073[1]Seven years ago, I spent four months in Hong Kong. It wasn’t my first trip overseas, but it was my first time staying in the city for more than two weeks. It was then that I realized that I did not want to live in a city anymore. I lived in the suburbs of Hong Kong and even that was too crowded for me. Yes, it was convenient place filled with all sorts of amenities, but I would have traded the air conditioning for peace and quiet. A New Yorker I met  once described Hong Kong as “New York on steroids” and I think that it’s an accurate description.

I’m sure my city friends will be annoyed at me for saying this: I think there is something dehumanizing about city life. The city eats away at my soul. It makes me wait in endless traffic, rush from one place to another, and buy $3.50 croissants and teas for breakfast without hesitation.

San Francisco is much slower than Hong Kong, but sometimes when I’m there I feel like I am disappearing into the masses, and the city is using my soul as its energy source. Perhaps I don’t have the same defenses I once had when I was young, or maybe Hong Kong broke me.

On the days that I’m home, I spend my time admiring the flowers and plants I help grow. I have been planting vegetables for the past five years and only started bringing flowers into the mix last year. Boy, it makes a huge difference!

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The little fig trees I have aren’t flowering yet, so I too some dried figs to make a new recipe.  

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Fig Bars

Filling

⅔ cup to 1 cup water

8 oz pack of dried figs, diced

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup

 

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in pot and gently boil for about 7 minutes on low heat. The filling is ready when it is a thick jam consistency.

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Dough

⅓ cup shortening

⅔ cup maple sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ¼ cup flour

1 ¼ cup wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

A few dashes of salt

1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cream shortening, sugar together until smooth. I didn’t do a good job on mine, so there were little specks of shortening!
  2. Add vanilla and eggs and mix until combined.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined. If dough is dry, add a teaspoon of water one at a time until the dough sticks together.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Roll dough into a 14 x 14 inch square. Cut into four long pieces.
  7. Add filling to middle, then fold both sides to cover filling.
  8. Place bars seam side down, and bake for 14 minutes.
  9. Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice.

Original recipe here.

May 14th – “Sunday is a 24-hour period best described as magical. You radiate a sense of possibility and power.”

This is the first Sunday in months that I haven’t watched any television. I usually like to wind down on Sundays with a show or two to ease back into Monday.

Just as I was going to going to turn on the television, a friend I hadn’t spoken to in two years called me. One hour and forty-five minutes later, it was almost dinner time!

The great thing that came out of our conversation (aside from catching up with her) was that I had new inspirations for stories. Earlier in the day, I came up with one new story idea while walking back from brunch. I already thought I was lucky then!

That night, I didn’t turn on the television and turned on my writing lamp instead. I stayed up later than I wanted to, but didn’t feel guilty about it. I think I am on the road to kicking my tv habit!

Thanks for the magical day!

March 30th – “Plan a camping trip.”

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Message sent! All that’s left to do is wait and see if anyone is interested.

If no one wants to go, great hiking is only a 20 minute drive north, south, east, or west for me. The best part about living in wine country is quick access to acres and acres of green space. There are so many parks here that I can enjoy without having to plan a big trip. I haven’t hiked since last summer. Maybe I’ll go this weekend and see some wild turkeys!

Thanks for the reminder, horoscope!

March 27th – “Making money is both an art and a science, and you have enough creativity and intellect to make it work. You just can’t seem to bring the two together. Don’t give up because you’ll receive some divine inspiration just in the nick of time.”

And “Financially, you could be doing a little better.”

Okay, horoscopes. I get the picture. You want me to make more money, even if I don’t want to. Well, it’s not that I don’t want to. I just don’t want to increase my income at the expense of my current stress-free lifestyle. What are you trying to do to me?!

I suppose I should be grateful, instead of annoyed about the situation. If divine inspiration is going to help me make money, so be it!

Going along with things and letting divine inspiration guide me seems to be the theme in my life right now. My tarot reader told me to go with the flow. A few months ago, she also said that I don’t have to worry about my writing projects too much. If I put in the hours, even if it means staring at a blank page for hours (oh, I have so many years of experience doing that), I will get some divine inspiration!

All signs point towards material and non-material wealth for me. Is that what it all means?

I really should have quit reading while I was ahead.

Another prediction warned me that, “Symbols are suddenly popping up all over the place, but not all have meaning.”

Horoscope, stop messing me and give me a straight answer!